Donald North Audio — Owners Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Huxleigh, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    @Donald North can comment here if he wishes, but I can't say. All I can say that it's a prototype of the next upcoming amp he has coming out. If it makes you feel any better, even I don't know the name he has planned for it.
     
  2. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    Think of it as a “Stratus Junior” using different tubes but in a similar topology. More details once I have all the final parts.
     
  3. BillOhio

    BillOhio Friend

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  4. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    It will be cheaper than the Stratus from what he said. Sub $3000. Probably around $2000. Will it be made in China?
     
  5. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Been jonesing to hear a DNA amp (which I may get a chance to in January), and this intruiges me.

    But I'm struggling to understand what this means.
     
  6. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    For me, square means that transient attacks are super sharp/defined. Think kind of like the Focal transients and speed. This amp has slightly rounded attacks, but is phenomenal at producing the small volume changes within an attack. It's just not super immediate.

    Make no mistake: it doesn't sound slow or sloppy in any way and I hear the transient performance as excellent. It's just a more gentle presentation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  7. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    Nope, made in California like the Stratus and Stellaris
     
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  8. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    Mr. North, I sure hope you hire several employees to assemble this new semi entry level amp. With your rep and a less expensive price they will sell like hotcakes. I hope your customers for this new amp won't have to wait a year like I did.
    This younger generation wants everything now.
     
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  9. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    Thanks, yes I plan to have help with assembling this amp. I have made progress reducing the wait times for the Stratus and Stellaris.
     
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Good things happen to people who wait.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    He means it doesn't sound like a GSX2 on high gain that makes you want to kill yourself. The sound is along the lines of the latest Stratus. Indeed it's a Stratus junior. 90% performance at two-thirds the price.
     
  12. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    You guys know that not all Stratus sound the same. Mr North has been updating them as the years pass and he has learned a bit more. Last I heard was that the 2018-19 was as good as he can get it. Owners can send their Stratus back to DNA to be upgraded.
     
  13. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    A more affordable and quicker-produced DNA amp is music to my ears. @Donald North may I ask what headphones you tended to use for voicing your amps? And what dac(s) you use?
     
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  14. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    I started with my everyday favorites, beyer DT931s, and then tried some others with heavier bass: TH-X00, DT770 Pro 80. Source is a Sonic Frontiers tube CD player SFCD-1. Once I think I am close, I took it to some friends to try in their systems, including the HD800, Focal Clear.
     
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  15. tommytakis

    tommytakis Friend

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    I've heard @Donald North 's prototype amp with the Verite. It's a wonderful sounding amp. I wanted to buy it off of him right away haha
     
  16. fp627

    fp627 Friend

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    So, after reading through this thread and some on HF (including parts of the almost 400 page one) I'm starting to wonder in very general terms - are new production tubes worth trying from a $ perspective on Stellaris? Not only do the nice ones seem to cost much more than good NOS tubes, I have also read anecdotally that new tubes don't last as long as old ones. So far the little tube rolling I've done on Stellaris hasn't made a huge difference (although it definitely makes a difference).

    For example:
    RCA and Sylvania 2A3 matched pairs seem to mostly run $250-400.
    Found a pair of Raytheon 2A3 for a good price... part of a combo deal with other stuff, but the entire combo is under $500.
    vs
    $565 for Shuguang Acmes, ~$650 for EML mesh, KR Audios look like they're $1k. Even Shuguang Natural Sounds are ~$265.

    I will eventually get a mesh EML 5U4G eventually despite it costing more than 5x of what I use now. But aside from the above, not sure if anything else is worth it from a $ perspective. Am I missing something or is this just what some people perceive and pay as the cost of a different sound in their amps?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  17. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    In most cases, tube rolling is about incremental changes. The biggest improvement you will experience is changing the stock 6N1P to a Ruby Tiger Select. Its also the cheapest improvement. Of the new 2A3s, I have found the Acmes and the KRs to be the best.
    I have not heard the EML 2A3s.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
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  18. Lasollor

    Lasollor Friend

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    The Acme 2A3’s (currently in my Stratus) bass is a little too loose and soft for my taste. It might improve with burn in, but at the moment I prefer the RCA or Sylvania black plates in my Stratus. Otherwise its a great sounding tube with great clarity and air.

    For me the power tubes makes the biggest difference, then the driver tube. The rectifier might change the sound but its more a synergy thing with the other 3 tubes.

    After rolling about 50 tubes in the past few weeks, my favorite combinations are:
    for HD800: WE422A with adapter, Tungsram ECC40, black plate RCA 2A3

    for Verite: Philips 5R4GYS (it has very high voltage drop so changes the other tubes’ sound a little), Tungsram ECC40, AVVT 2A3 solid plate(yeah I know...).

    My favorite driver tube for now is the Tungsram ECC40, it is super linear with holographic sound. (others I’ve tried: 4 different 6N1P, 6N1P-E , Sylvania GB 6BQ7A, Fivre 6BQ7A, Toshiba 6CG7, Mullard ECC40, Tungsram ECC40)
    But these are just my preferences, the stock Stratus already sounds very good. (If anything, I found it a little bright, but most likely thats my Yggdrasil A1)
     
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  19. fp627

    fp627 Friend

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    Have a bunch about 8 or 9 input tubes incoming. Will share results eventually.

    On a different note, maybe I missed it on the HF thread, but what are your impressions of the Ruby Tiger soundwise @Claud ?
     
  20. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    Ruby Tiger got Donald to tell him how the optimal Stratus/Stellaris test values that a 6N1P should be. RT just buys big batches of them and tests and grades them to be Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3. He cleans the pins and sends the Tier 1s and 2s to be cyroed. Before he ships you your tube, he treats the pins with his own secret treatment. When you pull the 6N1P from your Stratus and change to a RT Select, your amp wakes up a new more dynamic Stratus. Much better freq response including bass with Zippy transients and microdynamics. If you have been a good boy and have been listening to your Stratus in stock form for two months, it is a revelation.
    I want to get one of those Tungstram ECC40s that Lasollor recommends to see what its got. Such is tube rolling.
     
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