Products stem from their designer’s vision. What are we trying to achieve and why? What resources do we have to work with? What are our limitations?
When engineer Darren Myers set out to design the upcoming Stellar Phono Preamplifier his vision was to build the world’s quietest best-sounding instrument ever produced and deliver it at a price people could afford. Lofty goals indeed!
Once the vision has crystalized the hard work of bringing it into the world begins.
One of the first conclusions Darren arrived at was his ban on IC amplifiers within the device. IC amplifiers simply would not fit into his founding vision of best-sounding. Properly designed discrete circuitry will always sound better than IC based amplifiers. But then the problem of quiet comes into play. Achieving remarkable noise levels is not all that difficult with ICs, yet he’d already determined ICs would not be employed for sound quality reasons.
Achieving low noise in discrete designs requires many devices in parallel. In the case of the Stellar Phono Preamplifier 10 extraordinarily quiet input FETs would be needed on each side. That’s a lot when you consider a typical design would use only a single pair. To put that in perspective, the first discrete PS phono preamplifier of the 1970s had fewer than 10 devices in the entire gain block—and Darren went for more just in the input.
The point of this post is that the original vision of the designer plays heavily in the final outcome of the product.
We dream first then roll our sleeves up to sculpt the final product.