Odyssey Audio Stratos Mono Blocks Amplifiers

Stratos Mono Blocks

150 watt mono block. Priced per pair.

User Reviews (50)

Showing 1-10 of 50  
DRG   AudioPhile [Dec 04, 2016]

I bought the Odyssey Audio Stratos Monoblocks with the Kismet board upgrade (180 watts/channel)about a year ago and have it connected to my Vandersteen 3A signature speakers. I had it custom designed with silver and black construction. I have listened to this combination extensively.

It took 500 hours to break-in (a bit irritating) but I could see the validity to d go through that exercise as the sound improved in chunks and quite dramatically. I leave them on 24 hours per Klaus's recommendation.

These are by far the best amplifiers that I have purchased and they are keepers. They are very resolving and across the audible spectrum from the treble to midrange and bass, the sound is magical and sweet. It is dead center in terms of neutrality and tone and does not overemphasize or be too forward.

Sound output is a combination of the entire chain from source through my Simaudio CD player and Preamplifier and the speaker that is being used. I have struggled to attribute the tremendous upgrade of my system after buy these amplifiers. When I introduced the Odyssey into the chain, I could spot the difference right away, and having bought and sold a few more amplifiers since then, I can say unequivocally that these amplifiers are impossible to beat in terms of the sheer musicality. Five Stars all the way around.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
AnalogDog   AudioPhile [Dec 12, 2009]

This review is for the 'plain vanilla' Stratos monoblocs. The Extremes, and Glass Ceiling'ed Extremes, and now the Kismets have gotten the lion's share of bandwidth lately, as well they should. Klaus has taken the extremely strong foundation of the Stratos monoblocs, and built them up into something extraordinary, with these latest additions to the Odyssey line.
But the Stratos monoblocs remain overachievers in their own right. I'm gonna cut to the chase, and not restate what so many others have already said very well. These are THE FIRST solid state amps I could live with long term(and have!), and are already THE BEST solid state amps I've ever heard in my system. They drive my Magnepan 12QR's to absolute jaw dropping levels of clarity and punch, with great finesse, while never sounding harsh or strained. Bass control and depth is Stygian, mids are clean and clear, and the treble is grain free, unusual in a solid state amp. There is a stop on a dime quickness to these amps that make them sound way more powerful than they already are. They serve the music so well, they disappear. What more can I say? I am a customer for life.I will be sending 'em back to Klaus I hope at some point, to Glass Ceiling Extreme them, or maybe even have him shoehorn a pair of Kismets into the cases (if it's doable, he'll do it, including making a one of a kind amp for you. They don't come better than Klaus). But if I never get around to doing that, I'll still be happy. They're already THAT good. So, if you have a current hungry pair of speakers (like Magnepans), these are your amps. BTW, the plain vanilla monoblocs are rated at 180 watts into 8 ohms, not 150, and the Extremes are rated at 200 watts into 8 ohms. The Extremes have more and better capacitors, another 400VA toroid stacked on top of the first, and upgraded other components. I don't know WHAT he does to the Glass Ceiling's but I bet it's really impressive. Regardless, the plain Stratos monoblocs are still WAY more amp than you'll probably ever need. So find a pair used like I did, pair them with a GOOD tube preamp, and just enjoy the music the rest of your life.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
antero   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 02, 2008]
Strength:

see above.

Weakness:

Very long break-in period ... people who have not heard these amps before 6 months of continuous run-in time will have NO IDEA how good they are! That is probably the reason why Odyssey does not have the acclaim it trully deserves.

This review is for a pair of Stratos Mono Extreme SE built around June of 2007. They had the latest Symphonic line boards available at that time and were about 3 months old when I got them. I became their third owner at that point!

I was quite happy with the amp section of my previous solid state YBA passion integre (100 wpc) and only went to the mono's because my speaker manufacturer used them to voice his/(my) speakers. When I initially introduced the Odyssey mono's into the system, I felt that some of that tube-like midrange richness (which the YBA passion series carries) was lost and the sound seemed balanced but somewhat mundane Furthermore, the entire sonic spectrum seemed lilfted by an entire octave. This seemed to me quite strange. There were some obvious improvements though. The highs were more extended and had better decays. The soundstage was considerably better defined and increased in size. Dynamics and transients were clearly better.

After calling Klaus, he assured me that the amps were not yet fully broken in and that this point would be reached around the 6 months mark. He also told me NOT to turn the amps off at all (if possible) during the first year as this would complete the break-in period in case of the amps being turned off for more than 24 hour (i.e. FULL charge up from that point on would only take 2-3 days).

All I can say is that I'm glad I was patient and I hope that the previous owners have gotten amps that satisfy their needs. After living with these mono's for about 1 year, and having lost power twice (once at 9 months and once at 11 months), I have come to regard them as some of the finest amplifiers I've heard. These are NOT HiFi amps!!! ... they rightfully belong in the audiophile class. I

For me, it took about 6 weeks for things to fall back into their normal place. After that music became an amazing experience.

Anyone familiar with Symphonic Line knows that their Kraft mono's are among the top 5 amps in the world. The Odyssey Mono Extreme SE essentially represent the Symphonic Line RG4 MK4 with a much larger powersupply and a different chassis (their third-best amp). The RG4 MK4 is used by numerous studios in Europe as a reference amplifier. It is completely neutral, extremelly detailed in all areas of the spectrum and never fatiguing/overbearing.

The Odyssey Mono Extreme SE are very good in stock form. Upgraded feet make a significant difference in terms of PRaT and real life dynamics. Upgraded powercords help with palpability and soundstage depth/width/height.

Overall, I find that these amps just beg you to turn up the volume. That's how musical they are. The music just simply becomes more real, more papable until you suddenly feel that the musical event is unfolding right in front of you. And throughout the entire experience your ears never feel strained/tired, you get no headaches afterwards and you really get to appreciate what each music album has to offer. In my experience, the only other amps with similar qualities (but better) are the Tenor mono's (350 HPs).

Overall a reference product!!! ... even NEW the price is unbelievable.

The SL RG4 MK4 costs 9500 Euro.

Customer Service

Klaus is excellent to deal with. Resourceful and honest.

Similar Products Used: YBA, Nagra, Atmasphere, Bryston, Musical Fidelity, Audio Refinement, Classe, Krell, Simaudio, Audio Note. Heard Tenor, Vaic, VAC in other setups.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
davet   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 01, 2008]
Strength:

Fantastic sound and build quality, along with unmatched customer service.

Weakness:

Absolutely NONE!

This is my first review, and as i am not one to have ever put sound into words. I will keep it simple and breif. The review is for a pair of "Glass ceiling" upgraded monoblock extremes.
I have bought and sold several amps and preamps (Tube and Solid state) over many years looking for that just right sound.
I have found that sound with Odyssey!
They have a tube type warmth that i have never heard in a
solid state amp before. Smooth liquid mids, tight and deep bass, smooth and extended highs, Soundstage and instrument placement like no other in it's class.
The Odyssey products make listening to music a true pleasure like it should be.

My system consists of Odyssey Statos Monoblock extreme SE recently upgraded by Klaus, Odyssey Candela Tube preamp, Jolida jd100 tube cd player,
Pro-ject RM5SE turntable w/ Sumiko blue point 2
Jolida jd9 tube phono preamp, Furman ref 15It power center, a pair of Magneplanar MG 1.6qr speakers and a pair of Vandersteen 2W Subwoofers.

Customer Service

Never before have i ever experianced personal attention from the owner of a company. Klaus is a remarkable person, a true pleasure to do business with.

Similar Products Used: Krell, Bryston, Classe, VTL, Cary, McCormack,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Doug Sharp   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 17, 2007]
Strength:

8000 Characters isn't enough to list the strengths. Everything you have heard is true. Punch, sound quality, staging, depth, tonality... nothing missing in the sound. Build is custom and high quality. If you bought a bunch of them you would probably find minor differences in the finish but you'd be using a fine tooth comb to find them.

Weakness:

You need space and a good rack and other equipment that is up to the same level of quality. Now I'm shopping for a better disk player but most folks will understand that issue.

Confession. I've been a customer since 2001 and haven’t been that great of a customer that’s when I bought my first amplifier from Odyssey Audio. Yep, I shopped around for an amp upgrade as I slowly build up a reference system for both stereo and 5.1 channel duty. I realize this review is long but I want the reader to understand why I made the choice to return to Odyssey. Value, service and sound quality!

The original Stratos Plus (stereo with 120K cap upgrade) is still kicking so my initial plan was to use it either for surrounds and replace the mains and center power or retire it and use it in my less than reference downstairs system. I was shopping for more juice since I own Magneplaner 1.6QR main speakers and they are wonderful but hungry. Watts aren't the issue I don't listen loud but I do need the headroom and I listen carefully to jazz, blues, classical, rock and even blue grass. The preamp processor is an Anthem AVM-30 but loads of folks use them with tube pre-amps. Anyone who has listened to Maggies with enough current and space knows not to complain about a lack of slam, just add a true subwoofer for part of the bottom octave.

This review is about Odyssey, Klaus and the Extreme Mono SE’s that replace the classic stereo Stratos which Klaus is rebuilding to do three channel duties for center and surrounds. This was not my original plan but Klaus is so supportive and customer oriented after I auditioned a lot of more pricey products I returned to build on the value of my investment. He just asked what my budget was and suggested based on our conversation. It seemed like a great idea to me and certainly a perk with the resale value of most electronics.

The mono blocks have 180K per channel of capacitance for 360K total in the pair. That and the two custom toroid power transformers per channel result in massive power supply reserves. The SE version also has special caps, wiring and resistors in critical paths. That translates to speed and transient response that can be startling. They should be left on all the time as Klaus instructs. The penalty for turning the amps off is that you really need to power them up at least 24 hours before any critical listening sessions. Everything you hear about burn in is entirely correct. Out of the box they sound a little muted although some midrange glory appears just to make you smile.

They run warmer than the original Stratos (I suspect this is due to more class A output) but no matter how hard you drive them you can still hold your hand on the heat sinks in comfort. They also weight a ton but the solid mass plus the audiophile grade feet translate into better sound, heat dissipation and a killer industrial look. You also need space to place them and a rack that can hold 65 to 70 Lbs. per chassis! Guess I also listen to heavy metal. Get a friend to help you put them in the rack the heat sinks make great handles.

After the break in period... and these will make a total believer out of you if you don’t think breaking is important. These amps sing! Vocals are real and instruments are clearly defined. You can delineate placement on well recorded material as well as tell (if you go to enough live performances and have good memory) in some cases the maker of the equipment the musicians are using. These are truly amazing amplifiers.
You've read about commercial reviewers getting caught up in the toe tapping and rushing to their collections to listen to standards and find new sounds? I am totally there folks. The high end is clear as a bell and decay and transient response are very natural. Crash, splash and ride cymbals sound right, and the bass end is tight and correctly in balance. Fretless bass, upright acoustic and even Stanley Clarke’s piccolo bass sound like they do in a really good club or hall. All of the original acoustics of a good recording return you to that space because the sound stage and depth and tonal balance are superb. The midrange is extremely close to that produced by a very expensive tube amp. I'll refuse to name them because I have met one of the company principles and the price vs. performance comparison would be a huge embarrassment to them.

I’m gushing but you can easily spend $10k and get less. I have auditioned amps that cost five to six times the price and figured I could never afford sound of this quality. Thanks to Klaus I have been proven wrong. He told me I would love them. These are highly recommended no matter what your system and the company owner is a joy to deal with and wouldn’t intentionally steer you wrong. Save your money and take the leap.

Customer Service

Rocks.

Similar Products Used: Many but I have never owned a better amp. I've auditioned BAT, Carver, Anthem, CJ, Krell and some other customs. None had this level of price vs. performance going for them.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
85CJ7   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 13, 2007]
Strength:

Can handle demanding speakers with ease

Weakness:

Heavy?

If you are considering solid state amplifiers, consider the Odyssey Stratos Mono Extremes and if the Special Edition is available and you have the means buy a pair. I have owned several SS amps and the Mono SEs trounced them. I can not comment on any comparison to tube amplifiers since I don’t own any nor have I listened to any but going back to SS, the Odysseys are great. I’m driving a pair of Thiel CS3.6s and they sound phenomenal. Previously I drove them with Rotel RB 1090s but I sold those once I heard the Thiels being powered by the SEs. A further improvement was adding the Candela preamp to the system but without the Monos to control the Thiels first, the Candela probably wouldn’t have shone as highly. The Thiels require more than power otherwise the Rotels would have been a great match with 700 watts into 4 ohms. As such my system with the Candela, Stratos Mono Extreme SEs, and Thiel CS3.6s competes with almost any system. The key word here is competes. I’m not saying it is better, but it is good.

What makes the Stratos Monos good? Tonal quality, speaker control, timing etc…All those words which hold little meaning unless you listen yourself. So if you have a demanding speaker I recommend Odyssey Stratos Mono Extremes Special Edition. Even if your speakers aren’t as demanding give the Odysseys a listen. My Paradigm Reference Studio 100 v2 benefit from the SEs too.

It is worth noting that the above price for the Odyssey's is for the regular Monos. The Extremes are $2895 and the SEs are $3400.

Customer Service

As always, Klaus is easy to deal with and provides a 20 year warranty.

Similar Products Used: Present:
Odyssey Stratos Mono Extremes SE

Past: Chronological
Rotel RB 1090 x 2
Rotel RB 990
Rotel RB 980
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rigby   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 15, 2006]
Weakness:

None

This review is in response to “Discriminator’s” comments.

A few weeks ago, I purchased the used amps that Discriminator describes below. Even though he expressed his displeasure here, he advertised them with positive comments on Audiogon. During our negotiations, he extended his positive comments to include Klaus as well (“he stands behind his products…he is extremely easy to deal with” and other similar comments). Two days AFTER I committed to purchase the amps, Discriminator placed his negative remarks on AudioReview. You might think that I wish that I had been forewarned about Discriminator’s bad experience. Not really. Had he been upfront and told me the truth, I might not have purchased these wonderful amps. I am extremely pleased with their performance. In fact, I got a great deal.

So why am I writing? Well, things worked out in the end, but I hate being deceived. And, I think Klaus deserves better. Somewhere along the way, his good name was used to sell these amps, only to have his same good name besmirched after it was no longer of any use. That doesn’t seem quite fair.

One final note: Discriminator’s comments (and my own) are slightly misplaced in this category. These amps are not Stratos Mono Extremes. Rather, they are custom-made, near Stratos Extreme specification Khartago Monos. They are one-of-a-kind and offer great sound.

If you take the plunge like so many of us have, you won't be disappointed.

Similar Products Used: Odyssey Stratos
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
saidentary   AudioPhile [Jan 12, 2006]
Strength:

Build quality, power in terms of wattage, "extreme" current delivery, recovery of detail, bottom end control. On the practical side, since these are a class A/B design, they don't run "hot", just warm, and can be stored, turned on at all times, inside of an entertainment center with no worries, although at least SOME ventilation is still necessary (I know that you probably already know that, so sorry about the "duh!").

Weakness:

Yeah, RIGHT!

Critical Point: This review is about the EXTREME (most deluxe available model, and not currently even mentioned on the U.S. version of Odyssey's web site). This version is DIFFERENT than the simple monoblock amplifier pair, or even with a capacitance upgrade. The Odyssey Stratos EXTREME Monoblock Amplifier pair has 200-PLUS watts per channel and probably more like 300, according to Klaus Bunge, the manufacturer in the United States who makes these under license from the Symphonic Line in Germany (where similar products routinely retail for DOUBLE what Klaus has these priced at). They also have much more capacitance, 180,000 microfarads PER SIDE (!!!) or 360,000 microfarads total. Capacitance is important in terms of current delivery, and as I understand it, more is generally better. Also, I purchased these USED, so the price I paid was less than the retail of a new unit, which is $2700 per pair. So..... 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, which has around 100 wpc. It was immediately obvious that these were superior to the B&K in probably every way (even though that's a fairly well regarded amplifier, and knowlegable audiophiles will know), 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 (HOWEVER, SEE BELOW, BECAUSE THIS OBSERVATION WAS DEAD WRONG!). 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 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 ESPECIALLY 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 on the Odyssey website regarding customer service sounded to me to be, well..."optimistic", but turned out to absolutely, positively true, without exception, in my experience. Others on the Audioreview website seem to agree, everybody or nearly everybody, 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!!!

Similar Products Used: B&K ST-140 (a great amplifier in its own right)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
WILLIAM C WALDECKER 3RD   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 24, 2005]
Strength:

the power,speed,smoothness,and build quality of the mono extremes and customer service is world class. dealing with Klaus Bunge is a privlege and always a pleasure.

Weakness:

the waiting period has been two weeks from ordering to my doorstep, these products are built to order one at a time so i dont really see the wait as a liability.

i purchased the mono extremes about four months ago after owning a pair of factory upgraded Khartago monoblocks. i am very impressed at how well these amplifiers perform in my system. i was using these amps with the Tempest preamp and a Symphonic Line vibrato cd player along with a beautiful dark red cherry pair of Odyssey Lorelei loudspeakers. the Khartago monos were wonderful in thier own right but the mono extremes are in a whole different class. the control that these amps have over the drivers in the speakers is amazing,the air around the musical notes. the incredible speed and smoothness of these amps along with the sheer power that they exhibit just give me a grin from ear to ear. these amps easily compare to amps costing many times more the asking price. the sonics that they are capable of are truely world class! i dont think i will be shopping for new amps anytime soon, unless of course Klaus decides to build a better a power amplifier.nothing comes even close to these amps for the money.

Similar Products Used: Anthem,Rotel,Parasound,BK,Musical Fidelity
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
peter59   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 03, 2005]
Strength:

much better bass authority, fluid midrange, grainless treble, 20year warranty, Klaus Bunge for customer service!!

Weakness:

none I can think of, oh yeah the long breakin but once you are there you will be toe tapping and grinning from ear to ear!

I originally had the Odyssey Dual Stratos for a few months, spoke to Klaus Bunge( owner of Odyssey Audio Designs) and decided to step up to the mono amps (extreme version) Everything that has previously posted about these amps is correct. If you want to hear an incredible transformation of detail like never before, soundstage presence that will move blow you away than run don't walk and call Klaus today!. I thought that I was happy with the dual mono amp (please see my previous review )you will be in pure musical heaven! I would have to say that the monos are at least 50% better all across the board, when Klaus had told me their would be a dramatic improvement he was not kidding, more like a complete transformation. I am now finding myself listening more and more to my cds for hours on end.. If you want true high end HIFI sound at a very resonable cost this is it. You will not be dissapointed!!

Similar Products Used: Krell, Mark Levinson, CJ, Cary, Musical Fidelity, McCormick,Bryston, Prima Luna,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 50  

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