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Old 17th June 2011, 11:41 PM   #111
PHEONIX is offline PHEONIX  Australia
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" Yes that's more or less the problem. A year ago a successful hi-fi importer and key figure in a very famous loudspeaker manufacturer responded to hearing an early prototype of the NC1200 (and contrasting its size, weight and cost against the reference set it had just beaten): "This thing is going to destroy the amplifier market as we know it. Which, for you, is good news of course." He then immediately went on to ouline the exact problem I knew I'm faced with and proposed to apply all his business acumen to finding a strategy. He still hasn't found anything workable."

Hello Bruno

Is it possible that maybe another effect of this amplifier (NC1200) is that it forces amplifier designers to really lift their game, I suspect the reference amplfier you compared it too did not have excellent technical specification comparable to the NC1200 - would this be correct.

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Arthur
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Old 17th June 2011, 11:48 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by PHEONIX View Post
Is it possible that maybe another effect of this amplifier (NC1200) is that it forces amplifier designers to really lift their game.
I wouldn't mind if Ncore helped convince people that good performance really does have a bearing on sound, and that negative feedback is an effective way of achieving that.
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Originally Posted by PHEONIX View Post
I suspect the reference amplfier you compared it too did not have excellent technical specification comparable to the NC1200 - would this be correct.
It was a biamped set with some Mark Levinson (the guy was very particular about the model, he said he didn't like more recent offerings) for the mid/highs and a pair of Marantz mono blocks for the bass. Detailed measurements of either aren't available.

Last edited by Bruno Putzeys; 18th June 2011 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:23 AM   #113
deandob is offline deandob  Australia
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My thoughts:

1) As UCD has been on the market for a while now, a fair number of your potential DIY customers for Ncore are like me, with existing UCD amps and would be interested in an upgrade, especially if there is a perceived improvement, even if its small.

2) If the Ncore was physically the same size and same mounting holes as the old UCD modules, it would make it easy for existing users to upgrade to Ncore.

3) As the UCD modules (even the ST ones) are such good quality, I'm sure the audible delta quality improvement will be small, so for the "DIY upgrade" section of the market you are competing with an already excellent product. Hence if you make the price too high for the Ncore, existing customers may not bother purchasing Ncore for upgrade

4) For the DIY market, I agree that prioritizing performance/quality over power is the right decision to make (eg. no holds bar discrete input buffer). As long as its not considerably cheaper to make modules less than 400W, a 400W module would be a good compromise. I would pay more for use of the best components/design, rather than more watts, lets face it, 400W is more than enough for 98% of loudspeakers. Having a low output impedance output would probably help as much as more watts anyway.

5) A lot of folks now want high performance multi-channel amps, so the cost of the modules and the module form factors are more important for 5 way or 7 way amps. Having a cheaper lower power module for the surround channels also makes sense (but if its easier to standardize on a common 400W module for all channels is OK as well if price is reasonable). For the last few years most of my critical listening has been with high resolution blu-ray and HD-DVD sources (the material isn't as diverse, but the quality is generally higher than CD), and this trend for multi-channel listening will continue.

6) The power supply is an important aspect of a high end amplifier. If the Ncore is a considerably improved module, then maybe look at what upgrades to the power supply is needed to get the best performance. Personally I use a dedicated toroid for each channel, with quality rectifiers and strings of low ESR caps (T-Power 4 pole caps). Alternatively, if the module has high PSRR and quality decoupling/local filtering, it might reduce the reliance on a top end power supply. Some guidance in this area would be good.

Bruno, thank you for reaching out to the DIY community to collect feedback and engage us in the design options. It is very much appreciated and enhances your (& Hypex's) reputation in the DIY community, especially as you probably don't make a lot of money out of this section of the market but its clear that you share the DIY passion

Last edited by deandob; 18th June 2011 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:42 AM   #114
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... enhances your (& Hypex's) reputation in the DIY community, especially as you probably don't make a lot of money out of this section of the market but its clear that you share the DIY passion
Bruno's legendary reputation as an engineer is undimmed. But with his marketing hat on he does appear to care more for reputation with reviewers than he does amongst DIYers.
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:45 AM   #115
deandob is offline deandob  Australia
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That's OK, he has to make money, the DIY market is small. The fact that he is reaching out & engaging the DIY crowd around options and design decisions is appreciated, but lets not forget that we are not the main market.
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:47 AM   #116
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Sure its OK, its his business after all. I'm not here to tell him how to run his business, just popped in because I saw his question and assumed he wanted an answer. Seems he doesn't like the answer but that's life
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:01 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Bruno Putzeys View Post
Yes that's more or less the problem. A year ago a successful hi-fi importer and key figure in a very famous loudspeaker manufacturer responded to hearing an early prototype of the NC1200 (and contrasting its size, weight and cost against the reference set it had just beaten): "This thing is going to destroy the amplifier market as we know it. Which, for you, is good news of course." He then immediately went on to ouline the exact problem I knew I'm faced with and proposed to apply all his business acumen to finding a strategy. He still hasn't found anything workable.

So the problem is clearly tough but I am not at all convinced it is a dichotomy (in which there are exactly two solutions in mutual exclusivity). To show this, let's assume I take one of these choices and try to hit the "mass market". Taking the above importer's opinion at face value, how do we make the mass market appreciate that this is the real deal, the [name big brand] amp in a milk carton? Can you imagine any hi-fi reviewer picking up the courage to state that an amplifier has arrived that refers mammoth amps to the age of dinosaurs? Why do you think these guys are so good at waffling? If I work the mass market first, that gives them an excuse to say "yeah fine for mid-priced home theatre but there still is this stratosphere where linear amps rule", thus turning the old technology into something to aspire to. It's the perfect way of letting disruptive technology sit in the market for ages without anyone really noticing. That's why I think it's not either-or, but both-and. But that will take quite a bit of forethought.

Economists might imagine otherwise, but the free market is not run by rational, fully informed consumers. It is ran by opinions, partial information, pre-existing business interests and the pure chaos that any sufficiently non-linear feedback system has. The days that the superior technology automatically succeeds commercially on its own merits are over. Thanks for the link btw I will probably buy this book.

Anyhow, I think we're veering off topic.
Why not make and sell a complete high end domestic amplifier whilst still supplying the professional market and active loudspeaker manufacturers etc with the up market modules ?

You can still supply the diy market with the entry level version and you are not going to step on anyones toes. I wouldn't waste my time with the hi-end market which is more about fancy metal work and high price tags rather than technological advancement !! A lot of these hi-end manufacturers rely on exclusivity to sell their products and are not going to be happy competing with joe-blow down the road undercutting them on the same amplifier

Focus on a selling a completed amplifier and doing that well rather than all of these johnny come lately's that will probably make a hash of it Hell, if they really want it bad then they can just re-badge your amplifier and triple the price

Last edited by Trevor White; 18th June 2011 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:05 AM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHEONIX View Post
" Yes that's more or less the problem. A year ago a successful hi-fi importer and key figure in a very famous loudspeaker manufacturer responded to hearing an early prototype of the NC1200 (and contrasting its size, weight and cost against the reference set it had just beaten): "This thing is going to destroy the amplifier market as we know it. Which, for you, is good news of course." He then immediately went on to ouline the exact problem I knew I'm faced with and proposed to apply all his business acumen to finding a strategy. He still hasn't found anything workable."

Hello Bruno

Is it possible that maybe another effect of this amplifier (NC1200) is that it forces amplifier designers to really lift their game, I suspect the reference amplfier you compared it too did not have excellent technical specification comparable to the NC1200 - would this be correct.

Regards
Arthur
Bruno needs to offer a completed amplifier that goes head on with all of these imposter's and fakes and forget about the Shakespearean write ups in Absolute Sound
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:31 AM   #119
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Shakespearean write ups in Absolute Sound
Shakespearean? you give them too much credit

complete amplifiers (consumer products) are a whole different set of problems. (although I'm sure supporting a DIY product can be more than a bit of a pain... )
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:38 AM   #120
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Shakespearean? you give them too much credit
+1.

Not so much Shakespearean, more Sisyphean

Sisyphus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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