very nice shots Paul! I am really curious about the combo with the Lampi. I hope one day I have the opportunity to hear that it. Normally I would not be intrigued by a tube dac and tube amp combo but you and Frogger got me curious. Hope you can find some time to post more in depth impressions.
My wife had to work today so I've had about 6 hours of solid listening time with the Stratus. All I can say is wow. This is really a helluva an amp. The tubes have changed quite a bit and really smoothed out. I can’t imagine it getting much better and I’m still running the stock tubes and the HD800’s with the stock cable, no power conditioner, etc.
The Lampi is an amazing DAC, but it very specific in its design. It’s extraordinarily musical. I’m sure if one where looking in this price category you could find something that was technically better but only by a small margin because, after all, it’s still a high-end piece of gear and very few sacrifices have to be made. Lampizator makes DAC’s that are about enjoying music, not analyzing it. Lukasz was very deliberate in the design of his DAC’s and that could have easily been disastrous. Instead, it’s a sonic work of art.
I find compared to my other sources the Lampizator is obviously different (surprisingly). It’s meatier and more fluid. Sounds have a very solid tangible presence. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it make as much of a difference as it does.
The combo of the two make the HD800’s a *little* forgiving which I really like because I have some mediocre (I guess ‘vintage’ is a more accurate term) recordings. Having said that, I don’t feel that anything is lost somehow; the details are marvelous. It walks a remarkably fine line. And the tonality of the system… Oh me oh my.
I can’t really speculate too much on the combo of a tube DAC + tube Amp. All I can say is that it works remarkably well with the HD800’s.
But I think the real strength of it all is the texture. You can feel everything. The air moving around guitar strings, the hammers hitting piano strings and most importantly the vocals… It’s frightening realistic.
I’m sorry if I’m not more articulate in my descriptions but I’m not really an audiophile so some of the terms and their nuances may be lost on me. I love music and listen for enjoyment. I love to put my feet up in the evening with a glass of wine or scotch, turn down the lights and just get lost. This setup sucks me in and I forget about the technicalities. I find glaring issues like bloated bass or sibilance or a lack of liveliness are distracting and take away from my listening enjoyment.
To me, this setup has so little wrong that you can forget about what’s right and just enjoy.
Edited by bigfatpaulie - 4/12/14 at 3:04pm