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  1. #1

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    Default Reconfigured Odyssey Stratos the Special Fred Edition

    That's the name Klaus has come up with as it's sort of a one off amp.

    This is part review and part update of my amplifier adventure, of which the problems were described here:

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...000VA-A-L-AI-1

    Part one: last July, I had Klaus convert my Stereo Stratos with cap upgrade (additional standard grade power supply caps, not the reference ones) to a Dual Mono (with additional transformer and double the caps per channel - still standard grade). It ran hot though the sound quality was much improved over the previous Stereo Stratos. Much more bass slam, better projection of the SDA effect, generally sweeter overall. After about 6 months of use I heard a loud pop one Saturday morning while playing the system at a moderate level. Left channel gone, amp too hot to rest your hand on. So the unit went back to Klaus.

    Part two: While he had it in for repair, I had him upgrade most of the power supply caps to reference grade. Couldnt use those for the four on the upper most board as theyre too tall. To make a long story short when I put the amp back into service it could only be used with my 2.3tls without the SDA effect. In other words, no IC cable between the speakers, and no AI-1. We went back and forth trying everything we could think of, but could never get the amp to play well with the SDA speakers. I had to connect the speakers in conventional stereo mode. It still ran hot, but the improvement in SQ with the reference caps was stunning.

    Part three: I finally gave up on the Dual Mono because the SDA effect is important to have to really hear what these speakers can do. Back it went to Klaus for the re-conversion. In order to give me the bang for the buck I paid with the Dual Mono conversion for he did more upgrades: the Stereo Stratos now has the black Kismet board, the caps on the board are now reference grade too, plus some other tweaks I cant think of right now. All of this was at no additional cost.

    With only about 30-40 hours of burn in the sound quality is even better than before. I thought I might lose some of the authority of the Dual Mono, but its still there along with an even sweeter mid range. Vocal and instrument textures seem a little more enhanced, the sounds seems to emanate from within the room rather than from the speakers.

    Theres one fly in the ointment though. I have a horrible grounding problem when the Odyssey Candela Pre is in the system, even when the ICs are d/cd from the power amp so that the only thing connected to it are the speakers and the AI-1. Its a buzz/hum that increases with the volume level.

    Ive tried the following, and nothing helped:

    - Cheater Plug on the Stratos to lift the ground
    - Cheater Plug on the Candela to lift the ground
    - Pulled out the Candela and swapped tubes
    - Swapped in shielded ICs (the ones I use are unshielded)
    - Checked continuity on all ICs
    - Plugged the Stratos into an outlet on a different circuit
    - Unplugged all other components (DAC, CDP, Subwoofer, Candela Pre) from the wall and d/cd the ICs
    - Unplugged cable coax and turned off cable box, though the HT is on a separate circuit
    - Unplugged cordless phone
    - D/cd the AI-1 so the left and right speakers were only in stereo mode (no IC cable either)
    - Made sure all PCs crossed ICs at right angles
    - Made sure all speaker wires are away from PCs
    - Checked outlets for correct polarity

    And heres what solved the problem:
    swapped out the Candela pre from the system and put an older NAD C160 ss pre in its place using all the same ICs. Voila! An absolutely dead silent background, no hiss-buzz-hum even with your ear on the speaker.

    Of course it doesnt have the beautiful imaging and harmonic richness of the Candela, but at least Ive narrowed down the problem. Dont know why Im having this issue now when I didnt have it before, but its going back to Odyssey for repair.

    Love the new Special Fred Edition, even with the NAD
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

  2. #2

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    My Candela had an extremely loud noise floor fwiw. I just learned to live with it

  3. #3

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    Really? Can you describe it?

    Mine had a little bit of a hum before, but it was never loud enough to be annoying. This can be heard across the room and increases with the volume level.

    I'm just wondering why it's so much worse now. This is getting to be like playing whack-a-mole!

    Glad to have the amp issues worked out though. Even without complete burn in it sounds very good.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

  4. #4

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    Almost like a low volume version of what it sounds like when you turn your TV to a channel of static. If that makes sense...

  5. #5

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    Have you checked the grounding inside the Candela? I had a pre that gave an audible hum in my system. I found they failed to grind the powder coat off the chassis before attaching the ground terminal. It was quiet after I fixed it.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    Have you checked the grounding inside the Candela? I had a pre that gave an audible hum in my system. I found they failed to grind the powder coat off the chassis before attaching the ground terminal. It was quiet after I fixed it.
    If SCR's suggestion about chassis grounding is not the problem, try connecting a grounding wire between one of the amp's case cover screws and one of the preamp's case cover screws.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  7. #7

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    It seems like I've seen quite a few threads over the year regarding issues with the Odyssey gear, but may be I'm just imagining that. Are the products really that finicky?
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  8. #8

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    I had one that caught on fire... :-P

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    If SCR's suggestion about chassis grounding is not the problem, try connecting a grounding wire between one of the amp's case cover screws and one of the preamp's case cover screws.
    I have a APC H15 Power Conditioner that has a grounding terminal. If I connected a cable to the chassis of my pre and ground it to the H15 would it have the same effect?

  10. #10

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    Some of you who have posted on this thread may find this link useful. http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...g-A-discussion

    Danny, the only issue I have personally ran across with Odyssey gear is the 3 day warm up with the amplifiers. With the amount of lightning we have here in the Carolinas, along with the 3 day warm up? The amp had to go. I am a patient man when it comes to audio but I am not patient enough to wait 3 days after every time the unit was unplugged due to a lightning storm. Yes it would produce "sound" but the sound and sound stage got progressively worse and it sounded [to me] horrid on day two. On day three, everything came in to fruition and it sounded wonderful [with perhaps a slight mid-bass hump]. Waiting three days for the unit to sound optimal became unacceptable to me.

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    It seems like I've seen quite a few threads over the year regarding issues with the Odyssey gear, but may be I'm just imagining that. Are the products really that finicky?
    This is a common issue with gear from "one man shops".
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  12. #12

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    You must be very patient. Not sure I could put up with all these issues for very long without ditching it moving to a more reliable piece of gear.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  13. #13

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    What time does the APR shop open?????
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
    What time does the APR shop open?????
    8AM and they are only 55 miles away............but first I need to mow and clean out the gutters. Probably not going to happen today.......but it's on my radar. Still reading up.

    Although this has me almost convinced.

    http://www.automobilemag.com/feature...32_comparison/
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Although this has me almost convinced.

    http://www.automobilemag.com/feature...32_comparison/
    Almost??? Don't over think it. You'll love it. And forget about people saying 1st gear is worthless......seems they think the gas pedal is just on-off. You'll learn to modulate it and you'll be able to launch VERY quickly without much spinning.

    The best part is that your gas mileage will improve between 1-2 MPG.... unless you constantly floor it ....

    Oh, and highway speeds are where you'll notice the best improvement; in my manual I rarely downshifted from 6th and could go from 60 to 80 in a bliss. Unless I was really in a hurry.....then 3d gear was my choice and no one could get any close
    Last edited by Ricardo; 06-01-2013 at 03:22 PM.
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by VR3 View Post
    Almost like a low volume version of what it sounds like when you turn your TV to a channel of static. If that makes sense...
    Yes, that's it, but with a little more low end.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    Have you checked the grounding inside the Candela? I had a pre that gave an audible hum in my system. I found they failed to grind the powder coat off the chassis before attaching the ground terminal. It was quiet after I fixed it.
    I noticed that it doesn't appear that they ground off the powder coat - good suggestion. I'll try this and report back.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    If SCR's suggestion about chassis grounding is not the problem, try connecting a grounding wire between one of the amp's case cover screws and one of the preamp's case cover screws.
    This is also on the list of things for me to try.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

  17. #17

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    Default Eureka!

    Problem Fixed!

    I've been listening to the rig with the NAD pre for the last week. I had forgotten what a nice little unit it is, and at 1/3the cost (bought used) of the Candela. Very good soundstage, but lacking the clarity and harmonic richness of the latter.

    Earlier in the week I put in a call to Alex, the designer of the C, and we had a nice long chat. He gave me 5-6 options to try. At the end I suggested running a wire connecting the chassis of the C to the Stratos. He agreed that could work.

    This am I checked the ground connection on the C (the powder coat had been ground off during production - wouldn't have checked without the tip from SCR) ran the wire, put the C back in the system and powered up. A very slight hum that could only be heard with my ear on the speaker. And it did not increase with volume level. No other changes made. Such a simple fix for an unbearable problem.

    Willie N. making sweet music as I type this, all is well with the big rig, the AI-1 is in the system, full SDA effect happening. Only thing I need to do now is swap in the Amperex 7316's for the RCA clear tops.

    Thanks to everyone who helped with suggestions. And DK, once again you were on the money.
    Last edited by drumminman; 06-08-2013 at 10:43 AM.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by drumminman View Post
    Problem Fixed!
    Kewl! Good work! DarqueKnight scores again! You can experience wierd ground loops from having different length power cords too.

    I am obsessed with having the lowest noise floor possible. When I hear hums from speakers, I have a habit of touching gear and using myself to ground it, which can get you a shock if something is shorted. That is how I found the ground problem I described above. By touching the pre and another piece of grounded gear the hum subsided. I'm a hands on kind of guy....lol
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    When I hear hums from speakers, I have a habit of touching gear and using myself to ground it, which can get you a shock if something is shorted. That is how I found the ground problem I described above. By touching the pre and another piece of grounded gear the hum subsided. I'm a hands on kind of guy....lol
    Never thought of doing that. I'll have to file it away under "trouble shooting techniques"!
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by drumminman View Post
    Problem Fixed!

    This am I checked the ground connection on the C (the powder coat had been ground off during production - wouldn't have checked without the tip from SCR) ran the wire, put the C back in the system and powered up. A very slight hum that could only be heard with my ear on the speaker. And it did not increase with volume level. No other changes made. Such a simple fix for an unbearable problem.
    I'm glad you got some relief. You might be able to reduce or eliminate the residual hum by running ground wires from the preamp case to each source component case. Larger gauge wires might also help.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    I'm glad you got some relief. You might be able to reduce or eliminate the residual hum by running ground wires from the preamp case to each source component case. Larger gauge wires might also help.
    Next on the list. I've never not had a slight bit of hum so eliminating it entirely would be great.

    One thing I've noticed is that the SQ is so much better with the hum reduced to the present level. I thought I could only hear it with music playing during quiet passages, but it seemed to impart an overall slight grunge. It was only noticeable when it disappeared. Don't think it's my imagination.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

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