You really needn’t worry about pairings with this monitor. It’s so well balanced, with warmth and air in equal measure. If you like Stella at all, nothing is likely to push her so far in either direction as to spoil the experience.
The Cayin N8 ($3,000) has a vacuum tube output which makes Stella shine like nothing else. It’s amazingly clear and detailed, with shocking degrees of organicity, and holographic rendering for the ages. Stella absolutely flowers, becoming the full and complete IEM she was always meant to.
Shanling’s M5S ($499) is a powerful, warm, and viciously dynamic DAP. It has a maturity of voice which focuses on musicality and depth. If you like the analogue experience from your digital players, the M5S brings the goods. Stella plays great with all that warmth and bass energy.
Astell&Kern released a killer in the A&futura SE100 ($1,699, Review HERE). It aims for crystalline, sharp and precise tuning. Great big soundstage. Incredibly clean sound. All with a hint of that famous AK smoothness. The pairing with Stella heightens her inherent virtues, reaffirming this IEM’s top-tier status.
Light Harmonic has something truly remarkable in Stella. I’ve heard many IEMs, and it’s rare to find one this effortless and natural. Stella performs with a casual grace that makes you wonder why other IEMs try so hard and never come close to this level of air and openness. Whether it’s the mysterious hexagon pattern, the crossovers, or one of LH’s other innovations… or everything together… Stella is an exquisite masterpiece, and I’m glad I gave it a shot.