Are you a happy Ncore owner?

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Rclark

Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« on: 5 Nov 2014, 08:55 am »

Let's hear what the experience has been for long term users of these fabulous amps.

These amps never fail to astound me, and that really says something, these couple of years later, my jaw is... pretty much still on the floor where it was when I first heard them.

I remember first hearing about them, them reading about their incredible technology, and learning about the man Bruno Putzeys, their brilliant designer. I followed the enormous thread on DIYaudio. I remember being blown away by initial users over in Europe who were saying these were besting their own amps costing $20,000 and more.

I first put mine on my Maggies, during the Ncore tour by JTWrace, and it was an otherworldly experience. my heavily modded Virtue 2.0 on batteries was not even in the same universe, either on Maggies or my small bookshelves, at any volume level. Now, in a smaller room, I have them on a pair of Miller&Kreisels, ultra high end speakers from the '80's, and they are quite the pairing. Like sending in an 80's Porsche to RUF in 2014. I wish there were AC'er's I could share the sound with.

Their absolute precision, effortless, making it all look so easy, letting the music shine through and be its own coloration (glorious), the beauty of every frequency, the stunning separation and 3D depth, the godlike woofer control on the low end, just the sheer effortlessness of perfection, with headroom that will never run out.

I have never heard an amp that sounds amazing at low volume, to the point where you are getting the full sonic picture at low volume, and turn it up to ear bleeding maximum, and never hear the amp waver or lose quality, let alone distort.

These are ridiculously awesome amps. The icing on the cake, tiny form factor, hummingbird like power draw at idle. No, more like a bumblebee. Expands into a dragon that flaps thunder.

My system:

PS4 with Music Unlimited
Emotiva XDA-2

both fed by Emotiva CMX-2 power filter and DC blocker

Hypex Ncores

Miller& Kreisel's on sand filled Sanus UF-27 stands with spikes
 
8' by 4' by 11inch diffusion behind and four 4" deep, 2' by 2' 3D diffusers facing the speakers.

Amps are in fully differential mode with Emotiva X series XLR cables from Dac to amps, and Emotiva X series optical cable from PS4, Emotiva X series 12 Guage power cables for Ncores. System is a work in progress, but man, amps are solid. Wow are they good! They are the one component I feel I am not fully exploiting. Like the rest of my system is being held up by them almost.Very pleased with my result as it is said Ncores reveal your system, and sound even better with even more higher end components.

No bashing by the usual (suspect) suspects. Let's hear from owners, people who actually own these amps and didn't hear them at a party once.  :thumb:

This thread is for owners only please. Questions may be fielded, yes.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #1 on: 5 Nov 2014, 10:08 am »
Yes. Happy owner here. My system is linked below my avatar, and pictures of my build are in my gallery. No need to embellish more than what you have already said well. Oh...I have never turned the amp off...only on standby when not in use.

Best,
Anand.

fsimms

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #2 on: 5 Nov 2014, 12:46 pm »
I am still very happy with my Ncores.  They made digital good enough that I listen to digital a lot now.  Still, my vinyl sounds much better.  Most of my records can cause my body to tingle when I play music at reference level.  My system is geared more for excitement than relaxing background music.

Bob

Julf

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #3 on: 5 Nov 2014, 12:58 pm »
Still, my vinyl sounds much better. 

Even the vinyl produced from digital masters?

jtwrace

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #4 on: 5 Nov 2014, 01:13 pm »
Yes!  I have zero urge to change amps, that's for sure! 



2 ch Setup:
Motorola Router sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > Apple Airport Extreme > AURALiC ARIES > Synology 1813+ (DSM 5.0, Minimserver/Minimwatch, 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > JRiver MC 20.0.29 - Mac (XLD for ripping) > AURALiC Vega > Fully Balanced Autoformer Bent Audio TAP-X (BHL LPS) > ATSAH (NCore 1200) > GedLee Abbeys  run full range.  Behringer DCX > (2) Rythmik Servo Subs and (2) GedLee Bandpass powered by ATSAH (NCore 1200) blended into mains > DH Labs Cables & (2) PI Audio UberBuss.  GIK Room Treatments all measured and setup using Calibrated mic and HOLMImpulse.


Headphone Setup:
AURALiC ARIES > AURALiC Vega or ODAC > AURALiC Taurus MKII > MrSpeakers Alpha Dog (Black)

fsimms

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #5 on: 5 Nov 2014, 03:04 pm »
Even the vinyl produced from digital masters?

Yes, very much so.  It is even worse than that!  I run my tube phono preamp into my Tact 2.2X preamp and it digitizes the signal yet again!  :lol:
Because of this, every vinyl record that I listen to is digitized.  Still I get the tingles.

Bob


Julf

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #6 on: 5 Nov 2014, 03:23 pm »
Yes, very much so.  It is even worse than that!  I run my tube phono preamp into my Tact 2.2X preamp and it digitizes the signal yet again!  :lol:
Because of this, every vinyl record that I listen to is digitized.  Still I get the tingles.

Good to hear! All my sources are digital, and I am very happy with my ncores - they drive my infamously hard-to-drive speakers extremely well.

jonbee

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #7 on: 5 Nov 2014, 03:28 pm »
Absolutely. 2 years in, and I think it'll be the last thing I change. The output cap upgrade (per Ric Schultz) took them to yet a higher level of refinement from the great stock sound. They seem as clear as water with killer power and dynamics to boot, and what more could you want from an amp? I've heard a few amps that outpointed them,
but they all have at least an extra 0 on the price tag, but even then they are not seriously bettered. Different flavors, in many ways, of course.
« Last Edit: 7 Nov 2014, 07:37 am by jonbee »

barrows

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #8 on: 5 Nov 2014, 04:49 pm »
YES,

My Ncore stereo amp build has replaced my Pass Labs X 150.5 (which will be for sale soon) in my system:

Custom Sonore Server with internal LiFePO4 battery supply-Custom Buffalo DAC with Sonore USB interface-NC-400 Amp-Focus Audio FS-888 Signature loudspeakers.
DIY parallel power conditioner-DIY AC cabling-Nordost Frey balanced interconnect and speaker cable-Nordost Blue Heaven USB cable.

I continue to make subtle tweaks to the amp and DAC, trying to eek out a little more warmth, body, and natural sound, and they keep getting a little better.  The amp is dead neutral as far as I can tell, so it will reveal any other problems you have, ruthlessly.  This has made the amp a perfect companion for perfecting my DAC build.

Regnad

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #9 on: 5 Nov 2014, 06:24 pm »
My NC400 build is doing center channel duty as I bought a pair of NC1200-based Merrill Audio Veritas amps over 2 years ago for a great price.  I have 81dB mbl speakers and the NC1200 amps are perfect.

dpatters

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #10 on: 5 Nov 2014, 06:39 pm »
I've had my Ncore 400 mono blocks in Aluminati cases for almost a year now and am quite content. My system is posted here but will soon be updated to add the Vapor Joule Blacks that will be arriving soon.  They are with Pilot freight as I am typing and praying for no shipping damage.

Old_School

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #11 on: 5 Nov 2014, 09:52 pm »
I can't call myself a long-term owner, only having them since September when I finally finished the build, but I'm certainly happy. The only think I think I need to do is add the standby switch using the nAMPON, as I've been getting some transients from my pre on startup (it's a valve pre, so I leave it in standby until startup).

The nCores drive my ESL63s effortlessly, and mate well with my preamp (which my previous SS amp did not do as well).

TomS

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #12 on: 5 Nov 2014, 11:48 pm »
Extremely happy!

Funny timing seeing this thread tonight, as I hadn't listened critically for awhile and happened to sit down this afternoon for a session exploring the Tidal service. I have a temporary listening room setup and yet, the music coming through my speakers via the Atsah NC1200's was as terrific as ever. I intended just a few minutes of listening and had one of those "don't want to get up" experiences, pulling away 2 hours later. Great stuff, love them.

Rclark

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #13 on: 6 Nov 2014, 06:35 am »
Yup, they were made for critical listening, same thing happens to me. If I ever sit down to listen to an album, doesn't matter what it is, Ncores will suck you right in. Doesn't matter if you just enjoy the music or listen critically and focus on certain instruments, they pull you right in.

Anything recorded well? With vocals emphasized and a close mic'd guitar? Might as well be sitting on a stool in front of you.

Good stuff guys, looking forward to seeing who else stops in here along the way.

(NC1200's, awesome, did I miss your review?)

Forgot to mention, as my PS4 is my source (and it is quite nice, I can list the specs if you guys want, has state of the art audio processing, the latest firmware updates have been spectacular), I also use it for movies and games.

Sound quality is superb on any job. Movies are ridiculous with these amps.

forkliftHIFI

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #14 on: 6 Nov 2014, 07:13 am »
I'm happy with mine.  Then again it's my first hi-fi system so I don't have much to compare it to.  It sounds really good to me.   

Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers w/RAAL tweeters
Stereo NC400
Dodd Audio variable gain tube preamp
Schiit Audio Bifrost DAC
Shuttle DS47 + Synology DS213j (2x4TB)


forkliftHIFI

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #15 on: 6 Nov 2014, 03:56 pm »
I figure this might be the place to ask but why do people bash on the ncores so much?  Don't cost enough?  Excellent performance can be had for cheap while fancy expensive artsy chassis is optional?  The power amp is supposed to amplify the signal with minimal alteration of the sound and that's what it does right?  If you don't like the sound try a different preamp/dac.  Plus they appear to be able to run almost any speaker while being fed with pretty much any preamp. 

I went with ncores because I wanted to buy one amp and be done with it.  I wanted the amp to power my RAAL towers to their max with some power to spare.  I wanted a high enough SNR that the background is pitch 'black'.  They appear to do this very well. 

As for my system as a whole this is hands down the best I've ever heard and I believe the cost was relatively inexpensive for what it does.  The treble from the RAAL tweeters is as smooth and sweet as I can imagine possible.  Acoustic instruments and vocals sound like the artist is in the room performing for you.  Little details like applause in the background of live shows really comes to life. 

For some people it is unimportant but I also managed to build the whole system(save the computers) with nothing assembled in china.  Speakers and DAC from California, Preamp from Texas, and the Hypex from the Netherlands.  All good companies that offer great customer service, take pride in their work, and don't spend an arm and a leg on advertising or paid reviews.  All components were the dream of small groups or individuals who wanted to provide excellent performance at very competitive prices. 



Julf

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Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #16 on: 6 Nov 2014, 04:21 pm »
I figure this might be the place to ask but why do people bash on the ncores so much?  Don't cost enough? 

I am sure that is one reason. The other is that the fact that hypex sells modules to hobbyists at a reasonable price gives the people who know how to solder an advantage over people who only know how to read high-end magazines :)

santacore

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #17 on: 6 Nov 2014, 04:40 pm »
I'm still running my NC400 monoblocks from a few years ago. I leave mine on 24/7 using the standby switch when not playing music. As others have said, they just seem to do everything right, including sounding good at low levels. I put a balanced tube preamp in from of them, and I now have a great mix of warmth and speed. I'm sure there are better amps, but I haven't come across any for the price I paid. At this point the only upgrades I'm curious about are a better case (using silicon rays cheapy) and the cap upgrade from Rick Schultz.

System- Macbook Pro>Auralic Vega>Audio Note balanced tube preamp>NCores>Chapman updated T-7's (also great at low levels).

Regnad

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #18 on: 6 Nov 2014, 06:54 pm »
Look at some of the amps using UCD/NCore technology such as MBL, Rogue, NAD, Audience, Bel Canto.   Some are very expensive and this would seem to show a great appreciation for Bruno's work.

Rclark

Re: Are you a happy Ncore owner?
« Reply #19 on: 7 Nov 2014, 05:16 am »
I figure this might be the place to ask but why do people bash on the ncores so much?  Don't cost enough?  Excellent performance can be had for cheap while fancy expensive artsy chassis is optional?  The power amp is supposed to amplify the signal with minimal alteration of the sound and that's what it does right?  If you don't like the sound try a different preamp/dac.  Plus they appear to be able to run almost any speaker while being fed with pretty much any preamp. 

I went with ncores because I wanted to buy one amp and be done with it.  I wanted the amp to power my RAAL towers to their max with some power to spare.  I wanted a high enough SNR that the background is pitch 'black'.  They appear to do this very well. 

As for my system as a whole this is hands down the best I've ever heard and I believe the cost was relatively inexpensive for what it does.  The treble from the RAAL tweeters is as smooth and sweet as I can imagine possible.  Acoustic instruments and vocals sound like the artist is in the room performing for you.  Little details like applause in the background of live shows really comes to life. 

For some people it is unimportant but I also managed to build the whole system(save the computers) with nothing assembled in china.  Speakers and DAC from California, Preamp from Texas, and the Hypex from the Netherlands.  All good companies that offer great customer service, take pride in their work, and don't spend an arm and a leg on advertising or paid reviews.  All components were the dream of small groups or individuals who wanted to provide excellent performance at very competitive prices. 



Oh they cost plenty at retail. It's just that Bruno was kind enough (seriously!) to provide a DIY version that mere mortals like myself could afford, and is not some crappy watered down version, but is a serious amp with next generation features. Now, granted, $1800-$2000 is still a respectable chunk of change, especially considering it's DIY, but the very fact that people are paying that much, for DIY, and the fact that there is even a cottage industry built around making very high end cases for a DIY.. amp tells you enough about what kind of amps these are.

But yeah, retail Ncores are far from cheap.

As far as the bashing? People with agendas, industry shills, people who don't like other posters and will say anything to be opposite them. This thread should be clear of such nonsense.  :D

Nice system  :thumb: