Blog Forums DIY Amplifiers and Electronics Comparison and categorization of DIY amplifiers into tiers and ordering within tiers

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    • #14808

      So, this will focus on the DIY amplifier products of Hypex (both Ncore and UcD), IcePower, Purifi, and Orchard. This will start with comparison and analysis of the reported THD+N of each product in the spec sheets provided by the company. So correctness is, in part, based on the sample data from the company. This will then expand to an analysis of what I consider usable wattage for each product examined, followed by looking at other aspects. This will be a working thread. I will not be able to do the write-up until after my current work project is finished.

      Here are graphs provided by the companies in one spot for review.

      I hold the Hypex UcD and the IcePower amps in the same tier, often a level above the cheaper amps, such as those from Sure and others. For the highest tier, it is Purifi, Orchard, and the Hypex Ncore (which their new products NC500 OEM, NC1200, and NC2K are interesting, but will be added later). It should also be noted that the IcePower 300A2 and 400A2 are the best regarding THD+N that I have reviewed from IcePower (although that does not mean they do not have better in their lines, but is going from what I have seen and their own table included below). I will provide links to their spec sheets in the future at the bottom of the post.

      What we see here from these charts is that the IcePower seem to, on this aspect, outperform the Hypex UcD lineup included here. Those are the options in the $1200 and less for deployment of 6 channels. When it comes to the highest tier, the Hypex NC400 seems to be possibly the most cost effective, with Purifi next (and potentially one of the lowest THD+N levels), depending on cost, and then Orchard, although I like the distortion chart of the Orchard over the Ncore. Now, this is only one aspect (THD+N vs Power) and should not be the only basis on which one selects the amplifier.


      Scale on DB down








      0.00001%=-140dB (I have not seen this anywhere, but showing the progression). (to show the math for converting percent to dB)

      Here is the equation to convert the percentage to dB: 20*Log(x/100) where x is equal to the distortion level from the charts or the table.

      Benchmark also points out that normal speech is between 40-60dB, so if in that range, the distortion could be audible. 0.002, for example, is -94dB (rounded). 0.003 is around 90.5dB. (orchard Audio Starkrimson Ultra data)


    • #14816

      This is excellent!  Thank you so much for doing this.  I am still working on the Orchard audio case.  I am thinking of building my own.  I am working off these designs right now. The size needs to be at least:

      • Size: 45cm (17.72″) x 36cm (14.17″) x 11cm (4.33″) – w/o binding posts

      Another idea would be to use a case already made.  If anyone has any ideas, I am all for it. 


      Currently I am thinking wood on all the sides except for the bottom.  That will be aluminum.

    • #14818

      @123toid – Well one reason I am doing this is that comparing amplifiers is continuously flipping back and forth through their spec sheets/manuals. So, I figured collecting the tiers in one location, being able to quickly flip through the pictures of each type of performance, and to break it down in a chart for usable wattage ratings (instead of just the 1% rating) and where, as a percentage, that falls right next to the wattage that supports would be a great help. I’m still searching for the best way to present the data and how to organize it for easy digestion. That will come as I get further into the project. But this is a good start.

      As for custom cases, even if you do not use it on this project, if you ever need a custom extruded heatsink and are in the US, here is an option (I have not used them yet, but I did consider buying from them for the plate amps, just screwing this down onto the aluminum plates I have with thermal paste or a solder sandwiched between the plates and heatsink).

      I forgot where I saw to calculate heatsink size for dissipation of a specified amount of watts, and with some amps an aluminum plate is enough. But, heatsinks may be useful if trying to sink multiple amps at once in an enclosure, etc.

      Meanwhile, I really like those wooden cases, especially the look of that first one.

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