PS Audio Stellar three-fer

PS Audio Stellar three-fer

*This follows up a previous review of just the Gain Cell DAC, but this time as a holistic mini-system including the Stellar Mono Blocks.

Initial listening impressions of the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC/pre and Stellar Mono Blocks in-house for review.

The units are beautifully constructed, with their fit, finish and heft exuding industrial-design quality, something I’ve come to expect from the Boulder, Colorado-based company.

The Stellar line is designed (lead engineer Darren Myers) and built in the United States, at a price point ($1,699 USD for the DAC and $2,998 USD for the Mono Block pair) which is commendable for this level of build quality.

I’m using the trio with RCA connectors, but balanced is also provided. Cabling at the moment is Clarus Crimson, but I’ll also be swapping in a full complement of AudioQuest cables during the listening sessions for comparison.

I’m running a MacBook Air via USB into the Stellar DAC. Speakers are Audio Note AN-E/SPe HE two-way, but I've got a pair of Totem Signature Ones on hand which I'll be comparing as well.

Out of the box one of the first things I noticed was how quiet this setup is – barely a whisper with my ear just inches from the tweeter – the next was was how easily it handled big dynamic swings. I'd also say that while there is a high level of resolution present in playback to files, I did not notice that this was occurring with a sacrifice to musicality. All the units are brand new, so I’m feeding them a steady diet of Tidal Hi-Fi 24/7 to break them in.

Look for a full review once burn-in is complete as I like to get around 200 hours on components before I get down to critical listening.

PS Audio
4826 Sterling Drive, Boulder, Colorado. 80301

jimx1169's picture

Is this the same unit that Michael Lavorgna reviewed in March of this year?
If so I'm very interested in the similarities/differences between the two reviews. Good reading ahead.

Rafe Arnott's picture

This is a different physical unit, but yes same model, this time I'm talking about the three Stellar models (now with Mono Blocks) used together as a complete system for under $5k.

Giddy up.

JLM's picture

As balanced designs, you should at least comment on performance with XLR cabling (higher output means lower noise levels). And in your final review please provide a link to the the previous review of the Stellar DAC/preamp.

Ali's picture

Is there any reason you use Mac book Air as source and not, say, MBP? I just curious. Thanks

Rafe Arnott's picture
It works great as a dedicated source, has a small footprint and doesn't get as hot as my MBP used to.
RGibran's picture

Are these still in the review queue?

Rafe Arnott's picture
Yup, the review is pretty much finished, I'm adding in comments from some of the engineers who designed the Stellar line, then it's good to go.