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PS Audio - Stellar Gain Cell


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 Looking for the perfect amplification partner to the Stellar Gain Cell DAC? Try the Stellar 300 Power Amplifier...more here

There isn’t a DAC made that doesn’t benefit from a great analog preamplifier. The Stellar Gain Cell DAC combines the benefits of both—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. Together, or separately, they create an extraordinarily rich, full-bodied musical experience few standalone products can match. Stellar Gain Cell 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.

Key Features
> Class A balanced analog preamplifier
> Full function DAC
> Class A headphone output
> Remote control
> Fixed or variable DAC mode
> 2 output 12 volt triggers


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

More details 
Even the best DACs in the world benefit from a zero-loss analog preamp. That fact was the basis of the Stellar Gain Cell design imperative. Combine a cutting edge DAC’s output with a no compromise analog preamplifier. A unique combination of a gorgeous full-featured digital to analog converter and state of the art analog amplification. Add any analog or digital source to Stellar’s input, a power amp and speakers to its output, and music filled with rich textures and toe-tapping energy surprise and delight even the most critical Audiophile.

At the heart of Stellar Gain Cell DAC is a stunning, Bob Stadtherr designed, digital to analog converter. 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.

The DAC’s output level is controlled by the analog Gain Cell. 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. Nearly all analog preamplifiers use additional sonically-degrading elements inserted in the signal path to control volume. These impediments to the signal path’s purity range from simple potentiometers to exotic stepped attenuators, relays, solid state switches, ladder networks, transformers, light dependent resistors. All share intrusive elements in the signal path. The Gain Cell eliminates this problem without additional circuitry in the signal path by varying its gain in response to front panel controls.

Analog Preamplifier

> One balanced analog input
> Three single ended analog inputs
> Analog Gain Cell stage
> Fully balanced input to output
> Balanced XLR analog output
> Single ended RCA analog output
> Home theater bypass
> Direct coupled without any capacitors in output signal path

Digital To Analog Converter

> Four digital inputs
> I2S input
> Digital Lens technology
> Native Mode
> Three user selectable digital filters
> Compatible with PS Audio DMP for SACD playback in DSD
> DSD direct through I2S
> 192kHz asynchronous coax and TOSLINK inputs
> 192kHz asynchronous USB
> Single and double rate DSD
> CPLD input (FPGA) lowers jitter, waveshapes, reduces propagation delay
> Native mode standard
> No added Sample Rate Conversion
> High current class A hybrid output stage
> Passive output filter lowers transient distortion
> Direct coupled without any capacitors in output signal path
> High bandwidth output stage -3dB 60kHz
> Low jitter clocks
> High Current oversized analog power supply
> 7 voltage regulators
> High speed power supply diodes
> Massive 15,000 mFd low ESR capacitors
> ESS Hyperstream

Full specifications

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
RCA3 stereo pair
XLR 1 stereo pair
Digtial 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
XLR (Analog Balanced) 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 47KOhm single ended RCA
100KOhm Balanced XLR
Output Impedance 100Ohm single ended RCA
200ohm 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 300ohm 300mW
16Ohm 3.25W
S/N Ratio 1kHz
Noise >95dB (max output)
THD & IM 1Vrms out 300Ohm <0.05%
16Ohm <0.06%
Output impedance <4 Ohm


Contact Len Wallis Audio

Address: 64 Burns Bay Road,
Lane Cove NSW 2066,
Telephone: (02) 9427 6755