Used McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe for right @ $1000.00. Be patient as they come up on Agone regularly
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I have tried many including the Parasound. I think a great value in a SS amp at $1000 used is the Marsh Sound a400s amp. 200 watts per side. Need to use the XLR inputs for best sound. Get adaptors if you need them. The Marsh is amazing. In fact it will surprise vs the big $$ Pass amps etc. It is that good. I use one with my Dali Grand speakers and a Bel Canto pre6 - very good sounding. I also own a tube amp that I swap in and out when I want a change.
I have owned more great SS amps then I should have (to much buying and selling)and the Marsh takes a backseat to only one - the Mcintosh MC402. The Mac is the finest amp I have heard. The Marsh is in the league of the JC 1's, Belles 350A monos,Krell and others. A few years ago Absolute Sound felt the a400s amp was amoung the very best they heard - great review. Seems the industry has now gone on to the latest amp "star".
Deep, powerful and controled bass. The highs are amazing with no SS glare. Full and big sounding with world class transparancy. Bill
Having owned both a Parasound HCA-806 and McCormack DNA-1 and DNA-2s, I can say without question that the McCormack is a much more neutral/musical amp. The Parasound amp was punchy with good bass but I found the mids and highs to be very thin. I also had numerious reliability problems with the Parasound. I currently have multiple McCormack DNA amps and find them to be fast, accurate and just seem to get out of the way of the music.
I own Stratos monos and, while I haven't compared them to McCormack or Parasound, I have A/B'd them with my Krell KSA 50s (mostly using the Verity Parsifal Encore). The KSA 50 and KSA 50s (sliding bias) are lowish power devices employing a single pair of output transistors, and are sometimes cited as the best sounding amps Krell has ever produced.
The Stratos is a higher powered amp than the Krell, but both can drive the Parsifal to painful SPLs before showing stress. My real comparative experience is at more modest SPLs, where I've found that the Odyssey and Krell sound awfully similar and, to my ears, superior to most SS amps I've heard. In the context of my system, the Stratos are very, very good amplifiers.
My experience with Odyssey Stratos and Parasound HCA-1205A is that the Stratos has more high frequency information which makes it sound more detailed and clear. The Parasound sounds very natural and has better bass but sounds rolled off. It does not reproduce high frequencies as well. Each amp is good but when side by side there are noticeable differences.
I have a Marantz preamp. It may be possible actually measure the differences with the Audyssey equalizer software but I have not made the time. I am using Signal Cable silver interconnects on both.
Either amp is a great improvement over an AVR (all in one home theater receiver). Any of these amps can be found used to help save money.
The McCormack DNA 125 is a great amp that can be had used for around 1k..... I just upgraded my pre ,speakers,and DAC but kept my five year old DNA 125 because it's such a good amp . It would take a lot more than I'm willing to spend right now to better it.
I'm using it with a conrad Johnson Classic 2 SE , YBA DAC, and Revel M106 and it sounds great.