Beta Test Impressions of the New Strata

I’ve noticed switching between digital sources, it taking a while to latch onto the new one. Which may or may not be related to what you’re saying.

Turns out it’s not applicable. The Bridge module has an ability to have a line in, but obviously we’re completely by-passing that nonsense.

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That’s not the issue, it flat out stopped playing thru the coax. I first blamed it on the Oppo but after rebooting the Strata the problem went away.

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That’s interesting, because I think it was the coax that I had the problem with as well.

As I continue to listen to the Strata, I am struck by how it conveys a good recording so accurately and warmly, but also how it shows up a poor recording. There is no such a thing as background music with the Strata.

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Hello, I wanted to say a few things about the Strata real quick. This thing is amazing so far, the day it came in, I listened for 7 hours straight with no fatigue at all. I have been letting it burn in during the day while at work and it seems to get better every day. At this time, I have only used it via streaming. I did not have any issues connecting to wifi or with android. I am planning on connecting other inputs this week to test more and will give a full review after. Side note to “yoduh”, holding vol up/dn works without issue on mine.
Things I’ve found that I like so far:

  1. The sound is great. Some songs are so realistic you feel like you can reach out and touch the singer.
  2. I feel it has a very nice, clean look. Seems to be very well built.
  3. The remote has a nice feel to it. I did not have the issue of finding the vol buttons when dark.
  4. You can easily switch between Tidal & Qobuz without interruption.
  5. You can control the volume by the phone (Mine changes in steps of 10 using android)
  6. I like the “Play next” option on the app.
  7. Did I mention the sound? I will go in greater detail on this after I’ve played with it some more.
    Things I don’t like:
  8. The bitrate is too small to see in seating position.
  9. I wish there was an “add to queue” or “add to list” option on the app, like the “Play next”. (I found myself several times thinking of a song I wanted to listen to next but already had a song on “play next” and by the time it went to the next song, I had forgotten what I was wanting to listen to.)
  10. Metadata option on strata does not let me turn it on.
  11. Tidal does not show bitrate on app, always shows 44.1k/16b on strata even when listening to tidal masters.
  12. The other day while streaming, the PS light was flashing, music still playing but remote and buttons on unit were non responsive. Had to power off via back of unit.
  13. YouTube music is not available on app. (I use this for background music because I like the “My Mix” option.
  14. Favorite icon does nothing on app.
    These are just a few things so far. I am very happy with the Strata. My favorite part is my 15-year old son is really getting into hifi now and it has been a great bonding experience. I will post more in a few days. Keep up the great work!
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This alone makes your demo a worthwhile experience! Priceless really! Totally serious here. My kids are not there yet but I hope someday it’ll be something we can bond over. Right now hifi has nothing on Minecraft and Fortnite for them : (

Treasure the moments -

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Will the Bridge and App find my ITunes on my computer or do I have to hardwire through USB?

Hi, some initial thoughts here. I received my Strata on 5/2. I’m very impressed with the looks of it in person! Packaging was great as others have noted. I had no issues getting anything hooked up. I have the Streamer connected via ethernet cable, a CD player via optical, a turntable via analog, and utilizing the home theater bypass with my Marantz NR1403. My previous integrated I used was the Sprout100. I have Zu Audio Omen Dirty Weekend speakers, a Fluance RT81 turntable, and a rarely used Pioneer CD/SACD player. In an effort to accelerate the burn in process I’ve pretty much had some sort of music and/or TV playing through the Strata 24hrs a day since receiving. I primarily use Amazon for streaming and haven’t been able to get anything higher than 44/16 although I pay for the higher quality with Amazon. Also when skipping through various albums or playlists on Amazon in the PS app there is an annoying 9 sec lag for the screen to catch up to the sound. When searching for different songs I’ve been unable to play them directly, I have to play the album and then skip to the song I want to hear. The volume level seems to be very loud at setting 1 even with the -10 trim, definitely too loud for late night listening in my household. When I change the volume via the app it will change by 7 at a time versus 1 on the remote control. Also the volume isn’t adjustable via the external volume buttons on the phone when the phone is in the locked mode. One thing about the sound is that the bass seems almost non-existent unless I really crank the volume level past 20 at which point the overall sound can get a little fatiguing after a short amount of time. Wondering if I have a defective unit as others seem to be raving about the bass right out of the box, I never had an issue with the bass my Sprout100 put out. I signed up for Qobuz and can play it through my iPhone speaker but when trying to stream via the PS app it always says “login failed”, maybe due to being on the free trial? I’ve quickly realized that I’ll need to purchase an external phono stage as the one built into my turntable doesn’t seem anywhere close to what I had been used to with the Sprout100, will probably go with the Schiit Mani. When playing CD’s via Optical you can still hear music at volume level 0. The HT bypass works as advertised, I have the level set at 50 and that definitely helps with the bass output. In all modes of listening there is a fairly prominent hiss that comes through the super tweeters of my speakers, not audible from my listening position but I do wonder if that hiss is supposed to be present at all? And I’ve had the same blinking issue with the PS Audio button that others have reported, it’s probably happened a total of 4 times the past week. The owner’s manual says to turn off the Strata via that button or remote before switching it off in the back but when the light is blinking that doesn’t work.

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Welcome!

Thank you for the detailed comments.

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Watch the switch and power supply!

What is your network composed of?

iTunes does not normally communicate with outside devices so yes, you’d need the USB cable. I will caution you though. If that is your intent to use iTunes, be sure you also install Bit Perfect on the computer. This will get you much better sound using iTunes.

Others have mentioned the fact that there is audible volume when the Strata is at the 0 volume setting. I also have that issue but noticed something else. When streaming music thru input 9 (Bridge) and turning the volume to 0 I get a “digital burbling/skipping” sound. When I turn the volume back up it takes a second or two for the sound to return to normal. Even though I have audible sound from other inputs (phono, CD, USB, Squeezebox), I do not hear that same weird sound at the 0 volume setting.

Thanks, Paul.

Best,
Jim

5/12/ Update: The weekend got away from me with projects, I didn’t spend much time with the Stellar. I forgot to add from the beginning that I was initially thinking of the PS Audio S300 amp in conjunction with a streaming preamp or streaming cd player. The strata solution seemed like the better alternative and showed up at the right time.

  • 14 hours music, 7 days on idle power.
  • ?Will an Ayre cd clarifier burn in disk harm the Strata?.
  • Wireless streaming drops out/disconnects about twice per day but I do not have playback gaps. When this happens, it takes about 10 minutes to “cool off” and then I can connect again (my network in hardwired mode doesn’t have a time limit). Some times it’s a few hours of streaming, sometimes it’s 30 minutes. PS Audio Connect app worked a few times, Spotify App worked a few times.
  • Streaming quality seems to have more air, not sure yet if it’s lighter, to it than CD.
  • It would be great to have a button on the remote give you the “info” of what the amp is currently set on, input / bit rate / phase, even if you have to press the same key two or three times to scroll through the information.
  • Even with just idle power into the unit most of the time and limited music hours the Strata breaks in considerably after 3 or 4 days compared to fresh out of the box. My earlier questions regarding cables have me intrigued even more with the quality of music I’m currently getting from stock a/c cords and mid-tier interconnects and speaker cable.
  • Using the PS Audio Connect app on my iPhone I don’t see the same menu options and “daily mix” options as the Spotify app, PSA Connect seems more tied to the 3 saved playlists allowed in the app, less navigation friendly.

Hello everyone! The posts that you’ve all been making are very informative and illuminating. Thanks to all. I’m learning a lot.

I’ll just pick up with where I left off with my last post.

Operation Guide
page 13- I do like the use of the button next to the display for selecting inputs. That’s a lot of utility out of very few front panel controls.

Volume control- I’ve mentioned that the rotational feel of the knob could be improved. Compliments to the engineering group for designing a volume control that has no “zipper noise” that I can detect. That’s really great!

I was able to connect Strata to the appropriate WiFi network easily per the manual. I downloaded the PS Audio Connect app to my iPad and was able to play Qobuz right away. The manual, page 11, refers to the PS Audio Strata App. That should be changed to say the PS Audio Connect App. I spent time looking for a Strata app which doesn’t exist. James sent me the Connect App link.

On my iPad Pro, the connect app is only viewed in the portrait mode regardless of the orientation of the iPad. I use an attached keyboard so the tablet is always in the landscape mode. I really hope you add this flexibility to your app!

page 14- Sorry, I’m not a fan of the 2 volume controls on the remote. My perception is that this is a stock OEM remote and you couldn’t think of what to do with 2 unused buttons.

I like the Display Dim functionality and glad to read it works across the PS Audio product platform. Nice.

page 15- Balance control works well. Glad is uses small .25dB steps. The manual implies that “phase” is the second selection. On my unit, filter is the second selection. On my system, the sonic differences between filters requires more than a casual listen to select. I’ll have to get back to this selection.

page 17- Renaming inputs really demonstrated the limitations of the minimalist approach to front panel buttons. I wish there was a quick way to return to the beginning of the process after you make a mistake. I finally got it but will have to pull out the manual next time. I think a step by step example in the manual may help eliminate so much trial and error for people like me.

I will go back to try the functions on page 18 and higher. The only one I obviously jumped ahead to was enabling WiFi. I wonder if the WiFi instructions should be moved page 11 or reference page 22 on page 11.

There is a typo on pg 21 and one on pg 22. If you can’t find them, let me know.

Preliminary Listening Impressions.

The system sound performance continues to improve with break in.

Overall, the sound is very pleasing. It is smooth and balanced. There are no obvious spectral problems whatsoever.

With all sources so far, I would like to hear more high frequency extension and dynamics. The low end is really good with a tendency to be a bit bloated on some material.

The system is revealing of differences between sources and media. After one session adjusting the speaker toe in, I was able to get a wide image with good localization in between the speakers. I’m hoping to improve the image depth by closing the window treatments over the window behind/between the speakers.

Now, please note, these are preliminary impressions. I have no idea how much the new speakers or Strata or room are contributing to each impression. I’ll try to get a better idea as I spend more time listening.

Also, I’m hoping to get the sub integrated into the system.

Thanks for listening. More to follow.

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Noted!
My internet is through CenturyLink. The only other device I have hooked up via ethernet is my Directv. There are various mobile devices connected to the WiFi.

@J_Scott Are you directly connected to the router?

Ethernet?

Yes the Strata is connected directly to the CenturyLink Modem/Router via ethernet cable.

@J_Scott
Ok, I guarantee the harshness and lack of bass is due to this. High frequency noise is generated by the cheap SMPS power supply and goes into the Strata. I heard this myself with my own router 3 years ago on the Ultrarendu and it kills the musicality and gives you hearing fatigue.

There is a an easy fix for this… depending on your budget you’re gonna need a switch. If you just want a quick and dirty solution get a Netgear GS105. If you want something better get a Cisco SG110D. The Cisco has a crappy power supply but will be the better option if are willing to get a linear power supply.

I’m not talking about little differences, this is MAJOR.

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