Stellar Labs stereo system, stellar or bottom dweller?

Budget Esoterica Review Magazine
November 2019 Issue

Stellar Labs stereo system, is it stellar or bottom dweller?

I assembled a small system consisting of the Stellar Labs 50-20810 200 watt class D amp and the Stellar Labs 50-20820 bookshelf speakers. If you are looking for a mini system with a lively sound character, this system might be your ticket. The weak part of this system is obviously the speakers which sell for $31 a pair at Newark website. The only flaw being a slightly rough mid range and treble and sometimes harsh sound. 

Let me give you a few tips for setting up this system. The speakers have small rubber feet on the bottom of the cabinet, so you are going to have to make sure that they will fit flat to your speaker stands. In my case the top speaker stand plate was too narrow, so i put rubber pads directly underneath the speakers.  Tip number two, mount the amp to an isolation stand such as the Jefferson Memorial T-amp stand. It is also very important to use high quality smooth sounding cables to help smooth out the rough edges in the highs and mid range. This is not a system that is going to sound good straight out of the box. Be patient and break this system in for a good solid two months and leave it powered on at all times. You should notice the sound getting better and better as each week goes by. If you follow these tips, you will have a fun unobtrusive and lively sounding system with a couple of very minor flaws. 

Technical Jargon, blah , blah, blah

The speakers are advertised as having beautiful veneer, magnetic grills, binding post connections and excellent sound quality. I agree, the speakers are finished quite nicely and especially for the price paid. Most speakers in this price range are not as attractive and magnetic grills at this price level is unheard of. You don't usually get quality binding posts on an inexpensive speaker also. So, a big thumbs up for style and build quality. They sound great also, with just a slight roughness in the mid range and treble region, with an occasional harsh sound on some cd's.  I have a feeling that this Stellar Labs system might be greater than the sum of its parts. That is, they might perform better singly than as a system. Maybe you should try the speakers with a better amp, and try the amp with better speakers and evaluate it this way. There are no specs listed for this speaker, but judging by their sound i would say they have limited bass response with a fully extended treble. Woofer size is listed as 6 and a half inches. 

The Stellar Labs amp uses a TDA7498E audio amplifier. It has built-in thermal overload and short circuit protection. It has rca left and right inputs found on the rear and utilizes a Bluetooth aptx connection. The wattage is listed as 100 watts per channel and includes a 36 volt power supply. The power supply is humongous, literally the biggest i have ever seen. Just over 3 and a half inches wide, seven and a half inches long and almost 1 and 3/4 inches high. The amp itself is finished beautifully with only a volume control and two toggle switches on the front panel. Overall, the fit and finish of the amp and power supply is superb. 

Music sweet music - Shirley Horn At The Gaslight Square 1961 + Loads Of Love

Listening to the Shirley Horn song, track number 23, titled "Love Is Here To Stay", i noticed a very lively sound that was at times a little harsh sounding. My reference system was slightly smoother but not as lively. Vocal presence was very good. Ok, so let's check for resolution of details. If you listen to track number 7, titled "He Needs Me", approximately one minute and 28 seconds into the song, you can hear what sounds like either a fart or a beeping sound. On track number 9, titled "Wild Is Love", i thought the brass instruments and percussion sounded pretty good. My reference system was slightly smoother and a tad bit more musical.

For the price i paid for the Stellar Labs System , i am very impressed. This is a very stylish system that plays nicely with only a few sonic flaws. If i told you how much i paid for the amp you would probably stone me to death. Anyway, if you are looking for a good sounding mini system and you have ultra smooth sounding cables i think you would do ok. Not quite stellar, but far from bottom dweller. 

Associated Equipment

Jefferson Memorial T-amp stand
Supra power strip
Marantz dv-4200
Fatman speaker cables
Wireworld Luna 7 interconnect 
Audiomagic power cord
Mad Scientist power cord
Atacama speaker stands

Stay tuned for my next review where i will be reviewing the amp with better quality speakers.