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steveww 6th October 2010 08:59 PM

I am currently investigating building a class D amp. There is such a vast range of kit out there is it difficult to know what to choose. There appears to be the budget models from China such as hfimediy then there are the really expensive ones from Italy. Hypex sits in the middle but are they worth the extra over the budget items?

Yves Smolders 8th October 2010 12:06 AM

Welcome Steve,

I have no experience with the china budget models (probably you mean the tripath stuff and such?) nor the expensive italy kit.

Hypex however, I've heard UCD400AD and UCD400HG, powered with a linear supply as well as SMPS.

Comparisons were done with a yamaha DSP-A2 receiver into B&W N804 and N805's, and also Denon 4306 into B&W N804 and 804S.

Biggest improvement from the Yamaha to the Hypex 400AD was dynamics (never runs out of steam) and a whole lot of detail from the N804.

Denon 4306 was a little better than the Yamaha. Again 400AD brought here mostly dynamics and just an inky black background to the music (more detailed placement, no listening fatigue, etc) - Switching to 804S speakers on the same setup brought improvement (obviously) which means the Hypex still has more to deliver - There was iron grip on the bass, no way the 804S are bass anemic as said in some reviews...

Then the 400HG modules running of a single SMPS on the 804S, even less fatiguing treble, very very detailed midrange, and most of all, a 3D feel to the music (usually called "depth" I suppose) with very clear placement of instruments. Going back to 4306 power after that brings less dynamics (going up in volume restrains the sound quickly), presentation becomes flat & the speaker boxes become apparent, still good speakers to listen to but those little details you hear in HQ systems is just gone.

Beyond this class of speakers (or above +/- $2000 receiver's amps) I have no experience. I still hope this gives you some idea of what to expect. I truly believe it brings out of your source what's there, and certainly keeps up with 800 series class speakers. If you're running "bigger" speakers or amps than I do, then you need to get more information elsewhere.

Although the HG versions (especially with the HxR's) are getting to the expensive side, it probably still beats a lot of amplifiers in the same price range. Without Hypex I would have been shopping in Classé, Rotel, Bryston and similar brands class AB amps that would cost me at least double or triple.

steveww 8th October 2010 02:52 PM

Thanks for the feedback. When I have finished building my DAC boxing up some Hypex modules will be the next task.

col 8th October 2010 09:43 PM

The Hypex modules are good quality robust modules that sound very nice, you can't go wrong with them.

However, there are some other very good modules available that are on par sound wise and much cheaper with more features. Two that I have found are the ConnexElectronics TA3020 boards and the HiFiMediy TK2050 modules. Both these have speaker protection circuits and are stereo modules. Quite a bit cheaper to implement.


Javin5 9th October 2010 10:21 PM

Steve, I have the UcD180AD and I think its a great amp; sounds very clear, open and dynamic. Absolutely no hum or noise, even if I hold my ears directly at the speaker. I made two mono blocks for stereo listening and position them directly behind the speakers. The speaker cables are very short; less than 1 ft.

Yves, thanks, I read your comparison with interest. May I ask you to provide some comments on your listening experience for the following:

- Perceived sound quality difference between the older and the HG-version?
- What kind of linear and switched PSU do you have? Perceived sound quality differerence between the linear and the switched PSU?

Thanks a lot.


Yves Smolders 10th October 2010 07:48 AM


- Perceived sound quality difference between the older and the HG-version?
- What kind of linear and switched PSU do you have? Perceived sound quality differerence between the linear and the switched PSU?
What I will say is going to be percieved, as there was a long time between listening to the AD's and the HG's.

- Not so much a difference in detail, this was apparent on the AD as well - but a bigger sound stage, especially depth. Very precise placement of instruments, and no listening fatigue at all on the HG's.
- No direct comparison done regarding PSU's. The AD's had standard Hypex 501 transformer + one HG power supply. The HG's are currently on one SMPS400, this will become 2 - although I really can't fault this supply, it has enough power to easily accommodate 2 HG's with 8 ohm loads. It's "in my head" I want to have a dual mono. :)

Javin5 10th October 2010 09:12 AM

Yves, thanks for your comments. I was asking, because I'm actually playing with the idea of building a second pair of mono blocks. The mono blocks are a bit more expensive to build, but give you lots of flexibility and you don't have to worry about the optimum speaker cables anymore. Running long, balanced XLR signal cables is uncritical (as long as you have a decent preamp).

Steve, if cost is a main consideration, then you should of course build a stereo unit, which only needs a single housing and where you could potentially share the power supply and maybe try the cheaper stereo modules mentioned by Col. However, I also found that quite a bit of the total cost is added by a decent housing, all the connectors (e.g. WBT speaker connectors), internal wiring and various hardware. The cost of the amp modules is only part of the total.


steveww 11th October 2010 09:00 AM

My plan is to build up some monoblock amps based around the Hypex 400 units. I will most likely use the Hypex soft start module but my own PSU design.

holtet 12th October 2010 09:52 AM

I built an amp with two 400HGs, the versions with regulators. I used dual HG supplies and dual 500VA transformers. This amp has really cured me from the constant need to try new stuff for close to 1,5 years now :)

What you get is a clear, detailed sound with smooth highs and good bass with lots of punch. I even have the impression it makes my 6.5" speakers go lower than other amps I have tried. With control!

Highly recommended from me, although this was not really a budget project...

dublin78 28th October 2010 08:56 AM

Col: Have you compared the hypex units to the HiFiMediy TK2050 modules? If so which hypex units? I am looking at 180HG.

If they are truely "on par" then they must represent a huge bargain.

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