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DIY ICEPower 200ASC + 200AC in a Ghent Audio case

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#1
Just finished my amplifier this week. I am pretty happy with the results. Ghent was amazing to deal with. I was concerned with something coming in from China for a multitude number of reasons. I chose Parts Express to guard against fake parts for the ICE modules. I had considered some other configurations but for the money this seemed like a reasonable compromise. This is my first class D amplifier. I built this to replace a Rotel RB981 (130 watts rms into 8 ohms) as it is getting on in years and my wife thinks its ugly. How does it compare? It kind of sounds the same. Maybe the new amp is not as loud at half volume from the Rotel preamp but it runs really cool, like ice, with no coil whine; the Rotel is dead silent as well but runs very hot. The bass is possibly tighter but maybe thats in my head. It is definitely a good replacement for me. I am working on a video and almost finished part 1. I can post when done.

Total cost $360

This included expedited shipping from China and the XLR cables from Amazon.

Cheers!

IMG_20200115_142135903.jpeg


IMG_20200115_192647767.jpeg
 
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#2
Will a 2V standar DAC using rca to xlr addapters be able to feed enough signal yo drive it to full level ? Or is it mandatory to have a dac that can output the standar 4V in Balanced xlr ?
 
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#3
I use a Rotel integrated amplifier with the pre outs. I used a RCA to XLR cable. My guess is you need 1 volt [edited o_O] but I will check when I get a chance.
 
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#7
I wonder what your differences is in energy usage?
No idea. Using the Rotel Power amp to power the Phase Techs hard it would get hot enough to cook my breakfast. The Hivi (swans 2.1) were not too bad. When I turn off the amp I hear no pop that I used to get from the old Rotel amp.
 
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#8
I was thinking about building this amp or any D class module amp or the ACA from Nelson Pass this past summer. After reading the review from Amirm I had made my decision. Definitely class D; but what modules? I saw the Toid123 video and it looked good but saw no reviews from others. I was thinking about the ICE125ASX2 but I would have to build 2 units to get roughly the same power for a little more money than what I finally decided on. Also; I was not sure if they were genuine parts or not. Parts Express has guarantees on their parts and I like them as a company.
I did see one guy from Canada review the amp and he did not dislike it. Most Stereo reviewers on YouTube can wipe a monkeys butt as far as I am concerned......don't get me started.:eek: Anyways, that is the prologue to this build.
 
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#12
Maltux,

I'm pretty new to the whole hifi scene. I am looking for a stereo amplifier to drive any projects I might take in the forseeable future regarding speaker builds. I was originally thinking 75 watts per channel would be plenty and purchased a dayton APA150 A/B amplifier from Parts Express. It sounds like I'm playing a dusty record when the music is really low or the amp is idle. So much hiss, hum, and crackle... Returning it. It sounds pretty good to my ear once I turn it up though.

Currently I have a 2020A tripath amp and a Fosi TPA3116-based amp and the tripath was mostly quiet at idle and the TPA3116 is even more quiet, can only hear it with an ear against the tweeter and it's just a gentle fuzz. They both sound better than anything else I've heard close up in person through my basic Parts-Express C-notes.

I have a few questions about the ASC200 setup. How is the noise floor on it? Is it pretty quiet?
Also I don't fully understand the concept of a preamp. Would I be able to connect this directly to my computer's soundcard and use the volume control on my PC as a preamp? What would happen, hypothetically, if you plugged an mp3 player directly into this amp and used that mp3 player's volume control as the preamp? I just want to make sure I don't need something special just to drive the power amp.
Currently I use the volume on my computer to control the volume of setup anyways, so ditching the volume knob on my amp is welcome for consistency's sake.

I would like to avoid buying another piece of gear if there really isn't a point to it.

My TPA3116 and certainly the Tripath both distort before reaching the full capabilities of my C-notes, let alone future builds. I'd like to build a set of Amiga's in a month or two and they would definitely do better with more power.
 
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#13
Maltux,

I'm pretty new to the whole hifi scene.
You need a preamp or integrated amplifier or AVR with preamp outputs. There are no good cheap alternatives to my knowledge; possibly other members on the forum will have some ideas for you. Maybe Schiit Audio has one. A preamp will send out a 1 volt signal. I would NOT use this with your computer or mp3 player without it as you will need to control the volume and need a consistent signal. The amp I built is relatively inexpensive for what it is but without a preamp you will not get the desired results.

The amplifier is dead silent and there is no noise floor that is audible to my ears. It is a great power amp.

Good luck with your future builds.
 
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#14
Also I don't fully understand the concept of a preamp. Would I be able to connect this directly to my computer's soundcard and use the volume control on my PC as a preamp? What would happen, hypothetically, if you plugged an mp3 player directly into this amp and used that mp3 player's volume control as the preamp? I just want to make sure I don't need something special just to drive the power amp.
Currently I use the volume on my computer to control the volume of setup anyways, so ditching the volume knob on my amp is welcome for consistency's sake.

I would like to avoid buying another piece of gear if there really isn't a point to it.
I would recommend a pro audio interface with balanced outputs to feed an amplifier like this directly. Something like a Motu M2 or Focusrite Scarlett. PC based volume control would be very good in a setup like this. Simple interconnects like this and you're done. https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Premier-4inch-16AWG-Plated/dp/B001UJGNMO
 
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#15
Darn, guess I need a preamp. The M2 that was linked does look like a pretty nice unit, and would act as an external DAC for my computer, better shielded than it's integrated one. It could also be a headphone amp for me, making it more convenient to use my HD58X's at my desk without having to swap cables.

Currently I use a 4k smart TV as a computer monitor at the foot of my bed. I use it's smart TV capabilities to watch TV from bed and I swap my RCA's over to it's output to run my C-Notes and sub. But the M2 appears to have line levels in the front and with a couple RCA to TS jacks I could run the TV audio through it as well, if my understanding of it's documentation is correct.

That M2 would eliminate all of my cable swapping.

I guess a preamp is the next piece of kit I need in my setup, not a decent power amp, silly me. The power amp will come eventually though! Thanks for the help guys!
 
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#17
Darn, guess I need a preamp. The M2 that was linked does look like a pretty nice unit, and would act as an external DAC for my computer, better shielded than it's integrated one. It could also be a headphone amp for me, making it more convenient to use my HD58X's at my desk without having to swap cables.

Currently I use a 4k smart TV as a computer monitor at the foot of my bed. I use it's smart TV capabilities to watch TV from bed and I swap my RCA's over to it's output to run my C-Notes and sub. But the M2 appears to have line levels in the front and with a couple RCA to TS jacks I could run the TV audio through it as well, if my understanding of it's documentation is correct.

That M2 would eliminate all of my cable swapping.

I guess a preamp is the next piece of kit I need in my setup, not a decent power amp, silly me. The power amp will come eventually though! Thanks for the help guys!
A topping DX3pro Will do as annexcelent preamp plus doubling as a capable headphone amp. I use one in my livingroom setup and it works like a charm. 4k TV --> optical spdif out --> DX3PRO --> whatever you want in my case powered monitors AND matching sub, but it can be your icepower amp. Dx3 Is convinient and easy of use, plus it even streams bluetooth
 
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#18
I've done some research and while the MOTU M2 is a less tried and tested unit, it does seem to be a superior one. The headphone amp inside is superior to the 204HD and it supplies properly high line-outs in the back, where the 204HD is known for being "Anemic" and not driving some amps to full power. MOTU M2 it is I'd say! I just wonder if the line-outs are as clean as the 204HD's are, there isn't any objective testing data available yet that I could find.

The Topping is missing the fully balanced line-outs that the MOTU and 204 have while costing more. Not to mention the extra capability the usb audio interface has. I do have an electric guitar I could find motivation to pick up again if I had some good amp sims running on my PC. I didn't even know you could do that until I started researching the audio interfaces.

I'll look into the Topping as well though.

Actually, I found some real scientific measures of the M4, which uses the same electronics but with less interfaces. Looks pretty good to me! Here are the things that I've found:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/motu-m4-loopback-measurements.10890/
https://panther.kapsi.fi/posts/2020-02-02_motu_m4

I think the M2 is definitely the answer. That's it, done hijacking this thread. Will post pics when I build the amp eventually.
 
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#19
I think the M2 is definitely the answer. That's it, done hijacking this thread. Will post pics when I build the amp eventually.
A big part of my recommendation is based on my experience with the Motu Ultralite AVB which is the 8 channel big brother to the m2/m4 with the same DAC implementation. I use it to run DIY active speakers. Good luck!
 
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