Hypex/Coldamp vs. TAG McLaren Power Amp - Page 2 - diyAudio
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Class D Switching Power Amplifiers and Power D/A conversion

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Old 8th July 2007, 12:15 PM   #11
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I used to sell the Tag kit and the 5x100 power amp was not one of their better products.

Not that it's a bad amp, it's just that their processors were the real attraction and the amps sold off the back of these rather than being particularly good when auditioned in isolation.

The best value combo was to spend more on a better tag processor and use this with a big rotel power amp, rather than buy a tag amp and have less to spend on the processor. The end result was far superior with the tag/rotel combo.

Back to your question, I have heard some hypex amps and would have no hesitation in recommending these as a significant upgrade over the 5x100.

Good luck!
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Old 8th July 2007, 08:22 PM   #12
Pierre is offline Pierre  France
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From my modest experience, try Coldamp modules together with one of their switching power supplies. You will be greatly surprised (I have only tested SPS80, not SPS30). After hearing a SPS80+2xBP4078 simple setup, one of my friends sold his $10000 Mark Levinson Class-AB amplifier and moved to coldamp Class-D ;-)
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Old 9th July 2007, 09:52 AM   #13
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Firstly, thanks to everyone for your input.

In answer to the 'what am I looking for' question I'd say you can always improve the treble and midrange and I'd like a bit more detail and punch in the bass - I used to have Epos ES22 speakers prior to the KLS9 derivatives and they had a drier but more rythmic bass. The KLS9s go deeper and have a fuller sound but the Epos's definately seemed punchier. I can't really complain though, I still get immense pleasure from listening to the system as it stands.

Having said that it sounds like building a 2-channel power amp seems a sensible experiment. If it's better than bi-amping with the TAG than I'll add a third channel for the centres speaker and the 5x100R can be moved out of the system.

So, Hypex or Coldamp? Linear or Switch-mode PSU? Time for some more research I think....

Thanks again everyone
Simon
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Old 9th July 2007, 11:10 AM   #14
Pierre is offline Pierre  France
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You may want to read the other post "ClassD/T DIY power amp on a budget", they are discussing similar things.
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Old 9th July 2007, 02:29 PM   #15
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Hi again Simonind,
Your Tag McLaren amp got good reviews in 2002 in the German mag Audiophile and in fact got the same verdict "Weltklasse" as their bigger brother 250x3R . There were six classes and Weltklasse (World Class) was the next one from the top.

In an English mag (Hi-fi World or Hifi News?) the 250x3 was beaten by a Bryston 4 BST.

In a group review of Class D amps in The Absolute sound , the most common complaint by the reviewers was that of a somewhat not-really-natural treble. Many Class D lovers here may object to this, but chances are that they might have adapted to the somewhat different rendering.

I just read a review of the Coldamp by the Oslo audio society, that was positive; all three reviewers had something good to say about them. And if one of them didnīt thought that the Coldamp reached the snow-clad tops that Karan 270 (a very expensive linear amp) did, he is probably right.
Hereīs a link, but the text is in Norwegian.
http://www.oslo-audio-society.com/coldamp.html

Norwegian isnīt my natural language, but one reviewer, sceptical as he was because of former encounters with Class D amps ( that he felt sounded grey and opaque, wrote that he didnīt got a hot longing for his ordinary amps, 110 W tube monoblocks, even after using the Coldamp for a week!
But to be honest, I donīt think anyone of them regarded Coldamp to be the best they heard. One wrote that listning to them made him think if ítīs necessary to buy anything more expensive, and he concluded; maybe if you have a lot of money.
This is a very free translation and members from Norway may object to it!

Regards
Håkan
Sweden


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Old 9th August 2007, 10:21 AM   #16
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For anyone that might be interested, I went for two coldamp modules and an SPS80 PSU. I'm still in the process of putting it in a nice box but I'm delighted with the result.

The sound is fuller than the TAG, more bass: deeper and better controlled. The treble is very smooth and the whole presentation seems more 'musical' - i.e. it get's your foot tapping. It also seems better at coping with average or poor recordings thus making my entire CD collection more enjoyable.

Once I've put it together I'll post a photo.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 9th August 2007, 02:37 PM   #17
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Hi Simon,
nice to see that you are satisfied with the new amp. A drawback with TagMacLaren was that when they acquired Audiolab, they almost stopped making R&D which had been an important activity at the Audiolab Company (which now is a brand once more with a new owner).

Coldamp is probably quite a different company and itīs fine to see that good amps can be made at prices that are reasonable.

Regards
Håkan
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Old 9th August 2007, 03:50 PM   #18
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I thought it was IAG (the current owners) that stopped R&D and TAG that did a fair bit of it? After all they released a load of AV processors, CD/DVD players and speakers whilst they were owners.

IAG on the other hand have just re-badged some of the cheaper models from the TAG range as Audiolab.

I can't really fault the TAG gear, it's well put together and sounds very good, especially given it's an AV rather than a purist product. Originally it was probably a bit over-priced however I bought it at a discount when the company was sold to IAG.

Value for money wise the coldamp modules are in a different league but you do have to wire them up before you can hear them and that's not for everyone....
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Old 11th August 2007, 02:40 PM   #19
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My source of information was the well respected Norwegian magazine Fidelity (nr 3 2007) where a CD, preamp and poweramp from the new line of Audiolab products were reviewed.
In the article there is the history of the Audiolab company being told, from the beginning "Philip Swift who now owns and runs the
Spendor Company founded the Audiolab company together with Derek Scotland and their first product was...

Roots were in the former Cambridge Systems Technology...

...Udo Zucker and the TagMacLaren company bought the company in 1998...but TAG slowly run into financial problems as they didnīt continue the innovative development that had been the essence of the Audiolab company, they (TAG) instead focused on multichannel gear and the trade name didnīt hit or penetrated the market as well as Audiolab had done. ... At last IAG (International Audio Group) acquired the company and reintroduced the Audiolab brand. (Of course manufacturing is now taking place in China).

My comment: TAG may very well have used consultants in the development of their multichannel products. That is the strategy of many companies and e.g. Swiss Goldmund used it to a great extent in the beginning. Most consultants are forbidden to declare who they have worked for.

TAG made the mistake, I think, in that they neither focused on "real" life-style products that could compete with B&O, nor did they focus on real good sound that could impress on the audiophile market. Their effort was not wholehearted and the market punished them. I remember the time when their products were sold at real low discounted prices after the collapse.
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