McCormack DNA .5 vs 1, after revisions...

I know people repeatedly say the .5 is smoother than the 1. But I plan to get the Silver upgrade from Steve McCormack. After the .5 or the 1 gets the silver upgrade, will the .5 still be better than the 1, or do the upgrades supercede the pre-upgrade differences?

I would not expect anyone to have experience with pre and post .5 and 1 amps, but any thoughts would be welcome...

I have owned a couple .5 deluxes. My guess is...yes, the 1 silver will sound much better than a stock .5. As good as the .5 is, it's power is limited.
I own a McCormack DNA-0.5 and a DNA-1 rev A+. The DNA-0.5 is a great sounding amp at its price point, but it does have its limitations. It has good bass response, sweet highs, and is very easy to listen to, but can run out of gas with complex orchestral passages at high volumes. Kris at SMC-Audio said the DNA-0.5 is most likely limited by its smaller transformer. The stock DNA-1 has a larger transformer, but have also heard that the stock DNA-0.5 sounds smoother.

I bought an early 2000 version of the DNA-1 rev A and thought it was voiced to sound like a tube amp. It was very smooth, almost too smooth, but its bass response seemed rolled off and not as dynamic as the stock DNA-0.5. I have to qualify that there was a problem with the regulator circuit, but the amp played fine as the circuit was automatically bypassed; however, I don't think this impacted the sonic signature. I sent the DNA-1 rev A back to SMC-audio, and Kris repaired the regulator circuit and followed his recommendation to bring it up to the latest mod. Since it was an older rev A, it had mods that improved the sound, but ones that are no longer implemented in the standard upgrade - so, I'm calling it a rev A+. Kris thought that the stock transformer was fine and recommended other mods rather than upgrading to the Plitron transformer, and changed the feedback to improve the bass response. The amp now sounds really good and surpasses the stock DNA-0.5 in every way.

If you are going to upgrade an amp, I'd recommend you find either a stock DNA-1 or an already modded DNA-1 that can be brought up to spec. This will be give you more power and you won't necessarily have to upgrade the transformer like you would with a DNA-0.5. Also, pay careful attention to the shipping instructions on the SMC-audio website and double box the amp using as much bubble wrap as will fit.
Thanks for your insightsTbromgard and Jebel. Jebel, thanks for taking the time for such a helpful reply; it's replies like that that really make me feel like I found an answer to an important question. I'll look for a stock DNA-1 soon.

Hi Jim

Have you spoken to Kris Jeter or even Steve @ SMc Audio? They are both very honest and can answer your questions about the DNA .5 and DNA 1 after revision.

Also nice post Jebe1. Thanks for sharing all that info. I have had the stock and Deluxe DNA-1 a long with a DNA .5 Deluxe and my preference sound was the DNA .5 Deluxe. Luckily my room is smaller and speakers are pretty efficient.
I've owned both stock and SMc-modded 0.5s and 1s. If you can get by w the lower power rating of the 0.5, I think that it's a no brainer. O.5. If you can tell us the room size, speaker, relative volume and musical preference, we can probably help but I agree totally w Jedinite24. Give SMc a call. You'll almost certainly get Chris or Steve himself on the line and they will most likely be able to advise you in a definitive fashion. Of course, if you say 4 ohm speakers in a 20 x 30 x 8.5' room, reproducing orchestral music at lifelike levels, then I think you can guess what the answer is.
Thanks Swampwalker. BTW, I'm curious about the origin of that name.

I have ProAc One SCs in a 11x12 room as I just said in another thread I started on Pass vs McCormack. I plan to get Tablette Anniverseries or Harbeth Compact 7s eventually. Listening level is usually as loud as my Marantz 8B will go without distortion, usually about 11 o'clock on my CJ PV-5. Neither has been checked out since in storage but seem to work well. Listen to small group jazz, female vocals (Eliane Elias Dreamer lately), and occasional rock (Zeppelin, AC/DC, Floyd, Moody Blues, Hendrix, lots of Tom Petty and Jackson Browne).

When I talked to Chris at SMc, he seemed to say that after the revisions the difference between the .5 and 1 would be negligible but he and Steve were driving and we could not talk well. I want to ask that question more carefully later.

Jim said:
I'm curious about the origin of that name.

Back in the day, I ran a contest to guess the origin of my user name. Noble100 said:
That's an easy one.

Everyone knows Swampwalker down here in the bayou. He's famous round these parts for taking his boat to the favorite local dive bar here called the "Pink Alligator" which is built on stilts with a pier since it's only accessible by boat. He always orders the same thing: a bucket of crawfish and a bottle of Wild Turkey. He always comes in wearing the same thing, too: nothing but a speedo and his rollerblades. Once he gets his order, he skates around the bar, with the whiskey bottle in one hand and the bucket in the other, telling all who'll listen how bad the jukebox sounds, periodically yelling "I can't take any more of this,I'm an #@%& Audiophile damnit!!". And the evening always ends the same way after polishing off his bottle of Wild Turkey and bucket of crawfish: he drunkenly skates around the pier looking for his boat (for giggles we always drive his boat back to his house when he's about halfway through his bottle,he just lives about a mile away in a former hunting blind up in a big old tree). After he gives up looking for his boat and emphatically refuses offers of rides home, he petulantly slings his rollerblades over his shoulder and stumbles home through the swamp. The above is repeated atleast 3 or 4 times a month year round but he wears tights under his speedo during colder times like now. In fact, he was in the bar last night in his winter attire. But he drank more than his usual bottle and lost control of his bladder. People were calling him Swamppants and Swampwetter. Poor guy, I hope he's OK.

Okay, Swampwalker, what do I win for 'guessing' the truth behind your screen name and giving the readers a little insight into your life down here in What's That Smell, Louisianna? Funny thing, the patrons of the Pink Alligator didn't name him, the locals gave him that name because that's usually the only tine they see him, trudging through the swamp with his roller blades and wearing only a speedo. They also don't mind the loud music filling the swamp at night because it sounds so good, although they do wonder how he managed to get all that fine gear and electricity to that blind. He is becoming legendary down here since he often has to unavoidably fight alligators and monster sized catfish on his way home. If we patrons had named him, he'd probably be called the Swampstumbler or Swampthing.
I hope I've been helpful in illuminating ya'll bout the true origins of this local legend's screen name.

Since that was WAY more interesting than the truth, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it ;-) If you insist on the boring truth, check out this web site Now wasn't Noble100's version better???
Wow, what a great read to go with my coffee in the morning, thanks, that was good. The real source is interesting too. You would find my environs a bit challenging, as I'm in the driest spot in the country supposedly, though I always think that can't be true considering death valley...

Has to be in the driest few though....Las Cruces, NM, 40 minutes north of El Paso...

Thanks for your help...I need to call Chris back and ask if the difference between the .5 and 1 go away after the revisions, when we can talk better.

Good luck, Jim. Not sure how seriously the 'phile bug has bit you but IMO, great, reachable customer service and implementation is at least as important as good design. I had a Llano Trinity amp once, a Randy White creation. Sounded great until it crapped out. Randy had left the audio game by that time, no one had any schematics and some of the parts were potted. So I had an 85 lb. $2K boat anchor. If you are getting good advice and proper service from SMc, then I would say they deserve your business. As to the non-'phile stuff, me and Noble100 had a bit of a fun thing going on the forums (fora?) for a while; I really liked his irreverant sense of humor, but I have not heard from him in a while. I camped in NM as a boy in the Sange de Cristo range and also in the high California deserts. Way differen than New England but I love the stark beauty and the miles and miles of nothin but miles and miles. Not a big fan of 120 in the shade for months on end, but w climate change, maybe we'll get that PLUS the humidity here on the right coast. Good luck w the amps. There are a couple of Rev A and Rev B amps listed now.
Thanks a lot Swampwalker. The desert is an acquired taste and I don't deal with humidity well at all; always look like I just stepped out of the shower. Went to junior and high school in Albuquerque and the California high desert. I love riding my bicycle and dirt bikes and my street bikes on Jan 1 :-). We are at 4000 feet so don't get much above 100 too often. Yes I saw the McCormacks and made an offer on the .5 Deluxe, we'll see. I did just pick up the B&K ST-140 that was on Ebay, will be something to get a taste of SS at least and easy to resell. I got my system in the early 90s and have been into hifi since except went through long periods where I could not set things up. Nice to be back into it. Despite my complaints about clarity and high end, I'm listening to Peter Bernstein (seriously the best jazz guitarist there is--get Heart's Content if you're into this sort of thing) right now and the way his guitar is hanging in space right there with the super warm jazz tone and all the harmonics and tonal nuances nailed in Yeah, not a bad pastime.
I'll have to check out Bernstein. Thx for the tip.