Thommy Hypex nCore build

careful with that soldering iron, Eugene
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Thommy Hypex nCore build

Postby Thommy » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:22 pm

So I've started assembling my new amps, like everyone else seems to, on bits of wood - just to prove the concept, as it were.

Setup is fairly basic;

AC connected to SMPS, nAmpon soldered to ground pin of the IEC, umbilical cable in place.

No balanced leads or source presently (one job at a time) so pin 1 & ground on the audio input are connected to the sheild of an RCA socket, and pin 2 is connected to the centre pin of the RCA.

Rather than having a load of photos and smooth talk to offer as per usual I have just a few fairly dumb questions.

1) the light are on but they are all red. Is that a good thing?

2) does the shield on the audio input also need to be grounded like nAmpon?

3) Are ground and earth two different things?

3) why do I get no sound at all? Speaker cable is indeed connected.
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hypex1.jpg
Last edited by Thommy on Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
DIY Hifi is an illness...
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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby julianh » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:44 pm

All lights being red is good. That indicates everything is okay and there are no errors. I'm not able to answer your other questions though nor explain why you have no output.
Sources: Cyrus CDXT Signature, Cyrus Stream X Signature, Linn Sondek LP12 (Basik Plus, AT440MLa, Khan, Lingo 2, Trichord Dino Mk3 & Dino+)
DAC: Schiit Gungnir Multibit
Pre: Stevens & Billington Baby Classic
Power: Hypex nCore NC400
Speakers: Focal 1008Be + BK XLS200
Cables etc: ML Cryo Ref, Kimber 8TC, IanMac filters, Black Ravioli Pads, VPI 16.5

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Thommy » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:47 pm

Thanks for that, was all I really needed to know. Looks like it's now worth spending the rest of the evening doing a full balanced link from DAC board to amp boards.

:)
DIY Hifi is an illness...
RaspPi Streamer & iPad
WaveIO & DDDAC 1794
10core DIY Litz braid Silver / Furutech XLRs
Hypex nCore dual mono
14core DIY Litz braid Silver LS cable
Wilmslow Audio Prestige Custom
[url=http://www.rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/smfcu/http://rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=2]Second system: The Uni-Fi!

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Thommy » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:07 pm

Something is wrong somewhere. Both amps are now being driven fully balanced, and I can hear something from both speakers but it is extremely quiet. Like crosstalk quiet. It's happened on both sides so unlikely to be a single bad solder joint somewhere. Obviously it's not connected properly, remember reading something about this problem and its solution, but can't find it now.

Any ideas?
DIY Hifi is an illness...
RaspPi Streamer & iPad
WaveIO & DDDAC 1794
10core DIY Litz braid Silver / Furutech XLRs
Hypex nCore dual mono
14core DIY Litz braid Silver LS cable
Wilmslow Audio Prestige Custom
[url=http://www.rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/smfcu/http://rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=2]Second system: The Uni-Fi!

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Thommy » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:16 pm

All working now. Spent half an hour looking for said article, another half an hour staring at photos of other people's builds, but it was the 90 seconds spent adding another wire between signal ground and the earth which did the trick.

It's a bit noisy but that's to be expected i guess, until the wiring is tidied up and they are mounted into metal cases when it should become quiet.

So basically;


;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
DIY Hifi is an illness...
RaspPi Streamer & iPad
WaveIO & DDDAC 1794
10core DIY Litz braid Silver / Furutech XLRs
Hypex nCore dual mono
14core DIY Litz braid Silver LS cable
Wilmslow Audio Prestige Custom
[url=http://www.rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/smfcu/http://rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=2]Second system: The Uni-Fi!

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby zenpmd » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:42 am

Well done, just the dutch courage I need to go down this line. Sonic first impressions? In particular are they less direct and forward than Cyrus? I want less attack!
TRANSPORT: Haswell Build
SOFTWARE: Windows 8 - J River 19
DAC/PRE: Benchmark DAC2 HGC
POWER AMPS: Ncore
SPEAKERS: Anthony Gallo Strada 2, Anthony Gallo TR-3D Sub
CABLES: Van Damme

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby ThaYapeMan » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:31 am

Respect  :)

As being Dutch I should have gone this way before. I'll watching your progress.
S1: AVM 8.0, DAC XP+ & PSX-R, 3 Mono X, X Power, FM6, Discmaster 8.0, piCorePlayer, Piega P50, Piega center large, Piega Twen, IanMacs, Samsung PS51F8500, Dune HD-Max
S2: AVM 8.0, DAC X+, 2 SmartPower & PSX-R, HiFiBerry Digi+, Piega P1, IanMacs, Samsung PS51D8000, Dune HD-Max
S3/S4: no char. left..

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Thommy » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:31 am

Dutch courage is the last thing you need for this particular job, and the attack on these amps is supreme. Think carefully about what you want from an amp, and from your Hifi in general. Once you chop these cables about theres no going back, no distance selling regulations to fall back on.

About the sound, it just shows what is already there. So I get the sound of amazing speakers and a reasonably good dac. I've yet to cable everything properly, at the moment it's just van damme mic lead from the dac to the Hypex Mogami input cable, and QED XT400 to the speakers. I wasn't impressed with what I heard, which is they way it should be as the cable is crap and the boards are brand new. It sounds thin and harsh just like it should do. There is however a space the size of an aircraft hanger in front of my sofa, which shows the openness and detail on offer, providing the source is up to standard.

This build took me 90 minutes of drilling/soldering and an hour or two of headscratching just to be sure I was making the right decision about a couple of things. I connected from the balanced pins on my dac board to the balanced input on the Hypex,  through two pairs of XLR connectors. I tried it unbalanced and there is a noticeable drop in punchiness, so that isn't recommended. Drive them like the pro audio amps they are, and don't be alarmed when their brutal transparency of the rest of the system becomes apparent. Not to everyone's taste, but as I have a background in recording studio work and audio post production, it's a familiar sound that has been sorely missed until now.
Last edited by Thommy on Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DIY Hifi is an illness...
RaspPi Streamer & iPad
WaveIO & DDDAC 1794
10core DIY Litz braid Silver / Furutech XLRs
Hypex nCore dual mono
14core DIY Litz braid Silver LS cable
Wilmslow Audio Prestige Custom
[url=http://www.rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/smfcu/http://rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=2]Second system: The Uni-Fi!

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby zenpmd » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:50 pm

I am a very experienced headphone listener. I still think Cyrus is a bit bright and I am hesistant to reconsider my speakers as there is too much to like about them
Last edited by zenpmd on Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TRANSPORT: Haswell Build
SOFTWARE: Windows 8 - J River 19
DAC/PRE: Benchmark DAC2 HGC
POWER AMPS: Ncore
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CABLES: Van Damme

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Ianmac » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:13 pm

Pleased to read its going well
With Ncores what you put in is what you get out, no added fairy dust.
With your background in studio and audio post and thus an appreciation as to the best sound reproduction in the pro arena its good to read your comment.
N core seem expensive until you hear them. Still 1/4 the price of competing gear.
Like my Benchmark DAC  I wouldnt part with mine.
Sytem 1.
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
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Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :Topping D50 DAC.Sony CDP D11 pro: 2*-Hypex Ncore monos: Kef ref1-2.
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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Thommy » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:24 am

Well after a weekend of constantly running at low levels, the sound has softened and become more refined. I twisted all the cables neatly, put ferrites on the umbilical for the power supply to the amp, and taped the cables firmly to the board, trimming a little and resoldering as I went. It's electrically safe now and they can run like that until i'm ready to transplant into cases (once woodworking skills are up to scratch.)

Hypex mention the need to connect the ground of the balanced output to chassis ground (otherwise you don't hear anything), and to connect the nampon control wire to ground (to switch the amp on). This is the only less-than-obvious part of the build so it's simplifies below (they both go to the earth pin).

As most people will be unlikely to build into a chassis straight off, here are 10 easy steps to heaven:

1. Drill some large holes on a (25cmx20cm) plywood board, big enough for the PCB standoffs to sit into comfortable. 4 for the SMPS and 3 for the amps.

2. Place boards in holes, connect umbilical between them, twisting this anticlockwise as you go. 11mm clamp on ferrites will fit around this umbilical.

3. Drill another couple of holes at the edge, and zip tie a mains filter or IEC socket.

4. Connect the AC cable to the SMPS. Crimp spades on the end and slide over the contacts on the filter or IEC input. Dont' forget heatshrink here, twist the mains cables anticlockwise and tape any slack to the board.

5. Cut away a tiny amount of the yellow insulation from the ground wire at the audio input plug, and solder a wire on here the same length as the thin nAmpon control cable.

6. Tie these two together (nampon and new wire), crimp another spade on the end (both cables into one spade) and connect this to the ground pin of the filter or IEC.

7. Plug in the audio input connector to the amp and route your control wires neatly toward the ground pin.

8. Fit a male XLR plug onto the shielded microphone cable.

9. Drill another small hole at the edge of the board and zip tie the mic line to that in order to avoid any possible tugging or moving of the amp.

10. Plug in power and signal then enjoy observing the sound of your nCores deepen and improve over the first few days, and then agonise over how best to package and present your personal take on these amps to the rest of the world.

If you wish to install a mute switch from the off to protect from any eventualities during the build, any small switch put somewhere along the nAmpon wire will disconnect the ground and mute the amps. A power switch on the AC line is still required to kill the power completely. The nCores have a soft start built in.
Last edited by Thommy on Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DIY Hifi is an illness...
RaspPi Streamer & iPad
WaveIO & DDDAC 1794
10core DIY Litz braid Silver / Furutech XLRs
Hypex nCore dual mono
14core DIY Litz braid Silver LS cable
Wilmslow Audio Prestige Custom
[url=http://www.rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/smfcu/http://rdhworld.myzen.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=2]Second system: The Uni-Fi!

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby zenpmd » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:24 am

When Cyrus "service" an amp, what does that consist of? What is the DIY equivalent? Thanks!
TRANSPORT: Haswell Build
SOFTWARE: Windows 8 - J River 19
DAC/PRE: Benchmark DAC2 HGC
POWER AMPS: Ncore
SPEAKERS: Anthony Gallo Strada 2, Anthony Gallo TR-3D Sub
CABLES: Van Damme

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Ianmac » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:38 am

I have often wondered.  In most gear there is nothing to service.

Working in electronics for years I had never heard of it until coming into contact with Cyrus.
"Recalibration" is the closest I can think of.

It seems to me to be a way of charging a flat charge for a repair.
For a service person well versed in the Amp some repairs will take a few minutes, some an hour or so.

Add to that when carrying out a repair one should do a visual inspection and sort out any issues like leaking electrolytic capacitors,  Change any components that have shown up as troublesome / unreliable from field use of the Amp and carry out a full electronic measurement of the Amps performance. (This will be Computer controlled and only take a few seconds).
They should then soak test the equipment for a some hours, repeat the performance measurement  and if OK despatch.

A warranty is usually given but this may be an insurance based operation. How one can issue a warranty on used electronic equipment that may have at some time been reworked by a 3rd party beats me, it is largely a gamble.
Perhaps its a marketing ploy to make you think your getting more for the money charged.

Bear in mind manufacturers will also have their own reliability figures calculated when the equipment was designed. Most  will supply this on their spec data as MTBF - mean time between failure. Usually a bath tub shaped graph with highest failures when new falling to the mean reliability level then rising again as the equipment ages.

Only my thoughts.

In the DIY arena one repairs only if required. Full testing will largely be influenced by the test equipment one has to hand. Bear in mind some DIY enthusiasts are well versed electronic engineers and may know more than some manufacturers while others have a limited knowledge and follow the DIY board manufacturers instruction to the letter and seek help from others on internet forums.
Sytem 1.
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
System 2
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :Topping D50 DAC.Sony CDP D11 pro: 2*-Hypex Ncore monos: Kef ref1-2.
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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Fiendish » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:50 am

A couple of additional points to Thommys excellent 10 point post... things that are not mentioned specifically and in detail anywhere else:

1. If you attempt to save a few shekels by driving 2x NC400 modules from 1x SMPS600 in a semi dual-mono setup then beware! It's perfectly possible and you'll get more than adequate volume levels (subject to speaker efficiency) but be prepared to say hello to Mr Thermal Shutdown on the SMPS600, even with a vented aluminium case. The heatsinks on the single SMPS600 are not up to dissipating the heat generated by having it drive two NC400's, so you will have to provide some form of additional method of wicking the heat away, either through substantial heatsinks bolted to the existing ones or some form of forced cooling. This I've learned from experience!

2. nAMPON aught to be called MUTE because that's all it does. It doesn't switch off the NC400 modules or disconnect them from the power supply, so wiring it up to a switch wont save electricity.

3. Idle losses are specified as 5W for the SMPS600 and 4.5W for the NC400. My power meter (admittedly of questionable accuracy) actually reads just over 12W for the two when idle, so that's 24W for two channels of amplification - not something I'd be happy leaving on 24/7.

None of this detracts from the absolutely sublime sound and control of these amps -  female vocals especially are so realistic.

Tim
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[(SRM Arezzo & AO251 & DL160 & DinoII/Dino+) -> RFC Pluto] and [CD8SE -> Atratus] -> 8XP + PSX-R (as pre-amp) -> VD XKE microphone cable -> Hypex nCore  -> Talk 3 -> DynAudio Focus 110 on Atacama Nexus

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Re: Hypex nCore build

Postby Ianmac » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:26 am

I think as Hypex reach a wider DIY market, largely helped by the interconnects being provided for the NCore, they should revisit the Paperwork supplied.

Current offerings are written by engineers who live daily with specifications- yes nAmpon is a typical example.

How about a simple guide Hypex. A Block wiring diagram would speak 1000 words.
Sytem 1.
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
System 2
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :Topping D50 DAC.Sony CDP D11 pro: 2*-Hypex Ncore monos: Kef ref1-2.
IMF's