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Mike13

Amp recommendations for Hulgich Astors

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Hi all. I’ll be able to list my Consonance integrated amp for sale this weekend and will then be in the market for a new one.

 

I’d really appreciate some advice on what to get.

 

I’m looking to spend up to $3.5k, preferably used. I don’t mind whether it is a separate power amp and pre-amp. If just a power amp I can use my Bluesound Node 2 as a pre and buy a proper pre later. 

 

I’d like it to fit in a cabinet, or be invisible behind the speakers. If it is really attractive it can sit on top. I’ll post the cabinet width shortly.

 

Since I’m buying second hand I can’t really borrow one from a shop to test.

 

I want to get a DSP for speaker and room correction and sub integration so it would need to be compatible with that.

 

Speaker specs:

 

http://www.hulgichaudio.com.au/astor-specifications.html

 

 

Thanks!

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A couple more things:

 

The speaker maker suggested a Nord amp. Has anyone used these? He uses Nord Monos to demo the speaker. I’d have to buy them from the UK without hearing them. I would just go with this but want to see if there are other good brands that I could get second hand and therefore get better value. 

 

https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/

 

Cabinet is:

80cm height

40cm width

50cm deep (open at back though)

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Mike13 said:

A couple more things:

 

The speaker maker suggested a Nord amp. Has anyone used these? He uses Nord Monos to demo the speaker. I’d have to buy them from the UK without hearing them. I would just go with this but want to see if there are other good brands that I could get second hand and therefore get better value. 

 

https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/

 

Cabinet is:

80cm height

40cm width

50cm deep (open at back though)

These are an update version of the Hypex nc400 that are now nc500.  The difference between nc400 and nc500 is that the nc400 uses a discrete components for the input, the nc500 has made that input adaptable to opamp rolling.   So basically you can update or roll in different opamps (front end input circuitry) to tailor (colour) the sound.

i haven't tried the nc500 but I've had a lot of exposure to the nc400.  These are class D amps that are small in size and super efficient.  Superb amplifiers that I was seriously considering at one point.  THey have protection built in and for such a small circuit it punches far above its apperence..  The nc400 is the only classD amp I know that specify a 24A  rating in its specs, so it will drive some very demanding speakers.  Make no mistake the nc400 presents a very hyper detail sound stage,  with very fast dynamics where some class B or valves will fail to follow and present a "blurred" presentation.  It is this quality that I have been after in this journey!

Just to show how serious good these modules are, at one HIFI show in Melbourne, nearly most Speaker manufacturers were using some Hypex modules and that included the TAD where Andrew Jones also used Hypex modules.  

Edited by Addicted to music

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Posted (edited)

Nord use the OEM Hypex NC 500 modules, 400 watts per into 8 ohm, NC 400 modules, 200 per into 8 ohms and are DIY.

I'd listen to the designer(I'm sure he would want to use the best for his demos) and buy a pair of monos to sit behind each speaker.

Many well known amplifier brands now use Hypex and are far more expensive than Nord..

 

Edited by deblur
wrong button

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36 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

So basically you can update or roll in different opamps (front end input circuitry) to tailor (colour) the sound.

Thanks addicted. Good to hear from someone who has heard them. Is this different to say turning up bass on a graphic equaliser? I actually don’t know if I like warm or analytical or the other adjectives used when these thing are described.

 

Also are these DIY amps or components of an amp that manufacturers use, like a saber DAC maybe? Which other brands use them?

 

 

36 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

Superb amplifiers that I was seriously considering at one point.  

What did you get/keep instead?

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27 minutes ago, deblur said:

Nord use the OEM Hypex NC 500 modules, 400 watts per into 8 ohm, NC 400 modules, 200 per into 8 ohms and are DIY.

I'd listen to the designer(I'm sure he would want to use the best for his demos) and buy a pair of monos to sit behind each speaker.

Many well known amplifier brands now use Hypex and are far more expensive than Nord..

 

Thanks Deblur. You just answered the question I asked Addicted. Do you know what brands use it?

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Off hand Nad, Bel Canto. Sure there are others. Just search on your browser. I run some  diy NC 400's  monos and very happy. 

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Marc might be another great person to ask as he did a review on these. From reading it he predominantly used amps that retail at multiples of the Astor's. A luxury of having them on hand for sure. 

 

I know that there are some great bargains out there especially with class D amps but I wouldn't want you to have those fantastic speakers running at a fraction of their potential so maybe worth increasing the budget if possible. The Nord's were pretty good at the show with the other speakers in the Hulgich range. 

 

Not a bad idea just buying a power amp for now and adding a pre at a later date or even a DAC with a capable preamp function. I know someone in a similar situation to you who used a sonos connect as their pre for quite a while. This was thankfully replaced by a Audio Research Ref 6. For him time was the issue resulting in his incomplete system. 

 

I think it is always best to demo set-ups and even better if you can do it at your home. Maybe try to borrow from a store or other stereonet  members and find a set up that makes you smile. Maybe even try to borrow something that is meant to be high end (possibly expensive)  to see if it does perform well above the amps in your current budget and hopefully something cheaper is close enough or even better. Those Astor's do seem like they would be end game for a lot of people and it would be a shame to be left wondering.... 

 

Good luck with the search. 

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The Nord amps are pretty good. I have one and use it to drive 2ohm bass drivers with no issue. 

Kyron use hypex nc500 modules in there active speakers, always one of the best performers in any show. Legend are using nc500 as well.

I bought my Nird from Puremusic, nit sure if Warwick is still selling them.

The new player is the IcePower IceEdge as1200 amp. 38A rating! I have one on order.

 

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Hi Mike.

I was in a similar position to you.

I've purchased a pair of Hulgich Ella's.

After looking around for an amp I went with the Nord. I found them to be exceptional value. You can choose the stereo case or the duel mono design. I went for the SE case with the 12v trigger.

The Hypex nc500 module is highly regarded and is at the cutting edge of class D amp design.

Deal direct with the supplier in the U.K. Mine was shipped and arrived in a matter of a couple of weeks.

I intend to use a PS Audio Stella Gain DAC as the pre amp connected to a Node 2 for streaming audio as well as a couple of other sources.

I've found Nick from Hulgich exceptional to deal with and value his opinions.

Good luck with your project.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

Marc might be another great person to ask as he did a review on these.

Hi Bunno. Good idea. I think what he suggested were about $5k, but I should’ve written it down. I’ll ask again. 

7 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

I know that there are some great bargains out there especially with class D

Do you think Class A would be better?

7 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

maybe worth increasing the budget if possible.

What amount would you spend on amps for the speakers?

7 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

This was thankfully replaced by a Audio Research Ref 6.

Holy smokes that’s a lot for a pre-amp :)

7 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

Maybe try to borrow from a store or other stereonet  members and find a set up that makes you smile

 

Good luck with the search. 

Yes, I’d rather not buy blind. Unless it’s the Nords so I can go off Nick’s opinion. 

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2 hours ago, AudioGeek said:

I bought my Nird from Puremusic

I couldn’t see them listed on the website. Will call. 

Quote

The new player is the IcePower IceEdge as1200 amp. 38A rating! I have one on order.

One-third the price of their top range ($3k) for 90-95% of the sound quality. That’s good. Power may be too much for the speakers. 1200watts into 4ohms. Might blow them!

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31 minutes ago, Mpr_65 said:

Hi Mike.

I was in a similar position to you.

I've purchased a pair of Hulgich Ella's.

After looking around for an amp I went with the Nord. I found them to be exceptional value.

Hi MPR. Good to hear. 

31 minutes ago, Mpr_65 said:

I intend to use a PS Audio Stella Gain DAC as the pre amp connected to a Node 2 for streaming audio as well as a couple of other sources.

Also a pre-amp. 

31 minutes ago, Mpr_65 said:

I've found Nick from Hulgich exceptional to deal with and value his opinions.

Yes, he was generous with his time considering how busy he is with the new business. 

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Posted (edited)

A cabinet that is only 400mm wide means most amplifiers will not fit.

If you do not want Class D your options are very limited.Cyrus amps would fit but I would be saving up for a Bakoon integrated.

If you want something to use in the meantime I have a NAKSA 80 listed in the classified advertisements here which sounds very good too.Only selling it because I am saving up for a Bakoon.

 

Edited by THOMO

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39 minutes ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

If you can stretch your budget you should buy the magtech in the classifieds 

Great specs on that one. 

 

If there was no wife involved I’d buy these: 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, THOMO said:

A cabinet that is only 400mm wide means most amplifiers will not fit.

If you do not want Class D your options are very limited.Cyrus amps would fit but I would be saving up for a Bakoon integrated.They are the most natural and real sounding amplifiers I have heard.

I see. It’s not critical. It can sit behind the speaker/s on the ground. 

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3 minutes ago, Mike13 said:

I see. It’s not critical. It can sit behind the speaker/s on the ground. 

I just edited my post.The NAKSA 80 would fit and I just happen to have one for sale.

Not as good as the Bakoon but still very good and not Class D.Also about 20% of the price!

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1 hour ago, Mike13 said:

Do you think Class A would be better?

What amount would you spend on amps for the speakers?

Hi Mike. 

 

Class A is different but I think it can be pretty difficult to find something at a reasonable price and age. Many great class D and A/B options. 

 

I'd have no hesitation in going up to 10-15k for an integrated or pre/power. I'm sure they would work well with bigger budgets too but there is deminishing returns and around that is a sweet spot I think. Many great options under that too from time to time. 

 

I would love to own those AW400s myself. Maybe just buy them and don't worry about the wife? Haha. I heard their bigger brother the AW600 on some 2k bookshelf speakers and it floored me. The same amps sounded brilliant on the B&W 802 D3's too

 

From time to time there are many great buys here and there are things like Vitus, Plinius, Gryphon, Devialet (not everyone likes) and even this Goldmund with what may be a fantastic DAC too that will work with your Bluesound

 

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Class A buys you into a much higher electricity bill, lots of heat (DON'T put a class A amp in your cabinet!) and not into a particular "sound" - you'll find that Krell and Sugden class A amps sound very different, and that's before we reach valve class A.

 

  The Class A line scattered across the Nord page is marketing speak aimed at the UK market - ignore it, and concentrate on the fact that these are good amps that you have heard with the speakers you bought.

 

I'm not sure I understand the Astor specs. They are pretty insensitive, but is the 200W power rating into the 4ohm rating of the speaker, or into 8ohms as amplifiers are usually rated?. I'm not sure it makes a huge difference - you can run a more powerful amp as long as you're sensible with the volume control. Your current situation with an underpowered amp could be a greater risk in practice.

 

Class D runs cooler and uses less power, so some class D amps will sit in your cabinet. Not all class D designs sound right with low impedence speakers but you should be fine with Hypex. Take advice from the dealer/manufacturer before putting any amp in a cabinet, though.

 

If you want new, an alternative is the Consonance Calaf integrated. Greg Osborn doesn't shout about these like the valve amps, but the Calaf is for me the biggest bargain among the Consonance products he currently sells. It looks different, though, and is another amp that would have to sit on top of the cabinet, so probably out unless that case goes down well with you. Once again, the blurb for that amp goes on about "cool class A"  but it's just another name for a type of AB circuit.

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The new player is the IcePower IceEdge as1200 amp. 38A rating! I have one on order.
 


Looks incredible. Can I ask details on what you're ordering? From rogue? Directly?
Thank you

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Moderator
10 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

Marc might be another great person to ask as he did a review on these. From reading it he predominantly used amps that retail at multiples of the Astor's. A luxury of having them on hand for sure. 

 

I know that there are some great bargains out there especially with class D amps but I wouldn't want you to have those fantastic speakers running at a fraction of their potential so maybe worth increasing the budget if possible. The Nord's were pretty good at the show with the other speakers in the Hulgich range. 

 

Not a bad idea just buying a power amp for now and adding a pre at a later date or even a DAC with a capable preamp function. I know someone in a similar situation to you who used a sonos connect as their pre for quite a while. This was thankfully replaced by a Audio Research Ref 6. For him time was the issue resulting in his incomplete system. 

 

I think it is always best to demo set-ups and even better if you can do it at your home. Maybe try to borrow from a store or other stereonet  members and find a set up that makes you smile. Maybe even try to borrow something that is meant to be high end (possibly expensive)  to see if it does perform well above the amps in your current budget and hopefully something cheaper is close enough or even better. Those Astor's do seem like they would be end game for a lot of people and it would be a shame to be left wondering.... 

 

Good luck with the search. 

Yes he was running them with some lovely AVM monos.

i think @Marc  is running Elektra monos now. He may chime in.

3 hours ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

If you can stretch your budget you should buy the magtech in the classifieds 

Another excellent choice.

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Admin

As per your question on PM.

 

That's a realistic outlay based on the value/price of the speakers and I know it works, very well!

 

Despite Nick's Nord suggestion, I used Hypex monos (UCD version) on the Astors and there was just no bite or grip (control) at all. I would suspect the Nord would be the same ?? Don't know really.

 

The Electra's worked very very well as well at a fraction of the cost of AVM. My money would be on AVM though particularly with the price that stereo version is in the classifieds right now.

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20 minutes ago, Marc said:

As per your question on PM.

 

That's a realistic outlay based on the value/price of the speakers and I know it works, very well!

 

Despite Nick's Nord suggestion, I used Hypex monos (UCD version) on the Astors and there was just no bite or grip (control) at all. I would suspect the Nord would be the same ?? Don't know really.

 

The Electra's worked very very well as well at a fraction of the cost of AVM. My money would be on AVM though particularly with the price that stereo version is in the classifieds right now.

The Nords are not your standard Hypex based amps.A lot of design work seems to have gone into the input stage -which is not Class D.To me they sounded better than any other Class D I have heard.

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