Stellar Gain Cell

PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell


Midland HiFi Studio - Key Information



"Under Construction.


Text Coming soon."

Overview & Features

Stellar Gain Cell Preamplifier

Full featured analog preamplifier and DAC

The Stellar Gain Cell combines the benefits of an exceptional analog preamplifier and a full-featured DAC. Fully balanced analog circuitry from input to output, the Stellar Gain Cell builds upon years of research and innovation in the art of Class A analog amplification and state-of-the-art digital reproduction. Together, or separately, they create an extraordinarily rich, full-bodied musical experience few standalone products can match. The Stellar Gain Cell is the perfect foundation for those unwilling to compromise sound quality. Rich. Lush. Powerful. A music lover’s answer to spiraling cost-no-object equipment without sacrifice.


The idea of building a no-loss analog preamplifier with its own built-in cutting edge DAC was the basis of the Stellar Gain Cell design imperative. Add any 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 this instrument’s heart 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.


Integrated into this analog preamplifier is a stunning, Bob Stadtherr designed, digital to analog converter. Based on industry leading Sabre32 bit Hyperstream architecture, Stellar DAC features a fully balanced Class A analog output stage with multiple power supplies, independent jitter-reduced inputs, DSD, I2S, and asynchronous USB.


Together, the Stellar Gain Cell preamplifier and DAC make musical magic.



Class A balanced analog preamplifier

Full function DAC

Class A headphone output

Remote control

Fixed or variable DAC mode

2 output 12 volt trigger


Analog preamplifier

One balanced analog input

Three single ended analog inputs

Analog Gain Cell stage

Fully balanced input to output

Balanced XLR analog output

Single ended RCA analog output

Home theater bypass

Direct coupled without any capacitors in output signal path


Digital To Analog Converter

Four digital inputs

I2S input

Digital Lens technology

Native Mode

Three user selectable digital filters

Compatible with PS Audio DMP for SACD playback in DSD

DSD direct through I2S

192kHz asynchronous coax input

192kHz asynchronous USB

96kHz asynchronous TOSLINK input

Single and double rate DSD

CPLD input (FPGA) lowers jitter, waveshapes, reduces propagation delay

Native mode standard

No added Sample Rate Conversion

High current class A hybrid output stage

Passive output filter lowers transient distortion

Direct coupled without any capacitors in output signal path

High bandwidth output stage -3dB 60kHz

Low jitter clocks

High Current oversized analog power supply

7 voltage regulators

High speed power supply diodes

Massive 15,000 mFd low ESR capacitors

ESS Hyperstream

Technical Specification


Unit Weight

13.5 lbs [6.1 kg]


Unit Dimensions

17” x 12” x 3”


Shipping Weight

17 lbs [7.7 kg]


Shipping Dimensions

23”x 18” x 9”


Power requirements

Input Power

Model specific 100VAC, 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60Hz





Mains Power Input




100V T250V-2.0AH (2A Slow Blow)

120V T250V-1.6AH (1.6A Slow Blow)

230V T250V-1.0AH (1.0A Slow Blow)


Accessories included

US (NEMA 5-15P) (all versions)

Schuko (CEE7/7) (230V version)

UK (BS1363) (230V version)


Analog Inputs


3 stereo pair



1 stereo pair


Digital Audio Outputs


1 PCM (384KHz max)

DSD64 DSD128

Compatible with DirectStream Transport SACD handshake for DSD playback



2 PCM (192KHz max)



1 PCM (96KHz max)



PCM (384KHz max)

DSD64 (DoP) DSD128 (DoP)





Analog Audio Outputs


(Analog Unbalanced) 1 stereo pair



(Analog Balanced) 1 stereo pair



One 1/4" headphone connector front panel


Analog Performance


12dB +/-0.5dB


Maximum output

20 Vrms





Input Impedance

47KΩ single ended RCA

100KΩ Balanced XLR


Output Impedance

100Ω single ended RCA

200Ω balanced XLR


Frequency Response

20Hz – 20KHz +0/- 0.25dB

10Hz – 100KHz +0.1/-3.0dB



20-20KHz <-90dBV


S/N Ratio

1KHz >110dB (max output)


Channel separation

1KHz >90dB


Input separation

1KHz >90dB



1KHz < 0.025%

20-20KHz < 0.05%


Headphone performance

Output power @1% THD

300Ω 300mW

16Ω 3.25W


S/N Ratio1kHzNoise

>95dB (max output)



THD & IM 1Vrms out

300Ω <0.05%

16Ω <0.06%


Output impedance

<4 Ω



Volume Control

0-100 (1/2 and 1dB steps, 80dB total range)


Balance Control

24dB each direction in 1/2dB steps


Home Theater Mode

Assignable to any analog input

Adjustable (in setup) to any level


Polarity (phase) Control

Digital sources only


Filter Control

3 selectable digital filters (PCM digital sources only)


Trigger output

(3.5mm 5-15VDC) 2


Remote Control

Yes. Infra Red