Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC

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I just got home from the "Shootout" between the new Odyssey Xtreme Monos and my four year old Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC (high current) amp at Audiojerry's house.  Unfortunately, I have a dinner party and must get going before I can post my impressions.  Before I go, I must admit I was a little sceptical about pitting my older generation (Frank Van Alstine says the new Transcendence series Fetvalve is noticeably better than my model) 39 lb. amp with cheap Chinese tubes up against the sheer brute force of about 140 lbs. of sooped up Mono Stratos amps, but I thought, in the words of Tom Cruse in Risky Business: "What the heck?" (I think they used a different phrase in the movie but you get the point :wink: ).  

Preliminary: The Xtreme Stratos monos were fully broken in (Jerry has had them for a couple months) and were running for days (maybe weeks) so that they were fully warmed up.  The Van Alstine was no so lucky.  It is fully broken in (heck, it's four years old) and was only running for less than a half hour before being put through its paces.  It was about 1/2 as warmed up as I would have liked but we only had 3 hours to work with, so I decided to use it anyway.  The system Audiojerry has is what I would call a reference system.  Modwright P3A with Monolithic PS, Triphasers, Zu Wax cables, monster B&W 801 MKII's, Classe transport, Bolder cables and a really expensive looking tube preamp the brand of which I cannot remember.  

The Xtreme Odyssey Monos' seriel numbers were:  00-526 and 00527.  As I stated, they have been running continuously for a while (at least a month) and are in perfect operating condition.  Jerry has lived with the Mono's for a while and is very familiar with their sound.  Also, he has posted his (positive) opinion of them in earlier posts on this forum.  The Van Alstine was purchased off of Ebay a couple weeks ago (by me) and has not been altered in any way.  It is stock and does not have a removeable power cord.  We listened to several tracks that included Lucinda Williams, David Newman and Hank Crawford (Ray Charles' band), and some jazz reference recordings that Jerry owns prior to swapping amps.  

So how did "David" fare against "Goliath"???

I'll post a more detailed review tomorrow because my wife is threatening to pull the plug on my computer, but the short version...if it were a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight after one round...in favor of the Van Alstine Fetvalve 550HC. :o   I could not belive how much better the Van Alstine sounded on Jerry's system than the new Xtreme Monos.   Compared to the AVA's the Stratos' Monos had all of the things I dislike about solid state amps.  The Xtremes sounded much more harsh, grainy, and surprisingly, were not nearly as detailed as the AVA's.  The Van Alstine also had better, more articulate bass response and a more realistic sounding midrange.  This was an area that surprised me most of all.  

Don't get me wrong, if I had not heard them side by side, I would have liked the Stratos Monos.  They are really stunning to look at with their anodized aluminum cases and very solidly constructed.   The AVA comes in a pedestrian looking case with a large heat sink on the back and a big red switch that lights up on the front panel.  I don't think anyone has ever purchased an AVA amp for its looks.  

On the AVA, Hank Crawford's sax sounded fuller with great harmonics, Lucinda's voice, guitar and her band's violin player just jumped out at you without a trace of harshness or digital grain.  The difference between the two amps was not small.  About ten seconds into the Lucinda Williams recording, I glanced over to Audiojerry and could not help but notice his draw had dropped and he had a look on his face as if he had seen a ghost.    The difference was that dramatic.  

I expect to take a lot of heat for posting my findings, but I will state with 100% confidence that these were the results of a lengthy listening session that took place today.  I invite Audiojerry to chime in with his thoughts and impressions.  Like anything else in audio, some of these things are system specific and what sounds good on one system will not sound good on another.  However, the AVA gear has transformed my home system which is much more modest than Jerry's.  It was staggering to hear the little AVA amp on Jerry's large 801's.  Those things are monsters but very good sounding in his set-up.   :D

I have to go, but would like to add that the AVA gear only got better with the addition of the Fetvalve preamp to the mix.  All of the smoothness, resolution and bass was taken to another level.  There seemed to be a synergy in the AVA amp/preamp, however we did not use the preamp during our head to head amp comparisons.  We used Jerry's preamp, the brand and model of which escape me at the moment, but Jerry will fill in the blank later.  

Thank you Dave Ellis for initially telling me about Frank Van Alstine's gear.  Pretty amazing stuff for a little old guy operating in a small facility (I think it's also his home) in Minnesotta.  I guess this guy learned something in his 35 years of designing electronic gear.  Again, this is just one guy's opinion...



Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #1 on: 2 Feb 2003, 12:08 am »
As far as VAs' modest output(number of units sold), his claim is the BK-140st that seems to have millions are in good use was a rip-off of his design of a re-built Hafler chassis. Except for a design modification in the 140 that gives it it's slightly bloated bass.:)



Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #2 on: 2 Feb 2003, 02:35 am »

i'd be really interested in hearing what Audiojerry's impressions were, i've read a previous post of his and he was very impressed with the xtreme mono's.




Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #3 on: 2 Feb 2003, 06:16 am »
I believe AudioJerry will post his impressions tomorrow.  I too look forward to reading his comments.  I think some people will be in for a surprise. :o



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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #4 on: 2 Feb 2003, 10:49 am »
As far as VAs' modest output(number of units sold), his claim is the BK-140st that seems to have millions are in good use was a rip-off of his design of a re-built Hafler chassis. Except for a design modification in the 140 that gives it it's slightly bloated bass.:)

If this be the case I have a B&K ST-202 that is modified and I really like this amp although I will be loking to upgrade after getting a modified set of NEAR 50SE's I guess you could say!

If I am reading correctly ,then the B&K's are on par with his (AV's)previous design.If so I know the characteristics of the amp.

I have only one other amp that I am considering at the moment and that is the Monarchy's which I have been told are on par with Nelson Pass's X250 I believe for alot less.
BTW AV has been touted for along time and is highly respected.There is really nothing new there.He started by Moding the Dynaco's in the 60's I think if my memory serves me right.

White Amps is now Llano and they have great stuff also.

Sorry to get of the subject!


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Some clarification
« Reply #5 on: 2 Feb 2003, 08:04 pm »
Predictibility.  Exactly what I expected.
As everybody knows,  I usually don't get involved in discussions about product xyz vs. the Stratos,  but in this case I have to set the record straight, especially since the comments were made by Jackman.:

1.  Because of the very strong nature of Jackman's assessment of the Xtremes,  I've called up Audiojerry and talked to him about the listening session.  Yes,  Jerry also liked the AVA over the Xtremes,  that's true, but more on the basis of the classic tubes vs. solid state situation.  Jerry is a true tube lover, and even as such,  he had very positive things to say about the amps in the past.  Jerry wanted to see the difference between his ARC's and the AVA,  which was his motivation for the listening session,  in which he clearly opted for the ARC's.  There was hardly any listening comparison  between the AVA and the xtremes,  but mostly between the tubes.   Jerry also made a point to me that the difference between the AVA and the xtremes is a pretty close call between the 2 amps,  again, depending on your taste,  and that it wasn't" a boxing match done after the first round".  Actually he also made it clear to me that the differences are such that his friend clearly prefers the Xtremes over his ARC's.    He put it very nicely to me: " everybody has the right for his opinion:

Yep,  Jerry is correct except we're not dealing here with the discussion of tubes vs. solid state, but with the nature of Jackman's posts, specifically the way that he puts down the xtremes.  As for harshness, grain, and the boxing match,  Jerry doesn't feel that way at all.

So,  there's the saying " consider the source",  and thus,  I have to clarify for the reader where Jack is coming from and what he did to us in the past.

2. Before getting deeper into Jackman,  I have to say up front that the AVA is indeed a good amplifier,  and AVA does have good products.  In no way is this meant to be negative against them.  However,  it is tubes,  and yes,  I've heard many good, if not great tubes for the same or similar price point than what Jackman allures to.  Point is that tubes are different and better for many people out there.  Also,  look at the discussion with the digital amps.  All depends on synergy and personal tastes.  You won't find many tube lovers looking at digital and vice versa.  So,  if Jackman started on the tube trip, then he will be in for many positive surprises in the future.

3.  On the other hand,  there are members of the product of the month club,  and one doesn't have to look further than comments on products that left certain systems.  What was good yesterday is junk today.  

4.  Since the Stratos generated such a loyal and happy customer base,  and because there are so many positive reviews of our amp,  we've had tons of really interesting comments over the past few years.  According to some,  pretty much any product that you can think of is better than the Stratos, which is often mentioned to give some other products more of a "real performance status".  You know,  "I've heard the Stratos in a friend's system, and zyx embarrassed it", or the classic "zyx is vastly superior.  Just look at the specs, etc."  Usually I don't have time for this nonsense,  and in many cases somebody asked about circumstances of the ownership of the Stratos, and they'll never get any answers.  But then again,  it's all part of the nature of free access internet forums.  Gotten used to it, and usually people can read between the lines.  Thankfully,  Audiocircle is mostly free of it,  but there are a few people here about whom I could say a word or two, and Jackman is in the forefront,  no doubt.   Casual readers could take his comments at face value,  and that's why I'm responding now.

5.  Now to the serious and personal nature of Jackman.  There's a very serious and disturbing story behind this man in regards to Odyssey.

I first became aware of Jackman a couple of years ago, right at the time when ODL got hammered with the huge lawsuit judgement and when they sold their rest stock in a firesale to get the $ and run.  As most of you know,  ODL essentially stole our product, they tried to steal our name Odyssey, and even our web site domain name, and actively tried to ruin me personally and destroy me and my family.  I mean really destroy me like loosing my house and have my family live on the streets.  Theft,  uncounted vicious lies and rumors, etc. all designed to destroy what I and Symphonic Line have worked for for years.  We actually had a legal situation with 7 counts against them,  and in the end they got what they deserved.  They weren't successful because of the legal documentation and the fact that many in the industry's key positions knew the truth.

Now,  during that time,  I was bombarded with accusations and statements in different forums,  all designed to confuse the issue and make ODL look legitimate so that they can sell their rest stock.  One of the major players in the defamation of Odyssey and me personally was Jackman !!!   He tried his hardest over the years to make me look bad and damage me in some ways.  I have no idea as to why, and I've never met him until last year's Marblefest,  where I simply ignored him in order to keep my cool.  I observed him and his behavior,  yes,  but I did ignore him.  

For a few examples here:  he always mentioned that he compared his ODL to a friend's Stratos,  stating that the 2 were identical in every way.  What a crock.  Again,  when asked about where the Stratos came from there was no answer.  No name or serial #.  (carefully look at the post and notice that immediately he mentioned the SN's of Jerrys amps.  He learned.  Hard facts like that give more credibility).  This point was made by him as recently as yesterday !!!!  and he used it to sell his ODL amp,  of course.    Well,  he definitely succeeded and sold quite a few amps for ODL to some poor guys.  Because of his posts,  he also succeeded in damaging our sales somewhat for a while.  Same thing is on his mind now.  Keep in mind that ODL even sold an extended warranty for $ 150,  fully aware that they'd be gone in the very near future at that time.  Jackman was fully aware of all these facts and this situation.  Regardless,  he kept on hammering me,  essentially stating that I was lying and that I was full of %^$%^  to the point where it easily became a legal issue, if I wanted to.

All of a sudden a few weeks back,  he started the same old song agin after being quiet for a while.  (and I'm leaving a few things out here for right now)  Last week on AA he made a comment as to the Tempest being bad since there aren't that many Startos owners who use it.  Reading between the lines here is key,  and the power of association is nicely played.  On another post he's making fun of the break-in process of the Stratos, and then,  a couple of days later stating that the Stratos is harsh.   In order to cement this statement,   he found a post on AA that he quoted, because the person quoted there essentially said that in the context of solid state,  the Stratos is as harsh as other ss equipment as well. "you see,  I'm not the only one who thinks that the Startos is harsh".  This quote was digged out of the archives by Jackman, stemming back from March 2002 !!!!  Man,  if he diggs a few more years deeper,  he'll find some more negative comments on the Stratos.

With the announcements of a listening session with Jerry's monos,  I simply sat back to see what happens,  and voila, I could have made a fortune in Vegas.  Predicyibilty.  With the event at Jerry's he now found his legitimacy for  trashing the Stratos.  Of course there'll never be any positive comments from him.  How can there be when he trashed the Stratos at a time when he owned the inferior ODL copy ? Especially when he also bought up the same old "ODL is the same" story just days ago ??? Now in his mind he has the perfect vehicle to pile on us, something that he has pursued for years.  Make no mistake about it,  his intentions here are very clear, even though I can't say with certainty as to where they come from,  rumors aside.

Now,  everybody who has ever dealt with me knows that the most important thing to me is the customer satisfaction and absolute honesty and no bull.   There's even that notion out there that I constantly recommend products other than Odyssey.  Well,  that's kind of half true.  Of course I want to make sales,  after all, this is my livelihood.  However, when I see that somebody has a different idea or taste about his / her speakers, pre's, etc.  or if there's a synergistic issue,  then, of course, I'll mention and discuss it.  As a matter of fact, I have refused at least a dozen sales in the past because I knew that it would have either the customer from hell,  or I would have received the amp back because the synergy was really bad in the system / and/ or  the amp wouldn't have been right for the person's taste.  Of course.  Decency and common sense,  that easy.System synergy rules, and of course,  there's not a single "the best" out there, period.  However,  above all,  I truly pride myself of not having ripped off or being dishonest to a single customer.

Having said all of that,  and coming back to J.'s post,  I must say again that the AVA is quite good.  Is it as good as the monos ??? Maybe, maybe not.  Depends on your taste.  But then again,  so are tons of different products.  All depends on what you're looking for and what your satisfaction and motivatiob is behind your choice.  After all,  this is a hobby and love for most of us.  It's damn personal,  and just look at AKSA owners.  The fact that they've build their own gear  says something about them,  and they should take pride in the fact that they've build their gear.   Look at nOrh amps,  great bargains for the price, and again, I understand that owners love their amps also because of the dollar ratio performance.  Look at the digital amp owners, and especially about the recent EAR discussions.  Man,  this is one hell of a super clean amp,  and I get it why their customers love the amplifier.  Look at owners of $ 20 K speakers, who are definitely proud of their gear because after all,  they've spent so much $$$ that they can't go back and admit that they've might have made a costlt mistake (that's not saying that it's bad to spend 20 K on a speaker or that 20 K speakers are bad. )  Look at tube gear with the great midrange and musicality (after all,  next to Symphonic Line 15 years back I also fell in love with Kebschull tubes,  which I imported for a few years)  The fact is that if Jackman feels that the AVA is better in his opinion,  then I don't have a problem with that.  Jerry thinks so,  and it's ok with me because of his reasoning and because I know that he doesn't mean me harm.  

BUT,  in conclusion and looking at the exact wording of J's post that the Stratos monos suck compared to the AVA, I have to say that all of our owners are incredibly happy with them,  and that I'd encourage comparisons with the AVA or any other tube for that matter.   Many take them over any tubes, and nobody complained about harshness or grain.  Quite the opposite. (it's stil a Symphonic Line !!!) Again,  one more time !!!  I don't have problems with individual choices because of tastes or synergy.  I do, however, have a problem with blatant attacks on my products and on myself, and I have to clarify this specific situation, because on what appears to be a legitimate impression has a much deeper meaning and motivation behind it.  Consider the source!!!

Sorry for the rambling,  but it all had to be said,



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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #6 on: 2 Feb 2003, 08:55 pm »
Really feel for you and can relate to your predicament.

Have not heard your amps ,but have read comments concerning your business dealings and your honesty.

Of what I gather you forward Bias your amps to run closer to Class A and you should be commended for that.I hear many SS amps that sound like #&$* because this not being done.

Good Luck and I would consider taking action against this guy to get him from defaming you and your reputation.

Good luck,ABEX


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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #7 on: 2 Feb 2003, 09:24 pm »
This is all very interesting to me for a few reasons. I have heard many of the products Jackman has recommended in which he often exclaims "ZYX BLEW AWAY XYZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I'm sorry to say, but none of it is true in the slightest.  I have compared the exact same equipment (albeit in a different system) rather extensively and to say that he can be over enthusiastic is an Xtreme understatement (sorry I had to do it :) )

I have heard the Dual mono Stratos and "grainy" is hardly a word I would use to describe the character of its sound especially in the context of a solid state amp. As a matter of fact it stands as the smoothest sounding solid state amp I have heard, no bull. Being a tube guy myself I really appreciate a SS amp that is voiced to sound more tube like and freely admit that the Stratos dual mono does many things better than my Radii tube amp (if you're curious as to what it does better, think macro dynamics and transients. I can only imagine what the new Xtreme mono blocks could do in the same arena) Do I own a dual mono? No, I honestly prefer the sound I get from my tube amp, but if I were to go to solid state it would be the first amp I would consider.


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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #8 on: 2 Feb 2003, 09:47 pm »
Oh boy, it is amazing how quickly something like this can escalate into a potentially major issue. I would normally have much to say, but I'm afraid it might fuel the flames more.

I will try to be succinct and avoid going into too much detail.

First of all, I can sympathize with Klaus, and I'm willing to give him some leeway because his livlihood is involved, but he did misquote me in his post to this thread.

Like Jack, I too, clearly heard a considerable difference between the Odysseys and the AVA, and the AVA was much more to my liking, but this must be taken in the context that I am biased to tube amplifcation, since I am an Audio Research owner.  The AVA had much more of the sonic signature of my ARC than the Odysseys.

Does that mean that the AVA was the equal to my ARC? Absolutely not, and I think if you asked Jack, he would concur. But without a side by side comparison, I think I could live happily with the AVA as my personal amp. It had no weaknesses in my opinion.

Does that mean the Odyssey did have weaknesses? No, it has substantial bass, very extended highs, and neutrality. But in my opinion, it has a solid state signature. The AVA and the ARC have a tube signature, although the AVA is a tube hybrid.  

The owner of the Odyssey's has been to my home and had an opportunity for a side by side comparison with my ARC. $10k worth of amplification to $3k(?). He unequivically preferred the sound of the Odyssey's to my ARC.

Which one is superior? No one can decide that for someone else. Anyone making a decision on an amp based on what someone else says is making a serious mistake.

Jack and I just discussed things on the phone, and we are willing to host a shootout in my home between his AVA gear and the Odyssey Mono Extremes (is that what they are now called?). If it can generate enough interest, we will put something together. Maybe this will help those interested in either amp get an idea of how they compare (at least in my system and listening room).


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« Reply #9 on: 2 Feb 2003, 09:55 pm »
I think its safe to say that most lovers of this hobby are well aware that ODL amps do not sound as good as Odyssey. You see them for sale frequently for 400-500 bucks. In fact I know of at least one other HD member who bought an ODL recently and resold it in a few days. I have never heard atube amp that handles deep bass correctly or sounds dynamic enough. Those are not the attributes most tube lovers are after. I'd run an Odyssey in a minute if my wife would let me cough up the dough...for me, tube amps are for guitars.


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« Reply #10 on: 2 Feb 2003, 10:10 pm »
Quote from: fredgarvin
I have never heard atube amp that handles deep bass correctly or sounds dynamic enough. Those are not the attributes most tube lovers are after.

Quite true which is why I have a QSC amp handling my VMPS subs for bass  :D Honestly I ran the Radii full range and while it did the bass parts it didn't really want to.  My motto: "Solid state for bass and dynamics, tubes for musicality and seducitve smoothness"


Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #11 on: 2 Feb 2003, 10:30 pm »
Unless I am mistaken, the FetValve has MosFet output devices, which would mean it's certainly not a "tube" amp, at best it could be described as a hybrid.

I've heard a Hybrib amp before, a counterpoint SA-220, and was not impressed, it was grainy, grungy, and washed out sounding, especially compared to the stereo Stratos I had at the time, so it's not even accurate to say that even "hybrid" amps necessarily sound "tubey".

I have a DM Stratos and have compared it to what is IMO a quite good tube amp (Jason's Radii).  On the 626Rs, I prefered the Radii overall, as it did some wonderful things with soundstage and transparency.  In comparison the DM stratos did sound cooler and had smaller images on a less deep soundstage.

But, on the RM-40's, the Radii tube amp has about as much chance of driving the speakers properly as a bachelorette has of passing a lie detector test on "Meet my Parents".  When paired with a good tube preamp, the DM Stratos and RM-40's give me most of the tubey sound I like, and also give incredible micro and macro dynamics, transients, and bass power/control that I've yet to hear a tube amp match.

So what does all this mean with regard to AVA gear?  Nothing, except that as Klause would say, it's all about synergy (and I would add, personal taste).  Some people like tubes and they can build a system around that sound.  Some don't, and build around SS sound.  Really, the only way to tell what is good sound to you is to try things out in your own system.  That's what I do, and I've yet to make a purchase that I've regretted.  I applaud jackman and audiojerry for actually taking the time to even do a comparison, and I don't think anyone can dispute their findings when system context and personal taste are taken in to account.


Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #12 on: 2 Feb 2003, 10:45 pm »
coke -pepsi
white bread -wheat bread
as long as i got what i like screw the rest of ya :smoke:


Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #13 on: 2 Feb 2003, 10:54 pm »
Okay, let me make a couple things clear:

First, the review was only one guy's opinion after a couple hours.  It represents ONE opinion on the sound of two components on ONE system.  Jerry and I agreed with the results 100% but that does not mean everyone will feel the same.  That's why there are so many manufactureres out there...choices.  

Secondly, this was not a comparison of the ODL or the DOL or anything other than the Odyssey Xtreme amps and the AVA Fetvalve amp.  I included the seriel numbers of the Xtremes so that the authenticity could not be questioned.  We did compare the ARC to the AVA later in the session and the ARC was found to be better sounding (to my ears).  Please note the ARC is a $10,000 amp and sounds better than many very expensive amps.  That being said, the sound of the AVA was close (IMO) to the sound of the ARC.  The ARC does NOT have the degree of "warmth" that most traditional tube amps have.  It is very large, heavy, very powerful and runs hot like a tube amp.  If I lived in a warm climate and had an extra ten K laying around, I'd look at the ARC.  

Third, the AVA is NOT a traditional tube amp.  It is a hybrid Mosfet/tube amp and uses small tubes but does not use these tubes 100% in the output stage like most traditional tube amps.  It also runs relatively cool for an amp with tubes.  The tubes it uses are cheap 12AT7's.  I would not call myself a "tube lover" but the sound from this amp is very good.  It is not colored (again, IMO) like many traditional tube amps.  Details are on AVAhifi.com if anyone is interested in dealing with facts.

Fourth, it is not uncommon to hear Odyssey owners talk about their amps "trouncing" or blowing away other brands like Bryston, etc.  Noone seems to care when this is the case.  I could have been more tactful in my choice of words but to my ears the AVA sounded better, but whenever I read a review I understand that the words are the OPINION of the reviewer, not the word of law.  Please note that Jerry also confirmed my thoughts on which amp sounded more to our liking and his words echo my sentiments. To say that I'm trying to hurt Odyssey's business is absurd.  The review was just one guy's opinion.  It was backed up 100% by Jerry, but again, it's just an opinion.  It is totally conceivable that another person could do the same comparison and come out with a different preference.  

Fifth, the Odyssey Xtreme is NOT a bad amp.  It is very impressive in many areas as Jerry has pointed out.  The monos are very powerful and beautiful looking.  They have very strong bass and are capable of driving some large and difficult speakers.  On another system or with different speakers or with a different set of ears doing the judging, it is totally possible that they would have been preferred.  My comments regarding their sound were relative to the other amp in the test, the AVA.  Several people with systems much better than I will ever own, have the Mono Stratos amps and LOVE them.  It's all about choices and Odyssey offers people another option in audio.  My review was merely one person's opinion on one system.  

I told Jerry that I would be willing to bring my stuff up to his house to do the comparison again if we could get enough people to come along.  Jerry has a great system and it would be fun to have people make up their own minds based on what they hear, instead of the barbs that are being thrown around.  

Lastly, please note that the other person who attended the review listened to the AVA amp on HIS own system and prefered it to the Xtreme Stratos amps.  Jerry has lived with the XTreme's for months and posted on this forum that he prefered the AVA FEtvalve to the Xtremes. He happens to like this type of soud, as do I.  Is it perfect for everyone?  Of course not.  Don't trust anyone, make up your own mind about what sounds best to you.  My comments only represented my view on the system that the amps were being tested on.  Darker sounding speakers may have produced different results.



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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #14 on: 2 Feb 2003, 11:45 pm »
Thanks to all about your comments,  but as for me,  we're getting off topic here.
Jerry,  I thought that's what I quoted.  Anyway,  no,  have no interest whatsoever in regards to a shoot-out.  Have done that many times,  and as I've said,  the AVA is really, really good.  Anybody choosing it will most likely love it. ( and I can already see some reulting posts here ) I'm doing this as a sole business and income for 15 years now,  and I guarantee you that I've listened to more systems than 99. % of you.  Not trying to be arrogant,  but I've attented shows and distributors,  dealers, manufacturer etc.  in at least 20 different countries as well.  Stuff that never made it to the US.  Stuff that is inherently local,  and man,  so many times I sat in front of a system and got a " wow" factor.  I could easily live with tubes.  I've heard quite a few tube systems that I thought were superior to an Odyssey amp based system in many regards.  Over the years, (based on my recommendations for system synergies)  I've sold dozens and dozens of tube units for different manufacturer,  such as CAT,  Rogue, etc.  Man,  should have insisted on commission.  If somebody feels that amp xyz  trounces the Stratos,  then ok,  it's his opinion.  Happened before. Am I happy about these comments ?  Of course not,  but I know that enthusiasm and pride can trigger that.  Hell,  many of my customers and friends only have superlatives for the amp.  Goes both ways, but always consider the source and the context !!!

MY POSTS WERE NOT INTENDED TO DISCREDIT AVA OR ANY OTHER TUBE UNITS.  I like tubes.  However,  it was intended to completely discredit Jackman,  at least as far as his Odyssey posts are concerned.  

There is a very serious and documented history of him indeed defaming us and trying to damage us.  How else would anybody or in the legal context define his posts and accusations.  I'm a liar and only have hot air in regards to ODL.  Anything that I said or legally documented couldn't be true ???  I'm not talking about him being a pain in the ass and a thorn in my side with little nitbits here and there,  AA, HD  or whatever.  This is a completely different situation.  It's the equivalent of me going to your boss,  telling him a bunch of crock and trying to get you fired.  How would anybody of you feel about that. ???   That's the seriousness of his past actions,  period.   Nope,  no dice as to playing this sh%^#t down my friend.  After the ODL situation cooled down,  I simply ignored him and some of his remarks,  letting it go,  but this guy came back again and again for more.  Couldn't help it but keep going on about ODL etc.,  and now,  after he sold his amp,  pretty much every other post of his has the result of dragging the Stratos / Odyssey into the dirt.  Tapdancing now and trying to play down the issue doesn't change the history or the situation itself.  

Yes,  it would be different if these comments would have come from a different person or under different circumstances.  Yes,  it's ok to be enthusiastic,  and even overly so,  as J. is.  Yes,  it's also ok to have an opinion about anything and everything,  and voicing that every single day of the week.  It's even ok  to jump around from topic to topic,  product to product,  satisfying his ego with audio gear remarks (everybody has to do this one way or the other.  Different folks, different strokes.  I used to get it from playing soccer) and it would even be ok if there are negative comments about me, Odyssey, or the products,  if they wouldn't have this incredible history behind it.  As it is, I simply want  to make everybody aware of the fact what kind of person he is in regards to Odyssey, and what his motivations were and are.  No weasling out here,  it's all documented,  and I can go even a couple of steps further if I'd want to.   Yes, I'm in a catch 22 in that I have to be somewhat politically correct and sensitive about what I can and cannot say,  and yet this guy can keep on pushing it?  Nope,  sorry,  but as Jerry said,  my livelihood is involved here and as an extension,  so is the well being of my kids,  and believe me,  the buck stops here.  I can't say it any other way and hope that this guy has some smarts.

 Very, Very clear,  capisce ???

As for any posts other than involving me,  I don't care.  He's right,  it's his personal opinion,  and as long as I don't know for a fact that there's a similar situation behind it,  I wouldn't care and it's none of my business.
However,  somehow I don't think that this stops,  and expect to see dozens of similar posts in the following weeks.



Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #15 on: 3 Feb 2003, 12:05 am »
Quote from: Tyson
I don't think anyone can dispute their findings when system context and personal taste are taken in to account.

Bravo.  That's something I think most people can agree on.

Jackman, it's time someone else takes a beating over a review for a change.  J/K.   :wink:   I love it when someone has the gut to post a truthful review (not necessarily factual) knowing that others will get PO at what you have to say.  Hats off to you, man!

Pez, when was the last time you read a review that was not exaggerated (or should I say one that makes heavy use of colorful language)?  Heck, wanna read up on some of the reviews you did?  Gotta admit, these reviews are the most fun to read, though.  :D

Lastly, guys, don't try to kill the message by killing the messenger.  I love reading reviews and follow up discussions, except for these parts.  It just takes the fun out of all this.

My reaction to the comparison is... uh... ok... tube versus solid state.  They're so different and so subjected to personal preference that I personally wouldn't want to compare them.  My point is this:  you let me participate and chances are that I'll come out overwhelmingly on the solid state (Stratos) side.  I know, I'm partial to SS stuff.  :D


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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #16 on: 3 Feb 2003, 12:10 am »
Quote from: Xi-Trum
Pez, when was the last time you read a review that was not exaggerated (or should I say one that makes heavy use of colorful language)?  Heck, wanna read up on some of the reviews you did?  Gotta admit, these reviews are the most fun to read, though.  :D

At least I don't think the LeAmp is the end all of amps  :P Say have you compared the le-amp to the Halcro DM-58 $20,000 a pair amps? I did and I would have to say they were pretty close with the leamp having a bit tighter bass and didn't have the midrange overbloat of the Halcro.  :D


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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #17 on: 3 Feb 2003, 12:10 am »

I have owned AVA gear for the past 16 years. I am a very satisfied customer. I have never heard the Odessy amps so I cannot comment on the direct comparison.

There have been a few points here in this thread that I can shed a bit of light on. One poster said that He heard B&K amps and they stole AVA design, so basically he's familar with the AVA sound (so to speak). I will say that if you have not heard AVA's Fet-Valve amps you have not heard how incredible these amps sound. I still own the modified Hafler stuff, and it is not in the league of the current designs.

Another poster said he heard Hybrid amps and did not care for the sound at all. - All hybrids do not sound the same. If you have not heard the Fet-Valve 550ex, you have not heard this amp. I would not try to comment on AVA gear if you have not actually heard the current design. Especially if you have a bone to pick with Frank Van Alstine, think his gear is Ugly or don't like him because he does not share your belief in cables.

I own the T7 pre-amp, the 550ex amp and the Trancendence DAC. It is very good gear and I highly recommend it. I have also done many comparisons of other amps in which the Fet-Valve came out on top. It is my current preference. I also own the Billie 300b set amp and some Horns and am familar with the SET sound. It is different - yes - It is better? - I would not say so. I like listening to both. Eventually you get to a point in this hobby that you can hear differences Yes - deciding which is better may not be necessary. It may be alot like deciding between Heather Locklear and Demi Moore :mrgreen:


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Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #18 on: 3 Feb 2003, 12:28 am »
Intresting thread!

I have auditioned Hybrids that I was not to keen on myself,but I also think alot has to do with synergy between components.Often then not even an IC can get in the way of the sound that you like.

I have mentioned earlier that VS stuff is really reputable stuff and would like to hear one sometime.

I have Metal Driver's and would be reluctant to try a Tube Bassed amp with my particular speaker's without having to live with it for awhile.I have heard some to say that Atma-Sphere amps are great to use with them though.Then again they are rather expensive.

Llano Amps might work.The manf. used White Amps to drive my speaker's at a  an audio show in Chicago.So there is room for experimentation.The best amplfication I have heard with my speaker's are Mark Levs..

I would try Monarchy's over Odessey's ,but I think Odessey's are better than other mid-priced gear like the Top Rotel reciever's I've heard because of design features and feedback.

To me it comes down to taste and synergy!

Happy Hunting!


Odyssey Xtreme Mono's versus Van Alstine FETvalve 550HC
« Reply #19 on: 3 Feb 2003, 12:37 am »
Maybe I am too lazy to read-but was the preamp used?

Also, thank you Jman & Jerry for time spent on comparo- enthusiasm and time for audio is something I like :-) (I donot have 'time' part for now...).
Seems to me that "Js" preferred the AVA550 to Xtreme Monos in Jerry's set-up :) I am sure we will hear different stories on different set-ups.