My Odyssey Stratos Extreme+ After 430 Hours of Burn In

stereo_5 -- Mon, 04/26/2010 - 18:22

I received my Stratos Extreme+ 18 days ago and I have been burning it in by alternating playing music and using my Isotek burn in cd. During this time, I have tried to devote at least an hour a night for some serious listening and although the amp sounded great right out of the box, it sounds incredibly sweeter now.

Klaus at Odyssey Audio told me the amp can take up to 3 months to fully burn in, but I honestly don't see how it could sound any better than it does right now. The soundstage is absolutely huge, not only in width, but in depth and height as well. Vocals sound oh so sweet with never a hint of raspiness. The bass is very taut and deep, so deep that I removed my Paradigm subwoofer from the system and no longer feel I need it.

As I am using DeVore Gibbon 8 speakers, I never thought this two way speaker could give me the amount of bass that I wanted. The bass is also very articulate without a hint of boominess. With this amp, I am now able to hear all the different instruments across the soundstage and the mids and highs are to die for. There is not one iota of etch or glare or any sibilence.

The amp never seems to run out of power and barely gets warm. The amp is also dead quiet. This amp replaced a Classe Audio 15 175wpc amplifier that cost just under three grand back in 1999! I still for the life of me cant figure out how I got so much amplifier and sound of the highest quality for such a paltry sum of money. I have been involved in this wonderful hobby for over 36 years and a lot of equipment has come and gone in my household, but this amp is definitely a keeper.

At this point, I feel I have a complete system with no desire to upgrade any longer. I honestly never thought I would ever say that. Life is good.
Associated Equipment:  Audible Illusions Modulus 3A preamp with 6H23neb tubes, VPI Scout with ZU/DL103mc cartridge, Magnum-Dynalab FT101A tuner, Raysonic cd-168 cd player with EH6922 tubes, Sony SCD777ES sacd player, Odyssey Stratos Extreme+ amp, DeVore Gibbon 8 speakers, all interconnects and speaker cable MIT Terminator 2, all power cords and conditioning courtesy of Shunyata.


stereo_5 -- Mon, 04/26/2010 - 18:31


prepress -- Sat, 05/01/2010 - 08:31

430 hours! That's a bit over 2 months of listening. I've read reports about the Stratos Extreme monos that suggest some aspects of the sound aren't quite there at first and develop over time as the amps burn in; the manual suggests this also. But there was none of that with the stereo version?

joeinid -- Sat, 04/02/2011 - 22:17


Alex_s -- Wed, 05/11/2011 - 20:12

 Congrats on finding such a fine amp.  I'm seriously looking into the Khartago mono blocks.  So I'd be grateful if ou could update your impressions.

Nicholas.Bedworth -- Sat, 05/14/2011 - 11:39

You'll find that the Stratos and Kismet amps sound better and better and better over very long periods of time, for example months or even a year. I've owned both and they're very good at the price points. After several months you may want to adjust the bias. Check with Klaus or online for the secret instructions. Don't do this unless you're comfortable using a DVM and have some experience with electronics.

See my review of the Kismet monoblocks over at

Nicholas Bedworth  
DigitalDirect Media Services, LLC    Text/voice 1.808.372.2883 (GMT -10)   nicholas [dot] bedworth [at] digitaldirect [dot] com (nicholas.bedworth@digitaldi)

staxguy -- Sat, 05/14/2011 - 17:45

So, how do the Odyssey Audio Stratos and Kismet amps compare to the following:
Rotel 980BX, Rotel 990BX, Rotel Michi
Bryston 3BSST2, Bryston 4BSST2 
Proceed HPA-2
McCormack DNA 0.5 Deleuxe, McCormack DNA 1.0 Deleuxe
YBA Classic 3, YBA Classic 2, YBA Classic 1, YBA Signature
I've liked a lot of "monster" amps, but these I each admired for their relative performance vs others, without being too large, unweildy, pricey, or fragile. Some like the Rotel, were complete bargains at their price points, offering no exceptional performance (except Michi), and yet doing nothing terrible that other amps might introduce along with some great characteristics.
The new Classe CT-600M is a quite decent amp, IMHO, so it's interesting that the reviewer didn't upgrade to a pair of these from his Classe Audio 15.

I'm a bit concered by the Odyssey Audio website, which does not allow me to click on the Kimset Reference links, which would be an easy fix, but I assume the guy running the joint knows more about a soddering iron than a PC keyboard, perhaps.
Internally, the amps look quite treadbare compared to John Curl designs like the HCA-2200II that drove my PSB's briefly, or the likes of Solution Audio, etc. but I read the bit about the design origins in Germany. The cases of the Odyssey Audio amps look like the most expensive components.
Perhaps a fair question would be how do they compare to amps from Norh, like the Le Amp series, which were also home-brewish in nature, and targeted at budget minded audiophiles?

Nicholas.Bedworth -- Sat, 05/14/2011 - 18:29

Klaus, the prime mover of Odyssey, used to be the importer for the German Symphonic Line of high-end gear. He now builds products in the US with technology licensed from Rolf. Klaus is a political scientist by education and has very good ears. :) The Kismets are certainly well worth a try.
They do look a little differently inside, at $5K, compared to the $100K Soulutions :) but they do have huge power supplies and put out enormous amounts of current. The Technical Brains are close to celestial, but there's not a whole lot of complicated stuff inside. Basically it seems like the key to amps is the transformer/power supply and the output transistors. That's where TB differentiates itself from the other brands.

Nicholas Bedworth  
DigitalDirect Media Services, LLC    Text/voice 1.808.372.2883 (GMT -10)   nicholas [dot] bedworth [at] digitaldirect [dot] com (nicholas.bedworth@digitaldi)

stereo_5 -- Wed, 05/18/2011 - 17:41

I just came across my old post.  After I wrote the initinal letter, I replaced the DeVore speakers and Paradigm subwoofer with a pair of Odyssey Kismet Reference speakers.  I had never heard them before I bought them, but I talked to a lot of people who either owned or heard them and everyone was very positive.  So, I took a big leap of faith and I couldn't be happier.  This took place at the end of May 2010.  The amp and speakers really have a great synergy and for the first time, I can listen to my many rock cd's and lp's once again.  I have also  updated all my power cables by moving up in the Shunyata line.  My next upgrade will be the Groneberg speaker and audio cables as my MIT Terminator2 speaker and audio cables are getting a bit long in the tooth.

I had an audiophile friend over the other day, and played the MFSL cd of "the Yes Album" and "Muddy Waters-Folk singer".  The look on his face was priceless, he just couldn't get over how realistic the system sounded.  3 days later I ran into him at work (we work for the same School System) and he was still talking about it!  Once I buy the cables, my next investment will be a much better dac than my HRT Music  Streamer, one that will do both USB and RCA.  I would love other owners of the Odyssey equipment to chime in here and give your impressions.  I know there is better equipment out there, but the Odyssey gives you so much high end sound for so very little money.  I am not rich, just the average married guy with a mortgage and car payments and I am so happy that a manufacturer still thinks of the shrinking middle class instead of catering to the very well heeled audiophile.

Thank you Klaus Bunge for making such wonderful and very well built equipment!

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