DIY Amps for NX-Oticas

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Edgar77

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #60 on: 26 Jan 2021, 11:40 am »
About audio power amps for these speakers but also in general.

For a long time I thought it is possible to measure amplifiers and find out which amps have the better technical data and are better.

By now I watched probably at least 100 videos from Danny Richie from GR-Research, Paul from PS Audio and others. And I read lots of articles about power amps especially on the http://neurochrome.com/ website. And now I am confused.

Is there something like a better amp? Or is it more that amps are different but not clearly better?

I like to buy and build for myself a very good audio system. Maybe like in this thread the MX-Oticas with Neurochrome Modulus-286 amps plus subs. In the moment I have Danny's H frames with 2 drivers in my mind.

My intention is not to try two or more different amps, different speakers, different everything. My intention is to buy and build something very good and that's it.
Is that a reasonable and realistic idea?
It seems in this and other threads many audiophiles try constantly different speakers, amps, etc.
I understand the fun factor of playing around with these things but it obviously cost a lot of money.
Why not buy something very good from scratch and that's it?

Coming back to this thread: Are the MX-Oticas with Neurochrome Modulus-286 amps a good combination? Or which other amps would be better?

I consider myself a modern electronics guy. I don't intend to use tubes or vinyl, ever.

sarora9

Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #61 on: 26 Jan 2021, 02:46 pm »
I have not heard the neurochromes but given the set of people who vouch for them I'd guess they will compete with most other amps out there.

I have Folsom 7293 (built by somebody else) and it is amazing too. If you are into DIY please also build yourself some decent cables (power/interconnect/speaker). They  are needed to get the most out of a resolving system.

Jaytor

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #62 on: 26 Jan 2021, 04:38 pm »
Quote
Why not buy something very good from scratch and that's it?

The problem is that everyone hears a little differently. A system that sounds great to you might be disappointing to someone else and vice versa. There is also system synergy to consider. Depending on other components (such as your source, preamp, cables), one amp may sound better than another.  These are the main reasons people tend to try multiple products.

That said, you're more likely to find a good match by starting with a well regarded product. Measurements only tell part of the story. An amplifier that measures really badly will almost certainly sound worse than an amp that measures great, but keep in mind that traditional measurements use one or a few pure tones into test loads. They don't measure performance on real music into real speaker loads.  And the parameters that are measured don't always correlate well with listener's preferences.

As an example, very highly regarded Pass amplifiers have considerably worse measurements than an amp like the Neurochrome Modulus amps, but many audiophiles strongly prefer the sound and are willing to pay many times more money.  The same can be said for most tube amplifiers.

If you want build your own amplifier, and particularly if you don't have a lot of DIY electronics experience, I think the Neurochrome amps are an excellent place to start. Since the amplifier module itself is already assembled, the full amplifier is fairly easy to build and your results are likely to be consistent with other builds. These amps are very clean sounding and fairly neutral, and the Mod-286 provides enough power to drive the NX-Oticas fairly well, particularly when supplemented with the powered subs. For the money required to build them, I doubt you will find anything that will objectively perform any better.

If you can afford it, I'd recommend a dual-mono build (meaning separate transformers and power supplies for each channel) or monoblocks. I haven't personally compared the single supply build of these amps with dual mono, but in my experience with many other amplifiers, separate power supplies provide better imaging and dynamics (sometimes significantly better) than the the same amp built as a single-supply stereo amp.

I currently have a pair of Neurochrome Mod-286 monoblocks in my amplifier rotation used to drive my NX-Oticas and find the sound to be quite good. Is it as good as a $5K or higher amp from Pass, Parasound, Bryston, etc.? Probably not, but it is close in my system. Fortunately, the NX-Oticas are fairly efficient and easy to drive.

But I'll reiterate my first point. Everyone hears a bit differently and will appreciate different aspects of the sound. And system synergy is key. I don't think you will be disappointed at all with the NX-Oticas and subs, but if you have the opportunity to try different electronics and cables, I'd encourage you to do that.

- Jay

corndog71

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #63 on: 26 Jan 2021, 08:15 pm »
My intention is not to try two or more different amps, different speakers, different everything. My intention is to buy and build something very good and that's it.
Is that a reasonable and realistic idea?

Buy whatever you think will get you there and live with it. 

If it makes you happy then congrats!  You can listen to music and not worry about what others think.

If it doesn’t then you will have learned that audio gear is subjectively different regardless if it measures well and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #64 on: 26 Jan 2021, 08:46 pm »
The problem is that everyone hears a little differently. A system that sounds great to you might be disappointing to someone else and vice versa. There is also system synergy to consider. Depending on other components (such as your source, preamp, cables), one amp may sound better than another.  These are the main reasons people tend to try multiple products.

That said, you're more likely to find a good match by starting with a well regarded product. Measurements only tell part of the story. An amplifier that measures really badly will almost certainly sound worse than an amp that measures great, but keep in mind that traditional measurements use one or a few pure tones into test loads. They don't measure performance on real music into real speaker loads.  And the parameters that are measured don't always correlate well with listener's preferences.

As an example, very highly regarded Pass amplifiers have considerably worse measurements than an amp like the Neurochrome Modulus amps, but many audiophiles strongly prefer the sound and are willing to pay many times more money.  The same can be said for most tube amplifiers.

If you want build your own amplifier, and particularly if you don't have a lot of DIY electronics experience, I think the Neurochrome amps are an excellent place to start. Since the amplifier module itself is already assembled, the full amplifier is fairly easy to build and your results are likely to be consistent with other builds. These amps are very clean sounding and fairly neutral, and the Mod-286 provides enough power to drive the NX-Oticas fairly well, particularly when supplemented with the powered subs. For the money required to build them, I doubt you will find anything that will objectively perform any better.

If you can afford it, I'd recommend a dual-mono build (meaning separate transformers and power supplies for each channel) or monoblocks. I haven't personally compared the single supply build of these amps with dual mono, but in my experience with many other amplifiers, separate power supplies provide better imaging and dynamics (sometimes significantly better) than the the same amp built as a single-supply stereo amp.

I currently have a pair of Neurochrome Mod-286 monoblocks in my amplifier rotation used to drive my NX-Oticas and find the sound to be quite good. Is it as good as a $5K or higher amp from Pass, Parasound, Bryston, etc.? Probably not, but it is close in my system. Fortunately, the NX-Oticas are fairly efficient and easy to drive.

But I'll reiterate my first point. Everyone hears a bit differently and will appreciate different aspects of the sound. And system synergy is key. I don't think you will be disappointed at all with the NX-Oticas and subs, but if you have the opportunity to try different electronics and cables, I'd encourage you to do that.

- Jay

Overall I agree with Jay, although I will coax you to look at Neurochrome's 686 design over the 286. There is a just a bit more ease (i.e. lower THD overall at higher wattages) and the costs are roughly similar if you are swinging with a DIY hammer. The 686 I have heard on multiple occasions with the NX Otica's and it is a very fine choice.

Best,
Anand.

Edgar77

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #65 on: 27 Jan 2021, 12:19 am »
Thanks for all your comments, I appreciate them.

I learned soldering 3 decades ago and recently I bought a hot air station and I did some SMD test boards to learn that. I am pretty sure the electronics part should be manageable for me.
I am normally good enough with mechanics and get things done. I.e. I built two racing quads from scratch, one of them has tiny electronics. I know I have to be careful when I "build" the amplifier mechanics to get everything 100% right.

Obviously it would be good if I could hear different speaker and amp combinations before I buy/build them. The problem is that I live in Bangkok, Thailand and I would be surprised if many of Danny's speakers and Tom's amps are around here. But maybe I should search in the forums - maybe there are others nearby.

I also have to think about building the speakers. I am pretty sure I am able to glue the parts together (see Peter's videos). But I have no experience at all with veneer or high quality painting. Maybe it's better if I find a good furnisher here to do that for me. Let's see.

I will continue reading lots of threads here and in Tom's Neurochrome forum and learn. I am not in a hurry.

Thanks for your advise

Edgar

Jaytor

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #66 on: 27 Jan 2021, 12:25 am »
Check out DIYAudio.com. There are a lot of very sharp audio engineers that are very gracious with their time, and lots of ideas. Of course, the danger of doing this is that you might get sucked into starting lots of projects. :D I'm finishing up my fourth project in the past year (a preamp and three pairs of monoblocks), and have a several more in the planning and parts collection phases.

mkrawcz

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #67 on: 27 Jan 2021, 12:46 am »

I consider myself a modern electronics guy. I don't intend to use tubes

That was pretty much my attitude for the last 20 years running the HIFI gauntlet. Now I'm at tubes and not going back. If you must go DIY, go get an Elekit tu-8600s with all the upgrades before they are all gone, plus vcap cutf coupling caps and you will have a truly high end amp. There is a reason why Danny Richie uses one on his NX-Tremes.

Edgar77

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #68 on: 27 Jan 2021, 02:32 am »
Check out DIYAudio.com. There are a lot of very sharp audio engineers that are very gracious with their time, and lots of ideas. Of course, the danger of doing this is that you might get sucked into starting lots of projects. :D I'm finishing up my fourth project in the past year (a preamp and three pairs of monoblocks), and have a several more in the planning and parts collection phases.

Thanks, I follow already a couple of threads over there about Tom's Neurochrome Amps. That keeps me busy enough in the moment.
New audio projects are fine. I just try not to repeat building the "same" things again.
In the moment I just received all the parts for Tom's H-22 headphone amp. I can't wait to see how that will sound. But I still take my time with it.

Did you or anybody here built a DAC? Are there any DIY DACs out there?
Since I read it I try to keep in mind "The Layout is the Circuit". https://neurochrome.com/pages/grounding
Maybe for some devices, like maybe a DAC and preamps, it's better to let the professionals do the work.
But I keep my mind open about that one.

Edgar77

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #69 on: 27 Jan 2021, 02:34 am »
That was pretty much my attitude for the last 20 years running the HIFI gauntlet. Now I'm at tubes and not going back. If you must go DIY, go get an Elekit tu-8600s with all the upgrades before they are all gone, plus vcap cutf coupling caps and you will have a truly high end amp. There is a reason why Danny Richie uses one on his NX-Tremes.
Thanks, maybe in 20 years ;)

Jaytor

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #70 on: 27 Jan 2021, 03:51 am »
Quote
Are there any DIY DACs out there?

I haven't built a DIY DAC, but you can check out https://www.amb.org/audio/ . I've built a few of Ti's designs and they work well.

madsry

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #71 on: 4 Feb 2021, 05:17 am »
First, thank you all for the great thread.

I’m very intrigued with the Neurochrome offerings as well as the Folsom 7293. While I hear and respect Jaytor’s SS preference, I’m curious if anyone has or will be trying a tube preamp in conjunction with Neurochrom or Folsom amps. I’m pretty sure that I’ve been infected with at least some of the tube flavor preference for the foreseeable future, but also have a lot to learn/experience still. Playing with a B1 preamp at the moment, and may have a 6SN7 based preamp to play with soon. Still very open to ideas though.

NXtremes are on the future wish list, but for now, I’m nearly settled on buying NX Studios to go with stereo triple stacks I’m gathering parts for now.

Edgar77

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #72 on: 4 Feb 2021, 05:33 am »
About Neurochrome and it's owner Tom Christiansen.
A few days ago an interview with Tom was published on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/1VklknumxTA
https://youtu.be/X9xW9OAZpNs

It's interesting. I was surprised about his education, work experience and knowledge.
He philosophy with his amps is clear. Summary: The amps are as transparent as possible. On the output is what was input - just amplified.


Jaytor

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #73 on: 6 Feb 2021, 05:39 pm »
I finished (well, almost) my latest DIY amplifier build. This is another set of monoblocks - this time based on Bruno Putzeys' Purifi 1ET400A class D amplifier modules.

I tried class D a couple of years ago with the Nord NC500 monoblocks which use a Hypex module. I found the sound to be very clean and clear, but they sounded a bit thin and were not very engaging compared to my Krell FPB-300 (which they replaced after the Krell died after 20+ years) or my Parasound JC5 (which replaced the Nords).

But since I've really gotten into DIY in the past year or so, I decided to give class D another try. I have heard good things about the Purifi modules. I also decided to use a large linear power supply because many of the highly regarded commercial class D implementations take this approach, and because I could build it myself.

Each monoblock uses a 1500VA transformer with custom secondaries (Toroidy Supreme Audio model). There are several linear power supplies for the different voltage requirements. The high voltage rails (about 68V) have 134,000 uF in the capacitor banks in a CRCRC configuration. The low voltage supply which provides power for the input buffer and Purifi input circuits provides 20 volt rails with another 54,000 uF in the cap banks. This feeds a low-noise regulator on the input buffer to generate the required +/- 12V. Finally, one more regulated power supply generates the 15V gate drive (referenced to the negative high voltage rail).

An additional 12V power supply module is included to drive "accessories" which include the power light on the push button, a 32 segment LED power display on the front panel, and a delayed start circuit which allows the power supplies to reach steady state before asserting the AMP_ON signal to the Purifi modules. I have additional switches on the backpanel which can turn off the front panel lights when I don't want the distraction.

I am currently using the Neurochrome input buffer, but my plan is to experiment with other buffers over time.

The only thing that is remaining is to get an smoked acrylic panel which will fit into the front panel over the LED bargraph. The company that I have worked with in the past is moving, but should be able to make this for my in a couple weeks.

The first monoblock has been powered on for 3 weeks and has about 200 hours of music playing on it. The second one has only been on for a week and has probably 60 hours on it.  I expect it will take a few more weeks of playing before the amps are fully burned in, but I'm quite pleased with the sound so far. Very detailed with sweet sounding vocals - more engaging then the Nord amps I had in the past, but virtually everything in my system has changed since then. I'll report back after I've had a few more weeks on them.










Endo2112

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #74 on: 6 Feb 2021, 06:45 pm »

Very nice work!!!

Don

Edgar77

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #75 on: 7 Feb 2021, 08:54 am »
I finished (well, almost) my latest DIY amplifier build. This is another set of monoblocks - this time based on Bruno Putzeys' Purifi 1ET400A class D amplifier modules.
ps://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=220583[/img]

Looks great!
How is the new amp compared to the Neurochrome Class-AB Amp which you described earlier in this thread?

mlundy57

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #76 on: 7 Feb 2021, 05:16 pm »
Very nice. Here's hoping the sound quality is everything you were expecting and then some.  :thumb:

Jaytor

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #77 on: 7 Feb 2021, 05:54 pm »
Thanks folks. I want to give them a few hundred more hours before I make any critical assessments. Also, I haven't had a chance to readjust my subs for the change in gain and input impedance (I have a series high-pass cap in my preamp). But even without making any adjustments, they are sounding very nice - at least on par with the Mod-286 amps.

Chilkoot

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #78 on: 7 Feb 2021, 06:41 pm »
Has anyone done a NX-Studio and Folsom 7293 combo? I would be interested to hear (read) comments.

madsry

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Re: DIY Amps for NX-Oticas
« Reply #79 on: 7 Feb 2021, 07:36 pm »
I too would be very interested in feedback about the NX Studio / 7293 combo (as well as 686).  Even better if anyone has done so with a tube DAC and/or tube preamp.

Jaytor, curious if you’re still content/happy with the Oticas as you as xperiment with different components.  Things could always change, but Oticas or Extremes are still target based on my experience thus far.