Stellar Strata

Front Panel
Rear Panel

Stellar Strata

The Stellar™ Strata™ combines the benefits of an exceptional analog preamplifier, a full-featured state-of-the-art DAC, a stereo 150 watt per channel power amplifier, and a high-resolution streaming module in one gorgeous package. Strata's fully balanced analog preamplifier circuitry, state-of-the-art DAC, no compromise high-definition streamer, and Analog Cell™ based power amplifier create an extraordinarily rich, full-bodied musical experience few products can match. The Stellar Strata is the perfect foundation for those unwilling to compromise sound quality. Rich. Lush. Powerful. A music lover's answer to spiraling cost-no-object equipment without sacrifice.

Stellar Strata

The Stellar™ Strata™ combines the benefits of an exceptional analog preamplifier, a full-featured state-of-the-art DAC, a stereo 150 watt per channel power amplifier, and a high-resolution streaming module in one gorgeous package. Strata's fully balanced analog preamplifier circuitry, state-of-the-art DAC, no compromise high-definition streamer, and Analog Cell™ based power amplifier create an extraordinarily rich, full-bodied musical experience few products can match. The Stellar Strata is the perfect foundation for those unwilling to compromise sound quality. Rich. Lush. Powerful. A music lover's answer to spiraling cost-no-object equipment without sacrifice.
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Eligible for up to $900 of credit with Trade-In.

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Design

The idea of combining a cutting edge DAC, full-featured analog preamplifier, high-definition streaming module, and a robust 200 watt per channel power amplifier was the basis of the Stellar Strata™ design imperative. We wanted an easy, simple, no-compromise musical experience whether streaming high-resolution audio from Tidal or Qobuz, exploring the millions of choices on Spotify, or plugging into a Stellar Phono. "Just add speakers" became engineering's rallying cry. Strata holds true to its promise of easy connectivity. Download the PS Connect app onto your mobile device, point Strata to your home WIFI network, connect your speakers or headphones, and music filled with the rich textures and toe-tapping energy you've always hoped for will delight even the most critical music lover.

Application

Audiophiles have long recognized the challenge of interconnecting multiple systems into a single synergistic musical experience. Interconnect choices, power supply options, and chassis isolation requirements all play into the building of a truly musical system—get any one part wrong and the system performance is compromised. Not so with Stellar Strata. The chance for PS Engineering to optimize the audio synergy between Strata's four separate systems was immediately appealing: eliminate the variability of interconnection issues, voice the entire system as one component, optimize power supplies, control every aspect of sound quality up to the speakers.

Technology

Overview
The Inside Scoop
Construction
At this instrument's heart is the analog GainCell™. Developed by PS Audio founder Paul McGowan, the Gain Cell™ elegantly solves the fundamental problem facing preamp designers. Volume control. Nearly all analog preamplifiers use sonically-degrading elements inserted in the signal path to control volume. The Gain Cell eliminates this problem without additional circuitry in the signal path by varying its gain in response to front panel controls. Once the high definition streaming module or connected source has passed through the Class A analog preamplifier, it's time to connect to your speakers. Here, engineer Darren Myers used the Analog Cell where he could lavish upon the music the sweet, tube-like quality of Class A biased MOSFETs. Combined with the ruler flat high linearity of Strata's high current output stage, richly overlayed layers of music’s inner details are preserved even in the most complex orchestral crescendos.
Once the high definition streaming module or connected source has passed through the Class A analog preamplifier, it's time to connect to your speakers. Here, engineer Darren Myers used the Analog Cell where he could lavish upon the music the sweet, tube-like quality of Class A biased MOSFETs. Combined with the ruler flat high linearity of Strata's high current output stage, richly overlaid layers of music’s inner details are preserved even in the most complex orchestral crescendos. There's nothing like Strata when it comes to musicality. It's an all-in-one high-resolution audio solution just waiting for you to connect your speakers. Bring it on!
When you first pick up Stellar Strata Amplifier you'll notice its solid build and heft. Every inch of Stellar suggests quality: from its rear panel connectors, high definition streaming module, to its internal high-end power amplifiers. Quality input and output connections, as well as beautifully constructed internals, will offer immediate assurance of quality from the very first moment you pull Strata out of its box.

Specifications

Physical

Unit Weight 13.5 lbs [6.1 kg]
Unit Dimensions 17” x 12” x 3”
Shipping Weight 17 lbs [7.7 kg]
Shipping Dimensions 23”x 18” x 9”

Power requirements

Input Power Model specific 100VAC, 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60Hz
Maximum Power Consumption 500W
Mains Power Input IEC C14
Fuses 100V T250V-2.0AH (5A Slow Blow)
120V T250V-1.6AH (4.5A Slow Blow)
230V T250V-1.0AH (2.5A Slow Blow)
Accessories included US (NEMA 5-15P) (all versions)
Schuko (CEE7/7) (230V version)
UK (BS1363) (230V version)

Analog inputs

RCA 3 stereo pair
XLR 1 stereo pair

Digital audio inputs

I2S 1 PCM (384KHz max)
DSD64 DSD128
Compatible with DirectStream Transport SACD handshake for DSD playback
Coax 2 PCM (192KHz max)
Optical 1 PCM (96KHz max)
USB PCM (384KHz max)
DSD64 (DoP) DSD128 (DoP)
Format PCM, DSD

Analog Audio Outputs

RCA (Analog Unbalanced) 1 stereo pair
Headphones One 1/4″ headphone connector front panel

Analog Performance

Gain 12dB +/-0.5dB
Maximum output 20 Vrms
Sensitivity 5.3Vrms
Input Impedance 47KΩ single ended RCA
100KΩ Balanced XLR
Output Impedance 100Ω single ended RCA
200Ω balanced XLR
Frequency Response 20Hz – 20KHz +0/- 0.25dB
10Hz – 100KHz +0.1/-3.0dB
Noise 20-20KHz <-90dBV
S/N Ratio 1KHz >110dB (max output)
Channel separation 1KHz >90dB
Input separation 1KHz >90dB
THD&IM 1KHz < 0.025%
20-20KHz < 0.05%

Headphone performance

Output power @1% THD 300Ω 300mW
16Ω 3.25W
S/N Ratio 1kHz
Noise
>95dB (max output)
<-80dBV
THD & IM 1Vrms out 300Ω <0.05%
16Ω <0.06%
Output impedance <4 Ω

Network

WiFi 100 mbps
Ethernet 100 mbps

Power Amplifier

THD & IM < 0.02% @ 1KHz, 1W/4Ω
< 0.02% @ 10-20KHz, 1W/4Ω
< 0.05% (90kHz BW) @ 10-50 KHz, 1W/4Ω
< 0.01% @ 1KHz, 37.5W/4Ω
Output Power Both channels driven 120vac mains, 1kHz, 1% THD
100W minimum @ 8Ω
200W minimum @ 4Ω
Stable for musical transients @ 2Ω

Features

Volume Control 0-100 (1/2 and 1dB steps, 80dB total range)
Balance Control 24dB each direction in 1/2dB steps
Home Theater Mode Assignable to any analog input
Adjustable (in setup) to any level
Polarity (phase) Control Digital sources only
Filter Control 3 selectable digital filters (PCM digital sources only)
Trigger output (3.5mm 5-15VDC) 2
Remote Control Infrared

Reviews

USER
The sound is razor sharp. Power well beyond my needs (never thought I ever say that about anything) And the soundstage… Now my speakers (Klipsch Forte III’s) just seem to sit on either side of my bookcase lifeless while all the sound is clearly coming from my bookcase. Different books even.
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Power well beyond my needs

rgcjr60

More listening notes, now in the downstairs system with Focal Electra 1028BEs and fed by my DSD and innuous.
Sounds pretty glorious to me, given good source material from Quobuz. There is a feeling of effortless acceleration, like riding a very lightweight bicycle or the automotive equivalent. Swells sound natural. Another manifestation of this is a lightness of touch, in a pianistic sense.
If you have to downsize. from a lot of boxes and stuff, the Strata makes a lot of sense, without the need to feel like you are sacrificing a lot. It also works well aesthetically in a rack of other PS gear.
I am a happy guy.
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A feeling of effortless acceleration

pdxdon

The sound is great. Some songs are so realistic you feel like you can reach out and touch the singer.
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Reach out and touch the singer

BPfister

Strata actually seemed a little less bassy but in fact it was more airy, controlled bass, less mushed together. There was more space and you can tell that we were in a church. From a bass standpoint, different but a tie. The Strata gives a much better impression of being in a church (reverb?). Also, I noticed a shocking difference. I was suddenly hearing all the clicking and clacking of the organ pedals. I had never heard that before. I then heard it (less) on the Exposure/Schiit but only because Strata had revealed it to me.
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Controlled bass, less mushed together

yann.pigeaire

An elegant single box solution that sounds great. We have connected the TV via digital cable for a greatly enhanced experience. And my wife, who loves music but does not take the initiative to use the dedicated music room, sat down for hours Sunday and played some of her favorite tunes. It was a pleasure seeing her enjoy it so much, and not needing my assistance to do so.
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An elegant single box solution that sounds great

chuck929

The DAC is really something. I was just listening to B. Evans Sunday at the Village Vanguard. On Alice in Wonderland take 1, i hear a faint rumbling sound around 0:20-30 that I had not heard before. On the Exposure amp I figured it was some club or mike noise. But with the Strata I realized “that’s a subway underneath!”. I would know, I used to live in a big city with subway under my appt. I check on google maps and sure enough, lines 1/2 pass underneath the club.
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I realized “that’s a subway underneath!”

yann.pigeaire

I am hearing more detail with the strata, without a total loss of the fullness/body I get from vidar and/or the tubes.
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More detail with the strata

renscandi

Questions?

Stop by for a tour:
Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm MST

4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301
1-800-PSAUDIO

Join the hi-fi family

Stop by for a tour:
4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

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