Out of all the integrated amps I have used my favorite has always been the Sprout100, but I need more connectivity options than what it provides. So I upgraded to the Strata, which gives me all the connectivity I need - but doesn’t sound as good as the Sprout100. It sounds really good, just not as good to my ears. So to have the sound of the Sprout100 and the connectivity of the Strata - where to I go? Stellar separates? Opinions welcome.
Ouch, sorry to hear that. No other one box solutions from PSA, but many so-called super integrateds out in the wild. See marantz, Naim, Cambridge Audio, NAD, HiFi Rose, among many others. I’d venture they’d all be a nice upgrade if Strata is worse than Sprout as you say.
Sure, Stellar separates will be sonic upgrade from Strata, if you can deal with minimum of three boxes (amp, preamp, non-PSA streamer/dac like a bluesound node). The new Mk2 dac wouldn’t make sense to pair with an s300 and gaincell preamp - different classes of equipment.
Yeah I’ve tried a number of other integrated amps, just came from a Marantz 40n. None have that thing the Sprout100 has - not sure what it is, it just fits me and my ears. I was thinking/hoping maybe the S300, M700 or M1200 paired with a GainCell DAC might be close to the same sound signature as the Sprout given that the same designer was involved - at least I think Darren Myers was involved in all of these amps, correct? Something he did in the Sprout checks a box for me, looking for same thing in a larger platform if that makes sense.
What are the connectivity issues with Sprout that you have been trying to solve? Does Sprout provide enough power for your needs?
Got it. Sure, but you’ll still need a streamer, which none of the stellar products can do outside of strata, since you mentioned that connectivity is important. But yeah, if you can deal with 3 (s300) or 4 (stellar monos) boxes, then go that way.
I do have an excellent streamer, a SACD/Streamer combo that can handle DSD256. The Marantz SACD 30n.
I want i2s for future, I need multiple analog inputs and I need optical and USB to be active at the same time instead of one or the other.
I have a SGCD with PST hooked up to I2S and MacBook Pro to USB. It feeds BHK Pre then to M700s. Looking to replace it with Direct Stream DAC MKII when it goes “public.” I found the Sprout digital inputs limiting which is why I replaced it with Strata for my secondary system.
Same on the digital inputs for me. Just checked and the SGCD is not available right now. Wonder if that is a temporary situation or is something about to happen.
Probably due to the crash on MKII mods and AirLens. Mine took a couple months too. I did use the Sprout as the front end to burn in my M700s. Great little piece of gear.
Bet a Sprout pushing a M700 would sound good.
Interesting you couldn’t find the right synergy with the pair of marantz components.
You could get a Schiit Vidar power amp and try that with the sprout.
The Marantz 40n is an awesome integrated amp, just sounded flat and heavy to my ears compared to the Sprout.