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Stellar DAC and Amplifier

300 watt dual mono Analog Cell power amplifier

Built in Boulder
Save on Stellar when you buy the system together

The best just gets better when you combine the Stellar Gain Cell DAC with the Stellar M700 monoblocks or S300 stereo amplifier. The Stellar Gain cell DAC is a full-featured DAC with an exceptional analog preamplifier controlling its output level. Fully balanced circuitry from input to output, the Stellar Gain Cell DAC builds upon years of research and innovation in the art of digital audio and Class A analog amplification. When combined with a Stellar amplifier you will find unheard of level of control and command from your loudspeakers and experience one of the most extraordinary under $5,000 packages ever crafted. In the M700 and S300 amplifiers, we combine the slam, linearity, control and pacing of a Class D output stage with the warmth, grace, and rich inner detail of Stellar’s Class A Analog Cell. The results are nothing short of breathtaking.

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Stellar DAC and Amplifier

Product Description

Stellar’s design imperatives—affordable pricing, and uncompromised sonics—were major challenges solved by several design innovations.

In the Stellar S300 and M700 amplifiers, you will find a unique new circuit, christened the Analog Cell. Designed by Stellar engineer Darren Myers, the S300 and M700s pairs a Class D output stage with the sweet, tube-like quality of a Class A biased MOSFET input stage which makes up the heart of the Analog Cell.

The Analog Cell is the heart of the S300’s musicality, where richly overlaid layers of music’s inner details are preserved even in the most complex orchestral crescendos. The Analog Cell is a proprietary, fully differential, zero feedback, discrete, Class A MOSFET circuit, hand-tuned to capture the smallest micro dynamics without sacrificing the loudest macro dynamics music has to offer.

The Gain Cell DAC combines a cutting edge DAC with a no compromise analog preamplifier designed around our Gain Cell technology. Developed in the early 2000’s by PS Audio Founder Paul McGowan, the Gain Cell elegantly solves the fundamental problem facing preamp designers—volume control. By controlling volume by adjusting the gain in response to front panel controls, the Gain Cell DAC offers exceptional performance without the normal degradation of potentiometers, stepped attenuators, or other approaches to volume control.

  • Stereo power amplifier
  • Dual mono, each with their own power supply
  • Zero-loss Analog Cell input stage
  • Powerful MOSFET output stage
  • RCA Single ended input
  • XLR “true” balanced input
  • 140 watts per channel 8Ω
  • 300 watts per channel 4Ω
  • 2Ω stable
  • Less than 0.1% thd 20Hz to 20kHz at rated power
  • Damping factor greater than 550 for excellent loudspeaker control
  • Front panel standby button
  • Effieicient operation with very little heat
  • Dual, solid copper, plated, output binding posts
  • 27 pounds
  • Input 12 volt trigger

Rear-Panel

Terry

Stellar Stack

Last year I told my wife I wanted to put together a modest 2 channel system. I started with the idea of a decent integrated amp and a pair of good speakers. I read lots of reviews and auditioned a lot of gear. I started out thinking KEF LS50s and a good amp. I got it down to Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum, Peachtree Audio Nova 150/300, or Parasound Halo Integrated. I ended up going with the KEF Q900s as they were a good value at $1200 with great sound. I bought the Parasound Integrated. For a digital source I went with Bluesound Vault 2. It’s a good streamer plus has all of my CDs ripped to it. It also works as a Bluetooth receiver for when any or all of my four grown children are here. I went with various Audioquest cables for the interconnects. I was pretty happy with this setup. Last week I noticed that PS Audio had gone to a bundled price for the Stellar Gain Cell DAC and Stellar S300 amp for $2799. I walked into my wife’s office in our home and said I’d like to order the Stellar stack and try it out. She knows me well and understands that I get bored easily. She has watched me buy many cars over our time together. I’m a Porsche guy, but that’s another story.
I ordered the gear on Tuesday and it arrived today at 3:00. It’s 10:30 and I am still listening to it. Yep, 7 1/2 straight hours. I pulled out the Parasound and plugged the stack in its place. I used single ended cables for the interconnects for the first three hours as my XLRs did not arrive until 6. I’ve been listening with those since then. All I can say is wow! What a difference. The soundstage is bigger in every dimension. Detail and separation are much improved. I’m hearing detail in my music I’ve never heard before. I’ve listened to ALAC ripped CDs off the Vault 2 as well as CD and MQA streams off TIDAL through the Vault. I had a problem with glare on some tracks with the Parasound. That problem is gone. I expect it to get even better after the stack and new cables are burned in.
The Stellar stack at $2799 is a game changer. If you are looking at integrateds under $3000, or even more, you owe it to yourself to audition these products. It isn’t fair. Don’t get me wrong. The Parasound is a great integrated amp for its price. See all the great reviews. Maybe I got lucky and the Stellar/Q900 is a great pairing. The KEFs do require some heft at 4 ohms as Stereophile measured them at 3.17 ohms at certain frequencies. I am thrilled.

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HiFi Pig

David Blumenstein

The Stellar DAC/Pre-Amp/Power Amplifier filled my listening room with 3D sound, and they matched well with each of my speakers; the floor standing Audio Physic Tempos, the stand mounted Platinum Audio ST 1’s and the low-to-the ground Mission 727s. I was surprised how different they made each sound and I spent a great deal of time swapping out my Parasound Halo 2.1 integrated amplifier, Bel Canto s300 integrated amplifier to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself. And, yes, I was hearing something new and more evocative from my usual suspects.

In answer to the question, could I have my cake and eat it too? Yes, I could see the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC/Pre-Amp, S300 Stereo Power Amplifier make more than an appearance in my home. They would be warmly invited to stay, allowing me to make my apartment more about me and less about the gear, hence more room for friends, guests and neighbors who like the sounds coming from down the hall. I was seriously considering upgrading my Audio Physic speakers until the PS Audio gear arrived, grew on me and really opened up after the recommended burn-in period and now I’m not so sure. It may eventually happen, but not at the pace once contemplated.

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C/NET

Steve Guttenberg

They sounded so good together I couldn't bring myself to try too many other speakers. The sound was rich with resolution to die for.
Magnepan speakers aren't known for their deep bass punch, but here with the two Stellars the .7 speakers' low bass was kicking with "The Legendary Skatalites in Dub" reggae album with really low, feel-it-through-your-toes bass. Austin Wintory's orchestral score for "The Banner Saga" sounded downright huge, and the low bass drums definition was truly stellar!

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Don't want to be the competition

Stephen

I will simply say Paul & his fine team have, what I truly believe is the best amp @1.5k that you could possibly hope own. I wouldn't want to be the competition @ 3k & have to take the S300 on! Every listen just brings smiles. Clarity, depth, balance, dynamic range, and this thing just doesn't seem to run out of gas! I have a pair of Magnapan 1.6 QR's with an SVS subwoofer, the S300 delivers slam & articulation, like I haven't heard before. I had the 1.6's rebuilt by Magnapan 1 year ago after 13 years of serious use, so I am confident they are up to the task. Okay, I did spin some superlatives, sorry. I will sum it up by saying I am totally satisfied with the S300 & would recommend it to all, save your coin, this amp kicks some very serious butt! Thank you Paul & everyone @ PS Audio!

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Two thumbs up!

Jdaun

The S300 delivers a non-fatiguing presentation, with excellent bass control, and gobs and gobs of detail, all emerging from a black background. And it does so even at very low listening levels (living in an apartment, ability to listen at low levels late in the evening is important to me.)

With the Red Wine amp. I had the powered subs crossed over around 70 Hz, at a higher output, to augment the Red Wine's lower bass output. The S300 delivers such powerful, detailed bass that the powered subs are almost unnecessary.

I eventually added the subs back in, but crossed over around 45 Hz, just to provide that low end that you feel almost more than you hear. Just to be clear, the subs are making up for the bass shortcomings of the open baffle speakers, not any shortcomings of the S300.

I give the S300 two thumbs, way up! Anyone want to buy a Red Wine amp?

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Whole new ballgame

JM Unger

I received my Stellar 300 Amp about a week ago. My system is modest: Cambridge Audio CXA 80, Cambridge Audio CXC transport, Ohm Walsh Tall 100's with 2.1 Anti Cables. The 300 replaces the 80 watt amp in the CXA 80 and is connected with low quality single end cables. (the balanced Anticables await the Gain Cell DAC still on it's way.)

The 300 made an immediate difference in the overall sound of the system, beyond just the additional power. The Ohm speakers create a broad and deep soundstage, but with the 300 instrument placement and clarity were clearly improved. Bass was more specific and apparent while the mid-range was richer with greater texture. Treble seemed heightened as well, though without strident overtones. I listen mostly to jazz and classical pieces on CD and through Tidal over a Sonos system. The extra quality power showed enhancement with Tidal as well.

I have to imagine with the Gain Cell DAC in place it will be whole new ballgame.

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Stellar!

Eddie

My impression in one word: stellar!

The S300's performance is really outstanding. It's very energetic and crisp, has very decent control and momentum. What I like most are its amazing vivid clarity and detail, this is not the kind of slow, warm, laid back and dull amp. Yes, maybe it lacks the last bit of extension at both end of frequency extreme. It's a tiny little bit on the forward and cool side of neutral, but definitely not aggressive, artificial or edgy. It's textured and colorful with very wide soundstage. And the punchy bass! If this is the one and only amp I have in a desert island, I can live with it happily ever after. Sound wise, it's that good.

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Amazing soundstage

Watts72

I'm not adept at audiophile descriptions so I'll keep this relatively short. I replaced a modded HCA-2 with the S300 and have been mightily impressed. Most noticeable has been the blackness and silence of the background. That might have been a function of the mods done to the HCA-2, which I did love but always had a slight hum. The S300 is dead silent. Amazing soundstage and definition between instruments. Perhaps slightly dry but not overly analytical. I'll take the amazing detail on well-recorded material over warmth hiding poor recordings. I have plenty of poorly recorded albums that I love, I still can listen to them with this amp. The trade off is that well-recorded material sounds unreal. I hear things I never heard before! I'm impressed, and the music sounds wonderful. Thank you!

My system - JA Michell Tecnodec and PS Audio Nuwave front end, Emotiva XSP-1 preamp, PS Audio S300, Alon Mark IV speakers

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Simply amazed!

mggm56

About 8 years ago I bought the Mark Levinson No. 434 monoblocks. They went for $8000 the pair, and they looked and sounded as good as I’d come to expect for that kind of money. I was happy! They are still very good amps by today’s standards. When I think about how much performance PS Audio has managed to put into a stereo amp that costs less than 20% of what the Mark Levinson’s cost, however, I’m simply amazed. The S300 doesn’t look as expensive, but it’s performance leaves little to forgive. When I’m listening to the Stellar S300, I’ve found myself not thinking about any of that—just the music, with the S300.

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Love the amp

Daniel Dennis

Love the amp and I'm gonna buy it. I found the sound open and detailed with LP vinyl and CDs . Detailed soundstage and very musical in my opinion. I'm a construction worker so my computer skills are kind of limited. My associated equipment is Primaluna prologue 3 tube preamp project Debut carbon turntable and phono stage. Otrofon 2m red cart, Emotiva Erc 1 CD player, Klipsch RF 42 tower speakers, and energy sub in a 2.1 stereo system and PS Audio power cables and Audioquest interconnects. Pretty basic system by High end standards but wow did Freddie Hubbard and Pink Floyd sound great. Eva Cassidy's vocals were so rich and real and Dire straights Ride Across the River blew me away.

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Goodness!

Pete Wilson

Goodness! Despite the slightly lower power of the Stellars, I was able to get 90+dB levels in the (largeish) room. And, for the first time sans subwoofers, there was solid chest-impacting bass.
Next up was Blue Nile’s A Walk Across the Rooftops; Heatwave is a perennial favourite. Again, from the Olive, transferred to digital through the NuWave Phono Converter. Ooh – goodness, even on casual listening there was a bit more going on than I remembered.
Now I have to drive away and do some errands, so the machinery is left playing Best of the Shadows – you know, there’s a bit more going on in there than I’d noticed before, too. And, begum, there’s actual bass.
Bottom line – straight out of the box, these Stellars make my system sound better.

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Fun stuff!

Rocket

Right out of the box, the S-300 presented a sound stage larger than previously experienced with the older Rotel amplifier. Control was tighter, base was tighter, and the overall experience tighter. After about 3 hours, I adjusted speaker placement to take better advantage of the expanded sound stage. Fun stuff!
One thing surprising, the experience was not strained at all, the sound is very relaxed, not overly bright. After approximately 6 hours, the unit is settling in nicely, both vinyl and digital sources are benefiting from the Stellar. I have other systems to reference back to (not just getting used to the new sound), and am looking forward to reporting back as to how the burn in continues and settles in.

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Finding renewed enjoyment

Calord

I find myself digging further back in my CD collection and finding renewed enjoyment in old favorites. Many are digitally mastered (or 20 bit remastered) from the time when that was a new thing. Many selections from Sheffield Labs, DMP, ECM, Telarc and GRP make for good critical listening. My previous impressions (vs my previous preamp and DAC) are reinforced: excellent bass extension, deeper front to back soundstage, more precise placement and crisp percussion.

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This is going to be fun!

Gene

The sound is already coming alive… in fact, it’s faaaantastic! I’m currently listening to Robert Cray, Strong Persuader (high rez FLAC file). The detail and punch are just what they should be. His voice is clear and centered, surrounded by nicely balanced treble and bass. Another wonderfully engineered recording and the Stellar GCD shows it off in fine fashion. The clarity has improved and the veil has lifted. Wow, this is going to be fun!

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