Loud popping sound from new Stellar Gain Cell DAC

Just received my brand new SGC DAC today. It is connected to an Edge I3 Integrated Amp via the Edge’s AMP IN unbalanced connections do I can use the amp portion of the Edge.

I have a Sony HAP-Z1ES and connected it to the SGC DAC via USB. When I play DSD 64 files they sound fine, but when the HAP goes to the next song there is a loud pop sound coming through the speakers. Is there anything I can do other then to fix this? I really don’t want to return the SGC DAC.

I bought the SGC DAC so I could connect the HAP to it via USB.

I have a Lumin streamer connected to the SGC DAC’s balanced connections and everything plays fine. I have had the HAP connected to several other DACs in the past and haven’t had any issues with popping sounds. The Lumin doesn’t have a USB out so I can’t test with it and the SGC DAC. The Lunmin can output DSD 128 files via BNC or SPDIF connections but the SGC DAC doesn’t support DSD on those inputs.

Before the SGC DAC arrived I had the HAP connected to the Edge via unbalanced analog cables.

Lastly, when trying to play FLAC, ALAC, or AIFF files on the HAP via USB to the SGC DAC all I get is noise. No music. Again, the Sony played great with my Auralic Vega DAC and none of the problems above were seen.

Hello sfseay,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
So sorry to hear that you are having these troubles with the Stellar Gain Cell DAC.

From what you describe it sounds like all issues are related to the USB connection from the Sony HAP-Z1ES to the SGCD.
Our products require our dedicated USB driver that can be found on our website here:


If possible I was wondering if you could test the USB input on the SGCD with another source?
A Mac would have the driver pre-installed and a Windowes PC would require the driver be installed.
This would confirm if there were a problem with the USB handshake between the two devices.

Certainly if you continue to have trouble please reach out to us at service@psaudio.com or give us a call at: 1-720-406-8946 ext 2
We will be here to assist you with solving this issue.


  • Jeremy


A couple of things I have tried:

I connected the Sony HAP-Z1ES to my Directstream DAC via USB, and all files played (FLAC, ALAC, MP3, AIFF) with the exception of DSD 2.8mhz files. When trying to play a DSD 2.8mhz file, the Sony displays an error stating the DAC connected via USB is unsupported. To reiterate, the Sony HAP worked fine with my Auralic Vega DAC and Chord Hugo DAC (both of which I sold in anticipation of getting the SGC DAC).

I connected my iMac 27" to the SGC DAC and played a DSD 2.8mhz file successfully, however I wouldn’t use my Mac to play music through the SGC DAC, I would use the Sony or Lumin D2.

I primarily stream using a Lumin S1 (no USB out) on my main system, and a Lumin D2 (no USB out) in my office. Since the Lumin D2 has a built in DAC, I use it to play DSD files. I currently have it connected to the SGC DAC balanced connections.

One thing I don’t understand is the Sony HAP via USB can’t even play FLAC or ALAC files through the SGC DAC. All I get is noise.

I guess I will return the SGC DAC to the dealer. I just received it yesterday and it is very disappointing the USB connection doesn’t work with my Sony. I don’t blame PS Audio, or find the SGC DAC necessarily flawed, but can’t understand why two other DACs worked with my Sony HAP, but not the SGC DAC.

Hi sfseay,

Thanks for the additional info.
The SGCD has a different USB solution than the DirectStream DSD DAC so it is not a direct apples to apples comparison.

If you are amiable, please reach out to us at service@psaudio.com and get us that SGCD’s serial number.

I can work with your distributor to see if we can arrange something in lieu of a return?


  • Jeremy

Just emailed my serial #.

Hi sfseay,

Yes I see that.
I’ll be contacting you shortly via email.

  • Jeremy

I have a SGCD, and have had absolutely no luck playing USB from the Sony HAP Z1ES to the SGCD - nothing happens. It is basically a Linux standalone computer with no access to drivers. That said, I have read many other DACs can receive its USB PCM and DoP DSD music easily…

I had to revert my Sony HAP-Z1 to the previous firmware version to get it to work with the SGCD. Works great now!

By the way, you don’t need drivers for Linuxs based music servers. Again, try reverting your firmware to the previous release and it should work fine.

This worked – THANK YOU SO MUCH! Now I need to convince PS Audio to turn off the USB (as an menu option) when it is not in use – so I could switch between Analogue and USB if I wanted to.