I got an email from them 2 days ago that they are looking for beta testers so I expect it won't be out for maybe a few more months. If you're interested in it, you might also check out the NAD M10 and Arcam SA-30 which are in the same price range as the PS Audio. Both of those also have room correction built in, if that floats your boat.
I've been in contact with PS audio and found out that the Beta program is still being designed, so they have no details on the t's & c's of the program so far.
I don't know how well room correction works in the real world and haven't seen much positive press on it so it's not something I'm currently seeking out, but I'll look into the NAD and the Arcam.
Thanks for your suggestion.
Both are interesting for different purposes. Paul speaks a little about the Strata in this youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXcPNegMIJ0
For Strata I will be looking forward to understand if it will be Roon Ready at some point and to what extend the DAC is upgradeable. I notice the wording "implified FPGA known as a CPLD". I agree with @hilde45 that a concern for such an army knife is to keep it updated.
It won’t even begin beta testing for a month or two. You can find a thread on this at the PSA site.
These PSA projects always slip. Now they will beta test the m1200 amps before strata. I suspect because of the software difficulties with producing their own streaming app.
Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I’d be surprised if Strata is available before Independence Day at earliest.
Hilde45, you have a good point.
The newer separate DACs & preamps are software upgradeable. Whether or not they can pull that off for different parts of an integrated, at a affordable price is not known, yet.
In my field, digital production printing, we can put firmware on a USB drive, and using the control panel on the press, initiate the installation of upgrades on the print engine and all of its optional accessories. But that's a $300,000 system, not a $3,000 system.
Thanks, @mwinkc . And I really have positive feelings about PSA — mostly from watching videos and reading reviews. My sense is that they realized that there's this price point that they're not fielding a full enough set of products; they realized that they were on to something with the Sprout in filling the all-in-one niche, but needed to do it at a more mid-fi or audiophile-attracting price and quality point.
From my perspective, just getting into the hobby, I realized that once one goes above about $2.5k, there are some very good reasons to separate the streamer from everything else, or, perhaps the streamer and DAC from the power sources. This is due to upgrade-ability.
But perhaps they have a good point — which is that this will be a really good piece of gear that will hit the swath of the market that would likely never buy, say, a deHavilland preamp or a Pass amp (etc.) and that folks will be happy with it — and will feel safe to try it with their 30 day money back and their trade-up/trade-in program.
And what about the audiophiles, then? Well, for those who *really* want/need to keep the price point at $3k or under, well, where are you going to find 200 wpc of good quality with all that other stuff? You'd likely be hard pressed. (Though I do wonder who really needs 200 wpc and also what Parasound might be doing with the HINT line.)
P.S. As just one example of what the Strata might encounter, here's the Naim Uniti Atom, on sale, 1 year old. Similar type of unit as Strata, similar price, 8/10 condition, and already 30% off.
Kren0006, yes..It’s 200wpc @ 4ohms.
I asked Scott at PS Audio several questions in my first email on the subject, first one being whether or not the Strata, a Class D amp, has enough power & overhead to drive my Maggie 1.6’s.
I did not get answers to most of my questions but the email resulted in being referred to someone else and being put in the beta program.(Should be taking shape at the end of the month).
In Paul’s recent video, announcing the Strata, he did mention that the Strata will pair nicely with Magneplaners.
Ordinarily I would not be looking at class D, but I’ve read that PS Audio and some other higher end Class d amps can drive less efficient speakers like Maggie’s, well.
As always the proof will be in the listening!
Yeah I think there will be a big market for these one box solutions that some call super integrateds (traditional integrated amp plus streaming).
There will be a lot of competition and I think soon enough almost all the players will have a competing offering.
NAD and Naim were two of earliest adapters but PSA not far behind IF strata gets released anytime soon. That is no guarantee if you follow the follies relating to speaker and server design there but I wish them well. They certainly are transparent with their customers which is to be commended.
Will be interesting to see how PSA unit compares to the other options.
Just a couple of points, the price in the UK shows 3000 British pounds which would mean a price of $3,500.00+ in the US
As per power if they are saying 200 watts into a 4 ohm load that means 100 watts into an 8 ohm load.
If you are going to spend $3k + on an integrated amplifier this would not be an integrated amplifier that would be on our short list.
The most exciting integrated amplifier in a similar price point although a bit higher is the new NAD M33 which most people in the industry feel is going to be the definitive product to look at at its price point and as a step up in the next price class above.
the NAD M33 is the first amplifier to use Purefi, which is the latest amplifier technology from Bruno Putzzis, the inventor of Hypex, then Ncore and now Purefi.
The new M33 offers an even better feature set
1: Twice the power 200 watts 8 ohms
2: The Purefi amplifier technology which is reported to sound far better than any previous technology from Bruno.
3: Full MQA
4: Dirac Room Correction
5: Full Roon compatibility
6: Part of the Blue Sound OS
7: Up-gradable Nad MDC design to allow for future hardware changes
8: Built in phono and headphone stage
We have one on order the preliminary reports are the M33 is just one fantastic sounding product.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ NAD M33 dealers
@audiotroy,Umm, it’s a US product so attempting to derive or guess at US price from UK price, a$$backwards, especially when PSA has already said US price $3k : )
As they say on ESPN, Come on, man!
I’d think the Hegel’s would give everything mentioned above a very strong run for the money. Wasn’t crazy about NAD M10 sound. Sounded veiled to me
Kren the NAD M10 is using a hypex based amplifier the sound quality of that product shows its hypex roots.
The M10 is a nice sounding product we dramatically prefer the warmer punchier Naim sound.
The new M33 is a different league we heard one during its New York City press preview.
The PS audio piece is rumored to be in the $3k range.
As per the Hegel being better we have the Hegel H120 and the H390 which are superb, with the Nad M33 which we have on order we will most likely have the largest selection of high quality integrated amplifiers in the country, we have NAD, Unison Research, Hegel, Micromega, Musical Fidelity, Anthem, Naim and a few others.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Yeah I think I’d prefer the Hegel amplification stage to the others (just a guess) but I wonder about the Hegel streaming interface???
That said, the PSA fans are diehard and I would love to hear some of their products. Unfortunately direct only now, no dealers in US any longer. Fun to follow some of their threads over there tho
If we are going to diverge on this thread about Purefi. I will add that Computer Audiophile has a great interview with the Purefi team. The thing that caught my eye was Bruno's quote that the goal of the company was too to remove a zero from the price of an amp. If his amp were to compete against a $10K amp he wants to build it for $1K (just arbitrary numbers used by me).
I looked a the NAD M33 Purefi amp via the specs and was a disappointed it does so many things in 1 box. Not really the dragon slayer amp that Bruno was talking about in the interview. Though this is the first amp to have the new Purefi tech so I am still waiting on a Purifi amp only, something like the Mola Mola Kaluga amp.
Thanks for your suggestions.
The NAD 33 looked interesting, but it is quite a bit more expensive than I'm able to go at this time.
" The M33, a BluOS™ enabled DAC/amplifier that can serve as the heart of a reference whole-home system. In its simplest form, the M33 (US$4999/€4999/£3999 MSRP) is an ultra-high-performance streaming amplifier with superb audiophile sound "
On NAD's website it's output is listed as "Continuous Power: 200W into 8/4 Ohms", so no more power on tap for the additional $2000.
The Hegel looks fantastic... but then from what I hear, Hegels are very nice. However it's another $5000 integrated.
To stop the guessing over the Strata's price...PS Audio has the price listed on their website. It's $2999. Of course, unlike the NAD, it is lacking a PhonoStage, so I'd need to come up with that additionally.
One does wonder where they had to skimp to do that and whether or not the DAC or Streamer modules can be updated via software/firmware.
I went from receivers to separates a few years ago.. so it feels a little odd going back, but I'm not going to be upgrading my Emotiva preamp/dac and power amp with other separates costing 3-5 thousand each.
I got a mid/low end Marantz CD6006 last month. It has a DAC that blows away the DAC in my Emotive PT-100. I stream from my laptop through the Marantz now. It just started me thinking about what level of components must be in the Emotiva to create a Preamp, MM/MC PhonoStage, tuner and DAC for $325.
Anyways, it will be very interesting to test one.
MTDining, The Ayre EX8 looks nice. Not sure what the output is for 4ohm speakers. They list " 100Wpc into 8 ohms (20dBW)". (Again thinking of my Maggie 1.6's. Didn't see much in the way of streaming support, other than Spotify and Roon. Lastly, it's $6000.
PSA site has clarified that Strata will have a chip-based dac (unlike Directstream Sr, for example). The dac in Strata will presumably be upgraded over the one in Gain Cell Dac/Preamp. The chip is ES9016 or 9018, I forget which (16 I think), for whatever that is worth.
Yeah, I agree with chrshanl37 on these products filling a nice gap and being good for the industry. Too many too content with poor quality and if this can be a gateway that’s good.
Chrshani these products are perfect for the new buyer just entering the market, the fact that the NAD piece is part of a broad high performance echo system which allows for sound via the same interface to be played throughout a house is a wonderful thing.
We are very big on the Nad and Naim products because they are both good to great sounding lines and they easily morph into echo systems that can allow for sound in the users Kitchen, or Family room, via a streaming soundbar, NAD, or via a NAD surround sound receiver etc.
The NAD is a 200 watts into both 8 ohm or 4 ohm loads the PS is 200 watts into a 4 ohm load but is only 100 watts into an 8 ohm load so unless your loudspeaker is 4 ohm the NAD may be a bit louder.
The take away is that this is an exciting time for audiophiles on a budget with outstanding sounding integrated amplifiers from Nam, Nad, and many others.
Dave and TroyAudio Doctor NJ Nad, Naim, Hegel dealers
So Strata now appearing on PSA web site product page, listed at $2999 USD.
Not available for sale yet, product page says still in beta testing , but the PSA forums actually clarified (Paul himself, within last 10 days) won't start for Strata until near end of April (despite product page saying now in beta testing)
Perhaps this had been showing for awhile, but I just noticed it on the PSA product page. I think it'll be an interesting product.
Okay, I can't promise a lot of responsiveness if anyone replies here, because life is crazy now, but I have appreciated these forums and what people contribute, so here's my $0.02.
I joined the Stellar Strata beta. I've been burning it in for three days straight now using Spotify and USB. I read somewhere that Class-D amps take a long time (two weeks!) to burn in, and I would definitely not recommend any listening for the first two days of music and pink noise. Definitely, don't do it. But it sounds good enough after three days that I'll probably only wait a week before getting seriously comparative.
On the third day, the PRaT and bass are showing themselves to be head-bobbingly competitive with my Naim 250 DR system. And detail in digital playback (vs. my Schiit Yggy/B) has moments of "hmm, hadn't heard/don't recall that sound/quality" from long-time test tracks. But, I'm not ready to go head to head yet due to drapes being inconveniently removed for cleaning. When they're back, it's going to be fun because my room and system are tuned and IMO, awesomely satisfying for me.
So why the Strata over my separates system?
In my world of sonic priorities, overall sound quality is #1 and PRaT is #1 with tone/timbre/frequency balance and blackness and "real" space around soundstage/reverb a close second. i.e., All of that.
But if the Strata can sound good (enough), then it has some points possibly going for it that are very appealing:
1. PS Audio know a thing about AC power, so I presume the power section is reasonably well designed. I have a dedicated line and the area where I live has clean-ish power, but I'll probably get one of their regenerators anyway.
2. The DAC is built in and has their Analog Gain Cell "preamp" as well as their trickle down time-domain tech from their big DAC, but most important practically is that Strata has Ethernet input which obviates the need for external DAC, power cable, and extra digital to digital conversion (DDC) steps with their attendant power cords and power supplies. Each of those elements affect the sound and expense. My current system achieves outstanding results in just this fashion. Wouldn't it be great to keep the sound and have all the mess go away?
2a. Since it is designed for modern streaming, I hope it can play Spotify with reasonable quality, and so far I think it does. But, more testing when the drapes are back. Local files streamed via iTunes still sound noticeably better, but Spotify Connect is reasonably good quality for less critical listening (meaning more than background music, but less than music as complete forefront of attention).
Maybe a different filter DAC setting, maybe not. Nice to have a choice even if I'll probably set and forget. My problem is that I still like better sound regardless (even if it's not "better music") so in general I will still go to the trouble of local files for familiar songs. This might be the biggest hurdle for me.
3. I presume I won't have to re-cap the PS Audio unit like I do my Naim gear every five to seven-ish years! The improvement after recapping is awesome, but the financial hit is, well, worth it for Naim's sound. But wouldn't it be nice not to have to?
4. Going from four big and two small boxes and snake's pit of cables to one box & remote. Far fewer fancy, expensive cables (read: expensive components unto themselves). One box generating close to the same, or just different but comparable quality of sonic emotion produced by my current system.
5. All this reasonably distinctive analog and digital and power tech being integrated and voiced into one box by a company and people in that company who have a history in the industry. That counts for something.
People seem to be concerned about upgrade-ability. I'm not. If it sounds great already, what's to upgrade other than maybe a tweak to the DAC or adding in some new streaming service? I say upgrade your room/treatments and AC power and speakers before worrying about this other stuff.
The point of all this is simply to share my positive impressions so far and lay out the reasons for a buyer who like me, might want high resolution, high quality sound in one box with minimal audiophile cable tweaks like DDC with their commensurate power and cable expenses. All I expect to add are a power cable (AVOptions) and Uptone Audio's EtherREGEN + Transparent (Audio) Ethernet cable.
Admittedly, it's a great time in affordable audio. I can think of several possible choices, options and system scenarios including separates, at this price point. But one can't audition everything (especially in one's own room/system), and we've all gone to hear something with rave reviews only to be let down by...so many possible things. So for me, #5 above is an exciting starting point, and because of the beta program.
Hope this helps!
Kukur9, Thank you for the detailed, thoughtful first impressions of the Strata.
I had a slot in the beta program, but the Corona virus cost me the fiscal-year end bonus that I was on track for in April, costing me 12K and putting a small shadow of uncertainty on my future employment. It became clear to me that for now, and for me, it was the time to save money, not spend it. I HATED stepping out of that beta opportunity!
Your good descriptions of functionality and product strategy confirmed my expectation....sounds like it is exactly what I've been looking for. Oh well...maybe later.
I'll keep living with my lowly Emotiva preamp/dac/tuner/phono stage for a while longer. I did give in to a lower price streaming option to satisfy that itch, by ordering a Bluesound Node 2i which should be here today sometime.
Enjoy your Strata and be well!
Just picked up my Stellar Strata yesterday and working on burning it in. Will be demoing it vs the Peachtree Nova300 and NAD M10.
The setup on the Strata is almost comically clunky. Two buttons that you have to click, double click, long click (think setting a 90's alarm clock), but that's only a 1-time deal. The PS Audio Connect app is actually pretty decent. So far it seems like the Strata has a few bugs here and there, but the sound (even pre-burn in) has been really good - a bit warmer and fuller than the Peachtree.
Also, I realize this may be outdated thinking, but I appreciate the fact that the Strata has some weight to it (maybe not McIntosh heavy, but ~30lbs). The M10 feels like it'd blow away in a strong breeze.
Had the M10 for my office system, sold it, sounded decent but not good enough for the $. Looking for a replacement, on a whim I bought the Marantz PM7000N for less than half the $ - it is an all-in-one too minus the sexy looks, room correction and Roon, BUT crucially it sounds better to my ears. I was hesitant because it only puts out 60 watts into 8 ohms and the speakers I was looking to pair it with are the hard to drive LS50s, but it seems to have no problem with the load.
IF you are exploring to purchase the PS AUDIO STRATA, I share my experience with you on this product:
IF you are exploring to purchase the PS AUDIO STRATA, I share my experience with you on this product:
Wow, sorry you're going through all that.
It's pretty surprising, given PS A's reputation.
I was in the beta program, ready to purchase a beta unit when Covid shutdowns drastically cut into my income, forcing me to re-think spending a couple grand on something I didn't absolutely need.
A year ago I got a Parasound NewClassic 200 Integrated and I've been totally pleased with it.
Totally shocked at all the bugs you report and even more shocked by your firmware date. May 2020 was in the middle of the beta release. Does this mean it's been out 18+ months and the beta firmware is all that is available?
Hope PSA gets it's act together soon!
Maybe you should write to "Ask Paul".
Good luck to you and thanks for the "heads up".