My welcome to PS Audio, a Stellar S300 review!


#1

First time poster, new forum member, and a new owner of PS Audio gear, so bear with me please…

I have been a huge fan of music, good HiFi, and the people who make both for as long as I can remember. My parents just brought me up right, I guess! :smile: While I had a brief go at a multi-channel AV setup in the late 90’s, nothing satisfies my itch like a superbly set up 2-channel system.

Because of the excellent experience I had in a HiFi shop back in 1991 and subsequent loyalty, my “go to” brand is Linn. Linn is that Scottish company you probably know from the Sondek LP12 turntable, among other things. I just love their house sound, and I enjoy the ability to upgrade items as the technology and finances change. So much so, that I currently have six (6) of their systems spread across almost every room in our house. Yes, I’m very fortunate that the lady of the house also enjoys music and tolerates my passion for the requisite gear.

Aside from the addition of a turntable in my dedicated listening room, all the systems are comprised of a Linn DS or DSM, Linn amplification, and either Linn or Dynaudio speakers. Aside from their sublime sound, a feature I just love about these systems, and why I have so many, is that I can stream from any one, or all of them individually; or, I can group them together, however I want. When grouped, they playback in perfect time with each other (even from the turntable, if so desired). This makes for a tremendously well integrated whole-house system.

So, you may be saying, this is great John, but what in the heck are you doing on this PS Audio forum discussing a bunch of things other than PS Audio gear?

Well, I was just getting to that… Unlike my Linn speakers, that I run fully active, that is with an independent amplifier channel partnered to customized external crossover powering each loudspeaker driver, my Dynaudio Focus 160 speakers (and all Dynaudio, for that matter) only have one pair of speaker terminals on the back and rely on their internal/passive crossovers.

I had been driving them with Linn’s Majik 2100 amps, which provide ~100 watts per channel @4 Ohms. Although they sounded very good, I was curious how they might sound if I gave then a lot more power. Problem was, beefing up the per channel output using Linn amplification is very expensive proposal, even on the 2nd hand market. Since there are no longer any good HiFi shops in my little town (Houston, TX :disappointed:), I became curious about finding a good alternative that would allow me to order online and try “risk free.” There aren’t that many!

Here comes the PS Audio part…

I tend to relax by watching random stuff related to my hobbies and interests on YouTube, and in one of my searches I had come across Paul’s channel. I subscribed to the channel, and over the last few months I think I watched all the videos. I just love how passionate he is about his company, their products and helping people understand the industry and options, so I decided I needed to try one of his company’s products.

Initially, I was torn between getting a pair of the Stellar M700 mono blocks, or “settling” for the S300 stereo amp to see how much more I could get from my Focus 160s. Since the S300 would provide a 300% increase in power from my current amp, I decided that would be enough, and ordered the Stellar S300 as my launching point into PS Audio.

I’ve been running the amp for about 3 weeks now, and because I work from home and leave the system running all day, I’m well past the recommended 200 hr. break-in period that Kevin Jackson was so kind to pass along while processing my order. I’m very happy to report that the Stellar S300 is an excellent amplifier!

It doesn’t color the signal or add anything to the sound, rather it delivers pure and seemingly endless & effortless power to the speakers. Don’t get any ideas here Paul, but for just a hair under $1,500, the S300 is a tremendous bargain and it outperforms my $2,350 Majik 2100 in every way. Heck, although I didn’t do any extensive blind testing or anything scientific, from what I recall of the brief time I had it connected, the S300 seems like it is on par with the sound from my $7,600 Akurate 4200 amp. That’s just phenomenal!

So, what now? I have a second set of Dynaudio Focus 160s in another room being run by a Majik 2100. Wonder if I should try the M700s on them? Too much, or ??? :wink:


#2

Welcome!

A wonderfully fun story/review.

M700s would be perfect.


#3

I have run my 700s with Dynaudio Emit 20s, Excite 38s, Confidence C1s and Contour 30s. The amps do great and you’ll love the sound on your 160s… happy Listening…


#4

Agreed. Great story. And while we host this forum it is open for all manner of audio discussion. Doesn’t have to relate to or be about PS Audio. We’re all interested in the same thing here.


#5

Wanted to provide a quick update on my evolving experience with PS Audio gear…

I’m continuing to enjoy the S300, so much so, that I’ve added a pair of the M700’s to my collection. The monoblocks are now driving the Focus 160’s in the living room, and the S300 has moved to driving the Focus 160’s in the bedroom.

While I just hooked them up today, it’s an immediate and easy conclusion to say that the M700’s improve upon the gains I was hearing from the S300 (over my Linn Majik 2100) in every way, and lose nothing. Better bass, better speed & control, and just a bigger sound. It’s hard to believe how much great sound you can get out of a smallish pair of stand mounted speakers with the right amps powering them.

Thanks again to Paul, Darren, and the rest of the team for your great products & world class service!


#6

Excellent!


#7

Welcome to the M700 club


#8

Thanks! I’ll let them know.