Donald North Audio (DNA)

Thanks. Are there snacks or something? Because it’s going to be kind of a long wait. :wink:


Fair enough. To be more accurate I should have stated Spring 3; although whether that makes a difference is unknown. I’d assume the 3 is better but…

I haven’t played around too much with the NOS and OS on the May as of yet. I’m happy enough with the NOS playback. I tried HQP and while it did some interesting things with staging I ultimately preferred my simple CD transport - more dynamic and less veiled than the HQP and the staging wasn’t that far behind. But as a purely digital player it was the best I had come across. My computer couldnt do really high DSD so its possible that there were things left on the table.


I have a Spring 3 KTE and it’s really impressive.
Don’t have a DNA amp currently (but that’s why I’ve been lurking in this post), however it really has taken my A&S Bigger Ben to the next level.


I’ve been in the Stellaris queue for six months now, so… Welcome to the new joiners. Have a seat anywhere you like. Make yourselves at home.


I’m not that new at this point. I ordered in June, and my delivery date is (supposedly) Feb/March. Just about half way… :slight_smile:


I’m gonna shop for one for mine. I already upgraded the 2A3s to EMLs.


You should not have a problem finding a NOS RCA 5U4G, plenty of them to be found for very reasonable prices: $40-$80

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Happy news!


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ROARK, I take serious issue with your observations. Id LOVE to know what parts you’re comparing?
Personal presences are one thing, but you must be kidding re build quality. DN does a great job, as do I. The Ovation to your observation is built using a PCB, please show me cleaner builds?
The Ovation is likely 2x less powerful that DN amp you’re comparing… its a specialist in dynamics. I build a lot of different amps that have different purposes, intermixing ideas to make a point is inaccurate and lends itself to expressing bias.


JW, nice to make your aquatince.

Before I respond, are you accusing me of libel or false light in your response posted on 10/16/2021 at 1715 hr EST?


You’ve made statements re build quality of AAS amps… I strongly disagree with your conclusions and am happy to debate the issue.

I understand you’ve heard some of our amps in different settings a drawn your own conclusions. Many our the amps have existed for years and seen revisions/and updates throughout. Rather than drawing conclusions that could be based on erroneous factors, Id encourage you to hear our amps in a show setting where you at least the providence and tube selection are representative of AAS efforts.

In reading the tenor of many of your comments there seems an underlying animus toward AAS.
AAS builds many amps each with an intended purpose and feature set.
All of our AAS branded amps are zero feedback designs with very low noise floors relative to there power output. We are of a small group of tube amp builders that share our measured performance.
For any of our products, system matching is paramount. The Mogwsi SE, Bigger Ben and Nautilus have the capacity to run large power tubes and achieve significant power levels between 3-8watts RMS. When you select tubes that will produce significant power levels, it should be expected that noise floor rises too. Thusly, selecting input, rectifier and power tubes that will produce the desired power level with the expected noise floor is paramount. Most headphones dynamic headphones don’t need more than 250mw… bringing to bare 12x is a choice of wanting tone and power.
The Kenzie/Ovation are great choices for efficient headphones… low noise and great tone.
The Mogwai SE/Bigger Ben are the generalist, low enough noise for efficient headphones when appropriate tube selections are made and able to scale to power levels that are required for in-efficient demanding choices.
If you’ve had other experiences and want to discuss choices or if anyone has questions Im very reachable. Call 949-636-9076. Im not one for emails or texts. Im often multitasking and my dyslexia makes written commination less elegant.


Seriously? We’re adults here. Please behave like one.

Regarding build - I’ve seen DNA amps AND put them on the bench. I know the parts costs. They sound great and are exceptional with prices to match.

Ampsandsound amps are equally exceptional. Point to point wiring, top shelf parts and attention to detail. Nobody does it better than either of these guys. One would be well served by either company.

Back to DNA though as this isn’t about mudslinging. I’m loving the input on 2a3 tube rolling, but what is everyone rolling for input tubes?


I have a DNA amp coming one day. Maybe before I die or retire. And I’m not complaining, I’ll gladly wait. However, has anyone ever wondered if Donald North’s amps actually have his DNA in/on them? Oh goodness, that sounds gross…
I was thinking more along the lines of blood, sweat and tears…but I could see how that sounds gross.


Grover, I respect the hell out of you and been following your reviews, impressions, etc since your days at InnerFidelity. You have the background and knowledge to educate many of us here within the hobby.

Please don’t single me out, it is inaccurate and my comments from over two weeks ago were prompted by fellow members asking for information on the two amp lines and I responded with my experience. If perception or if folks disagree I have no issue with that, when the owner and partner of the forum uses language that is suggestive of unlawful statements I responded in kind.

Again, folks are allowed to have diverging opinions and that is part of the discourse. If someone is offended because an opinion or experience is opposite their own, that is their problem and quite narrow minded. We should discuss the good, the bad, and the indifferent stuff.

On the input tube, Donald suggests this is the least variable tube of the setup, the rectifier, followed by the power tubes provides the most change.

Some folks have rolled equivalents, such as the 6BQ something or other.

Edit: the tube I could not remember is 6BQ7A

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The sentiment is typically reciprocal. I didn’t see anything that suggested to me legal action nor have I ever known Justin Weber to be a litigious person either in person or as a public persona. If that was how it was interpreted then please take it off the public boards and resolve it.

Appreciate the mature response, and agree on all points. Back to amps :slight_smile:

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I tend to find with DHTs thats often the case. Do you happen to know what tubes Dennis provides stock?

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The stock tube is a 6N1P, he provided me with the 6N1P-EV Voskod rocket logo tube, I have known a few other Stratus/Stellaris owners who also received this as their stock tube. The great thing is this tube is dirt cheap in comparison to NOS 2A3 or 5U4G tubes, less than $10 if I recall.

I got a new rectifier in today, it is a NOS Sylvania with hanging filament. It is has a bit more sag than the stock rectifier and is sounding more balanced than the vintage Tung Sol 5U4G I have.

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Thank you for the mental image that will not leave my demented head!!! :laughing:

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