A very good review just posted and thought it might be appreciated here. From user Juhleren-http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/vendors-bazaar/190434-hypex-ncore-369.html
Another ncore listening experience -head to head with AELPH F5
I have just returned from visiting Olle in Stockholm where we spend about 2½ hours listening to his 2xNcore/2xSMPS600 amp and comparing it to his AELPH F5 mono blocks.
(Please correct me if i´m wrong, but the only mod that had been done to the ncore´s was removing a resister for gain reduction of 13dB. Other specifics of the fine system is best supplied by Olle himself)
Because Olle has a very nice and well-though-through system that differs quite a lot from my own system, it is important to note that the listening observations I share here reflects what we heard (and my subjective interpretation) in his specific system, and the emphasis is therefore on how the nocre´s compared to the aelph f5. -A reference that others may be able to relate to.
First we compared the two amps in a single-speaker setup with his Carlsson inspired omnipolar speakers (mentioned and shown earlier in this thread) placed up against each other in the middle of the room. We could thereby throughout the music switch between the two amps without knowing which one where playing.
Both amps sounded very good and there only appeared to be very slight tonal differences. Apparently speaker placement made as much difference in that test setup so I won´t commit to any conclusive result other than the amps appear to be very similarly balanced and that the small nuances that gave them away from each other, were comparative to the effect of switching between the two speakers (and thereby their specific in-room placement).
After that we made a more conventional stereo test with small bookshelf speakers that were based on the SEAS T14RCY/P 5" woofer and a 19mm SEAS alu tweeter. We listened to the same music material again at very moderate listening level. My guess is that the speakers were around 87db/W/M so we have max had one or two watt at peaks. –No sweat for either amp in other words.
In this setup the differences between the amps were much more noticeable, though both amps definitely sounded very good. No bashing
In comparison the ncore´s presented the music with noticeable more scale and focus. The AELPHs, though very good, seemed a bit restricted and appeared to let the bass content slightly blur the midrange.
The AELPHs seemed ever so slightly softer but not by much. The ncore´s, on the other hand, definitely didn´t sound hard in any way.
I can see why some like the AELPHs, but if one is after an amp that makes the speaker produce what the source is delivering as accurately as possible, the ncore´s were the clear winner. -I am starting to save up for them at least
–any used ncore bargains out there for sale yet
As a side note (and note that this has NOT been based on a direct “head to head” comparison), I would say that what impressed me the most about the ncore is the way it made the small speakers sound so dynamically unrestricted and precise at the same time. One of the things I know that my own two class D amps (Acoustic Reality Ear Two and ucd100oem) both suffer from, is a slightly restricted "sound envelope" compared to my class AB amps (nxV200 and NCC200). It´s like the ICE´s and UCD´s cut out a slightly more restricted "window" of the material, and then presents this "cut out" very good, focused and clear -but nevertheless slightly restricted in scale.
With the ncore, this kind of "envelope" or "window"- size restriction didn´t seem to play in and it presented both a bigger and more accurately rendered picture than the AELPHs. It was like the dynamic range and bandwidth of the source was remarkably improved through the ncore´s. Not just a clearer and more precise picture but it was also presented in a larger frame -so to speak.
If this is what Bruno meant when he earlier in this thread mentioned that the ncore presents with a better balance between the individual instrument and the whole orchestra -and in that way enables the listener to better hear both the single instrument and wholeness of the complete composition, I believe that this is what I experienced at Olles today.
In comparison to how my memories serve the UCD´s at home, the ncore gave me an impression of noticeably tighter and detailed image-focus and presence that was more refined in relation to the whole picture. I recall the UCD´s as presenting the individual instruments less precise and at the same time taking up more “space” in the smaller “frame”.
Many thanks to Olle for offering me a chance to listen to his fine system and the ncore´s and for a “jättetrevligt visit”! –as they say on Swedish