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PS Audio Stellar GainCell DAC

275,000.00

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PS Audio Stellar GainCell DAC

The PS Audio Stellar GainCell DAC combines the benefits of an exceptional analog preamplifier and a full-featured DAC.

The PS Audio Stellar GainCell DAC as a complete analog control center with an exceptional performing DAC at its heart. All the features and functions you’d ever want in an analog preamplifier and modern DAC are right here in Stellar. A zero-loss, fully balanced, pure, analog signal path combined with DAC features rarely found at any price level: pure DSD, asynchronous USB, Digital Lens technology, I²S to connect to our best transport, balanced throughout. Replace your preamplifier, your DAC—or both—and be stunned at the level of improvement when the full and rich tapestry of music surprises and delights your senses. Together, or separately, they create an extraordinarily rich, full-bodied musical experience few standalone products can match.

The PS Audio Stellar GainCell DAC 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. In the more than forty years of PS Audio’s design innovations and breakthrough products, Stellar’s groundbreaking level of performance as our gateway standalone DAC and preamplifier is unmatched for price and performance by their standalone competitors. Taken together, we’re willing to bet you’ve never heard anything quite this good at anywhere even remotely close to this price.

The Pre-amp
At the heart of the Stellar Gain Cell is its analog preamplifier section called the GainCell, a unique approach to solving a classic problem for preamplifier designers, the volume control. All preamplifiers must provide a means for the volume level to be turned up or down. Typically this is accomplished by inserting a mechanical or electronic element in the signal path which degrades the musical signal to some degree. PS Audio’s unique GainCell solves the sonic losses associated with classic volume controls by using a different technology known as a variable gain amplifier. Instead of adding additional circuitry to the signal path to vary loudness, the preamplifier’s actual amplifier stage varies its gain in response to the user’s front panel volume control. This method requires zero additional circuitry in the signal path, thus eliminating the need for additional circuitry that loses musical information. Stellar’s GainCell’s sound is rich, full and engaging in ways few preamplifiers can claim. From the quietest micro-dynamics to the loudest macro-dynamic passages, Stellar’s GainCell outputs gorgeous music through either its balanced or single ended outputs or its headphone amplifier. Music takes on new life through the GainCell.

The DAC
The DAC inside the Stellar GainCell will transform your expectations of what’s possible in resolving all of music’s nuance and splendor without a trace of digital harshness. The DAC itself is based on the acclaimed 32-bit ESS Sabre Hyperstream architecture, the output of which is passively filtered to reduce transient distortion. The DAC’s output stage is a unique Class-A configuration, fully balanced and direct coupled hybrid array, with an extended bandwidth of -3dB at 60 kHz feeding directly into Stellar’s analog GainCell. The GainCell DAC features a high-resolution USB path based on the same XMOS technology found in our DirectStream DAC, as well as our exclusive I²S inputs featuring a separate clock and data signal from the source. I2S outputs are sent via an HDMI cable and I²S compatible sources can be purchased from PS Audio as well as other manufacturers. We believe that one audition of a simple CD, played through the Gain Cell DAC, will open your eyes to the magic these design efforts have brought. And once you hear what the Gain Cell DAC does on ordinary CDs, we can’t wait for you to hear what the Gain Cell DAC can do for higher resolution PCM and DSD.

The analog preamplifier is the heart and soul of any high-performance audio system. It’s the point in a system where music’s magic can be won or lost. For more than 45 years, PS Audio has been building preamplifiers that honor the music and preserve the magic. The Stellar Gain Cell DAC is no exception. It features fully balanced class A analog circuitry from input to output, along with a state of the art DAC that ensures perfect symmetry between analog and digital. Rediscover the wealth of music in your library, with Stellar. Rich, sweet, and always a musical treat, Stellar GainCell DAC is our best value in bringing life to music.

Design
The idea of building a no-loss analog preamplifier with its own built-in cutting edge DAC was the basis of the Stellar GainCell design imperative. At this instrument’s heart is the analog GainCell. Rather than using additional sonically-degrading elements inserted in the signal path to control volume, the GainCell eliminates this problem without additional circuitry in the signal path by varying its gain in response to front panel controls. Based on industry leading Sabre32 bit Hyperstream architecture, Stellar DAC features a fully balanced Class A analog output stage with multiple power supplies, independent jitter-reduced inputs, DSD, I2S, and asynchronous USB.

Application
The Stellar GainCell DAC is a full function analog preamplifier featuring a state of the art built in Digital to Analog Converter inside. It is all you need as the basis of a reference quality music system. Add a power amplifier and a pair of loudspeakers and you’ll be reveling in sonic bliss within moments. Connect a computer, CD player, or digital source to any of Stellar’s multiple digital inputs, or a Stellar Phono Preamplifier to its analog ins, and you’ve just built one of the highest value music systems in the world.

  • CLASS A BALANCED ANALOG PREAMPLIFIER
  • FULL FUNCTION DAC
  • CLASS A HEADPHONE OUTPUT
  • FIXED OR VARIABLE DAC MODE
  • ANALOG GAIN CELL STAGE
  • BALANCED XLR OUTPUT
  • HOME THEATER BYPASS
  • DIGITAL LENS TECHNOLOGY
  • THREE SELECTABLE DIGITAL FILTERS
  • CPLD (FPGA) INPUT
  • HIGH-CURRENT OVERSIZED ANALOG POWER SUPPLY
  • ESS HYPERSTREAM
  • NO CAPACITORS IN OUTPUT SIGNAL PATH
  • HIGH CURRENT CLASS A HYBRID OUTPUT STAGE
  • SINGLE AND DOUBLE RATE DSD
  • DSD DIRECT THROUGH I2S

Specifications – PS Audio Stellar GainCell DAC

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
Power Consumption 20W
Mains Power Input IEC C14
Fuses 100V T250V-2.0AH (2A Slow Blow)
120V T250V-1.6AH (1.6A Slow Blow)
230V T250V-1.0AH (1.0A Slow Blow)
Accessories included US (NEMA 5-15P) (all versions)
Schuko (CEE7/7) (230V version)
UK (BS1363) (230V version)

Analog inputs

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

Analog Performance

Gain
Maximum output
Sensitivity
12dB +/-0.5dB
20 Vrms
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

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 Yes. Infra Red

 

Brand

PS Audio

PS Audio is a well-established and prestigious American company that has been at the forefront of the high-end audio industry since its inception in 1973. Founded by Paul McGowan, the company's primary focus is on designing and manufacturing top-tier audio equipment and components for audiophiles and music enthusiasts seeking uncompromising sound quality. At the heart of PS Audio's philosophy lies a profound passion for music and an unwavering commitment to delivering the ultimate listening experience. The company offers an extensive range of products, including power amplifiers, preamplifiers, DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters), phono stages, streamers, and power conditioners. Each product is meticulously engineered with cutting-edge technology and precision craftsmanship, reflecting the company's dedication to excellence. One of PS Audio's standout achievements is its Power Plant series, which features regenerators that offer a unique approach to dealing with power-related issues. These devices work by regenerating the incoming AC power, providing a clean and stable electrical supply to audio systems, resulting in improved sound quality and enhanced performance. The Power Plant series has earned widespread acclaim from audio enthusiasts for its ability to unveil previously unnoticed nuances in music recordings. Beyond its product lineup, PS Audio is known for fostering a strong sense of community among audiophiles. The company regularly engages with its customers through forums, educational content, and events, creating a collaborative environment for discussions and learning. Innovation is central to PS Audio's identity, and the company has earned numerous accolades for its groundbreaking technologies and proprietary solutions. By staying ahead of industry trends and continually pushing the boundaries of audio engineering, PS Audio maintains its position as a respected and influential player in the high-end audio market. In conclusion, PS Audio's journey over the decades reflects a profound dedication to audio perfection. With an unwavering commitment to delivering superior sound quality, innovative products, and a supportive community, PS Audio continues to shape the world of high-end audio for discerning listeners and music enthusiasts alike.

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