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Old 17th February 2013, 07:43 AM   #6351
Julf is offline Julf  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esperado View Post
May-be the treble channels with a very good current feedback analog amp.
Maybe - but probably not. I will probably get much more significant results with small changes to the room acoustics.
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:22 PM   #6352
ro9397 is offline ro9397  United States
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I would love to see the results from a properly controlled, level-matched, double-blind ABX (or ABC/HR or MUSHRA) listening test between the NC400 and NC1200.

I keep seeing all these comments about the audible differences between them, but knowing how good and neutral the nc400 is I find it really hard to believe that it could be improved on really significantly, and the measurements and specs don't point to any major differences either.
I worked in the same space with John Curl and have about 40+ years in high end audio and music industry, recording, worked with Roy Buchanan, Tower of Power, etc, etc, Record Plant Sausalito in its heyday, Tom Scott (engineer), Ed Freeman.................studied with Dr. Patrick Gleeson, John Viera, Different Fur Studios (Headhunters), personal friend of the late J. Bongiorno, heard in my room Levinson 23, Ampzilla current monos, Naksa 100, custom tubes, VTL, OTL, owned many high end stalwarts, Linn Chakra (opamp version of Quad's current dumping circuit), Curl custom SS pure class amps in wood boxes, custom SS chip amps, pure class A, Classe DR3 monos (extremely small sampling).

My understanding is that one advantage of op-amps (1200 input) vs. discreet (400) is that the former have about 100x tighter tolerance. I own
three 400s.

My understanding is also that Bruno, in his "infinite" wisdom (slight sarcasm), would have preferred to save money, cost, and improve sound with opamp input in the 400 but this here pathetically stupid and stubborn audiophile community convinced Bruno they would more likely spend money on discreet so that's what I am now stuck listening to. Honestly, this makes me sick, especially with my personal experience of opamps vs. discreet (Chakra vs. Quad, almost identical circuits except for opamp vs. discreet......hint: CHAKRA KILLS THE QUAD).

On a separate but related matter: you folks owning those vaunted pro monitors with other than Ncore amps need to sell them immediately or see about replacing the amps with Ncore. After hearing Ncore I could not mentally stand listening to whatever crappy amp is installed in my powered monitors, no matter how good it might appear to sound. You know the 400 will kill whatever's on board now. Some of these speakers climb into the $60k range, with crummy little digital dog meat amps. What a crime.

There's nothing inconsistent in this post. Yes, I like the 400. Yes, our discreet bias screwed us out of an apparently better sounding, cheaper cost amp. Go figure. DIY audiophile goes full circle: in our quest for better, we demanded and got inferior. Honestly, this is the worst thing I've come across in all my audiophile life.

Bruno must laugh about it over beer in Holland. Gold bless you, Bruno...(no sarc)...you gave us what we demanded!
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:26 PM   #6353
cjf is offline cjf  United States
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Hello Julf, sounds like a pretty sweet setup you have going on there with 8 NCores. Did you have to do anything in terms of level matching the amps among each other or are they already close enough out of the box to not need to mess with them?

I saw a post a few pages back quoted below about how to go about doing that but I'm not sure I understand what was meant by " simply connect a speaker between the + terminals of both amps". Also, what is being used to adjust said levels, some kind of potentiometer after the XLR Inputs?


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Originally Posted by StigErik View Post
Its easy if you can individually adjust the level going to the amps: simply connect a speaker between the + terminals of both amps, play music and adjust the level of the amps until you have no sound from the speaker.
Thanks
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:45 PM   #6354
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Maybe - but probably not. I will probably get much more significant results with small changes to the room acoustics.
I don't agree with the first, while it will be difficult, indeed to find a better amp, i agree with the last.
About the first one, the limitation of the class D is at high frequencies, and a good analog amp, with very high slew rate and high bandwidth up to to Mhz will behave slightly better in an active multi amped system.
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:49 PM   #6355
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...
I'm not sure how many people will be able to fully decipher your post.
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:59 PM   #6356
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As an aside, ClassD Audio uses an IC input stage designed by the head of Jensen Transformers. I think we have reached a point where well designed ICs CAN compete and in some cases, exceed discrete designs. Regards
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Old 17th February 2013, 05:19 PM   #6357
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Not sure if this is the appropriate place to post this, but I have a problem with my nCore/SMPS600 monoblocks. I went away for a week and got back today, and rather stupidly left everything turned on and plugged in. Now both amps are just clicking their relays every few seconds and not making any noise (no LEDs light up either).

Everything else that was plugged in still works (DAC, TV, sub, computer, etc), and I don't think there was a lightning strike. Nothing was being played while I was away. Both amps are affected, and the problem occurs whether or not they are plugged into a source or speakers. They are built into Modushop Galaxy cases with Neutrik PowerCon, XLR, and SpeakOn connections.

Any help gratefully received!
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Old 17th February 2013, 05:23 PM   #6358
ro9397 is offline ro9397  United States
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From my reading (please correct if necessary):
nc400 vs. nc1200: former has more costly discreet input stage, latter has lower cost op-amp input stage. The op-amp stage apparently performs better (sound wise) than the discreet stage.

So far, so good. Everything above seems consistent with well accepted practice and known math: op-amp tolerances are several magnitudes better than discreet. I presume it's well established that the tighter the tolerances the better.

Bruno's first and only personal principal would be audio performance. But in this case....Bruno performed DIY market analysis during DIY design process. DIY community expressed extremely hard bias for discreet input stage and against op-amp input stage, resulting in Bruno selecting discreet input stage for the DIY version nc400, resulting in less performance than if Bruno had either omitted or ignore DIY market analysis. But how could he ignore it? Bruno has mouths to feed at home including his own, so he succumbed to DIY market pressure and gave it what it wanted.

Meanwhile, no such market analysis for OEM nc1200 version, where the only goal was audio performance and power superiority. Result: OEM version nc1200 has twice the power (never a bad thing) and likely the most critical stage of any power amp, its input stage, performs at a higher level vs. the DIY version nc400.

Personally, I have no trouble accepting that the nc1200 may perform better, from a technical and theoretical standpoint, regardless how good the nc400 already sounds vs. preexisting known amps. We (DIY) demanded and got the crummy discreet input stage.
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Last edited by ro9397; 17th February 2013 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 17th February 2013, 06:35 PM   #6359
Julf is offline Julf  Europe
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Originally Posted by cjf View Post
Hello Julf, sounds like a pretty sweet setup you have going on there with 8 NCores. Did you have to do anything in terms of level matching the amps among each other or are they already close enough out of the box to not need to mess with them?
They were very close to each other, but I am using a digital crossover, so it can adjust channel levels anyway. The only ones it can't do are the 2 bass amps (driving 2 separate bass elements, but driven by one source channel), but those were close enough that it wasn't a problem.

Quote:
I saw a post a few pages back quoted below about how to go about doing that but I'm not sure I understand what was meant by " simply connect a speaker between the + terminals of both amps". Also, what is being used to adjust said levels, some kind of potentiometer after the XLR Inputs?
That was in the context of comparing two different amps - as it has been shown that a difference of less than 1 dB makes you prefer the sound of the louder one, even if you can't tell one sounds louder than the other.
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Old 17th February 2013, 06:52 PM   #6360
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I think we have reached a point where well designed ICs CAN compete and in some cases, exceed discrete designs.
Oh, please, not this IC vs Discrete again. Can-you list any reason why a schematic realized in a integrated circuit can be inferior to the same, with discreet components ? Quality of the silicon resistances vs thin film can be on response, but, look at the distortion level of AD797 etc...

On the opposite, the IC brings a lot of advantages: better matching between active devices (and temperature balance) , better precision of passive devices (laser trim at wafer) better HF behavior due to the small size and, so less inductive connections, little price, because the number of transistor in an OPA is not a production matter.

Generalizing this stupid legend, due to the poor speed of the first OPA (741) is boring, at a time you can find OPAs with 1000V/µs of slew rate, 1.5nV/√hz of noise, < -120db distortion devices. Just chose the right one for your needs and care the power supply rails.
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Last edited by Esperado; 17th February 2013 at 06:59 PM.
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