Classe 201 -vs- Odyssey Stratos

OK, after all the positive feedback on the Stratos Amp, I'm wondering what sort of differences I can expect between the qualities of these two amps? The Classe 201 is 3,300.00 and the Stratos is 1200.00. I've had the Classe in my home for an audition and it was really nice, but before I spend all that money I want to try the Stratos to see if I agree with all the positive reviews.

Interestingly enough I only ordered the amp after reading the forums on AudioGon. I called Odyssey at about 6pm on Friday, and the guy who runs Odyssey (Klause) answered his cell phone while he was driving home! I think it was pretty cool that Klause had his business phone forwarded to his cell so he didn't miss a business call. I've been around audio for a long time, and I've never experienced this kind of service. However, I wil not keep the amp if it cannot match the performance of the higher priced amps.

I'm looking for feedback from others who have auditioned this amp against Classe 201.

I have a Classe CA-200 (the newer sort that is supposed to be electronically the same as the CA-201) on order. I am very curious to hear your results.
I compared the two, albeit in different systems with different speakers (classe 201 w. revel performa 20's) & odyssey w. vandersteen ce signatures). I selected the odyssey stratos and have been very happy, just a better overall performer IMO.
Oops, meant revel performa 30's.
Hey Rjones, did you get the monoblock version of the Stratos or the basic Stratos. Also wondering if you got the cap upgrade?

If you think the Stratos was better than the Classe 201, can you tell me where it pulled ahead? I cant wait to see for myself how this thing performs!

I got my stratos a week ago, i have extreme monos,
I ll tell you they are very good, I have only 120
hours on them,but the sound I am hearing is good.
I have heard the classe 201 they are good too,but
IMO I like the the stratos better, they are very
smoooth.. and natural. and powerful.
i recieved my odyssey extreme mono's a month or so ago,
time to go listen to tunes, i'm going to forget about surffing the net for a while and enjoy my music-enough said
Hi, I received my Stratos amp w/ the cap upgrade in the middle of January. Right out of the box I was very impressed w/ its build quality. Very good connectors and casing. Even the feet are of very good quality. It is a very large and heavy piece of equipment. Don't underestimate this, you'll need a lot of rack space for this beast. I had a minor problem w/ my unit after a couple of weeks. It failed to power up. An internal soldered wire had come loose. I spoke to Klaus and he gave his okay to resolder the wire. It was easy and the unit works perfectly now. He was very upset this had occurred. He did seem genuinely concerned. No big deal, but it did happen.

Intitially I thought the sound of the amp was poor. Harsh and constrained. No kidding. Odyssey recommends 1 month of burn in. I believe it. I didn't want to judge this amp too harshly at first, so I burned it in w/ continuous music play for the recommended month. Nearly 24/7 play. Things didn't really improve for at least 3 weeks. But they did improve, significantly. After 1 month the unit sounded good. No complaints.

I'm replacing a 20 year old Hafler DH200. Frankly the two amps sounded similar. I found it hard to distinguish the two. Maybe my ears are lame, who knows. I'm considering keeping the Hafler and selling the Odyssey. I'm not sure what to do. I have no complaints about this unit. But it's not blowing me away. This could be due to my system, but the amp didn't improve things significantly over the old trusty Hafler. IMO, of course.

System: Denon DCM370 CDP
B&K Pt3 II pre
VandenHul d102 IC's
B&W CDM9 Nt's speakers
Hammergjh, sell the Stratos, buy some music!

I liked the Odyssey better then the Classe's mentioned above in monoblock form, mainly because I found the Classe too laid back and I'm not a fan of a 75th row seat, which simply annoyed me right off the bat! I found the Stratos more transparent through the midrange, handling vocals slightly better, but not rivaling the Classe in terms of bass power and articulation, nor its vast and deep soundstage which trounced the Odyssey. That said, in my expereince in my system, for the same or less money on the used market the PS Audio and Bel Canto Digital amps easily dispose of the Odyssey or the Classe amp in most regards (except most notably wrt build quality!)....
Confused by Socrates!!!

Your name is all over the place singing the praises of Odyssey more than any other poster on ANY site (I did my research before I ordered my odyssey DM!) Whats up with the about-face?

Are you one of those "I bought one, so (for now) its the best" kind of reviewers?

If this is not the case, let me know. If you are one of those people... stop reviewing equipment!!!
Socrates, isn't the Stratos supposed to have more bass than Classe? That's what the soundstage! review said:
"Weighty bass," "smooth and grain-free treble," and "a distinct lack of the upper-midrange glare often found in affordable solid-state products"; "what you have on your recordings is what you will get from your speakers -- provided they're up to the task."
stratos review
No need to be confused, just have an open mind! Time moves on, as does technology. I owned the Stratos for a long time and it bettered a lot of competition in my home, from well regarded Musical Fidelity to McCormack amps and many in between, hence the previous praise. I would suggest it to anyone for audition looking in the price range, but to believe that it is the "best" amp available is surely an argument that defeats itself!

I recently picked up a PS Audio HCA-2 and also have the Bel Canto digital amp in my home currently, both of which have impressed me like no others, especially the HCA-2. That said this is my opinion, one which I am at full liberty to change at anytime and for any reason. Gimme a break! I go through about an amp a month in home and hear many at dealers at all prices. Believe me, I don't post reviews to make you or other people feel secure about your purchase, or to boost my or anyone else’s ego, and if that's what you're looking for you should stick to mindless reviews on I never boast about a product because I own it, but I will praise the product that I keep and give the reasons that I've kept it, relative to its competition, and I would never judge any product without having directly compared it to a similar product. Also, please realize that I do this all for myself, I don't review gear for other people (except my close audiophile friends via email), I sure as heck don't get paid for it (but I would welcome donations)! I have nothing at stake here but my time. I am a full blown audiophile, I'll admit that, and I'm having a lot of fun. My living room looks like a dealer’s showroom most of the time, with enough equipment lying around to build multiple systems. I enjoy reading, sharing and debating ideas with other audiophiles. I fully believe that if a reviewer cannot list both positive and negative aspects about every piece of gear that they audition then they either lack experience, perspective or credibility. I personally prefer to read honesty in a review, even when brutal, rather then sugar coated BS!

It's really sad that so few people are willing to actually say something less then glowing about a product online, hesitant to say anything negative as clearly, seemingly without exception, whenever one does speak their mind the owners of the product come out in droves to stone the messenger! It’s a lot of fun fending off tactless personal attack as well, let me tell you….


The bass weight of the Stratos was very impressive, its speed and articulation of inner detail, however, is lacking next to the big Classe monoblocks and the HCA-2.
BTW, the claim that "Your name is all over the place singing the praises of Odyssey more than any other poster on ANY site" is more then a bit blow out of proportion, you know that, right? I post 80%% of the time on this site, ocassionally on Audioasylum (I just don't like the board format there and find it a PITA to read), but NO OTHER audio boards. I've made only a handful of replies about this amp here, in NO WAY am I or have I been the head Cheerleader for this product, (that position would clearly be given to the owner of Odyssey Audio). You may wish to refine your research methods in the future....

"It's really sad that so few people are willing to actually say something less then glowing about a product online, hesitant to say anything negative as clearly, seemingly without exception, whenever one does speak their mind the owners of the product come out in droves to stone the messenger! It’s a lot of fun fending off tactless personal attack as well, let me tell you…."


Plenty of people say "less than glowing things" about products online. My point was that YOU have had very positive things to say about odyssey. My point is that you seem to have taken the approach of taking a rather negative view of the Odyssey amp (using words and phrases like "trounce" and "sell the Odyssey and buy some music"). AND dont assume that my response to your post was a "tactless personal attack"! I dont care enough about your review to attack. I simply wanted to comment that your posts in the past were glowing, and now that you have moved on to your new flavor of the month, your tone has changed. All I'm trying to say is that I'm sick of people reviewing positivly simply because they own it, and your name kept coming up where ever I did a search for Odyssey.
Mhubbard, please actually read my responses written on this topic, and also please refrain from putting words into my mouth, it’s quite rude.

If a person can't tell the difference between his classic amp and another amp, especially a more expensive one, why on earth should he keep it?! How is "sell the Odyssey, buy some music" a negative response? That's ridiculous! Seems like sound advice to me, and could be applied to any piece of gear in the same situation. Why does it offend you so much personally that another amp can be superior to the Odyssey that you cherish? Remember, it's just a hobby, and a largely aesthetic hobby where the only opinion that matters is your own....

Look at reviews for extremely popular or "hot" items with overwhelmingly positive reviews for examples (such as the Odyssey amps) of where you'll see any dissenting views attacked. Folks can speak their minds with older and less popular items, but say anything bad about a bandwagon product and the topics always get personal. It even happens professionally very often. Look at the review for the Thiel 1.6’s and Meadowlarks recently in Stereophile. They where given a less then perfect reviews and the authors where viciously attacked by die-hard owners. I really don’t think I’m making the phenomenon up, nor do I think that I’m the only person smart enough to figure it out, either....
Never mind Socrates, you obviously dont understand my point. I dont "cherish my Odyssey amp", because I dont even own one yet! Why dont you "please actually" notice who started this post and what it was supposed to be about!!!
Ease up Mhubbard. I think you are making something out of little or nothing. I did not see anything deragatory about Socrates comments in his earlier posts. Looked to me like he merely spoke what he heard in regards to comparative listening. Clearly a subjective opinion which is what we are looking for. Anyway, lighten up a bit, we are all in this hobby together.

I agree w/ Nealhood's last response. Socrates, I didn't consider your remarks regarding the Odyssey and my perceptions of the unit as offensive in any way. Frankly, I've been thinking the same thing. Sell it and placate my wife or BUY something else! I would like to get a second opinion on the two amps in an A/B test, so I may invite an ex-audiophile, current friend over for a listening session. He used to sell audio equipment in the Boston area 20 years ago. He sold me the Hafler way back in the early 80's. My ears may not be what they used to be so a second set my be beneficial.

Over in Audiocircles I posted some initial negative responses regarding my Stratos and got all sorts of comments regarding my system. It wasn't the Odyssey's fault, is was my associated equipment. Well that might be but for 1200 bucks, I better love the amp or it's gone.
Any amplifier will only sound as good as the system's weakest link. What an Odyssey won't do is make a silk purse out of a pig's ear.
heck if you like the old amp better keep it and send the odyssey back, its not about how much a system costs but how well it works for YOU.
you might have found the right amp for you 20 years ago.
send back the amp and buy more music- maybe you should look into a upgrade to the hafler amp, that might be better way for you to spend your cash.
btw-i enjoy my odyssey extreme monos so much i'm talking to klaus about a amp for subwoofer duty- i hooked my monos up to my vmps large sub and the bass was sooo musical.but no way will i buy monos for my sub- i'm not that sick yet or rich.
Yes, I agree that this post has gotten a little off track!

My final comment is that the fact is Socrates didn't even own a Odyssey amp in the first place. He owned a "BROKEN" ODL Amp, Which is a shame (that little detail was brought to my attention from the owner of Odyssey, who actually called me when he saw this post.). Its to bad he "reviewed" an impostor, he may have come to a different conclusion!
I have both experience, the positon of Socrates and Mhubard
in my early audiophile stage,when my friend will give my
system low grade, I get upset.NOT ANYMORE.Now I was invited
once to a friend house and told me I HAVE ALL THE FREEDOM
TO SAY ON HIS SYSTEM.The moment I told him my honest
opinoin.He burst into flame.YOU KNOW I JUST GOT MY STRATOS
OR MORE.I have to tell you this,this amps are running my
Andra eggleston like I have never heard before.I heard
them with very expensive gear but I like the naturality
of this monos than other expensive amps.NO ONE CAN CHANGE
Thanks for your comments above. It's always insightful to have the views of those with plenty of gear to compare with.

I'm very interested in the digital amps as well, and was wondering which model eVo you own? More importantly, what differences do you discern between the eVo and HCA-2? Thinking of pairing one with Signature 805s, and am hoping they'll be a decent match... TIA