1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos

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Musky_Don

Hello,

I have a pair of both the Odyssey Monos and the Extreme Monos.  I have not seen many posts on how the Extremes sound compared to the standard monos.  I hope this is helpful.  Please note this is not a side-by-side comparison as the amps are currently in two different systems, rather it is my impression of the differences having used the standard monos for about a year and listening to the Extremes during the first month and a half of break-in.  At this time, I have not listened to the amps side-by-side.  

My first impressions of the Extremes are that with my equipment, these amps are in a different league than the standard monos.  The highs are sweeter, the soundstage more defined, taller and wider.  Depth seems about the same.  Both amps go way down low, the Extremes seem more controlled.  These amps are very fast and very musical.  The additional detail is amazing.  To me the most startling thing is that the additional low-level detail is very clean and clear.  It is as if some previous sounds just emerged as a new instrument or instruments, sometimes in the background sometimes right up front – for example, you know it is a clarinet, it sounds good, and you are surprised by how distinctive it is from the rest of the recording.  It adds up to a deeper connection to the music than what I have experienced in the past.  

The other night I had a chance to do some critical listening.  I am not a polished audio reviewer by any measure, but I did make a few notes.  Again, this was not a side-by-side comparison of the amps.  These are my thoughts of the Extremes compared to my recollection of the standard monos:

The Beatles – Revolver

Bass was deeper and more controlled than I remembered.  Soundstage was broader.  Low-level details more defined - especially on Taxman and Yellow Submarine.  I enjoyed this so much I decided to continue my Beatles experience.

Abbey Road

Wow!  Additional details really jumped out.  It really made me appreciate the complexity of the production and the genius of George Martin.  McCartney’s voice has a naturalness and emotional quality that I had not experienced before.  Additionally, I heard instruments that I had not heard before (or not clearly enough to pinpoint the sound).  This was very noticeable on side two.

Oscar Peterson and Stephane Grappelli – Skol

This is a live recording.  I was surprised at the increased feeling of being there.  The crowd seemed more alive around me.  I remember with the standard monos thinking this was a great live recording, but I do not recall as much of a sense of presence.  The crowd seemed warmer.  In addition, the strings of Grappelli’s violin seemed livelier, almost dancing in the air.  In general, the Extremes provide greater detail on the strings (as the notes are first hit and as they fade away) and a stronger connection to the music.  

Patricia Barber – Nightclub

There are some demanding piano sequences on this album.  This was never a problem for the monos and was not for the Extremes.  The Extremes sounded more ‘in the room’ than I recall with the monos, as the notes retreated to nothing, there was tremendous depth and sense of space to the sound.  The clarity is uncanny, very musical, and never clinical.

Led Zepplin – Houses of the Holy

My copy of this album has a fair amount of pops and crackles.  Still, I was pleasantly surprised with the additional detail I was hearing.  I picked up many nuances in Robert Plant’s vocals I had not heard before.  The big difference was how much more these amps brought John Bonham’s drumming to center stage – a lot more clarity on subtle things like brushes and cymbals.  In general, I heard more raw creativity on this album than I had before.  (BTW – my neighbor came over while this was playing.  Huge smile and many of the same observations.)

Grateful Dead – Terrapin Station

This is a good recording on vinyl.  Some of the tracks are very busy and have a lot going on (from a number of sounds perspective).  I was impressed at how musical this album sounded.  I just got lost in the music.  

Overall, in my system, these amps kick ass compared to the standard monos (which IMO really says something considering how good the standard monos are and the minimal $ difference).  The Extremes provide a noticeable, sometimes startling improvement over the standard monos.  When I ordered the Extremes, my original thought was to put the monos in another system primarily used for HT and not to spend the $ in that system.  I do use this room for music as well, but my best equipment is in another set-up. However, I am getting an itch to send the Monos in for the upgrade.      

Question - Is there interest on this forum for a more formal side-by-side review of the Odyssey Monoblocks vs. the Odyssey Extreme Monoblocks?  My guess is that Klaus does not have many customers who have both and I have not run across a side-by-side comparison.  I am  very happy with the Extremes and have been very happy with the monos.  I based my purchase of the Extremes on my perception of value with the monos and my faith in what I would get with the Extremes.  Others may want additional information.  Since I have both sets of amps, a side-by-side review would be relatively easy – I just need to move some equipment around.  If there is interest in the review, I would be happy to do it.  Comments and questions appreciated.  Also, if this post should be in a different thread, let me know.

Klaus and all at Odyssey – Great job on the amps!!!  Thanks!!!

Don  

Equipment used in the review:

Odyssey Extreme Monos

Pre-amp:
Tempest

Analog:
Rega P25 with a Lyra Lidean cartridge re-built by Van Den Hul

Digital:
Not Used

Cables:
Various middle of the road – Straightwire and Bettercables

Speakers:
Dynaudio Confidence C1

Chazz

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #1 on: 8 Oct 2003, 11:40 pm »
A side-by-side comparison would be great.  I would definitely be interested in the comparison.

Cheers
Charles

Musky_Don

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #2 on: 9 Oct 2003, 12:23 am »
Hello,

My better half just reviewed my post and found an error.  The speakers used in my listening session were not Dyn Confidence C1s, they were Dynaudio Contour 1.8mkIIs.  I just purchased the C1s a couple of days ago.  They are currently breaking in with the HT system.  It would be interesting to see the differences in the amps connected to the C1s.  Right now, they seem a little  bright, but have a lot of finesse.  I apologize for any confusion.  BTW - my better half says I should disclose that I'm usually drinking scotch during my 'critical listening'.  Since she puts up with my audio habit (and helps finance it), I'll take her lead.

Don

markC

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #3 on: 9 Oct 2003, 04:39 am »
A good single malt is a tweak in itself when doing critical listening. :)

speedcenter

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Re: 1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' M
« Reply #4 on: 9 Oct 2003, 02:32 pm »
Quote from: Musky_Don
Hello,

Question - Is there interest on this forum for a more formal side-by-side review of the Odyssey Monoblocks vs. the Odyssey Extreme Monoblocks?


It may be good for those who don't have the Xtreme's yet. I did the upgrade about 8 weeks ago, and I know it was worth every penny.'

Peter

Musky_Don

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #5 on: 10 Oct 2003, 10:44 pm »
I was wondering just how my new Odyssey Extreme Monos manage to kick ass compared to my standard Odyssey Monos.  They sure seem heavier than the old ones. I decided to  take a look.  This may also finally explain why Klaus left all that empty space in the Stratos...  






mgalusha

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #6 on: 11 Oct 2003, 12:11 am »
That must be the new Extremeinator amp.  :roll:  :roll:

Musky_Don

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #7 on: 11 Oct 2003, 03:04 pm »
This morning I moved the C1s into my 2 channel system with the Extreminators (that's good).  Holy shit!  I've always loved the 1.8mkIIs, but I think I've hit audio nirvana (my wife said - sure - until next week and the next upgrade).  I know everything is dependent downstream, these amps are the first upgrade ever to put out more than the drivers in the mk11s could accurately handle.  The C1s are not an easy load to drive (85db).  No problem for the Extremes.  I just finished listening to Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms.  As sounds started to decay (I hope that's the right term), it seemed like they went on forever, floating in my living room.  If anyone has any doubt that these are not great amps capable of getting the most out of a high end speaker - come visit me in Chicago.  I feel like a kid catching his first Musky.  I may just sit on the couch all day (until the Cubs play).

Klaus, thanks again!

mgalusha

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #8 on: 11 Oct 2003, 04:13 pm »
I've had my pair of Extreme's for about 10 months now (one of the first sets) and they have continued to improve. I recently checked the bias settings and found they were slightly off. Not surprising since my line voltage is pretty high and given the harsh environment of cross country shipping. I touched up the settings and damned if they didn't sound even better. :D

Now, if you just get your other mono's upgraded.. could quite a bi-amp setup. :)

Mike

BikeWNC

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #9 on: 11 Oct 2003, 08:30 pm »
OK Mike,

Care to tell us how you re-biased your extremes?  Is this one of those -don't try this at home - kind of things?   I think that Klaus would probably frown upon everyone biasing their amps at home.  Is there a chance that one can blow himself up doing it?

Andy

amandarae

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #10 on: 12 Oct 2003, 05:28 am »
Musky_Don, great amps, no wonder why everytime I end up my listening session with my Stratos monos I say to myself  "Asta La Vista, beybeh, I'll be bock !!!!" :lol:

Anyway, some comments on the comparison between the Extremes and the regular monos.  There are two kinds of monos from what I dug up on my research when I placed my order for mine last September 2002.  I might be wrong, so Klaus can jump on this one for clarification.  The September-October 2002 period is critical here because by December, the Extremes are the talk of Odyssey town already.  Okay, here it goes...

Monos - what the site describes.  No more. no less except for the regular options.

Mono's with caps upgrade -  This is where I am getting confuse.  My monos have the new single Plitron Xfrmer (2 Plitrons for the Extremes) already and 180,000 uF caps (same as the Extremes) per amp.  

So, my question is, which monos are you going to compare to the Extremes?  

I am in line for the Extreme upgrade for my monos (I believe that in my case, it means the addition of the 2nd Plitron Xfrmer per unit only plus bias change).

 I am not asking this to depend the monos against the Extremes.  I am just curious.  Besides, like I stated on my earlier post here, be it my unit or the Extremes I will take either without any reservations.

greve

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #11 on: 12 Oct 2003, 10:15 am »
Quote from: Tsunami
OK Mike,

Care to tell us how you re-biased your extremes?  Is this one of those -don't try this at home - kind of things?   I think that Klaus would probably frown upon everyone biasing their amps at home.  Is there a chance that one can blow himself up doing it?

Andy


Andy, there's no risk of blowing up Klaus if you try this at home... :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

rosconey

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #12 on: 12 Oct 2003, 10:37 am »
i have a pair of extremes and a standard pair :mrgreen:
the extremes are a big step up,worth every penny.

mgalusha

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #13 on: 12 Oct 2003, 04:28 pm »
Quote from: Tsunami
OK Mike,

Care to tell us how you re-biased your extremes?  Is this one of those -don't try this at home - kind of things?   I think that Klaus would probably frown upon everyone biasing their amps at home.  Is there a chance that one can blow himself up doing it?

Andy


Andy,

I used the standard bias settings provided by Klaus. It's not hard to do but caution must be exercised as there are certainly hazardous voltages present and of course if you were to raise the bias level's up too high the output transistors could self destruct. I'm not comfortable posting what to do without talking with Klaus first. Not that setting the bias and offset is a closely guarded secret, I just don't want to cause any problems for Klaus if someone starts tweaking on their amp(s) and hoses it up. I'll give Klaus a call and if he's cool with it, I will write up the procedure for setting the amps up. I probably shouldn't have mentioned it at all.  :roll:

IMO this would definitely fall into the at-your-own-risk category and probably violate your warranty. Dejan wrote a good article on how to set the bias and offset and it applies to most amps. It's on the T-N-T site and is quite informative.

Mike

Musky_Don

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #14 on: 12 Oct 2003, 06:22 pm »
amandarae,

I have both the 'standard' Odyssey Mono Blocks (240,000uF) and a pair of the Extremes (if I‘m correct 360,000uF).  It would be a side-by-side comparison for anyone wanting more detailed information regarding sonic differences between the two Odyssey amps.  If there is another mono block from Odyssey (other than the dual mono), I'm not aware of it.  Maybe Klaus can clarify.  I bought my original mono blocks from Klaus in 10/02.  In my system, the Extremes were a noticeable upgrade.  I hope this answers your question.

Don

amandarae

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #15 on: 12 Oct 2003, 10:39 pm »
Musky_Don


Agree!  The other monos is not at the site at all!  The Sept-October 2002 is, as I have mentioned, critical and let me elaborate on this from what I know.  Again, I can be very wrong on this but my curiosity needs to be satisfied.

The period that I am referring to is, I believe, the beginning when the new Plitrons are being used for the Stratos line.  The old transformer have the semi-transparent insulation or cover and looks exactly as a torroidal shape.  The new ones are enclosed in a black tin can.  From what I remember from some other postings by Klaus, these new Plitrons requires a change in the circuit config, so a new board layout has to be done.  I am now enclined to believe that the 360,000 uF caps (180k per amp) is possible only on the regular monos during this time period, and up to the present, because the board and the transformer have better specs than the others made before this transition.

So, assuming that there is really a big difference between the Monos and Extremes, we have to take into account if the difference is the same magnitude from monos with the 360,000uF caps upgrade.

I am curious because the 360,000uF is what I have.  Yes, I am convince that the upgrade from the monos to the Extremes are worth every cent.  I am just wondering if the improvement is as profound when I upgraded mine, that's all.

Having said that, I will send my amps to Klaus next week for the upgrade.  I think he's right when we met and mentioned that I do not need the upgrade to my monos.  But I'll do it anyway :lol: .

klaus@odyssey

1st impressions of Extreme Monos compared to 'Regular' Monos
« Reply #16 on: 15 Oct 2003, 07:56 am »
AR,

Man,  you add to confusion,  hehehe.
Your amps are not the Extremes.  IAfter talking to you and agreeing to some custom job,  I added the extra caps.  We didn't have the Extreme then,  and yes,  the extra transformers and parts will make for a very nice improvement.

Late,

Klaus