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Old 18th June 2011, 10:57 AM   #121
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Concerning supplies, we plan to make a specific SMPS to go with this module. If only to make wiring easier. Sonically the SMPS400 already leaves the HG supply biting the dust (in spite of standard quality caps) so I think we're on the right track there.
@abraxalito we agree on more than I let on. I just don't want to hijack the thread with market strategy banter.
@others, I have indeed been wondering about making our own product to avoid substandard third-party implementations.

Last edited by Bruno Putzeys; 18th June 2011 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 18th June 2011, 11:06 AM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Putzeys View Post
@abraxalito we agree on more than I let on. I just don't want to hijack the thread with market strategy banter.
Feel free to PM me if you'd like to bounce some marketing ideas around. I still remember an early demo from before the days the amp was named UcD, but haven't heard one for many years.
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Old 18th June 2011, 12:02 PM   #123
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Default beat tones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Putzeys View Post
[snip]
I might take the opportunity to comment on ExtremA. It must be the clumsiest amplifier I've designed in my whole life (you do know it's my design, don't you? If you did, that was a very nasty question ). The low input impedance, the overcomplicated folded cascode, the unnecessary class A operation, the even "unnecessarier" bridged design, all those things I'd do differently now.
[snip]
Hi Bruno,

First, congratulations with the NC1200. Specs are impressive, not to say a milestone in the quest of better and more efficient audio amps.

As for the EtremA, I'm glad you have changed your design philosophy.
Why? See: Bob Cordell Interview: BJT vs. MOSFET
(please, ignore my comment on cutting off ears; it was a silly joke)

BTW, would it be possible to operate these amps on a fixed switching frequency (or at least synchronize it in case of multiple channels) without sacrificing the performance? The reason I'm asking this is that I'm worrying about (possible) audible beat tones when the amps are switching at slightly different frequencies.

Cheers,
Edmond.
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Old 18th June 2011, 12:06 PM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Putzeys View Post
Concerning supplies, we plan to make a specific SMPS to go with this module. If only to make wiring easier. Sonically the SMPS400 already leaves the HG supply biting the dust (in spite of standard quality caps) so I think we're on the right track there.
@abraxalito we agree on more than I let on. I just don't want to hijack the thread with market strategy banter.
@others, I have indeed been wondering about making our own product to avoid substandard third-party implementations.
Hi,
is right, for you to discuss with fans to better understand what may be the trend and then make a complete module. this way you can ensure high performance.
but, if your amp has really top performances ( I think yes), I do not think that an OM, which produces in the high end can be happy with the psu smps400 integrated style. perhaps he wants to be free to choose, maybe a linear PSU. or others.
maybe you ref to integrated model and without psu of course.

N.B. i have curiosity (as others), see fft on this new amps.

Regards

Roberto P.
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Old 18th June 2011, 12:17 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Putzeys View Post
Concerning supplies, we plan to make a specific SMPS to go with this module. If only to make wiring easier. Sonically the SMPS400 already leaves the HG supply biting the dust (in spite of standard quality caps) so I think we're on the right track there.
@abraxalito we agree on more than I let on. I just don't want to hijack the thread with market strategy banter.
@others, I have indeed been wondering about making our own product to avoid substandard third-party implementations.
Hello Bruno

Why does the SMPS400 leave the HG supply biting the dust despite it using standard grade capacitors (Japanese type I assume). Are the main high power supply rails regulated on the SMPS400 as apposed to the open loop HG supply rails.

Regards
Arthur
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Old 18th June 2011, 12:46 PM   #126
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SMPS400 is not regulated. If I'm not mistaken, only SMPS180 is regulated (and that would explain why it's actually more expensive than its 400W counterpart).

Btw my personal (subjective) experience is the opposite. When comparing two amps, both featuring the same UcD400HG+HxR modules, one with HG linear supplies the other with the SMPS400, me and a friend both found the linear supplied amp to sound much better.
This sound quality gap could be attributed to an assembly error or something (since the SMPS-powered up was built by another friend of ours) but upon a quick inspection there was nothing we could easily spot.
Allegedly, this friend of ours has had better results with UcDs powered by regulated switching supply units that some competitors sell, but I never had the chance to do a comparison myself.

In any case, I'd really like to have a matching SMPS for my NCore amp (though I'm not a fan of having it integrated on the same PCB, either).
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:30 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Putzeys View Post
Concerning supplies, we plan to make a specific SMPS to go with this module. If only to make wiring easier. Sonically the SMPS400 already leaves the HG supply biting the dust (in spite of standard quality caps) so I think we're on the right track there.
@abraxalito we agree on more than I let on. I just don't want to hijack the thread with market strategy banter.
@others, I have indeed been wondering about making our own product to avoid substandard third-party implementations.
I don't see any point selling a $500 amplifier module to some hi-end pirate who wants to package it up in a fancy case and flog it for 20k. Surely that would not be in your interests, especially if they stuff up the implementation and you then get a bad reputation for it. You need to take the bull by the horns and establish a reference point or best practice for your own products

regards
Trevor
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:33 PM   #128
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Just one vote for high-power DIY modules. That really should distinguish this technology by sidestepping the old thermal design and power wastage limitations to define new perfomance categories.

My home system previously utilized 30,000 watts of theoretic power amp capability, but at average load impedances which made it more like 10,000. Of course the average power used was far less. This was similar to the 2-channel Crown demonstration studio in Indiana. I recently changed from stacks of the switching-mode Crown CE4000 to stacks of more conventional "analog" amps with FET outputs, and reduced the power amp output capability by two thirds. My only point is that I like power. Efficiency in a 100 watt amp allows a nice small friendly chassis without sharp fins and new embedded applications. But even class A inefficiency is practical at 100 watts. But in a 10,000 watt amp efficiency becomes truly relevant. I have no real use for a low-power switch mode DIY toy except as a hobby curiosity, like making a small model steam engine. I'd like to see the DIY modules sized practically to match commonly-available circuit breaker buss voltages and commonly found residential and commercial circuit breaker currents, and common commercial drivers and speaker component boxes. Then I'd like to see them forget about "drop-in replacement in existing applications" and define new applications. Asking old-market people what they want is the biggest marketing mistake companies make...instead of defining and providing new capabilities and new markets.

The 1200 watt amp is well matched to two channels (2400 watts total for 2 channels) powered from a 120 volt 20 amp power outlet in the USA. I would also like to see a 3600 watt module (7200 watts for 2 channels) powered from a 240 volt 30 amp circuit.

I realize other people have other interests, and I prefer not to get into that debate. "System" engineering is an art of compromise, and right now my own DIY experiments accept the penalizing compromise in the form of a high power requirement, and that compromise eliminates compromises on other important parameters. It is one avenue to truly exceptional performance.

Looking at it another way, instead of my "speaker efficiency be damned" approach: Some may want to break switch-mode amps out of the subwoofer niche, perhaps a noble endeavor. But looking at subs in the current growth in the home theater market, even with the most efficient Danley tapped horn DTS-10 DIY kit, the power rating is 2000 watts a channel with a nominal impedance of 2.6 ohms. With 1200 watt modules I'd wire and power each of the two internal drivers in each box seperately and require 4 modules and a lot of wires just for the 2 low bass boxes. I'd prefer more powerful modules and the simplicity of one amp module per speaker box.

Now imagine if you want to use smaller long-excursion drivers in sealed bozes that are orders of magnitude lower efficiency. Look at the subs from Carver's Sunfire or JL Audio with 10,000 watt amps and IMHO mediocre output unless you use several. You're looking at 20,000 watts in a home theater application designed to not offend the spouse's decor with big black boxes.

Some of my favorite big planar dynamic speakers are not very efficient either. I'm really fed up with running so many multiple speaker wires to my subs, so many multiple speaker wires to my mid-bass units, and so many speaker wires to all my planar dynamic mids. My home system is as complicated as a mid-size PA and it will get much more compicated if I add 5.1 surround side, rear, and center channels. I lust for bigger more capable amps. I don't really like to wire drivers in series (which seems to exaggerate the impedance and response anomalies of individual drivers) just to match bridged power amp channels just to get away with fewer and lighter-guage speaker wires. I'm going to need multi-conductor Neutrik connectors and multi-conductor speaker wires.

And switch-mode amps have no additional short-time burst power capability for the few milliseconds it takes to reproduce a musical peak. Some high-quality more conventional "analog" amps can put out a several times their continuous power rating for a short time. Switching mode amps need to be specified oversized in order to handle equivalent peaks (in which case they handle them exceptionally well). I have some of the same issues with "analog" amps that use switch-mode power supplies. So for handling music with a lot of dynamics, a 1200 watt switch-mode amp might be more comparable to a 400-watt analog amp that can put out 1200 watts for a few milliseconds without clipping. And at 1205 watts that 400 watt amp might sound better despite sagging main rails and running its devices outside their linear range and a bit of compression and distortion than the switching-mode amp that can't produce that last 5 watts at all.

So as far as power rating I'd be thinking of a 1200 watt module as a cleaner Peavey Deca 1200 running in bridged mode, but the module would drive much lower impedance loads and be cheaper and fun to build with. So I'd be in. But I'd really favor a 3600 watt module and have no interest in low-power modules. Yes I'd like on-board buffered inputs...my finished amps would require balancd XLR inputs. Heck I could reduce my speaker wires by half and make a big multi-channel amp that would replace my entire stacks.

Last edited by cyclecamper; 18th June 2011 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 18th June 2011, 04:32 PM   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor White View Post
I don't see any point selling a $500 amplifier module to some hi-end pirate who wants to package it up in a fancy case and flog it for 20k. Surely that would not be in your interests, especially if they stuff up the implementation and you then get a bad reputation for it. You need to take the bull by the horns and establish a reference point or best practice for your own products

regards
Trevor
Not that I have ever tried selling anything in the audio market, but how much of a game changing design is it and how long have you got before there might be truly competitive products launched?

If I thought I had at least a 12 month true technology lead I think I would launch the product by getting into bed with at least two specialist manufacturers of high(ish) end stuff and do a deal where you provide the modules AND work with them on the design to produce a real state of the art amp that is actually properly engineered. That way you can launch a reference design or two, not need the manufacturing or sales channels for finished product, charge a royalty premium per amp on top of the module price, not **** off the whole industry by setting yourself up in competition with the world, and offer a similar deal to any other manufacturer that is interested - or just sell them the modules if they want. Once there are some high performance reference models in the market it won't matter so much if others launch so-so designs. I might even announce that for the first say 18 months the module will only be available in individual quantities for DIY/evaluation or commercially for jointly developed designs, after that period "when the revolutionary design is fully understood in the market or some such nonsense" the module will be made generally available.

The aim of the above being to get the product established into the market as true high end quality. Provide incentive and a known window for some manufacturers to come on board, make some money for both of you, and have a lot of demand waiting for the modules once fully released.

But what do I know about marketing? (very little, which is why I would want to leave that to the high end manufacturers that are *very* good at it).

Last edited by goosewing; 18th June 2011 at 04:34 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 18th June 2011, 05:03 PM   #130
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What I wonder is how much modules sold to DIYers would cut into the market served by high end $$$ amp manufacturers in the first place? Look at how many companies are selling amps with UCD modules- if there wasn't a profit there, I don't think we would see so many....Despite the relative simplicity of assembling an amp from a module, in absolute terms, in comparison with the number of people who buy amps, I would think the numbers are quite small...

There are already tons of DIY options out there and the high end amp manufacturers continue on; it is hard to imagine that any successful high end company would find the small DIY crowd competition.....

Surely including value added features for the DIY crowd as already mentioned would serve to provide some differentiation but in truth acceptance and positive reviews from early DIY adopters could be the best advertising a high end company could hope for....
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