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Review and Measurements of IOM NCore Pro PWR Amp

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the IOM NCore Pro, Hypex NC252MP class-d based stereo power amplifier. It was kindly purchased by a member and drop shipped to me. It costs €669 from the company website.

The IOM Ncore Pro comes in very compact and solid enclosure:

IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier Audio Review.jpg


The on/off button feels very good but I find the fonts very cheesy. That same theme continues in the back:

IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier back panel Audio Review.jpg


I could not even read those fonts on the gain toggle switch until I took the above picture!

Great to see XLR balanced inputs in addition to RCA. Note the unusual, horizontal placement of the left and right speaker terminals. I am used to them being stacked vertically when they are so close to each other.

In use the top of the amp barely increased in temperature. The bottom was a bit more warm but nothing remotely of any concern. There were no shutdowns. However, I did not try to stress load it.

Amplifier Audio Measurements
As usual we start with our 5 watt into 4 ohm test. I chose the XLR input and low (XLR) gain for all of these tests:

IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier Audio Measurements.png


The SINAD (signal over noise and distortion) of 94 dB places the OMI Ncore Pro in the upper tier of amplifiers/AVRs tested:

Best Audio Amplifiers Measured and Reviewed.png


Which was a relief after testing a number of home theater amplifiers that stacked on the right of the graph.

Frequency response is dead flat but not super wide:
IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Signal to noise ratio at max power output before clipping into 4 ohm was quite respectable:

IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP SNR Amplifier Audio Measurements.png


Here is the intermodulation distortion at very high frequencies (19 and 20 Khz tones):
IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier 19 and 20 kHz IMD Distortion Audio Measurements.png


You have well over 16 bits of distortion free at modest listening levels. Keep in mind that your music never has such high amplitudes at these frequencies. So in practice, the distortion will vanish into noise.

Crosstalk performance was excellent:

IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Crosstalk Amplifier Audio Measurements.png


The meat of any amplifier review is power versus distortion and noise. Here it is at 4 ohm:

IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier Power at 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Shame to see the early rise in distortion starting at 20 watts. That aside, you have considerable amount of power clocking at 236 watts, both channels driven in this tiny enclosure.

Switching to 8 ohm load we get:
IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier Power at 8 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Now the early rise in distortion is more modest. We get 125 watts of power at a SINAD of 91 db. Interesting to compare it to Purifi 1E400A which produces similar power but a whopping 130 dB SINAD or 40 dB better!

Peak power is sadly not much more than steady state due likely to regulated power supplies:
IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier Peak Power at 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP Amplifier Peak Power at 8 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Good thing the baseline level of power is quite good.

Conclusions
The IOM NCore Pro amp is a solid performer courtesy of competent hypex NC252MP class D amplifier modules. The packaging is nice and tidy and the price seems reasonable to me.

No, you are not getting state of the art performance. That is in another category altogether. But that level of performance will cost you more money and comes in a larger package.

Overall I am happy to recommend the IOM NCore Pro amplifier.

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

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VintageFlanker

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#2
Thanks @amirm! Good to see a good performing amp after all these mediocre AVRs.

Sounds like a honest offering for the price. The performance comes "close" to the NC252MP datasheet.

It almost matches the datasheet specs for max power at 4 and 8 ohms, and even exceed it for peak power.

Still, I think you may have dual-NC250MP offering for the same price and get even better performance.
 
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daftcombo

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#3
Thanks Amir!

I think this is one of the best clean power/$ amps tested here.

Do you have more Hypex /Ncore coming for testing?
 

maty

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#4
Last edited:

VintageFlanker

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#6
Maybe is better idea two mono modules, NC250MP
As I said, the mono NC250MP performs a bit better distortion-wise. As the mono NC500MP does vs stereo NC502MP (except for peak power at 8ohms).

NC252MP:
Screenshot_20190914-111001_Drive.jpg

NC250MP:
Screenshot_20190914-111107_Drive.jpg


I can not see... any ground!!!
Look closer at the black wire, coming out of the IEC. Seems it is connected somewhere.
 
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#8
Thanks amirm! Great to see more Hypex in complete products. I'd love to see how an XTZ Edge A2-300 holds up to this. Hypex vs ICEpower, should be interesting!
 

VintageFlanker

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#10
I'd love to see how an XTZ Edge A2-300 holds up to this. Hypex vs ICEpower, should be interesting!
I'm afraid datasheets already tell us a lot... Assuming the XTZ uses 300AS1 (and a 300A1?) modules...
Screenshot_20190914-112424_Drive.jpg


And this is supposed to be the reference design, so results will be similar at best, maybe worse for some reasons. It does NOT compete against Ncore NCXXXMP.
 

maty

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#11
Talking about XYZ Edge, more than a year ago, when the IcePower 1200AS (Audiocircle threads) came out I crossed some emails with the founder of XYZ. He replied that the Edge was more than enough and they had no plans to implement any other class D module.
 

Matias

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#12
@amirm could you please show the wide band frequency response to see the switching frequency?
 

HammerSandwich

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#15
Any ideas about all the 60Hz harmonics in 1st plot? I don't recall seeing that in other Ncores.
 

Matias

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#16
Any ideas about all the 60Hz harmonics in 1st plot? I don't recall seeing that in other Ncores.
Yes, I noticed this too. Probably a better cable management and modules position would have avoided this.
 

maty

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#17
Yes, easy to view. The black cable (ground), the module turned 180º, unprofessional. It seems that we are seeing a picture of a DIY product. The 252MP uses the same box and I do not see any ventilation holes or additional heatsinks.




https://www.audiophonics.fr/fr/recherche?search_query=hypex+mp

-> https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/powe...s-d-amplifier-2x500w-4-ohm-ncore-p-13344.html

NC500MP x2



We can tune the wiring, try with a RF/EMI Schaffner, thicker top cover and... The important thing is that we have a better starting base than in the previous one.


NC250MP x2

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/powe...s-d-amplifier-ncore-2x250w-4-ohm-p-13545.html
 
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SEKLEM

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#18
Yes, easy to view. The black cable (ground), the module turned 180º, unprofessional. It seems that we are seeing a picture of a DIY product. The 252MP uses the same box and I do not see any ventilation holes or additional heatsinks.




https://www.audiophonics.fr/fr/recherche?search_query=hypex+mp

-> https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/powe...s-d-amplifier-2x500w-4-ohm-ncore-p-13344.html

NC500MP x2



We can tune the wiring, try with a RF/EMI Schaffner, thicker top cover and... The important thing is that we have a better starting base than in the previous one.


NC250MP x2

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/powe...s-d-amplifier-ncore-2x250w-4-ohm-p-13545.html
Ooh, I like that case. Love the rear panel layout.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #19
@amirm could you please show the wide band frequency response to see the switching frequency?
Sure. Ran it but forgot to post:
IOM NCore Pro amp Hypex Ncore NC252MP FFT Amplifier Audio Measurements.png


Switching frequency is about 410 to 420 kHz.
 
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