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If by "glass ceiling", you mean you're going to have to go into seriously diminishing returns, you're right. I've had Symphonic Line Rg amps and understand that Klaus uses the same basic configuration/chassis and has incorporated upgrades, etc. in the Odyssey line. I've had way pricier Pass and Perreaux SS and several tube amps that were way more expensive and I'm not sure that they were better in many ways.
You can go tube or stay SS, but if you think your amps are "bright" in any way, it's probably somewhere else in the system. Not to insult your gear, but to praise your amps.
I've swapped a lot of gear over the years and still remember a ML CLS and Unity Audio (speakers), Symphonic Line, CAT pre and Purist cable set up (with both sets of speakers moved in and out over a year or two period), as one of my best systems. The CLS in that system drove me crazy, as the resolution made so much of my record collection sound so bad, but the good stuff sounded fabulous.
It wasn't the amps.
Now, if you just want to change for fun, I understand that, but without hearing your system and doing a few swaps of cable, etc. to see/hear what the perceived problem is, I can't advise. I can tell you smoother, stronger, weirder, prettier, etc., but I think these are great amps and I'd be looking at upgrading or correcting somewhere else, but I am not familiar with your other gear in my system, so have no real reference point.
NB: A cable cooker has changed my entire approach to what I previously would have thought were problems with other components in my system, esp with a thin or "choked" mid range and uneven or restricted bass. Make sure your cables are really burnt in well b/4 judging any other components!
Flame away, guys!
Definitely look at some other part of your system, and/or incoming power.
Given what you have on hand now, I'd say look for better speakers.... Possibly cabling too. or try another DAC. Additionally, tubes in the Dodd pre.
One of those areas or maybe two should fix the issue pretty much. The room is always a main part too.
Getting another amp, without improving upon the level of speakerage you have now seems like a more sideways step to me.
If you've got to go grab an amp that's better sounding than the Odyssey, either add a pair of Dodd mono block EL34 amps, or get yourself a Butler TDB 2250.
the Dodd mono blocks are sweeter sounding, using only a TDBH 5150 (150wpc), not the 250wpc like the TDB 2250, the Butler sounds better to me and has more control and better bass.... the 250wpc version ought to be way better, and allow you to throw some $$$ towards your speakers as it sells new for $3K.
before pulling the trigger on anything, like all have said here, the brightness probably isn't the amps fault.
Got dedicated ckts? Checked for ground loops? use a power cond? how's that cabling situation, pc's & ic's? What are the speakers sitting on and how are they isolated? Got a good rack?
it all adds up.
10-22-09: Jeffb28451Actually, I think the "Glass Ceiling" is the top upgrade/mod option that Klaus offers for the Odyssey Extremes. It's not listed on the website, but I have seen it referred to in reviews and posts on forums.
this thread has taken an unexpected turn!
I posted looking for odyssey amp comparisons to other amps in an under 5k price range and come back this morning to find people recommending me new speakers!
That is fine, but I do believe that I want to keep my speakers and all of my other associated gear. I would, however, like to UPGRADE the amps. not downgrade.
does anyone have any first hand experience in comparing the odyssey against the DNA250/MC352/neo250?
"so i would like something that can actually outperform my current amps."
Maybe the above recommendations are due to half a dozen other Odysey owners saying Odysseys aren't bright.... and just maybe, they're trying to save you from spending money needlessly.
Buy the manley. it's more different than the Mac is from the odyssey.
Better than the Odyssey monos?
BAT vk 500 w/BAT pack
Thor PA 30, MONO BLOCKS
Dodd 120 MK II monos
McIntosh MC 402
Krell FPB 200
... ALL ARE UNDER $5k AND ALL EXCEED THE ODYSSEY MONOS .... to my ears... OVERALL.... depending upon speakers, cabling, etc. RWV.
Have you ever tried tube amps in your system before? Odyssey are pretty good SS amps. I doubt you would get that much more bang for your buck going to another SS. You may want to veer a whole different direction and try a tube amp. Completely different sound that you might like. It only took one tube amp in my system before I got rid of all my SS gear. Tubes won't give you the bottom slam that SS will but that liquid midrange can be addictive. For a decent powered push pull tube amp I like models using the EL-34's. Of course, if you have extremely efficient speakers, low powered SET are in a completely different league, IMO. Good luck.
Along the same lines that Sibelius has suggested, I'll throw my two cents in. I used AES (Cary) Sixpac amps for a couple years. They are EL34 output tube based and pretty darn good amps. I wanted to try a different amp, more specifically, a SS amp just to see what else was out there. I bought a pair of Odyssey Mono Extremes on Audiogon. I spent several weeks A/B comparing the Odysseys to my Sixpacs and decided to keep the Odysseys. After several months with the Odysseys, they just sounded dry in comparison to my Sixpacs and I longed for what tubes did for me. I ended up selling the Odysseys and buying another pair of Sixpacs. Your mileage may vary, but if you're looking for a different sound, you may be well served trying out some tubes. I didn't study all the advice that you've received above, so I hope I'm on topic for you. Good luck with your search.
His AV123 LS-6 speakers are ~90dB/8ohm, with vertical arrays of seven 6.5" woofers, so they are easy to drive. I can understand wanting extra power for dynamic headroom, but 200wpc is a little overkill. Actually, a lot of overkill.
So, there are plenty of PP tube amps under $5k that will drive the living snot out of those speakers.
I will reiterate what you don't want to hear. Your amps are probably better than you speakers. Your source and speakers play a more significant roll than your amplification, especially at this price point. A $5K amp will not change your speakers into $5k models.
You can pick up Magnepan 1.6s for around $1K and take a quantum leap upwards. New caps like Mundorf silver and oils could add more fluidity to your amp, vishay resistors, hexfreds. Upgraded tubes in preamp.
Plenty of money left over for upgraded cables and a vacation to Hawaii.
If you want to stay solid state and better that the odyssey's maybe models of jeff rowland 6,8 or 9's might work for you;I have not heard any of the models you listed except; I did own a pair or mccormack dna-1 mono's driving a pair of merlin 4b+'s and it was a very very good combination.Maybe even talking with Steve McCormack would let you know how his product match your speakers.
The Manley Neo 250's I think would be very close to the manley ref 440/200 mono's I had driving my current speakers soundlab m2's;using the pentode mode was fine with 440 watts but the triode mode was more sweeter in the midrange and high's as it should be being in triode configuration;amps were built extremely well and I had no performance issues in the 2 years I owned then.
As far as your room is concerned it might be worth doing some frequency room analyzation with tones,pink noise and a spl meter to see if there is a area of your listening enviroment that has major deviations from the rest of the room;it doesn't take long to do and won't break the bank.
Have heard the AV123 speakers many times and think they a good but not in the same league as the Magnepan 1.6s.
With the money that is allocated to the upgrade, a far superior amp is probably out of the equation.
I would agree with Douglas that a new DAC would help tremendouly. The new Wyred DAC is fantastic for around $1200.
This still leaves plenty of money for cables and sound damping but the trip to Hawaii may be out.