Stellar Gain Cell DAC

Overview & Features

What happens when you take a highly respected, cutting edge DAC, like our own NuWave DSD, and connect it to your power amplifier through an analog preamp? Audio nirvana.

It turns out that a great analog preamp preserves a DAC’s magic. Together, DAC and preamp form a new class of product whose sum is greater than its parts.

Stellar Gain Cell DAC. A redefined and improved NuWave DSD and a Gain Cell analog preamplifier in one chassis.

Think of the Stellar Gain Cell DAC as a complete analog control center with an exceptional performing DAC at its heart.

All the features and functions you’d ever want in a DAC are right here in Stellar. Pure DSD, asynchronous USB, Digital Lens technology, I²S to connect to our best transport, balanced throughout, analog volume control. Replace your preamplifier, your DAC—or both—and be stunned at the level of improvement when the full and rich tapestry of music surprises and delights your senses.

In the more than forty years of PS Audio’s design innovations and breakthrough products, Stellar’s groundbreaking level of performance as our gateway standalone DAC and preamplifier is unmatched for price and performance by their standalone competitors. Taken together, we’re willing to bet you’ve never heard anything quite this good at anywhere even remotely close to this price.

Class A balanced analog preamplifier

Full function DAC

Class A headphone output

Remote control

Fixed or variable DAC mode

2 output 12 volt triggers

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

Power Consumption: 


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

RCA:  3 stereo pair

XLR:  1 stereo pair

Digtial audio inputs


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

RCA:  (Analog Unbalanced)

1 stereo pair

XLR:  (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 Ratio 1kHz: 

>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

PS Audio Stellar Gain DAC

Pre Amplifier

PS Audio - Stellar Gain Cell

Pre Amplifier

Midland HiFi Studio - Key Information


"The Stellar Gain cell dac is a stroke of genius. Allowing a great many more people to share in high end audio. We would find it a tricky job to find a comparable unit anywhere near the price.


Not only a very capable preamp but also a wonderfully voiced dac."