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Current setup - Lampizator, Zypher Labs, Dynaudio

Audiolab M-DAC Mini

jai1611

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Thought I'd put an update here on how the system has changed over the past year or so. I had posted a few months back about downsizing the system and packing up the Rethm gear here: http://www.hifivision.com/my-audio-video-setup/37728-going-reverse-while.html . After that I had set up a simple system with Pulz speakers and amp, along with an old Asseblage DAC. The Pulz amp was past its prime so I looked around for another amp and finally got one from Kanwar (Zypher Labs). Eventually the Lampizator got pressed back into service and now the Pulz speakers have been replaced by a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SE speakers.

I've written about my experience with the Lampizator before. It continues to be an exceptional DAC. The transport being used is the Teac VRDS 10. The speakers are again ones I was quite familiar with and they live up to their solid reputation. The real surprise in the setup has been the Zypher amp.

Its a 250w (@4 ohms, detailed specs pasted below) amp and weighs in at 25kg plus. Seems extremely well put together with the only two bugbears being: 1) a noisy fan which comes on after more than an hour of running in Bangalore weather. I cant hear it when music is playing but do notice it in quite passages. 2) pro connectors - XLR for input and speakon for output. That apart, sonically this amp is something quite special.

Initially when I got the Dynaudio's, I was running the amp directly from the DAC using the two volume controls (one per channel) on the amp. This arrangement had worked fine with the Pulz speakers but wasn't quite coming together with the Dynaudios. While they had more than enough power and dynamics, and the soundstage was fine, the tonality was off with the overall system sounding a bit thin. So I started to experiment a bit. First I added a preamp in the chain - a Matrix M-Stage headphone amp (modded with a class-a bias mod and upgraded op amps). This helped add a bit of body to the sound but there was a still a bit of harshness in the highs. So I changed the digital cable. I earlier used to use a Black Cat Veloce with the Rethm setup but had moved to a Belkin Synapse with the Pulz speakers for a little more bite in the highs. Moving back to the Black Cat cable helped clean up the highs and now the system was coming together properly. I still need to do a bit more tweaking (maybe experiment with cables - right now using ICs and speaker cables that Kanwar made, which are fairly basic). Overall, the system is working well now with the Dynaudio's being given an opportunity to work their magic.

To me, the big surprise in the setup is the amp. I got it for a fairly basic setup and it has scaled up exceptionally with the rest of the setup. So much so that if I were to think of upgrading a particular component in this setup, it would be a tossup between the amplification and the DAC. Its a very clean, neutral amp with no real harshness, great separation and soundstage, enough power reserve to fully carry through dynamics in the music and enough transparency to show up even relatively subtle changes up the chain. The only thing that I keep thinking about changing is the fan - there are a fair number of options available from the quite pc cooling market to do a better job.


These are the specs for the amp that Kanwar had sent me when I got it:
(250 + 250 WRMS @ 4ohms , 0.1% max THD at full rated power bandwidth 20-20khz
Damping Factor: 1000 @100hz @ 8 ohms.
Input sensitivity: 1VRMS,
Input impedance: 22k
Temperature controlled fan
Dual power supply 2X Toroidal transformers , 12 X 12000uF Capacitors.
Dual volume control
Built in LO-pass/ Hi-pass/ Full range Filters
Bridging interface.)
 
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captrajesh

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Hmm sounds interesting. IIRC Kanwar's ypher Labs work in class D Topology. Wonder what would be the power rating @ 8 Ohm load?
 

arj

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Great to hear this ! This is really the time when indian manufacturers can make an impact as the Ex rate really makes imports more and more non-viable !
Congrats kanwar !
 

denom

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Thanks Jai for writing about the Zypher Labs amp. A seriously undervalued amp to drive pigs like Dynaudio's :lol:

Am sure the implementation of the pro audio amp into home audio has shown some of the changes that need to be the done keeping your feedback in mind. Kanwar will surely appreciate your honest feedback :thumbsup:

Looking forward to listening to more amps from Zypher Labs in the near future.

:)
 

captrajesh

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From the damping factor anyone can mistaken it to a Class D amp :D
Even the input impedance differs significantly from the standard 47K which puts restriction on using with any preamp. AFAIK, the input impedance of the power amp should be at least 10 times the output impedance of the preamp. So in this case, the preamp should have an output impedance of 4.7k or less.
 

kanwar

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Thanxz Jaibir for the informative review about one of my tastefully done amplifiers.

I agree that fan noise is not always welcomed in home audio, but the amp gets hot due to slightly higher biasing in class-A region, so force cooling is the only option. Regarding XLR connectors, well i would say even some high end home audio amps do have balanced xlr inputs but one can easily change the terminations of the cables at other ends to RCA, having an XLR is always advantageous for example while pairing it with balanced output from source.

There are few low noise fans available from NMB, i think they look promising in if used in home environment.

Speakon connectors are rated at 40A+ which is more than enough for any application, as a twist lock type they are easy to connect and offer much better performance than usual binding posts.

I am glad that Jaibir is happy with the Zypher mosfet amplifier.
 
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kanwar

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Hmm sounds interesting. IIRC Kanwar's ypher Labs work in class D Topology. Wonder what would be the power rating @ 8 Ohm load?
Even the input impedance differs significantly from the standard 47K which puts restriction on using with any preamp. AFAIK, the input impedance of the power amp should be at least 10 times the output impedance of the preamp. So in this case, the preamp should have an output impedance of 4.7k or less.
Captrajesh,

The amp is around 135W@8ohms , 250W@4ohms & 480W@2ohms per channel on continuous basis. The input impedance is 22k which is as per Pro standards. For home audio its usually 47k as you said. Its not a problem as long as the preamp impedance is lower.
 
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kanwar

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Jaibir,

How about some lovely pics of the setup, i would love to see the amp in your setup. :)


regards,
Kanwar
 
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jai1611

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A few more updates:

1. The Lampizator has been sold. The Behringer SRC2496 is being used as a stand in for now. It has a balanced output so I've plugged it directly into the amp. The Behringer is very good for what it cost and its flexibility (obviously not a patch on the Lampizator though)
2. Tried the Sonodyne 2504 speakers in the main system instead of the movie setup. Do surprisingly well and actually integrate better into the larger room than the Dynaudios do so staying put for now.

The PRAT from the entire system is top notch and I'm quite enjoying the setup. Transparency has taken a step down though but the system does sound a whole lot of fun and frankly this is the most I've enjoyed music since moving to this house in late 2012.

Also got a chance to try out the amp with a pair of Spendor speakers (the ones on sale here: http://www.hifivision.com/sale-owner/50495-spendor-s5e-speakers.html ). The amp did quite a good job with those.
 
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vijwilso

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Jai helped me to check the Spendors S5e ( which i felt demanded more power ) with this amplifier. We carried the amplifier to my home and paired it Nexus 7 -> AudioQuest DAC -> Exposure 2010S2 Pre -> ZypherAmp -> Spendor S5e .

I observed improvement in the overall drive and a rich-vivid mids in the lower volume also , which may be due to higher biasing in the class A . I did not anticipate this kind of performance at this price level. We played different genre for around 30 mints , and in some tracks we found a bit of harshness which i may attribute to the speaker cable ( which i purposefully chosen to be little bright ) and the DAC which is bit sparkling type .

This is really a VFM amplifier , if the fan noise issue is addressed , it comfortably sit in the home environment .

Now , I am little Greedy . Compared to the Primare I-30 which I tried earlier on this setup , the imaging is bit smeared-off , but this amplifier rendered more colorful image compared to Primare which is kind of clinical ( more accurate ) in the mids and to me it taken away the emotional quotient out of the song .This amplifier did shine in those areas and did not compromise on the musical warmth in place of accuracy . What I need is bit more focused imaging . Remember , I am comparing this with 1750 amp. Having said that , i dont have any complains at this price point .

Thanks to Jai for his effort and time in doing this experiment .
 

Jatt_boy

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I did not anticipate this kind of performance at this price level.

Remember , I am comparing this with 1750 amp. Having said that , i dont have any complains at this price point .
From your words it sounds like as if this Zypher amp is very low in cost, eh?

Mind sharing the pricepoint ?

:p
 

jai1611

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From your words it sounds like as if this Zypher amp is very low in cost, eh?

Mind sharing the pricepoint ?

:p
Compared to the Primare it is indeed much lower in price - somewhere around 1/5th of the 1750 figure mentioned for the Primare. Check with FM Kanwar for current pricing
 

denom

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Jai, why no pics shared yet??? Pls do so, tks.

Vijay Wilson, asking you same question. Why did you not not take pics of the set-up you described??? Picture always says thousand words :)

BTW, Kanwar's amp seems to be a giant killer inspite of the 'short comings' you described. Wonder how a lowly pro-audio amp can take on mighty home audio champs like Primare so easily, especially keeping the price in mind :rolleyes:

Wish Joshua had allowed me to listen to it prior to it being sent off to Jai's place :(
 

vijwilso

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Dave (Am i right on the guess ?) , you are very quick to get the name !! :)

I don't have a camera at home now and my mobile camera is bad as in my sale thread . The amplifier is one heavy one , jai and I have to carry it together !!!
 

denom

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Yes, quick gun murugun :D
No need to guess, all know my name on the forum :)

Pls do click pics next time, hopefully by then you will have a decent one or you could ask jai to bring his :D
 

kanwar

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I observed improvement in the overall drive and a rich-vivid mids in the lower volume also , which may be due to higher biasing in the class A . I did not anticipate this kind of performance at this price level.

This is really a VFM amplifier , if the fan noise issue is addressed , it comfortably sit in the home environment .
Killerbrain,

Glad to hear this :)

Thanxz to Jaibir also.


From your words it sounds like as if this Zypher amp is very low in cost, eh?

Mind sharing the pricepoint ?
:p
Pm'ed ya ;)

BTW, Kanwar's amp seems to be a giant killer inspite of the 'short comings' you described. Wonder how a lowly pro-audio amp can take on mighty home audio champs like Primare so easily, especially keeping the price in mind :rolleyes:

Wish Joshua had allowed me to listen to it prior to it being sent off to Jai's place :(
Denom, the amp is regular production pro amplifier model from our stable which was tweaked with higher bias and other settings to suit better into home audio setup.

I don't know why Joshua didn't invited ya that time.:eek:


Cheers,
Kanwar
 

vijwilso

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