Is there a very nice SS amp around 1K?


I'm looking for thoughts on solid state amps around $1000 which have XLR & SE inputs... around 100 wpc or so.. and a balanced presentation.... and not real old.

Is there such a thing?

Usage is likely 50/50 music/HT... and as a back up amp for main system. So long as it doesn't have tendencies which stick out like a sore thumb, and is something one can listen to for extended periods... that'll probably do just fine.

ATI's AT2002 is close to your price new.
Try to find a used Odyssey Stratos, should find one in your price range.

Thanks... never heard of them... but that doesn't mean anything I suppose.

how do they compare to any other amps, like BAT, or Pass, or Macs?
ATI was formed by Morris Kessler, he owned SAE way back when. ATI also builds amps for other companies...Adcom, Outlaw Audio...and a few others.

I second Jmcgrogan2 suggestion of Odyssey Audio; also the man behind the scene Klaus.
Adcom 5802 300 watt powerhouse that runs in class A under normal listening. It is a 50 pound beast. It was just recently discontinued from its 1998 introduction. Lots of positive reviews.This was part of a high end endeaver using a Nelson Pass design. Used around $850. Can't do much better for the dollar!!
I'd go for a McCormack DNA 0.5 personally.
Blindjim, I use ATI's little AT602 in my office system and I've been very pleased with it. I would put them close to Bryston (I owned, until recently, Bryston 7B SST). Build quality is quite good; 7 year transferrable warranty; made in the USA; measurement specs look good; dual transformers in the AT2000 & AT3000 series (check the weight -- it's not the faceplate); sonically neutral to my ears.
Here's another vote for the Odyssey Stratos. You might even find an Extreme version around that price range.
Well, I suppose the answer is Yes! there are indeed good amps around for $1K.

Thanks... again.. I must live under a rock... Odyssey? Well, you were sure right on that RSA Haley business. I agree completely... and I'm trying to get back to XLRville I guess.

So far it's Odyssey Stratos; Hafler 9505; ATI 2000 series. Is hafler still in business? I know the other are... or seem to be.

Don't wish to slight anyone, but I'm simply not big on Adcom. Truth be told, I was banking on a BAT VK200 being available.

Given the choices so far, do any have the edge in musicality? Or are these all straight forward neutral blue collar types? ...nut'n special? Or, should I even expect special in this $$ neighborhood?

I saw a number of reads on the Stratos, nothing on the Hafler... and an old note on the ATI units not the new ones though.

What, no Bells promoters?
A pair of Monarchy Audio 100SE. Next question?.....!
Blindjim- Hafler Corp was purchased by Rockford Group some years back. They do still support the products that they've built(like the 9505), but- not the earlier stuff. Excellent service and warranty on repairs.
Bryston made some nice ones.
Don't forget Forte 4A. Does not meet your 100 wpc spec, but it does pump out 100 wpc @ 4ohm and runs in pure class A. Very sweet sounding, I like it better than McCormack and most think McCormack DNA is better than Odyssey.
BAT VK200 is balanced in only.

B&K might be the answer for even less $$$.
I'm glad you are enjoying the RSA Haley Jim, it does not surprise me that you chose it. It's quite a bargain, IMHO.

As for the amp, I recommended the Odyssey Stratos because of ALL of the criteria you originally listed. SS, around $1K, XLR & RCA inputs, 100 wpc, balanced presentation AND not real old.

I agree with Semi, that my first choice under $1K would be the Forte 4A. Great amp! Can be had for much less than $1K, and will outperform many much more expensive amps. However, it only puts out 50 wpc into 8 ohms, and it IS relatively old. McCormack and BAT are both very good SS amps too, but again, not very new for a kilobuck.

Enter the Odyssey Stratos, this amp competes with many MUCH more expensive amps, and those that tend to 'snub' it do so because it does not cost enough. Search the archives, here and at Audio Asylum. You'll find that this amp will best fit ALL of your original criteria. Should your criteria change, your options may too. However, the Stratos DOES show that there is very good SS for around $1K, IMHO.

Blindjim- Here's a little more info on the Hafler 9505:(
You can pick up a very nice second hand Musical Fidelity amp on Agon or ebay in this price range.

I picked up a smooth and refined sounding, reasonably powerful MF A3CR on ebay for about $600. On agon, these come up regularly for just a bit more. I have an affinity for tube-like smoothness in reproduction, but like the simplicity and extra oomph factor SS adds and have been 100% pleased with the MF amp addition.
Thanks... I feel you are right here. I am disappointed to find out the XLR input on the Stratos leads to a not truly balanced configuration inside. it's just another way to not have to change ICs outright.


ONe of the notions for use I had swimming about in my head was to go 100% balanced using the BC DAC 3 as the DAC/pre with the ??? SS amp.

I've a few people to speak with later on regarding their offerings, here and elsewhere... Klaus & I are supposed to speak tonight.. again.

Thanks much.. BTW B&K will fall into the Adcom sub-phyllum IMO. I also know from exp the BAT will do very nicely with XLR/RCA adapters, if the need strikes me to go that way.

Good. MF had not even been an afterthought for me, as I have been of the inclination the MF sound was purely SS neutrality and without much by way of soul... untill one got quite far up their food chain. I'll look into it.

The "ooomph" factor, or 'jump' quotient as I call it sure is what I am in part seeking. My main system has surpassed any previous ones and shines in the area I enjoy overall.. vocalists, folk, blues, etc. or smaller ensembles. it does very well in every area in fact... What is missing is the 'jump', and outright bass slam many very busy tracks of big band and rock contain. Either by simple numbers or underemphasized cues that remain integral to a mo proper presentation... IMO.

I'm getting them enough, just want 'em jumpin' a mite more so.

hence this "Dialing for diodes" and off the main trail 'sand fest'.

I'm thinking, the added inherent speed of SS and it's nature to do better generally speaking, in the nether regions of sub 100Hz developement, may make this effort worthwhile.

So long as the ??? amp doesn't possess fatiguing traits elsewhere in the reproduction... AND as always for me, it needs be musical. i need to hear the diffs well enough to know when a doghouse bass or an electric one is going... easily. When it's a trumpet or coronet... tennor or clarinet.. without much difficulty. I get that now, so I'd want it close to that with this next 'whatever' amp.

I'm again speculating, but feel with the limits of bass output the BC is being regailed to provide, a good SS amp in my setting will be a gooder fit for those times banging and swanging are the soup du jour.

I'll check out those links.
Jim, you did not say that you were originally looking for a truely balanced amp. It would have been a revelation had you mentioned this.
If you choose to limit yourself to fully balanced amps less than $1K, I would say to go ahead and look for the VK-200 that you seem to seek.
Just change your original question for balanced only, and forsake the RCA connectors, so we know what you're looking for.

I've never seen a Musical Fidelity amp with XLR connectors. Which model has them?


Jim, an amp that is not a balanced design does not mean that it doesn't have a differential input behind the XLR connector and will provide the CMR of balanced lines. I have no idea if the Stratos is simply running the XLR in parallel off the RCA or not, but I see no reason to limit yourself to a balanced design. As long as the amp provides differential inputs (active or transformer), you can use balanced lines with confidence.
Another option from PS Audio: Trio
ooops. Sorry. My bad. I forgot about the balanced topics of implied or real

I see xlr's and think automatically, "Oh, it's balanced completely", and think nothing further. I understand there really is a design difference in truth. However I recall finding out from sources other than the makers some gear is not truly balanced after all....

Further, I also think it isn't proper tactics to provide such imputs & outputs and not disclaim true design topology as quickly as they'll point out the connections.

Be that as it may, Yep... I was thinking about the above path for using the BC DAC 3 as I had said... Running Fully balanced outright, as part of the equation. Not the end all be all, just a part. Upon further review it's the sound which is most important to me. Well, that and price just now.

Ever which way them electrons are directed inside is merely a philosophical debate and one I'd as soonn eschew now.

My propensity for the BAT amp comes solely from first hand knowledge and is therefore reassuring.... for me knowing is better than not knowing. Always.

Add to this the importance of system mating/matching (about the same, ain't they?), and it's not hard to see why I'd bring up BAT.

Balanced or no, is no deal breaker. The end result or the music as it were, is the real deal for me.

During this post my decision was or has been made for me!

I'll be buying a new... "Odyssey Stratos stereo amp" with current technology.. with several internal upgrades.

Well ... that's a new record for me in seeking out a new 'whatsit' via input through the threads here.

it may be premature, but thanks so very much folks.

Everything seems to have met my criteria... (nearly) USA made (Whenever possible), great customer service, a great implied warranty, a respected designer, well thought of product, and a good value.

Now we wait... uh sorry, I wait.

5 weeks +/- build time, another week for delivery... and then six more till it opens up. Gee. that is a long time.

I suppose I need to be less spontaneous!
Klaus is a phenomenal salesman. Very passionate about his products. I remember speaking with him...well listening to him is more accurate...for about half an hour, and then placing an immediate order for a pair of Odyssey Extreme monos after he offered a double-super-secret-eye-wink price. Several days later, a used pair came up on Audiogon and I canceled my order with Klaus. I couldn't reconcile paying the significant price differential for the same amps. I had a tinge of guilt for about a day or so.

The amps were pretty good overall. An excellent bang-for-the-buck, as they say. I sold them two months later, and ended up buying a significantly more expensive (and better) amp. That was two pairs of speakers ago.

Wheel keeps turnin'...


The "salesmanship" came via the remarks of a good many owners of Odyssey produtcs, here on these pages and elsewhere. Also from needs, funding, etc.

As far as canceling an order... well, to each their own I guess. Given the application for this item, I feel the deal erstwhile. I'll not retract. I gave my word. Only some immense unforseen poor circumstance could possibly make me withdraw, once I agree to a thing... or of course, some default by the other interested party.

I spare myself remorse and duress by not continuing to shop for a thing when I've already made a committment to buy one. I'm too ensconsed in my 'old school' ways to change my behavior now. My tongue in cheek remark about spontaneity was my own inside joke. I don't spend compulsively, or impulsively. I simply can't afford to. Nor can I, afford to make capricious purchasing decisions.

...and let's face it Tvad, I think I'm easier to please than some... ''cause in part, of my demeanor, and due diligence. truth be told, comparing 'new' to 'preowned' isn't right anyhow, is it?

For a couple hundred, more or less, I'll always go with new and for more reasons than mere dollars... if I'm able to of course.

If the performance level of this thing is on par with it's price tag I can move up to the monos with a 100% trade in/up value.

For a now and then (not main) instance, and HT use primarily, it'll fit well I believe... if not, I doubt I'll lose much.

Thanks for the afterthoughts though.
03-13-08: Blindjim

truth be told, comparing 'new' to 'preowned' isn't right anyhow, is it?

Why not?

Depending on the length of ownership and condition of the component, I see no reason not to compare new to preowned.
My two cents if it might help:


The Odyssey Stratos looks very nice on paper. I have never heard it so I cannot comment on that.

If you must have balanced connections, like the Odyssey, and are not comfortable with pre-owned, I think you should buy it.

However, you do appear to have high standards when it comes to your equipment based on your current setup. Given that, $1000 is not a lot for a new SS amp. $1000 could buy you something first rate that went for over $2000 minus inflation pre-owned in its time.

Other than in the case of Class D/Icepower amplification, which might be worth considering as well in this price range (I have), I'm not sure that there is categorically much difference in general between today's most recent designs and those of a few years back, which might be had pre-owned at a significant discount, all other factors aside.
Another thing I could say in favor of the Odyssey is that a lot of people have reviewed it very highly on Many positive, consistent reviews on a piece of equipment from people who actually own and use it is worth way more than any individual's sales pitch or opinion (in my opinion).

I appreciate the sentiments, and your perspective. I do understand too the slant of value by way of savings on preowned gear. Trust me on that… The Thor preamp would surely not be here were I to have been forced to pony up retail duckets for it. Only a few of my electronics comprising my now system were bought brandy new. The Sonata IIIs, some cabling, the Oppo, some iso deally thingys & tubes… the Onkyo receiver.. and some other items.

My previous BAT + VSA 4JR system was totally bought pre-owned save the wires… and a few of them were used as well. Some items weren’t entirely up to snuff outright. My inexperience then kept me unawares of some errant issues for a while and thus became irritating and ultimately costly for me.

Therefore now, I try to get as close to new as is possible, as a rule. Eg., above, feeling better about it. Still, I initially seek out those less costly pre-owned items.

To my detriment, patience is a virtue I am quite short on. So as I have said repeatedly for me, it comes down to me feeling good about a thing to do the deal.

I tried four or five sellers of various amps… some far more costly ones too. Some sellers didn’t even have the courtesy to respond, some took their time and replied with the caveat “it’s likely sold” , other’s were simply beyond what I could pay in the end… regrettably.

Being so decided, I felt that what was available currently, versus what I could get it for in new condition, well I made my pick.

The balanced bit? I already went through that part.


….Why not?

It’s apples and oranges…. New vs. preowned, I’m sure of it. The words aren’t even spelled the same way!

Seriously though used always has a real big question mark on it. Always.

Hell, it’s a toss of the dice in any event for matching. Always one for subjective reasons. So we do what we do for whatever we justifiably predispose.

To each their own.
Good customer service is certainly a big factor!

The piece you are looking at has received many positive reviews form many very satisfied owners, so I have no doubt it represents a good value in new gear with the features that matter to you in your price range!

Just buy the dern thing + enjoy!

Just have fun....isn't that what it's all about?
Seriously though used always has a real big question mark on it. Always.

Blindjim (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
I disagree wholeheartedly. Many outstanding used components are available that are essentially new. One certainly must do their due diligence and know the right questions to ask. Buying new relieves a buyer of asking the questions, so for some the peace of mind is worth the 50-100% higher cost of a new component versus preowned. So, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on this topic. It's not pertinent to the thread anyway.

As I wrote earlier, the Odyssey is a fine amp, an excellent value, and has many happy owners.
10-4 Mapman ... I agree wholeheartedly. Mine is in cue as we speak.

unless you have a lie detector handy and an experienced operator on site.... it's a dubious prospect at best. Even if previewed at the sellers home... though that latter scenario does inspire more confidence usually. It's one item I'll always place in my ads for sale.

I'll put this to rest this way, I've sought out and bought fine pre-owned gear. I will continue to do so too.

BUT when the cost differential from used to new is more a marginal thing lets say, I'll opt for new most everytime.

In fact I've seen items previously and now, which are listed only a hundred or so less than would be the model bought new! the Lavry DA 10 for example... one seller listed it at $850.00 I'll spend the added $125 then for a brand new warrantied one and not look back. It's not worth the time wasted to me. That's all. Same thing goes for some of the Stratos units being adv'd. for not terribly more money a new current tech supported unit can be had so why not?

To each their own I'll buy new when I can, and used when I have to. So far for me, it's working out.

I feel good about this upcoming Odyssey unit... all things being considered.
If it's a few hundred bucks...10% or so, then I new.

Buying used is only valuable to me if the savings is at least 40%, depending on the scarcity and desirability of the component.

On this we agree.
Lots of good suggestions but it's time to get real.

We agree? Good... I'm feelling all warm & fuzzy now. Thanks.

Gee what a great handle. too bad the amp choice isn't as good. IMO

if their big 3-400 wpc mono block amps are better than that one, I'll pass. I heard the blocks not long ago and came away from that event feeling astounded as to how anyone would pay that much for that little by way of performance.

The setup might have not been the best.. you tell me... treated room... Wilson Sophias... Ayre 5 something preamp, .. Ayre 7 player... and all Transparent wireing... (pretty sure it was not the entry level cables).

Lot's of resolution, decent imaging, but it was like in black and white.. not musical. I was very suprized. Disappointed too. that was my one and only demo of Ayre gear as I was then interested in getting their 5 preamp.

I've given Ayre not one thought since then as the result.

...but I do appreciate your desire to share that possible resolution.

...we'll see soon enough.
check out You will not be sorry
..... summing up

I bought a new Odyssey Stratos SE amp.

I now have just over 25% of the required run in time on it.

It was not at all a bad sounding unit even after just a couple days... but more time is quite telling and it is continually improving, albeit marginally now... bit by bit it is gaining body and bass and opening up. I feel more time though is necessary to achieve it's best end. The neat part is that it sounds very good at this point.

it looks fine... runs very cool... is very responsive Io power cable changes… as well as other cabling… and is continually improving.

I'm quite happy with it indeed... still another may yet come down the road for the HT system.

Thanks much for all the help.