The stellar gain cell dac


#1

Well I am convinced that the Stellar gain cell DAC needs to have a Sleep Depravation warning label attached to the Box.

Paul anyone involved in the development and final voicing of the Stellar gain cell DAC gets a huge thank you from me!

I have listened to many components over my 52 year involvement with recorded music. In that time I have never appreciated the sound and operation of a product in my system more then I have the Stellar gain cell DAC. I installed it and let it play continuously for three days and then sat down and began to listen and distill what I was hearing and I am just smitten by this product there is nothing it does that removes an ounce of enjoyment! On that basis alone it is unmatched success, but for this price range it is an over achiever, that will establish its self as a true bargain in high-end Audio.

Well Done!

Cheers

Harry


#2

Thanks! I’ll let the team know.


#3
HarryO said

Well I am convinced that the Stellar gain cell DAC needs to have a Sleep Depravation warning label attached to the Box.

Paul anyone involved in the development and final voicing of the Stellar gain cell DAC gets a huge thank you from me!

I have listened to many components over my 52 year involvement with recorded music. In that time I have never appreciated the sound and operation of a product in my system more then I have the Stellar gain cell DAC. I installed it and let it play continuously for three days and then sat down and began to listen and distill what I was hearing and I am just smitten by this product there is nothing it does that removes an ounce of enjoyment! On that basis alone it is unmatched success, but for this price range it is an over achiever, that will establish its self as a true bargain in high-end Audio.

Well Done!

Cheers

Harry


I agree 100% with this, Harry.

I only have about 20 years under my belt in the HiFi game, but I’ve never spent more time listening to music than I do on my current system. I know better than to say that I’ve reached the end of the system upgrade line, but at least I can see the end from here. The GCD and S300 combo is incredible value for money, and I enjoy every minute of listening to it.


#4

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#5
Thor said

I agree 100% with this, Harry.

I only have about 20 years under my belt in the HiFi game, but I’ve never spent more time listening to music than I do on my current system. I know better than to say that I’ve reached the end of the system upgrade line, but at least I can see the end from here. The GCD and S300 combo is incredible value for money, and I enjoy every minute of listening to it.


There’s another value proposition here as well. I have KEF Q900 speakers. With my prior amp I often thought I should look at upgrading them. I replaced with the SGCD and S300 and I no longer think that way. I sure found the weakest link in the chain. I’ll give an example. I bought the KEFs because I liked the neutrality and the bass response. I didn’t want to go with a sub or subs unless I had to. I plugged in the new gear and started with Diana Krall Live in Paris. The first track, I Love Being Here With You, was so much better. I remember thinking, How are they playing faster on the same recording? It got better from there. When I listened to this track before I thought there must have been an issue with the mic placement for the bass as the solo seemed faint and veiled. With the SGCD/S300 it was detailed and deep. Now I think I have the best $1200 pair of speakers you can get. So not only are the SGCD and S300 a value themselves, their addition is saving me a speaker upgrade as well.

#6

I just got the Stellar Gain Cell DAC (SGCD) and M700s amps. I love how well they work and sound together. I especially like the SGCD’s ergonomics, design, and features. Very good products from PS Audio.

I, however, have an issue with the gain of the SGCD. The volume control has stesp from 1 to 100 but I can only set the it between 10 and 20. Above 20 is way too loud. Given that my speakers are 94dB efficient (Spatial M3s Turbo) but I don’t have problem with other DAC/preamps. For example, I still have the Mytek Brooklyn and I can set the volume control to above 50.

Does anyone have this problem? If you can let me know what speakers and amp you are using with the SGCD, it would be great.

Thanks.


#7

Interesting. 94dB is good and efficient for sure. What’s your source?


#8

To give you a reference, 25-27 on my system is loud and about my tolerance and corresponds to about 85db.

BTW I have Polk towers that are 88db efficient so I think you are as expected. Different sources can be quite different ad well so a swing of 5-10 is normal.


#9

Since the volume control on the SGCD is analog, as long as the volume range covers what you need (as soft as you’re likely to play and as loud, which is obviously not a problem here), you should be fine.


#10

My source is Aurender N100H media streamer and Fluance RT81 turntable


#11

Thor said it perfectly (except I got a little more time being an old fart)

but I’ve never spent more time listening to music than I do on my current system. I know better than to say that I’ve reached the end of the system upgrade line, but at least I can see the end from here.
So with the above being said and having had a GCD which was awesome

WARNING- Don’t let anyone trick you into trying a Direct Stream Dac (jr). It can almost immediately cause symptoms of audio nervosa, sweaty palms and the urge to reach for your wallet… Terriblewink


#12

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#13

Any chance in the future that this DAC will render mqa?

I’m looking at purchasing one at the moment and since mqa seems to be gaining acceptance I would like my next DAC purchase to include mqa rendering. If it is not possible by firmware upgrade (please excuse my lack of understanding in hardware here) then when can we expect a mqa compatible DAC at the Stellar price point (if any).


#14

No, not possible as the DAC is not field upgradeable and we don’t change DACs to accommodate MQA. MQA has too much that changes the basic sound quality of the DAC we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We allow it in our network device, the Bridge, but MQA code does not enter into our DACs because they need to remain pure.


#15

I would add that the software you use to stream MQA will do the unfold to 88/96 and those files sound quite good on the SGCD.

I would prioritize DAC/preamp over MQA. MQA will not make an inferior DAC sound better.

Honestly… DSD conversion (via Audirvana) in software blows the pants off any SQ gains with MQA.

I’ll put it this way… DSD converted Tidal streams are IMO night and day better than MQA PCM. Of course with Audirvana, if you want you can DSD concert the MQA too.


#16

Is there any difference in using the USB input vs SPDIF (RCA) input? My music server only has USB output but if the coax sounds better, I can get the USB to SPDIF converter.