DNA Stratus 2A3 amplifier - first impressions
Mar 4, 2018 at 10:37 AM Post #3,572 of 4,133

m17xr2b

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Just got these last night. Been listening all day but these are early impressions. For me it takes months to get a firm grip on a headphone.

I though the abyss was weird but these take the cake. Lighter than I expected with massive clamping force on my big head. Comfort is quite good and if I can reduce the clamping force they might just be the comfiest headphone as nothing touches your ears. Keep in mind these clamp on the bones of my head so it's not nearly as bad as ear clamping.

Bass is way better than I expected. Punches a bit better than a modded hd650, very well controlled and doesn't push into the mids at all. Sub bass takes a big dip but as I don't listen to dubstep and the likes it's perfectly fine. Rap works very well because of the punch, drums,percussion instruments etc. have good impact and body. Also mid bass is much better proportioned than a stock HD650. I would say the bass is better than my HD800.
Mids are crystal clear, maybe a bit cool somethings on par with the HD800 but I need to compare some more. I found Stax mids to be similar.
Treble is a bit...I wouldn't say hot but accentuated. They aren't sibilant so s doesn't become ssssssssssssss but as a whole it's a bit in your face. Might be my preferences but with a -3db from 6K I'm happier and I don't notice any loss in detail but time will tell.
Because of the this I much prefer music recorded on actual instruments. Synthesised stuff doesn't work all that well for some reason but a full orchestra sounds glorious. Basically Shinedown works much better than Lady Gaga. Fine with me.
Imaging is pin point, I don't have any trouble locating every instrument, nothing is overlapping.
Finally the soundstage is the best I've heard. Larger than the HD800 and without the artificial space they can present sometimes. Combined with the imaging this reminds me of the abyss in the way both are an occasion to listen to.

The K1000 are also quite sensitive to gear so don't expect they will sound the same. On lesser stuff like the ember I don't want to listen to them. Hot treble, distant vocals and no bass.
For example the Pavane is better than the YggyV1 just because the Yggy accentuates the already hotish high-end and the bass is weaker. I do have a slight preference for the Teton because it's punchier.
Over the next couple of months I'll roll my collection to see if I can find the sweet spot on the Stratus and tame the high end a bit. After that I will get to compare properly against the HD650 and HD800. I'm also considering swapping the cable. Not bad for a 30 year old headphone.
In case anyone asks my chain is:
Lynx e22->Pavane/Yggy->Strauts/Teton all with wywires platinum IC.
 
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Mar 4, 2018 at 12:14 PM Post #3,573 of 4,133

Peter_S

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Sorry that I did not notice the K1000 question until now. I have both the HD 800s and the K1K, and find that I more often listen to the K1K because the spatial dimension is so much more natural. It gets as close to sound in the room as I have heard, rather than sound in your head. I think they are also quite comfortable and appreciate not having anything on my ears. All of that said, I would offer… do not expect the most refined tonality or clarity with the K1K. I think HD 800s are much more delicate and intricate. The K1K is a bit rougher around the edges, and I would say that they have some distortions that are just not there in the HD 800s. Regardless, I enjoy them quite a bit for their positive attributes. And I am guessing that the Stratus is one of the best amplifiers to play them with.
 
Mar 4, 2018 at 1:08 PM Post #3,574 of 4,133

Donald North

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Just got these last night. Been listening all day but these are early impressions. For me it takes months to get a firm grip on a headphone.

I though the abyss was weird but these take the cake. Lighter than I expected with massive clamping force on my big head. Comfort is quite good and if I can reduce the clamping force they might just be the comfiest headphone as nothing touches your ears. Keep in mind these clamp on the bones of my head so it's not nearly as bad as ear clamping.

Congrats! What is their serial number?

Remember you can adjust the left and right rear temple pads, sliding them forwards/backwards, to adjust the fit and comfort.
 
Mar 22, 2018 at 4:57 AM Post #3,576 of 4,133

forestitalia

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I am one of the earlier Stratus owners (#16) and have had each upgrade. The last, however, made the most noticeable difference as Frihed89 mentions and is, in my opinion, a much better value than a tube upgrade. I now find myself going back through my too-many tube inventory. I had put the EML Mesh 2A3s aside finding them very neutral and balanced but also a little boring compared to Psvane WR2A3 and more recently, Sophia Carbon Princess 300 2.5. UNTIL this last Stratus upgrade. I now find (to my ears) that the EML 2A3s have a wider sound stage and deeper/fuller sound than either of the other power tubes (particularly when paired with EML Mesh 5U4G). This may sound odd, but the upgrade gave me the sense that I was listening to very expensive sound reproduction.

What are the upgrades consists? It needs go to Donald?
 
Mar 22, 2018 at 6:08 AM Post #3,577 of 4,133

Frihed89

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I am one of the earlier Stratus owners (#16) and have had each upgrade. The last, however, made the most noticeable difference as Frihed89 mentions and is, in my opinion, a much better value than a tube upgrade. I now find myself going back through my too-many tube inventory. I had put the EML Mesh 2A3s aside finding them very neutral and balanced but also a little boring compared to Psvane WR2A3 and more recently, Sophia Carbon Princess 300 2.5. UNTIL this last Stratus upgrade. I now find (to my ears) that the EML 2A3s have a wider sound stage and deeper/fuller sound than either of the other power tubes (particularly when paired with EML Mesh 5U4G). This may sound odd, but the upgrade gave me the sense that I was listening to very expensive sound reproduction.

Are you saying that the upgrade didn't have a big (any?) impact on the sound of the other output tubes you have? If so, that's interesting, as I am pretty certain that his upgrade included a new type of cathode bypass cap on the power tubes. If you didn't hear any other differences with the other tubes, it may have something to do with the different bias points of your output tubes, generally, that the cathode resistor lands on, and for some reason it favors the EMLs. Or you could take my biased point of view (the cathode resistor in my brain is speaking) that the other two brands suck, IMO.
 
Mar 22, 2018 at 5:10 PM Post #3,585 of 4,133

m17xr2b

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It depends why you want the upgrade. If if you are looking for a upgrade I haven't read anything but positive reviews and even from my limited technical knowledge on tube amps they do make sense so no snake oil.
I'll also send mine for an upgrade after I get the Stellaris. In my case I want to see what Donald's newest ideas sound like. I am listening to his design so naturally I want to hear how it has evolved.
 

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