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The golden mean 29th December 2005 11:01 PM

ZAPpulse700XE or Hypex UCD700, or...
This is a question impossible to answer,I believe,as very few have heard the new ZAPpulse!700XE

I resently borrowed a friends Tripath-based amp,with the perpose to compare it to my two amps, a LC Audio Patriot (a non-feedback class A amp) and a Dynamic Precision A1(a Norwegian design).

Some of my prejudice against "digital" amps vanished, I had feared that the sound of my system would degrade merely because of the digital ampīs emission of RF. But there was no clear evidece of degradation...

I got the best result by triamping, with the class A amp driving the treble and midrange: an Eton ER4 AMT, resp. an Accusound C79.
The DP A1 took hold of an Accusound 8" unit (upper bass), and the Tripath did its best with the Volt 3143 12" drivers.

My system is only temporary, I have used some years to refine the bass:cool: , as this is vital to the music I prefer;reggae and afrobeat.By dealing with the bass,I eventually discovered how it effected the treble, in short, with better bass, one can hear more clearly what is going on at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Now Iīm considering ordering two transformers 2*65V 1000VA,to build a digital amp around them. Thereīs an offer of free shipping until the 31st of january.

I have such limited experience of listening to a digital amp in my home,so now Iīm asking: are they likely to sound significantly different in the bass region?
The consept of the Hypex and LC-Audio amps seems to differ when it comes to the application of feedback and Tripath has a variable switch frequency, perhaps itīs stupid to regard digital amps as a group with a common signature?

The positive properties, like higher efficiency and thus less need for expensive heatsinks, less heat generated and less mains electricity wasted, may lead to the assumption that their sonical signature are more homogeneous than they really are?And whoīs right about their claim about sonical superiority?
Can it really be true,as to claim that the latest incarnation of the ZAPpulse can compete with the best conventional class A amps?
And would the sonical differences between digital amps be less prominent if they were true digital(digital input), instead of semi-digital?

classd4sure 30th December 2005 10:18 AM


They really won't all sound the same, but will share certain characteristics, typically a certain level of effortlessness, lots of air, crystal detail..... of course it all depends on how well they're implemented just like any other amp.

If you liked a tripath that much though, I imagine you'll be a complete convert when you hear the rest.

Some "True Digital" amps like the DSD based one by Bruno are said to sound inferior to the much simpler UCD based variety..

Many have abandoned that avenue and yet others press on.

As far as anyone can say it seems the best sounding ones are self oscillating.

You'll have to jump in with both feet like most others or maybe you'll be lucky enough to hear a few more samples before you do, if and when you do though, do try them full range, they really aren't just for subs anymore, and really do shine across the full audio band.

Welcome to the club, 1.61803399.


Jan-Peter 30th December 2005 05:31 PM


I am just wondering......are the Zappulse 700XE already available??



The golden mean 30th December 2005 08:42 PM

Thank you!
I surely know how the Dynamic Precision A1 sounds, and itīs one of the best, at least in the bottom octaves(Abbey Road studio use them for their B&W monitors). Unfortunately the DP A1 is a rather expensive amp, at about $10.000, so if itīs possible to build a digital amp in the same league,at a fraction of this, I will be very happy.

If the quality of digital amps already has reach such high level,it will gain our hobby and the environment as well.
The truth is, that amps do sound different, and to combine different amps in a bi or triamped system, is an art .

When I used the Tripath amp to drive my 8" and the DP A1 for the 12-inch drivers, the result was very different to my ears.Heard a lot (more than ever) of what was going on between the bass-player and the drummer on old disco hits as well a as on jazz-trios. In fact I was distracted by it ,i.e I concentrated too much on one aspect of the music. Therefore I swapped the amps around(think they have the same gain,but one is inverting).Some unpredictable results adds to our enjoyment?:)

I think itīs possible to order the ZAPpulse 700XE now, but if they can deliver, I canīt say.

classd4sure 31st December 2005 03:47 AM


The Zap700's have been available for, something like a month or more now.

Mean, if you're in no hurry to jump in, and it's "true digital" you're after, you may want to keep a "very" close eye on John Westlake, aka JohnW.

He'll likely have a better product and at a very small fraction of the cost than competing true digital stuff.


ackcheng 31st December 2005 06:38 AM


This is very intereting! Do you know if JohnW products will be available in modules like Hypex or will it be available only as a commercially available products like TACT?

classd4sure 31st December 2005 06:48 AM


He'd be best to answer that but I think I know the answer so..

He wants to sell the full system so his products work with known good components, doesn't want to take the chance of it ever being used in a less than perfect way, that means you'll see no modules, unless he's changed his mind.


The golden mean 2nd January 2006 10:06 PM

Sorry,but my mind is set on building my first klass D- or T-- amp.I own a Rowland Synergy II preamp which is, -to a high degree ,immune of RF emission of the forthcoming "digital" amp
;) A tweaked VMPS active filter is also a substantial item in the rig, so I wouldnīt go the full digital route.

When it comes to my former negative attitude to digital amps, it was based on assumtions , and too little information. A German company X , which provides audio kits and modules, were highly enthusiastic about the Tripath modules,some years ago.Since then they have made an U-turn,and stopped providing these amps . The reason , they said (at least),that these amps contaminated the sound of the system they were placed in.

In addition,I heard very bad sound from a system that contained an ICE-power based amp , at a hi-fi show. And I thought the amp was to blame. Someone else claimed that the Tripath-amp I was planning to build (when Elektor published a series of articles of "how to build")a year or so ago, would ruin the sound of my system.

As I see it now, digital amps canīt really compete with the best conventional amps. I believe in the comparing review made by the Norwegian magazine Fidelity;they compared Rowland 302 monoblocks(ICE-power) to Conrad-Johnson Premier 350 and Dynamic Precision A1 Signature. The digital amp came close, but was beaten by both the traditional amps.

The Tripath I borrowed was made out of an evaluation board, but tweaked with Black Gate and Mundorf gold/silver caps etc.
Still it was left behind , especially in terms of rythmical drive and
engagement or involvement, by my DP AI. But the fact that Iīm planning to build a Tripath, Hypex or LC-audio digital amp to use somwhere in my (tri-amped) system, reflects a change of mind.
Still hesitate which to choose, but Iīm a little more confident that itīs not necessary to pay high-end prices to enjoy music.The Tripath amp was a very good amp!

Duck-Twacy 5th January 2006 09:17 AM


Originally posted by Jan-Peter

I am just wondering......are the Zappulse 700XE already available??



I believe next week the first 700XEs are arriving in our country.

Should be interresting.

Leeuwarden 5th January 2006 09:52 AM

In The Hague? :eek:

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