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DNA Stratus 2A3 amplifier - first impressions - Page 22

post #316 of 2164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baten View Post

 

Thanks. I see you have both a WA6SE and the Stratus, any chance you can give a quick and dirty comparison?

I'm new to the tube scene and am very much considering Donald's amps, one gripe/fear is that I don't like my sound too laid-back (I sold my HD650 because of this),

I like the sound a little bright as long as it doesn't hurt / isn't plain fatiguing. What I'd love in a tube amp is 3D-sound presentation, realism, transparent soundstaging.

So basically I want a more realistic-lifelike sound but not ridiculously smoothed out, can this be achieved through tubes? Advice much appreciated.

 

The Stratus gives a HUGE sound and ticks all of the boxes you listed. I have about 100 hours on mine and the sound is absolutely sublime with the HD800, the best I've ever heard it sound.

post #317 of 2164
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

Are there any more Stratus being made?  If so Can I pay for a customized (black) enclosure?

I waited about 4 weeks for mine from time of order. The blue enclosure is stunning, looks like a high end glossy automotive coating. I will try and get some hi-res shots this weekend.

post #318 of 2164
Quote:
What I'd love in a tube amp is 3D-sound presentation, realism, transparent soundstaging.

So basically I want a more realistic-lifelike sound but not ridiculously smoothed out, can this be achieved through tubes? Advice much appreciated.

 

I might argue this can ONLY be achieved with tubes!  And as the Stratus is to my ears the pinnacle of tube headphone amplifiers, you've got all these attributes in spades.  To get "dirty" as you suggested with a comparison, I would say that the Woo is bombastic and full, has great 3-D sound-staging (depending A LOT on tube choice of course) and some toe-tapping slam, but that it lacks the level of "realistic-lifelike sound" you are looking for.  It is colored, especially with the tubes that Jack likes you to upgrade to.  I found, for instance, the Sophia 274B to be almost unbearably blown-out.  The EML 274B is much smoother and more liquid.  I like the Woo with the T-1s and HD800s because they each make up for each other's weaknesses to a certain extent.  But there are other headphones, especially those with greater bass presence such as the T5P or the D7000 or even the LCD-3, that sound far too bloomy on the Woo.  By contrast, to repeat oft-iterated praise of the Stratus: I have yet to find a pair of headphones that sound anything short of their best on the Stratus.  Some headphones sound a bit better or worse, but it becomes a question of appetite and mood, not SQ.  That is what you get with the Stratus.  No compromise on detail-retrieval.  No compromise on sound-stage.  No compromise on tone.  No compromise on frequency response.  No impedance problems that I have run into either; it does extraordinarily well with HE-6s and K1000s; extraordinarily well with any source.  I prefer it with my most revealing and crystalline DAC, again as a complement.  It doesn't sound quite as good fed by a tube dac, but that goes for most tube amps, and keep in mind I'm referring to the Lampizator, which is the Woo of tube dacs.  I pair the Lamp with SS amps, again to complement, driving my HE-6s and that is a killer experience as well.  Anyway, there's my 2¢...

post #319 of 2164
Quote:
The residual ripple hum, which is nulled with the potentiometer, should be independent of volume control setting. When you turn the volume to max, perhaps you're hearing noise from your source or an pickup from an unshielded interconnect?

 

Doubtful it's the source, which uses Silver Rock OPTs but, alas, I use exclusively unshielded cables, so there you go.  Still, I'd exchange what they do for presence and detail for a little hum any day...  Thanks for the clarification.

post #320 of 2164
Quote:
Originally Posted by fejnomit View Post

 

I might argue this can ONLY be achieved with tubes!  And as the Stratus is to my ears the pinnacle of tube headphone amplifiers, you've got all these attributes in spades.  To get "dirty" as you suggested with a comparison, I would say that the Woo is bombastic and full, has great 3-D sound-staging (depending A LOT on tube choice of course) and some toe-tapping slam, but that it lacks the level of "realistic-lifelike sound" you are looking for.  It is colored, especially with the tubes that Jack likes you to upgrade to.  I found, for instance, the Sophia 274B to be almost unbearably blown-out.  The EML 274B is much smoother and more liquid.  I like the Woo with the T-1s and HD800s because they each make up for each other's weaknesses to a certain extent.  But there are other headphones, especially those with greater bass presence such as the T5P or the D7000 or even the LCD-3, that sound far too bloomy on the Woo.  By contrast, to repeat oft-iterated praise of the Stratus: I have yet to find a pair of headphones that sound anything short of their best on the Stratus.  Some headphones sound a bit better or worse, but it becomes a question of appetite and mood, not SQ.  That is what you get with the Stratus.  No compromise on detail-retrieval.  No compromise on sound-stage.  No compromise on tone.  No compromise on frequency response.  No impedance problems that I have run into either; it does extraordinarily well with HE-6s and K1000s; extraordinarily well with any source.  I prefer it with my most revealing and crystalline DAC, again as a complement.  It doesn't sound quite as good fed by a tube dac, but that goes for most tube amps, and keep in mind I'm referring to the Lampizator, which is the Woo of tube dacs.  I pair the Lamp with SS amps, again to complement, driving my HE-6s and that is a killer experience as well.  Anyway, there's my 2¢...

that certainly paints a good picture! Nice write up fejnomit!

post #321 of 2164

New toy syndrome?? tongue.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by fejnomit View Post

 

I might argue this can ONLY be achieved with tubes!  And as the Stratus is to my ears the pinnacle of tube headphone amplifiers, you've got all these attributes in spades.  To get "dirty" as you suggested with a comparison, I would say that the Woo is bombastic and full, has great 3-D sound-staging (depending A LOT on tube choice of course) and some toe-tapping slam, but that it lacks the level of "realistic-lifelike sound" you are looking for.  It is colored, especially with the tubes that Jack likes you to upgrade to.  I found, for instance, the Sophia 274B to be almost unbearably blown-out.  The EML 274B is much smoother and more liquid.  I like the Woo with the T-1s and HD800s because they each make up for each other's weaknesses to a certain extent.  But there are other headphones, especially those with greater bass presence such as the T5P or the D7000 or even the LCD-3, that sound far too bloomy on the Woo.  By contrast, to repeat oft-iterated praise of the Stratus: I have yet to find a pair of headphones that sound anything short of their best on the Stratus Some headphones sound a bit better or worse, but it becomes a question of appetite and mood, not SQ.  That is what you get with the Stratus.  No compromise on detail-retrieval.  No compromise on sound-stage.  No compromise on tone.  No compromise on frequency response.  No impedance problems that I have run into either; it does extraordinarily well with HE-6s and K1000s; extraordinarily well with any source.  I prefer it with my most revealing and crystalline DAC, again as a complement.  It doesn't sound quite as good fed by a tube dac, but that goes for most tube amps, and keep in mind I'm referring to the Lampizator, which is the Woo of tube dacs.  I pair the Lamp with SS amps, again to complement, driving my HE-6s and that is a killer experience as well.  Anyway, there's my 2¢...

post #322 of 2164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardilla View Post

New toy syndrome?? tongue.gif

 

 

Not at all. I have had mine for almost 9 months now, and it is producing the most beautiful SQ I have ever heard. Bar none.

 

I just upgraded the interconnect from the M1 DAC to the Stratus. The new Marigo i/c is the first cable I've heard here that surpasses the JPS Aluminata. And the Stratus shows off its transparent air and presence with ease.

 

Simply gorgeous music. 

post #323 of 2164

Relevant question, then: What is the second best SQ you ever heard?

Quote:

Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post

 

Not at all. I have had mine for almost 9 months now, and it is producing the most beautiful SQ I have ever heard. Bar none.

 

I just upgraded the interconnect from the M1 DAC to the Stratus. The new Marigo i/c is the first cable I've heard here that surpasses the JPS Aluminata. And the Stratus shows off its transparent air and presence with ease.

 

Simply gorgeous music. 

post #324 of 2164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald North View Post

The potentiometer balances the residual ripple of the DC supply across the filaments and nulls it out. It also helps balance the signal current through the filament. While not commonly employed in commercial amplifiers, the concept of DC supply with balancing pot is frequently discussed and recommended in tube enthusiast forums and informational sites.

 

 

I finally remembered the name -- the AC nulling pot on the 2A3 is called a "humdinger". 

 

I remember hearing that word as a child - my Dad was a radio tech for Motorola after WW2, in the early 1950s, and he used it to describe things that were surprisingly good. "That's a real humdinger!"

 

I don't know where the name originated - do you, Donald?

 

BTW, mine works great. With all the tube swapping here, I've had to use it twice. Perfect null both times. And the HD800 headphone I'm using is listed as 102dB sensitivity at 300 Ohms. "Clean as a whistle"!

post #325 of 2164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardilla View Post

Relevant question, then: What is the second best SQ you ever heard?

 

TTVJ loaned me the Apex Pinnacle for a week last December. My experience is described earlier in this thread and in the Pinnacle thread. It made every headphone sound its best.

 

The Stratus does it, too. And for the HD800, it is simply spectacular. I have never heard better.

 

Try one.

post #326 of 2164
Quote:
New toy syndrome?? tongue.gif

 

Of course I'm willing to entertain that possibility.  However, I have been doing some pretty brutal (read exhausting) A/B comps between my various headphone amps and headphones and trying deliberately not to give the Stratus and easy ride.  Still, perhaps I should clarify by saying that the Stratus doesn't magically make any headphone sound better than it can.  It allows the headphone to sound like the best version of itself, as opposed to hindering it or altering its sound negatively  That's what I mean.  My D7000s, for instance, do not react well to the Balancing Act.  The top-end sparkle gets muted and the low-end rumble turns to boom.  However you can hear their full potential with the Stratus.  As another example, I've been enjoying my vintage Scott amp quite a bit recently - it uses el84s - and there are ways in which it makes certain headphones sound *better* than the Stratus in the A/B but in ways that I know are not *true* to the headphone.  For the D7000s, the Scott amp reduces the bass fullness and adds even more high frequency extension in a way that I find pleasing but that is certainly not the *real* sound of the headphone.  The Stratus - to my ears and based on my limited selection of equipment - allows the D7000s to sound as they should, balanced in a way that I have to imagine the manufacturer intended. 

post #327 of 2164
Quote:
It allows the headphone to sound like the best version of itself, as opposed to hindering it or altering its sound negatively

Well said. The Status does seem to make each phone sound it's best. 

post #328 of 2164

A question for Donald that was asked in the Sonett 2 thread - did you use a specific headphone to "tune" the Stratus?

post #329 of 2164

The inspiration for creating the Stratus was to drive the K1000, one of my favorite headphones, with my favorite power triode: the 2A3. During development I also used the LCD-2, HD800, DT770 Pro 80, K701, and even some old Triports to evaluate the sound and find the blend of components which sounded best to me. smily_headphones1.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by unspool View Post

A question for Donald that was asked in the Sonett 2 thread - did you use a specific headphone to "tune" the Stratus?

post #330 of 2164

I'm really enjoying the Stratus. It's making my HD800 sound great with any genre I throw at it. 

 

 

1000

 

1000

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