Stellar gain cell Dac/Pre

I received the new item yesterday, and added upgraded power leads, and XLR’s later on today when they arrive. And boy its an incredible sound, so different to what I had before. The Anthem MRX 520 I have, is away getting a problem sorted, so I presume I connect it to one of the analogue inputs (No xlr’s on it) and use the HT item in the menu so I can control the volume of all 5 speakers and the sub (connected to the Anthems LFE socket)


Yes, you can also adjust the settings on your system and some of the hookup if you want to play the sub with stereo also.

Thank you

This is a very underrated item. I was on a mission for years to build a nice desktop system for my iMac/Roon. I wasted hundreds, probably thousands on DACs, amps, speakers. Here’s all I needed – Stellar GC DAC/Preamp via XLR to “Powered, near-field studio monitors.” in my case, Neumann KH120A’s ($1,300). They are the most accurate speakers ever measured by Ken Rockwell. But so listenable. They are almost infinitely adjustable and easy to position – use the tall isoAcoustic stands. This combo sounds incredible. (Try “Prayer Meetin’” by Jimmy Smith.) Sounds better than my Sennheiser HD600’s. Forget passive “bookshelf” speakers for your desktop. If you can’t afford the KH120A’s, try the Tannoy Gold 7’s for half the price. Back to the Steller GC – it outperforms many more expensive DACs I’ve owned. Take advantage of the trade-in, and its a steal. Really. I’m so happy.

I just got the Stellar dac/pre. Still getting used to it. Which DACs did it better? Curious about your experiences there. Thanks!

Hey, SDollar. Below are the DACs I have used for desktop with iMac/Roon/MartinLogan bookshelf speakers/NAD D3020amp – primarily for Qobuz, PCM192/24 files, and Sennheiser HD600 headphones. I list them in order of sound quality, IMO:

  1. Schiit Magni/Modi/Wyrd ($300)
  2. Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus ($350)
  3. Parasound zDac v2 ($450)
  4. Mytek Liberty ($1k)
  5. Questyle CMA400i ($760)

(I put the AudioQuest Dragonflies – black, red, Cobalt – in a separate category for portable/phone use. They are one of the wonders of modern audio to me. Just stunning values. Try to borrow my Cobalt sometime? No way.)

You will notice, my list is almost opposite of price. Interesting. I traded/sold them all, and, out of frustration, brought the Stellar GC DAC/Pre at the same time as my Neumann KH120A powered monitors. My desktop now has less clutter and the sound was just amazing immediately. It got better after about a month of occasional playing. The Neumanns are better SQ than my beloved HD600’s. That really surprised me. In fact, my desktop system is comparable to my main system – all-PSAudio: DS Memory Player, DS DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp playing Tannoy Cheviot speakers with two medium RES subs. My main system is still better playing pure DSD and most hi-res stuff. At $2.5k, my desktop system is not inexpensive. But, just like my main system fills my medium to large size room with tall ceilings, my desktop system fills my desktop. I feel like I’m inside the music. I think I stumbled on that elusive “synergy” that I have always read about in reviews. The Stellar does not surprise me, as I am a PSA fanboy. What absolutely shocked me was the Neumann’s. I lucked out. I would urge others building a desktop system to check out the well regarded “powered, near-field monitors” that audio pros use to mix with. (Duh…? How come I never thought of that before?) And again, if you can’t afford the Neumann’s, buy the best bargain in my audio inventory – the Tannoy Gold 7 monitors. Half the price of the Neumann’s with 92% of the SQ.
What do I listen to? 50’s/60’s jazz and cult rock – Cowboy Junkies (“Lay It Down”), anything by Knopfler, Lucius, Otis Taylor (“Hey Joe Opus | Red Meat”), old Steve Miller Band, and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. Good luck, all. I hope you find what you’re looking for.

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Wow thanks @hoytamundo … Nice system building! I think I am probably looking for a used DS dac in the new year, to be honest. But am enjoying the Stellar for a bit longer … :wink:


I use a Chord Qutest DAC into my Stellar Gain Cell DAC in my office setup. Best of both worlds. Stand alone DAC and preamp control.

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