Opinions: Hypex vs. Holton - diyAudio
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Old 10th May 2013, 01:49 AM   #1
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Default Opinions: Hypex vs. Holton

I am a heavy listener of EDM and electronic music and I have a pair of B&W 684 speakers. I need a new amp and I was wondering, for my costs and purposes, would a Hypex UD400 or a Holton Precision nxV-101 be better? I realize one makes class D and the other does not but that is somewhat irrelevant to me, it's not my power bill and the case I am getting has big enough heat sinks for either.
So any opinion on which would perform better with my speakers would be VERY helpful as I have not found a lot on the internet.
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Old 10th May 2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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In many audio enthusiast's understanding, there is no comparison between class D and traditional class AB audio. They would probably say that class D sucks and the those who use it have no discernment between good and bad audio.

However, I know others who are only interested in the basic music program and have no problem with class D or any class audio that presents a seamless, coherent sound that holds up to constant high SPLs and long hours in high temperature environments. Perhaps that's more what you are after.

Class D will waste much less power than class AB, will have significantly smaller electronics and it should be much cheaper to buy modules, heatsinks and power supply for. It seems ideal but if you are really after the best traditional quality sound, you might not want to go that way. If the sound "quality" is not necessary for your interests, by all means save some cash and effort with a quality class D purchase. If you want the best possible from your DIY efforts, then go with the class AB amplifier modules. Don't forget to visit the Class D forum here for a better perspective on the available products.

I have no great problem with Hypex products that I've heard, including "high end" modules. There are some areas in the attack of the sound that can even surpass standard AB amps but overall, I'm reticent to change what I'm happier to listen with when playing serious music.

The amplifier modules are only a start in the process of amplifier building so for either case, concentrate on the best power supply and wiring arrangements you can afford, this being the other and expensive half of your amplifier. Whilst the supply, apart from the transformer is included on NXV101, You need to make your own arrangements or purchase a power supply(s) for the Hypex, so it may not be as good value as it seems.
I would add that a DIY SMPS power supply for audio means the amplifier circuit is connected to mains and working on it is technically unsafe practice.
IOW, we don't condone it without an isolating transformer between mains and power supply. It makes it rather more expensive then.

As the 684 speakers go; I think these are great value speakers, fairly sensitive and probably have a lower impedance that promoted - more like 6R with a dip to 3R. They certainly don't need a powerhouse to drive them so unless you want to test them to destruction, I think 100W/8R is ample power for them, assuming that translates to more like 170W at 4R, as a solid power supply should permit. For EDM however, I would be looking to bigger bass drivers for solid reinforcement - Perhaps a subwoofer can help out.

What you actually use as an amp. for the main speakers is down to what you have available and the power is not really important as long as you have enough and a safe means of limiting it to keep your system out of the repair shop.
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Old 11th May 2013, 03:19 AM   #3
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Thanks, your input is greatly appreciated. I do have a subwoofer and it does help but I lose a lot of my mid range kick because of the weak amp I have. I have two more questions though. After doing some research I think I would be willing to pick up a Nc-400 module from Hypex and the power supply recommended for it. Does anyone know if these would be able to output sound that is as good as something from Holton? And also the Hypex is rated for 400W into 4 ohms, would this be too much for my speakers? It seems like an awful lot of power. Again thanks for any input I'm honestly a bit in over my head in all this research.
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Old 11th May 2013, 09:28 AM   #4
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'Already discussed. You need bigger, extended range speakers for EDM at realistic SPLs. They probably don't need to be as refined in sound quality as B&W products for use at high SPL, as you find with pro. entertainment speakers.

The amplifier power capability is not important as long as you have a means of monitoring and limiting it for the safety of the speakers. i.e. a level meter calibrated to the actual power level in use. EDM is very compressed program so you have few problems holding to recommended power limits just by use of the volume control. In my experience, an undersize domestic amplifier is a bigger danger to speakers if it has no limiters or similar protection.

Check out the detail of Hypex switchmode power supplies for safety isolation, before buying. They may be OK for pro. manufacturers to use in their products but DIYs likely have no protection from contact with mains power. In your situation, I would avoid them but doubtless they work and of course, it's always your choice.
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Last edited by Ian Finch; 11th May 2013 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 12th May 2013, 03:47 AM   #5
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Okay sounds good. Unfortunately I don't have the budget for new speakers and as I am in a small house I wouldn't be able to utilize booming bass a ton. I don't know if I would be able to purchase a device to monitor power. However I'm not one to turn volumes up to blaring levels and I never use the system for parties or anything so I'm not too worried about that aspect. As long as it's controllable using the volume I should be able to keep from damaging the speakers.
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Old 12th May 2013, 04:12 AM   #6
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I also may start saving for some full range speakers. Unfortunately I will most likely not have enough to buy them for 2-3 years or more since a new DAC is next on my list and I can't legally work :/
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Old 12th May 2013, 05:20 AM   #7
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Sure, we can't have everything at once without heaps of cash or maybe honing our DIY skills.

If high sound levels aren't requiered, there won't be a speaker problem and you won't need more power than the speakers are rated for, as long as you have some lower bass reinforcement.

Most guys I know who are into dance music are also trying for early deafness so perhaps I assumed too much on the SPL requirement. A power level meter is not necessarily expensive. Power amplifiers once all had them on the front panel and they're back in favour again. You can buy the electro-mechanical meters and even kits of parts for the support circuitry on-line as well. All they do is monitor the voltage of the output which, for a given load impedance, can be scaled logarithmically as power. They can't be accurate for reactive loads like speakers, but can at least indicate peak levels and what would be risking burnout.

If you aren't stretching speaker limits, then likely you don't need to monitor power but if you have basic DIY equipment such as a multimeter, you can still measure the voltage and calculate power, as a reality check on what levels you listen at. If you wish to know how loud that is in your system, very good sound level meters are available cheaply now, everywhere.
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