PS Audio Stellar Analog Cell amp versus...

So how does a 16lb class D amp compare to a 37lb class A/B amp? Specifically, how about the PSA S300 compared to a McCormack DNA-125? Does anyone here have experience with both of these for comparison? TIA for any input.
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Comments

  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Have experience with the McCormack only. No real experience with class D amps. I'm skeptical of class D.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,139
    I still haven't heard a class D that won me over, but people keep telling me they're out there.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    @kharp1 ... I guess you see where this is headed based on my other thread B)
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Check Underwood Hifi, got an email showing some pretty good prices on the Stellar and 300 in their "specials" section. Give him a call as they usually have some pretty good prices not advertised.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Ok, this has gone too long without an update. You need to buy something from them and give us a review. Don't be selfish...take one for the team :)
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    I was really close to pulling the trigger last week, but have gotten distracted playing with some 'new' vintage gear that made its way into my house :p http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/comment/2359227/#Comment_2359227
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Yeah, I saw that...those old Marantz Receivers were nice. I've got a 2220b sitting around that needs some updates and I doubt I'll ever get around to it.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    And then there's this Musical Fidelity class D setup: https://nashville.craigslist.org/ele/d/musical-fidelity-stereo/6392995423.html
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,189
    jdjohn wrote: »
    So how does a 16lb class D amp compare to a 37lb class A/B amp? Specifically, how about the PSA S300 compared to a McCormack DNA-125? Does anyone here have experience with both of these for comparison? TIA for any input.

    Everyones experience is a tad different. Personally, I've yet to hear a class D that tells me I gotta have it. Maybe I haven't heard the right one yet, I dunno.

    I'd take the McCormack over any class D I've heard to date, by a long shot.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    It is done. With a little liquid courage, and a few spare cubic feet of storage space available, I have pulled the trigger on the Stellar DAC and S300 power amp combo...with a trade-in credit included. Worst case, if I don't like it, I send it all back for a full refund. If I like it, I send back my bullpen B&K EX-442 power amp to them for the $840 purchase credit. Should be interesting...
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. I know they're in the process of developing a streamer now, so, I'm holding off on purchasing a streamer until the Octave comes out. Hopefully it will have the same type of i2s connection for seamless integration with the DSD.

    From the couple of people that I've talked to that have heard the Stellar gain cell stuff they seemed to like it.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Soooo, what's up with the new gear? Has it arrived yet?
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    Nope, not yet. Apparently they hand-make the units upon ordering, and they said that takes about 10 days.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    I got notification today that my items have shipped...should have them on Thursday.
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    Woo-Hoo!
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,189
    Soo....Friday morning we can expect a small review ? :)
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    Will do my best, gents. As luck would have it, my dad brought me a vintage Project/One DC Mark 1500 receiver on Father's Day, so it also has my attention :) This thing is a beast B)
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    Stellar Gain Cell DAC and Stellar S300 power amp in da house!
    6s130r0y5qhz.jpg
    lkais3sneqkn.jpg
    ohvspb0fg8xs.jpg
    Currently breaking them in with a pair of Infinity Column II speakers. Source is a Logitech SBT, using digital out with the SGC DAC doing the conversion. Just using the stock power cables for now during break-in. Good look and feel with these PSA units, and obviously a very sleek profile. My wife even gave them approval in the looks dept...which is always a plus B)

    As one would expect in this price range, and from PS Audio, these sound very nice indeed with huge amounts of details coming through. I've already noticed some new musical artifacts from tracks that I know very well. Also hearing more nuances from instrument voicing. Extremely tight bass, and it digs deep.

    Sooo...all well and good for now, but once broken-in, the real test will be when I swap-it-in for a compare/contrast of my current main system: Peachtree Audio NovaPre hybrid w/DAC and McCormack DNA-125, driving Infinity RS IIIa.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,189
    Cool man, very sleek looking. I'd be interested to hear some thoughts on the McCormack paired with the gain cell dac on the main system.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    To your point, Tony, this creates a few different review scenarios. Preamp vs Preamp, DAC vs DAC, Power amp vs Power amp, combo vs combo.

    I think what really started me down this path was wanting to try a different preamp with DAC and remote. The PT NovaPre only has one pair of analog inputs, and I'm honestly not crazy about the volume control on it. FWIW, I had an Eastern Electric MiniMax BBA tube buffer in place between my pre and power, but I have taken it out of the chain for this little experiment.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,189
    You certainly have some mix and matches to keep ya busy for awhile. Take notes on each, and give us a review on what you settle with....if ya don't mind that is.

    Nahh….I'm not the least bit pushy on reviews am I ? :p
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    Did a little headphone testing tonight between the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC and the Peachtree Audio NovaPre DAC. This is not going to be easy, nor decisive :# Both sound very good, so it may come down to features and/or individual needs.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    edited July 2
    I'm ready to make a few more observations after spending some time comparing these two different systems.

    First, some commonalities: wall socket is a PS Audio Power Port Classic, which feeds a PS Audio IPC-9000 power conditioner that supplies all components (for testing). Power conditioner supply cord, and power amp cords/connectors are Furutech from Doug. For the preamps/DACs, I am using stock power cords for both of them because I simply don't have enough fancy cords to go around. I/Cs are also from Doug - Furez with locking connectors. Speaker cable is MIT TMax Super Speaker Modules with BJC RF cables. Speakers are Infinity RS IIIa. Digital source is Logitech Squeezebox Touch, set for digital output into preamp/DAC via a generic digital coax cable.

    All comparisons are relative to the other equipment being used. It all sounded good, so don't go too far with any negative connotations.

    First, the Peachtree Audio NovaPre/DAC with a McCormack DNA-125. NOTES: more dynamic and powerful with more headroom, but less detailed and less air - lower resolution; warmer tone with richer lows and softer highs; strong, lush bass, and mids that blend into the frequency curve, but not prominent - perhaps a dip?; maybe a tinge slower in comparison, but not in a standout way

    Next, the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC and Stellar S300 power amp. NOTES: extremely detailed and articulate with lots of air around instruments, and overall greater separation - high resolution; very flat frequency curve, but on the brighter side - highs are borderline brittle when at very high volumes (EMIT tweeters in my Infinity speakers may add to this); bass is super tight, quick, and punchy, but might be considered thinner in comparison to class A/B; mids are balanced (read equal) with other frequencies; very quick with no problems keeping pace.

    Soundstage: PSA is more forward, and again, equal and flat in freq resp; PT/Mc is placed further back, with a relatively more recessed mid-range...that curve may actually add to dynamics overall.

    There is a generalization that I want to make, but I'll refrain until further testing of combinations of these components. I definitely want to try the PS Audio preamp/DAC with the McCormack DNA power amp.

    EDIT: Another thing I meant to mention is how quiet the class-D PSA setup comes through. I think it is common for high-current amps to have a very low-level white noise coming through speakers when an ear is within a foot or so of the speaker drivers. With this class-D amp, that noise is pretty much non-existent.
  • stuweestuwee Posts: 1,536
    What fun you're having, I'm super jealous!! You gave me an Idea, I usually get very stern with folks having something between very nice speakers...When listening at reasonably high levels, do the lower strings vibrate? If not, get that sucker outta there! :p . Let those babys breath!!!
    Thorens TD125MKII, SME3009,Shure V15/ Teac V-8000S, Denon DN-790R cass, Teac 3340 RtR decks, Onix CD2...Sumo Electra Plus pre>SAE A1001 amp>Martin Logan Summit's
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    It actually took me a while to figure out what you meant...the piano! :D Haha, no the strings don't vibrate, but I figure there is some sympathetic vibration from the piano's sound board. Unfortunately, it's not easy to relocate a piano. I do admit there should be more space around my speakers, but no real options right now. :/
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    Well, this is the week. I have to decide whether to keep the new gear or not. More switching and listening to do!
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,189
    In with 69....on the McCormack karma. :)
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 486
    tonyb wrote: »
    In with 69....on the McCormack karma. :)
    Tony, I'm either not old enough, or not hip enough to know what that means :D

    The Peachtree pre will go first...not sure I will let the McCormack go anytime soon.
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,587
    edited July 19
    jdjohn wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    In with 69....on the McCormack karma. :)
    Tony, I'm either not old enough, or not hip enough to know what that means :D

    The Peachtree pre will go first...not sure I will let the McCormack go anytime soon.

    Man, that McCormack is a POS, and, out of the kindness of my heart I'm willing to take it off your hands so you don't have to mess with it. :)
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

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