Stellar Gain Cell DAC vs other brands


Hello everyone,

I’m looking to replace my current DAC. I’ve heard and read great things about the Stellar Gain Cell DAC, so it’s on my list. The other DACs in my list are the Benchmark DAC3 (or maybe the DAC2 if I can get a discount) and the new Qutest from Chord Electronics. All of them are relatively in the same price range I think. I’d love to know the difference between this PS Audio DAC and the others. I already know the SGC is a wonderful DAC and I’ve read the technical details, what I’m looking for is a first hand comparison. The Qutest is quite new, but I think it should sound very much like the Hugo 2, so if anyone had the Hugo 2 it should be a good reference for comparison. The same goes for the Benchmark DAC2 and DAC3.
Unfortunately there’s no way I can hear any of those DACs in my country, so I have to rely in information.

Just for reference, my current system is:
Wharfedale Jade 1 speakers
Parasound New Classic Pre & Amp
Schiit Audio Modi 2 Uber DAC
Schiity Subwoofer (next in line to be replaced)

Thank you!!


I have one piece of advice… no matter which DAC you choose at least experiment with PCM->DSD conversion in A+ or Roon.

If you are eyeballing the SGCD… that could be a good trade in towards a directstream or DS Jr. down the line.