PS Audio Stellar S300

Hello, I am looking around for a new amp. There is a good offer right now (about 30% reduced). So started doing some research. Found a nice review on audiosciensereviews. Don‘t know exactly what it means, but the sinad is really low. The other amp I am looking at has a sinad of over 100. Since Paul is always explaining and helpful, wanted to ask here. What does this measurement mean? I am going to use the amp with my network player as preamp.

While I don’t consider myself a slave to measurements (unlike Audio Science Review), a have spent over 40 years in the hobby, often poring over spec sheets for products, and I have to say I’ve never heard of “sinad.”

I can tell you that ASR typically doesn’t care for PSA gear because they feel it measures poorly. I contend that if they think the gear is bad because of what they see in their measurements, they aren’t measuring what’s important.

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I am just trying to understand. Also read the review of the stellar dac, that measures worse then my old bluesound… whatever.

I try to understand what the measurements mean for me. I was also looking at other stuff around the price range, but dismissed them because of outdated tech and really bad measurements. The PSA amp is right on the border for me, so doing some more research here.

Welcome!

SINAD is a measure of noise and distortion. It stands for signal-to-noise and distortion ratio.

With rare exception, all modern amps measure well.

Minutely focusing on specific measurements as ASR does is meaningful only if you listen to measurements rather than music.

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More than that, just have a look at the measurements and see if they correlate with our own. Amir has it out for PS Audio because we don’t always agree with his hard line stance that measurements say it all.

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I tend to overreact to measurements, yes. The thing is I can not listen to the PS audio here, so need to order and send back if I don‘t like it. I want full, fast and crisp base.

My tube amp provided fullness, the digital one just speed and crispiness. I am looking for a mixture of both. And also small size. For 1.3k€ I feel like it can be worth it. But the measurements are kinda discouraging me.

If you’re shopping around for a new amp, it makes sense to take a look at measurements because what else do you have for insights into how it sounds? You can’t do some kind of Zoom audio/video demo or anything. I think the S300 is a great sounding amp. Good transparency in the highs and smooth mids and bass. My preference is the M700s because they offer a bit more of that perceived sub bass, that doesn’t seem to come through as effortlessly with the S300.

The M700 is a monoblock :/. I am looking for a single box :slight_smile:

I promise the two separate boxes are worth it! If you do give the S300 a shot, I suspect you’ll be keeping it.

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Can the lights on the front panel be disabled?

I want to keep an open mind. The stuff in ASR looks very harsh and make me doubt if the equipment is worth the asking price.

Already had bad experience with a small company from nearby (Austria). They are selling expensive in my opinion outdated stuff, that are not worth nothing near the asking price. And they clipped speakers I owned in the past.

I‘ll try to find a dealer to try it out. I want something state of the art, something small and powerful, something beautiful. Basically nad c298 in the PSA case would ne perfect.

I recently updated from an old but competent NAD integrated amp to a pair of M-700 monoblocks and a Stellar Gaincell DAC/Preamp. The improvement in sound, musicality and soundstage is many, many, many times greater than expected. Simply stunning. I don’t know how much better than the s300 my set up is, but based on comments here I suspect the improvement with the M700s will be very noticeable. The M700 has a very detailed sound. One of my favorite attributes of class-D amplifiers, such as this, is their damping factor; or their ability to physically move large speaker drivers with heavy magnets with ease. Bass notes are tight and distinct, not boomy and smudged.
Anyway, my experiences for you to consider.

I owned the S300 for a few years. It was ok. I think the M700’s are much better.

I wonder how the S300’s amplification differs from the Strata? @jamesh ?

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I think the audible differences in the S300 compared to the output of the Strata is pretty different. I find the Strata to really pack a punch and to be a really fun piece to listen to. However, you do miss a bit of the resolution and sparkle that the S300 seems to have. Not the most fair comparison as it depends what’s upstream of the S300, but it’s pretty clear to me the Strata’s amp isn’t able to resolve the same amount of separation that the S300 can.

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The overall agnostic (and sometimes abusive) approach of ASR is misleading and may deny many hobbyists the opportunity to enjoy great music playback / listening. I would check tests by the likes of BHK Labs, John Atkinson, and Paul Miller all of whom are trustworthy and have spent their lives serving the audio community! Here are two examples of what I used (besides listening) to decide on PS Audio M700:

SoundStageNetwork.com | SoundStage.com - SoundStageNetwork.com | SoundStage.com

PS Audio Stellar M700 monoblock power amplifier Measurements | Stereophile.com

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So ordered the s300, exposure 3010s2, nad c298, lets see what is going to stay

Sadly no available demo s700 around here. 1 week with each.

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The problem with ASR is that they’re findings are limited to the capacity of their instruments to perceive what will sound good to humans.

But the opposite approach of turning to experienced reviewers’ subjective opinions is no more reliable.

We’d benefit greatly, imho, from scientific methods applied to the listening side of the equation. A marriage of the two different, and both equally unreliable approaches we have today, in hopes of gaining more clarity.

Of course personal taste is a wild card, but at least we’d be a bit closer.

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Correct and correct.

But there must be a reason for the bad measurements? What do you think? How can something that measures worse than the bluesound be good (I mean the dac, not the amp). I am totally excited about the amp.

“Bad” is of course a very relative term. Bad at an infinitesimal level that has no impact on human hearing is “bad” on the graph only. Change the scale on the graph and things “look” much better.
Galen has a good chat about what is relative and measurable and what is not measurable but does change sound.
Bottom line is if you like the sound reproduced then it is “good” despite naysayers and minuscule bumps and dips on a graph. I don’t think there is a loudspeaker made that measures “good” across the band and sounds good in every room but they all manage to have loyal followers.

I rarely look at/read ASR, but looked up the review of the S300.

It includes the following quotes:

“Overall, my subjective impression of the unit is positive.”

Amir concludes: “[T]his is a competent, well-built and well-supported amplifier based on proven amplification modules within. Build quality is much higher than DIY or garage shop amplifiers using Hypex modules. $1,500 is not a ton of money given these attributes. For these reasons and good looks of the unit, I am going to put the PS Audio Stellar S300 amplifier on my recommended list.” (emphasis in original).

Given these comments, and the fact you may return the unit if you do not like it, what are you waiting for? :slight_smile: