Parasound P6 VS PS Audio Stellar Gain Pre/DAC

13

Comments

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 719
    Nice! Another convert in the house B) I agree on how it excels for low-volume listening. The matching PS Audio class D power amps are no slouch...just sayin'. I have the S300, and have to think the monoblock M700s are even better.

    Joe, just let me know if you want me to bring my S300 down for the meet. It's light, and travels well.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    I'm going to exercise it's Jazz-chops when I get home.

    I did experience the sometimes mentioned "remote control conflict" on the forums. PS Audio said that some companies are not properly registering their remote codes, and it can cause issues. Mine is STRANGE. My new 65" Vizio reacts to the GCD remote, but ONLY if I'm using the smartcast app page on the TV, or watching anything from it. It was an easy fix, I just switched to my Oppo to watch Netflix. No conflict there. It doesn't affect watching DirecTV on the P65-F1 Vizio.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    steveinaz wrote: »
    I'm going to exercise it's Jazz-chops when I get home.

    I read this as "Jazzercise"
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    I wish they made a version of this without a DAC for slightly less money. I would buy it.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    edited January 29
    It's smoothness reminds me of a Yamaha C-85 I had in the 80's. I like that the volume control is ANALOG. After 15 years of benchmark front-ends, I was worried that I was going to be disappointed. I was wrong. I'm running the Oppo in via coaxial dig, and the DirecTV DVR via Toslink.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,576
    steveinaz wrote: »
    I'm going to exercise it's Jazz-chops when I get home.

    I did experience the sometimes mentioned "remote control conflict" on the forums. PS Audio said that some companies are not properly registering their remote codes, and it can cause issues. Mine is STRANGE. My new 65" Vizio reacts to the GCD remote, but ONLY if I'm using the smartcast app page on the TV, or watching anything from it. It was an easy fix, I just switched to my Oppo to watch Netflix. No conflict there. It doesn't affect watching DirecTV on the P65-F1 Vizio.

    One of the many reasons I use a Harmony remote, i just don't seem to get the cross device interference with it.
    jdjohn wrote: »
    Nice! Another convert in the house B) I agree on how it excels for low-volume listening. The matching PS Audio class D power amps are no slouch...just sayin'. I have the S300, and have to think the monoblock M700s are even better.

    Joe, just let me know if you want me to bring my S300 down for the meet. It's light, and travels well.

    PLEASE!! yes, would love to hear that. I have been contemplating the M700's but just not sure they would outperform the Linns
    That's great thanks so much!
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I agree on how it excels for low-volume listening.

    Now you have my attention.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 5,422
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 719
    joecoulson wrote: »
    jdjohn wrote: »
    Nice! Another convert in the house B) I agree on how it excels for low-volume listening. The matching PS Audio class D power amps are no slouch...just sayin'. I have the S300, and have to think the monoblock M700s are even better.

    Joe, just let me know if you want me to bring my S300 down for the meet. It's light, and travels well.

    PLEASE!! yes, would love to hear that. I have been contemplating the M700's but just not sure they would outperform the Linns
    That's great thanks so much!
    Consider it done. Good/bad/or indifferent, it will be good to have input from the group on this class D amp. Make room for it! As you know, it has the same footprint as the preamp, and can easily be stacked. I can also scare-up a PSA power cable if needed.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 719
    Clipdat wrote: »
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I agree on how it excels for low-volume listening.

    Now you have my attention.
    Low-volume listening is a big strong-suit of the PSA Stellar Gain pre IME. @steveinaz called it "low-level bass linearity", and I cannot argue with that. For me, the frequency response is instant and strong across the frequency spectrum, so no need for tone controls or 'loudness' controls at lower volumes.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    jdjohn wrote: »
    Low-volume listening is a big strong-suit of the PSA Stellar Gain pre IME. @steveinaz called it "low-level bass linearity", and I cannot argue with that. For me, the frequency response is instant and strong across the frequency spectrum, so no need for tone controls or 'loudness' controls at lower volumes.

    I think I'm gonna order one and take it for a spin.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 719
    I encourage you to take advantage of their trade-in program. You can basically get 80% of MSRP for any working piece of equivalent gear. I got about $800 credit for a B&K power amp. There's no way I would have gotten $800 on the used market for an EX-442 power amp...just sayin'.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    It's kindof a cool concept. Although you have to factor in the costs that you'll pay out of pocket for boxing up and shipping things to Colorado.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 719
    Versus your time auditioning off CraigsList and getting half of current market value. I think a high-percentage value of original MSRP is worth more than the time of trying ot sell local.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    They said they would give $500 trade-in for a pair of LSiM 703s, but it'll cost me probably $200 to ship them there.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,576
    Thanks so much @jdjohn it will be easy to pull the Linn power cables/rca’s and speaker wires off in my setup and substitute the PS A
    I think someone also mentioned phono pre’s and would love to swap those around too as I want to see if the Vincent is as good as I think it is or if I’m leaving performance in the table.
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,903
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I encourage you to take advantage of their trade-in program. You can basically get 80% of MSRP for any working piece of equivalent gear. I got about $800 credit for a B&K power amp. There's no way I would have gotten $800 on the used market for an EX-442 power amp...just sayin'.

    Good to know, now you got my wheels spinin'.....dang you. :)
    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
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    Listening to Heart Dreamboat Annie last night (entire album; 16/44 flac), this pre reminded me of listening to vinyl. Lots of rich tone.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,903
    I'm interested to hear more about the pre's function on this dac. I know Steve is using it as both.

    You guys diggin' what the pre amp section does on this piece ?
    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
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,576
    I am. It has that smooth tone but not overly colored. I run some very flat amps (Linn’s) and the overall sound is very enjoyable. Combine it with the record player and it does produce some magic. Play a CD through it and it’s not too sharp or jagged. The volume control, slope and how detailed it is at lower listening levels is amazing and probably its strongest feature.
    This is why I am very curious to see how their power amps do. When we have our get together, we’ll be able to see if the class D is up to the power challenge. I am sure there is already great synergy with the pre.
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    edited January 30
    The gain control remains in the analog realm, which in my opinion, is a good thing; regardless of source. Never been a fan of digital volume control, even though I realize the latest 32-bit set ups are really good.

    Your opinion will differ depending on what pre you were using, so all of my comments are made in relation to the Benchmark DAC2 as my former preamp. The SGCD is a fuller-bodied sound. It's more upfront sounding (NOT in a treble perspective, but soundstage) and faster paced. The Benchmark is more casual, laid back, and a bit thin in comparison. The BM would be great for classical music lovers, and the PS Audio is better for Jazz/pop/rock music lovers. The BM is like a robot that does every single thing right, never makes a mistake, and can do anything---BUT, like a robot, it has no personality. You love it's dependability and accuracy, but It comes off a bit dry and lean when compared to the SGCD. Is the SGCD coloring the sound? I don't know---which came first, the chicken or the egg? But in all honesty, I prefer the tonal character of the SGCD.

    I think the big stars of the SGCD show are:

    1. Gain cell volume control
    2. Over-sized toroidal transformer
    3. It's built-in DAC
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,576
    I always find it hard to put into words what something sounds like, you did a great job there describing what you are hearing from the PSA as I feel the same.

    I have been a little fast with the upgrades to my system, so much so that I could not give a true review of any single piece. I mean when i got the new cart, I switched out the IC's on my phono pre at the same time!

    I say all of this to say that the music that I used to run through the Marantz AVR as a pre to the same amps I am running now is a night a day difference in quality, musicality and pure enjoyment. Who knows how the cables,power,speakers all change that. I just know the system sounds great with EDM, rock, classical, at volume 20 and at volume 80.

    Not sure I can do anything else but waste money now with adding/taking anything away. But I didn't say that..
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    Turntable cartridges can make a significant difference, on the order of speaker replacement, IMO.

    Just as a reference, my comparison only involved a change of preamp/DAC; everything else in the chain was the same.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 719
    edited January 30
    Previous to the PSA Stellar Gain, I had been using a Peachtree Audio Nova pre w/DAC. The Nova only has one analog input, which was one reason I started shopping around. The aforementioned volume control on the SG really is nice, which I know sounds a little arbitrary, but it's true! The volume control on the Nova was not very precise. I was immediately impressed with how quiet the SG is - no noise floor to speak of. With the Nova, I could hear the typical low-level hiss with my ear next to the tweeters. It was acceptable, and quite normal from what I read, but with the SG it was totally quiet. And like Joe mentioned, you can just keep turning it up and up.

    Steve used "upfront" regarding the sound, and again I agree. I have called it very forward. There is gobs of detail, but not to the point of being clinical. Bass is uber-tight, which initially may come across as thin, but just when you say that, you realize it's there when you need/expect it. You really hear the bass instrument itself, not just a thump or bump, so you could say it's very refined bass.

    I'm currently running two different phono rigs through two of the analog inputs. The only digital source I have is a Logitech Squeezebox Touch; I go digital-out with it via coax, and into the SG's DAC. What can I say? It sounds...Stellar :D

    At the time when I bought mine, they were running a special combo price with it and the S300 power amp, and then with the trade-in program it was a very attractive deal. Again, the trade-in amount is up to (I think) 80% of original MSRP, but it has a ceiling based on the purchase price of the new gear. And of course the trade-in gear has to work :) So the key is finding a piece of used gear at the right price for maximizing the allowance. They have a calculator on their website https://www.psaudio.com/buying-options/trade-ups/ Click the green 'Trade In and Save' button. If you make a purchase, you have 30 days before having to send in your used gear, or sending the new PSA piece back, but you get the discount upfront.

    Btw, they flip the trade-in gear at The Music Room https://tmraudio.com/
    Post edited by jdjohn on
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    Realizing this stuff really boils down to personal preferences, I hope you like it. It'll be interesting to hear your observations. I found it "settled down" pretty well after an hour of run time, though I'm sure more break-in will only improve things.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    PS Audio quoted a 200 hour break-in for the S300 amp, so I will have to avoid jumping to early conclusions.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • halohalo Posts: 4,988
    Clipdat wrote: »
    I'll be taking some PS Audio gear for a test drive! Just ordered the Stellar Gain Cell pre/DAC, and Stellar S300 amp.

    I guess you can tell your lovely wife that ^^^ is your birthday present to yourself ;)
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,462
    edited January 30
    Should I have sprung for the M700 monoblocks instead?!
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,929
    Since it's YOUR money....HELL YES.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
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