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This review first appeared in October 2019 on HifiKnights.com. By request of the manufacturer and permission of the author, it is hereby syndicated to reach a broader audience. All images contained in this piece are the property of Dawid Grzyb or Struss Audio – Ed.
Reviewer: Marek Dyba
Analog sources: J.Sikora Basic MAX turntable, J.Sikora KV12 tonearm , AirTight PC-3, phonostages: Grandinote Celio mk IV, ESE Lab Nibiru V 2.5
Digital sources: passive custom PC with Win10, Roon, Fidelizer Pro 7.3, JCat USB Femto card with iFi power supply, Hdplex linear power supply for PC, JCAT USB Isolator, LampizatOr Golden Atlantic +Ideon Audio 3R Master Time (USB signal regenerator), LampizatOr Pacific
USB: iFi audio 0, micro iUSB3.0 and 3x Mercury cables
Preamplifiers: Audia Flight FLS1
Amplifiers: GrandiNote Shinai
Speakers: Ubiq Audio Model One Duelund Edition, GrandiNote Mach4
Interconnects: Hijiri Million, KBL Sound Red Corona, Metrum Lab Edge, TelluriumQ Silver Diamond USB, Stavessence USB Eunoia and Apricity, Ethernet Eloquence
Speaker cables: LessLoss Anchorwave, Metrum Lab Edge, KBl Sound Red Corona
Power components: GigaWatt PF-2 MK2 and GigaWatt PC-3 SE Evo+; a custom power line with GigaWatt LC-Y in-wall cable; GigaWatt G-044 Schuko and Furutech FT-SWS-D (R)
Rack: Base VI, Rogoz Audio 3RP3/BBS
Sundry accessories: Rogoz Audio SMO40 and CPPB16 platforms and BW40MKII feet, Franc Accessories Ceramic Disc Slim Feet and Wood Block platform
Retail price of reviewed components in EU: €4'370
In Poland, the brand Struss and founder Mr. Zdzislaw Hryniewicz-Struss need no introduction. They're some of the most recognizable names in our audio industry. During the early 1990s already, these amplifiers were objects of desire for many of us. Recently the brand returned under new ownership with new products still designed by Mr. Zdzislaw. Welcome the DM-250 integrated amplifier. The Polish audio market has grown dynamically since the brand first launched. Judging by the number of participants of our annual Warsaw show, it's become quite big and very diverse. Large crowds attend each year to learn more about hundreds, even thousands of new hifi components of which more and more come from Poland. However, while there are quite a lot of Polish speaker and cable firms already, not that many focus on amplifiers, particularly not solid state. So any time I have opportunity to listen to a promising Polish transistor amp, I just have to. It's also because of my idée fixe to one day own a front-to-back Polish reference/reviewer system.
Time line of previous Struss models
Since its early days, Struss underwent several changes. Even though new products were released every now and then, none had yet visited my room. A few years ago when ownership changed, Mr. Zdzislaw Hryniewicz-Struss used his extensive knowledge and experience to develop today's DM-250.
Ultimate in silver and black on the top shelves in Stuttgart
At present it's the only product of the restructured enterprise but I recently received a press release announcing the Ultimate which unveiled during the September show in Stuttgart this year. In Poland it will present in mid November at our Warsaw show.
My first contact with the new Struss took place in Munich a year back. Afterwards several reviewers met at the airport waiting for their plane. We talked about the show and our impressions. At some point Mr. Wojciech Mazurkiewicz who represents Struss Audio overheard our conversation, approached and introduced himself.
Struss at Munich HighEnd 2018 with Computer Audio Design and Boenicke
We learned that after the changes, the famous Polish brand was about to come back one more time with new products. Mr. Wojciech talked passionately about the advantages of the DM-250 and the very positive feedback they'd received from serious people in the industry. Obviously opinions of other people matter but since our lot's job is to assess performance with our own ears, we exchanged business cards in case Struss were interested in delivering samples. As it turned out, a long time had to pass before I got my chance but when I did, I happily accepted.
The device arrived in a solid double box well protected against abuse by a courier. One of the first things I noticed was the detailed tri-lingual manual. It's something only a handful of Polish manufacturers take care of. It clearly indicated that Struss Audio eyed not just our domestic market. As many others have already proven, global thinking is definitely the right approach. Apart from the user manual and amplifier, I also found a nice-looking remote and power cable. The DM-250 turned out to be of medium size, dual mono and capable of 130/250wpc into 8/4Ω, hence the number in its name. The first 10 watts are in class A. In addition to 1 x XLR and 3 x RCA inputs—one with higher-quality sockets for your main source—there's an MM phono input. To make it even more versatile, there's also a pre-out to drive another power amplifier, subwoofer or semi-active speakers which I had an opportunity to do. There's even a direct input to bypass the internal linestage and volume control and use an external preamplifier or variable source into the output stage of the DM-250. Here is what the Struss website has to say:
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