IMG Stageline STA-800D

## Update: I ended up buying an STA-1000D ##

Hi there. Long time since I've been logged in.

I've been running an 4x IRS2092 amp that I built myself out of L15DSMD boards and a big SMPS. Been quite happy with it. But it's not the most detailed amp, and it's not particularly quiet.

Then I started researching again, a couple of weeks ago. I'm quite keen on the Icepower 125ASX2 modules. But there's a lot of questionable Icepower modules on Ebay and Ali. They seem pretty hard to source inside Europe, unless it's from Chinese sellers with EU stock.

That's when I ran into the IMG Stageline STA-1000D, that has Pascal modules. But from my understanding, these modules are as basic as Pascal Class D modules can be. But then I started looking at the other Stageline AMP's, and the 400D and 800D uses Hypex boards with Hypex SMPS's.

The 800D uses 2 UcD400OEM V7 modules and 2 Hypex SMPS400 V14 modules.

I reckon from reading in here, that these UcD400 boards should be quieter and sound better than my IRS2090(L15DSMD) amp. There is also balanced input, and my Stream Magic has balanced outputs, so there's that.
I can't seem to find any comparison of the UcD400 to 125ASX2 anywhere. But with these boards I should be pretty sure they are not fakes at least.
I like building amps, but with 2 kids and a pretty full schedule I won't lie. A ready box containing these modules would be a lot easier to play with and modify.

Or does the OEM boards sound horrific and I should move on?

I need to do more research. If anyone has some experience or remember some threads that I can't find - anything would be much appreciated.

Source of information: Opinion on IMG Stage line STA-400D amplifier with Hypex modules | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

and: Finale di potenza basato su Moduli Hypex dal suono hi-fi
Link to manufacturer: IMG STAGELINE: STA-800D

Pictures of the innards:
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I have the STA-2000d. It is a cool running amplifier. I have bought this one as a temporary replacement for an Anthem I225 that was in repair for a long time.

I liked the sound but had to use it in a bi-amping configuration with Usher Mini Dancers 2 DMD. The Ushers like a lot of current so it could also be a power supply issue. BTW, the STA-2000d has both XLR and RCA inputs and the STA-1000d should have the same.

Have used the NCore 250/252 as well but on very efficient speakers so not a direct comparison. Liked them also, so I do not think it is that helpful except the power rating of the Pascals seem to be inflated compared to the Hypex NCores.

If you want to buy a much more powerful (and a little bit more expensive) amplifier, you could also consider the Hypex NCore 500.
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Have used the NCore 250/252 as well but on very efficient speakers so not a direct comparison. Liked them also, so I do not think it is that helpful except the power rating of the Pascals seem to be inflated compared to the Hypex NCores.

I do not agree. The two pascal power amp modules in STA 2000D produce 4 x 280w in 8ohm, and 4 x 500w in 4 ohm, they do require some effort to trigger the green signal lights on the front. Max volume is full tilt not 2'o'clock like most regular hifi amps.
If you've managed to get the green lights glowing steady (just means there is a good signal) ,and you still think it's not enough power then... In that case I would consider getting some different speakers.
There is a yellow light as well, think it's when you trigger the built in limiter, I've never seen it on.
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Interesting reading. But the Ncore should be way better than the UcD OEM modules from my understanding?

Also, I'm getting quite interested in the pre-built Stageline amps, and then sligthly modifying the buffer instead of having to build the whole thing myself.

Now I have to choose which one. The UcD version or the Pascal. Also, maybe I need the 2000D? My B&W DM683 draws 200W each in 8R according to the data sheet. 1000D should be enough, unless they can't perform this well with low THD?
Not saying it's wrong, I have not done direct comparisons of both myself.

I just think it's strange that TabCam has the experience that the NCore 250 seems more powerful, as the ratings are:
NCore 250 = 130w/channel in 8 ohms and 250w/channel in 4 ohms
Pascal S-PRO2 are rated for 250w/channel in 8 ohms and 500w/channel in 4 ohms.

Both should be very compareable except the Pascal should have clean power up to slightly above 200w, vs the Ncore 250 should have clean power to perhaps a touch under 100w. In real life I would not expect any significant discernible difference under most "normal use" scenarios, as long as the source and speakers are equal.

The only thing I can think of is that perhaps if there are very power "sponge'ing" passive filters in the speakers (IE power advantage is consumed by heat dissipation in huge-components/relatively low xo frequency passive filters), perhaps there would be a slight advantage to drop bi-amping and use bridge mode set to 4ohm instead. (edit)**

Please note that I expect some of the complaints about these amps come from using a sub-par signal chains. I strongly suggest using either of these with a fully balanced setup. I have only tried some ca 102db s/n and some ca 113db s/n balanced sources myself, there are significant, very easily heard, advantages to using better s/n sources.

About hum: Both the Pascal S-PRO2 and the Hypex NCore 250 power stages come with integrated PWM power supplies, and I just do not understand where it would be possible to inject 50/60hz hum within the modules or properly built cases. If you hear any hum at all with either the NCore or Pascal amps, logic would suggest it's coming from somewhere else.

Beware, bridging and setting to 4 ohms allows for dumping a lot of power into the speakers, and if the problem is indeed caused by power hungry passive components, it could very possibly fry things properly without causing fault in the power amp.

Edit 2
I guess the Pascal S-PRO2 modules should be more compareable to the Hypex NC502 modules, not the NC250.
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I've read that the UcD modules can feel a tad rolled off on treble and that the Pascal modules are not. So I'm mostly in favor of STA-1000D as of now.

Would the 1000D suffice to my DM683 or would I need the 2000D?
I'm about to order some SpeakOn connectors. Then I a kinda silly quiestion. Does these amps come with the Powercon cable or do I need to make on myself?
Not sure if you need the extra power.
I would rather consider getting a measurement microphone and decent quality DSP (Some still think DSP sucks, yeah. Let there be sceptics, DSP is *******' awesome if used correctly. Don't like DSP? You've been doing it wrong!). *

I got my 2000D with powercon cable, a very solid one.

* Opinion and bias applies. :D
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I have always taken specifications with a grain of salt. When I testen a NAD M27, which has a Hypex NCore of 180W, it could control the Ushers. The UcD of 400W is more powerful than the NAD module.

I do not think you would do bad in either case. The 800 is cheaper and almost as powerful as the sta-1000d. If you have the cash and the possibility to bi-amp, the stageline sta-2000d is more flexible but almost doubles the price.

If it was me again today, I would go for the STA-800d or an NCore 502 stereo amp. The last precludes DIY but can be had for almost the same price as the StageLine 2000d at NordAcoustics, Apollon or Audiophonics and is a better amplifier.
Does the STA-1000D have an opamp in the preamp/buffer path?

Yes, some cheap ones and hard to upgrade since they are single rails. Mine only have XLR input, but the Pascal is actually only single end input. You should use the bare board only and make your own buffer or skip it entirely. In both my 1000D I get noise when I move the potentiometers after 3/4 clock wise. It's not bad pots but some mismatch of components I assume