It is much more than just another new amplifier of the PS Audio Stellar Series, which is available with the new PS Audio Stellar Strata, because it is also called a Full featured streaming amplifier, thus not only includes analog and digital interfaces, but also the platform PS Audio StellarStream. PS Audio speaks here of a true audiophile all-in-one system.
For some time now, the US company PS Audio has had a comparatively new product line, the so-called PS Audio Stellar Series. This product line presents itself in a particularly elegant, comparatively compact form, even if one ultimately relies on the standard width dimensions of HiFi components. Slimline, this description is probably the most appropriate, so that this series has the potential to appeal to a particularly broad range of customers. PS Audio understands the solutions of the PS Audio Stellar Series as high-end HiFi systems, which can meet even the highest audiophile demands.
The PS Audio Stellar Series so far includes components such as the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC/ Preamp as central interface, which is supported by power amplifiers such as the PS Audio Stellar S300 Amplifier or the PS Audio Stellar M700 Monoblock. The PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamplifier is designed for vinyl enthusiasts and the PS Audio Stellar Power Plant 3 is designed to provide the ultimate power supply.
Now PS Audio extends the PS Audio Stellar Series once again with a product that was clearly missing in this series, the stereo integrated amplifier PS Audio Stellar Strata. However, Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio, is by no means happy about the term Integrated Amplifier in connection with the new PS Audio Stellar Strata. The new PS Audio Stellar Strata is much more than is normally associated with a stereo integrated amplifier, McGowan says. It’s a solution that is designed so that you actually have to connect a pair of high-quality speakers to it on your own and you’re ready to go. He prefers the term “all-in-one device” because that’s what makes it perfect.
As with all other solutions in the PS Audio Stellar Series, the new PS Audio Stellar Strata is a particularly elegant and compact solution, measuring no more than 432 x 75 x 305 mm and weighing only 6.1 kg with its solid, all-metal cabinet. The simple front panel is available in silver or black, with an OLED display and rotary encoder as well as a connection for headphones in the form of a 6.3 mm stereo jack socket.
The rear panel is considerably more comprehensively equipped, because here four analogue inputs are available, three unbalanced as RCA sockets and one balanced as XLR. Each analogue input of the PS Audio Stellar Strata can be set to Home Theatre Mode, so that it can be used in combination with the preamplifier output in analogue form for home theatre applications. For digital sources, the new PS Audio Stellar Strata provides two coaxial and one optical S/PDIF interface as well as an HDMI interface, which is compatible as I2S input with PS Audio Transport for native DSD transmission from appropriately equipped SACD players. A USB port is available for the integration of a PC or Mac, which also exploits the full potential of PS Audio Stellar Strata, for playback up to 24 bit and 384 kHz with Linear PCM as well as DSD with up to DSD128. The previously mentioned S/PDIF interfaces are limited to 24 bit and 192 kHz (coaxial S/PDIF) or 24 bit 96 kHz (optical S/PDIF). The user can choose between three selectable digital filters during conversion.
As already mentioned, the new PS Audio Stellar Strata is designed as an all-in-one solution, and of course nowadays this includes streaming, so the PS Audio StellarStream platform is used here. The integration into the network can be done in the classic way via cable and an Ethernet interface, as well as via WiFi. Using the PS Audio Connect App for Apple iOS and Google Android it is not only possible to access your own content in the network, but also to access various streaming services such as TIDAL, Qobuz and Spotify. In the future more services will be added here, even an integration of Amazon Alexa is being worked on to enable direct voice control…
No matter if analog or digital source or streaming, the new PS Audio Stellar Strata uses a balanced Class A preamplifier, whereby the already known PS Audio Gain Cell is used. The directly coupled output stage, designed as a high current Class A hybrid output stage with passive output filters, delivers a whopping 200 watts of power twice, and this at speaker systems with an impedance of 4 ohms. The new PS Audio Stellar Strata has solid screw terminals for connecting the speaker systems.
By the way, we only mentioned it in passing, of course a headphone amplifier is also available here, although this is more than just a “gimmick” that looks good on the data sheet. Here the developers rely on a Class A headphone amplifier, which is supposed to be the basis for impeccable results with “headphones”.
The new PS Audio Stellar Strata is, as already mentioned, available in either black or silver and should already be available in specialist shops these days. Part of the scope of delivery is of course a matching infrared remote control, even if of course especially around streaming the PS Audio Connect App for Apple iOS and Google Android is the first choice for a comfortable operation. The recommended retail price for the new PS Audio Stellar Strata is € 3.990,-.
Getting to the point
The new PS Audio Stellar Strata is supposed to offer all the outstanding features of the PS Audio Stellar Series, but in a “small space” in the form of an elegant stereo integrated amplifier, although PS Audio is not really happy about the name Integrated Amplifier. Rather, it should be called an audiophile all-in-one, because all it takes for the new PS Audio Stellar Strata is a pair of high-quality speaker systems.