Go with the Stratos, the $250 more that you will spent is well worth the difference between the 2 amps. Depending on your speakers, source etc.,the Halo can be a good amp if you are not into "loud" listening and " head banging" volume levels. However, with your Paradigms, the Stratos will really make them sing without strain. Actually, it seems that the Stratos have more power than the published 150 watts, its not bright and Klaus (Owner of the company) can bias this amp depending on your speaker and sound listening preference. If I were you, spend more for the cap upgrade (120,000uf)for the Stratos and with this, comparing this amp to the Halo is pointless. Call Klaus immediately!!
The Parasound's excellent for the money - wouldn't say bright - I'd consider that clarity. Excellent detail, excellent soundstage, airiness, accurate with a good and balanced sound signature. Can't go wrong; haven't heard the Stratos but have A-B'd the Parasound against a Musical Fidelity amp. MF maybe slightly my preference, but that's as likely due to my preference for bassier, punchier amps rather than one being better - very similar upon first listen. Parasound has a better soundstage, details while the MF's a little punchier, more dimensionality, narrower but still good soundstage.
Therefore, i'd suggest either A-Bing the Parasound against the Stratus, and if unable, consider also the Musical Fidelity A3.2 amp. Can't go wrong with the Parasound for the money though, excellent and accurate sound.
You guys are the best. Thanks for your opinions.
The B&K Monoblock M200's are 150 amps peak to peak. You can weld with them. I run 4 pairs of speakers at once for my front channels. They can carry any load. I believe the best bargain out there.
You got my hopes up sstark, until I checked the $1500 a piece price at Tweeter. What can these B&K Monoblocks be had for used?
hello, check out the denon pma 2000ivr integrated amp. it is rated at 80 watts with 120 amps of current. you can see it at ultimate electronics or maybe tweeters. it's a killer amp. in it's first version sam telig of stereophile put it in class c withe the nad c370.
No not new. Used from Ebay or Audiogon. About $600 maybe $700 for both. The older B&K units even sound better-look for blue stripes on front. They must be shipped carefully in seperate boxes about 50 pounds each. They are still fully supported by B&K and even upgradeable. They sound as sweet as tubes. My son just bought a pair on Audiogon for $700 with shipping. If you want e-mail me and I'll email you original literature, I have 3 B&K amps in the house.
Oh my gosh. The Denon is to the B&K monoblocks like a Cavalier to a Corvette. I use a Denon AVR 4800 for movies its good but it doesn't make music it just makes sounds. To make music you need the magical sweetness and unknown harmonics of a tubed preamp wired to a SS amp with unlimited power that can weld one quarter inch steel plates or drive speaker after speaker after speaker....
this is not your avr-4800 have you even seen the 2000ivr let alone heard it?
I apologize. I'm sure the 2000 is a distinct improvement. But I don't think it has the overwhelming power to easily drive those speakers without any strain at all. For example, the Denon can't drop below a speaker load of 4 ohms and would prefer 8 ohms. The automatic cutoff would kick in. The B&K's can drive below 1 ohm that's high current capability. I use it to drive 4 pairs of speakers simultaneously stacked to the ceiling -4 tweeters and 8 -6 inch midrange woofers on each side- a wall of sound. The impedance to the amplifier is below 1 ohm and would short most amps.
sstark, I'm the original owner of a pair of M-200 monos since 92, they're in mint cond. I outfitted them with two pairs of cardas output posts on each amp and two Shunyata Mojave P/C's, they sound fantastic,..... even if I get new amps, I'm keep'n the B&K's, they're that good.
I agree with you. I have 2 sets of M200's and a 202plus and my son just bought a used M200. Their sound for the bargain price is unmatched. Pairing them with a tubed preamp AI and they really sing. Sadly, I just checked and saw none for sale on Audiogon or Ebay.
Stratos...much nicer amp in my opinion. I have Paradigms and the Stratos took my experience to a whole new level of detail.
Comparison of Stratus vs B&K monoblocks follow:
Price: B&K Used $600-750; Stratus new $2150 used ?
Power rating: B&K 200W; Stratus 180W
Amp output B&K 150; Stratus 120
Damping B&K 750;Stratus 800
Weight: about same. Robust transformer power supply.
Drive load impedance: B&K 1 ohm; Stratus ?unknown. B&K can drive any load.
B&K most tube like SS I have ever heard.
With the price so low the B&K is a remarkable bargain. However with e-mails and forum posts like this its price may rise?
My personal experience with B&K amps are excellent. I currently own a 3 channel B&K.
A friend of mine has B&K monos and they are excellent. BUT, I feel my Stratos Stereo amp (cap upgrade) still sounds better (although our system synergies may be different). They are very conservatively rated at 180w and have a 20 year transferable warranty! You can also buy, listen for 30 days and return it if you are unsatisfied! You can even call Klaus on his phone and guess what?...he'll pick it up and actually talk to you! He even gives unbiased advice! Ack! Can this be true? Why yes it can!
If possible, listen to your candidates. If not, buy something you can return for a full refund. If buying used, you can always turn around and sell it for what you paid for it (assuming you don't get ripped off).
Just a little clarification on impedances.
Odyssey amps are being used to drive loads as low as 1 ohm, but check with the mfr based upon which particular speaker you have to see if it will drive it well.
And the Denon is not stressed at 4 ohms, it's got a higher wattage rating there than at 8 (it doubles into 4). I don't doubt it could drive a 2 or 3 ohm speaker.
Excellent to hear about the B&K monos, too.