Is Hype About Forthcoming NC400 Based Amps Worthy

I've read great praise for the Hypex N-Core Class D amp modules and some mighty hyped praise and major claims regarding the "superior nature" of some NC400-based amps that are currently under development by some key designer/developers (e.g.: supposedly better than major league class A A/B designs...). I wonder if the hype is actually worthy from a consumer standpoint rather than a marketing/promotional standpoint...

I wonder if a $2,500 NC400-based amp design can actually best a moderately-priced class A/B solid state amp design - as purported by recent claims within the industry (i.e.: would a $2,500 NC400-based class d amp be a sonic upgrade to a relatively new designed $6,000 solid state Class A/B amp...)?

This is a pertinent question if one is considering an amp upgrade today...Is it reasonable to assume that waiting up to a year for the release of some of these NC400-based amps will be worthwhile (i.e."is the hype too good to be true?")

Ben, first there two versions, one is a DIY and the other is OEM. The NC400 is "ONLY DIY" and can not be built and sold by ANY OEM. The NC1200 is the one and "ONLY OEM" and is only sold by OEM manufactures. I have heard both and can say that the DIY NC400, if it is properly assembled and some think they have, it is worthy of the hype. I say some think they have because after they have assembled it they complain that it does not sound right or special and are so sure they assembled it right only to find out that they made a mistake and after making that correction now the amps do sound great. Now that does not mean they are meant for everyone as we all have our own tastes. Now the OEM NC1200 is, can be, in a whole other league. A say can be because it will depend on how the OEM implements it. The one I heard (Veritas by Merrill Audio) is definitely worth going out of your way to demo. I have no financial interest in Merrill Audio or Hypex who makes the NC400 and NC1200 or any other Audio OEM. So my humble opinion is based on an Audiophile who has heard one of the rare products that gives you that WOW moment. For me, has only happened a couple of times over 35 years.

You must know a few things in order to hear them properly.
1) Do not plug them into a power conditioner. It is a rare power conditioner that will not hinder them in some way so first plug them into the wall outlet.
2) They are sensitive to power cords. That does not mean that you must use expensive cords, far from it. The Veritas play very well with Triode Wire Labs cables. So experiment if they sound closed in. With the right PC they will have a HUGE stage, etc.
3) If they are in a light weight box use anti vibration footers. Was tried with a group of audio skeptics and all heard the improvement. Go figure.
4) DO NOT TURN THEM OFF. Leave them on and give them time to warm up and settle in. AND LEAVE THEM ON. they only use about as much as a night light when not in use. And will sound great when left on. Have I made my point.
5)If DIY, well even OEM, use quality parts. These are worth the investment, you will get it back in better sound.
6) If you do not have the system to hear the Huge gains you may only hear a small improvement. I have seen some really nice systems only to be held back by poor source components or another weak link in the system. So make sure it is not something in YOUR system. And that goes to demoing any equipment.

I hope you (and others) have a chance to hear these for yourself. Again like great food these may or may not be to your taste.

The NC400 modules are only available to individuals, the NC1200 modules are used in some soon-to-be released commercial amps.

I assembled a pair of NC400 amps for less than $2000 and they out-perform any other amp I have heard in my system. For that, and things like size, heat and power use make these something special.

I will have a pair of commercial NCore NC1200 amps within a month as they are currently being built.

I have Gilmore Raptor mono blocks which are based on Ice modules and they are better then any amp tube or ss I have ever heard. A lot of my friends have come to the same conclusion. The new generation of switching amps are the real thing so I would expect the new Hypex amps to be excellant. But you should give the Gilmore amps a listen. They are very special and the monoblocks are only $2500
With due respect to Hifial's great suggestions, my NC400 amps in flimsy cases with average parts and construction sound fantastic!

Marakanetz, it's not actually a kit, look at diyAudio forums and the Hypex documentation and you will have little trouble. It's not so much build as assemble. The only soldering you need to do is at the XLR input connectors.

The case is the main issue and there are several that are ready-made.

Good luck, you will NOT be disappointed.
Thanks Nsirkin,
I'm currently intrigued. I guess I need some of it if the price is right. Are they truly balanced as you've mentioned XLR? Where I can get in touch or dig more tech info about these units?

There is a power supply too:

Most people, me included, buy two NC400 and two SMPS600 and create dual mono in one or two chassis, depending on preferred config.

My purchase for all parts, duties, and shipping costs, including currency conversion came to $1351. The binding posts, IEC, power switch and XLR inputs can vary in price but will not run the price up significantly unless you range into the overkill zone. Cases also range in price but can be had for under $100 each.
If you build your own, you're done spending. If you hire somebody for assembly, as I did, you'll spend around $100 for each mono block.

Pretty good deal for an amp the constantly gets mentioned in best available arguments.
Well Nick do not misunderstand me. All I meant as regard to the cases are that they most likely will benefit from vibration control. This comes from trail during listening impressions with the NC400. Again the improvement was heard by group of audio skeptics and all heard the improvement. Go figure. Or possible a different case.

Marakanetz, they are truly balanced and really sound their best by using only the balanced connections. Of course they still sound very good single ended but are optimized for XLR.

If you go to the following you can find what you will need.

The Mola-Mola is Hypex own product but they have yet to release anything.This is by no means a definitive list.

If you have any questions let me know and good luck.

I'm a little late to the party... but are Ncore powered amps still all the rage?
I have NCore NC400 amps with Aluminati cases. They are the real deal. Heavy cases with shielding do make a difference. They are very neutral and transparent. They will let you hear the quality of the other components in your system better than almost any other amp. They will not fix any tone problems you have in other components though.

Tulz43, they will be even more so as more OEM versions are released over the next 6 to 12 months.
Excellent. I'm leaning toward do a pair and some Fritz speakers (not sure which ones yet). Any idea how they compare to the W4S mAMP's? I know Fritz likes to demo his speakers with W4S gear.
I have attempted to track availability of pure NCore NC1200-based amplifiers. This is the current lineup as far as I know:

Acoustic Imagery ATSAH monos -- $12K / pair

Merrill Veritas Twin stereo -- $9K

Merrill Veritas monos -- $12K / pair

Theta Digital Prometheus monos -- $12K / pair

Mola-Mola Kaluga monos -- $16K()?) / pair

Audience WavePower monos -- $18K / pair

Merrill Veritas Siamese Twins (bridged version of Twins) -- $18K / pair

Rowland M825 stereo -- $32K

Rowland M925 monos -- $58K / pair

Does anyone know of further NCore NC1200 amps on their way to market?

I personally own Rowland M925, which is an absolutely fantastic music maker.

I have reviewed Veritas on PFO. See my Veritas scribblings at:

Rsimms-I also have the NC400 modules in Aluminati cases and I love them.

Tulz43-My NC400 amps are quite a bit better than my W4S SX500. Quieter, faster and more transparent

Oops... Price of Acoustic Imagery ATSAH should have been $9K/pair... Apologies for that. G.
Hi Guido,

Excellent list of amps that are using the ncore nc1200 power modules. You are always a very good source of class D information.

I share your interest in all things class D and currently own a ClassD Audio SDS-4440CS that replaced my older Aragon 4004 class A/B amp last year. I'm still very pleased with its performance but I'm constantly tempted to try other class D amps in my system.
I'd would love to try some of the nc1200 based amps in my system but don't have a $10k plus budget. My budget's closer to $2-2.5k and, like some of the other posters, was thinking that a Hypex nc400 based amp from an amp builder would give me 90% of the Hypex nc1200 sound at a much less expensive price.

While Hypex ncore has been the performance bar setter in class D for some time now, there are some challengers stepping up lately like Abletech and Pascal from Scandinavia. Hypex amps require a separate switch mode power supply (smps)to power the nc400 or nc1200 power modules. The newer Abletech and Pascal boards combine their power modules with integrated, built-in switch mode power supplies and generally cost the same or less than Hypex power modules, especially when the price of the additional Hypex smps is included.

I've been considering, and the OP may also want to consider, trying one of the following amps:

1. Hypex- James Romeyn builds stereo($1500) or mono-block ($1893/pair) amps using nc400 modules with nc600 and nc1200 smps. He has a supplier in Hong Kong that supplies custom cases and the power modules, smps and related components are ordered directly from Hypex in The Netherlands. H charges less than $200 for the builds and he will even order the parts if you pay upfront. The stereo amp case is a plain case with either a black or silver aluminum face plate. Mono-blocks have "NCORE' laser etched on each front panel. Unfortunately, the case work is nothing to write home about. But James seems very knowledgeable, devoted and experienced at building good sounding amps.

2. Pascal-Aluminati Sound formerly custom built Hypex nc400 amps in beautiful solid aluminum cases but has recently ceased offering these. I talked to one of the owners, Matt Kraemer, and he said they will soon be offering new amp builds that will use the Pascal SPRO-2 board. He said:"it's a stereo board with a built in SMPS with auto voltage, so 115v or 230v. 250watts per channel and 500watts per channel, 8 ohms and 4 ohms respectively.

The amp case will be machined from a solid block of aluminum and will come in a very attractive anodized finish. WBT binding posts and a cool blue LED shining underneath the amp will make it something truly special".

"Jeff Rowland uses a Pascal amp board in their new integrated amp called the Continuum S2."

The big advantage of buying an Aluminati built amp is their casework. The owners are 2 former CNC machinists/fabricators. Their custom cases are milled from solid blocks of aluminum and have isolated sections to mount the power modules, smps and even channels for routing the connecting wires. They are not only beautiful externally, they're beautifully designed and milled internally for component separation and isolation for sonic benefits.

3. Abletec and Pascal- DSonic, in Texas, offers completed amps in stereo, mono-block and multi-channel configurations at reasonable prices. His top-of-the -line monoblocks, M3-1500M($1,375 each), uses a Pascal core module(probably an MPRO or XPRO mono model, not the SPro-2 stereo model) delivers 1x1500 watts @ 8 ohms and 2,400 watts @ 4 ohms. 6 Moons has very positively reviewed the previous M2-1500M amps and Dennis Deacon, owner of DSonic, has stated the M2 and M3 monoblocks are the exact same amps.

Other DSonic offerings use a combination of Pascal and Abletec modules along with Ice modules for some surround channels on multi-channel amps. I believe the less powerful DSonic M3-600M monoblocks (300watts @ 8 ohms, 600 watts @ 4 ohms) use very sonically similar Abletec boards and are priced at $975 each. DSonic also offers 3 stereo amps ($1,375-2,375) and 3 multi-channel amps ($2,675-3,175) but I'm unsure of the modules utilized in these.


Matt Kraemer of Aluminati Sound has said he was through building NCore cases before and did build some more. I am sure if a couple of people wanted him to do a production run he would be happy to oblige. I just wouldn't wait for them to build some on spec. LOL

Hi Bob,

Good to know; I may be looking for others to make a group request for a Hypex/Alumaniti run if I don't go with the new Pascal/Aluminati X-1 option I'm leaning toward. Their casework really is amazing visually and, hopefully, the Pascal SPRO-2 is amazing sonically.
I'll be monitoring Aluminati's Audio Circle 'circle' for updates on a daily basis soon.