15+ years ago when I first dipped a toe into the high-end audio pool, I was enamored with Meridian Audio and bought an entire Meridian source path: 596 DVD player -> 568 Processor -> 558 Power Amp, driving my B&W Matrix speakers.
Meridian had (has) a very well regarded three-channel audio format such as you describe, called Trifield. Despite my best attempts at tweaking the setup, I never found Trifield to be as satisfying as straight 2 channel stereo for music. I even went so far as to buy some used Meridian digital speakers, DSP5000 L/R and DSP5000C Center, but still found Trifield didn’t do it for me.
As a digital hardware/software engineer in the networking industry, Meridian’s Digital Theater concept really appealed to me, but I quickly realized that I could not afford to stay on the Meridian upgrade path as new technologies emerged, i.e. Blu Ray, HDMI, Room Correction, etc. As such, only the 558 power amp remains in my system.
The Stellar GCD would be my first step as it ticks a lot of check boxes, great analog audio preamp path, darn good DAC, HT bypass integration mode, etc. While I long for something like the DSD Sr or Jr, I just can’t see spending that kind of money to then just run the analog out into my home theater processor, where it’s going to go through an ADC/DAC process. So, my thinking would be to get the preamp path correct first, then the get the source right. But, that’s an age old debate in the high-end world.
Good luck with your journey back to pure 2-channel stereo for music!