is the McCormack DNA 1 Deluxe the same as DNA 125?

Are these the same amps (excepting the wattage difference)? I can get both used for about the same price. Is there a prefferance for either? I will be using Paradigm Studio 60 v.2 speakers.
The DNA .5 = 125 and the DNA 1 = 225. The difference is basically wattage. The DNA .5 had better refinement than the 1, but I can't say the same goes for the 125 vs. the 225 (don't know).

Steve offers custom updates for the DNA .5 and DNA 1 amps. Apparently he has incorporated many of those upgrades as standard into the newer 125 and 225 amps, but he can't possibly put all of the boutique parts into them at those price points. He now offers custom updates for the 125 and 225 also.

If you don't need the extra power of the DNA 1, then the 125 gets you more. If you need the power then get the DNA 1. In either case I would suggest seriously considering Steve's upgrades - they make either of these into a world class amp.

Hello Fishcall -

Thanks for your interest in my amplifiers. The DNA-1 was the first of the DNA series of amps. It went into production around '90 - '91 and was produced until 2000. The DNA-1 (at 185W per ch.) was followed by the DNA-0.5 at just over 100W per ch.

The DNA-125 (125W per ch.) and the DNA-225 (225W per ch.) have replaced the DNA-0.5 and DNA-1. The design has been improved in a variety of ways, so the new amps are superior to the original models "out of the box." Your Paradigm Studio 60 speakers are not especially difficult to drive, so any of these amps will do a very good job. If your room is "average" in size, the newer DNA-125 is probably your best choice. If you have a large room that you would like to fill with high-volume music, the higher-power amps (DNA-1 or DNA-225) would be the better option.

As Bob has pointed-out above, upgrades are available for these amps if you wish to push the performance to even higher levels, but many people are very happy with the DNA amps in their stock form.

Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Best regards,

Steve McCormack
Wow! The builder of the amps in question answers! I love this place! Thanks Steve. I like my music loud when the family will let me so I'll either go with the DNA-1 or 225. I do however have another question. I listen to mostly audience and some soundboard live recordings of bands like the Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic (they allow taping and trading of their live shows) where the quality of the recordings isn't always that great. I have heard that the McCormack amps are extremely detailed and revealing. Will this make the live recordings sound even worse? Are the older or newer versions better for this type of music? thanks a ton.

I listen to a lot of Dead on my Thiel CS6s driven by a DNA-2 Dlx. The sound is great on the well-done recordings. These are very revealing speakers and to me, the combination gets every last bit of sound out of those recordings while still being pleasent to listen to. The Dick's picks and other official release stuff sound very good.
I listened to the Dead's four disc set closing of Fillmore East this weekend. listened to it twice. . . .followed by Little Feat's Waiting for Columbus.

The Dead set sounded fantastic given the age of the recording, but I am not entirely sold on silver cables.

I am loving my DNA 1 dlx, as it does provide improved dynamics, more and better bass, and better soundstaging, but it does tend to be harsh at times. I am not sure if harsh cymbals, for example, are due to the recording, the cabling, or the amp. . . . .but then that's is what this pursuit is about, huh?
Hello again Fishcall -

So, now you are asking the truly difficult questions! Yes, my amplifiers are detailed and revealing, and I believe them to be tonally neutral and transparent, as well. The real trick is to put all of these attributes together in an amplifier that is also sweet, relaxed, and musically engaging, no matter what sort of music you are playing. I have worked hard to achieve this goal, and the new amps are better in this regard than the originals. Still - as I am sure you are finding out - any amplifier is only as good as what is fed into it, and I have not designed my amps to be deliberately "mellow" or forgiving. If there are problems in your source material, you will definitely hear them, but this should be true with any good amplifier.

Equipment synergy plays a key role in any great system. It is ultimately up to you to experiment with different equipment, room setup, room tuning, cables, etc. to find the combination that works for you. This is both the pain and pleasure of the hobby. I wish you the best with your search, and I'll be happy to answer any of your questions about my equipment. Please refer to the FAQ section of my website at for additional useful information.

Best regards,

Steve McCormack

SMc Audio
929 El Pajodo Place
Vista, CA 92084
760-732-0352 voice
760-732-3209 fax

I use a DNA 125 with Vienna Acoustics Beethoven speakers and listen to audience recordings of the jam bands. The DNA-125 does a great job controlling the extra low bass that is usually on these recordings especially Widespread Panic when Schools drops a bass bomb!! The highs are sweet and liquid sounding. If you have recordings made with large diaphram mics everything sounds twice as nice. Bad recordings sound bad but they don't hurt to listen to as they did when I still had an Acurus A250.

Hope this helps