THESE days, “integrated amplifier” often means the ability to cater to the the modern audiophile’s every need, and PS Audio’s newly-launched Stellar Strata does it all. Besides amplifying your source signal, it also has a full-feature DAC and streaming module on board.
“We created the Strata to deliver exceptional musicality and high-end performance in an elegant all-in-one component that is compact, yet offers extensive features,” says PS Audio CEO Paul McGowan.
According to the press release, the Strata is fully balanced, with a preamplifier stage incorporating the company’s exclusive analogue GainCell, which is claimed “to eliminate the sonic degradation that can be caused by conventional volume controls.” The Strata has three analogue inputs including an XLR balanced input.
“The built-in DAC was designed by the PS Audio engineering team of Bob Stadherr and Darren Myers to deliver extraordinary sound quality from any digital source. All digital signals are fed in native mode into the DAC’s proprietary 32-bit Digital Lens, which recognises 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.”
A 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 programme sources.
The output stage uses an ICE high-current Class D module with PS Audio’s GainCell circuitry, which “mirrors the sonic warmth of a vacuum tube while providing the power and control of solid state.”
Power is rated at 200 watts per channel (into four ohms, 100 into eight ohms). Other features include a built-in headphone amplifier, a volume trim function to adjust the levels of each input, and phase and balance adjustments.
Available in silver or black, the Strata retails at US$2,999 and is set to ship in June.