Beta Test Impressions of the New Strata

Thanks Paul. Cycle power?

Cycled power. Strata came back as normal, connected to Wifi automatically. I opened PS Connect, found the Strata and we’re back in business. Very nice!

Thank you for remembering. I believe you’re referring to the Proceed PCD. Distinctive industrial design by David Barson and a very good sounding DAC and audio output section. And we had a two piece Proceed transport and DAC.

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Yup. Fixes it right away.

David Barton was an amazing industrial designer. I loved his work.

Hi All,

I just want to say thanks to PS Audio for the chance to beta the strata. I’m a long time audio geek (most of my lawnmowing money as a kid in the 90s went to audio) but relatively new to the world of modern hi fi. I started out with some Sennheiser HD6XXS and a Schiit magni in early 2018 and have gone on from there.

Paul - I love your YouTube videos, entertaining and informative.

I’ve had the Strata hooked up for the last 2 ish weeks (after it sat for a week of quarantine). Until tonight I have focused strictly on the amp/preamp portion. I have been feeding it via balanced cables from a Schiit Bifrost 2, and via RCA with a class A tube amp as a pre/buffer, also fed by the Schiit Bifrost 2.

Up until the Strata arrived my basement system was a Schiit Bifrost 2 --> Schiit Saga --> Schiit Vidar --> Zu Omen DW (with snubbers)

Upstairs I have some KLH Kendalls and a Marantz PM6006.

As far as the amp portion goes, this is my first differential amp. Its very nice. The Strata is a nice (if small) upgrade over the Saga/Vidar combo in terms of detail/imaging/separation.

I understand the concept of class A pre/output and Class D driver/power stages.

I am hearing more detail with the strata, without a total loss of the fullness/body I get from vidar and/or the tubes.

It is quite enjoyable.

It seems like the HP portion and the 2ch portion are boyh always on? That is very disappointing. There are lots of cases where I want HPs only and no Speakers… actually that’s most cases…

I would hope you revisit this arrangement, either through a software update or some other means…I’m a relatively young audio enthusiast and have 2 kids under 6 with another bun in the oven…

Analogue sound quality is exceptional on 2ch via balanced and SE.

I have not tested vinyl yet. More to come.

Regarding digital… so far the PS Audio app on Android leaves much to be desired…

Connecting via WiFi was a huge pain. I had to forget my normal home networks to allow my phone to stay connected to the amp. Lack of 5ghz wifi was very very surprising, and a bit disappointing… on 2.4ghz I’m at 96 percent signal strength, but experiencing buffering delays/pauses with regularity. And this is via IHeart Radio and Amazon Music (not HD)

I am unable to connect to Qobuz or Tidal and I even reset my passwords, to no avail. Spotify only works with premium, which I’m not currently paying for.

I did notice that iHeart Radio and Amazon redirected me to login pages for each app, and Qobuz/Tidal kept it within the PS Audio app, with nothing opening that showed integration between PS audio and the respective services.

I did notice tonight that the visual options are very very tiny. Volume control is visible from 15ft back, but nothing else is.

Good luck knowing what filter is selected untill you put your nose to it…

Fit, finish, build quality all appear to be first rate… Very good quality.

It would have been nice for speaker jacks to be on either side of amp, but I recognize this allows Power supply to be aways away from output areas… Also it might have been nice to have the jacks orientated vertically instead of horizontally, but that’s a minor quibble.

The owners manual is very informative. Filter info is good to know.

Tomorrow I’ll be hooking up an additional Chromecast audio to compare the dac portion to the Bifrost 2.

I will be able to jump between the two endpoints without altering songs volume, attention, etc.

After over 125 hours of music and three weeks of being powered up I swapped out the power cord for a smaller gauge shielded design with gold plated copper connectors. Great improvements in detail with out any harshness. Looking forward to the software update for the streaming glitches.

Regarding the headphones, this is a bug they are working on. You should plug/unplug/replug the headphones and the speakers will indeed shut off.

not necessarily in the market, but do you have a link?

I remember selling those it was a hot product back in the day

I made mine from scratch.

I used a similar geometry to the Wireworld Electra power cords.

Mine are not OCC wire but twisted ribbon cables.

It seems to me that Class D is more about speed and grounding, not thick guage and copper purity.

The Nordost products might be a good match as well but I’ve not tried those.

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Thanks for the tip I will check it out.

Does anyone know the bit rate Spotify Connect app plays with the Strata? Is it the max 328 ogg vorbis rate? Or a lower rate?

I know my Chromecast Audios only do 256kbs through Spotify, but Tidal and Qobuz play CD quality with the CCA.

a comment , if I may! not a beta tester but following along. I hope all these software glitches are not a precursor/indicator to many more on a project as large and multifaced as the upcoming Octave Server/streamer!!!

I believe that’s why companies have beta tests… To work out the bugs… Be happy and comforted bugs are being found now… Don’t be anxious over software hiccups in a beta test…

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Where I plug my Sbooster LPS (powers Cisco switch) changes the sound significantly. Ethernet Cat6A BJC from Cisco SG110 to Bridge/Strata.

SQ rank

(1) common line 15A - no audio gear

(2) 20A dedicated parallel to SP3 regenerator

(3) Plugged into SP3 regenerator

The Regenerator in both Sine/Multiwave is not doing good things for the Sbooster, sound is dulled and a bit lifeless. Also center image was a bit fuzzy and weird. Parallel to Regenerator is next, better but transients are still dulled; may be affected by backwash of regenerator.

The above SQ notes apply as well to sound over Toslink when watching TV.

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Software glitches on a new product in beta testing are what we’d expect. We will fix them and when the final product comes out it should work just fine.

Octave will no doubt go through a similar process of glitch identification, though for Octave we’ve already ironed out numerous problems. In the end, like any software, there will be unforeseen glitches that beta testers find. Otherwise, there would be no need for beta testers.



Just changed out for the new Iconoclast BAV power cords (very nice!) and clearly Sine wave is the winner here. Multiwave was too focused and tight, not as musical as Sine.

As promised there’s new firmware for Strata. Go here: and download Strata V1.2.28 and load it into the unit.

So, download, unzip the files, remove the files from the folder, transfer the individual files from within the folder to a clean USB stick, place in the rear USB slot on the rear panel of Strata, and with the rear panel power switch, power cycle the unit. Strata’s front panel standby logo button will flash as the program’s loaded. Once finished and it comes back to life, remove the USB stick and then once again using the rear panel power switch, power cycle Strata.


And please post your experience with the update.