For the money you can't beat a Stratos. Given the other amps you're looking at I'd consider the Odyssey Dual Mono(true dual mono with two PSs and two PCs) or for even a few dollars more the Mono Blocks. I'm a very satisfied Stratos owner and didn't have the opportunity to listen to the McCormack or the Bryston, although they were on my short list. My Stratos is smooth, powerful and has great balance. If you buy used, you'll get the remainder of a 20 year warranty(I understand Bryston offers something similar). It sound like you're on the right path. Pull the trigger on an Odyssey. If you don't like it, you won't have a problem selling it. They keep their value extremely well. Best of luck and please post your results.
What LJ said... Even though Bryston is on my short list of personal wants now, for the money getting a used Odyssey is awfully darned hard to beat. If you can possibly get a chance to A/B a couple of those then that would be highly recommended, but I'd be kinda surprised if you would find that either the McCormack or Bryston were compellingly more wonderful in direct comparison. They all should have enough power for most applications and I don't think you can go wrong w/ any of them. I went w/ an Odyssey 'cause I'd never had a chance to listen to one before and I don't regret it a bit. It drives what it has to, does it well, and left me w/ (relatively) lots of spare change for more stuff to listen to. Good luck w/ whatever you choose!
Just to reitterate what Avalon65 said. All three amps have good resale value. If you buy right you could really buy each one used and not lose too much when you resell. That would provide the ultimate test...listening in your home on your system.
I do have a souped up Stratos and have not heard the other two, although I'd like to hear the DNA. You can give Klaus from Odyssey a call even if you plan to buy used and he will answer any concerns you may have.
I agree the Oddyssey stratos is the way to go.
I am a happy stratos owner, I heard the MC Dna 225,
its on the lean side,I dont think they are musical
than the Stratos,I am familiar with Bryston
product,maybe its just me, I was never impressed
with their amp, musicality wise, IMO,Tell you what?
The monos Oddyssey ,they are as good as Plinius SA100,
maybe better,The Plinius is way much better than the
DNA225, Ive heard them side by side,I know a dealer
who no longer MC Cormack, because, He borrowed my
Plinius and was totally impress.Thanks.
If you are going for a Stratos, I also suggest you go for the dual mono version or single monoblocks. I have the dual mono version and think it's a great amp with my Harbeth Compact 7 speakers.
I will offer a somewhat divergent opinion regarding the Stratos. I had one with the cap upgrade for a year driving B&W's. The amp was fine until pushed, somewhat warm and pleasant, always ran cool. At fairly loud levels however, the amp would lose control of the woofers and they would "break free" and become unstable. I ran some side to side comparisons against my Hafler DH200, this amp never exhibited this behavior. FWIW.
Well, Hammergjh, Canucks0 never mentioned Hafler in his short list so I guess it took you to bring those up. And I gotta agree with you - 'cause the Odyssey is in the den and the DH-500 is in the "large room". Yeah, the Haflers are older gear, but my ears are getting older too so maybe that's why I still like them so much. And if you look at the typical EBay, etc. prices for proper vintage Hafler amps vs. these three - I would also lean toward another Hafler. It's been rock-solid, has plenty of capacity to drive whatever I have, and I still think it sounds wunnerful - at least to me, YMMV.
And Canucks0, if I liked the Odyssey at the lower price, I'd love the Hafler and all the content I could buy with the difference in prices. I don't find the Odyssey thin or lacking or anything like that, but a clean 250W-per Hafler still gets the #1 nod even after all these years. Good luck with your decision!
Odyssey Stratos are great, but make sure the SP16's output impedance is low enough to drive the Stratos' 10kOhms input impedance. A great convenience is that Klaus can modify your Stratos in several stages for not much money.
I would also suggest to investigate the smaller McCormack DNA-125, a sleeper and one that Steve McCormack can modify
to be at the top of the amplifier heap.
Thanks to all of you for the great insight and opinions. To Vladamir, since I'm not a 'techie' but rather just like great sounding music, does the following suffice for the AR SP16L to drive the Stratos?
OUTPUT IMPEDANCE: 260 ohms Single Ended main; 20K ohms minimum load and 1000 pF maximum capacitance. Outputs (3): 2 main, 1 record (Single Ended RCA connectors).
just call klaus-even if you buy a used unit he will answer your questions-
best time is after 6pm eastern time
Even if AR recommends 20K ohms as a minimum amplifier load (Stratos is 10K), the SP16's 260 ohms seems just about low enough (the old rule of thumb is to multiply it by 50), but it is good advice to call Klaus as Polara says, he's very helpful.
Hafler on a short audiophile list - hmmmm. I have a Hafler 9505 that will drive about anything. It runs a little hot with the factory bias setup - but sure is a good amp. Also, have a Hafler XL280 for the wife's system - another really fine sounding amp at 145 wpc. I know there are a lot of purist that cringe at Hafler - but the truth is in the listening. I see the 9505 $2200.00 list (1500.00 street) going for 650.00 bucks on Ebay and occasionally less - quite a deal I think. Also have a Bryton 4B which will cost a little more on the used market. I think the 9505 is as good. IMHO
Definately go with the Stratos if this is the only choice of the two. But if push comes to shove, & the choice was between the Stratos or the "Deluxe" DNA 0.5, I will pick the Deluxe DNA 0.5.