DNA Stellaris

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by yage, Feb 3, 2016.
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  1. TomSix
    Ogodei,

    I find your comments on the perennial appeal of the HE-6 interesting. I have similar feelings about those cans. The bass extension and articulation, dynamic/percussive impact, sense of depth... The HE-6 I find exceptionally engaging, there's something singularly unique about them. You obviously are a headphone aficionado with a broad experience of various high-end phones (Utopia, etc) and amps, and so I consider your comments on the HE-6 particularly noteworthy.

    I understand that with the Susvarna, HifiMan has returned to a design seemingly quite similar to the HE-6 in terms of sensitivity, impedance, etc. It would be interesting to A/B test both phones through a TOTL tube amp and see what the sonic differences are. Likely some head-fi'ers have already done this.

    Personally, I really enjoy the HE-6 through the 1-Watt Studio-Six, and imagine the result is similar though Donald's superb Stratus and Stellaris amplifiers. The only caveat with the HE-6/Studio-Six combo is max SPL. One uses up most of the volume range (gain) if one really wants to listen fairly loudly with the HE-6. Nonetheless, the SPL attained with the Studio-Six at/near max volume I consider just verging on "stupid loud", and likely entering the realm of hearing damage anyhow.

    Quick comments on DNA amplification: Unfortunately, I have yet to hear either of the DNA amplifiers. As a fellow designer, I can say I admire the obvious quality and overall aesthetics of the Stratus and Stellaris units. Very clean, unpretentious, and utilitarian design approach. --kudos to Donald! :wink:

    I look forward to hearing some DNA amplification, hopefully soon.

    -Thomas
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  2. MusicJunky
    Can anyone comment on the apex teton vs stratus/stellaris for pairing with an HD800? Just trying to find the best possible amp available for them. Cheers.
     
  3. m17xr2b
    That is a bit like asking which is better, Ferrari or Lamborghini? Any will be exceptional on the HD800 though my preference is for the Teton. When you get into tube rolling on the Stratus and Teton you will soon find you mainly have different flavors so comparing them is hard. As their base characteristics I will say the Teton sounds more solid state with a hint of tube bloom but the Stratus and I imagine the Stellaris are a bit more romantic in the mids with a bit of roll off in the bass giving them a more tubey sound while still being highly detailed and surpassing the Teton in this area. I'm still comparing them myself but it takes time. The Stratus took me over a year to finally say it's a keeper.
     
  4. Frihed89
    m17xr2b....Just keep in mind that headphone sonics are highly personal, as well as being amp-dependant. I didn't like the HD800 at all, although I am in the minority. I bought these on the basis of overwhelmingly positive reviews by Stratus owners. After I sold them, I settled for the HD650. After I modified my Stratus, they also sounded far better. In a perfect world, amp and headphone buyers would be able to "try before they buy". Sadly......the wuld ain't perfukt.
     
  5. m17xr2b
    Agree with you here that's why I highlighted preference. Anyway I don't think anyone would consider any of our impressions as gospel and if they do they'r in for an expensive mistake.
    Completely agree, I don't like the HD800 on over 80% of my tubes with the Stratus and I sold the ones I did like. I mostly use it as a benchmark to compare my other gear . As for the HD800 in stock form It's not my cup of tea on any amp but hardwired with SDR running on the Teton makes it a lot more usable.
     
  6. Sorrodje
    @m17xr2b : Which Version of Stratus are you using ? last one with last upgrades ?
     
  7. m17xr2b
    Mine should be Gen2 so I don't have the latest upgrades. Once I get the Stellaris sometime this year and confirm it's the same but better I will send it back for the upgrades. Otherwise I will be keeping my Stratus the way it is.
     
  8. Sorrodje
    ok. I do think upgrades make a pretty significant difference and I don't think the last iteration of the Stratus sounds so bloomy anymore.
     
  9. Frihed89
    I had an ineresting experience just before I packaged up my Stratus to send to a new owner. I had my Stratus modified a bit, based on some recommendations from Donald about improving the performance. All of the components I changed were replaced by the highest grade Audio Note components. However, until yesterday, I had only used the Stratus in my computer audio system, with a Mac and a Wavelength Audio Brick V2 (NOS). Yesterday, I hooked it up to my Audio Note digital front end. Even on the Brick, the modifications made a big sonic difference, but when I switched front ends, the sound improved quite a bit (even though I was using some RCA double black plate 2A3s). This switch not only made the music more believable, but also more engaging and appealing emotionally. Mind you, this is a NOS Dac only plays 44.1/16 disks. Some of you higher resolution fans might also find that AN(UK) Dacs do much more justice to recorded music than your SS multi-format models. Think about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  10. TomSix
    Frihed89 quote: "until yesterday, I had only used the Stratus in my computer audio system, with a Mac and a Wavelength Audio Brick V2 (NOS). Yesterday, I hooked it up to my Audio Note digital front end. Even on the Brick, the modifications made a big sonic difference, but when I switched front ends, the sound improved quite a bit (even though I was using some RCA double black plate 2A3s). This switch not only made the music more believable, but also more appealing emotionally."

    I'd say that is a significant revelation. You've discovered the resolution/performance of your Stratus amp exceeds the capabilities of your source gear.

    An exceptional amplifier can set a very high 'ceiling' for the rest of the system, and IMO that's a good thing --room to grow :wink:
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  11. Frihed89
    Thomas, The Stratus is headed to a new owner in the UK, and I am waiting for the Stellaris. Now the challenge I face is how to be able to fit both my AN(UK) CD 4.1x and the Stellaris in the same small rack I have by my bed. That wasn't a problem with the Brick, which is quite small. I guess what I'll have to do is add some longer pillars to my rack. More "research"!!! For now I have Darling amp with 12V6GT tubes that is connected to speaker amp to headphone adapter for headphone listening by my bed, but it still relies on Mac+NOS Brick Dac. It sounds quite good, but it's a bit noisy. In any case, I'm done with Non-NOS Dacs!!! And once I figure out how to rebuild my wrack to accomodate the CD4.1x, I'll be cooking with gas. I feel confident that Stellaris will even surpass my modified Stratus, Now I can hopefully play Mahler, Sibelius and Bruckner symphonies with greater confidence through heaphones. I just wish there were a set of headphones that can match the performance of He-6 at a lower price! I've only rarely seen them for sale, used. But I would add that the HD650 sounded like a different animal on the modified Stratus. It was not as warm as I remeber it was, and the higs seemed to not to roll off as much.
     
  12. TomSix
    Mac,

    It sounds like the Stellaris upgrade should indeed net you an increase in reproduction quality which will be appreciated with your HD650's.

    On the HE-6: Yes, it would seem that people who own them are generally hanging onto them. If you see a clean pair at a reasonable price I suggest giving them a try. If they are not to your taste, I'm sure you could resell them at minimal or no loss.

    Only two potential caveats with the HE-6: The phones are on the heavy side, and the ergonomics are a tad coarse, which can become apparent with long listening sessions. Secondly, they do eat up some power, and this could be an issue if you were someone who (IMO foolishly) listens at very loud SPL. The HE-6 play great with the 1W Studio-Six, and so I imagine that with another quality SET hp amp such as the Stellaris, the virtues would be similar.

    I really hope the drivers in my HE-6 hold-out for the long term. So far, so good...
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  13. Frihed89
    _DSC4284.JPG _DSC4285.JPG _DSC4286.JPG My replacement headphone set up by my bed until the Stellaris arrives. It's not that bad. It's a small 1626/12V6 Darling amplifier with selectable cathode bias for each output tube, fed into a speaker-to-headphone adapter. The 12V6s are playing. The Dac is the Wavelength Brick V2 (NOS) at the bottom.

    Humm...are the 3 jpgs showing?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  14. TomSix
    "My replacement headphone set up by my bed until the Stellaris arrives" -Frihed89

    Mac,

    Yes, I'd think that rig should get you by just fine. It's nice to have a backup system handy.

    The novel "layer cake" construction of of the Darling amp is interesting. I imagine it runs nice and cool.
     
  15. bigfatpaulie
    You will NOT be disappointed! Congrats on the new amp!
     
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