Originally Posted by Solude
Seeing a trend here :D What amp did the Stratus kick to the curb? I was about this close to getting the EC 2A3 a few months back but didn't. I am surprised though that the Stratus is out selling it hand over fist. Interesting.
A few others I'll add to the discussion reading this afternoon... EC ZDSE, Luxman P1, AMB B22.
Here's the deal (just my opinions) and I'll be honest:
Has the warmth, but has the slightest hint of treble etch (relative to other tube amps.) Some like this. Other do not. I was fine with it given the nature of the ZDSE. Many have successfully paired the HD800 with the ZDSE, but only with cables to take the edge off. If you are coming from the Peak (which you know, I've owned and did not like with the HD800), the treble shouldn't be a problem. The ZDSE is cap coupled and certainly has that euphonic luxurious sound.
Sounds like a inferior solid state (less resolving and flatter sounding) version of the ZDSE. I'd love to buy this amp for $700 for a euphonic sounding SS amp.
There's better stuff out there now in terms of transparency and clarity. A good match for the HD800. Warm with smooth treble. Slightly flat sounding and on the polite side, but not too bad in this regard. Has a lot of drive. I like the Dynahi better tho.
These tubes in general tend to have silky treble and massive depth and openness, which gels well with the HD800's characteristics. Highly dynamic with slam, even more so than the ZDSE, yet still remains neutral sounding. Get the right tubes and you will be all set with the HD800. I've heard that a high-frequency heater may be incorporated in the future at the same $2500 price point.
An excellent match with the HD800. More tubey than the EC 2A3. More "intimate" where the EC is more open and "grand". Dynamic with bite, yet has an inner warmth. Bass is not as tight ore precise as the EC 2A3 or S7, although the EMLs help in this regard.
Good soundstage and detail extraction for solid-state. (Peak, Stratus, EC are still better at extraction of low level information.) Slightly dry and unengaging (flat) with a hint of treble glare with HD800. Not bad amp. Just being super-critical in terms of usage with HD800. One needs to be careful what is fed when german toilets are used.
It's pretty decent with the HD800. Not in the same class as Stratus or EC. (You get what you pay for in this case.) Seems to lack low-end balls and drive in comparison. Good tube rolling options. The question is if you have $2500, why bother?
Good with the HD800. Refined and polite in a good way - not in "a-sex-with-a-dead-corpse" kind of way like with the Burson. Good for its price. Do not expect to get anywhere near the HD800's resolving capabilities. The question is if you have $2500, why bother?
Suicide would be a better option.
Edited by purrin - 12/31/12 at 1:53pm