Hypex/Coldamp vs. TAG McLaren Power Amp - diyAudio
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Old 4th July 2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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Default Hypex/Coldamp vs. TAG McLaren Power Amp

Hello everyone,
I've been lurking for a while and the idea of consructing a 2 channel power amp based on either Hypex or Coldamp modules has caught my attention.

I currently use PC with an RME soundcard feeding a TAG Mclaren AV32R (DAC/pre) and 100x5 (power) using 4 channels to bi-amp my KLS9 derived speakers (upgraded to use Morel MDT30 tweeters).

I quite fancy a bit of DIY but I don't want waste time and money building something which, ultimately, won't be able to compete with the TAG power amp (I will keep the pre-amp). Can anyone give me any advice on how the Hypex or Coldamp modules might compare?

Thanks
Simon
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Old 4th July 2007, 05:18 PM   #2
BWRX is offline BWRX  United States
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From the reviews I've read you can't really go wrong with either of those modules.
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Old 4th July 2007, 08:34 PM   #3
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They both seem very popular, especially the Hypex being used by Meridian, however I wondered if anyone had heard them alongside a decent (e.g. Ģ2000) conventional solid state amp?
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Old 6th July 2007, 01:09 PM   #4
ghemink is offline ghemink  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally posted by SimonInd
They both seem very popular, especially the Hypex being used by Meridian, however I wondered if anyone had heard them alongside a decent (e.g. Ģ2000) conventional solid state amp?

Well if you dig in some of the posts here you may find that quite a few people think that these amps are better than conventional amps.

Personally I have very good experience with UcD180 modules, I find them better sounding then my Accuphase E407. Try to find someone in your neighborhood who has them and listen if you are not sure.

Have fun

Gertjan
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Old 6th July 2007, 02:06 PM   #5
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Each and every amp seem to sound different. I think the interaction between the amp and the load; speaker cable and speaker is very important. Maybe room modes interact (via the speakers acting as a microphone) with the feedback loop most amps uses.

The implementation of the class D modules is another factor to consider. Power supply, shielding and the length of the wire leads in the amp are some factors affecting performance. Building an amp yourself is a risk in that the sound of it is a bit unpredictable. To minimize the risk, try to listen to someone elseīs amp, preferably in your system, then build a copy of this amp if you liked it.
Of course, building an amp in a standardized manner is a lower risk to be taken.
And of course; listening room acoustics and preferences in sound and musical taste also varies. As there are no perfect amps around itīs up to you which anomalies you can live with.

As my Tripath EB-TA0104 failed in one channel as I risened the rail voltage a bit ( but within its limit) I have made a temporary solution for the bass. I am triamping, and now I have used one channel of an expensive linear amp for one sub and a linear monoblock for the other sub. The difference sound-vise is really significant.
The class D amp was fuller and very good at sustained bass notes but seemed to mask some imperfections in the system. It had a great authority but its downsides showed up when I made the change.
Rhythmical patterns is better exposed with the linear amps, the music seems faster and I can hear more clearly how the bass and
bass-drum interact. I use an electronic crossover for the bass, thus I am able to set the level for the bass. Most interesting is that I perceive the middle frequencies and the highs differently now.

However, I have decided to repair the Tripath amp, it has some positive traits.
In no way do I say this differences are significant to all linear and class D amps. The point is that I didnīt predict the result in my case.

So in my opinion itīs hard to make predictions about how a certain amp will sound in your system. Itīs more up to what risk you are prepared to take. Taking a risk can of course be rewarding!
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Old 6th July 2007, 02:52 PM   #6
ghemink is offline ghemink  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally posted by The golden mean
Each and every amp seem to sound different. I think the interaction between the amp and the load; speaker cable and speaker is very important. Maybe room modes interact (via the speakers acting as a microphone) with the feedback loop most amps uses.

The implementation of the class D modules is another factor to consider. Power supply, shielding and the length of the wire leads in the amp are some factors affecting performance. Building an amp yourself is a risk in that the sound of it is a bit unpredictable. To minimize the risk, try to listen to someone elseīs amp, preferably in your system, then build a copy of this amp if you liked it.
Of course, building an amp in a standardized manner is a lower risk to be taken.
And of course; listening room acoustics and preferences in sound and musical taste also varies. As there are no perfect amps around itīs up to you which anomalies you can live with.

As my Tripath EB-TA0104 failed in one channel as I risened the rail voltage a bit ( but within its limit) I have made a temporary solution for the bass. I am triamping, and now I have used one channel of an expensive linear amp for one sub and a linear monoblock for the other sub. The difference sound-vise is really significant.
The class D amp was fuller and very good at sustained bass notes but seemed to mask some imperfections in the system. It had a great authority but its downsides showed up when I made the change.
Rhythmical patterns is better exposed with the linear amps, the music seems faster and I can hear more clearly how the bass and
bass-drum interact. I use an electronic crossover for the bass, thus I am able to set the level for the bass. Most interesting is that I perceive the middle frequencies and the highs differently now.

However, I have decided to repair the Tripath amp, it has some positive traits.
In no way do I say this differences are significant to all linear and class D amps. The point is that I didnīt predict the result in my case.

So in my opinion itīs hard to make predictions about how a certain amp will sound in your system. Itīs more up to what risk you are prepared to take. Taking a risk can of course be rewarding!

Exactly, without risk, no reward. And the more rewards you get the more risks you will take to get even more rewards.

Talking about a nice positive feedback loop here :-)

Gertjan
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Old 6th July 2007, 03:11 PM   #7
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi Golden,
I would like to think that you could modify the linear amp to improve it's bass grunt without losing the advantages it currently has. Yes, "fuller and very good at sustained bass notes" should be achievable.

Would experimentation to obtain the best of both technologies be worth the effort?
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Old 6th July 2007, 03:23 PM   #8
Hartono is offline Hartono  Indonesia
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"fuller and very good at sustained bass notes" should be achievable.

Hi AndrewT,

what kind of mod ? might be useful in my next amp project.

Hartono
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Old 6th July 2007, 03:42 PM   #9
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi,
as you probably already know I'm an old fashioned brute force designer/builder.

Make the PSU suit the duty.
Make the amp capable of delivering adequate current.
Build it so it doesn't break.
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Old 6th July 2007, 04:11 PM   #10
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Hi Andrew,
I will use my energy to finish my way too ambitious speaker project. Sooner or later some amp mods will take place.
And as for transformers my system have about a total of 5000 VA. But capacitor in relation to transformers also counts.

The Tripath amp is build by one person for a friend of mine who in turn modified it from some hints given e.g. on this board. But using big Mundorff silverfoil in oil input capacitors and Caddock thickfilm power resistors for the input makes me a bit sceptical, along with some other modifications such as using chokes in the power supply. Of course, I have done some modifications as well, adding two more capacitors to the input, which in conjunction with raised gain for the amp should make it cut off very deep. I added some more caps for the power supply as well.

But I think itīs hard to exactly trace all mods, so I missed that the dead time was set to the lowest possible value. Standard for the board is 65nS and the lowest setting is 25nS. And using larger capacity Blackgates in critical bypass service, may introduce too much inductance? But surely, the same amp (even if it is built from modules) can offer a very different end result thus itīs even harder to make general statements.

Lesson maybe learned If an amp works well, make an end to the modifications you implement. Some spare amps is good to have around. Build the amp from scratch and log your mods. And in the DIY society there are few amps that hasnīt been influenced by the concepts of their builders. You can maybe rate the average satisfaction with Hypex based or Coldamp based Class D amps , but even then there are a lot of bias, I think.

As for the original question, I would very much like to check some more class D and linear amps and learn more about them. I admit I have never heard a Hypex Class D amp or a Coldamp. Iīm too inexperienced to say if Class D amps have much in common when it comes to sound quality. But I suspect they donīt according to what I have read.

If you want to compare amps, itīs possible to make a test rig and use the same power supply to test run just one channel provided the Class D modules require the same supply voltages.

As I own a electric bass, I know that the sound of it is partly up to what amp being used. Then there is the question: what is the right sound of the bass? Subjectivism may say there is no right sound.
In my mind, the best way to look at Hifi , is to consider the whole system including yourself. The mood you are in will naturally affect what you perceive. And a short listening at a fair or at someone elseīs place has a lot of bias into it. Long time satisfaction is what we are looking for, isnīt it?
And then reliability also counts.

SimonInd, maybe you could specify what you miss in your current system and what you expect to achieve if you go the Class D road? And sorry for too much talk about modifications!
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