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Hypex NC250MP not to me, could other Hypex amps be better ?


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Hello,

 

I'm new on this site just a wrong decision forced me to write/ask.

 

My new Hypex NC250MP based amplifier sounds so pure, timing is fine but no muscle on the bones during vocals, drums sounds like beating pots, sound is very detailed but instruments have flat character. I would like to cry how bad is my choice the NC250MP. Just not to do a bad acquisition again, do somebody had the chance to listen different kind of Hypex modules and could you share your experience to compare them, please  ?

 

One option to replace my amp with a bigger Hypex NC500MP based one for an extra fee. Will it sound fuller and more natural ? I don't need more power just better natural sound. Why I'm a bit uncertain, the output buffer capacitors (two brown) are same as on the smaller board and both looks like same quality as the buffer of the SMPS modules,  not same as on the NC500 (three blue capacitors).

 

Another option is the NC400 DIY kit instead of the NCxxxMP modules, my concern is the longest wires between SMPS and amplifier modules. Can it be less dynamic than NCxxxMP modules ?

 

or

 

to buy  an NC500 based amplifier if that gives more than  Hypex NC500MP.

 

or

 

new FA501 plate amplifier which uses a Hypex NC500MP like board on some photos with the brown buffer capacitors on some other photos with the NC500 like blue ones. Which is confusing. 

 

I have no chance to test these so my new D-Class amp will base on the experts's opinion, please write if you really can do the comparison. Last option to keep my previous Vincent tube-hybrid amplifier what I wanted to upgrade.

 

(sorry for my not too sophisticated English)

 

 

 
 

 

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Did you let the amp burn in for a few hundred hours? All amplifier classes benefit from extended run in.

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2. RME ADI-2 DAC FS - Apollon NC502MP - Monitor Audio PL100

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4. TempoTec Sonata HD - 1More Triple Driver IEM

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My immediate thought is that there could be too much cross interference with the SMPS being on the same board as the amplifier - a kit where one can organise better separation of the two modules, PS versus amplifier, may allow one to better, more easily tweak the performance.

 

Yes, long wires between PS and amp is a bad idea. But if one is very careful in how one organises the boards, then shielding plus minimum wiring length can be achieved.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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  Have you listened to high quality solid state amplification long term? You may just prefer the sound of tubes.

  The tube gear has more even order distortion. Makes it sound warmer and puts meat on the sound. 

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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On 5/18/2019 at 3:08 AM, Matias said:

Did you let the amp burn in for a few hundred hours? All amplifier classes benefit from extended run in.

 

At the first 10-20 hours I heard improvements in stereo space and in shape of low frequency instruments like drums, but (at least to my ears) it stopped. 

 

 

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On 5/18/2019 at 3:24 AM, fas42 said:

My immediate thought is that there could be too much cross interference with the SMPS being on the same board as the amplifier - a kit where one can organise better separation of the two modules, PS versus amplifier, may allow one to better, more easily tweak the performance.

 

Yes, long wires between PS and amp is a bad idea. But if one is very careful in how one organises the boards, then shielding plus minimum wiring length can be achieved.

I spent some time over the weekend to figure out how can I reduce interference at least between Hypex modules and other components, so I built shields around the modules but let  some space for air ventilation (there are big holes on the bottom of the copper shield). It is on the attached photo. No real sonic improvement.

 

On the board difficult to build a fence because of tight spacing.

 

I choose NC250MP since the short wires between the SMPS and power amp and the good, close to 0.01% THD despite compact design. 

 

I tried to figure out where are the visible (for a beginner like me) differences between this module and bigger brothers;

 

- SMPS buffer capacity is 2x390uF while on bigger modules it is 2x820uF or more. The diode bridge placed between some other items, not at the edge of the module to let the possibility to add heat shielding so dangerous to improve SMPS capacitors.

 

- At the amplifier part at switching FETs the buffer capacitors are 2x330uF, not few comparing to NC400 10x47uF, but big capacitors could be slower in response than smallest ones in parallel. No space on the module to use more, smaller capacitors.

 

- Output filter contains 2x1uF Panasonic PP capacitors (at least they looks like) instead of 3x0.68uF or 6x0.33uF WIMA PP. But again no space to replace them, I can add a small extension board (with 6x0.33uF WIMAs) over the main board but it can cause additional induktance instead of reduce the induktance of capacitors. 

 

No good way to improve this is why I'm thinking of to replace this module to something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20190519_171127.jpg

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Just let it burn in with music for least 100hours. Don't worry about the capacitors.

Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

Modded Buffalo-fiber-EtherRegen, DC3- Isoregen, Lush^2

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On 5/18/2019 at 7:59 PM, Panelhead said:

  Have you listened to high quality solid state amplification long term? You may just prefer the sound of tubes.

  The tube gear has more even order distortion. Makes it sound warmer and puts meat on the sound. 

You could be right, all time when I heard good quality amps/speakers something was wrong in the chain at friends (too much glasses, good speakers but bad amp, expensive system but bad placement in living room, etc) so I had no chance to listen a well tuned solid state system. 

 

I just feel the vocals are not natural and instruments does not sounds like the real instruments and lacks of energy. I'm looking for detailed amplifier like this Hypex but with music where instruments sound like real instruments. (my speakers enough good to support it, plus I have room corrector DSP to exclude room amplified highs and bass)

 

This why I created my question about Hypex modules, maybe there is one which sounds warmer, more natural with more energy but with same detailed music like NC250MP.

 

Maybe a preamp with possibility to add some tube warm sound to original good THD op amp buffer can improve on result I just haven't found a preamp (buffer) which can do solid state preamp functions about 0.001% THD and has a tube auxiliary circuit to add slight tone to it. 

 

 

 

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I love my 8 channels of NC502MP amps. 

2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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17 hours ago, jtwrace said:

I love my 8 channels of NC502MP amps. 

 

If NC502MP fits to your reference quality system, than it must be good to me as well and an additional solid state - tube mixer preamp in my mind where I can set the level of tube distorsion added to the system from 0% to 100%.

 

Have you had chance to listen NC400, NC500 and NC1200 based amplifiers and to compare them with NC502MP ?

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Istvan said:

 

If NC502MP fits to your reference quality system, than it must be good to me as well and an additional solid state - tube mixer preamp in my mind where I can set the level of tube distorsion added to the system from 0% to 100%.

 

Have you had chance to listen NC400, NC500 and NC1200 based amplifiers and to compare them with NC502MP ?

 

 

 

 

 

I've owned all those variants...

 

This might be of interest to you

2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thank you all the answers, I reread that suggested NCore topics and finally I ordered a Schiit Freya+ preamp, arrived today. It sounds amazing with Chord Qutest and Hypex NC250MP. It seems in my setup the problem was the Chord - Hypex couple demands a good preamp. Freya+ adds some but realistic body to the music, details not reduced too much, I love it. Sorry for my post NC250MP is a really good amp module if driver stage suits to this.

 

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17 hours ago, Istvan said:

Thank you all the answers, I reread that suggested NCore topics and finally I ordered a Schiit Freya+ preamp, arrived today. It sounds amazing with Chord Qutest and Hypex NC250MP. It seems in my setup the problem was the Chord - Hypex couple demands a good preamp. Freya+ adds some but realistic body to the music, details not reduced too much, I love it. Sorry for my post NC250MP is a really good amp module if driver stage suits to this.

 

How does it sound running tubes vs SS mode?

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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On 5/20/2019 at 9:06 AM, Istvan said:

I spent some time over the weekend to figure out how can I reduce interference at least between Hypex modules and other components, so I built shields around the modules but let  some space for air ventilation (there are big holes on the bottom of the copper shield). It is on the attached photo. No real sonic improvement.

 

On the board difficult to build a fence because of tight spacing.

 

I choose NC250MP since the short wires between the SMPS and power amp and the good, close to 0.01% THD despite compact design. 

 

I tried to figure out where are the visible (for a beginner like me) differences between this module and bigger brothers;

 

- SMPS buffer capacity is 2x390uF while on bigger modules it is 2x820uF or more. The diode bridge placed between some other items, not at the edge of the module to let the possibility to add heat shielding so dangerous to improve SMPS capacitors.

 

- At the amplifier part at switching FETs the buffer capacitors are 2x330uF, not few comparing to NC400 10x47uF, but big capacitors could be slower in response than smallest ones in parallel. No space on the module to use more, smaller capacitors.

 

- Output filter contains 2x1uF Panasonic PP capacitors (at least they looks like) instead of 3x0.68uF or 6x0.33uF WIMA PP. But again no space to replace them, I can add a small extension board (with 6x0.33uF WIMAs) over the main board but it can cause additional induktance instead of reduce the induktance of capacitors. 

 

No good way to improve this is why I'm thinking of to replace this module to something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20190519_171127.jpg

That's not really shielding anything and could make matters worse.

As to burn in, well your ears do adjust...

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7 hours ago, firedog said:

How does it sound running tubes vs SS mode?

I have few experience in high-end audio to hear weak points of Freya. About the modes it has; there is gain difference between SS and tube modes plus new Freya switches off tube heaters when SS mode active so there is about 40seconds warm up time when it switches back to tube mode, difficult to compare them. After one evening music listening I can write the followings; 

 

SS mode is very detailed well balanced, better than tube mode for Chord + Hypex amp, nothing drama or excessive power, just all the instruments at their places, sounds very relaxed, musical, not as dry and lean as the Chord without Freya. 

 

In tube mode it sounds more musical, the speed of transients is surprisingly good and sharp, piano, clarinet, horns has realistic shape and this mode gives space, air to the music, to me the tube mode is a bit too much, but I can understand if somebody like it better, very easy to listen it.

 

I was surprised but the third, "direct mode" is same good or might be better than SS (or tube) mode, I guess. User guide told in direct mode the SS differential buffer does not work, but the RCA input (no XLR on Chord) somehow converted to XLR since XLR output works in "direct mode", despite user guide says the opposite. Direct mode use a part of the SS circuit for XLR out, I bet. I hear direct mode same as the SS if no digital room correction in my system, with DRC when room effect on music is less there was some case when direct mode might sounds more natural with slightly less "mid range" warmth, very small difference from SS mode if there is difference. 

 

Just let me note Freya+ sounds very good but the volume control (and all the) relays are really raw and loud when switching, sometimes music breaks for a fraction of second during switching, relay based volume control significantly better implemented in Hattor power amplifier I use, so better to let Freya volume on 100% and don't use it's volume control.  

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Istvan said:

I have few experience in high-end audio to hear weak points of Freya. About the modes it has; there is gain difference between SS and tube modes plus new Freya switches off tube heaters when SS mode active so there is about 40seconds warm up time when it switches back to tube mode, difficult to compare them. After one evening music listening I can write the followings; 

 

SS mode is very detailed well balanced, better than tube mode for Chord + Hypex amp, nothing drama or excessive power, just all the instruments at their places, sounds very relaxed, musical, not as dry and lean as the Chord without Freya. 

 

In tube mode it sounds more musical, the speed of transients is surprisingly good and sharp, piano, clarinet, horns has realistic shape and this mode gives space, air to the music, to me the tube mode is a bit too much, but I can understand if somebody like it better, very easy to listen it.

 

I was surprised but the third, "direct mode" is same good or might be better than SS (or tube) mode, I guess. User guide told in direct mode the SS differential buffer does not work, but the RCA input (no XLR on Chord) somehow converted to XLR since XLR output works in "direct mode", despite user guide says the opposite. Direct mode use a part of the SS circuit for XLR out, I bet. I hear direct mode same as the SS if no digital room correction in my system, with DRC when room effect on music is less there was some case when direct mode might sounds more natural with slightly less "mid range" warmth, very small difference from SS mode if there is difference. 

 

Just let me note Freya+ sounds very good but the volume control (and all the) relays are really raw and loud when switching, sometimes music breaks for a fraction of second during switching, relay based volume control significantly better implemented in Hattor power amplifier I use, so better to let Freya volume on 100% and don't use it's volume control.  

 

 

 

 

I have the older Freya, and I find the passive mode and SS modes sound very similar. But the SS mode has a bit more "life" to it, not as "lean" as you call it, so I prefer it.  I have used passive pres in other setups where I thought they were very good. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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