Beta Test Impressions of the New Strata

Crap. Paul, let’s pack it up, they found us out… :grin:

Thanks C. Huge complement! Means a lot.

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Sitting here listening to Kronos quartet : pieces of Africa. It’s a great demo for Strata’s ability to reproduce harmonic nuances and textures of similar acoustic instruments. There is violin, viola, cello, and half a dozen African strings like oud, kora, tar etc. Ditto for African drums.

Worth mentioning this piece in the “now playing” thread - that sounds right up my street,and I nearly missed it :slight_smile:

Well, Audioquest did just buy Goldenear…and then there’s the highly unusual (in the sense that no other amp company partners with a third party cable co. In such a bend over backwards to praise way and literally cross promote by selling on web site to exclusion of own previous products) alliance between PSA and Audioquest, so maybe onto something??? Maybe AQ has bigger plans??

[tongue in cheek, mostly]

Shoot, sorry about that. Yes, just implemented sending one with every unit and I think our team is still getting used to it. I’ll pop one in the mail for you later today.

Strata in the house for three days now. This is for the second system in the family room. I have the full PS Audio BHK stack in the designated listening room. Strata is not competing with any other PS Audio gear. I was reluctant to set up the family room because it is a cobbled together three box system: Peachtree Nova 65 amp, Oppo Sonica DAC and Cambridge Audio CXN streamer. All of the components I have used with great success previously, but all have been updated. All three function well but are three different shapes, sizes and colors. Unlike the dedicated listening room, WAF is justifiably a factor in our family/entertaining room. So when Strata was announced I was intrigued.

Strata system is simply Vienna Acoustics 30th Anniversary Haydn Jubilee monitors with Analysis Oval speaker cables and Pangea powercord for Strata. Just add speakers! Set up was a breeze with no issues including manually setting up WiFi and downloading the app on iPhone and iPad. Have been listening to FLAC files on NAS drive, Qobuz and Spotify. I will leave the detailed sound signature descriptions to the other more qualified forum members. What I can say with all certainty is that out of the box, it has a full, detailed luxurious sound. Speaker placement is somewhat problematic and room is not treated (much), but this combination sounds amazing. Even moving off center and into other rooms is sounds great. I have not compared it to the BHK stack, but that is not why I bought it.

For our needs this is just right. An elegant single box solution that sounds great. We have connected the TV via digital cable for a greatly enhanced experience. And my wife, who loves music but does not take the initiative to use the dedicated music room, sat down for hours Sunday and played some of her favorite tunes. It was a pleasure seeing her enjoy it so much, and not needing my assistance to do so. More to follow.

Important note to everyone. Run Ethernet OR WiFi. Do not run both!

WiFi “on” changes the sound slightly compared to “off”. By change I mean loss of bass and midbass with an emphasis on the high end. Ethernet is susceptible to noise from routers/switches/power supplies.

If you have WiFi on and Ethernet plugged in with a noisy router and cheap SMPS, SQ will be suboptimal.

@jamesh
Is it possible to auto disable the WiFi when Ethernet is connected?

I’m curious if this could be programmed in. I don’t see why not. I’ll forward it over to the dev team and see what they think.

I’ve been messaging another member who was using Ethernet and complaining of loss of bass and he was double dipping since he didn’t realize WiFi was on.

In the meantime you could always give WiFI the wrong password, :slight_smile:
Should work to disable it.

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Not sure though, when WiFi is on the concern should be the WiFi module is powered up and adding noise. If it’s selected as on With wrong password I believe the module will still be on.

@jamesh
The Naim Mu-So line does this (probably their entire line does this but I don’t own them to confirm). If you power the thing on with an ethernet cable plugged in then WiFi is disabled. You cannot even turn WiFi on. You can only manually set SSID and password. If you don’t set SSID and password then Wifi never comes on. If you do have it set then, if the ethernet link is dropped, it will try Wifi and stay on Wifi until you power cycle with ethernet plugged in. *Didn’t test this just going from memory.

It’s good to turn radios off if they are not needed.

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I know wireless everything is becoming the standard, but I hate it when there’s no wired option offered, or if wifi stays on even when wired option is enabled. Just asking for conflicts!

(Was looking at soundbars for our TV, as we’re not big AV-receiver home-theater people… anyway, seems like ALL of them now connect the soundbar to the subwoofer via Bluetooth. Would be soooo easy to just offer a wired option.)

Ooh, I like that. That’s definitely the way it should be done. Thanks, and the note has been sent to the dev team.

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Couldn’t agree more. I know it’s stupid, but there is no way I would buy a soundbar and woofer that is connected to the TV via BT. I know there are some great ones out there, but I can’t get myself to buy one.

Don’t bother. I don’t need it.

I don’t see the point with WiFi connectivity that will take FLAC?

I finally replaced my Sonos with the Blue Sound Node 2i so I can stream Amazon music HD. Very easy connect (optical). The HD radio coming through sounds incredible (Led Zeppelin playing at the moment). Having some difficulty with the Internet connection; however, that’s with the blue node and not with the Strata. The system has been on 24/7 since I set it a week ago.

I am testing out Monsoon AC cables for SP3 and Strata and I like what I’m hearing ! More later

I received the Strata about 10 days ago and so I have used it for several hours during that time. My stereo system probably wouldn’t be considered “high end” by many readers of this forum. The speakers I am currently using to test the Strata are Wharfedale Diamond 240s along with a Polk Audio 10 inch sub. My turntable is an Audio Technica AT-PL120 with an Audio Technica VM540ML stylus. I’m also running an Onkyo DX-C390 CD player, and an old Sony TC-366 Reel to Reel tape deck. I have a MacBook Pro laptop that is dedicated to the music system and is currently connected to the Strata through the USB input port. I’ve also installed the PS Connect app on my iPhone where I can access Amazon Prime Music. I haven’t set up any other music services yet.

I have been very impressed with several aspects of the Strata’s performance. The headphone sound and power is fantastic! My Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones have never sounded better. The sound is rich and full with beautiful highs and lows.

My favorite music media are records. I have been using the PS Audio Sprout 100 for the past several months and have enjoyed its “all in one” convenience. Part of its appeal was that it contained a built in Moving Magnet Phono Preamplifier. When I read the first description of the Strata, it was referred to as an “all in one” amplifier so I assumed that it would also have a built-in phono preamplifier. When it arrived, I found that it didn’t have a phono preamp and so I have had to use the Sprout100 as my phono preamp. That particular combination has been a beautiful thing to listen to as my records have come alive with a great sound stage and full musical quality. Unfortunately this is only a temporary setup since I will be trading in the Sprout100 on the Strata, thus creating a need to purchase a separate phono preamp at additional cost.

CDs played through the Strata sound incredible! I’m not very good at describing musical sound qualities, but the CDs sound better than ever when processed by the Strata. They are almost as great sounding as the records!

I’m just getting into streaming music, so I don’t have much to say at this point concerning this aspect of the Strata. I understand that streaming is one of the very strong points of the Strata. I can say that connecting the Strata to my wifi was kind of challenging. The user interface seemed clumsy. I had a hard time getting from one step to the next without the Strata going back to step one. It needs to stay at each step until the user has time to refer to the owners manual and enter the needed information, then advance with an enter command. I much prefer just going through my computer using the USB option because of its simplicity.

Overall, this is an incredible sounding amplifier with tons of versatility. I will be trying it out with my other tower speakers soon. (Polk Audio RTi10’s and Klipsch RC 62 II’s) as well as a couple of other subs I have (Klipsch and a Miller & Kreisel).

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