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Apollon Hypex NC2K Amplifier Teardown

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amirm

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#1
This is a tear down of the recently reviewed Apollon NC2K monoblock amplifier. Both the owner and the company gave kind permission to do this.

As you all know, the heart of these amplifiers are power supply and amp modules provided by Hypex to its OEMs. There are some optional parts however such as the input buffer (amplifier), 12 volt trigger, etc. Beyond electronics, we also need to pay attention to quality of assembly as there are a number of DIY people getting into this business without the requisite knowledge of safety and proper signal routing. So let's start with our overall layout and shot of the amplifier:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER teardown.jpg


One word came to mind when I opened this unit: wow! This is one clean assembly. The layout is clean. Everything is properly routed and super tidy. This is the best I have seen in these amplifiers.

Drilling in, the 2000 watt of power is generated by that tinny Hypex NC2K single channel amplifier. It is incredible how much efficiency in power and size we get in class D amplifiers. I did not look underneath but I am assuming the output power transistors are mounted to the chassis which I might add, is quite heavy and substantial for a class D amplifier.

Despite their high efficiency, you need a more powerful power supply to feed that amplifier to account for its own losses and that of the amplifier. This is provided by the Hypex SMPS 3K series switching power supply. As the name indicates, it is rated to produce 3000 watts. Consumption though seems to be around 3.8 Killowatts:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER SMPS3K Capacitor AISHI teardown.jpg


While we are on this picture, the capacitors are made by Aishi which sounds Japanese but is the largest electrolytic capacitor company in China, producing 12 billion capacitors a year! Based on my quick look, their market is mostly light fixtures. The quality is apparently OK but I can't say I have run into them before.

The rest of the boards are provided by Apollon. While the black silk screen makes it impossible to see the traces and hence reverse engineer them :), they do look nice and serious. As noted in the review, this sample came with Sparkos discrete op-amp modules. I was impressed by the nice gold sockets they are mounted in:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Sparkos buffer board input teardown.jpg


As an aside, and as noted on the picture, all the cable tie downs are screwed to the chassis and not some double stick tape that comes off by the time you get the amplifier let alone longer time.

The next board is a linear regulator. It too seems to be using discrete modules rather than dirt cheap ICs:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Discrete linear regulator teardown.jpg


Can't read the brand name on the caps. Maybe one of you can identify them.

Electrical safety is paramount with a product with mains input and here, I was impressed with the best treatment for earth safety ground:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER proper grounding teardown.jpg


Nicely crimped green/yellow wire and screwed to a surface that doesn't have black anodization. This eliminates the need for sanding off underneath the cable which some manufacturers forget to do (or don't know that they should). This also helps with heatsinking of the power transistors.

And boy, are these hypex amp modules are made to travel given how they have glued everything and anything down:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Component glue teardown.jpg


Usually only heavy capacitors are glued down as they can literally pull themselves out of their PCB holes (seen and repaired some already).

The choice of amplifier capacitors from Hypex as usual is second or third tier:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Samwha Capacitor teardown.jpg


Conclusions
I am always apprehensive when I open these Hypex based amplifiers worrying about amateur hour assembly. The exact opposite happened with the Apollon NC2K: this is a beautifully assembled amplifier matching and exceeding any requirement I have in such implementations. It is so clean you could take a picture of it and put it up on a wall as a poster! Very well done.

This strengthens my previous strong recommendation for Apollon NC2K amplifier.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Had a somber development earlier this morning. No amount of money is going to remedy that so not going to ask you for any donations with this review.
 

tomtoo

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#4
"... I did not look underneath but I am assuming the output power transistors are mounted to the chassis.."

At the hypex site you can see that the modules have two layers. The lower is a metallplate where the transistors are mounted. I mean at least it locks so.
InFrame_1603226206081.jpg

InFrame_1603226938802.jpg
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #6
So who's gonna sell this assembly with Nichicon caps ?
Nobody. You would need to place a large order with Hypex and spec the upgraded caps. I don't think it will happen.
 

Apollon Audio

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#8
This is a tear down of the recently reviewed Apollon NC2K monoblock amplifier. Both the owner and the company gave kind permission to do this.

As you all know, the heart of these amplifiers are power supply and amp modules provided by Hypex to its OEMs. There are some optional parts however such as the input buffer (amplifier), 12 volt trigger, etc. Beyond electronics, we also need to pay attention to quality of assembly as there are a number of DIY people getting into this business without the requisite knowledge of safety and proper signal routing. So let's start with our overall layout and shot of the amplifier:

View attachment 88765

One word came to mind when I opened this unit: wow! This is one clean assembly. The layout is clean. Everything is properly routed and super tidy. This is the best I have seen in these amplifiers.

Drilling in, the 2000 watt of power is generated by that tinny Hypex NC2K single channel amplifier. It is incredible how much efficiency in power and size we get in class D amplifiers. I did not look underneath but I am assuming the output power transistors are mounted to the chassis which I might add, is quite heavy and substantial for a class D amplifier.

Despite their high efficiency, you need a more powerful power supply to feed that amplifier to account for its own losses and that of the amplifier. This is provided by the Hypex SMPS 3K series switching power supply. As the name indicates, it is rated to produce 3000 watts. Consumption though seems to be around 3.8 Killowatts:

View attachment 88766

While we are on this picture, the capacitors are made by Aishi which sounds Japanese but is the largest electrolytic capacitor company in China, producing 12 billion capacitors a year! Based on my quick look, their market is mostly light fixtures. The quality is apparently OK but I can't say I have run into them before.

The rest of the boards are provided by Apollon. While the black silk screen makes it impossible to see the traces and hence reverse engineer them :), they do look nice and serious. As noted in the review, this sample came with Sparkos discrete op-amp modules. I was impressed by the nice gold sockets they are mounted in:

View attachment 88767

As an aside, and as noted on the picture, all the cable tie downs are screwed to the chassis and not some double stick tape that comes off by the time you get the amplifier let alone longer time.

The next board is a linear regulator. It too seems to be using discrete modules rather than dirt cheap ICs:

View attachment 88768

Can't read the brand name on the caps. Maybe one of you can identify them.

Electrical safety is paramount with a product with mains input and here, I was impressed with the best treatment for earth safety ground:

View attachment 88769

Nicely crimped green/yellow wire and screwed to a surface that doesn't have black anodization. This eliminates the need for sanding off underneath the cable which some manufacturers forget to do (or don't know that they should). This also helps with heatsinking of the power transistors.

And boy, are these hypex amp modules are made to travel given how they have glued everything and anything down:

View attachment 88770

Usually only heavy capacitors are glued down as they can literally pull themselves out of their PCB holes (seen and repaired some already).

The choice of amplifier capacitors from Hypex as usual is second or third tier:

View attachment 88773

Conclusions
I am always apprehensive when I open these Hypex based amplifiers worrying about amateur hour assembly. The exact opposite happened with the Apollon NC2K: this is a beautifully assembled amplifier matching and exceeding any requirement I have in such implementations. It is so clean you could take a picture of it and put it up on a wall as a poster! Very well done.

This strengthens my previous strong recommendation for Apollon NC2K amplifier.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Had a somber development earlier this morning. No amount of money is going to remedy that so not going to ask you for any donations with this review.
The caps on our linear regulator board are Nichicon MUSE. :)
 

dfuller

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#9
Frustrating that an amp this expensive (and make no mistake, it is expensive by normal people standards) uses cheap Chinese electrolytics. But that's more on Hypex than Apollon. I wouldn't want caps that aren't Japanese or American/European in a switching power supply.
 

ezra_s

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#11
want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money...want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money...want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money...want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money... :p
 

Archsam

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#12
This is great, as it is difficult to distinguish all the different Class D power amps out there - most Hypex based amps are build using the same modules and power supplies, and priced very similarly. It often comes down to choosing the best looking casing / cheapest price.

Knowing how well Apollon build their amp definitely put them to the top of the list in my book.
 

stunta

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#14
want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money...want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money...want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money...want this.. have no money.. want this.. have no money... :p
I have no need for this whatsoever and still want it.
 

BDWoody

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#15
I have no need for this whatsoever and still want it.
I know what you mean...

I wish I had some speakers and a space that could make use of something like that.

Like when I see a cool tractor, and I wish I had a farm.
 

Tks

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#16
Good job with pictures bossman! Gotten so much better over the years. Btw, what setup are you running? Camera/lens if you don't mind me asking?
 

Apollon Audio

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#17
Does it worth? Do this increase the music enjoyment in a double blind test?
(Honest question, thanks in advance for your answer)
My Best
Lorenzo
If I’m very honest with a cap upgrade the amp measures and sounds the same as with stock caps. The main difference is that the SAMHWA caps which are stock on most Hypex modules have a lifespan of around 5.000 hours and the Rubycon or Nichicon caps that we use have a lifespan of around 20.000 hours. The only caps that make a difference are the output caps on NC2K, NC500 and NC400 modules. Originally Hypex was using very good Polypropylene caps from WIMA on NC2K and NC400 modules. This is not the case anymore. Now they use far cheaper output caps. The only module that still has the very good output caps is the NC1200. I believe that because of the output caps that are used nowadays on the NC400 module for instance, it doesn’t measure as good anymore like it measured in the ASR review.
 

dfuller

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#18
Does it worth? Do this increase the music enjoyment in a double blind test?
(Honest question, thanks in advance for your answer)
My Best
Lorenzo
Any cap not in the signal path probably will have next-to-no impact if any on the output signal. It's more a reliability thing. Chinese caps are not known to stand up especially well under high ripple current (especially at higher frequency), high heat conditions... some American capacitors can be kinda janky too (ask any guitar amp tech about IC/Illinois electrolytics, we'll pretty much all say "they're bad").
 
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OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #20
Good job with pictures bossman! Gotten so much better over the years. Btw, what setup are you running? Camera/lens if you don't mind me asking?
Thanks. The camera is one of my older Canon 1Ds series (Mark III?). The lens is the Canon Macro 100mm F2.8L IS. Got that so that I could take shots handheld but then gave in and use a Gitzo tripod with ball head. Main lighting is a cheap but wonderful lightbox: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L9895XQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1



The whole thing sits on an electric adjustable office desk so I can move everything up and down to get the right shot.

Alas, I can't get to the top of it to take these teardown pictures from that vantage point. I place the unit on its side against the back and then use two more spotlights to illuminate the dark spots. Final stage is in photoshop where I reduce contrast as I find that my calibrated monitor shows far more detail in the shadows than typical uncalibrated monitor shows.

The camera is tethered to the PC over USB and has remote power so I don't have to mess with batteries, transferring pictures, etc.

It all takes a ton of space though and has made a mess of my work area but the results are worth it I think.
 
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