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The Hypex nCore build thread

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by occamsrazor, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor pfm Member


    There seems to be a lot of people here who've built amplifiers based on the Hypex Ncore and UcD modules. I'm really interested in doing the same, and thought it would be nice to consolidate this knowledge in one place, rather across a whole bunch of scattered other threads.

    So kindly please share your build details, experiences, opinions, tips, PHOTOS, comparisons with other amplifier options, etc.....

    If you've already posted useful or interesting information on other threads, maybe you can post links to that here too.

    Thanks :)

    (search terms to aid finding this thread: Hypex, Ncore, nc400, NC500, nc1200, UcD180, UcD400, UcD700, SMPS400, SMPS600, SMPS1200, Class D, Bruno Putzeys, Ghent Audio)
  2. mr_phil

    mr_phil If it isn't broken, try harder

    I have had the opportunity to audition the Hypex against the Connex modules and found them to be virtually identical in sound (driven from an MDAC) but the Connex modules are MUCH cheaper and they have now replaced the Hackernap in my system
  3. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor pfm Member

    Thanks. Which Connex modules are you using out of interest?
    I think one of the things that appeals to people with the Hypex Ncore is the fact that you can buy the module and power supply and that is pretty much all you need. What other parts did you require for the Connex build? Any photos?
  4. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

  5. JohanH

    JohanH pfm Member


  6. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor pfm Member

    The monoblocks build I am considering is as follows. This will go with a system comprising Mac Mini > Audiolab MDAC > amplifier > ATC SCM-11 speakers in a 7 x 4.5m room. I'd really appreciate if any of you Ncore experts could tell me if this is missing anything?

    Case options:

    Ghent Ncore - $365 for a pair. Includes IEC socket with power button, Neutrik XLR (female), CMC Binding Post pair, mounting screws. Some better pictures here

    Silconray Romeyn case - Their website seems always slow to me. $75/case or $90/case including connectors, so $180 for a pair.

    For me, the Ghent case is the nicest. I've also seen on the 'net monoblocks made with some very classy cases from Hexateq but I'm not clear if those cases are actually for sale.

    Can anyone else recommend a well-made monobloc case for the nc400? Preferably available in the UK/EU, but if not elsewhere? I see very few such cases available in the EU, but maybe language is hindering my searches.

    Amplifier module:

    NC400 x 2 - 650 EUR

    Power supply:

    SMPS600 x 2 - 360 EUR

    Now, the Hypex info say the NC400 + SMPS600 includes "cable set and mounting set". Does that mean nothing else is required? What about cable to connect to the IEC power socket, or from the module to the speaker terminals? I won't be able to get anything at all locally, so would like to know exactly if anything else is needed.

    Price-wise at today's rates this would work out (with Ghent case) at £807 + £233 = £1040 + shipping, which does seem a lot to me for something that's a DIY build. Is this really a good choice vs spending a similar amount on a branded amplifier? Having never had the choice to audition I'm just wondering. At this money I could get something like an ex-demo Rega Elicit-R, or other ex-demo or secondhand power amplifier. Is it worth it to go this DIY route?

    If I went down the stereo route I could probably save a fair bit in only having to buy one power supply and one case. On the other hand I'd lose the ability to use long balanced runs of XLR cable and have the amps situated next to the speakers, which I've been told this is the best way of doing it.

    Other options that have been mentioned are:

    - Various Icepower options (cheaper but opinion seems to be not as good as Ncore). E.g. Ghent do a pair of 250w/8ohn monoblocks for $1100. Other branded options such as Wyred 4 Sound etc. The majority seems to be sold from the USA though, which is a hassle for extra customs etc.

    - Hypex UcD400 - you do save some money this way, and some people I've read say the difference between this and the nCore isn't all that great.

    - Connex - Much cheaper but don't know much about them, mr phil says the sound is similar, seems a more comlicated DIY build.

    - Job 225 - Not monoblocks and not really sure how this compares, but it was mentioned as an alternative.
  7. Nick1881

    Nick1881 pfm Member

    I have the silicon ray case, though I didn't use the supplied XLR or binding posts, they seemed poor quality, the case itself is ok.

    When you buy the NC400 and SMPS600 all cables are included, it's very simple and easy to do.

    I've heard the UCD400 and it is similar, I didn't have a very long listen though. I haven't heard any of the other amps you mention.

    What I will say is, I was looking at getting a Bryston 4BSST2 but did some reading around yesterday and some people had changed to the Ncore from Bryston, other Bryston owners have heard the ncore and said there wasn't much in it, for me that's pretty high praise.
  8. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor pfm Member

    Thanks for the info. I guess it's fairly easy to replace these later should you wish to. Out of interest which XLR or binding posts did you use?

    So just to be clear, the cables connecting power input, speaker terminals, and audio input are all included? I guess these cables need to be soldered, yes?

    I have read the data sheet with the wiring diagrams, but are there any easy step-by-step instructions out there? I just want to have a better idea of what I'm getting myself into.... It's been 30 years since I wielded a soldering iron :)
  9. JohanH

    JohanH pfm Member

    Power cables from PSU to NCore included, to speaker terminals not, audio input cables included.
    You need to attach (screw) own 230/120V cable to PSU, screw speaker cable to terminals, audio input cable just clicks into NCore but needs to be attached (mostly soldered) to input terminals.
  10. Nick1881

    Nick1881 pfm Member

    I bought WBT binding posts and Neutrik XLR.

    As above, you need a little bit of speaker cable, all other cables are included.
  11. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor pfm Member

    Thanks for that. Apologies to ask more questions I am not very familiar with all this....

    "You need to attach (screw) own 230/120V cable to PSU" - This is just normal mains power cable?

    "screw speaker cable to terminals" - any recommended type? I read that you have to twist it tightly...
  12. orangeart

    orangeart KJF Audio Ltd.

    There is very little DIY in either of them and the hypex and the connex modules come with all the cable you need. The nice thing about these modules is that assuming you use the Psu they are intended to be paired with, you get DC speaker protection, thermal protection, over voltage protection etc. The connex 500 and smps600 have got very advanced protsection built in.

    Although there are many excellent reports about the sound of the connex modules they do have the same problem that most class D amps have, namely That the switching noise filter is a simple low pass filter and although this is of a very high quality it will still interact with existing passive crossovers this of course means that they will behave differently with different speakers. In the real world so long as you are using realatively well behaved speaker drivers (in terms of impedance linearity) and the crossover designer has kept things meat in the respect you'll have no problem, if it's a difficult load though they won't be the Amps for you.

    Both the hypex UCD and ncore range have the switch noise filtering as part of a sort of nested feedback which doesn't interact with the output in the same way. I personally use UCD 400/180 HG HXR modules and find them excellent. They are much much better than almost every amp I have heard in the past, maybe the encores are a step change again (they'd need to be for the money) but I can't see how they can be any better tbh.

    Hope that helps.

  13. JohanH

    JohanH pfm Member

    1. Correct, normal mains cable

    2. I used teflon insulated silverplated copper, but copper cable of sufficient diameter will be fine as well (not trying to start a war..). Twisting is preferred
  14. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney


    Yes, twisting is essential, and make sure you don't make the mistake of going out in opposite directions from the speaker output terminals. Because of the twisting requirement, you need normal 1-conductor wire, and as thick as you can given the end terminals.
  15. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    Not just preferred, but pretty much prescribed.
  16. orangeart

    orangeart KJF Audio Ltd.

    Sorry about all the typos, my phone just did an update and seems to be having a flip out with the key inputs
  17. JohanH

    JohanH pfm Member

    I went from UCD180AD to NCores and felt it was a leap forward.
    Highly recommended
  18. Akasha

    Akasha pfm Member

  19. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    Have you verified that the modifications actually improve the sound quality?

    Have you made Bruno aware of his design shortcomings so he can fix them in the next version?
  20. Akasha

    Akasha pfm Member

    seems you are back on track, reply 17:


    Have you heard the Ncore with other caps?
    is it just perfect in your opinion?

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