We were on another mission from God—in other words, a request from Editor John Atkinson, which is the same thing for working journalists. "You have to check out Hovland's new power amplifier," JA gushed.
The 90lb 360W Stratos monoblocks ($34,000/pair) did look impressive—as they should. They're supposed to be stable into 2 ohms and have immense, sophisticated power supplies that employ quasi C-core transformers, fast-recovery Schottke rectifiers, and 80,000µF of slit-foil storage capacitors for quick delivery of current. The signal path is complementary and converts single-ended inputs via proprietary converters. Everything inside the Stratos is luxe.
The sound? That's why JA sent us. It was beefy, yet refined, and we didn't want to boogie off into the sunset, but duty called. We did it for you.