PS Audio Stellar Analog Cell amp versus...

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  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    Awww, you guys are swell offering to help me out o:) I might even pay the shipping as a 'thank you' <3
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,428
    jdjohn wrote: »
    Awww, you guys are swell offering to help me out o:) I might even pay the shipping as a 'thank you' <3

    See...now your talkin'. :)
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

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

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,342
    Man, the McCormack is one piece I wish I hadn't let go. I foresee another in my system at some point.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & 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

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    edited July 2018
    "Better to have loved and lost than never love at all."

    Hey, I have a better idea for either you or Tony: trade a Peachtree hybrid preamp w/ DAC for a Joule preamp :D
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,342
    No habla ingles...
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & 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

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    Doh! I should have known you are one of these Texas hombres...
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,426
    So what’s the generalization you mentioned earlier in regard to the comparison?
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - PS Audio SGC - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,428
    jdjohn wrote: »
    "Better to have loved and lost than never love at all."

    Hey, I have a better idea for either you or Tony: trade a Peachtree hybrid preamp w/ DAC for a Joule preamp :D

    jhf71wj9cngy.jpg
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

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

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • halohalo Posts: 5,189
    kharp1 wrote: »
    Man, the McCormack is one piece I wish I hadn't let go. I foresee another in my system at some point.

    That amp was modded by Bob Backert so the “typical” McCormack amp may sound a little different.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    joecoulson wrote: »
    So what’s the generalization you mentioned earlier in regard to the comparison?
    I wondered if anyone would call that out. I hesitate to make generalized comments, but with the usual disclaimers of IMO, YMMV, my ears/my system, etc., I will make an attempt.

    Distortion: she is a fickled friend. Tubes add a nice effect, but solid state can clip. Tubes are known for adding more harmonics than transistors. I had never really noticed harmonics at all in SS...until listening to class D. IMO, this PS Audio power amp has no added harmonics, and in comparison, it has heightened my awareness of harmonics that are present in the McCormack amp. So in general, I think the difference between this very good class D amp and a class A/B amp is similar to the overall difference between transistor and tube amps. The difference is not dissimilar to that between analog and digital...if that helps.

    Also, after another round of comparison, I can confirm a perceived gap (IMO) in the mid-range of the McCormack compared to the very full-range frequency response of the PS Audio Stellar amp. I commented in my earlier post that the PS Audio sounded more forward in soundstage, so perhaps the mid-range presence is where this comes through the most. I think this also contributes to the overall additional detail that the PS Audio extracts. Most of our audible perception comes from the mid-range, and I just get more of it with this class D amp.

    Personal preference comes into play (as usual), and I cannot discount the effect of room acoustics. My listening space does not lend itself to perfect speaker positioning and acoustic treatments. It is a multi-functional space, and honestly, I like to have as much musical detail as possible pulsing and bouncing around, so clarity is key for me. Simply stated, this PS Audio class D amp does that. And perhaps most importantly, my wife (in a blind test) prefers the PS Audio :)
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,426
    Awesome explanation. Thank You.
    To me there is a character in tube setups that lends themselves nicely to the type of music they excel at: mid range instruments and voice. Being a fan of all music, when I would play NIN on tunes, it’s sounded borderline awful. But Yo Yo Ma sounded glorious. Whereas the SS setups I have had may not compare in the classical/contemporary arena, for a balanced listening experience I prefer them.
    That being said, I have a pair of Totem Rainmakers ready and waiting for my next tube amp setup ( when I can carve another space for electronics in this house )
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - PS Audio SGC - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,426
    All this brings up another thought, I was watching one of Paul McGowan’s videos the other day and he was talking about Bi-wire/bi-amping. He mentioned using tubes on the high pass and SS on the lower in a Bi-amp setup. Has anyone tried that? I was thinking that there was no way those would be aligned in Sonics, but it seemed really cool to try.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - PS Audio SGC - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,428
    joecoulson wrote: »
    All this brings up another thought, I was watching one of Paul McGowan’s videos the other day and he was talking about Bi-wire/bi-amping. He mentioned using tubes on the high pass and SS on the lower in a Bi-amp setup. Has anyone tried that? I was thinking that there was no way those would be aligned in Sonics, but it seemed really cool to try.

    Using 2 different amps can also create problems, like the difference in speed each has. Not a good idea in my book and you can probably get the same results with a tubed pre and SS amp, which many prefer.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

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

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    I have confirmation that The Music Room (tmraudio.com) handles PS Audio's trade-in gear. I sent PSA a B&K EX-442 power amp for trade-in on my Stellar Gain pre- and power amp combo deal. They gave me $840 credit for the B&K power amp, and now it is listed here for $399...a fair price http://tmraudio.com/components/power-amplifiers/b-k-ex-442-stereo-power-amplifier/
    akvxv8i8gy03.jpg
    I can positively confirm it is my old amp...I recognize the scars ;)

    Be careful looking around on that site...you might spend some money! B)
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    I have confirmation that The Music Room (tmraudio.com) handles PS Audio's trade-in gear. I sent PSA a B&K EX-442 power amp for trade-in on my Stellar Gain pre- and power amp combo deal. They gave me $840 credit for the B&K power amp, and now it is listed here for $399...a fair price http://tmraudio.com/components/power-amplifiers/b-k-ex-442-stereo-power-amplifier/
    akvxv8i8gy03.jpg
    I can positively confirm it is my old amp...I recognize the scars ;)

    Be careful looking around on that site...you might spend some money! B)
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 1,195
    edited December 2018
    I have a Parasound 2250 v2. I'm seriously thinking of dropping it in favor of the PS Audio S300.

    You still happy with it?
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    Yes, I am. It has plenty of power/headroom, and gobs of crystal-clear detail. There are no perceivable harmonics with this (probably all class D amps), so that is an expectation to set in that it does not have a 'warm' sound. I'd say it's neutral and transparent...and very forward. It is not subdued or laid-back at all; it really throws the music right out at you.

    PS Audio has a pretty generous return policy, so the risk is small except for return shipping. There's no substitute for in-house auditioning, so worst case you are paying a short rental fee.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • dragon1952dragon1952 Posts: 4,687
    I just replaced my Parasound Halo A21 amp with a Stellar S300. The main reason was due to my hearing loss so I figured I'd save some money and 'downgrade'. Not sure I have downgraded though. This amp, in my system, I actually prefer. Plenty of power and more detail.
    ____________________________
    2 channel - PS Audio Stellar S300 amp, PS Audio DirectStream DAC, audio optimized NUC7i5 running Windows 10 Pro/JRiver MC24, Matrix X-SPDIF 2 USB interface, Blackbird SSD dock with 500 GB Samsung 860 EVO, Tom Tutay modded EE Minimax preamp, Furman Elite 15 Pfi power conditioner, Martin Logan Electromotion ESL speakers, Rythmik F12SE subwoofer, Kimber 4TC speaker wire, Gabriel Gold Reflection V2 IC's, VH Audio power cords, Wireworld USB and HDMI/I2S cables
    Computer - Windows 7/JRiver, Topping D10 DAC, Fostex PMO.4n monitors
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,580
    You can always try down grading again :p
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 938
    dragon1952 wrote: »
    I just replaced my Parasound Halo A21 amp with a Stellar S300. The main reason was due to my hearing loss so I figured I'd save some money and 'downgrade'. Not sure I have downgraded though. This amp, in my system, I actually prefer. Plenty of power and more detail.
    Cool man...glad you dig it. I'm curious: have you specifically noticed an improvement in low-volume playback? Also, do you find it very forward?
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • dragon1952dragon1952 Posts: 4,687
    edited January 4
    Well I typically don't listen low volume (due to the hearing loss) so not sure I can comment on that at this point. I've only had it for a week. But as far as forward sounding? No, I would say that in my system I have not noticed that. Soundstage and instrument placement seems about the same, just a bit more detailed. But as far as musicality, this had me dancing in my chair last night pretty similar to what I experienced after upgrading from the PerfectWave to the DirectStream DAC. At the price point and considering the return policies both from PS Audio and Audio Advisor, I would encourage anyone to check it out. Or look on the used market. I got mine for $950 shipped.
    ____________________________
    2 channel - PS Audio Stellar S300 amp, PS Audio DirectStream DAC, audio optimized NUC7i5 running Windows 10 Pro/JRiver MC24, Matrix X-SPDIF 2 USB interface, Blackbird SSD dock with 500 GB Samsung 860 EVO, Tom Tutay modded EE Minimax preamp, Furman Elite 15 Pfi power conditioner, Martin Logan Electromotion ESL speakers, Rythmik F12SE subwoofer, Kimber 4TC speaker wire, Gabriel Gold Reflection V2 IC's, VH Audio power cords, Wireworld USB and HDMI/I2S cables
    Computer - Windows 7/JRiver, Topping D10 DAC, Fostex PMO.4n monitors
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