Stellar DAC/S300 or Mytek Bridge/AMP

Hi All,

I’m considering my options for a new system. I’ve had various components over the years, from NAIM, to Devialet (140), to various Rotel separates.

At the moment, I’m looking closer into the Stellar combo or Mytek. Has anyone compared these two ?. At the moment, my speakers are KEF LS50’s, due to space restrictions. But ideally, moving to Sonus Faber Olympica II’s or III’s down the line in a few years. I listen to a lot of (but not only) Rock, so weight to the midrange/bass sound and non fatiguing highs, is important. I could possibly move to the M700’s, but it would be a stretch.

Also what is the exact height of the Stellar DAC, including feet ? If someone doesn’t mind measuring or confirming, it would be great :slight_smile:

Hi @blodsbror I purchased the Stellar Gain Gell DAC. It sounds extremely good, it makes many speakers sing. The USB DAC performs really well, but unfortunately does not display the bit and sample rates, which is important information, because with PC’s or even the MAC it is really hard to figure out if all settings result in the USB DAC receiving the file format you really want.

If you plan to utilize the Home Theatre Channel / Volume pre set, entity your front right and left channel sound through the Stellar stack, these does not seem to work flawless with the Stellar Volume control (Gain Cell).

If you do not plan to integrate the Stereo with your Home Theatre the Stellar stack is very good.

If you still have Vinyl the Stellar stack is good as PS Audio recently developed a new Phono pre amp.

If you’d prefer to stream and play vinyl the ELAC Alchemy stack are the way to go. Their balanced pre amp / DAC combo comes with a Roon ready Ethernet port + Bluetooth streaming interface for mobile devices integrated, their synergetic Phono stage is only US& 999 and offers also pure discrete components, a superb linear power supply and even fully balanced, meaning input and output including amplification). ELAC Alchemy has a similar power amp, the cool feature is, it is 340 W stereo and 680 W mono, configurable, also class A input stage and class D (top of the bill Hypex nCore) end stage. So you do not need to pull the trigger buying the mono blocks right now, you simply add a second power amp later and switch them both to mono.
Although perhaps an alternative to the Stellar stack, I have not heard the ELAC Alchemy stack yet. But if you combine those with the ELAC Andante or Navis active speakers (which obsolete the power amps) but sound excellent. I did hear this Navis, on my Stellar Gain Cell DAC, they sound really good.

If you have the budget and space for the Stellar stack, I find they look much better than the ELAC stack and would nicely match the Sonus Faber’s. But that is a matter of taste, the ELAC’s come with a solid Aluminum front, brushed, black only and because they are just 1 HE (19” wide) the kind of look like Pro Studio gear. To me the silver Stellar Enclosures look much more living room style. But they are approx double the height:

The Sonus Faber Olympica are of course optically a league or 2 above those ELAC’s and every review I have read they seem to sound as they look. Extremely well. I did hear the old Amati speakers though, if the Olympica come anywhere close, you simply can not go wrong.

I had a Mytek Brooklyn prior to my venture into PS Audio territory. I thoroughly enjoyed the Mytek. If you’re a MQA aficionado Mytek has it covered. However, I preferred the sound of PS Audio DAC’s and ancillary components. The best is to try listening to both and then make an informed decision.

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What Rudolf said is on the mark. I have the Stellar SGCD and two Stellar m700 Monoblocks. They make my Series 1 Bose 901’s absolutely sing. I use the DAC only for PCM playback. My Sony STR-DN1080 does true 5.1 DSD playback and the Sony UBP=X1000ES does 2.0 channel true DSD up to 11.2MHz. One day, I’d like to get either the Sonore or MatrixUSB to I2S boxes and use my computer for DSD 2.0 playback via the SGCD’s I2S. For now, I stream EVERYTHING through my Ethernet connections and access my PC’s music and movies through the 1000ES.

I hacked 6 output channels and bypassed the STR-N1080’s volume control while stil retaining all the DSP functions.

I love the sound these things make.

Mine do display the bit and sample rates

I assume you also use the Stellar Gain Cell DAC. PS Audio did confirm that at one time it was in the firmware on the controller chip, than the had to fix another issue and as a side effect that Bitrate/ Sample rate display for USB did not function anymore. PS Audio also told me that they have major difficulties mai training that Stellar Gain Cell DAC controller chip firmware because:

  • the source code seems not to be transparent, and obviously poorly documented
  • every time they issue an update they need to physically send out those controller chips and hope their customers are able to open the device and exchange them, the Stellar Gain Cell DAC can not be updated through USB, neither memory card, as done with the Signature series.

Hence the fact that those who experience these issues will need to be known at PS Audio and wait till they hopefully have addressed all known issues that may be resolved by that firmware. Since their team is 24/7 on the development and release of new products, I am afraid fixing these issues is not really on their priority list. Perhaps the reason for not answering our request for status of the fixes.

Thanks for the replies!. @Rudolf_Appel So you have issues with the HT Bypass, and volume control ? Correct me if I’m missing something, but in HT bypass mode, the volume control on the DAC/Preamp would be disabled, and your AV Receiver would take over volume duties ?

Would you describe the sound as being on the warm side ?. Or simply transparent to the source ?.

Actually for the HT Channel volume control is not disabled, it is set to a fixed value.

And that fixed set point contributes to the audible thumps.

When you set the HT Channel you need to do 2 things:

  1. Assign the HT channel to an input
  2. Set the HT channel volume such that the Gain of the pre-amp is 1:1. That is on the analog 1 input approx “76”

Now, when all is set and you switch from the regular channel, let’s say, normal listening volume “20” to the HT channel, that a ruby switch from 20 to 76 causes the Gain Cell circuit to discharge DC voltage which in the right hand channel causes the audible thumps, like with my (very) old Marantz integrated amplifier, a thump when switching the amp on, due to start up of the DC Power supply.

Hope this explains. If you search for SGCD and thumps, you find a thread with all the details. You can find Vout (DC) vs. time logs (DC output voltage), that clearly show the discharges and resulting peaks that in the right hand channel cause the thumps. With all people having this issue it’s consistently the right hand channel. Which is confirmed by the DC voltage measurements, DC voltage levels, discharges and fluctuations are higher in the right hand channel than in the left hand channel.

One thing to keep in mind about the Brooklyn Bridge, The MQA filters do not come on/off automatically with source files. One has to turn on/off manually. Now, I’m not certain how the filters effect non MQA material. I do know the Teac NT-505 and Lumin streamer/dacs do automatically switch on/off depending on files. If MQA is not something you care about…then it will not matter.

Interesting, thanks for that. To be honest I almost never play Hi-res/DSD/MQA. I would consider using Tidal, so the potential is there. But 9/10 times, I simply stream my FLAC rips via Roon, or discover new music via Spotify connect.