Why not go all McCormack. Get the 0.5 or the Deluxe would be even better.
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I had the same quandry some time back... need a good amp but don't want to spend a ton of bucks on one.
I considered several including McC, Para, BAT, and a couple of others some members named for me. Having personally owned BK 220 Ref, Krell KAV250, and a BAT VK500 w/BAT pk. in the past and used a friends Rotel 1080 for a little while too, I leaned towards another BAT going in.
Well, my paitience running short, and feeling 'new' was a real plus, aside from the break in part, I took a leap of faith and bought an Odyssey Stratos SE. it is just as all the online reviews say it is.... very good and a really solid value. It is comparable to the BAT vk500 in some respects, and superior to the Rotel and B&K units overall, bass, and top end refinement, and is simply far more musical than the easily twice the price KAV250 with nearly as great, dynamics. It also works well in either HT or audio only configurations.
I bought mine new, but they are well represented in the 'used' market too. Given the build quality, and had my paitience been greater, I'd have bought a preowned unit with no worries. At the time however, the used Odyssey pieces being offered were listed not much less than a new one so I opted for new insttead and gained some upgrades in the bargain.
Sincerely, the Odyssey is a fine amp and well worth consideration in the $1K +/- range, new. Only the VK500 was a better performer across the board, and then only by degrees in some areas.
I have had a number of amps in my system. Audio Research, B&K, MFA, Atma-Sphere, Odyssey, Krell and McCormack. Atma-Sphere is my favorite but at the time heat was a factor. The Odyssey I tried because I was setting it up in a friends system. Purchased off of Audiogon for about $700.I was very impressed. I have McCormack DNA-1s in my system. Mono blocked upgraded to the Platinum level with the Plitron transformers. These DNA-1s are better at imaging and have better tonality. The Odyssey was just as good if not perhaps a hair better than my DNA-1s when it comes to dynamics. The Odyssey was very quiet just like my DNA-1s.I do not remember what I have invested in the DNA-1s guessing about $5,000. I do not remember what model Odyssey it was. It was a stereo amp all of 50 pounds. Very nice looking. Blue logo light. Very nice binding post for speaker connections. I'm sure you would be happy with an Odyssey amp. The Odyssey amp I heard will deliver satisfying music in very very expensive systems.
The SE version has some board mods and power supply mods. Mine has 180k cap upgrades, and some resistor changes as well on the ckt boards.
My big Phase techs are pretty hungry units and drop to 2 ohms... the OS SE has no issues what so ever driving them.
I've run the sE on all of my speakers except my Sonata IIIs and can't wait to see what happens there.
I've a bit more than the $1100 figure for the monos you mentioned in my own SE model, and would only think about moving up to the Extreme monos were I to move up the food chain with Odyssey.
The BAT VK500 Wbat PK IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET A VK500!
I've seen them go from 1600 on up. averaging about 2K +/-. Mine was just before the end of the 500's production run and only a couple more were ever made. If you do want to Look for one I'd recommend one made late in the lines run... my serial # was 537. From the investigations I amde calling BAT about when a model was made, it seems they ran off about 25 or so a year... more or less. Call BAT for info on any prospective unit you might want and they'll clue you in on it's history and/or it's mfg date.
Now and then I regret ever selling mine, however there are lots of fine amps out there. The Odyssey line up is worth investigating and performs well above it's cost. Change the power cord right off though.
lastly, Klaus offers upgrades and updates... and even trade in allowances on moving up the chain, so you could just get in where you fit in and press onward or upward as you are able.