StellarGold DAC Filters: Anyone figured them out?

Strange. The StellarGold DAC has a series of selectable filters. PS gave them cryptic abbreviations and NO detailed info for each filter anywhere. (If I missed it, pls direct me.)

As a beta-tester, I urged PS to include a few sentences or a short paragraph in the manual describing each. From our delightfully loquacious company, only silence.

It is as if PS does not really want to talk much about them, other than to list them with name abbreviations selected by their engineers. Or maybe they are not so sure about the filters either, except for their recommended no. 1. Can anyone help us all out with a little insight into each?

How exactly does each individual filter “filter” the sound differently? What might each one be preferred for? With a few sentences on each as a starting point, then we know more easily what to listen for, to decide which works best in our system.

1 Like

Are they the seven filters listed on the ESS site. This is what they call them. When I’ve owned DAC’s in the past with ESS chips telling the difference between them was difficult at best.

  • Fast Roll-Off, Linear Phase
  • Slow Roll-Off, Linear Phase
  • Apodizing, Fast Roll-Off, Linear Phase
  • Fast Roll-Off, Minimum Phase (default)
  • Slow Roll-Off, Minimum Phase
  • Hybrid, Fast Roll-Off, Minimum Phase
  • Brickwall

Hello dawkinsj,
Those are them. They all read like technical jargon to me. I am not a techy. What do they mean, and what are each supposed to do? / sound like? Are the filters “baked in” by ESS, not designed by PSAudio? In any event since PS is giving us access to the filters, isn’t it appropriate for PS to tell us something about them? The fact that they recommend the first one suggests they have listened to each one and formed an opinion about what each does. They are more informed listeners than I, so I would appreciate PS telling us. Then I might make a more informed listening decision.

I would love to know as well. My hifi Rose uses ESS Sabre Pro and has those filters plus more. And they make a difference. I tried one labled Corrected Slow Roll Off and it got really bright.

Going to try the recommended above if im not there already.

Here is an excerpt / observation i found…

My DAC was set to Apodizing, Fast Roll-off, Linear Phase by default (instead of Fast Roll-off, Minimum Phase), and that’s where’d I’d left it for months. I started trying other filters several weeks ago, slowly cycling through them, and have found that I really like Hybrid, Fast Roll-off, Minimum Phase. Imaging seems to be the best with this filter, and I hear more room ambience. No pre-ringing like the Linear Phase filters, and less port-ringing than Fast Roll-off, Minimum Phase.

There is this “lab report” from a review I read a while ago, maybe it helps

https://www.hifinews.com/content/ps-audio-stellargold-dac-usb-dac-lab-report

Apparently, PS has a new entry-level DAC under development. It appears to be priced about 1/2 the StellarGold. The beta manual (I found it on the PS website under Support > Manuals) lists 3 filters: Fast, Slow, Minimum. The beta manual has a highly useful paragraph on each, taking up 2/3 page. Very well done. Maybe somebody at PS can take pity on us poor souls with wonderful Golds, and give us similar helpful info. on our 7 filters.

Maybe PS Audio just wants to leave it up to the end user to pick the filter that works best in their system, and not plant seeds that will taint ones preconceived notion of what to expect.

Hello Audioholic,
Are you suggesting PS Audio is getting reticent about explaining things? Not the PS I know and love!
Take a look at the beta manual for the upcoming entry-level Stellar DAC. PS gives a short paragraph on each of the 3 filters it will have. They start by giving them understandable, non-engineering-ese names. They don’t say which is best, just what the differences are and the upside/downside of each. Very clear; pithy and helpful. (When was the last time someone used “pithy” in PS forums?)

I’d say that the best thing to do is to listen to each one with the same piece of music, over and over, and decide which one works best for you. The names and descriptions don’t matter. The differences are very, very subtle.

1 Like

No, just a wild guess.

Those seven filter types are built into the DAC chip–if it is as I suspect a Sabre.

ESS Sabre Pro chip different filter option:

  • Fast Roll-Off, Linear Phase
  • Slow Roll-Off, Linear Phase
  • Apodizing, Fast Roll-Off, Linear Phase
  • Fast Roll-Off, Minimum Phase (default)
  • Slow Roll-Off, Minimum Phase
  • Hybrid, Fast Roll-Off, Minimum Phase
  • Brickwall

From an Oppo UDP review is this further info:

  • Brick Wall → (Usually good for measurement results, not so good for listening)
  • Corrected Mini Phase Fast → (Low dispersion, Harmonic Sound)
  • Apodizing Fast → (Some listeners like this due to the elimination of so called “pre-ringing”.)
  • Mini Phase Slow → (Short Delay Slow Roll-off, Acoustic Tone)
  • Mini Phase Fast (default) → (Short Delay Sharp Roll-off, Acoustic Sound)
  • Linear Phase Slow → (Slow Roll-off, Traditional Tone)
  • Linear Phase Fast → (Sharp Roll-off, Traditional Sound)
2 Likes

Yes. Thank you. The Oppo info helps a bit.

You can find the tech specs on the ESS website, in a Data document, Pages 50-54. It lists the filters, but no indication of the differences in sound.

After finding this, I am all the more impressed by PS technology chops. I imagine a team, led by Paul, pouring over this doc for weeks, figuring it out and how they might use its features.