Separate names with a comma.
Some sweet sweet second harmonic distortion that soothes the ears like no other
Can't speak for bigfatpaulie and this probably isn't a popular opinion here. But I don't really buy into the whole, listen to the outputs on DAVE directly to get best sound. DAVE basically has some kind of Class D amp that is capable of bringing the output well beyond line level and to levels capable of driving a lot of headphones well. However, end of the day, you are essentially listening to their built in amp. Sure it measures well. Class D amplifiers measure well as a group. However, last I checked, Class D amps weren't that popular compared to Class A amps in the 2 channel world for a reason. But end of day it is an amp with its own flavor. The question in my mind is whether bringing a Class D amp signal from line level to levels capable of driving headphones brings more of the flavor than just bring it to line level. In any case, I get the overall argument. Sort of same argument 2 channel guys have over using a preamp or direct connecting. Personally, I tend to think the right amp will give you a better overall sound. Will it measure worse? If you are using a Class A amp, probably. But as I pointed out later Class D amps usually measure much better than Class A amp in 2 channel world, but Class D haven't taken over aside from the lower end receivers etc. (taken over for a different reason than sound).
That's a pretty good answer, but you'll get that, to one degree or another, with any SET amplifier. The answer to the question "Why will the Stellaris sound "better" than the Stratus" may, in some cases, be related to your preferences for the kind of "musicality" that it sends through your ears to your brain. I have limited experience with SET headphone amps. I have listened to a few at shows, mainly Eddie Current and Woo. If memory serves me correctly, the Stratus outperforms these, but that may be only because it's the one I have heard the most and the most recently. That probably has to due with the fact that the noise levels in the Stratus are so low (and I don't have the upgrade) and the fact that it can reproduce realistic bass (even with less than flagship headphones) that is not at the expense of anything else. It also seems to me to be relatively neutral as far as SET amps go and, as I implied, well-balanced across the tonal spectrum.
I would guess that the Stellaris will be quieter, but that guess is only based on seeing an improved, probably even quieter, power supply, all-round, and better components in the power supply (and everywhere else). Just look inside and count the number of chokes and see the number of better high-end components in the power supply (and everywhere else). It will probably do better job in the dynamics department, in terms of being able to keep up with complex symphonic music and hopefully improved better internal resolution and differentiation of the instruments in this type of music.
But will it matter if all this comes to pass? Me: I am not a critical listener. I also have bad hearing. The impressions my brain does get from my ears suggests that the "little things" do matter, even if i can't put these things in words. My only reservation in the Stellaris is the new AN-based OPTs. I've owned 2 AN speaker amplifiers with dual-core, copper, OPTs. I've listened to a lot of others at a local AN shop, up to level 5+. The ones with more exotic materials for the cores and windings of the OPTs are a lot more neutral, more detailed and dynamic than the lower level ones. So, I wonder what the Stellaris would sound like, after paying out an additional $5++K for the better materials! The existing OPTs in the Stratus were a cost-compromise, but it still amazes me how good the amp sounds to me, anyway.
Does any of this really matter? I'll buy one and find out. I'm putting my fate in Donald's engineering abilities, his ears and his judgement, as so amply demonstrated in the Stratus.
Subscribed. I expect to receive my Stratus in 1-2 weeks, but I plan to pre-order the Stellaris as soon as my budget allows it.
How long have you been waiting for your Stratus? Just wondering so I can gauge how long my order will take to arrive (ordered in November of 2016).
Actually, I bought a used Stratus and sent it to Donald for refurbishment and upgrade to the latest specs. Donald's on a business trip right now so there's been a little delay, but everything's going smoothly otherwise.
Awesome man! Hope the Stratus initiates audio perfection once it comes back. I just can't wait for mine, it'll be my first tube amp and my third amplifier I've ever owned. I currently have a Sennheiser HDVA600 which is fine for the HD800 but it's way too analytical for my taste and doesn't have that umph to it that a beast like the Stratus has.
They are very solid feeling. Surprisingly so. I will admit, however, I do prefer the look of the Stratus and I wish the Stellaris had changed the location of the top components rather than just sticking the AN's on top like this. It is my one and only gripe with the amp.
Umm, no. That's incorrect. DAVE does NOT have a "Class D" amp inside. It doesn't have a gain stage. At all. I don't know why people keep spreading that because it is simply a fallacy. I guess people have a lack of understanding so they assume it 'has to have one' so the rumor spread from there. Please stop spreading it, because it's wrong and untrue. Take some gender changers and plug a dual 3 pin XLR headphone cable into the back of a Yggy and use your computer's volume control to turn it WAY down (I don't recommend this as the Yggy isn't designed to do this, so you can damage it). Guess what, it will work. Does the Yggy have a 'Class D' amp in it? Nope. A better example is the Bricasti M1 - that DAC can take the load without risk of damage. Still no Class D amp in it... The RCA plugs are the same output as the headphone jack on the front on DAVE.
Directly out of the DAVE still offers the final word in resolution. Adding anything will only reduce transparency, no matter how resolving it is. Some things will reduce it more, some less. The Stellaris is on the 'less' side. It is more resolving than a GSX MK2.
Yes. You're bang on here. The Stellaris, over the Stratus offers much better dynamics, both large (macro) and small (micro). This gives the amp more 'speed' over the Stratus. It is DEAD silent. With the Utopia's I can turn the volume to max and I hear absolutely nothing. There is a large increase in detail over the Stratus. Separation is better and the sound stage seems more deliberate in that the images are more focused and less diffused. The low end is tighter and more solid sounding on the Stellaris.
(Somehow, this is the only photo I could find of my Stratus + DAVE)
What hasn't changed over the Stratus? The overall tonality and texture. The fingerprint of the Stratus is still there. You hear the term 'house sound' thrown around a lot. DNA has a 'house sound' (I suppose) and the Stellaris is right in line with what Stratus owners have grown to love.
Well, there we have it. Thanks.
I continued the component layout of the Stratus in the Stellaris, which is optimized in flow of the power supply path, flow of the signal path, and distancing of the audio components from the power supply. The Audio Note output transformers are large and there is not enough free space inside the Stellaris (especially with the balanced input transformers) to fit them, so I decided to mount them on top and make the anodized brushed aluminum covers to match the faceplate aesthetic.
@bigfatpaulie How do you like the 422a?
I meant no disrespect in my comment, I just was saying my personal preference. I am eminently confident you made the best decision possible. I was more talking from a 'if I could have anything' perspective.
I haven't tried it yet! Can you believe it?? Truth be told, I've only had very limited hours with the Stellaris since its arrival. It was my first week back at the office and in addition to that we were just finishing getting one of our bathrooms renovated so my audio gear was under plastic. I'm still enjoying the stock tubes.
I suppose I didn't really answer your first question about why would one have both the DAVE and the Stellaris... For me, a big reason is the way I listen. I tend to listen to individual songs here and there throughout the day making a tube amp less than ideal. The convenience of solid state is massive for me and my life. The DAVE on its own satisfies that very well. The Stellaris, however, offers that 'je ne sai quoi' that a 2A3 SET amp brings to the table. I have the best of both worlds now. Finally, I do like variety - I own more than one headphone - so it is nice to have more than one way to listen to them.
No problem I wanted to explain my rationale behind the design.
This may be sacrilege ( and I hope it doesnt put my order in danger ) but those transformer covers are screaming out for customized decals. I'm thinking
This would look sharp with the background in blue,,,
OT about Chord DAVE
The amp is maybe not a full class D amp, but it has a switch mode power supply (SMPS).
“At a side, behind thick shield, sits a SMPS. Chord has been using this solution for years – one can find it in all its products. DAVE features two of these, one for digital section and another for analogue one.” http://highfidelity.pl/@main-645&lang=en
Robb is saying that “the medical SMPS is not Dave's PSU - at least not the PSU that actually matters.” LOL, I don’t know what he mean by that. No other PSU are to be fund. Well it doesn’t really matter. DAVE is a hybrid that use SMPS for PSU and a Class A amplifier transistor for output. Hybrids like that can sound really good if made right.