The stellar family - can I use any of the components ‘by itself’ (like I would with sprout)?
There’s a Stellar Strata integrated amp. It does streaming and has a built in DAC.https://www.psaudio.com/products/stellar-strata/
I can only afford this much like the S300. Are there refurbished ones?
Or what else would I need to make the S300 work? A preamp? Can I use a marantz AVR I have as the preamp?
Thank you though
If you get a S300, you probably need a matching preamp DAC like the GainCell DAC so you’re not going save any money anyway. It don’t make sense to use a Marantz AVR with the S300. It’s not going to sound that much better.https://www.psaudio.com/products/gaincell-dac/
I don’t NEED a matching preamp… I don’t know if my marantz would do the job but it doesn’t have to be gaincell, any decent preamp would work I believe (but you’re right in the sense that money-wise it would be the same).
I can only spend like $1000. I was gonna actually pawn the marantz to them because someone said they buy your equipment. Then I could afford the S300.
But is it me or the sprout doesn’t have coax? I need coax… I want AES, but at least coax spdif. Or how would I connect a pi hat to sprout? I don’t trust optical…
It appears the Sprout’s only digital inputs are USB and Toslink.
You could certainly use the output from the Marantz into the S300. But as others have mentioned, if you don’t have a pre like the Marantz, the S300 alone won’t do anything for you.
Sounds like the Sprout100 with your budget is the best bet. It’s a great sounding unit and really packs a punch. No COAX, but instead USB and optical. USB is right up there with vinyl as the best sounding input.
Can Paul or Michael tell me in good sense and with sound judgement that it would make sense to connect a Pi2AES to a sprout (presumably via optical)?
Also does the sprout support advanced bluetooth codecs like LDAC? This isn’t super important I just can’t find definitive info.
Actually… Would it make sense to connect my everything to a topping dac and then dac to the sprout? Or does that kind of defeat the purpose of the sprout because most of the signal processing would be done in the external DAC?
You could use USB from the pi (with or without a HAT),
I have been using pi streamers for several years now, both USB to DAC, and with HiFi Berry digi plus HATs, via coax and via optical, and I have never ever had a problem with optical at both 96 and 192 kHz sample rate.
I heartily recommend optical if you can - galvanic isolation of the pi and its SMPS is a worthwhile bonus
I’ve had a sprout in the past. And I’ve run a Pi on its own and also with a Pi2AES HAT (via all the outputs).
I’ve never run a Pi to a sprout, so take this next bit for what it’s worth…
Anyway, I think the sprout is a really nice amp, but I don’t think I would spend too much time wringing my hands ahead of time over whether the Pi’s USB is better than the Pi2AES’s Optical.
I just don’t think the sprout is resolving enough to make that big of a difference. However, YOU might notice a difference that I don’t, so I think testing them both is a great idea. And heck, if you can tell the difference, the speakers you use might dictate one over the other, too.
Get the sprout and see what source path and input you like.
PSA has a great return policy if it doesn’t work out for you.
I think Pi to the Sprout’s USB input would be killer. The Sprout’s DAC and amp combo sound great together and I don’t think you’d be disappointed.
For a long time I used the S300 to drive L/R speakers on my AVR. It sounded way better than just the AVR. And PS Audio has a trade in program that is good. Good luck