Better DAC? NuWave DSD or GCD?

Hi, I have an opportunity to get a NuWave DSD DAC for a good price but I’ve been eyeing the GCD. Are these DAC’s comparable?

To be more specific, I would use this DAC into my NAD 326bee and use it as my preamp - which would then go into the Stellar S300 I just got.

Or would I be better off just saving up for a GCD and forgoing the NuWave? I thought I remember hearing that these DAC’s were nearly identical, but I wasn’t sure…

Then I could always just upgrade my preamp to something like a Schiit Saga over the NAD326bee. Just throwing around ideas… Thanks.

When you say “GCD” do you mean the Stellar Gain Cell DAC? If so, it is also a preamp with all the inputs, outputs and settings like balance, etc. that a normal preamp would have. I would think you would want to go with the SGCD and sell your NAD 326bee.

I recently purchased the SGCD and am very happy with the sound and performance.

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I am referring to the Stellar Gain Cell DAC. While I agree this would possibly be ideal, I have the opportunity to get a NuWave DSD DAC at a very good price and am trying to explore my options. The main thing I don’t want to do is ruin or degrade the good quality sound because of a subpar preamp and volume control.

The NuWave DSD is a very good DAC and while the DAC inside the Stellar GCD is better, if the price on the NuWave DSD is right, you’re probably fine going with that option.


Paul, thank you for taking the time to offer your input. I appreciate it.

By the way, Paul, don’t know what you consider a good price in the context of what we’re discussing…but I’m getting a new NuWave DSD DAC for $699.

Alright - another question about volume control…

I have my new NuWave DSD DAC connected to my Stellar S300 and I’m really enjoying what I’m hearing so far. My Bluesound Node 2 is connected via coax directly to my DAC, and the DAC directly into the S300.

My Bluesound Node 2 can do the volume control (digital, of course) for the whole system, and since this is - at the moment - my primary listening I do not mind this. However, I’m wondering if it would be wiser to add my NAD 326bee into the mix solely for the purpose of volume control / better sound quality.

I can of course test this out myself and listen, but I was wondering if one would be principally better than the other. Bluesound says there’s no loss of bits and/or sound quality whatsoever in their digital volume control, but I just want to be sure I’m not missing something. The volume control on the NAD 326bee isn’t necessarily the best (from my research and its design), so that’s why I’m temporarily entertaining the digital volume control option for the moment until I can get a good preamp.