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Odyssey Mono's by Clive

The following is a series of reviews I wrote about my new Odyssey Stratos Mono Extremes.

Well I Got the amps yesterday. No problems with UPS. They were well packaged, double boxed. I purchased them off Audiogon from Underwoodwally. So I eagerly unpacked them and hooked them up. I couldn't wait for them to come up to room temp(I live in WI, very cool yesterday). Anyway cool as they were they sounded excellent. They replaced a set of 160 watt pure class A tubed monos. They sure hold their own against them on first listening. They main thing I always notice that SS amps lack when compared to tubes is a lack of texture.
Later in the evening when they came up to temp(which isn't much to the touch) I put on Rickie Lee Jones Naked Songs. A real torture disk. I've  found it to be harsh on many systems including tubes especially on underpowered amps. Too much volume can send you scurrying for the volume fast. No such problems with the Odyssey amps. These are just my first impressions. It usually takes me several weeks to really tell the differences between gear.The Odyssey amps have lots of drive and rhythm. Great dynamics. Great bass control as well as depth.
They will be with me a very long time. I'm not a flavor of the month clubber. Most of my gear I've had for many years(much to my wife chagrin).
I should say I'm using them to drive a pair of Hales Concept 5 speakers. I'm also using a tubed pre, transport and SS dac.
More as I listen.

I've spent a fair amount of time listening now. The amps have been powered up constantly since Friday so everything should be fully charged. I was listening last night to Lyle Lovet's Joshua, Judges, Ruth. I'm sitting there listening to a few cuts and the music/system isn't doing much for me. Is it me, my mood, or the system. After the first two songs I turned up the volume. Ah, that's better. Turned it up some more. Still better. One more click on the preamp and things come alive. The Hales are inefficient speakers after all. Boy, do these amps clamp down on these speakers. Sound stage is truly wall to wall and deep. Front to back layering is very good, better than my big tube amps. Image separation is excellent but lacking air around the image. Bass is deep and tight. As I said I was listening very loud but the treble never became harsh or etched. The biggest thing I feel I'm missing is air around the images especially the main vocalist. More later as I get more time with these amps. They are truly great sounding

I've had the amps on since I got em and I play music through them all day. I did notice a marked improvement last night. A few things I forgot to mention in my lame reviews were how good they do do attack. Especially on drum. The whack of the note is very satisfying. Also stirred snare and cymbals sound great. Last night the deep bass really started to come around. Much better rhythm and drive to the music. I'll keep listening.

Ok, I had the amps for a little over a week now, playing them all day every day. They are used so they should be broken in and now fully charged up. I took the junk stock tubes out of my pre and replaced them with Telefunken's. All I can say is wow. What a difference. Now the amps portray a fuller richer sound. Bass is deeper but softer, more like what I hear in live bass. There is a definite darkening to the sound which is how I like it. I've never been much on high frequency extremes. I much prefer a big round, rich midrange and bottom end. That doesn't mean I don't need a system that has good resolving ability. Guitars on John Platania Blues, Waltzes, and Badland Borders are now big and fat. On Greg Brown's Yellow Dog his voice is nice and chesty and deep. I just heard him and Bo Ramsey last Sat. night at a small club and this is how his voice sounded. On Cowboy Junkies At The End of Paths Taken Michaels guitar again is fat and swirling. Margo's voice is absolutely beautiful and airy. Pete's cymbals still have the same shimmer to them that I noticed when I first listened to these amps.
Everything I liked at first is still good but the things that bothered me are now almost all corrected. I could use more air around instruments.
All in all I am very happy with these amps. They will be with me for a long time. I just wonder what taking them to the SE level would do?

Again I'm no reviewer so please excuse my poor writing style but I think you get the idea, I like these amps.


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