• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Review

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
31,748
Likes
102,995
Location
Seattle Area
#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member. With the options as tested, the cost is US $4,212. As the name indicates, the amp is based on Hypex NC1200 class D amplifiers plus some value add in the form of Sonic Imagery 990Enh buffers, very fancy speaker terminals and even directional fuse from Synergistic Research!

The enclosure is the same elegant design I have tested before with Purifi modules:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Hypex Review.jpg

And here is the back panel connectivity:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Hypex Back Panel Connectors Audio Review.jpg

The massive speaker terminals had no trouble handling my heavy speaker wires.

The trigger input is unusual in that it is supposed to fully shut of the unit, consuming no power (?).

The amps are mounted to the bottom of the case as is typically down. So the top got slightly warm in testing. The bottom though was rather toasty after stress testing. I will post a teardown later.

In use, the NC1200DM never complained, shut down, or go into protection. Even during my intensive power versus frequency that causes weaker designs to bail out, the NC1200DM cruised right on.

Amplifier Audio Measurements
As usual, we start with our dashboard at 5 watts into 4 Ohms:

Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Audio Measurements.png


Channel matching is quite good.

Highest distortion is third harmonic at around -108 dB which mostly responsible for 105 dB of SINAD (signal relative to sum of distortions and noise). This puts the NC1200DM near the top of our rankings:

Best stereo amplifier 2019.png


Signal to noise ratio was quite good especially near max power:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Signal to Noise Ratio Audio Measurements.png


32-tone signal resembling "music" shows exceptionally low intermodulation distortion in audible band:

Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Most meaningful test is power versus distortion and noise so let's get into that with 4 ohm load:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Power into 4 Ohms Audio Measurements.png


We clock nearly 500 watts before the clipping onset. Hypex rates the module at 700 watts which is likely at higher distortion levels (see later). Distortion rises fairly early relative to our reference.

I was surprised to once again see how quiet the NC1200DM was when testing at 8 ohms and comparing to Purifi 1ET400A reference design:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Power into 8 Ohms Audio Measurements.png


Power output leaves 1ET400A behind at 270+ watts. The cost is higher distortion.

Keeping THD+N at 0.1% and sweeping the frequency we get:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Power into 4 Ohms Regulated Audio Measurements.png


Now we peak at 600 watts. Drop at low frequencies where we need power is slight (10% or so). The sudden drop at 20 kHz is usually due to ultrasonic noise shaping and wide bandwidth of this test (90 kHz). In real use, we don't need much power at 20 kHz and at any rate, a lot more would be produced than this chart indicates.

Here is the intermodulation distortion for 19+20 kHz tones for those of you who love this graph: :)
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp 19+20 Intermodulation Distortion Audio Measurements.png


Remember that the threshold of hearing is quite high at 19 and 20 khz even for people with healthy response up to these levels. And at any rate, music never has full amplitude signals at these levels.

Crosstalk performance was very good, stopping just short of our reference:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Crosstalk Audio Measurements.png


Conclusions
The Nord One NC1200M Signature Edition produces tons and tons of clean power with very low noise floor. While other amps have tested with lower distortion, none come to its power output. Audiophiles routinely underestimate how much power they need. As such, it is great to see an amplifier produce so much power while keeping distortion and noise at bay. I see no performance flaws anywhere.

Yes, the "signature" components are of dubious value but they are not hurting things either.

The enclosure is attractive. And the whole package light and efficient. My kind of design. :)

I am happy to give a strong recommendation to the Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp.

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

The panther without the head took my car for a joy ride. The police caught him before he had an accident. Never mind that he has no way of seeing where he was going. He doesn't have a driver's license! So they impounded my car until I pay his huge fines. Just what I needed on top of all the holiday shopping/expenses. Please donate some money so I don't get too depressed over this incident using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
31,748
Likes
102,995
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #5

direstraitsfan98

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 1, 2018
Messages
782
Likes
1,061
#6
Do measurements for a McIntosh amplifier if you can! Preferably one of their top end stereo solid state offerings, like the MC462. I also am curious about stats like current draw and amp usage of these amps during peak output. Is there a way to calculate that knowing the specifications of the amp?
 

veeceem

Active Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
284
Likes
151
#11
Curious what value they are adding with the input stage? I mean this is a big issue with these modules, anyone can put one in a box. Nord provides a very nice box but I'm curious if it outperforms a bare hyped module.
Same question :) I wonder if someone sends a default unit to amirm for testing
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
31,748
Likes
102,995
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #12
I have the Sparkos input buffer to re-test with the Purifi based one. Don't have the stock one. And this unit has already gone back with its owner.
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
6,724
Likes
6,105
Location
Australia
#13
It is actually their blue series. I was told they cost $150 each! That's what makes them directional. Money comes out of your pocket and lands in theirs, and not the other way around....
Both the Orange(called the new Blue) and the Blue fuses are stated to be directional on their website at the bottom of the respective pages.

It is also stated that a 'settling-in period' of 200 to 300 hours is most crucial. At least they didn't trip up by saying 'burn-in'. :facepalm:

The rest of their sales blurb is pretty much science-fantasy/deception.

Calling out erroneous science/physics could be added to equipment reviews of products that come with such, even if they perform well. Otherwise tacit agreement could be construed.
 
Last edited:

TomJ

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
89
Likes
98
#14
I have the Sparkos input buffer to re-test with the Purifi based one. Don't have the stock one. And this unit has already gone back with its owner.
How do ICs like the OPA1632 compare to the discrete Sonic Imagery and Sparkos op amps in buffer applications?
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
62
Likes
60
#15
I was just looking at the options and it looks like Sparkos/Sonic Imagery input buffers are optional extras and you can buy with just the onboard NC1200 instead at no extra cost. I couldn't figure if the fuses were optional though.
 

VintageFlanker

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
1,976
Likes
4,596
Location
Paris
#18
Compared to datasheet:

4Ω:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Power into 4 Ohms Audio Measurements.png

Screenshot_20191207-090954_Drive.jpg


8Ω:
Nord One NC1200DM Signature Stereo Amp Power into 8 Ohms Audio Measurements.png

Screenshot_20191207-090920_Drive.jpg


Power is the same, but distortion seems to have a different behaviour (there is no more drop before clipping point). By the way, @amirm, will you stick to dB instead of % for your THD vs Power graph?


Just for personal knowledge, where a Anaview AMS0100 module would fit in the first graph with all the sinads? Thanks
Datasheet claims 0.005% THD+N at 5W/1Khz. That's 86dB SINAD. Still to be measured, tho.
 

veeceem

Active Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
284
Likes
151
#20
Are a pair of NC1200 modules powerful enough to drive Revel Salon2? I heard that they are very power hungry speakers. I'm aiming for these speakers in the very near future :|
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom