Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions

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jtwrace

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #220 on: 19 May 2012, 11:43 am »
More to follow later tonight or tomorrow.

Look forward to it.

Nikola

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #221 on: 22 May 2012, 10:26 pm »
What happened?!?!?!  :D

emailtim

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #222 on: 22 May 2012, 10:41 pm »
Did the Tour Bus get a flat tire ??? :|

ted_b

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #223 on: 26 May 2012, 02:34 pm »
The tour bus made a stop at my place last night!

Randy (RKlein) brought over the tour NCore's for a listen (I will be shipping them to the next tour member, Paul, on Monday).  This will be a brief first impression before i get another night or two of serious listening in.  In the meantime, Randy will be posting his thoughts as well (spoiler alert: he bought his own pair and they arrived in pieces on Thurs).

Now, my listening test is somewhat relevant for a couple of reasons, the greatest of which is that my SP Tech Revelation MR-I Mark 4's are not only very revealing, but they pose quite a load for these single monoblocks.  Although on paper they are 88db and an average 4-5 ohm load, most SP tech owners will tell you that all of Bob's designs love power.  When i had Spectrons the transformation from stereo to monolocks was revelatory.  Even my McCormick DNA-500's seemed, at times, to need a little oomph.  My current amps, the wonderful Modwright KWA-150 monoblocks, don't seem to need anything except the proper break-in and warm-up.  And at 650w/ch into 4 ohms I was worried the single monoblock configuration of the NCores (400w 4 ohm) might be a little light, although I can't honestly tell you what "not quite enough power" sounds like, except for obvious clipping under extreme circumstances.

So Randy, Rob (questfortone) and I sat down to listen to several tracks via the Modwright before we made the transition.  Source is a Hynes-powered Auraliti PK90USB Linux music server, SOtM USB card, Meitner MA-1 DSD-capable DAC, into an original Bent TAP S&B TVC preamp.  Source material was a mix of DSD native, 24/96 hirez and some redbook.  I am currently running my Furutech Evo II cables as RCA (my other pre, the Concert Fidelity CF-080 is single ended only) so I used TomS's nice XLR adapters. 

Randy is classically trained so we started with pure DSD recorded piano (Mari Kodama, Pentatone) and then some large orchestra Shostakovich in DSD (Cleve Orchestra, Telarc).  I think Randy was impressed (he needs to respond in his own words) cuz he turned around to me from the listening chair and said, with a little emotion, (paraphrased) "send the NCores on to the next guy, why the f--- would you change anything!!"   :) 

Well, change we did.  All three of us were quite concerned that the demo was going to be too much for the Ncores.  I mean, c'mon!  I removed the Audience AR1-P passive wall conditioner/outlets since all of you recommend "straight into the wall" for these midgets, so that's what we did.

The first impression is "hmmm, there is something different here, but not sure what it is...but regardless, these things are amazingly keeping up".  Not a WOW thing, more like a gentle surprise.  However, as we traversed through various cuts we became more and more impressed.  To me, on first blush, it's as if I moved back several rows in the concert hall, but am also getting a likely more timbre-accurate sound.  Better?  Not really, just different.  The Modwright's are much more technicolor and fifth row center, with balls and more balls.  The Ncore's are fifteenth row center (or maybe back a little further; I will know more in a day or so), with the subsequent slightly narrower but deeper soundstage, and less technicolor but maybe slightly more shading and ability to discern light medium brown from very light medium brown.  Frequency extremes have not been compromised either.  I suspect a little less midbass, but that's sometimes a very good thing.  Sara K's Waterfall occasional very low 25-30hz synth bass note shakes the room, possibly even more than the MW's.

I am a dynamics guy and an imaging freak.  Neither aspect has been necessarily compromised, but yet I still need to settle in to this.  My standard is the fifth row, so this is going to take a little getting used to, but even later in the evening the new seats seemed much more comfortable to me already.  Stay tuned.

OH...and they really never ran out of gas.  :)  I am still firmly convinced they might, and that if I owned them they would be bridged mono, but who cares right now!   They are making nice music.  :thumb:

roscoeiii

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #224 on: 26 May 2012, 02:47 pm »
Great write-up Ted. That bodes well for my SP Minis. Looking forward to comparing the ncores to my Butler 2250.

firedog

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #225 on: 26 May 2012, 03:32 pm »
Ted, any chance you can give it a try using your Mytek 192 DSD? I'm about to take delivery on one (will also be using it as a pre, at least at first) so I'd be interested. In any case might be interesting, as it is more affordable than the Meitner.

konut

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #226 on: 26 May 2012, 04:15 pm »
I think Randy was impressed (he needs to respond in his own words) cuz he turned around to me from the listening chair and said, with a little emotion, (paraphrased) "send the NCores on to the next guy, why the f--- would you change anything!!"   :)   :thumb:

I LOLed at this!! Great review!

ted_b

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #227 on: 26 May 2012, 04:37 pm »
Ted, any chance you can give it a try using your Mytek 192 DSD? I'm about to take delivery on one (will also be using it as a pre, at least at first) so I'd be interested. In any case might be interesting, as it is more affordable than the Meitner.

Actually, Randy took my Mytek for a demo spell, so he can give you feedback once his new Ncores are built and settled in.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #228 on: 26 May 2012, 06:09 pm »
Ted,

I'm curious. What is the list price of your Modwright monoblocks?

Thanks,
Anand.

James Romeyn

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #229 on: 26 May 2012, 06:25 pm »
...And at 650w/ch into 4 ohms I was worried the single monoblock configuration of the NCores (400w 4 ohm) might be a little light.

Great review, like I was right there experiencing it....better than many or most pro glossy reviews in that regard.

So your ModWright monos are 650W @ 4 Ohms?  I suspect that at 2 Ohms (may not apply to your speakers at all) Ncore NC400/SMPS600 monos may be more stable and have more current vs. MW bridged mono blocks.  Your comments welcome.   


ted_b

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #230 on: 26 May 2012, 06:40 pm »
Ted,

I'm curious. What is the list price of your Modwright monoblocks?

Thanks,
Anand.

Anand, they list for $6k each.  However, this is not a simple math problem; the Ncores (at this point in my brief listening) do not do what the KWA-150 monoblocks do (and vice versa).  It's not a case of "$2k Ncores blow away $12k amps".  My impressions are of two different presentations, and the decisions regarding them.  We all know the last few percent of anything in this hobby are expensive, and if that is all this was, it would be an easier evaluation.   Pardon the obvious sexism here, but a decent analog is this: the Modwrights are a beautiful brunette with medium-expensive tastes; the ncores a petite beautiful blonde with simple tastes....and up till now I've preferred living with brunettes.  Is this new blonde attractive cuz she's "new"?  (I apologize to vinyl lady and all the other AC women here; I didn't mean to bring this thing into the gutter.  :)  )  the Modwrights are also available to be upgraded to the SE version (and Dan has held frozen a great deal for me in that regard...I'm a longtime MW customer and beta tester, etc.).  Don't even ask what that translates to in my brunette analogy.  :)

gprro

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #231 on: 26 May 2012, 07:15 pm »
Sounds like they might play well with big line arrays which tend to put you way up front anyway. Anyone tried them that way yet? Any oddities trying to control that many drivers?

Hey Anand, you or JT going to bring these ti Rich's get together? Hopefully I'll see you guys there. Check you're pm too :thumb:

Chris Adams

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #232 on: 26 May 2012, 08:09 pm »
Great review, like I was right there experiencing it....better than many or most pro glossy reviews in that regard.   

+1

I am really enjoying hearing what everyone has to say about the NCores. I'm also learning a bunch about many different amps I have not heard. Thanks to all who are responding with comments on their listening experiences and thanks again to Jason. :thumb:

James Romeyn

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #233 on: 26 May 2012, 08:19 pm »
...the Modwrights are also available to be upgraded to the SE version (and Dan has held frozen a great deal for me in that regard...

Curious what you meant by "held frozen?"

At 2012 CES Dan's ModWright KSA150SE powering high-$20k to low-$30K AudioMachina speakers was among the best reproduced sound ever.  Source was Dan's prototype preamp/DAC (one less interconnect vs. separates, and Dan said one less gain stage). 

AM enclosures appear to be sum total two pieces: carved solid aluminum main body comprising four sides and baffle + one removable panel (rear).  Music program was Frank Vignola Trio Live in NY (Bucky Pizzarelli sat in on a couple tunes) playing a Thorell FV Premier arch top built 10 minutes from me.  I've played Frank's personal guitars and saw him live.  That system captured the essence of Frank's unique tone and style. 

The AM speaker designer lamented the deaf ears inherent in most of the visiting audiophiles-present company excluded of course!  (IIRC it was getting late on Sunday the last day of the show, when vendors long to get out of dodge and eat a home cooked meal).     

It's natural to presume the standard KSA150 stereo performs below the KSA150SE stereo.  And also natural to presume two mono KSA150 perform somewhere between a stereo KSA150 and stereo KSA150SE. 

We can make our own conclusions after seeing a $2k pair of mono blocks still standing in the ring in direct A-B with $12k Dan Wright mono blocks.

I'm age 57 and never heard of such a generous audiophile offer as Jason offering his prized Ncore amps for a free tour.  Incredible.  Can't imagine any amp companies (except Bruno) doing any favors for Jason in the near future!   :lol:       

ted_b

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #234 on: 26 May 2012, 08:48 pm »
James,
The monolock KWA-150's clearly outperform a KWA-150SE stereo IMO (on my speakers at least). It''s his monoblock SE's that are the next step.  By "frozen" I  simply meant Dan is doing me a favor and offered me a nice deal to upgrade, which I haven't done yet.  His offer stands, that's all.

Guys, I am NOT intending this as an a/b comparison; I'm not doing a shoot out or anything.  It's two very different amps, doing very different things. 

roscoeiii

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #235 on: 26 May 2012, 08:57 pm »
Ted, Thanks for all the clarity in your review (though I can't stop thinking about what amp might be a redhead  :scratch:).

zybar

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #236 on: 26 May 2012, 08:59 pm »
Ted, Thanks for all the clarity in your review (though I can't stop thinking about what amp might be a redhead  :scratch:).

Atma-Sphere OTL"s!!   :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

George

roscoeiii

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #237 on: 26 May 2012, 09:05 pm »
Atma-Sphere OTL"s!!   :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

George

I'll buy that.

ted_b

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Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #238 on: 26 May 2012, 09:19 pm »
I'll buy that.

Congrats George, you have a buyer for your At-Ma's!!   :)

zybar

Re: Hypex NCore NC400 - USA Tour Listening Impressions
« Reply #239 on: 26 May 2012, 09:19 pm »
Congrats George, you have a buyer for your At-Ma's!!  :0

Still not sure that they are for sale.   :o

George