Posted on 13th April, 2017


In what could be the quietest product launch in history, three new products just quietly appeared on the PS Audio website some months ago, appearing in the form of two affordable amplifiers, and a DAC under the 'Stellar' moniker.

Still built in Boulder, Colorado, the S300 and S700 Power Amplifiers (300 watt and 700 watt respectively) are dual mono ampliiers both using a brand new invention knowns as 'Analog Cell'.

PS Audio S300 Stellar Amplifier

Stellar engineer Darren Meyer had planned from the outset to take advantage of Class D’s high current, low distortion, ruler flat linearity for the output stage—knowing full well it is the input stage that determines sonic character. This critical interface between preamplifier and power amplifier is where Stellar’s magic would be unveiled; where Meyer could lavish upon the music the sweet, tube-like quality of Class A biased MOSFETs. His challenge was to synergistically marry both input and output topologies, for which he invented Stellar’s Analog Cell.

PS Audio Stellar Amp

According to PS Audio 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.

Stellar, according to sources is a much more affordable amplifier from the PS Audio stable, an entry level below the well regarded BHK amplifier range.

PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC

Finally, the Stellar Gain Cell DAC is an analog preamplifier and full featured DAC. It's a unique combination of state of the art analog amplification coupled with a full-featured digital to analog converter. “Add an 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 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.

PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC Rear

The DAC component has been designed by Bob Stadtherr and is based on the Sabre32 bit Hyperstream architecture. An a more affordable alternative to the Directstream DAC and BHK preamplifer, the Stellar DAC features a fully balanced Class A analog output stage with multiple power supplies, independent jitter-reduced inputs, DSD, I2S, and asynchronous USB.

Pricing has now been confirmed - Gain Cell DAC ($2595), S300 Stereo Amplifier ($2295), M700 Mono Amplifiers ($4495 pair) and will be available from May 2017.

PS Audio is available from Specialist Retailers.

Marc Rushton's avatar

Marc Rushton

English born but now residing down under, StereoNET’s Founder is still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the International Hi-Fi Show.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: ps audio  magenta audio