Donald North Audio (DNA)

Since there now seems to be a critical mass on the forum embracing the headphone amplifiers produced by Donald North I figured I would start a global thread on his amps.

I will link the two other threads specifically talking about the Starlett and Stellaris as they contain some good information. This topic is for all things DNA and associated information - tube rolls, headphone or DAC pairings, general questions… of course people can post in the topics linked below as well.


Hip hip hooray! We love DNA! :beers:


Fantastic, and overdue.

All the blue. I’m seeking assistance in ascertaining “DNA Blue,” for the T-shirt and stickers. We can use A thru E, 1 thru 5, left to right.


That red heart outline could really be bigger…

(seriously, this image cracked me up)


@andris should move it slightly lower, let the curves hug them powerful dual 2A3 bulbs :grin:

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Lol. I’m really sorry to disappoint, guys. I’ll work on my MS Paint skills, I promise :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


See what happens when you join Team Bleu….


When he gets Stellaris he will have the 5U4G tube as well to have it hug around on the left side :sunglasses:


Good point! Needs a proper rectifier, none of this GZ peasantry :grin:

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Oh man, I’m getting crushed! :slight_smile:

FWIW, I did get an RCA 5U4G, and it’s “meh” compared to the GZ34. I ordered my Stellaris with a rectifier switch allowing the amp to be optimized for either 5U4G or GZ34/GZ37/422A. You better believe I’m going to go on a rectifier rolling binge once I’m closer to a delivery date. :grin:


The binge has been real for me before the amp even shows:

input - five Ruby Tiger Selects of various grades, a Pearl Cryo Reflektor, a couple of 6BQ7As (Sylvania Gold and RCA)
rectifier - two GECs, two RCAs (one smooth), with an Elrod on order
output - RCA monoplates, Psvane ACME, KR Audio HPs, RCA spring top black plates.

Going to guess that I’ll have a biased opinion of the amp :slight_smile:


Is this your first DNA amp?

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Yes, it is my first DNA amp. My thought is I’ll find the tubes I like for it, sell some that don’t make the cut, and keep some others for future plans.


Congrats. That is quite the tube haul, good variety to play with.


I’ve been thinking about getting a DNA stratus amp for a while but haven’t seen an official thread for it yet. I’m curious if it’s worth the price jump from the startlet.

The new version would be a yes, depending upon your interpretation of value as its double the cost.

I haven’t heard tubes before, so I’m not sure what they sound like, so I’m just going off on others being stoked about it
in terms of value, I simply want a tube amp that’s one & done that will make me stop thinking about upgrading to other amps haha.


One really good hit of cocaine does not usually cure the person of wanting more cocaine.

Or, put another way;

There are very few off ramps in this hobby, as long as you stay engaged with new releases and reviews, thee will always be a sense of “what if” in the upgrade-itis section of your brain. What worked best for me (and it didn’t cure me, just slowed me down) was building enough of a sense of what is available in different types of equipment and what it sounded like that I know I am relatively near the “as good as it gets in this budget” and that most horzontal changes will be flavor modifcation rather than geuine earth sjaking upgrades.

If I were starting over, i’d listen to more of the mid-fi and bargain stuff before I blasted through to the high end. In fact, I will probably go back and do this regardless, as I am often surprised at how well some of the “bargains” hold up against my not-bargain selections.


I agree with this assessment @Solfi. You could go straight for a Stratus, and you may love it, but if you haven’t heard tubes before I think maybe you should start to explore more options in the budget range to start to understand tube preference and what you are looking for. DNA are amazing amps, but they are also an investment of both time and money, and for someone who is unsure on even if they like tubes, I think it would be smart to dabble a bit more.


I agree with climbing the midfi ladder, but unfortunately, where I live, I don’t get a chance to try many things, especially trading and selling because shipping fees are brutal. I did recently get a vertie closed and I am loving it with my Burson amp, but that is why I am looking into tubes to get more out of them.