The stellar gain cell dac

Using balanced interconnects between the SGCD and S300 with 92db sensitivity speakers my volume settings range from the upper teens to the mid thirties with CD’s as my only source.

The specs for the preamp list a volume range of 0-100 comprising an 80db range with both 1db and 1/2db steps. This would mean that 60 levels of the volume range consist of 1db steps with the remaining 40 levels of that range being 1/2db steps. I wonder where those 1/2db steps are located. Are they located at the extremes or towards the middle where I think they would be most useful. In any event maybe these lower volume settings have something to do with these 1/2db steps.

I have one on order for my office setup, and anticipate it will arrive today. Thank you @scottm for extending a very generous offer in light of the Axpona show cancellation.

We’re happy to offer it to you. Specially in times like this. Let us know what you think when you get it hooked up!

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I’ve found that putting my Aurender directly into the GCD using an Audioquest Coffee USB cable was much bigger, and a bit more brighter, sounding than routing it through my Arcam irDAC as a USB to SPDIF converter. It wasn’t a huge difference though. I’d also be interested in hearing other’s observations on USB vs SPDIF into GCD

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I bought the SGCDAC for my PC setup and I am really diggin’ it. It replaced a Schiit (pun intended) Modi 2 MB DAC with a Schiit Valhalla 2 used as a preamp. Right before I bought the SGCDAC I upgraded my Audio Engine A5+ speakers to Focal Alpha 50 studio monitors. And oh man! The Focal/PS Audio combo make amazing music and my gaming is far, far more enjoyable because it is so crisp and clear sounding. I also do vinyl rips and I can hear a lot more surface noise now. So it’s even easier to clean it up. The ambiance/air is there in spades too. With my Schiit setup, I had a nasty buzz/hum that I assume was from the tubes even though I tried changing to a whole new set. The SGCDAC is dead quiet. All I can hear is a little hiss from the Focals’ built-in amplifier.
I’m using an Oyaide NEO d+ Class A USB with AQ NRG-2 power cords (SGCDAC and both monitors) and Audio Sensibility Impact SE XLRs from DAC to monitors. Now I just need to get motivated and mount my sound panel on the wall behind the setup. Couldn’t be happier with my choices and that’s such a rare thing for me to say/believe.


Very nice…I agree the SGCDAC is dead quiet but beyond that what I most like about it is that it is incredible neutral across the entire frequency band, it’s not warm, it’s not bright nor dull. I find it incredibly that it gets out of the way doing nothing to draw attention to itself. It is also provides a great view into what ever you listen too.


I’ve been loving my SGCD. I agree with Harryo that it does tend to have a rather laid back, but not disinterested vibe to it. It matches well with my Wharfedale EVO 4.2’s. I think it’s a great deal esp considering it’s a bit of an integrated (Pre/DAC).

@audiom3 :slight_smile:
Congratulation on your new GCD, I think it worths the money you paid for it. Just like you i’m now longing for the combo Stellar GCD and M700s monoblock coming to upgrade my current system, i don’t use the PC for transport but mainly use dedicated streaming device ( Cambridge CXN V2) with the Synology NAS serving wav and dsf digital music files, that’s enough for me now.

Due to the COVID19 , all stuffs i ordered take 4-7 weeks to build the order and deliver. But we have no choice at this current pandamic.

Waiting for something to come sometime is a kind of hapiness :slight_smile:

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Yes, waiting for something is indeed its own source of pleasure.

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I’m less than 2 weeks away from getting my grubby little hands on a Stellar GCD and M700 pair—thanks for the fabulous service and advice from Jake F. ——and I’m already losing sleep.
I’ve maxed out my current, rather pedestrian system, as far as it will go with speaker placement, interconnects, tweaks and snake-oil., and can’t wait for the next chapter in my hi-fi ride into insanity. At 70+ I’ve earned every bit of the upgrade.

Stand by! :slight_smile:


4 years later and I stand by what I wrote.

The Stellar gain Cell is still a fabulous bit of kit and will be well worth the wait.
Over the years if there was one thing I under appreciated it would be the sound stage that the GCD produces, it’s immense and rock solid.
Although a few things have changed in the system i.e. a multi rail LT3045 power supply for the accilary computer/digital/phono equipment. This change increased the over all resolution of the system. The new lower noise sources just reveal how capable the GDC is. There is much to appreciate about the GDC which is the simplest most direct solution to the problem of switching between sources and driving an amplifier.
Enjoy the wait…as in most endeavors it’s the journey that provides the lion’s share of our Joy!

Are you a headphones user? The built-in SGCD headphone amp is decent. When I don’t want to fire up the tubed HA, I’ll use the GCD headphone amp in my office rig. Surprisingly good for a built-in. So many of these HAs on AVRs etc are an afterthought performance wise.

You know I owned a pair of Koss headphones when I was in highschool. My dad was not a fan of Robin Trower Bridge of Sighs or Black Sabbath Vol 4 blasting out of my bedroom when he got home so I purchased a set of headphones that I used for 2 years until I went to college. I have never purchased another set. I might have to look into a pair. What would you recommend?
My dad was a huge Jazz and crooner fan, my last memory of my Dad was when he dropped by for dinner one night and I put on 45 speed Nat King Cole album with one of his favorite songs…he sat quietly and listened to the whole album, when it ended he said “Holy Cow” it sounded like Nat was standing right here singing.My dad never quite understood my love for music or my obsession for my stereo but in one of my last moments I shared with him he kind got it.My dad taught me about everything, from electronics, drafting, fabrication and how just about anything worked. I always appreciated the phrase “Holly Cow” it signified emense approval!


A few to check out:

Sennheiser HD800s
Focal Clear
Dan Clark Audio Ether 2
ZMF Aeolus

Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed is a great closed headphone choice.