This one sounds more intimate, and I like that. When new firmware is ready, you can go to PS Audioâs website and download it onto the provided SD card. It also displays other information, such as the input name, DAC filter, the type of signal (PCM or DSD), and the DAC sampling rate, but it is in much smaller digits, and thus it is visible only from a close distance. In those aspects, it handily beat out the Audiolab P-DAC portable headphone amplifier (MSRP $199) that my son normally used. This allows the customers to try out the products for free in their home environment for 30 days, which is the best possible audition scenario. Remember when we used to go to audio shows? Interestingly, many of todayâs PCM chips use sigma-delta modulation to get a DSD-like signal before analog conversion. This is what the Dectet manual says: We strongly recommend the use of a PS Audio PerfectWave Powerâ¢ AC cable and a PS Power Portâ¢ AC receptacle to feed the Power Center electricity. 5: October 2020, Setting Up a Bryston BDA-3.14 Streaming DAC and Qobuz Streaming Service – A How-to Series, Part 2, Setting Up an AURALiC ARIES G1 Streamer and Qobuz Streaming Service – A How-to Series, Part 1, DCI-P3 Color – What It Means in Today’s Ultra HD World, AVR-Audio Video Reciever-Build Quality: Part V. Does Your Projector Display Accurate Color, and Why Is That Important? Some notable ones are the oldie but goodie HCA-2 stereo amplifier and the excellent PerfectWave DAC II. The Mcontrol App works well, but it does seem a bit clumsy and not in step with the quality of the DirectStream. Perfect for any speaker. With PS Audio's Stellar M700, I knew at first turn-on that there was no problem with noise. Based in Boulder Colorado, Paul McGowan and company have been producing high-end audio equipment for over 40 years. In the setup mode, the volume knob also serves to navigate through the available setup options. The PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC lets me hear more into my music and has me enjoying and exploring all different genres. Hey, I like to multi-task sometimes. Vol.11 – November 2020, A Collection of New Vinyl for the Audiophile: November 2020, The Smallcombe Home Theater II â Part 1, What We Are Watching Vol. A right-click of the mouse gives a user the option to make the NuWave the default recipient of the audio signal. Some frustration then ensued. For a phono cartridge, it can handle both Moving Coil or Moving Magnet. Review component retail: â¬3.000/ea. For example, even though the bass response of the GCD is in general quite satisfactory, it does not have the same attack and slam as that of the PerfectWave DAC II. With its unassuming low-height-profile, the GCD offers fully balanced analog circuitry from input to output and a full-featured DAC based on the 32-bit ESS Sabre Hyperstream architecture, which is capable of processing both PCM (through all its digital inputs, up to 24-bit/384-kHz) and DSD signals (through its I2S and USB inputs, up to 128 Mbps). I do wish the timeline was another color than light blue, as it is hard to see on a blue background from my seating position. (Electric Recording Co. 180g) Vinyl Review: Miles Davis â Jack Johnson (Mobile Fidelity 180g) Vinyl Review: Brahms â Sonatas for Cello and Piano Nos. I am particularly enamored with the recordings from the Norwegian based 2L. True enough, the GCD never failed to impress me with its strong all-around sonic performance, which was even more remarkable when its modest price tag was factored in. In other words, PS Audio has bent over backwards to protect the investment its customers have made in other PS Audio equipment. Paul and Ted, thanks for pushing the envelope and trying to move the musical bar higher. Windom sounds more open, more 3D-like with better staging and air between the musicians. The first is the Stellar M1200 monoblock amplifier duo (â¬7400/pair) that, on paper, promises eye/mouth-watering output power: 600wpc into 8 Ohms, 1200wpc into 4 Ohms, stable down to 2 Ohms.. I started out with Snowmass and got to experience the new update called Windom. Some examples of music that best showcase my thoughts on PS Audioâs PerfectWave DirectStream DAC are: Bearâs Den: Red Earth and Pouring Rain – This recording has a fat sound with a lush layering of vocals and acoustic instruments that harmonize in ways reminiscent of the Everly Brothers… only more hip and cool with a bit of dark undercurrent in the lyrics. At the time of this conversation, Snowmass, the 8th major firmware update, had just come out and was garnering positive attention. These tweaks and upgrades are FREE to owners. An awful lot has changed since then, including, in recent years, a shift of PS Audio's emphasis from audio amplification to AC-power regeneration. The versatility of the Stellar GainCell Preamp/DAC does not stop there; it also includes an analog headphone amplifier with a headphone jack on the front panel. After PS Audio traded hands, Paul left Genesis to buy back the PS Audio brand. PS Audio has a long-standing reputation of building quality products, although it seems to me their latest offerings reveal that the folks in Colorado have taken their products to the next level. A unique feature is the ability to flip the phase of the incoming signal either from the panel of from the comfort of your couch via the remote. With the promise of more free firmware updates in the future, I feel confident that those who own PS Audioâs PerfectWave DirectStream DAC will be glad they invested in it. One quick look at the GCD’s list of functions gets you the high-value sense of the product. Its treatment of any digital material, regardless of format, is quite astounding â even MP3s and Internet radio sounded vibrant and exciting. The output DSD signal is fed directly into a stage based on high-speed video amplifiers (capable of handling the 5.6MHz signal) and a passive output transformer. Diana Krall: The Girl in the Other Room – She has a great voice and it works with some of these off-the-beaten-track tunes (some written by her husband, Elvis Costello). The I2S input uses HDMI cable for parallel data connection consisting of separate clocks and data. The Stellar GainCell Preamp/DAC (GCD) is from PS Audio’s Stellar line, which is designed with affordability in mind for the budget-minded audiophile. Vol.11 – November 2020, A Collection of New Vinyl for the Audiophile: November 2020, What We Are Watching Vol. A timeline also lets you know how much track time has expired as you listen to your music. Full-range Speaker Systems vs. Satellite-subwoofer Combinations, Auralic VEGA G2 DAC and LEO GX Master Clock Review, HIFIMAN R2R2000 HD Streaming Audio Device and DAC, Sonus faber Olympica Nova I Loudspeaker Preview, JBL Introduces L82 Classic Bookshelf Loudspeakers at CES 2020, Black Ice Glass FX Tube DAC DSD WI-FI Review, Topping D10 USB DAC and USB SPDIF Converter Review, Chord Electronics Mojo DAC and Poly Streamer, Starke Sound A8.350 8-Channel Power Amplifier Preview, Introducing the DALI RUBICON 6 BLACK EDITION, Cambridge Audio doubles the power with new Edge M monoblock power amplifier, BLUESOUND ADDS NEW SURROUND MODE LISTENING OPTION, PreSonus Eris E3.5 Powered Speakers Review, Andover Audio Spinbase Turntable Speaker System Review, FPGA (field-programmable gate array) core processor chip, Digital input is up-sampled to 20 times standard DSD rate (2.84MHz) before processing, Post-processing signal is converted to double-rate DSD (5.6MHz) then to passively filtered analog output, Handwritten FPGA code by Ted Smith, voiced by Paul McGowan and the late Arnie Nudell, The FPGA code has been tweaked several times and those upgrades are FREE, Resolution perfect volume and balance controls built-in, Simple, direct signal path with one master clock which is immune to incoming jitter, Free FW updates that tweak the sound quality, plus, you can go back to prior versions if you like them better, Solid construction and a pleasing aesthetic design, Intuitive touchscreen with informative display. I actually enjoyed reading the manual and found it interesting, even though I can be a Luddite at times. PS Audio claims perfection there ("bit perfect") so I figured they can't complain about that. itâs there, but not very emotionally engaging. To get the purist effect, youâll want to go direct when using a preamp. During his leisure time, he enjoys listening to his music collection and an occasional movie with his wife of 30+ years. Paul McGowan, the leading man at PS Audio of Denver/Colorado, thinks of himself a bit like a rebel; a rebel with a cause that is. I have had and still have PS Audio hi-fi components in my systems. The incoming digital data can be in PCM or DSD format which is then upconverted to 20 times the DSD sample rate prior to processing. It can also be turned on or off from the remote. All inputs can be renamed. PS Audio PerfectWave DAC II was also used for the comparison. Going the DirectStream route, the signal goes PCM>DSD>analog. Functionality is controlled by a well-designed remote or via the 4 x 2-inch touch screen panel. Moreover, with 30 days home-trial offer and generous trade-in policy, this is a must audition product for someone looking for modern affordable preamp/DAC. In any case, why go to all this trouble? How Much Amplifier Power Does your Home Theater Need? PS Audio has this week announced the imminent availability of two new products. 1 & 2, Janos Starker, György Sebök (Speakers Corner 180g) Subscribe I have to agree. The really unique aspect of the PS Audio DSD (DirectStream DAC) is that the core processor is not an off-the-shelf DAC chip from Burr-Brown, Wolfson, or Sabre, but a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). PS Audio says that the Stellar M700 is one of the most extraordinary monoblocks ever sold for less than $5000/pair. The volume level of one of the analog inputs can be set fixed for home-theater passthrough input, which is a convenient feature for home-theater integration, allowing the surround processor to control the volume of the two front channels when this input is selected. This was equipped in turn with a selection of cartridges, including an Audio-Technica AT-OC9 ML/II and EAT Jo No5 [HFN Dec '18] â both MCs â and the Pro-Ject Pick-it S2 MM [HFN Aug '19]. This is about as close to hearing that unicorn we call âanalog soundâ, and I donât mean analog like the limited dynamics of vinyl. Single rate DSD is DSD64. Maybe the blame should fall on Sony. Obviously, it is not a fair comparison, as the PerfectWave DAC II carried more than twice the price tag of the GCD. My analog outs were balanced out with the unbalanced input into my Emotiva UMC-200. The PS Audio Sprout is one example of this and a fine one indeed. Outputs are either balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA. After having reviewed a few McIntosh products, they too use a proprietary interface called MCT. Only these two types of inputs can be used to process the DSD signals, while the others can only process the PCM signals. My CD collection was sounding like sonic wallpaper…. This mode should only be used if a separate preamplifier is present in the hi-fi chain. Amplifier 2020 ReviewDACFeaturedGainCellPreampPreamplifiers 2020 ReviewPSPS AudioStellarStellar GainCell. I did not notice any specific emphasis on certain frequency ranges that might detract musical enjoyment experience. I am not so much of a headphone guy, but from my brief tryout of the headphone feature of the GCD using my son’s V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 in wired mode (which is Hi-Res certified), I was quite impressed by the clarity, details, and natural sound of the music I listened through it. The blue LED display of the GCD is sufficiently bright and displays volume level in relatively large digits that can easily be read from 10 ft away. PS AUDIO PERFECTWAVE DIRECTSTREAM DAC SPECIFICATIONS, Â© Copyright 2020 Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity /, Show Reports, Film Festivals and Concerts, MartinLogan Balanced Force 212 Subwoofer Review, Starke Sound A8.350 Multichannel Power Amplifier Review, STAX SR-007A Electrostatic Headphone Review, SR-L700 MKII Earspeaker Review and the SRM-D10 Portable Driver Unit for Earspeakers Review, The Smallcombe Home Theater II â Part 2, What We Are Watching Vol. Itâs awesome, and every audiophile cliché you can think of applies. In general, the music seems more organic, and more, for lack of better description, musical. Mandy Moore’s Forgiveness song from her album Silver Landings (2020) contains some deep-bass underlying-rhythm throughout. First off, let me start by saying that reviewing the GCD has been a joy. Recently I was reviewing a product that really upped the ante for sound quality and it made me realize that I was missing that chemistry I used to have for my music. Designed by Darren Myers, the brains behind the forerunning Stellar phono pre-amplifier, the M1200âs Class D â¦ 10Hz – 100KHz +0.1/-3.0dB, 0-100 (1/2 and 1dB steps, 80dB total range), Assignable to any analog input Adjustable (in setup) to any level, 3 selectable digital filters (PCM digital sources only), Preamplifiers 2020 Review, Amplifier 2020 Review, PS Audio, Stellar GainCell, Stellar, GainCell, Preamp, DAC, PS. To make things more interesting, I was able to listen to Snowmass for a few weeks, before upgrading to Windom, the latest firmware update for the FPGA. I get it, keep it simple and pure, but why put the onus on the average music buff to find a way to get a DSD signal from point A to point B? Find what you like and then purchase and download the albums. In any case, streaming DSD (single and/or double rate) music from my Mac to the DirectsSream via USB was nothing short of astonishing! It may not be perfect, but its design is unique, even amongst the other few DSD based DACs out there. Voices also seem a little more focused and forward in the mixes. 6: November 2020, What Weâre Listening To. The GCD has a pair of unbalanced and a pair of balanced analog outputs. The PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamplifier more than lives up to what I have come to expect from a PS Audio phono stage. With my subscription to Qobuz, I have changed my music listening paradigm. The PS Audio DSD has seven digital inputs; two I2S (pronounced eye squared S), and one each of TOSlink, coaxial, USB, AES/EBU, and a network input for the Bridge II module (which costs extra but came installed on my unit). Really, itâs a DSD world out there, but you have to look for it! Transparent, great tonal balance, and good dynamics are some of the nice traits of the sonic characteristics of the GCD. The sense of depth, when the organ joins in, is impressive. PS Audio Stellar GainCell Preamp/DAC SPECIFICATIONS, © Copyright 2020 Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity /, Show Reports, Film Festivals and Concerts, Marantz SACD 30N Network SACD Player Review, MartinLogan Balanced Force 212 Subwoofer Review, Starke Sound A8.350 Multichannel Power Amplifier Review, STAX SR-007A Electrostatic Headphone Review, What We Are Watching Vol. Located on the front panel are the round volume-control knob, the LED display, the input selector/setup button, the 1/4″ headphone jack, and the PS Audio square logo button, which also serves as the standby/on button. The soundstage portrayal was deep and wide, and the underlying deep bass in the track was delivered with good authority. He also serves as an adjunct professor for Salem State University where he teaches a course in nuclear instrumentation. Even my CD collection sounds refreshed. DACDAC Review 2019DirectStream DACDSDFeaturedPS Audio, Jim Milton has been interested in high fidelity since his college years in the late 70's. The GCD is rather heavy for a preamp. Don't look down your nose at PS Audio's cheapest mains regenerator. They also make preamplifiers, power conditioners, an integrated amp the size of a Jane Austen novel, audio accessories, and a unique DSD DAC that I am reviewing here today, the PerfectWave DirectStream DAC. This product would definitely pique my interest if I were in the process of building a modestly budgeted hi-fi system. Campfire Audio Dorado 2020, Vega 2020 review (and podcast) November 24, 2020 Oldâs kool: Dynaudioâs limited edition Heritage Special November 23, 2020 HELMâs Bolt is a $99 portable DAC for Spotify, MQA November 20, 2020 The PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC lets me hear more into my music and has me enjoying and exploring all different genres. Phase and filter adjustments are also provided to tailor the DAC better to the rest of the system and the listener’s preferences. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for PS Audio Stellar S300 Stereo Amplifier (Silver) at Amazon.com. It is this continued passion for audio that has brought him once again to the SECRETS team.