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How do Hypex based power amplifiers compare to Primare or others


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Unlike solid state amps where the tech is pretty mature, class D presume ably is still in the steep part of the development curve. Hence I wonder whether a cheap But modern Nord One Amplifier would be better than a premium class D of 5-10 years age? Do you think Class D’s should be age-valued Just a little more like computer based tech?

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My 2 cents... The NC1200 for bass duties absolutely - if you have speakers that love current then this is the way to absolute driver control even if the "power" figures sound far too high, its the cur

Hi,   There isn't a clear answer as to "best" - Depending on what the use case is for them and what speakers you are running can give different results...   I had the MC70 for a wh

Late to the party guys,   Now I am somewhat biased as Art mentioned because I am building these amps up and think they are awesome, but what lead me here was that I personally tried a LOT of

I would argue that class D is now quite mature, with Hypex based offerings probably still leading the pack. The main problem with class D has been distortion above 2-3kHz, but the best from Hypex are able to achieve <0.01% THD up to 10kHz at most power levels which isn't dissimilar to many decent class AB amplifiers. If it's possible to raise the switching frequency in future the performance will get better but I'm inclined to think that this will be more of an evolutionary process.    

 

I'm actually using NC1200 based amplifiers to power the woofers in my B&W800 Diamonds and they give me better bass overall than any other amps I've tried. However, I still prefer the more seductive sound of a class AB amp driving the mids and tweeters so that's what I'll be sticking with for the foreseeable future. Class D treble is too crisp and "in my face" for my liking. 

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On 29/04/2020 at 5:10 PM, Art Vandelay said:

I would argue that class D is now quite mature, with Hypex based offerings probably still leading the pack. The main problem with class D has been distortion above 2-3kHz, but the best from Hypex are able to achieve <0.01% THD up to 10kHz at most power levels which isn't dissimilar to many decent class AB amplifiers. If it's possible to raise the switching frequency in future the performance will get better but I'm inclined to think that this will be more of an evolutionary process.    

 

I'm actually using NC1200 based amplifiers to power the woofers in my B&W800 Diamonds and they give me better bass overall than any other amps I've tried. However, I still prefer the more seductive sound of a class AB amp driving the mids and tweeters so that's what I'll be sticking with for the foreseeable future. Class D treble is too crisp and "in my face" for my liking. 

The new Purifi 1ET400a modules are meant to be sweet sounding up top.  

Bruno has apparently taken class D to a new level. 

 

I'm actually shopping for a 1ET400a implementation right now. 

This is the best value amp i could find with the modules:

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/power-amplifier/audiophonics-hpa-s400et-amplifier-class-d-stereo-purifi-2x400w-4-ohm-p-14393.html

 

Measurements for the Purifi modules:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-purifi-1et400a-amplifier.7984/

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40 minutes ago, musicbee said:

The new Purifi 1ET400a modules are meant to be sweet sounding up top.  

Bruno has apparently taken class D to a new level. 

 

I'm actually shopping for a 1ET400a implementation right now. 

This is the best value amp i could find with the modules:

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/power-amplifier/audiophonics-hpa-s400et-amplifier-class-d-stereo-purifi-2x400w-4-ohm-p-14393.html

 

Measurements for the Purifi modules:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-purifi-1et400a-amplifier.7984/

 

 

There's also this one ...

https://vtvamplifier.com/product/vtv-amplifier-stereo-purifi-audio-1et400a-amplifier/

 

I did have a few email exchanges with Tibor from Apollon, and in his view his best build version of the NC1200 is still king, but the only real difference I can see is a fancy discrete preamp stage, and I'm not convinced it will sound substantially different in the treble, and at $8500 with the current exchange rate it's a large risk that I'm not inclined to take.

 

I haven't heard a Purifi but it's probably worth a try if you can get a decent build at a decent price, and assuming your speakers are not too nasty a load it might just tick all the boxes.

 

Please share your findings if you make a purchase. 

 

    

 

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15 minutes ago, Art Vandelay said:

 

 

There's also this one ...

https://vtvamplifier.com/product/vtv-amplifier-stereo-purifi-audio-1et400a-amplifier/

 

I did have a few email exchanges with Tibor from Apollon, and in his view his best build version of the NC1200 is still king, but the only real difference I can see is a fancy discrete preamp stage, and I'm not convinced it will sound substantially different in the treble, and at $8500 with the current exchange rate it's a large risk that I'm not inclined to take.

 

I haven't heard a Purifi but it's probably worth a try if you can get a decent build at a decent price, and assuming your speakers are not too nasty a load it might just tick all the boxes.

 

Please share your findings if you make a purchase. 

 

    

 

Those purifi amps are very well priced, thanks. 
 

Much appreciated. 
Did you get you Hypex units here? 

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3 minutes ago, musicbee said:


Did you get you Hypex units here? 

 

Yep, they're from Phil (81vintage) in Tas. Nicely built mono amps using NC1200 and SMPS1200 power supplies.  

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The VTV amps look reasonably priced too (comparable to Nord Acoustics in UK). I haven't checked to see reviews on some of these other amps, I understand implementation can make quite a difference.

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If you plan to bypass the Pre gain stage, they would all sound the same. 
 

But yes the buffer board would make the amps sound different. 

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11 hours ago, musicbee said:

But yes the buffer board would make the amps sound different. 

 

From my experience though, with a typical low distortion op-amp based "buffer", the Hypex amps are slightly harsh in the treble when compared with a typical low distortion class AB amplifier. It's not dramatic but it definitely detracts from the listening experience. 

 

Whether this is related to measured distortion or the distortion profile is unknown, but fwiw I have several class A and AB amplifiers that have a sweeter treble than the Hypex, and one of them is a low feedback design with 0.1%  THD and the other is a high feedback design with distortion near 0.001% up to 10kHz, which is a bit lower than the Hypex. 

 

If the Purifi sounds more like typical class AB in the treble it would tend to indicate that the Hypex is to blame, even if unsupported by typical standardised measurements.  

 

Of course the guys over at ASR all believe that the Hypex are essentially perfect and that perceived differences with other similarly performing amplifiers are simply "imagined", but there does appear to be a significant consensus among audiophiles which they're unwilling to accept is of significance and worthy of further investigation.  

 

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@Art Vandelay

 

have you tried other Opamps apart from the OPA2134?

 

Not that I’ve had any experience with the nc500 or 1200, but the 400 yes,  the treble initially to me is different to a traditional A/B amp.   It’s not subtle either ,   They are different and have advantages in there own way....

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You are right Art, NC500/1200 tend to have higher distortion at higher frequencies but for some reason NC400 as well as Purifi don’t, don’t know why it is but if I would be looking for new class D amp it would be either NC400 or Purifi

 

NC400 has pretty much no dependency on frequency

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-hypex-nc400-diy-amp.5907/

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21 hours ago, musicbee said:

I'm actually shopping for a 1ET400a implementation right now. 

Same here. Waiting for ghentaudio's plug and play case and probably something like the neurochrome buffer to cover all input sources. And I guess when the world's logistics chain recovers, its a pain to get anything shipped at a reasonable cost atm.

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The new Primare I25 has the tops and mids as smooth as AB amplifiers , it also has extraordinary level of details and the bass is crazy. 

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I borrowed a DIY Hypex ncore NC400 way back in 2014 for a week. It drove my Martin Logan Vantage Electrostatics for a week replacing a 100 watt Kenwood AB Power Amp (big/heavy) 

I don't know whether they've (Hypex) improved markedly in 6 years or whether it was a poor synergy match for the M Logans but the Hypex was flat and one dimentional with no soul.... A bit like( for lack of a better analogy) switching from an FM band to an AM band on the radio.. The humble Kenwood on the other hand was more organic (even harmonic content maybe?).. 

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I bought a s/hand NC400 and an unused Parasound V3. intending to use the Hypex for bass and the Parasound for mids/treble duty.  Once I've completed the externalised x/overs on my Heybrook Sextets it will be interesting to hear how these two amps perform.

 

I bought the Hypex from a died in the wool valve amp man, he built it using RCA outs instead of balanced XLR outs. I note the comments about treble being 'better' in the NC400 modules. I shall also use both amps separately to see which gives the best sound.

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Sounds Good @Southerly - can't wait for your observations!

 

I'm just going to toss this in for observations (please don't jump on me :) - what if these modules are actually very faithful (pricing considered) but are actually revealing/amplifying issues further up the chain (source./dac/pre-amp etc). Whereas a comparably priced Class A/B might, perhaps because of possible poorer performance "smooth out" the sound (ie less detail AND  less imperfections revealed). In the photographic world a high mega pixel camera will reveal imperfections in lens manufacture that a low resolution one won't. If someone like myself is looking to buy a $1500 class D power amplifier, its unlikely my source/dac/pre-amp are going to be around $10k- so could the issue be more in that area?. I wonder what a good turntable with quality pre-amps sounds like with Hypex modules? - 

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I believe the Hypex Class D 'sound' is largely due to the choice of Op-amp used.  Sonic Imagery (crisp)  is very different to Sparkos (warm) etc.  I had a dual NC500 Hypex amp,  but sold it as i couldnt find the right sounding op-amp .  Also yes there was a strange 'thinness'  to certain high frequencies within the 2k - 6k freq band.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Late to the party guys,

 

Now I am somewhat biased as Art mentioned because I am building these amps up and think they are awesome, but what lead me here was that I personally tried a LOT of different amps prior to the nCore (mix of Valve, Class A vintage, A/B older and current plus various Class D + Commercial Class H variants) and was always missing something... and then over the last year I found something I really liked and decided to compare as many amps as I could directly against the nCore and in the case of this thread, I specifically had a primare i22 for 2 years as my office system amp. So I got to do some extended A/B/C testing between that and NC500 & NC1200 with IC opamps and then with custom buffer boards and a range of different opamps.

 

I didnt stop there, I have also tried near a dozen different speaker setups aswell to get a good cross section and idea of what the amps are capable of.  Drop me a line if you want to know more.

 

In the end I  sold the primare on here to a fellow member in favour of an NC500 for my office system and spend 90% of the  time running the Sparkos 2590 opamps for the office system which is tannoy 6.5" dual concentric inwalls with supertweeter (IW62 TDC) + passive tannoy sub (IW62 TS running 1 driver per channel for a 4ohm static load). Dont let the inwall fool you or size, these are very accurate and capable speakers that can handle serious power and are very revealing of equipment in the chain and recordings/formats.

 

The primare was a very nice amp and I was really impressed and happy with it until I heard the NC500 running the same setup and it was a definite improvement for me. In terms of bottom end punch and control, the only amp I have had better this is an NC1200, but this is quite excessive for this setup IMO. Mids are crystal clear, bit I did find the top a bit dry and shrill at times with the IC opamps - most obvious with high ranging female vocals (London Grammar, Adele, Sia etc) and some wind instruments.

 

The warmest of all opamps I have tried so far are the Sparkos 3602 and closely followed by the SIL 995 FET and these seemed to tone down those top end frequencies quite nicely for my setup, but I think the 2590 is a better all rounder considering how many hours I spend listening to this system a day (far more than the main hifi setup, theatre or car systems combined!).

 

Now I am in the process of doing up a Purifi 400A to pitt against the NC500 with same PSU/Custom Buffer Board and range of Opamps and will let you know my thoughts in the coming weeks once I have spent some quality listening time with them. I will also compare it to the NC1200 aswell in same buffer/opamp combos to be thorough.

 

Phil

 

 

IMG_20190701_113422.jpg

 

Edited by 81Vintage
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well thanks @81Vintage for your comprehensive reply and research. I’m currently trying out a Mark Levinson No.27 with Audio Research LS2 - violins sounds really sweet and I do value female vocals, am currently using Jamo c807s (but not forever) but would like the pluses of NCxxx. Are the higher frequencies really so dry?

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1 hour ago, Mjj said:

Well thanks @81Vintage for your comprehensive reply and research. I’m currently trying out a Mark Levinson No.27 with Audio Research LS2 - violins sounds really sweet and I do value female vocals, am currently using Jamo c807s (but not forever) but would like the pluses of NCxxx. Are the higher frequencies really so dry?

I personally owned a pair of the Jamo c807's a few years back now. 

IMO. they benefit from equipment with good dynamics and a lively top end.

IMO, the Jamo's are very laid back (too much so), and often sound a little lifeless.

 

I think Hypex could help here, especially if that's what you are searching for. 

 

 

 

 

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@musicbee I agree totally. I’ve tried driving them with a “90 watt” per channel maranta receiver- really laboured, now on loan ML No.27 quite an improvement bu still not as engagingly dynamic as my 1980s(Naim/proac bookshelf) Setup. Tonally I like the Jamos. Spend $2k Secondhand on amp (From receiver) or speaker upgrade?

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25 minutes ago, Mjj said:

@musicbee I agree totally. I’ve tried driving them with a “90 watt” per channel maranta receiver- really laboured, now on loan ML No.27 quite an improvement bu still not as engagingly dynamic as my 1980s(Naim/proac bookshelf) Setup. Tonally I like the Jamos. Spend $2k Secondhand on amp (From receiver) or speaker upgrade?

Are you using the Marantz avr in the chain now with the ML? 

 

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5 hours ago, Mjj said:

Well thanks @81Vintage for your comprehensive reply and research. I’m currently trying out a Mark Levinson No.27 with Audio Research LS2 - violins sounds really sweet and I do value female vocals, am currently using Jamo c807s (but not forever) but would like the pluses of NCxxx. Are the higher frequencies really so dry?

They are with the eval board IC opamps for the NC500, but I honestly didnt expect it to be fantastic...

 

Much improvement running the customised buffer boards with quality power regulators and opamps (but adds considerable cost to the amp build aswell).

 

The ML27 was a great amp for its time, that and a Perreaux 3000B were in my stable for quite some time - FWIW I wouldn't go back to them now.

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@bunno I’m using Cambridge cxn v2 source to Audio Research LS2 and then ML27. For HOme theatre I run Front pre outs from Marantz Redeiver To LS2 in’s.- which is good enough. It’s the Music setup that I want to optimise.

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12 hours ago, Mjj said:

Well thanks @81Vintage for your comprehensive reply and research. I’m currently trying out a Mark Levinson No.27 with Audio Research LS2 - violins sounds really sweet and I do value female vocals, am currently using Jamo c807s (but not forever) but would like the pluses of NCxxx. Are the higher frequencies really so dry?

I would personally try the nc400 diy kit. It has lower distortion and very good SINAD. Plus the price is excellent. lots of information on the internet about how this amp sounds (or doesn’t sound). 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-hypex-nc400-diy-amp.5907/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/nord-one-nc1200dm-signature-stereo-amp-review.10261/

 

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I know when I ran class D on my c807s it helped bring them to life.
 

I used a Powersoft touring amplifier at the time, boasting over 1200 watts a channel. 
 

But in my opinion they still lacked considerable dynamics and life.
 

In saying that, if you like the presentation, class D will help Lift them a little. 

Edited by musicbee
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  • 2 months later...
On 19/05/2020 at 11:45 PM, 81Vintage said:

Now I am in the process of doing up a Purifi 400A to pitt against the NC500 with same PSU/Custom Buffer Board and range of Opamps and will let you know my thoughts in the coming weeks once I have spent some quality listening time with them. I will also compare it to the NC1200 aswell in same buffer/opamp combos to be thorough.

Hi 81Vintage I'd be interested in your comparison if you've had a chance to build up and listen to the Purifi 400a amp.

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Hi Guys,

 

I have spent a few months with the Purifi now and very happy with it. Rolled through a number of opamps and tried with a few speakers. (Burson V6 Classic + Vivid, Sparkos 3602 + 2590, SIL 990 + 995). I quite like the Burson Vivid with my smaller DC6 series Tannoys and was leaning to the SIL995 driving DC10T Tannoy fullrange and then either the 3602 or 995 FET on the B&W 800D mid top depending on music.

 

To my ears the Purifi is better than the NC500 as a full range amp or mid/top in biamp - but it doesn't hold up to the NC1200 for bottom end/high current requirement speakers though - so my personal setup is now moving to NC1200 or NC2K with stock opamps for bottom end and Purifi 400 with custom buffer board & SIL or Sparkos opamps for the mid-top in a full bi-amp scenario.

 

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47 minutes ago, 81Vintage said:

Hi Guys,

 

I have spent a few months with the Purifi now and very happy with it. Rolled through a number of opamps and tried with a few speakers. (Burson V6 Classic + Vivid, Sparkos 3602 + 2590, SIL 990 + 995). I quite like the Burson Vivid with my smaller DC6 series Tannoys and was leaning to the SIL995 driving DC10T Tannoy fullrange and then either the 3602 or 995 FET on the B&W 800D mid top depending on music.

 

To my ears the Purifi is better than the NC500 as a full range amp or mid/top in biamp - but it doesn't hold up to the NC1200 for bottom end/high current requirement speakers though - so my personal setup is now moving to NC1200 or NC2K with stock opamps for bottom end and Purifi 400 with custom buffer board & SIL or Sparkos opamps for the mid-top in a full bi-amp scenario.

 

I would love to hear a Purifi amp one day. 

I personally think class A on mids and highs, with D driving the lows is the way to go, with the right speakers. 

My Firstwat F7 has opened my eyes to what a good class A can do. 

The naturalness and organic quality is very welcome.

Edited by musicbee
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I’d like to add my opinion if I may? A couple of years ago I moved from class A/B to class D and absolutely cannot imagine going back. 

 

I was planning to get a Bryston 4B3 but thought I’d try some NC400 monoblocks to see how they would work in my system and was utterly blown away by them. 
 

I had been using for some years 2x Rotel RB1080s in monoblock/vertical bi amp configuration and thought it would be very hard to improve on their performance but the NC400s controlled my hard to drive speakers incredibly well. 
 

My modified VAF I93mk2 (now hybrid mk3) love power and so I’m now tri-amping with 3x NC400s per side now with active crossover- it sounds spectacular.
 

I have spent time listening to my speakers with Chord and Devialet amps, but the NC400s win every time in my experience.

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On 24/08/2020 at 5:47 PM, 81Vintage said:

Hi Guys,

 

I have spent a few months with the Purifi now and very happy with it. Rolled through a number of opamps and tried with a few speakers. (Burson V6 Classic + Vivid, Sparkos 3602 + 2590, SIL 990 + 995). I quite like the Burson Vivid with my smaller DC6 series Tannoys and was leaning to the SIL995 driving DC10T Tannoy fullrange and then either the 3602 or 995 FET on the B&W 800D mid top depending on music.

 

To my ears the Purifi is better than the NC500 as a full range amp or mid/top in biamp - but it doesn't hold up to the NC1200 for bottom end/high current requirement speakers though - so my personal setup is now moving to NC1200 or NC2K with stock opamps for bottom end and Purifi 400 with custom buffer board & SIL or Sparkos opamps for the mid-top in a full bi-amp scenario.

 

I’ve just bought a stereo NC502 from March audio for my bass drivers, with 2x stereo NC400 for mid+ high. Just so see if it’s an improvement. I’d love NC1200 but thought it might be overkill. 
 

I’m very interested in moving to 4 channels of Purify next year with NC500 for bass 

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2 minutes ago, Sinewave said:

I’ve just bought a stereo NC502 from March audio for my bass drivers, with 2x stereo NC400 for mid+ high. Just so see if it’s an improvement. I’d love NC1200 but thought it might be overkill.

The 400s are cleaner than the 1200 even if the 1200s have a lot more power. For mid and especially high you don't need anywhere near as much power as you would for bass drivers. I'd say the 400s are better in that application.

Edited by Ittaku
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Just now, Ittaku said:

The 400s are cleaner than the 1200 even if the 1200s have a lot more power. For mid and especially high you don't need anywhere near as much power as you would for bass drivers. I'd say the 400s are better in that application.

Sorry, I meant to say that I’d use the 1200 for bass, rather than a 400 monoblock per side as I currently use. 
 

Interesting to hear you think 400> 1200 for high range. I haven’t heard them so value your advice thanks 

027C0F11-1E44-4D24-B2B7-B3639F8B2557.jpeg

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Just now, Sinewave said:

Sorry, I meant to say that I’d use the 1200 for bass, rather than a 400 monoblock per side as I currently use. 

Ah okay, yeah very much so :)

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My 2 cents... The NC1200 for bass duties absolutely - if you have speakers that love current then this is the way to absolute driver control even if the "power" figures sound far too high, its the current and capacitance in reserve that counts here.

 

The NC400 and NC500 are on par for me in mid/top duty with stock eval board/opamps.

 

The Purifi is better than the NC400 and NC500 with stock eval board/opamps from my testing and gets better again with dedicated buffer board, proper power supply to it and good opamps.

 

I have had many of that series Rotel and they were great for their day - the nCore and Purifi leave them for dead though in every aspect.

 

Also to clarify - the NC1200 are in no means "dirty" or distorted and will leave most average and above average class A/B and earlier class D + Icepower amps in the dust for full range duties.... but at lower listening levels with really sensitive or revealing speakers - you can hear the Purifi is nicer in the mid/top over the NC1200.

Edited by 81Vintage
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51 minutes ago, 81Vintage said:

My 2 cents... The NC1200 for bass duties absolutely - if you have speakers that love current then this is the way to absolute driver control even if the "power" figures sound far too high, its the current and capacitance in reserve that counts here.

Do you think giving the bass driver more power than it's rated for won't be a problem?

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7 minutes ago, gwurb said:

Do you think giving the bass driver more power than it's rated for won't be a problem?

Too much gain in a sensitive system can be a problem, but too much power itself is never a problem, even with very sensitive speakers, provided the gain structure is correct. In practice, unless you have very efficient horns, it's basically never an issue, and most woofers need far more power than they appear to on paper, due to current and phase angle requirements.

Edited by Ittaku
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I'm considering a new power amp for my B&W805d3 to replace my Elektra reference.

TBH its a good amp and nothing is particularly deficient but its around 15 years old and i wouldn't mind trying something else.  

I'm considering these options form March Audio:

2 x Purifi 1ET400A monos

2 x NC1200 monos 

1 x Purifi 1ET400A stereo amp (available soon). 

 

The Purifi mono or  stereo  would probably do the job but can't help wondering about the improved dynamics the 1200s will give me.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Edited by buddyev
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