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Apollon Hypex NC2K Monoblock Amplifier Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Hypex NC2K based amplifier from Apollon. The unit was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me for testing. The NC2K has different options and starts at 1.990,00€ or US $2,342 as of this writing. The version I have has the Sparkos SS2590 input buffers, plus the optional 12 volt trigger and XLR + RCA inputs, each of which costs an extra 50€.

Despite being a class D amplifier with switching power supply the NC2K is rather hefty which I attribute to the case weight:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER stereo review.jpg


As you can see, it is not very fancy but does the job.

The back panel has super beefy speaker connectors:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER back panel XLR Binding Post Balanced  stereo review.jpg


The NC2K spec indicates a power supply voltage up to 98 volts with current of up to 45 amps! So better have solid connectors and good distance between them. Be mindful of the high voltage running in these speaker cables especially if you bury them behind the walls. Make sure the cable is rated to these high voltages and currents.

For my testing, I exclusively used the XLR input.

In use, I could not detect the temperature of the case rising above room temp. How hot the modules got inside, I don't know.

Apollon Hypex NC2K Amplifier Measurements
As usual we start with our dashboard of 5 watts into 4 ohm load:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Audio Measurements.png


On power up the SINAD was 103 dB but after some warm up in dropped a bit to 101. This is good enough to put the NC2K in the top 7 of all amplifiers tested to date:

Best monoblock amplifier review 2020.png


Best monoblock amplifier review 2020 zoomed.png


This amplifier produces tons of power -- far in excess of the continuous ratings of my dummy load resistors. So I am being a bit careful in the follow up test when it comes to max power. To wit, I did not push the amp to full power for the right side signal to noise ratio:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER SNR Audio Measurements.png


Still, these are superb numbers. At 5 watts I like to see an amp clear the 16 bit dynamic range of CD which many amps fail. This amplifier despite being so powerful, is extremely quiet producing 102 dB of SNR. With 3 volts of input which is likely well over 1000 watts, it shot up to 21+ bits of dynamic range! Fantastic!

I reduced the number of measurement points for my power test as to get through it quick so resolution is a bit less than other measurements:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Power into 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Seems like there is an intermediate non-linearity that shows up between 10 and 100 watts and then stabilizes until we start to saturate the amp/power supply. I didn't dare letting it go to full clipping. As you see it produced a healthy 819 watts. Allowing distortion to rise and also measuring peak power we get:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Peak and Max Power into 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Wow! This is from a shared 20 amp outlet where I am powering my computer and Audio Precision and we still get 1.8 kilowatts of continuous power at 1% THD+N. And burst power of 2.3 KW.

Even with 8 ohm load we have a ton of power:
Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Power into 8 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Because my frequency sweep tests run for a while I limited the max power:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Power vs Frequency vs Distortion Audio Measurements.png


Same mid-power non-linearity presents itself, aggravated by higher frequencies.

Finally, the output filter is a bit more aggressive than I like:

Apollon HYPEX NC2K BASED MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIER Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Conclusions
When I think of high power switching amplifiers, I think pro amplifiers. Alas, they have fans and measured performance that is well below our average for all amplifiers tested. The N2K fixes both with a fully passive design with well above measured performance. For that, you of course pay a lot more money than a commercial amplifier.

Nothing sounds worse than an amplifier that clips. In that regard, having more power than you ever need on tap with no noise, heat, size or weight drawbacks, buying an amplifier with this kind of power can be justified.

I am happy to recommend the Apollon NC2K amplifier.

Edit: here is the teardown: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/.../apollon-hypex-nc2k-amplifier-teardown.16920/

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

We don't have warm enough weather to grow proper eggplants. I gave it the best try this year though and grew a bunch of oriental purple ones. They did not get very large but harvested a few pounds. Made my favorite dish with them last night: Chinese Eggplant in dark sauce:

Chinese Eggplant with dark sauce.jpg


The peppers were also from our garden. Man it tasted good then and even better when I warmed it up for lunch today.

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#2
Like the looks and it seems a very good build quality. Curious about a teardown as Apollon's also seem to have nice innards.
 

Matias

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Labjr

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Looks well assembled. While assembly shouldn't be a problem since it's pretty much all these companies do, some look pretty amateurish.
 

Archsam

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#6
Yum. Both the peppers and the amp :p
 

restorer-john

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@amirm Great review. I sure understand not wanting to cook your precision loads.

...Looks well assembled...
Internally it looks quite respectable for sure. The exterior leaves a bit to be desired. Panels gaps and bends visible on the rear. Certainly not remotely good enough for a multi thousand dollar amplifier...


1603148616508.png


There's no bracing for the rear panel at all and no central screws for the top or bottom panels. It wouldn't pass muster at a Japanese manufacturer.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #9
The exterior leaves a bit to be desired. Panels gaps and bends visible on the rear.
Yeh, there is a screw loose underneath that I noticed when I carried it to take a picture of it. I have owner's permission to do a teardown so that will come soon.
 

Xyrium

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Wow, that is a ton of power. While that non-linearity issue is irksome, I have a feeling it may never be encountered audibly when powering speakers capable of absorbing that much power, continuously. In that vein, it's Hypex, so I assume 800W means 200W continuous. :)
 

Matias

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In that vein, it's Hypex, so I assume 800W means 200W continuous. :)
If instead of music you listen to 0dBFS sine waves for several minutes uninterrupted, then sure, it's a fraction of the rated power. For all normal and loud music listening this is irrelevant.
 
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Matias

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#12
Out of the 12 blue amps in the SINAD ranking, 10 have Bruno Putzeys' modules in them.
 

Xyrium

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It's as relevant as any manufacturer specification should be, and if you are powering loudspeakers in a large venue and expect to reach a specific SPL, you want those specs to be clear. I won't drag the thread down the Hypex module rating" rabbit hole again, so I respect your opinion of course. :)

Hypex is crushing it in most regards. I only wish my little NAD C368 would have fared better, even given the older modules in use. :rolleyes:
 
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@amirm Great review. I sure understand not wanting to cook your precision loads.



Internally it looks quite respectable for sure. The exterior leaves a bit to be desired. Panels gaps and bends visible on the rear. Certainly not remotely good enough for a multi thousand dollar amplifier...


View attachment 88628

There's no bracing for the rear panel at all and no central screws for the top or bottom panels. It wouldn't pass muster at a Japanese manufacturer.
This is just a kit case from modushop.biz
 

Dmitri

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Invite me to dinner...please.
It's as relevant as any manufacturer specification should be, and if you are powering loudspeakers in a large venue and expect to reach a specific SPL, you want those specs to be clear. I won't drag the thread down the Hypex module rating" rabbit hole again, so I respect your opinion of course. :)

Hypex is crushing it in most regards. I only wish my little NAD C368 would have fared better, even given the older modules in use. :rolleyes:
So you telling me I can’t weld with it? Darn.
 

Matias

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I suppose if you are going to use an amp to play continuous full scale sine waves or arc weld with it, better add a large fan pointing down on it. :p
 
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