M700s arrive next week. Anyone have any experience comparing them (or the ICE modules) to Hypex?

I’ve been using a DIY Hypex NC500-based two channel amp for the past two years in one of my systems, and I plan to replace it with the M700s. If I understand correctly the PS Audio amps are based on B&O ICE Power top of the line (?) class D with a PS Audio mainstay analog cell front end. I’ll be running listening tests feeding them first directly from the DSD DAC and then using the DSD’s XLR outputs to a Krell preamp which I will then connect to the M700s via XLR as well.

My experience with two separate Hypex based amps (NC500s and NC502) has been that neither required the extensive “burn in” time you often read is necessary for class D. So I’m wondering why it would be any different with the PS Audio. On top of that I’ve never noticed any burn-in changes with my PS Audio DSD DAC either when new or updating firmware.

Anyone have any experience in comparing the Hypex amps with PS Audio’s implementation of the ICE Power? I’m anxious to get it all connected.

P.S. I’ve long since lost the thread on the Snowmass firmware, but I have come to like it more than Red Cloud.

300 hours of burn in. I have mine for over 3 weeks and left them on 24/7 for the first week and a half. They sound incredible. The Analog Cell input stage is the secret sauce for this pair of amps (thus the burn in time).

Originally, I was just gonna buy two special order 500W ICE Amps with the built in power supplies from Parts Express and integrate them into a chassis where my heavily modified and feshly recapped an re resistored by me Bose Series 2 EQ. Once I’d costed the parts and my personal time (and frustrations). It would have cost me around $2000 USD. When I saw the Stellar Stack deal which gives you the SGCD at $700 off list, it was a no brainer. The Theory being PS Audio’s 30 day trial period guarantee’s If I don’t like ‘em, I can send ‘em back. Can’t return the ICE Amps to Parts Express if the integration with my “Dog’s Breakfast” don’t co-mingle well together.

@KCCK I have also seen people comparing DIY Ice class D amps with many other amps claiming the DIY kits are identical to any other amp, just much cheaper.

I guess @rajugsw hit the nail right on it’s head, those people forget a very important part of the power amplifier, the input stage. This is important for how the complete amplifier will sound. Also the DIY kits probably come with a lot of internal connectors and wiring. While not bad for DIY kit purpose, as those are selected with ease of use in mind, I trust the likes of PS Audio do a much better job of keeping: contact resistance low (noise), routing / quality of wiring scientifically optimized (crosstalk) and inductance and capacitance low (phase distortion).

The wiring is something the enthusiastic engineer putting the kits together may be able to improve, but adding an input stage and voicing the complete unit to optimum sound, low distortion and noise levels is very hard to do without the experience of voicing and very expensive measurement equipment.

If a DIY kit sounds good enough for you or you have the experience, nerve, time and equipment or you simply just want to tweak it to satisfaction, why not.

What convinces me, is that class A input stage, Darren Myers designed and voiced together with Paul with the assistance of state of the art measurement equipment, and a team with a lot of experts and experience. The Stellar M300 / M700 preferably with Gain Call DAC are a much better deal then a DIY kit.

I just never bother with burn in times, as I buy the equipment for the long run. I accept that the equipment sounds a bit less when just switched on, what can you do? It should only get better.
But equipment that sounds crappy from the get-go, while having paid hundreds of not thousands of $/€ I will return.
Whether or whether not, or how much the sound improves during burning in seems like a lottery to me anyway. If the burn in matters very much, make the burn in process part of scope of delivery. Don’t sell me crappy stuff.

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Whether Ice or Hypex, I would like to see a review comparing them both, maybe PS audio did that and I would be curious why the one over the other. As far as I can tell Hypex is certainly top notch.

Bruno Putzeys and his team come from the old Philips R&D team that was involved in many Audio high quality and technological complex developments. I was fortunate enough to have been able to see their complete R&D facilities in Leuven once. Impressive lab and impressive friendly and honest people. Just check out the Mola-Mola web site and the army of High End active speaker companies Dutch & Dutch, Grimm Audio and Kii Three that are recently founded by very enthusiastic scientists and audiophile fanatics.

I called Kii three “plastic fantastic” but that does not mean that any of those solutions or products are bad. A matter of budget and taste really.

In fact, ELAC utilized Hypex class D power stages combined with class A (separately linear powered!) input stages in their Alchemy DPA-2 Mono/Stereo power amplifier, with comparable specs and features to the Stellar M300.

The ELAC DPA-2 is EUR 1500. Cheaper then the Stellar M300 that is regularly priced at EUR 1850 in Europe (after Easter sale at only selected stores EUR 1400).

Prices vary highly for PS Audio equipment in Europe from store to store and week to week.
So go and get the M300 while you can, right now.

Either ELAC and PS Audio work a lot together or they copy each other’s concepts. I am between a rock an a hard place now, I like PS audio, but also ELAC.

Anyway I look forward to the Stellar Gain Cell DAC arriving in May.

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It’s interesting you mention that. Because at least one very closely related PS Audio reseller is also an official ELAC seller. This firm is based in Colorado as well, so now that you got me thinking about it, I would not be surprised if there isn’t some kind of relationship - formal or casual - between some of the higher-ups or engineers at ELAC and PS Audio.

Heck for all I know, this is actually something which has been previously discussed in a forum or publication and I’m just not aware of it.

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Nice. 300 hours is a long time. I cannot fathom what could possibly be happening on the electrical component level past maybe 20 hours of continuous on-time, though.

Hey I must have missed this somewhere else, but do you know which ICE module PS Audio is using in the M700s and S300?

Just out of curiosity, what have you had previously or do you have now to which you compared the PS Audio stack, sound-wise, and how would you characterize the PS Audio amps in terms of sonics? I’m definitely looking forward to taking delivery of mine this week.

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My old Adcom GFP-345 Preamp and GFA 545II was my last Preamp/Amp combo. While I was waiting for the PS Audio items to arrive a my apartment, I rented a Crown Amp from Guitar Center for a few days just so I could test my breakout XLR connections. The purpose purely to test the true balanced connections, I’d “hacked” out of my Sony STR-DN1080 that bypasses the volume control but retains all the audio features on the Receiver.

I’ll be doing a review of how nicely the PS Audio Stellar Stack integrated onto my home theater setup very soon.

Here a link to my YouTube Channel. It’s kinda lame at the moment, but it will get better. These Video’s aren’t easy to do.

Your YT link must have been eaten by the comment platform software.