A comparison between DNA-1 and 225 here
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I had seen the Stereophile article before (thanks Hasse), and it is helpful in some respects. While I imagine the 225 shares a sonic signature with the 125, the significant difference in power between the two units makes me wary of assuming that the 125 would fare the same in comparison with the DNA-1.
I would strongly recommend looking for a Rev A McCormack amp. That being said, you could get an older model and have it modded, or, if you get real lucky and act real quickly, buy one already modified here at Audiogon.
The difference between a Rev A and any of the stock models is pretty dramatic. As good as they are, they get a whole lot better.
I have read in another thread here that the DNA-125 should be comparable to the older Rev. C series. And since the Rev. C upgrades are no longer offered I always assumed that upgrade was similar to the deluxe edition. It's been a while since reading so my memory could be foggy, so take this with a grain of salt.
I had DNA-0.5 Deluxe, DNA-125 and DNA-225.
DNA-125 and 225 sound pretty different. I had both at the same time. I liked the sound of DNA-225 much better than the 0.5 Deluxe or DNA-125 for that matter. It was smoother, deeper and overall a very nice step above the 125 with midrange and highs smooth and resembling the mids of DNA-0.5 Deluxe which I really liked. DNA-225 has some premium parts in critical places. DNA-125 doesn't.
DNA-125 sounded a bit colder in the highs and its bass was not anything to write home about. It was an improvement over the DNA-0.5 Deluxe in terms of resolution, but with sacrifices made in the mids(sounded less natural) and highs(sounded a bit more brittle). Soundstage size, precision and naturalness of the sound, well, DNA-225 wins all the way. I would either get DNA-1 Deluxe or DNA-225 for Totems. I'd skip the DNA-125. Unless your goal is to have sound on a cooler side of neutral, with an average soundstage size with emphasis towards high frequencies. I'm not a fan of revised amps as I think they focus on clarity and resolution, with overall musicality and natural sound being moved down on a priority list.
So to sum up on what I observed in my system with 3 amps:
DNA-0.5 Deluxe - very musical, excellent, natural mids, smooth highs, may be a bit less resolve than the newer series and less pronounced bass, but overall in a long run easier on the ears than the DNA-125. But doesn't come close to DNA-225. Nowhere near.
DNA-125 - better resolution than DNA-0.5 Deluxe, with a slight improvement in bass drive and detail, but a bit harsher nids and less natural highs.
DNA-225 - overall a champ by far. Resolution, musicality, depth of soundstage, bass, any area you pick it is a step up over the older DNA-0.5Deluxe and a nice step up pver DNA-125.
For what it's worth, I liked the DNA 0.5 Deluxe a LOT more than the DNA 125.
The DNA 0.5 was smooth yet detailed and "demanded" more and more listening; the DNA 125 was cold and sterile by comparison and got boring very quickly.
[Associated equipment: Esoteric P-70 CD transport, Universal Audio 2192 DAC/master clock, Sony ST-S555ES tuner with Component Plus USA (Joseph Chow) upgrades, Meitner PA-6i Plus preamp, Iconic 704-8A speakers in Stonehenge V clone cabinets.]
I've now acquired a DNA-1 Deluxe and currently deciding whether to go for a Silver + Plitron transformer upgrade or a straight Gold upgrade. They're about the same price.
Anyone out there been able to compare these two options?