My suggestion: Don't overlook McCormack.
I don't own an Odyssey product, but I hang out on boards where Odyssey owners are.
I don't think there's a vendor or designer or manufacturer anywhere in the world who is held in higher regard by his customers than Klaus Bunge. You don't have to worry about getting screwed on an Odyssey product - and the resale value is phenomenal.
If it's in your budget, I don't see how you can go wrong with a Stratos.
I concur with everybody on this thread. If you like a warm sound and the money is tight, B&K is wonderful for the money. I have a ST140 (precursor of the 2140) and have used it in my system for 9 years. I just replaced it this spring with a used B&K, EX4420 (225/channel) for $600 used (money is tight for me). The sound is a little less warm but is still sweet and certainly slightly more transparent. I am happy with my choice.
You might want to give Klaus a call, from what I've heard and read, if he does not think the rest of your system, he actually may recommend another product. It should be noted that the Stratos is supposed to have an entirely different sound, being very transparent and quick. It really is about what you might prefer. The Stratos is also supposed to have a very long burn in period. YMMV. I have never heard the Stratos, so I cannot speak from personal experience.
Go B&K if you like mid-fi.
Go Odyssey Stratos if you want one of the best sounding solid state amps at any price. Powerful to drive most speakers and very fast.
Check out the reviews on the stratos. TAS golden ear award, IAR second best solid state amp in 1998, etc., etc..
No I have not heard the stratos nor the B&K, but I did come this ----><---- to purchasing a pair of Stratos monoblocks so I did some homework on them.
Whether preamp or amp, B&K is always surrounded by and compared to other mid-fi mfg'er's components i.e. yamaha, pioneer, denon, etc., and don't always win those contests.
Nothing wrong with that except the Stratos (from all that I know) simply is in a different league.
$1000 for one Stratos or $2000 for monoblock pair. Plus 20 year warranty.
Stehno hasn't heard the ST140, or the M200s, so his quick use of the mid-fi tag seems fairly liberal to me. These are super amps, and as Upstateaudio pointed out, they do differ (in my opinion, significantly) from the newer B&K's. If someone believes B&K to sound like Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, especially without an audition (not a unique opinion), I suggest they form an opinion on something other than price or hearsay. Especially with respect to the older amps.
My one point of caution is that the (current) ST2140 has low current and low damping factor. I second the recommendation that you consider a McCormack, just for comparables - I've owned both B&K and McCormack, and couldn't recommend one over the other for you, as they are different, but both can provide great sound with huge value.
I think it would have alot to do with your system and the sound you are looking for. I have heard the Stratos is an excellent amp and highly regarded. I also happen to own a B&K ST140 which to my ears has a smooth tube like sound, but not the most detailed. BTW this amp was a stereophile recommended component back in its day so I wouldn't call it mid-fi, especially if I had not heard it. TG
You are kidding yourself if you want to compare the type of performance of a Yamaha and some other mid-priced amps to an American made B&K!There is no contest!
I would say there are good Japanese made amps,but they are few!
Most B&K owner's I think would agree on this!I own a Modified ST-202 and I would not even consider selling it unless I needed more of something to drive a particular speaker!
Odyssey amps look and read nice and If you have auditioned them and they mesh well with your speaker's then by all means go for it!If you try B&K and they do well driving your speaker's for alot less go for them!
I have found that synergy between Spkrs. & Amps are a thing to closely listen to!Depending on the speaker's,synergy and how deep your pocket is depends on what to go after!
We all cannot own Krell',Liano's,Thresholds and megabuck amps,but we can get the synergy to get close to that performance for a fraction of the $$!
I have owned the Stratos and while good value it is about what you pay for in a really nice chassis which is actually a waste of space in my opinion. The cap storage is small unless you get the upgrade and the highs simply aren't the cleanest I have heard under 2K. I would save a bit of cash on the chassis and put the $ where it would matter more. While it may still best the newer B&K (never heard it however), it is a good amp but nothing special to me. This is only my opinion. I had a used, fully broken in unit.
I agree with the older B&K being more musically satisfying as I owned the ST140 about 7 years ago and should have kept it but I thought newer was better at the time. I would go with a Belles 150A HR before the Stratos. I owned the 150a and liked it a lot. Heck, you could get a Marsh A200S as well which I had only heard at a dealer but I was impressed in the depth and soundstage, thinking it sold for much more. I almost bought it but I went back to a integrated amp.
I'm not quite sure what twice as good means, but I have owned the ST-140 (not 2140), and the Stratos and they are in completely different leagues. The Stratos whipped it thoroughly in every category imaginable. My advice would be to get the Stratos with the cap upgrade if you can afford it. Like an earlier poster said, Klaus will bend over backward to satisfy his customers and it's resell value runs 85-90% of list. You can also upgrade to a dual mono design (same as monoblocks) down the road if needed.
Much obliged to everyone for your advice and suggestions. From what I gather from the posts, the two sounds are very differnet in nature, which helped me deciede for the B&K. Had the posts indicated one to be better in detail, soundstage, etc. over the other would have made choosing harder. Thank-you.