DNA Stellaris - Official Thread

Congrats Andris, welcome to Team Blue!
Your words on Donald ring true to my experience with him, he’s one of the few cut from a different mold.

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Congrats! I had my suspicions that your story would turn out this way :+1:t3:.

Looking forward to the combat chronicles and hearing how BLUE pulled away in the championship rounds.

Donald is superb, not to mention a great guy to grab beers with.

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Not sure where to put this but there’s a DNA Stratus for sale on HF for those who don’t like waiting.

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I would grab it if I had won the WA State Vaccine lottery.

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Dude should have gone right into Stellaris, rookie mistake.

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DNA Stellaris for sale from Germany. Save the wait.

DNA Stellaris

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The Stellaris, and DNA in general, is a point of quasi-perpetual torment for me.

The Stellaris remains the most enjoyable 2A3-based amplifier I’ve heard, even if my general preference is towards vintage 300Bs. Aesthetically … I just can’t get past the flat-grey blocky transformer covers. Regular transformer bells, or something a bit more svelt and curvaceous, would swing it. But as it is, I just can’t do it.

A Stratus would address the aesthetics … but having spent time with the Stellaris, that’s a bit like buying a Boxster or Cayman when you’ve owned a 911.

And still … every time one of either comes up for sale … I’m tempted …


It’s been a LONG time since I’ve bought audio gear solely on the basis of how it sounds.

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I was in the same boat about the transformer covers, but actually having it in person now, I actually find it appealing in a weird way. I was fully expecting to hate the aesthetics, but I am actually liking it alot.

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I wonder which version of the Stratus you heard, and whether the current V4 (yet to be in the wild other than the prototype demo) may close the gap performance-wise for you while having acceptable aesthetics.

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When I started shopping for headphone equipment several years ago, DNA’s aesthetic and the oohs and ahhs went completely past me. Its design follows many, many project box amps:


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Back when Heathkit was a big thing, my father literally built a DIY amp on an upside down cake pan similar to this:


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In contrast, Dan D’Agostino’s products sell themselves regardless of their sound quality:

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Perhaps you could consider having a beautiful black metal cage fabricated for the Stellaris.

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At the time I bought my last tube amp (bought in 2017, received in 2018), it was a recent build. I don’t know what version specifically. I’ve heard several since, don’t know what version they were either.

It won’t matter how good it sounds as long as those big grey boxes are there. I’ve had it in my house, and I just don’t want to look at that. You’ll never hear/read me say anything negative about the sound, or the rest of the aesthetics, but I think those boxes are a flat-out eyesore.

Being an aesthete sometimes sucks. This is one of those times.

The Stellaris is not the only example of this.

I’d buy a dCS Bartok for the raw variety and the fact that its the only really compelling alternative to my current DAC (at a similar price point), IF it came in the Rossini casework. It doesn’t. So it’s Rossini or Vivaldi (or MSB) for the new speaker rig.

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DNA designs, aesthetically and sonically (where some DNA amps use AN output transformers), are said to be inspired by Audio Note. I wouldn’t pass on an Ongaku.

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I actually think the Stratus looks all kinds of cool.

It’s just those damn grey blocks one the Stellaris.

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Got it. I hear you and acknowledge that aesthetics do matter. It’s interesting how multiple folks view DNA aesthetics (whether it be the boxes or the color) as a showstopper. I’m sure I feel the same way about certain consumables out there as well.

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The transformers don’t bother me, but the weird powder blue base does. I get that that particular shade of blue is his signature color, but what if I don’t want it in powder blue? Aesthetically speaking I’m more likely to go with Ampsandsounds even if I think I might like the DNA sound better. My guess is he has enough orders that he feels no need to cater to anyone’s aesthetic tastes.

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I’ve discussed this with him. He favors having a color that is distinct, versus a nondescript conventional black or silver component sitting on an audio rack. He’s committed to the blue and wouldn’t deviate, even where the blue is more labor/time intensive.

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Not sure why everyone always hates on the color, but guess its not everyones cup of tea. I much rather get DNA with its smurf blue color over a boring black/silver box again.

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I also love the signature blue look! (My fiancé hates it) I really like when companies do this. Other good examples are amps by Leben and Shindo using a dark green. Also with wood aesthetics: ZMF and Devore Fidelity.

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Oddly enough, I’m looking at a pair of D’Agostino “Relentless” amps to juice the Wilson Chronosonics that are going in my listening room …

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