Stellar GCD/S300 review

I started a new thread last week where I said I would wait to review until the ISO Regen ships… well I can’t wait that long.

I am upgrading from a Denon X2000… well… let me cut to the chase. The stellar series makes that receiver sound like utter lifeless trash. I don’t have fancy speakers… $500 Polk towers. Man does the stellar make these modest towers sing! Huge soundstage and live musical sound right out of the box! Can’t wait to save up enough now for the Triton 1’s!

I have played with the filters… even on 44.1 material through Tidal, only filter 1 for me. I can hear the extra high frequency detail with filter 2 and 3 but both kill the stage depth. It’s brighter but flatter… filter one really pulls me in and has such a great organic silky sound. I never knew these speakers could have so much tight bass either. The pre/amp have great low frequency control.

I am a fairly new PS Audio convert where I first took notice while googling info about MQA and stumbled across your forum. I appreciated your questioning… too many forums are non-scientific and closed-minded. PS Audio caught me as striking the balance between science and art.

I started out with an AC-3 as an experiment… then the Dectet and some AC-5’s… now Stellar. I couldn’t be happier… wait yes I can… now to improve with new speakers and speaker cables.

Thanks! And welcome to the club!

This morning I threw on some Nine Inch Nails :slight_smile:

For a long long time I’ve loved the Broken EP from 1992. The song Wish is not meant to be a beautiful piece of music. It is aggressive, loud, and heavily layered with thick guitar tracks.

On all previous receivers it came off a little too hot and aggressive and lacked musicality. When layers get thick they often turn into mud. On the Stellar there is a new natural sense of warmth and musicality that I haven’t heard before. Not anything artificial sounding, but rather the Stellar is excelling at pulling apart thick textures of distorted guitars so that they sound full and real while still having a nice transparent sound. I tried more NIN, the recent Burning Bright is another one with a ridiculous amount of layers; same thing, these complex industrial rock recordings sound great.

Ok… so you guys don’t think I just listen to industrial rock noise… next I threw on Natalie Merchant - Carnival… wow. Smooth guitar tones that sound like a Les Paul and tube amp are in the room. Her voice doesn’t have any minute sense of harshness yet very realistic in the vocal presentation. No sibilance but very revealing… :slight_smile:

Seether - One Cold Night - live album recorded well to my ears maintaining great dynamic range. Acoustic guitar not only has upper harmonic string vibrations but also sounds like I can hear the fundamentals vibrating as well and possibly the resonance of the acoustic guitar itself. Very cool! Cymbals here are so real, very nice body with natural attack and realistic decay I have yet to hear elsewhere!

Significant synergy between Stellar series, AC power cables, and High Fidelity MC .05 magnet.

Thinking of trying SR Black fuse with the DAC.

Quick note… just moved from the Emotiva Speaker wires to the Synergistic Research Core 2 UEF which match the XLR interconnects.

The system just opened up and I hear more of what Paul mentions about the stage going to the rear, definitely with these the stage became bigger and vocals became deeper and starting behind the plane of the speakers. The high strand count Emotivas were good as starter cables but imaging was blurry in comparison and they added a bit of mud and a little glare. The Stellar’s really shine with the SR speaker cables; again they pass the, “down the hallway test,” fundamentally improving sound everywhere in my my huge living/dining/kitchen listening space. Simply, it sounds like more of the music is in the room and not stuck in grungy purgatory. Revealing but not harsh, full but not mud, much more air, and fast :slight_smile:

I would highly recommend the SR to try for both speaker and interconnect. And FYI I received a new SR Black Fuse and it works great with the Stellar DAC. With it I heard more of the same as mentioned above :slight_smile: