Any Plans For A Steller SACD Transport?

Speaking with Joey in sales, I am one of many, many people who have asked about a Steller SACD transport. I know there’s already a lot of new products in the pipeline, and global supply issues. I look at the Arcam CDS50 SACD player at $1,200 and think, if PS Audio could pull this off at a not too much higher price point, they couldn’t keep them in stock. I have no personal experience with this model, but seems like a smoking deal for what it does. Arcam - CDS50 - SACD/CD Player

That Arcam converts DSD to PCM, something that immediately takes it out of contention for me.

And yet, a PS Audio Steller transport could output I2S to their Gain Cell DAC, wouldn’t that be the bomb?

It is not a future product the folks at PS Audio have spoken about publicly.

Talking about a desired Stellar SACD transport, disc in I2S out no other features desired.

This is one of the biggest pains with PS Audio. It is one of the main reasons why I returned my Stellar Gain Cell DAC back to the dealer.

When I decided to step into PS Audio’s world PS Audio was all about DSD, Paul’s Videos, their products, hack the I2S input in the Stellar Gain Cell DAC.

But they let the folks who invested and planned to invest more considerable money in the Stellar product range badly down when it comes to playing SACD’s or DSD.
No SACD transport in the Stellar budget (Marantz N30 is!) and the display of the SGCD will not show DSD file format when utilising the USB input. So you really never know if the SGCD really plays DSD files or not.

The reasons I would never connect a Perfect Wave SACD Transport to a Stellar system:

  • the Perfect Wave SACD Transport utilises the same drive as the Marantz N30 SACD / Streamer. For US$ 3000 less Marantz packs it:
    in a IMHO more attractive enclosure
    with a very good DSD capable DAC
    with a DSD streamer
    with a USB input that allows you to also play DSD files
    with the SGCD you won’t need the DAC, but the integrated streamer that plays also DSD files is very attractive, yet the Perfect Wave Transport is about double the price, and Marantz does not even sell direct
  • The Perfect Wave Transport is 3 to 4 times more expensive than the Stellar Gain Cell DAC
  • The Stellar enclosures are way more attractive (style and ruggedness) than the Perfect Wave enclosures with powder coated aluminium profiles that are bolted together with cast aluminium corners with a MDF top plate. At more than US$ 6000 or more the quality and look and feel need to match the price tag too, not only the sound quality.

It really would be! My team and I have been pushing for something like it for a few years now. It’s not completely off the table, but isn’t something I expect any time soon.

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Exactly why I’ve bought several Oppo players, especially since they play HDCD’s.

Not for me, I prefer a player with its own internal DAC. I am quite happy with my Marantz SA-KI Ruby.

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I use an Oppo UDP-205 in my audio/visual living room system and really like is sound with hi-res material, but I find its Redbook unsatisfying. I don’t have spousally approved space to try another transport into the Oppo and see if that makes a difference, or to try the Oppo as a transport into another DAC; for Redbook my DMP into DSD is da bomb.

A Stellar transport would be great. I could use it with my SGCD in my headphone system and I bet it would sound wonderful.

Yup, that is the point of my post. I use my Oppo for SACD and HDCD, analog input into my Gain Cell DAC. Anything else is typically a digital input to my Gain Cell.

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I have used my Oppo 105 with both analog and I2S connections to my SGCD (via a convertor) and prefer the SACD sound via I2S plus it frees an analog input which are too precious on the SGCD.

I’ve thought about mods, external adapters, cutting away the back of the Oppo, but at the end of the day, I just want a clean plug and play solution (without spending $5k for a new machine). Until something changes, my cash will go elsewhere.

Actually, my Oppo solution is plug-n-play as there are no modifications to the Oppo required.
Oppo <-HDMI->I2S IN and I2S OUT<-HDMI->SGCD.

Converter?

This is the one I bought. HDMI/MHL To I2S IIS HDMI IIS I2S Dual-Mode Digital Audio I2S/Optical/DSD/Coaxial | eBay.

Thanks!

And as mentioned by someone else above, the SGCD does not display DSD when this is used?

The SGCD only displays the filter setting. The Oppo displays SACD. If you decide to use the converter, you just need to bridge a jumper pad with some solder to switch channels as circled in red below.

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An SACD transport seems a pretty rarified high-end product, which due to Sony requires a proprietary connection to a matching DAC.

The cheapest decent SACD player these days seems to be the Arcam at £700 (about $1,000), that uses a Sony transport. The cheapest that uses the Marantz transport is the Marantz 30n, which I saw the other day won the EISA 2021/22 system of the year award.

I suspect it would be impossible for PS Audio, or anyone, to make a transport with the Marantz drive unit cheaper than Marantz, and Marantz don’t make a separate budget transport, presumably because it’s such an esoteric product and they would then have to make a matching DAC.

So if anyone wanted to make a cheaper transport, I assume it would have to be with a Sony transport, and for PS Audio wanted to do it, it would be a load more engineering working with yet another transport.

I disagree, Marantz sells with streamer and DAC for EUR 3200.

The perfect wave transport with digital interface adopted / improved from technology well known by PS Audio sells for a whopping EUR 7500 !!!

Marantz needs to make profit the same way PS Audio does. PS Audio buy only the spinner and reader from Marantz, not the complete unit. I can not imagine that the spinner and reader costs PS Audio EUR 3200.

A Stellar model with skinned down power supply, without double AES EBU (leaving TOSLINK and SPDIF for excellent CD and I2S for SACD). Simply off the shelf electronics of the old DS SACD for example.

The reason Stellar customers have to work with other solutions is that PS Audio protects the EUR 7500 ultra high margin price level of the Perfect Wave Transport. Such a very well feasible Stellar Transport would prompt even BHK, Perfect Wave Signature line owners to buy the Stellar.

Signature line, budget no object customers, need to buy a Stellar Phono stage already. Why buy a EUR 7500 Perfect Wave if you could buy a EUR 2500 to 3000 Stellar SACD transport?

And maybe, just maybe, Marantz prohibited PS Audio to come even close to the n30 price range competing them with their own drives. The downside of buying from packagers.