Review: Odyssey Audio Odyssey Stratos Extreme Monoblocks Amplifier
I listen mainly to rock, classical and jazz music, but also some genres which are difficult (for me, anyway) to classify, such as Enya. The most important aspects of the sound for me are, in order, accurate tonality and timbre, detail, smoothness (but without being rolled off or even having a hint of muddiness), bass control, and soundstage reproduction. The very worst thing a system can do is sound artificially harsh yet lack detail, have soft, boomy bass, and no soundstage. Such systems can often play "loud", but I think they stink!
The Odyssey Extreme monoblocks have been in my system for just about one year. They replaced the venerable B&K ST-140, a legendary "value" amplifier, with around 100 wpc. It was immediately obvious that these were superior to the B&K in probably every way, with the two most striking and immediately obvious changes being increased resolution of detail and massively improved bottom end control. I had the Rel Storm 3 hooked up when listening to the B&K for the "A" part of the audition. I then hooked up the Odysseys, and noted much improved detail with no discernible increase in high end glare. The bass was quite similar between the two amplifiers, with the Odysseys seeming perhaps more controlled but maybe not as deep. I didn't care and bought them anyway. Later, I realized that when hooking up the Odysseys for this audition, I had.......FORGOTTEN TO TURN THE REL STORM 3 BACK ON, and had therefore heard their bass rivaling that of the B&K, when IT had had the benefit of an amplified sub bass unit! At the time of the original audition, the main speakers were the Paradigm Studio 100 V3's, and the preamp was the Rotel RC995; the Dodson DAC was absent as well.
The low end control of these is fabulous, and the current delivery is outstanding, since these have a massive 180,000 microfarads of capacitance EACH (360,000 microfarads total). They are great for detail without being harsh.
One thing that's great about these is that they are backed to the HILT by Klaus Bunge, and he will discuss system specifics, has a remarkable breadth and depth of audio knowlege, AND he's very easy to talk to--always. The things he has posted oon the Odyssey website regarding customer service sound..."optomistic", but turn out to absolutely, positively true, without exception, in my experience. Others on this site and Audioreview seem to agree, unanimously, as far as I've seen.
So----->I absolutely love these and even if price were no object, I would replace them only with something "stratos"pherically priced like an Essence or Gryphon, or something like that, and certainly have no plans to replace them any time soon. Maybe when the warranty expires, which is.......20 (TWENTY) YEARS!!!! LOL!!!
Odyssey Tempest Extreme preamplifier (previously Rotel RC995)
Onkyo DPC 8.5 universal player
Dodson 217 Mark II D DAC (with 218-like upgrade)
Modified Parasound R EQ150 equalizer (bypass mode now rivals a hardwire connection)
Powevar 10 amp unit, older generation, for AC conditioning (not used with the amps)
Groneberg Power Cords for amps and preamp
Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers
Intuitive Design Summit Loudspeakers (Previously Paradigm Studio 100 V3)
Rel Storm III sub-bass unit
Starsound points now present under all components
Stillpoints with inverted risers now present under loudspeakers and their stands
Primarily the B&K ST140 which these replaced. Have also listened to Anthem and Classe, but in other systems.