Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions

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jtwrace

This thread is for listening impressions from those in my NCore tour, and for closely related discussion.

If you have not heard the amps on this tour, or if you do not have a question for those who have, please do not post here. Instead, try one of these threads:

« Last Edit: 27 Apr 2012, 06:01 am by ServerAdmin »

mgalusha

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #1 on: 10 Apr 2012, 02:01 am »
Ignore for a moment the "class" designation of the new Ncore amplifiers from Hypex, think instead of how you would view them if described as high speed analog amplifiers with only two MOSFET output devices. That is exactly what they are and I've been fortunate enough to have spent the last few days with a pair on loan from Jason W. (jtwrace)

This is not a review, just a few comments about what I think of these, hence it's not in the critics circle. I have not been a fan of class D amplifiers and until now have not heard a pair that I thought I could live with for the long term. I believe I could be very happy with a set of these an assuming mine ship with the next batch I'll find out.

In terms of sound, these give the impression of being invisible. A lush, rich recording sounds lush and rich, compressed and lean recordings sound that way. My audiophile buddy Jerry (turk) came over on Saturday and we spent many happy hours listening to music and after a while both of us observed that we could not stay in an analytical mode. Instead of thinking about how it sounded, the thoughts were, my what an exquisite piece of music this is, how well played. I can think of no higher praise.

I tried to get some writing done on Saturday night, couldn't manage, I just kept falling into the music. Jerry used the word gravitas, meaning the music had more weight and emotion. I shared this with another friend who has heard these and his comment was "Gravitas yes indeed".

So rather than think of this as another class D amplifier, think of them as a high speed analog amplifier with only a pair of output devices. I was biased against class D but willing to listen, I'm delighted I did. The only sad part is I have to pack them up for shipping.

mike

Update - I've asked the facilitator to split the Q&A off of this thread into a new one. Please use this thread if you have heard the amps and have thoughts on that experience. Jason (jtwrace) is graciously sending his personal set out on tour and we would love to have the folks who participate provide some input on what they hear.
« Last Edit: 14 Apr 2012, 12:55 am by mgalusha »

JoshK

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #2 on: 10 Apr 2012, 02:03 am »
You listened to these on your Abbey's?  What type of power supply was yours built with?

Josh

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #3 on: 10 Apr 2012, 02:12 am »
Hats off to you Mike, well said. When I heard them at jtwrace's it took me but a few minutes to realize we were on to something over the top special. I ordered mine, the very next day, and like you will hopefully be in receipt of my modules/powersupplies by May 2012.

Definitely has changed the landscape with regards to what most people EXPECT of class D. People should just forget about the class, turn on the amp (and be SHOCKED that you can't hear ANY noise from 95dB speakers) and enjoy.

In any case, it should be in your arsenal of amplifiers at least as a reference to compare. It is in the upper echelon of amplifiers I have heard. The price of admission is a pure bonus.

Anand.

Phil

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #4 on: 10 Apr 2012, 02:24 am »
Thanks Mike and Anand.  I too am looking forward to an early May delivery.  For a few days after I sold my amp, based on a few conversations with folks I didn't know, the doubts started to fill my head. Coming from you two, whatever doubts remained have vanished.  As always, new gear is an experiment and the journey is the fun part. 

Will be interested in your full reviews when the time comes.

Phil

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #5 on: 10 Apr 2012, 02:26 am »
You listened to these on your Abbey's?  What type of power supply was yours built with?

Josh

Just the standard SMPS600 power supply. One for each channel. Yes, a switching supply. Yes...that good.

Best,
Anand.

TomS

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #6 on: 10 Apr 2012, 02:28 am »
Just the standard SMPS600 power supply. One for each channel. Yes, a switching supply. Yes...that good.

Best,
Anand.
A switching supply designed for audio and optimized for the NCore.

mgalusha

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #7 on: 10 Apr 2012, 03:09 am »
Josh,

He used the SMPS supplies, the amps spec at something like 128dB S/N with the SMPS modules. I certainly had no noise issues.

Yep, driving the Abbey's. I guess I should have given a bit more context. :)

Sources - digital: DIY ES9018 DAC, exaU2I USB I2S, Buffalo 32, Lundahl output transformers - analog: custom Teres table, M0erch DP-6 arm, Soundsmith "The Voice" SE ebony cart, DIY J-FET phono stage.

Preamp: DIY 6SN7 based, all film caps, Swenson reg, Pimm CCS, 4:1 output trans for balanced outputs.

Cables: Kaplan Cable GS Mk II

Speakers: Gedlee Abbey 12 + 5 subs (3 Rythmik, 2 Peerless XXLS sealed)

Power: Bybee power conditioners x 2

Dedicated room with lots of GIK treatments.

You listened to these on your Abbey's?  What type of power supply was yours built with?

brj

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #8 on: 10 Apr 2012, 03:24 am »
Thanks for posting the comments, Mike - much appreciated!

Just a point of clarification... were you running the Ncores off the power conditioners as well, or straight from the wall?  Or did you have a chance to compare both configurations?

Thanks!

mgalusha

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #9 on: 10 Apr 2012, 03:30 am »
Brian,

I had the amps plugged into one of the Bybee conditioners. I was going to swap it to wall power before packing them up tonight but just kept playing music, completely forgot about doing that.  :o

dspringham

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #10 on: 10 Apr 2012, 03:44 am »
Mike,

Were you running them with single-ended or balanced inputs? The designer seems to place emphasis on balanced for optimum performance.

Regards,
Dave

jtwrace

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #11 on: 10 Apr 2012, 05:51 pm »
My amps are on the way to the next person who should have them tomorrow.  Maybe he will post his thoughts in the coming days too.   :dunno:  That's entirely up to him though. 

macrojack

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #12 on: 11 Apr 2012, 02:11 am »
I can see concerns that this is just another fad. I've had those thoughts myself. But I certainly haven't had any notion that it is being force fed. In fact, I was completely unaware of it until I found the thread here on AC about a month ago.
By all accounts, it is a breakthrough product. Class D holds a lot of promise and the Ncore may just be the amplifier that brings that promise to fruition.
Besides, John, if you are going to be reading about it all the time anyway, you may as well benefit from owning the thing.
I'm expecting a pair to be delivered here tomorrow and frankly, I'm not at all concerned about how good the amps are. I'm already convinced of that from the testimonials and decisions I've observed. My only concern lies in whether or not I care anymore. I'm hoping the NC400 will reignite my interest. Over the last 10 years, I've observed a dizzying glut of product, immense complication from computer audio, etc., much more difficult resale, and escalating prices. Combine that with incredible, irreplaceable speakers and family complications in terms of use of space, and the bloom falls away from the rose.

So, when the offer came in to try these out for a year, I couldn't refuse. Maybe they will spark a resurgence (relapse) in my audio fervor. More later.

timind

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #13 on: 11 Apr 2012, 02:30 am »
I'm expecting a pair to be delivered here tomorrow and frankly, I'm not at all concerned about how good the amps are. I'm already convinced of that from the testimonials and decisions I've observed. My only concern lies in whether or not I care anymore.

Understand this completely. I'm listening to an integrated amp which I hope will stay for a long time. So tired of searching for the holy grail.

cujobob

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #14 on: 11 Apr 2012, 04:43 pm »
If Mike likes it it must be good, but with cheaper Class D SDS amps available and the F5 Turbo amp being released, I don't know...

macrojack

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #15 on: 11 Apr 2012, 08:20 pm »
Malcolm - I think I can say from having watched your history that this amp will ring your bell. However, I'm sitting here awaiting delivery right now so the above comment is pure conjecture.

I'd be happy to let you know about my build but I haven't even ordered the modules yet and it takes 7-8 weeks to get them after you order. So my build is a couple of months away if I choose to do it at all. The reason I feel pretty confident about the raw approach I outlined comes from having seen numerous photos of amps assembled temporarily on boards with no problems noted.

You are one the more adventurous audiophiles I could name and your quest seems to be relentless so you may as well spring for these now as later. They were good enough for Jason to replace his monster Clayton mono blocks with them. There's a man who voted with his money. And I can assure you he is no fool.

P.S. You're the builder so, if you had noise problems, you could just redo your design. Or attach everything to a metal plate and then put four wooden sides around the plate. I'm no DIY guy but the photos I've seen say even I can do this.

mgalusha

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #16 on: 11 Apr 2012, 09:23 pm »
Please don't say that, my opinion is no more or less important than anyone else's.

If Mike likes it it must be good, but with cheaper Class D SDS amps available and the F5 Turbo amp being released, I don't know...

santacore

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #17 on: 12 Apr 2012, 04:55 pm »
I have balanced input SDS amps currently in play and will be comparing the Hypex when I get them. I'm hoping to even use the same case/connectors for both, which would make comparison all the more interested.

macrojack

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #18 on: 12 Apr 2012, 06:24 pm »
I doubt if you guys are going to get far trying to level the playing field. If the Ncores are plugged in and turned on, all arguments about over. These things are just plain phenomenal. At one time back in the mid 1990s I had a Goldmund Mimesis 9, the original Aleph O monos and a pair of Rowland 6 monos to compare. I played all of them through a tremendous little passive preamp called the Reference Line 3000. And ultimately, I gave a grudging edge to the Golmund. But I'm using that same passive into Jason's NC400s right now as I type, and it surpasses anything else I've ever heard. For you detail freaks it will certainly be the end of the road. For headbangers, all amps are equal. For the fire bottle crowd, there will be much handwringing, rationalization and procrastinating but the honest ones will finally just have to accede to the moment, the come to jesus moment, and allow that this is much more emotionally charged and handwringingly honest than anything ever emitted from behind their NOS rose-colored glasses.
Hypex has grabbed the deed. They now own hi-end amplification.

I will admit that I've heard some stridency and some sibilance but they go away when the CD is changed or, for that matter, from one track to the next so I goddasay it ain't the amps fault.

And I tell you all this with a heavy heart - because I was kinda hoping that I wouldn't have to buy them. I just acquired my Yamaha A-S2000 a few months ago and I've been congratulating myself ever since for having the savvy to get an all in one answer to everything.

I bought a JRDG Capri preamp to use in these test listens and I will be installing it later today. It's still in a sealed box so I'm sure it will get better over time but I'm interested in whether or not it will be good enough to not hold the Ncores back. If so, it might be an ideal choice for many of you. Unfortunately, they don't come up used very often. Mine was $3500 in black with onboard phono. I have had one of these before so I know my way around it pretty well. I always felt it was likely better than the JRDG 102 companion amp I used it with. Now I'll find out.

Anyhow, I know I'm not one of the guru honcho word of god members here, and might therefore be ignored or taken lightly. Nonetheless, I wanted to share my early impression of this much ballyhooed amp. It appears to me to be the biggest bargain ever to cross my threshold. According to my calculations, Americans can build a nicely finished pair of these for under $2K. Most of us have amplifiers to sell that are worth more than that.

If i can articulate anything more after further listening, I will do so.

TomS

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #19 on: 12 Apr 2012, 06:44 pm »
Very nicely said macrojack :thumb:

Whatever you "hear", you need to look further upstream.