Stellar Indeed


#1

I just thought I’d offer my first impressions of the Stellar S300 amplifier. My system consists of the new Monitor Audio Silver 300’s, the Stellar S300, a Bluesound Node 2 playing Tidal HiFi, Bettercables interconnects, Canare 4S11 speaker cable, Audioquest power cables, a PS Audio Receptacle, and PS Audio Duet. My listening room is approx. 16ft x 28ft with 9 ft. ceilings. My old amplifier was an NAD 326bee (50w x 2), and while I was a bit skeptical of upgrading at first to the S300 (would it be hard to hear the improvement?), all of my reservations have been completely wiped away.

Just like many of you have said I am hearing things in very familiar recordings that I never knew were there before. Further, instruments now sound a lot more natural. Violin, cello, drums (especially the metals), guitars, you name it – it is all markedly better. Imaging and soundstage has certainly improved. Further, when I play my system louder there seems to be no compression whatsoever. I have read thoughts here-and-there about this in the past regarding higher-end gear, and now I finally know what reviewers are talking about. At louder listening levels, the music sounds so much better. Less restrained, more natural, detail and focus not lacking – it makes me only want to turn it up louder! And with the S300’s putting out 140 watts x 2 into 8 ohms, my Monitor Audio’s (8 ohms, 90db efficient) take those watts very efficiently.

Granted, my S300 only has approx. 20 hours in, so I know it’s going to burn-in some more and only improve. But I love what I’m hearing right now. I cannot wait to get a Gain Cell DAC once I’ve saved up enough – it will probably take me a year or so. If you’re somewhere in the ballpark of my previous system and are debating whether an S300 will improve upon something like the NAD 326bee (very good for the $500 price) then I say do not hesitate wondering if there will be a noticeable improvement. There most certainly is, and it is probably the best single upgrade I’ve made in my system.

A few days ago Paul was asked in a video “how much does a revealing system cost?” Well, at just around $4,500 I wouldn’t hesitate in saying my setup is resolving, musical, and just flat-out enjoyable and fun. Thank you PS Audio for making such an enjoyable amplifier.
Stellar indeed…

Doug
Colorado Springs, CO


#2

Glad you are happy there neighbor. Enjoy!


#3

Welcome to the family!


#4

I imagine this has already been touched upon somewhere in these forums but I cannot find it. Is there any plans for the GCD to play MQA files via Tidal in the future?


#5

It has been touched on and Paul’s answer was “no”. The GCD uses a regular DAC chip rather than an FPGA like the DS and DS Jr. and MQA would need to be designed into the hardware, which it wasn’t. At least that is my understanding. If you use software that does a partial MQA unfold that may be best you can get with the GCD.


#6

Thanks that’s what I figured. I have a bluesound node 2 that is MQA compatible. I can do MQA pass through on it but it would stop there on the GCD. Wonder if I would even notice a difference…


#7

To be clear, I should have pointed out that MQA is handled for the DS and DS Jr by the Bridge. The Bridge was able to be reprogrammed to handle it. PSA did not want MQA mucking with the DAC itself.


#8

No, not at present.


#9

Thank you for letting me know, Paul.

Besides, I’m becoming more skeptical now about trying only to stick to MQA when having a well-constructed DAC is far more important than just MQA compatibility.