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Buckeye Nc502mp Review (6 Channel Amplifer)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Buckeye Hypex NC502MP based, 6-channel amplifier. It was kindly purchased and drop shipped to me by our dear moderator, @AdamG247. I don't know what it costs.

Not sure what there is to say about the case:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Review multichannel amplifier.jpg


Or the back panel:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Review Hypex multichannel amplifier.jpg


Other than the fact that it has trigger switch and that the XLR connectors are upside down. You need to use two hands to unlock and then pull out the cable. And heaven help you if you don't know there is a locking tab underneath and you keep trying to yank out the cable anyway!

In use, the amplifier is very robust, going into and out of protection with no shut downs (when overdriven). Note however that once it starts to clip, there is a high pitch whine from the power supply inductors.

Amplifier Stereo Measurements
I started my testing with the amplifier module all the way to the left in the picture above (opposite of AC input). Here is our warm up graph:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements warm up distortion multichannel amplifier.png


Was glad to see the unit stabilize in a couple of minutes so I did not have to wait forever. Once there, here is our dashboard:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements distortion multichannel amplifier.png


I don't know what is going on with the channel in blue producing a lot more power supply noise (relatively speaking). Grounding made no difference. As a result, one channel is 3 dB better than the other. Averaging the two still lands the amp into our upper tier of all amplifiers tested to date:

best multichannel amplifier class D review.png


Despite the power supply issue above, signal to noise ratio is excellent and superb if driven to max power:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements SNR multichannel amplifier.png


Frequency response shows no sign of load dependency which can be common in class D amplifiers:
Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements Frequency Response multichannel amplifier.png


Multitone test gets polluted by the aforementioned power supply interference:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements Multitone multichannel amplifier.png


Crosstalk was not as good as I expected although in grand scheme of things, it is not bad:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements Crosstalk multichannel amplifier.png


Let's see how much power this thing can pump out starting with 4 ohm load:


Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements Power 4 multichannel amplifier.png


We have more distortion than I like but that comes with a ton more power than our more accurate but less powerful amplifiers. Allow 1% distortion and we get even more:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements Peak and Max Power 4 multichannel amplifier.png


Very impressive considering that you have 6 channels in this lightweight enclosure!

As noted, power did not increase when I split the measurement between two independent modules at each end of the case. This indicates we are amplifier limited, not power supply (each module has its own power supply).

Switch to 8 ohm we get better noise and distortion although the main issue is still there:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements Power 8 multichannel amplifier.png


Multichannel Performance
I thought I was all set for measuring more than 2 channels only to find out the balanced cables I had bought had the wrong gender. :( So all I could do was drive 3 channels at once:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements Power 8 3-channel multichannel amplifier.png


What you see is the same stereo pair measured with and without the extra channel also being driven (not shown in the graph). There is no impact at all which makes sense as these are independent modules and nothing but the power cord is shared between them.

Looking for consistency between the modules, I measured each one separately:

Buckeye 6ch Nc502mp Measurements three module Power 8 multichannel amplifier.png


Conclusions
While still way ahead of countless amplifier designs, the Hypex NC502MP modules are built more for power than ultra low distortion. Not a bad compromise considering the fact that running out of power is quite audible and rise in distortion probably not. Beauty of class D amplification is showcased by Buckeye in producing six times 600 watts of amplification in a light, and compact case. I will do a teardown later but so far, I am happy with what is there, sans the upside down XLR connectors.

EDIT: Teardown posted: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ypex-nc502mp-multichannel-amp-teardown.27648/
------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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sweetchaos

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This was long anticipated. :D
Thanks the review.
Thanks to @AdamG247 for purchasing and sending it to Amir for review.
Thanks to @Buckeye Amps for his excellent work.

As of today, the cost is:
6 channel NC502MP, XLR inputs (Neutrik), Mogami wiring, 12v trigger, Power LED (Blue) = US$1649 shipped
You can find pricing by looking at Buckeye's posts.
 

abdo123

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lt rather looks like 300W/4ohm? What means “6 times 600 watts”??
Each module has its own power supply so the amplifier is capable of 600W per channel while they’re all being simultaneously driven to max power.

Generally multichannel amplifiers share the power supply so the rated power goes down as channel count goes up.
 

JSmith

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I don't know what is going on with the channel in blue producing a lot more power supply noise (relatively speaking). Grounding made no difference. As a result, one channel is 3 dB better than the other.
Thanks for the review Amir. It would be good to see a teardown thread in relation to the above, which may even assist @Buckeye Amps to isolate the cause with some more opinions regarding same from yourself and general members.



JSmith
 

mac

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Fyi. These modules are 100% self-contained. Literally AC-->(power switch /fuse)-->module-->speaker outputs, and XLR-->module. Not much room for assembly errors (except for inverted XLR jacks).
 

solderdude

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What means “6 times 600 watts”??

3.6kW in total in 6 speakers of 4 ohm @ 1% THD ;)

index.php


When you do this with a continuous sine you'll:
A. Blow up your 6 speakers
B. Draw over 16A on 220V (32A on 110V) and may trigger household breakers
C: Would need to wear earplugs

Headroom is always a good thing to have and so is a volume control.

Hypex specs the 502 modules as 500W/channel/4 ohm though. Acc. to Amir's measurements this is at 0.4% THD.
 
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DuncanTodd

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The XLRs were upside down in the NC252MP version too:
 

Qbd

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The first SNR result doesn’t list the signal level. From what I recall it’s usually 5 W?
58C26B3A-DD3B-42F9-97C3-5966F5B23D99.png
 

dougi

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Performance of the same modules seem a bit different cw the March Audio P502 Amir previously measured. Slightly less power and more of a distortion hump. Strange. Have the modules been tweaked a bit over time?
 

pma

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3.6kW in total in 6 speakers of 4 ohm @ 1% THD ;)

Surprisingly I know this. My comment was related to the fact that above 300W/4 ohm the spectrum will be very ugly and 300W (313W)/4 ohm is a clean power limit.
@amirm , would you kindly show the 600W/4ohm spectrum? This might have been quite surprising for many here.
It might also be interesting to see 6x600W supplied from wall outlet plug …..
 

Walter

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@amirm, it is a bit difficult to tell from that third chart due to the plots overlapping, at least with my eyesight, but it appears that all three modules had the same issue with about a 3-5db discrepancy in distortion level between the two channels. Is this correct? If so, I'm not an engineer, but wouldn't that indicate that the issue is in the modules themselves, not the implementation? The $1,000+ 2 channel March Audio P502 also showed the same behavior, albeit without the hump, although it actually had 3-4db worse SINAD.

EDIT: Actually the March did have a hump, especially at 8 ohm.
 

Walter

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Looks decent as a companion to an AVR or processor.
Very, and a stereo version would be great for inefficient speakers. I'd really like to see the NC252 version reviewed.

Edit: oops, my bad. It already was.
I’m surprised this amplifier does not have golfing panther despite being in the blue region.

Is that rating reserved for the ABH2 level only moving on? Because nothing sensibly priced per Watt will ever beat this performance.
Agreed. This is the first time since he instituted the panther poll that my assessment disagreed with Amir's, and there is no poll this time! However, I understand that he generally rates on an absolute scale rather than value for money, so I can see why the rather plain case and upside down XLR connectors would influence his rating. Neither would bother me very much. In comparison with the other main budget American competitor, I think the VTV amps are some of the best looking at any price, but I'd personally buy Buckeye instead and get better workmanship (although I've read that VTV has improved a lot) and save $240.
 
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Koeitje

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Surprisingly I know this. My comment was related to the fact that above 300W/4 ohm the spectrum will be very ugly and 300W (313W)/4 ohm is a clean power limit.
@amirm , would you kindly show the 600W/4ohm spectrum? This might have been quite surprising for many here.
It might also be interesting to see 6x600W supplied from wall outlet plug …..
6x600W from a socket is standard in my country and many other countries around the world. 230V/16A.
 
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