Review: Odyssey Audio Stratos Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Let me begin this review with a caveat: I am in no way trying to start a firestorm of controversy with this review. I am a relative neophyte in high end audio, but my experience aside, I know what I hear. I recently acquired an Odyssey Audio Stratos Plus amplifier from a fellow audiogoner. I had been running a Rogue R88 tube amp, but I felt that I had too much of a good thing going with tubes, as my Raysonic CD128 and ASL Flora are both tubes. I wanted more transparency back in my system. Before the Rogue, my amplifier was a Pass Labs XA30.5, and let me tell you, it is a wonderful amplifier, and I was probably stupid to let it go, but the tube bug bit me. Anyhow, this review is about the Odyssey, not the Pass or the Rogue.

I did extensive review of the Stratos before I pulled the trigger, and I finally found a good deal and acquired the Stratos last weekend. I didn't really know what to expect when I plugged in the amplifier. I mean, how good could a $600.00 amplifier that's 5 years old be compared to a brand new $5000.00 amplifier really be? As it turns out, really, really good.

When I initially turned on the amplifier, I was a bit disappointed. The Stratos sounded a bit thin. The soundstage was incredible wide, and the sound was very transparent and detailed, but the body of the music wasn't there. Hoping that it was just the caps needing to fully charge, I left the amplifier for 1/2 of the day and ran errands. When I came back home and turned the music back on, all I could say was "WOW!" Any thinness that was there before was gone. The soundstage was even wider, the placement of the musicians in the soundstage was incredibly precise, the detail and extension on the top was fabulous, and the transparency was just amazing. Now I realize that I was moving from a tube amp which was less extended and less transparent, but I do have the frame of reference from the Pass. I realize that equipment is system dependent, and I realize that everyone has their own tastes in music. I will not go so far to say that the Stratos is better than the Pass. I would really have to have them in a side by side situation to be able to make that claim, and the Pass probably is a better amp, especially on the top end. However, I can tell you that the Odyssey Stratos Plus is really damn close to the Pass to my ears. It has the detail, extension, imaging, and transparency of way more expensive amplifiers. What I can tell you is that for $600.00, you can't touch this amplifier. I would highly recommend you give this amplifier a try.

Associated gear
Raysonic CD128
Antique Sound Labs Flora

Similar products
Pass Labs XA 30.5
Well, brother T, I'm surprized you did not get some posts from other GON members who own Odyssey and rave about their amps on many different threads here.

The question regarding Odyssey amps has always been not that they offer great build quality, that Klaus is a great guy and builder, and they sound terrific for what they cost(all the above is true), but do they really sonicly compete with the Pass Labs, Boulder, Ayers, Edge, etc. of the the very high end and expensive part of the audio market. It's one thing to say it's a "killer piece" for the money and competes with much more expensive gear vs. it's sonicly at the same level and just lacks the price tag and badge of a famous company.

Trf9, is a very dear friend of mine and even though he's relatively new to the audiophile world, he has great ears/taste and comes from a musical background. The Pass Labs XA-30.5 has recieved nothing but rave reviews across the board, I'm a big Pass Labs fan/ just replaced my XA-100's with XA-60.5's in my system/ so if Tom thinks that the Odyssey comes that close to the performance of the XA-30.5 that's an amazing contention. Do remember Valin of the Absolute Sound thought the Odyssey amp below the Stratos gave a very close sonic performance to a Swiss amp that retailed for over $40000.00 and his new SS reference.

So, as I stated at the beginning I'm surprized GON members who own Klaus' amps have not shared on this review thread their experiences regarding if they went to other amps which ones or if they still have their Odyssey pieces what did they discover about the performance that made them keepers in their system.
WHERE THE HELL DID MY SPEAKERS GO? That's what happens when you start listening (broken-in and left on all the time). For the price, this amp is simply AMAZING!!! Imagine what the price would be if there was a middleman. Maybe the the price will double, the way the STRATOS sounds. I'll make it short. Put all the positive reviews here all together and that will be my review.If you call their tech support, you talk directly to the owner/designer, not some random guy.

I bought mine used for $500...can't complain. And this is a basic model. I'm planning to have it upgraded in the future but for now, I mam very happy with it.

Highly recommended!!!

Equipment used:
Odyssey Stratos
Audible Illusions Modulus 2A
Thorens TD 125 MkII
Rega RB 600 Incognito wires
Shure M97XE
SONY CDP 102 (1985)

This is the same review I originally posted at
I have several high end amps my cheapest one I used the Emotiva xpa 2 for mainly movies I put it against my stratos plus,NOT IN THE SAME LEAGUE .This is a very musical amplifer,one BIG improvement is replacing the 4 fuses on the circuit board , and the iec fuse ,with the Hifi tuning Supreme fuses I keep driving home the cheap Steel fuses have 8x the actual resistance than the Hifi tuning solid silver fuses this includes the end caps ,expensive like $250 but a solid 10% improvement much much cleaner sounding ,better low level detail as well as seperation of instruments and the little bit of grainyness is now Gone.This with a solid powercord I am using a Audiomagic Sorcerer and in some respects is better than the modwright 100se I had for sure better dynamics and control and the current capabilitys this has is better than many $5k units it drives my old Maggi 1.6 as well as the Martin logan vantages with ease and control.TheTop of the link Kismet monoblocks must be incredible ,which I am now saving for.
Audioman58: I am a bit confused - which amp did you like better, the XPA 2 or the Stratos?

FWIW, I have had a Stratos HT3 (with cap upgrade) for about six years now. It powers the front three channels of my combo HT/2 channel system (see my rig in the system link). I have heard better amps, but not at anywhere near the price of this amp. Super-smooth, highly detailed, fairly dynamic, with superb soundstage width and image definition. With unlimited funds, I might upgrade much of my system, including the Odyssey, but this would be one of the last upgrades I would make.
I'm going to keep this short. I also own an Odyssey Audio Stratus Plus amp. I have owned Nelson Pass amps, as well as others, and I can tell you this amp is just about as good as a solid state amp gets. Period. You can spend 10K more if you'd like, but you will not be able to tell the difference consistently in a blind test. Incredible amplifier!!
The Stratos is an impressive sounding amp for the price but I never felt its soundstage was wide but rather acceptable. But at this price you get alot, can't expect to have it all.
My C4's seem to be doing real well with two ODYSSEY KISMET mono amps. And, the C4 II signatures are brutally unforgiving to poor source material or electronics. I'm totally amazed at the sound I get from these so called "near high end" amps. Someone forgot to tell the KISMET MONO amplifiers that they were "near" because they go so far for the money. See my reviwe elsewhere. If you are on a budget, you simply cannot go wrong with this amplifier line from what I "hear".
I own a stereo Stratos with the upgraded Kismet roards, Groneberg wireing, dual power transformers and 180,000uf of capacatance and the WBT binding posts. I have had this in my system for 3 years and to this day I am still amazed at how incredible it sounds for the money I spent (bought new).I have had more expensive amps in my system by Classe, Mc Cormack and Krell and this Stratos is the most musical of them all with the best soundstaging. Oh, and I don't ONLY listen to audiophile approved music as my taste runs more towards rock from the 70's through today.