Hypex UCD400/SMPS400 build

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Poleepkwa, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Here is something I have been working on : Hypex UCD400 monoblocks with SMPS400 power supplies.

    The build itself is rather simple and very straightforward. So much so that I have to wonder if this really belongs in the DIY section;).

    The biggest hurdle was mounting the UCD400 modules to the Ghent-Audio case as the case is to low to mount the modules directly to the chassis. I decide upon a L-bracket and seem to work fine, while also giving plenty of clearance around the module.

    I have now tested them a while and have been very pleased with them.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  2. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    wow nice. cool LRC coaxials too. was the ucd400 much cheaper than nc400?
     
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  3. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Once upon a time when I had more time for DIY, I was really tempted to build a Hypex amp. Still kinda sorta wanna put together an 8 channel rack mount amp for my PA system.

    What's with the crazy purple glow in the side picture... some long exposure on the led?
     
  4. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    Oh, that’s Cherenkov radiation! It’s the cause for strident highs in Class-D.

    P.S. Cool build. I run a pair of these for my subs. Couldn’t stand them for full range.
     
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  5. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Nice too see the interest in this project.
    I had a good time building these amps. It was a fun and educational project.

    I will expand here on the process, for those considering building something similar, but do not know how to start.

    Warning: Electricity can kill. Proceed with caution and ask help if you are unsure (Hypex support is excellent)

    Fist of all the UCD'400s where chosen as they are about 50 % cheaper than the Ncore kits directly from Hypex.
    Some ears I trust have said they feel that while the Ncore are better sounding, the current UCD's are better value That said , if I was building this for stereo usage only I would probably have bought at the Ncores instead of the UCD400.
    Since my future plans include replacing my receiver with an AV-preamp and run all UCD power amps, which can be build as needed and expanded to include Dolby Atmos, etc, I started with the power-amps for the fronts.

    I decide to go for the HRX version (hence the glow), which are improved power regulators for the power coming in from the SMPS. I can neither confirm nor deny this as I have not hear the various versions side by side.
    Those lights sure are pretty though when they startup.

    I wanted monoblocks - mainly because of ease of building and cooling.This pushes up the price, but it is also easier to find pre-made cases.

    My research led me to GhentAudio and their cases.
    I might be incorrect, but these seem to be the case that Hypex uses in their own kits.
    Ghent himself responds quickly to questions and seems very flexible in how these case can be modded.

    The cases I went with are the NCORE-MX3 Solderless Mono Case-Kit.
    This kit includes:
    SMPS600 Power supply cable-set,
    Balanced XLR input of good qaulity.
    Chunky pair Binding posts
    Switches, aluminum feet,ect
    Dimmer LED
    Pre-drilled holes for many modules.


    The Hypex modules and connection cables I sourced locally:
    Hypex SMPS400 + cable set
    Hypex UcD-400HG (HG with HxR) + cableset.
    Pricing works out to about 400 euros per mono-block.

    The Ghent case is not directly compatible with the UCD400, meaning the module it cannot be attached directly to the case via its heat sink. Ghent do provide did pre-drilled holes for the UCD400, however then a separate cooling heat sink would be needed. I felt this gets needlessly complicated.
    In my case I decided to use a 4 mm aluminium L-Bracket.I drilled the holes to attach the UCD module and then holes in the case to mount the bracket too.

    The build itself is really simple.
    Hypex themselves have proven to be an excellent resource and have assisted my many questions and also provide a safety check for the build.

    Follow the instruction and it really is very self explanatory.

    A few point to keep in mind:
    - The SMPS400 does have mounting holes-pre-drilled - one of the contact points cleaned up from paint in the caseto ensure a proper found connection with the metal spacer of the SMPS400. Make sure it is orientated correctly.
    - do twist all the cables tightly and separate from each others
    - do connect the earth ground unless your are building it to safety class 2 specs.
    - Pin1 from the XLR connector should be grounded to chassis ground.


    Having tested these for a while now, I am very pleased with the sound- quality on these in my setup.

    Conclusion:

    The UcD's have proved to be a sound, solid device, absolutely stable.
    The louder the better it sounds.
    Not harshness/sibilant/stridency at all.
    Nice detail in the upper end.
    No compression with going loud, it simply seems "unflappable".
    Simply a clear step up from the amplification in my Athem receiver.

    Sure, compared to these (better tube/ class AB/ class-A) stereo amplifiers it will probably lose out on sound-quality for with better ancillary gear.

    Many here find it "un-listenable". A bit too workman like in approach, a bit too straight in the edges.

    For me these are a great compromise between power, flexibility, and expand-ability.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
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  6. Poleepkwa

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    Yes, about 50 % of the cost of the Ncores.

    The glow is from the HxR-regulators and to long exposure.
    I too will probably build another 8 channel amp with UCD180's.
    Challenge will be to find a a sensible case and outlay.
     
  7. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    If you're planning on using the amps for running an active system, I'd recommend Class-AB like FirstOne or Modulus for mids/highs. You can feed them off a SMPS to save space/weight.
     
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  8. Poleepkwa

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    I will look into those. Looks interesting!
     
  9. freedomgli

    freedomgli Rando

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    Cool project. Are you still enjoying them today?

    I lucked into some custom Hypex UCD400 amps that once powered the bottom of some very nice YG Acoustics speakers. They can be run full range or as dedicated sub amps. I run them full range to power my main L/R stereo speakers. My dad is a woodworker and helped me make the cases for them.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Poleepkwa

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    I still do! I really do not see myself changing it anytime soon.
    Very nice looking cases! I have made something similar for my Plateamp that powers my subs.

    Those amps of yours are using torodials, so I guess they weight quite a bit?
    How do you like the sound for full-range?
     
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  11. freedomgli

    freedomgli Rando

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    Yes, the amps are quite heavy because of the big transformers. One day I’ll have to weigh them on the bathroom scale to see just how heavy. They seem very neutral and accurate to me. I don’t have a lot of personal experience changing amps. Before I had a tube amp and before that an old NAD 2200PE and different speakers so cannot easily compare. My system has been in such a state of flux I can’t really comment on them other than to say I don’t think they’re my limiting factor at the moment. Check back with me in a few years after I’ve optimized my room, cables, etc. Maybe then I’ll be interested in experimenting with other amps. But for now I’m content.
     

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