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DNA Stratus 2A3 amplifier - first impressions - Page 16

post #226 of 1683
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madbull View Post

Actually it's # 29xx (guaranteed bass heavy). Veredict: DNA Stratus + K1000 = WIN.

 

The best bass I ever heard on electronic sound reproduction. Period. 

 

 

Very cool, madbull. I hope your EMLs arrive soon, too.

 

third-eye, thanks for asking. I did manage to swap both of the EML pairs in last Sunday, and they don't come anywhere close to the Sophia Princess driving the HD800. Still primo for the T1. But I really like the sound quality, image space, tone, balance and musicality of the Princess+HD800 combo. The HD800 sounds better than I have ever heard with the Stratus+Princess. Like, if I had known the HD800 could sound like this, I would have been WAY more motivated to find the right amp. I certainly have found it. The liquid flow, the voice definition, the coherent, seamless sound-world, and the detail resolution surpass what I heard from the SR-009 and the maxxed-out WES or the BH that I owned for a while this past summer, and are far beyond everything else. The LCD-3 might compete, but the pair I borrowed from TheCableCo just didn't have the natural tone and realism that I am enjoying from the Stratus+Princess+HD800. The Apex Pinnacle that TTVJ kindly loaned me for 10 days last December didn't make the HD800 sound this good, either (then again, I didn't have the M1 yet when the Pinnacle visited).

 

I am going to stick with this combo now. It will be interesting to see how much time passes before I itch for a change. Maybe a very long time.

 

smily_headphones1.gif

post #227 of 1683

P.S.: I just miss a little sub bass, but this is K1000's fault.

post #228 of 1683
Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post

 

 

Very cool, madbull. I hope your EMLs arrive soon, too.

 

third-eye, thanks for asking. I did manage to swap both of the EML pairs in last Sunday, and they don't come anywhere close to the Sophia Princess driving the HD800. Still primo for the T1. But I really like the sound quality, image space, tone, balance and musicality of the Princess+HD800 combo. The HD800 sounds better than I have ever heard with the Stratus+Princess. Like, if I had known the HD800 could sound like this, I would have been WAY more motivated to find the right amp. I certainly have found it. The liquid flow, the voice definition, the coherent, seamless sound-world, and the detail resolution surpass what I heard from the SR-009 and the maxxed-out WES or the BH that I owned for a while this past summer, and are far beyond everything else. The LCD-3 might compete, but the pair I borrowed from TheCableCo just didn't have the natural tone and realism that I am enjoying from the Stratus+Princess+HD800. The Apex Pinnacle that TTVJ kindly loaned me for 10 days last December didn't make the HD800 sound this good, either (then again, I didn't have the M1 yet when the Pinnacle visited).

 

I am going to stick with this combo now. It will be interesting to see how much time passes before I itch for a change. Maybe a very long time.

 

smily_headphones1.gif

 

Wow, thanks so much for sharing these impressions. I will certainly be looking to try these out very soon.

post #229 of 1683

On the question of bass my combo of T5p and modded Phonitor (both Stefan AudioArt jobs) is the best bass I've ever heard, from deepest sternum-shaking sub-bass to Phil Lesh-style upper bass picking, all perfectly balanced - you gotta come over and hear it to believe it.  BUT the T1/LCD-3 + Stratus combination gives a more edible bass, a bass you can smell like good lamb chops on the grill.  That's what I love about Donald's amp.  The multi-sensory smile.  This is with EML meshes.  But already I can feel my wallet magically opening to reel in some Sophias too.  Knowing their sound, perhaps they will be the New York Strip of bass... (even with the HD800...?)

post #230 of 1683

By the way, I forgot to add that the BA no longer competes for me .  It's sorta sad, really, the dying love affair.  Damn fickle hobby...  And the bass - oh what I used to say about the BA bass.  Curious, anyone done a BA 2A3/45 vs. Stratus amp-off?

post #231 of 1683
Quote:
Originally Posted by fejnomit View Post

On the question of bass my combo of T5p and modded Phonitor (both Stefan AudioArt jobs) is the best bass I've ever heard, from deepest sternum-shaking sub-bass to Phil Lesh-style upper bass picking, all perfectly balanced - you gotta come over and hear it to believe it.  BUT the T1/LCD-3 + Stratus combination gives a more edible bass, a bass you can smell like good lamb chops on the grill.  That's what I love about Donald's amp.  The multi-sensory smile.  This is with EML meshes.  But already I can feel my wallet magically opening to reel in some Sophias too.  Knowing their sound, perhaps they will be the New York Strip of bass... (even with the HD800...?)

 

I have a Phonitor also, what kind of mods have they done to it?

post #232 of 1683

Too bad there was no Stratus at RMAF.  I didn't last long at the CanJam.  The few (2) amps and (2) headphones I tried were freakish and unlistenable with magnified bass and treble, way out of proportion to the mid-range.  I decided not to push my luck after that.

post #233 of 1683

I can't remember if I posted this before, but another can that is sounding absolutely marvelous with the Stratus: Grado HP-1. 

post #234 of 1683

In regards to the Phonitor, I'd suggest looking at the Stefan AudioArt website where many of the mods are discussed, although I have many more than what is currently listed.  I was one of the early test units for a numbers of modifications that have since made it into Phase 2, which has yet to be described on their old site.  Basically: new caps and resistors, new DACT2 attenuator, Burson op-amps, rewiring of power source and IEC to remove plastic and protect from signal, new fuse...  It went from being a very good piece of pro equipment to being a reference audio component.  Add to that all the Mapleshade chassis and platform enhancements and it's truly in a class of its own.  If I had to have two amps (ha!) it would the Stratus and the SAA Phonitor.

 

To reply to madbull, HE-6s come quite alive with the Stratus.  Awaiting a new cable to make final judgement, but it's killer so far.

 

Also, one more thing to add -- the new Hifi Tuning "Supreme" fuse on the Stratus has provided a nice little bump in resolution and sparkle...

post #235 of 1683
Quote:
Originally Posted by madbull View Post

I can't remember if I posted this before, but another can that is sounding absolutely marvelous with the Stratus: Grado HP-1. 

Have you spent any time with the W3000ANV on the Stratus? 

post #236 of 1683

OK, here is my thought process to justify NOT buying the Stratus unless I hear it first.

 

Years ago, I read the gushing praise on Head-Fi of the DNA Sonett, also written by only a small group of owners, and bought one, as I was looking to replace a Singlepower Extreme.  Tricked out with 6H30 "Supertubes" and a NOS Mullard rectifier, the mid-range and treble was as dry as any solid state amp I have heard and the bass was almost MIA.  My experience of that amp did not foot in the slightest with the hagiographic reviews that prompted me to buy the amp.  Because so few people had heard the amp, I then had a real hard time selling it, which added insult to injury.

 

So, I am naturally skeptical that the Stratus, another DNA amp, really wipes the floor with the Super 7 (which, by the way, sounds far, far better with NOS 6SN7 output tubes and a 6F8G input tube than with the stock Chinese tubes Craig provides for the amp.)  If I were to rank order the amps I have owned, it would look like this:

 

Super 7 >> Singlepower Extreme > Woo WA22 > Luxman P1-u > Blue Circle Hat Peed Thingee >> Corda Headfive > DNA Sonett.  Given this rank order, it is hard for me to believe the Stratus leap frogs all these other amps.

 

The takeaway for me is that it would be foolhardy to buy a high-priced amp unless I have heard it first, especially an amp that is not widely known.

 

This doesn't mean the Stratus is a lousy amp.  It could be a fantastic amp that slays the Super 7 and the Balancing Act.  I just wish a small manufacturer looking to sell a $2000+ amp would send the thing out on a listening tour first, so that more people, many without skin in the game, could post impressions of the amp and so that potential buyers had an opportunity to try before buying.  That is how Todd of TTVJ built a following around his Apex line of amps, all of which are now widely respected.

post #237 of 1683

@minimus, your raise a valid point. I was fortunate enough to audition the amps in question before making a purchasing decision and tbh, if I did not live in LA, it would have been much harder. That's why meets are so important. I agree that it would be a great idea to send a unit out for audition to listeners and having read FOTM threads on this forum since 2001, I get it. With that said, I auditioned the Super 7 and Balancing Act (both excellent) and the Sonett 2 prototype and Stratus on separate occasions over the past month or so. In my opinion, and I posted this earlier, the Sonnett 2 (and I guess this would apply to the original Sonnett) is not in the same league as the Stratus. Not even close. I decided to order the Stratus over the Super 7 (the BA was ruled out due to size and multiple enclosures) after hearing both of them with my headphones (HD 800) and my DAC (Grace m903). 

post #238 of 1683

To be fair, Donald has brought this around to meets, albeit all on the west coast.  Maybe if there was a New York meet and you offered to cover shipping he would send one out?

 

Loaner programs are costly, especially when shipping decently expensive tubes is in the mix.  Apex is commendable for their loaner program, but the amp with the most tubes in it was the Peak with 1, and a 6SN7 at that.  Doesn't hurt that they're all PCB designs, which I've found to be less destructible in transit than P2P.

 

Sure, it would be great to have a loaner program, especially in your case where your experience differed so drastically from what everyone else said about the previous DNA amp, but there is a certain risk involved for the hobbyist - sounds like you made the right choice for yourself.

post #239 of 1683

I sold my Super 7 with vintage tubes after hearing the Stratus. Nuff said! It wasn't a night and day difference, but a definite upgrade all the same. Another plus for the Stratus is it sounded great with all my phones, instead of just 1 or 2. YMMV. I'm completely content with my decision and have zero regrets. 

post #240 of 1683
Quote:
Originally Posted by santacore View Post

I sold my Super 7 with vintage tubes after hearing the Stratus. Nuff said! It wasn't a night and day difference, but a definite upgrade all the same. Another plus for the Stratus is it sounded great with all my phones, instead of just 1 or 2. YMMV. I'm completely content with my decision and have zero regrets. 

 

 

That's cool. Honestly, in my earlier post I was mostly trying to convince myself not to toy with the idea of buying a Stratus. I just sold a Woo WA22 after deciding I preferred the Super 7, so there is a fair amount of money that is burning a hole in my pocket.  I will probably wait for the next New York area meet to try out a few different amps with my LCD-2s before making a decision.  I might get in touch with Donald to see if there is a way for people on the East Coast to hear the Stratus.  Too bad he doesn't have the marketing strategy of Ray Samuels, which consists of showing up at tons of meets with three or four amps in tow. 

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