Ayon Audio Stratos Review – Audiophile Magazine
Ayon Stratos DAC (English version)
This is a long five page review, but here is what it all boiled down to:
The Stratos is without a doubt one of the best DACs I have ever listened to. He makes music, and in the best possible way, he never tires, and feels as comfortable in the dynamics of rock as the suavity of the Opera or the lament of the Blues.
In DSD, and simply USB, it takes a good head start on many SACD turntables whose price is two to three times that of the Stratos.
In PCM, it reaches the performance and the musicality of the S5 network player … to a hair. Again, the competition is at double the price.
Do not forget that the Stratos includes a real 6H30 tube preamplifier, with an XLR input and two RCA inputs, usable for other sources.
Preamp DAC integration seems to really become a Must in the design of the DACs, and we understand better the new denomination “DAC-Pre” chosen by Ayon for its DAC.
Even if the chip is only one of the many elements contributing to the final quality of a DAC, we could have feared that the passage of the beloved chip Bur-Brown 1704K Gehard Hirt to another chip can lead to certain technological difficulties and less musicality or shrinkage of the magnificent stage of the S5, the CD5S CD player or the DAC Skylla II.
It is not so. The Saber chip chosen is completely forgotten, besides the rest of all the other components handpicked.
Whether in Computer Audio with this DAC Stratos, or in Network Reader with the S5, Ayon has clearly laid two major milestones on the two paths of dematerialization, ways that remain completely open.
Thierry Nkaoua – August 2013
** The entire article can be viewed at