PS Audio will release in June its Stellar Strata integrated amplifier ($2,999), which features a built-in DAC and high-definition streamer, a 200 watts-per-channel amplifier (into 4 ohms), and remote control operation.
The Strata integrated amplifier is fully balanced from input to output for transparent sound quality and ultra-quiet operation, says the company. Its preamp stage features PS Audio’s analog GainCell, a feature that the company says eliminates the sonic degradation that can be caused by conventional volume controls. The Strata provides three analog inputs including an XLR balanced input.
The DAC was designed by the PS Audio engineering team of Bob Stadherr and Darren Myers, and delivers high-quality sound from any digital source. All digital signals are fed in native mode into the DAC’s proprietary 32-bit Digital Lens, which recognizes the sample rate, re-clocks the data, reduces jitter and applies other processing. The DAC can deliver up to 384kHz digital audio depending on the source, with native DSD capability. The Strata provides coaxial and optical digital, asynchronous USB and I2S inputs.
A built-in streaming module offers high-resolution audio up to 192kHz from streaming services including Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Napster, iHeart Radio, DLNA and other sources. The streaming module is operated from a smartphone using the new PS Connect app and music server software such as JRiver, Bit Perfect, Amarra or Pure Music. The phone acts as a wireless controller, with the Strata receiving its audio stream directly from the internet via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
In addition, the Strata’s digital filter selection feature allows the listener to choose between Slow, Minimum and Fast settings and tailor the high-frequency response to personal preferences and program sources.
The Strata’s output stage utilizes an ICE high-current Class D module with PS Audio’s GainCell circuitry, said to mirror the sonic warmth of a vacuum tube while providing the power and control of solid state. Other Strata features include a built-in headphone amplifier, a volume trim function that adjusts the levels of each input to avoid large volume swings when switching between sources, phase and balance adjustments and other useful functions.