Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › DNA Stratus 2A3 amplifier - first impressions
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

DNA Stratus 2A3 amplifier - first impressions - Page 18

post #256 of 1863
Thanks budx3385. I did see those comments earlier, but I'm looking for a more in-depth comparison of the sonic characteristics of these amps.
post #257 of 1863

Will hear the HD800/Princess combination on Sunday. Have been looking forward to it since your initial comments, Bud.

post #258 of 1863
Quote:
Originally Posted by minimus View Post

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.

 

LOL! Hey don't look at me. I never liked the Sonett (sorry Donald). The Stratus is a much better amp (also costs much more). I do like the Stratus a lot. That being said, know what you are getting into with the Stratus. If you like the S7 sound, the Stratus may not be for you. I've heard most of the amps you've listed above and I kind of agree with your rankings BTW.

 

Anaxilus (speaking from the phantom zone) also adds: The Stratus is like the Eddie Current Super 7 and Luxman P1-u having a baby. I agree with this. Hopefully this gets you a little closer to knowing how it actually sounds. But yeah, actually hearing it for yourself is best.


Edited by purrin - 11/5/12 at 12:29pm
post #259 of 1863

Hi Purrin,

It's OK if you didn't like the Sonett - that's why Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors beerchug.gif

 

I don't know if you heard my setup at the big LAX Hilton meet you organized, but I was showing the Stratus with Emission Labs 2A3 mesh plates (on loan from Budx) which are very different sounding tubes from the stock Shuguang 2A3Bs. I'll try to get a set for the next meet - I think you and Anaxilus will find the comparison interesting.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

 

LOL! Hey don't look at me. I never liked the Sonett (sorry Donald). The Stratus is a much better amp (also costs much more). I do like the Stratus a lot. That being said, know what you are getting into with the Stratus. If you like the S7 sound, the Stratus may not be for you. I've heard most of the amps you've listed above and I kind of agree with your rankings BTW.

 

Anaxilus (speaking from the phantom zone) also adds: The Stratus is like the Eddie Current Super 7 and Luxman P1-u having a baby. I agree with this. Hopefully this gets you a little closer to knowing how it actually sounds. But yeah, actually hearing it for yourself is best.

post #260 of 1863

Yes I did. As you know, I am not a big fan of the limpid willowy sound very typical of Chinese tubes. The EML meshes were my preference. Your SCD-1 + Stratus + Sony R10 (basslite) / TH900s (two headphones which I like a lot) were something truly special. However, I don't think people who want a solid-state drier sounding, hyper-resolving amp with the last word in precision and control will gravitate toward the Stratus - and I think you would probably agree.

 

Although it should noted that the Stratus can hardly be labeled as one of the poster boys for what I think is "bad" tube sound - the kinds of tube amps which give tubes the reputation of being overly organic, soft, mushy, syrupy, bloomy, distorted, etc. With the EMLs, I feel the Stratus hits the right combination of precision, detail, and "wetness". I know that santacore (who I respect alot and spoke to at the meet) preferred the Chinese tubes, so there is some latitude here for a customer to play with things.


The Stratus is officially on my Class B amps list (as with the S7 among others.) There are only two amps on my Class A list: The BA and T2DIY. And any amp which makes my Class E list is something I feel worthy of praise and consideration. And you know me. I don't pull punches and I think most stuff sounds like crap. biggrin.gif There's a good reason why I've sought you out to listen to the Stratus at every meet we happened to have been to.


Edited by purrin - 11/5/12 at 6:07pm
post #261 of 1863
Apologies for interrupting, but have you heard the Zana Deux SE and 2A3? If so, how would you characterise their sound and that of the Stratus?
post #262 of 1863

Oh man, that's a good one and a tough comparison. Tough enough that I wouldn't dare say without direct comparison using the same familiar sources and headphones and indicating which tubes were used.

 

Both of these amps are both what I would consider a good middle ground between wet and dry, but they approach it in different ways. It's very hard to explain, mainly because I lack words to explain it.

 

UPDATE:

 

The ZDSE is like a Mercedes AMG. Smooth luxurious ride, but when the driver calls for, it responds. The Stratus (with the EMLs) is like an Audi S4.


Edited by purrin - 11/5/12 at 6:35pm
post #263 of 1863
Yes it is difficult. Unfortunately I'm not in a position to audition them. I've seen the Zana Deux SE likened to a solid state amp due to it not having the kind of syrupy, bloomy, tubey sound you describe. The Zana Deux SE appeals on that basis.
Edited by unspool - 11/5/12 at 7:02pm
post #264 of 1863

ZDSE has a more luxurious ride compared to all the other amps in the EC lineup, but the Stratus is more "tubey" or wet for lack of a better term. I'm probably not making any sense.

post #265 of 1863
I think I understand. ;-) It also seems to work well with some low impedance phones even though it's an OTL amp.
post #266 of 1863

It's cap-coupled, but the SE has switchable output impedance. Obviously it's not 0.5 ohms, but I think it's still relatively low where it won't screw up HD800s and give them an obvious measurable bass boost.

post #267 of 1863
What about a low impedance phone like the Fostex TH900?
post #268 of 1863

Not an issue. Works great with both amps. Refer to Muppetface's TH900 thread. I think there was some discussion on it with various amps. Use Google search since HF search is totally lame because the Huddler guys can't figure out how to make it not return random unrelated entries.

post #269 of 1863
Will do. All of my phones are low impedance and the rule of thumb is to pair them with transformer coupled amps, but the Zana Deux SE appears to be the exception.

Edit: Thanks purrin for your assistance and my apologies for temporarily turning the Stratus thread into the Eddie Current show. I'm just as interested in Donald's blue beauty. :-)
Edited by unspool - 11/5/12 at 10:07pm
post #270 of 1863
Quote:
I know that santacore (who I respect alot and spoke to at the meet) preferred the Chinese tubes, so there is some latitude here for a customer to play with things.

Hey Purrin, thanks for the kind words and very hard work at the last L.A. meet. beerchug.gif

 

Yes, at the meet my opinion was that I really liked the stock tubes over my Black Treasure 2A3's. Well guess what?!? Since then, I've made a few minor changes, and the Black Treasures have been in play ever since. The stock tubes may indeed be better, but I haven't wanted to go back to find out. Right now I'm rocking an old RCA 6BQ7 on the input, Black Treasure 2A3's on the output, and a old RCA coke bottle 5U4G as the rectifier.

 

One of the reasons I ended up selling my Super 7 and getting the Stratus was that it played well with all my phones, and of course sounded fantastic. This is a big deal, as it makes the amp a lot more enjoyable, even as I cycle through different phones. Of course everyones taste is different, so you milage may vary.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › DNA Stratus 2A3 amplifier - first impressions