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Buckeye 6 Channel Amplifier Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Buckeye Hypex NC252MP based, 6-channel amplifier. It costs US $1149 as of this writing. The owner/builder is @Buckeye Amps on our forum.

The looks are fine for a well-priced build:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP review Multichannel.jpg


The unit is quite light courtesy of rather thin sheet metal. I am not as worried about the top being thin but the bottom is as well and that is where heat is generated. You won't likely push all three modules to max but if you did, I would put taller feet under it and maybe even some temperature controlled fans. In my testing the bottom just got a bit warm so not a major concern.

Back panel shows standard connectors plus the trigger input:
Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP review Multichannel Balanced XLR.jpg


I stopped using my Mogami Gold XLR cables because I wanted to have colored ones. I bought a batch from Amazon that is nice and flexible cabling but some kind of generic XLR connectors. I have found them to be a hair worse than my Mogami cables as far as fit. On the Buckeye amp though, I could barely get them into the XLR connectors and then back out. I tried other XLR cables and my other generic ones were also stiff. The Mogami cable however, was a bit tight but nothing as bad as my generic ones. I know tolerances very but I had not seen this level of compatibility before with any other gear I have tested. Anyway, it is a one-shot deal so not a big deal even if the problem exists.

Buckeye NC252MP Measurements
Internally we have three stereo amplifier modules. So I decided to drive the unit in stereo using first and last channels. This way we have some variation in modules and their placements. Here are the results:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements.png


Hypex spec is 0.002% which we are meeting here. I could not figure out why the one channel had so much more mains noise (blue). I tried every kind of grounding but it made no difference at all. SINAD though is dominated by the second harmonic so that noise is not so material in that regard:
best class d amplifier review.png


So quite competent and better than any mass market AVR amplifier.

Frequency response is pretty good for a class D amplifier:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements frequency response.png


Signal to noise ratio is excellent even with that extra mains hum. It nicely clears the noise floor of a 16-bit digital format:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements Signal to Noise Ratio.png


Crosstalk naturally was superb when measuring two different modules but also good in stereo mode in one module:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements Crosstalk.png


Fascinating that a DIY amplifier can be so good whereas many premium audio products we test struggle here.

Let's get into the meat of the review which is the power into 4 ohm load:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements Power into 4 ohm.png


The red pair of lines is using the two channels out of one amplifier module. We see healthy amount of power to the tune of 224 watts each.

Strangely when I tried two different modules (first and last as before), performance dropped some in both channels even though one channel is the same as before! Maybe the two amps are fighting each other a bit for current. Or there is some kind of beat frequency between them. Not a real worry though as far as audibility but interesting nonetheless.

Typical of these class D amplifiers with regulated power supplies, there is no peak power:
Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements Max and Peak Power into 4 ohm.png


Here is our output with 8 ohm load:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements Power into 8 ohm.png


Testing for frequency dependency, we get good results as we expect from Hypex modules:

Buckeye Amplifier 3XNC252MP Measurements Power into 4 ohm vs distortion and frequency.png


Conclusions
I don't know the module price for the amps within this unit but getting 6 channels of amplification with such performance is a heck of a deal. You are benefitting from a DIY person building these for you with no intention of making a living. :) I will do a teardown soon and we can see if the internal build is good.

I am happy to recommend the Buckeye 6 channel, NC252MP based amplifier.

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Matias

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Thanks for the review.
 

617

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I think we were all hoping an American company would sell hypex modules in utilitarian cases for a reasonable cost...nice to see Buckeye doing this. If I ever make a dipole multichannel monstrosity I'll be looking at these amps. Very good value, especially the big boy two channel ones.

@Buckeye Amps any option for speakons?
 

Buckeye Amps

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I think we were all hoping an American company would sell hypex modules in utilitarian cases for a reasonable cost...nice to see Buckeye doing this. If I ever make a dipole multichannel monstrosity I'll be looking at these amps. Very good value, especially the big boy two channel ones.

@Buckeye Amps any option for speakons?

I have had enough people ask now that once I get caught up on case restocking/through the Holidays I will have some back panels made-up for optional SpeakONs. So sometime in February they should be an option
 

617

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I have had enough people ask now that once I get caught up on case restocking/through the Holidays I will have some back panels made-up for optional SpeakONs. So sometime in February they should be an option

So, fyi, one use case for this is is in multi channel speakers with one cable going from the amp to the speaker with 4-8 conductors. So you might end up with a configuration having 3-4 inputs and one output. Save yourself some headaches and use the exact right shielded fastons and so on.
 

PeteL

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such performance is a heck of a deal. You are benefitting from a DIY person building these for you with no intention of making a living. :)
Great stuff, yes heck of a deal, and we should thank mr @Buckeye Amps for this amazing contribution, but also, this is the keyword here. I do hope that you at least count SOME man-hours, because you may get a lot of orders... Let's admit, May I suggest, without being cynical really, to not leave your day job for our benefit, and if you become enthusiasth about this, take time to get second opinions on a business model. It's not what that's worth folks our friend here is making the community a sweet gift.
 

Buckeye Amps

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Great stuff, yes heck of a deal, and we should thank mr @Buckeye Amps for this amazing contribution, but also, this is the keyword here. I do hope that you at least count SOME man-hours, because you may get a lot of orders... Let's admit, May I suggest, without being cynical really, to not leave your day job for our benefit, and if you become enthusiasth about this, take time to get second opinions on a business model. It's not what that's worth folks our friend here is making the community a sweet gift.

I've been thinking about this the last two days as I have gotten a good amount of orders recently. I have a good idea right now of how many I can fill with a 2wk lead time if only doing work for a few hours a night and on the weekends. It works well for me as I am at a point of my PhD where all my work is done in the morning....once my dissertation comes onto the radar in about 18 months that'll be a different story but a lot of time until then.

Since this isn't a business/living, worst case is I will have to have a longer lead time if orders pile-up. I understand this may drive away some buyers who are hoping to have an amp quickly. But for those who are planning an A/V setup or can wait, it works out.

Of course the lead time is an average. If I got (5) 2-channel orders all at once, those are pretty easy to complete in one night if I have all inventory necessary.

I'm being as fluid as I can be with this while being upfront to all those who contact me with interest regarding timelines, etc.
 

Promit

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Is the case directly rack mountable? If no, will it fit and how many units will it take up?
 

617

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I've been thinking about this the last two days as I have gotten a good amount of orders recently. I have a good idea right now of how many I can fill with a 2wk lead time if only doing work for a few hours a night and on the weekends. It works well for me as I am at a point of my PhD where all my work is done in the morning....once my dissertation comes onto the radar in about 18 months that'll be a different story but a lot of time until then.

Since this isn't a business/living, worst case is I will have to have a longer lead time if orders pile-up. I understand this may drive away some buyers who are hoping to have an amp quickly. But for those who are planning an A/V setup or can wait, it works out.

Of course the lead time is an average. If I got (5) 2-channel orders all at once, those are pretty easy to complete in one night if I have all inventory necessary.

I'm being as fluid as I can be with this while being upfront to all those who contact me with interest regarding timelines, etc.
Lol I procrastinated during my master's thesis but this is next level. Very impressive.
 

Buckeye Amps

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Is the case directly rack mountable? If no, will it fit and how many units will it take up?
I have three size cases depending on configuration (12", 17" and 19" wide). All are 2U height without feet. But they are not rack mountable. Even if you put your own rack ears on them, as Amir pointed out the bottom is a thin aluminum and would not hold the suspended weight. Unfortunately I cannot change the thickness of the bottom aluminum, as it is an exact size required for fitment into the extruded aluminum sides.

However, they all fit on a rackmount shelf, including the 19" wide case (it is exactly 18.8" wide).
 

maxxevv

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So, fyi, one use case for this is is in multi channel speakers with one cable going from the amp to the speaker with 4-8 conductors. So you might end up with a configuration having 3-4 inputs and one output. Save yourself some headaches and use the exact right shielded fastons and so on.

Paired with say an Okto 8 channel, this would be good for making a pair of DIY 3-way actively amplified speakers too, with the active controls all done via system software.
 

Vasr

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1. It is ridiculous to compare a multi-channel amp with an AVR. A multi-channel amp driven with two channels should be no different from a stereo amp.
2. The worst of a Class D amp is better than most of Class AB in SINAD performance.

I will let the down-under folks wake up and point out the obvious. ;)
 

PeteL

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1. It is ridiculous to compare a multi-channel amp with an AVR. A multi-channel amp driven with two channels should be no different from a stereo amp.
2. The worst of a Class D amp is better than most of Class AB in SINAD performance.

I will let the down-under folks wake up and point out the obvious. ;)
It,s being compared to: Benchmark AHB-2, Nad t-758, Leppy LP-2020, and Purifi ref design. Those are not AVRs, I don’t think anybody made that comparison, aside stating that it performs better than any of that, Maybe obvious, but people looking for 6 channel are likely to be in the market for an AV.R so it’s certainly relevant to mention, that the amplification part is not on par.
 
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