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Old 2nd February 2013, 07:49 AM   #6281
Julf is offline Julf  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3lviz View Post
I suggest not to buy a Hypex amp if you don't like them. No one is saying you should and if someone does, you still don't have to. I don't like a lot of different amps, so i don't buy them. Still, i don't feel like everyone should know how i feel about about those miscarriages of engineering.

Put simply, i don't see your point, but just trolling.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 03:50 PM   #6282
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I am not an audiophile. Allow me to explain how I reached that conclusion:

I recently purchased and built a pair of NCores and SMPS 600s. My initial impressions were very favorable: great bass control, resolved midrange and high end, great instrument separation--most of the same things that other users had reported hearing. I spent many hours just playing music and enjoying the heck out of them. At some point, I invited my Dad over to hear them, and he liked them, but asked me "Have you A/B tested them against the Onkyo?" To which I had to answer "no." That got me to thinking about how I could accomplish that.

Being a software engineer and general techno-geek, I remembered in the past dealing with a relay board that could be controlled via serial port. While I no longer had that in my posession, I did find a USB version with 8 relays on Amazon for $30-something dollars. After receiving that and getting it working in my development environment, I wired it up for A/B testing and plugged everything in. I could remote-control the PC driving the board with my phone, while controlling the music on my iPad (using JRemote remote-controlling J.River Media Center). Output was to the ODAC, and directly to the inputs of the NCores and the Onkyo TX-SR602. Speakers are Paradigm Studio 60 v3s.

After level matching as best I could (volume level 81 or 82 on the Onkyo--probably right in between), I proceeded to spend several hours listening to many of the tracks that had so impressed me on the NCores, but this time switching back and forth to the Onkyo. And to my utter astonishment (and disappointment, I must add), I could not reliably discern any differences at all. The bass, midrange, high end, soundstage...I could detect no differences. I even recruited some "young ears"--my 15-year-old daughter, and she couldn't hear any differences either. In fact, the only difference I could hear was if no music was playing at all, where the NCores were significantly quieter, even though they are not even in an enclosure yet (and no balanced wiring either).

Hence my conclusion that I am not an audiophile. When I cannot tell the difference between a piece of consumer gear and and amp with 0.0005% THD under normal conditions, why bother with the expensive stuff?

Anyone interested in a pair of NCores?
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:06 PM   #6283
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It's great that you did the comparison as fastidiously (sp?) as you did. So the only question is, does Onkyo give you the same degree of long term enjoyment as the NCores? If so, then consider selling your NCores or consider using a balanced source for the NCores and then reassess...

Best,
Anand.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:07 PM   #6284
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u-oh! I think the non-audiophile-grade relays are masking the differences. are the contacts golden?
AND... what cables?
now, seriously, you mean instant A/B switching? your impressions may very well be correct, the difference I sensed between my UCDs and other amps I've tried (still "consumer" grade) weren't exactly obvious and I doubt I'd be able to reliably identify them in a ABX test. I guess front end, speakers and room have an influence on the result too. or maybe the difference really isn't that great. who knows?
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:09 PM   #6285
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycavsr2000 View Post
consider selling your NCores
no! giving them away (to me) should be kept as an option
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:17 PM   #6286
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_push_pull View Post
u-oh! I think the non-audiophile-grade relays are masking the differences. are the contacts golden?
AND... what cables?
now, seriously, you mean instant A/B switching? your impressions may very well be correct, the difference I sensed between my UCDs and other amps I've tried (still "consumer" grade) weren't exactly obvious and I doubt I'd be able to reliably identify them in a ABX test. I guess front end, speakers and room have an influence on the result too. or maybe the difference really isn't that great. who knows?
I wrote the software with two switching modes: instant or with a null connection in between. The idea for the null connection was that when doing ABX testing, you don't want the lack of a click to give away that there was no change in amps. Switching from amp A to null and back to amp A should sound the same as switching from A to null to B. And I could not tell the difference just from the clicks with no music playing. There is about a 50 ms gap in the playback in the null mode.

In practice, I used the "instant" mode and didn't bother with ABX, since I was certain I would get a null result anyway with ABX (that and I didn't incorporate "trials" for true ABX). In this mode, there is only sometimes a click in the music (plus the click of the relays), but it's basically an instant switch. Sometimes I had to mute the volume on the Onkyo just to make sure it was working (it always was).

Perhaps I can build this thing into an enclosure with proper binding posts, some finished ABX software and loan it out to the audio community. It just might open some eyes ;-)
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:17 PM   #6287
Omholt is online now Omholt  Norway
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Differences between good amps are small, but I think the ability to hear it depends greatly on the speakers and acoustic environment. Preamp and source also contribute some.
I don't have hard time hearing the difference between UcD HG with HxR and Ncore in an AB test.
I can't hear the difference between normal cables though.....
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:21 PM   #6288
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By the way, I'm only half-joking about selling them. My longer-term plan involves some Salks (probably either the SongTowers to the HT2-TL) along with new centers, surrounds, sub, etc. The NCores will probably end up driving the mains, and I will likely get a pre/pro and a 3-channel amp to drive the rest. It's still nice to know you have 400 watts into 4 ohms on tap, as well as some of the best distortion numbers in the industry.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:22 PM   #6289
Julf is offline Julf  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaBear View Post
I could not reliably discern any differences at all
While training and knowing exactly what to listen for might help to hear minute differences, I wasn't really expecting to hear any differences between the nc400's and my decent class A/B amp under "normal" conditions, and I haven't.

I got the nc400s to make sure my amps could drive some hard-to-drive and current-hungry speakers at high loads, and still sound at least as good as a traditional amp - while not making the lights flicker and the temperatures go up by 5 degrees in the house. I have to say the nc400s have fulfilled that role very well.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 04:28 PM   #6290
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omholt View Post
Differences between good amps are small, but I think the ability to hear it depends greatly on the speakers and acoustic environment. Preamp and source also contribute some.
I don't have hard time hearing the difference between UcD HG with HxR and Ncore in an AB test.
I can't hear the difference between normal cables though.....
I would agree with that (of course there was no preamp in this setup, except in the Onkyo). However, I remember telling someone that the differences between the NCore and the Onkyo "weren't subtle." Unfortunately, I will have to eat those words. I sure expected to hear some differences! When both amps are experiencing the same load, same chain of gear, same room, same listening position--to not hear any differences...well, that means they either sound the same, or at least sound the same to me.

One caveat is that I *may* have lost some of the advantages of the extremely low output impedance of the NCore in this setup, but it does make me wonder how low is really necessary?
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