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DNA Stratus 2A3 amplifier - first impressions - Page 108

post #1606 of 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by magiccabbage View Post

Can anyone here say what the Audio GD M7 is like with the DNA? Are there brightness issues? I wonder would i be better off with the NAD M51 or something. I hope the new Schiit YGGD can compete with these DAC's 
I never felt M7 is bright. My experience with it was only with USB input, seems like an OR5 is able to improve it much more.
post #1607 of 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by Problem View Post

Just placed my order the Stratus yesterday, according to Donald it should be ready sometime by middle of June. The next 3 months is going to be very exciting while waiting for it!
congrats! Good to know that my Stratus will have some company nearby in the near future :-)
post #1608 of 1920

I just ordered a Stratus. I am looking for a recommendation for a DAC that will do the Stratus justice. It looks to me like the Master 7 is a contender, but I am very curious as to what people in this thread like with the Stratus. I will initially be using the DAC with a USB connection. Suggestions highly appreciated!


Edited by gmm1 - 3/15/14 at 6:24am
post #1609 of 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmm1 View Post
 

I just ordered a Stratus. I am looking for a recommendation for a DAC that will do the Stratus justice. It looks to me like the Master 7 is a contender, but I am very curious as to what people in this thread like with the Stratus. Suggestions highly appreciated!

 

I think would depend on budget and also what functionality do you need with the DAC (built in headphone amp, preamp, DSD, etc...). With that said, here are some starting points.

 

$1K - Matrix X-Sabre

$2K - Master 7, PWMKII (used), Chord Hugo 

$3-4K - Auralic Vega, Metrum Hex, Lampizator

post #1610 of 1920

Metrum Hex owner here......no regrets and I'd buy another in a heartbeat.  After break in (I know, really strange, I did not believe in break in for DACs but it really made a huge difference) the thing is extremely natural sounding on most of my content without sacrificing details.....pretty mysterious sound IMO since it manages to be detailed without being "bright".  It does dial down your headphones with a warm tone though so Audeze stuff will sound a tad bland if you listen to it back to back with HD800.  It pairs beautifully with the DNA Stratus thus far.

post #1611 of 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmm1 View Post
 

I just ordered a Stratus. I am looking for a recommendation for a DAC that will do the Stratus justice. It looks to me like the Master 7 is a contender, but I am very curious as to what people in this thread like with the Stratus. I will initially be using the DAC with a USB connection. Suggestions highly appreciated!

 

What's your budget?  I recently went through the same journey.

post #1612 of 1920
I'd like to stay under 2k.
post #1613 of 1920

I think third_eye's list is a great place to start.  

 

If the Master 7 is an option (as it is over you $2k budget, especially with shipping) it is what I had settled on before I made a very last minute change.  Basically, the contenders are probably going to be:

 

M7

PWD MK2 (used)

Bryston BDA-1/2

NAD M51

 

If you can push your budget the W4S is probably worth looking at too.  Or if you are REALLY going to push your budget I would add the AMR DP-777 to third_eye's list.

 

Now, if you are at all like me, I could only audition one or two of the DACs in question, and not in home, making the choice purely based on others findings.  That said you basically can't go wrong as they are all great choices.  So, take what I am going to say with whatever amount of salt you like.  This is what I found out after harassing many, many of the head-fi members who own the gear and getting their thoughts as well as reading reviews and opinions on the forum.  Going through my PM’s some date back to December so that’s when I starting really looking at DAC’s and I only pulled the trigger a week ago or so.

 

The best advice I got was from Greed – he said two things that really stuck with me.  First, be patient.  Deals come up, new models change.  Wait for a deal.  Second, I have to quote him:

 

“DACs are extremely difficult to tell apart, especially if they are similarly voiced. The easiest time I have had distinguishing between DACs is comparing my DAP (iPhone) to my desktop DAC (MSB), which isn't saying much right? You have to spend hours upon hours with these DACs to pin-point their differences. Anything less and you aren't giving each DAC its fair shake.”

 

So there you go.  The difference is subtle.  It’s not a game changing choice and the differences are going to be extremely subtle.

 

M7

Detailed, excellent sound staging, very wide.  Fast sounding and very flat.  Great separation.  The USB is so-so and most people shy away from it.  Great tone, but I always feared it would sound sterile.  It’s big and the uggo of the group.

 

PWD MK2

The thing that seems to stand out for the PWD is the bass.  I guess it gives a great deal of tactility to the sound in an ‘in your bones’ kind of way.  It’s warmer than the M7 and loses some of the expansive sound stage vs the M7.  I gather it is like the BDA1 but with stronger low end.  Also, I hate the screen on it. 

 

Bryston BDA 1 or 2

The USB implementation on the 1 is apparently really out of date (whatever that means) and the 2 has a newer (better) implementation.  The 1 is more on the musical side and the 2 is more on the reference side giving more detail but runs the risk of sounding sterile vs the 1.  From what I can tell the 2 is very similar to the M7.

 

NAD M51

This seems to be the ‘all-rounder’ of the options.  I get the feeling it is a bit like the HD600 of DACs.  Does everything well enough but nothing great.  It sounds "right". Nothing is really emphasized or recessed and everything just sounds clean and well refined.  It’s not the final word in resolution, detail, or clarity but it just sounds nice doesn't have any major faults.  Again, crummy USB (whatever that means).  It can be had for a bargain (used) and that is something to take into account.

 

And to make matter worse, the Yggdrasil is 'just around the corner'...

 

One thing that I did hear is that compared the 'level up' DAC's is that the sound stage on all these DAC's was 2 dimensional. 

 

One thing that I got over and over and, written between the lines, is that the M7 seems to have been designed with headphones in mind.  From what I kept hearing whenever the M7 was compared to one of the others is that the other DAC was better with speakers, but the M7 with headphones was better.  I thought that that was really interesting.

 

With the exception of the PWD with the Bridge, something like an Off-Ramp came highly recommended.  I guess DAC’s at this level cut costs when it comes to the USB stage vs higher end DACs.  I personally have no idea what kind of difference it truly makes, but there you go.  Fortunately it is an easy ‘after the fact’ upgrade.

 

So there you go.  Again, this is all from what I’ve read and been told, not what I have personally heard.  But there is about 80% of my research for 3-4 months’ worth of reading everyday about it.  The only other thing I can add is the mixing of headphones and DAC…

 

For example, I personally would avoid the PWD with LCD’s and I am not a bass guy, but the PWD with the HD800’s would probably work well.  I don’t know what you are going to be driving with the Stratus or what your tastes are, or what you listen to.  That is a road you have to (unfortunately) walk alone!

 

Best of luck and happy listening!

 

P.S. Dear everyone else, please don’t flame me :)  This is all IMHO and in other’s IMHO!


Edited by bigfatpaulie - 3/16/14 at 9:27am
post #1614 of 1920
Thanks everyone for the DAC rec's, especially Bigfatpaulie for the epic rant!
Edited by gmm1 - 3/16/14 at 9:36am
post #1615 of 1920
Subbed
post #1616 of 1920
Has anyone tried the Stratus with the LCD XC yet?
post #1617 of 1920
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoatsArt View Post

Has anyone tried the Stratus with the LCD XC yet?

I don't recall anyone posting here with comments on that combo - I'd like to know, too.

 

I just received a brand new AKG 812. Out of the box, it's very disappointing - not at all liquid, and almost nothing from mid-bass on down. I guess it needs 3-400 hours, like everything else. I am *so* tired of burning everything in - seems like the manufacturer ought to do that!

post #1618 of 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post
 

I don't recall anyone posting here with comments on that combo - I'd like to know, too.

 

I just received a brand new AKG 812. Out of the box, it's very disappointing - not at all liquid, and almost nothing from mid-bass on down. I guess it needs 3-400 hours, like everything else. I am *so* tired of burning everything in - seems like the manufacturer ought to do that!

Quick off topic: I know several speaker manufacturers that say if a speaker stays in storage, especially if it's cold, you have to go through burn in again. If this is true or not I don't know, I've never tested it. But that could explain why you have to do it when you receive your headphones/speakers. (Just an off topic thought, now back to your regularly scheduled DNAudio programming.)

post #1619 of 1920
Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post

I don't recall anyone posting here with comments on that combo - I'd like to know, too.

I just received a brand new AKG 812. Out of the box, it's very disappointing - not at all liquid, and almost nothing from mid-bass on down. I guess it needs 3-400 hours, like everything else. I am *so* tired of burning everything in - seems like the manufacturer ought to do that!

But then you would be waiting 300-400 hours longer to receive it biggrin.gif
post #1620 of 1920

Still loving this amp, just when you think it doesn't get any better switch into different music genres and you're in awe all over again, sweet amp.  Rocking the RCA 2A3's currently, pretty sweet sounds:

 

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