No comparison. Go with the monoblock Odyssey amps.
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I compared the Stratos to the Mccormack DNA-1 and DNA-2. The stratos wasnt even in the same league. The Odyssey product are designed to compete with Adcom and NAD. The Mccormacks are competing with Krell and Mark Levinson. Mccormack is now owned by Conrad Johnson. I thought the DNA225 was considerably more money than the Stratos??
The DNA-225 is around $2795 I think, and the Odyssey Mono's are $2150 a pair according to their site...but I think there is a "referece" upgrade. I would really love to here a side by side comparo. Any Odyssey owners or McCormack DNA-225 owner here in the DFW area willing to give a curios set of ears a listen?
I have heard the DNA1 too, and though none of the amps in question are anywhere near what I would call perfect, I'm sorry but the Odyssey was a clear winner to my ears, especially for its superior transparency and lack of grain. With the Odyssey you forget about the gear, forget you are listening to a recording and get lost in the truly believable performance, but with the DNA's you can't help but notice the amp. To me that aspect is very, very important. The Mc is not a bad amp, the Odyssey just much better to my ears. Others doing the same comparison have had similar experiences to mine as well, but I surely don't doubt others taste would lead them prefer the opposite conclusion! The virtues of both amps are plentiful on the net from many reviewers, pick what's more important to you and roll with it!
However, to say that the Odysseys where made to compete with NAD/Rotel makes me question if you have heard or know anything about the amps, or perhaps didn't set them up properly. They are copies of the near $4K Symponic Line amps from Germany, made in the US at much reduced cost, savings which are passed onto the consumer. WRT McCormack vs Levinson? Are you serious?!!!
Both are impressive, but I'm partial to the modded McCormacks. I don't think you will find many SS amps better than a fully modded McCormack at any price.
As for the stock versions, Peter Moncrief reviewed both and liked them almost equally if you read his International Audio Review.
Personally, I would go with the older McCormacks (DNA .5 or 1) for two reasons. First, these are the models that can be modified and the full mods surpass the current production models. Second, the McCormacks are more preamp friendly than the Odyssey. I don't think a passive preamp is advisable (and definitely not optimal) with the Odyssey.
I had a DNA-1 Rev. A with extras, and I'm sorry, but as good as it was, it still sounded somewhat sterile and cold. Yes, it was quiet, grain-free, and very black. When I would put on audiophile brass recordings, there was no bloom to the brass, a flatter imaging, no body to the instruments. I was comparing this to a tube amp, I should point out, but I do think there are other solid state amps that do things better.
So what would some of you that own either brand, say the sonic characteristics/differences between the two brands. Also, I must say I listen from a wide variety of material from Bela Fleck on DVD-Audio, to Norah Jones on 200 gram vinyl, to Tool on compact disc. And by the way..thanks for all the great comments so far....
before I purchased my odyssey monoblock amps, I compared them to the classe stereo and monoblock amps, mcintosh seperates and integrated amps, sim audio, plinius, McCormack, and bryston. i would not nor did I look at NAD or Rotel amps. whole different league of amps. i would compare rotel and nad to onkyo, integra, marantz, denon, etc...
I liked the odyssey monoblocks equal to if not more so than the amps i auditioned above (in my own setup). If I wouldn't have purchased the odyssey's, i would have purchased the classe monoblocks, which are very nice amps themselves.
The DNA-1 is NOT as good as the O.5. I have had both in my system. The Rev B and up are pretty amazing. Right now I am bi-amping Vandy 3Asigs with Rev B for the woofers and Rev A+ for the mid/tweets. Until I can raise the cash to upgrade the Rev B. It could not, IMO, be called sterile. My system shares the living room with lots of upholstered furniture, so the set-up is not ideal for imaging, but the timbral accuracy and detail, with emotional impact, has got my hair standing up on the back of my neck sometimes. Must be said that I've never heard the Odysseys, but a used 0.5 Rev A would seem to me to be a quite remarkable ss amp for the $.
I here allot of B.S. being thrown around from individuals who obviously have not tested the amps side by side. Being that they are fairly cheep I have been through the dual mono Odyssey with 120,000uf and the McCormack 125.
My digital source is a Cary CD-303/200. Phono is Herron Audio VTPH-1 hooked up to a nice custom table. Interconects are Valhalla and wire is Tara. I like tube pre amps so I own 3 (so I am a bozo some times) Audible illusions 3A, Herron Audio VTSP and Lamm LL2. The amps I use the most are a pair of DeHavilland Aries. Just so you know I gave the Odyssey away to a great friend. I played and tweeked it for about a year. Real nice amp for the $$, but out of it class when compared to more serious equipment. Listen - its a great amp for under $2,500. It has serious competition within that price range - but not allot. Once you go into the 3K and a little more range a large bulk of amplifiers outclass it in 'every' area. Granted, even in the very high price arena there are dogs as in the cheeper arena there are some stars. As for the Odyssey comparing to the McCormacks -you need a 'decent' system to hear the differences. If you dont have a system that will really resolve music for you - then buy what ever you can get cheepest and buy used. If you have something that resolves music in a more refined manner you will find that the McCormacks are easyer to listen to. In the right system they both have enough slam to scare you - really, but thats volume not refinement. The McCormacks go a couple of steps deeper into he music, but you need the ancillary equipment to hear it - and that how one should make decissions. I think that the Odyssey amp can balance real nice with a 5K to 6K well picked system. McCormacks will balance well in a 7K to 12K well picked system. In a 6K and less - both amps seem to sound very much alike in all areas.
I hope this info helps -
Haven't heard the Odyssey's. But I recently modded my DNA .5 to near-Rev A status (myself). It was a dramatic difference over the stock DNA .5 Deluxe. I also upgraded my speaker crossover components (to Sonicraft caps) earlier this year. These 2 mods improved my system tremendously. I really can't imagine it getting any better than this.
In my system I like the extreme oddyssey monoblock, than
krell fpb 300, than x250 pass lab, than plinius sa 100,
I compare this three amps side by side,To my ears the
extreme are more musical, more natural,bass is more
natural, the pianos are beautiful, voices are like live.
By the way I am using Andra eggleston speakers, sony 9000
es modwright signature ref,with output stage.using siltech
LS 120 gold and silver sp cable,direct to amp the cd has
built in volume control,The extreme are really really
musical, even with the thiel CS 6.My system is capable
telling the diferences mention above,I own the plinius,
Dont forget maybe the oddyssey did match my system well.
Beilieve me this amps can outperform expensive amps.
I found the McCormack 125 to be too cold for my tastes. I was comparing it to my McIntosh MC7100. The McI has great body and soul that the McC can't match. However the McC was a little more forward which was nice and the dynamics seemed a little faster. I kept the McIntosh however and am happy I did. I want to hear the Odessey but haven't in my system yet. I auditioned them and found they sounded great but I don't trust it until I have it in my system. Good luck! Arthur