Stellar Gain Cell
Midland HiFi Logo
Find us on Facebook

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



  • 20W


Mains Power Input

  • IEC C14



  • 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



  • 5.3Vrms


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)
  • <-80dBV


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