Recommend a NS10 Amp?

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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

There are a host of adjectives describing the quality of a power amplifier, and a similar number of different interpretations and perceptions on what those adjectives mean.

A more powerful amp, in general, will control the speaker more effectively than a low-powered amp -- meaning, for example, that it can make the bass driver start and stop moving more precisely. This is a good thing... but the potential downside is that it can also 'overpower' the speaker causing damage to drive units.

With the best will in the world, NS10s aren't the most accurate of speakers, or the most difficult to drive. Historically they were often driven with Quad amps -- 303s (50W/channel) or 405s (100W/channel) -- but to be honest pretty much anything with around 100W/ch would do the job perfectly well.

I don't believe there is a 'holy grail' of most desirable amp to partner the NS10, and I suspect whatever weakness you're trying to address with a different amp is more likely to be an inherent limitation of what the NS10 can actually do!
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:With the best will in the world, NS10s aren't the most accurate of speakers, or the most difficult to drive. Historically they were often driven with Quad amps -- 303s (50W/channel) or 405s (100W/channel) -- but to be honest pretty much anything with around 100W/ch would do the job perfectly well.

I don't believe there is a 'holy grail' of most desirable amp to partner the NS10, and I suspect whatever weakness you're trying to address with a different amp is more likely to be an inherent limitation of what the NS10 can actually do!

Thanks again Hugh, I appreciate that. You explained that wonderfully!

The main reasons for the upgrade is so that I can have balanced inputs and also the additional power. Hoping the upgrade will eliminate the hum I am getting, which I suspect is as a result of unbalanced connections. Certainly no expecting miracles so to speak but an overall improvement would be great:-)
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

The Nord One MP NC252 250W, was also suggested as a worthy contender and it is one of the choices I am considering. Any thoughts? Opinions welcomed😄

https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/product ... -power-amp

Thanks in advance👍🏾
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Yes, it uses Hypex NCore class-D module amps which are very good.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:35 am Yes, it uses Hypex NCore class-D module amps which are very good.

Thank you Hugh for your response, which is encouraging and also very helpful. 😄
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by James Perrett »

Yes, that Nord Amp is supposed to be slightly better than the UcD based amps that I mentioned before but it is around double the price. I'm not sure that you'd notice the difference with NS10's.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

James Perrett wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:54 pm Yes, that Nord Amp is supposed to be slightly better than the UcD based amps that I mentioned before but it is around double the price. I'm not sure that you'd notice the difference with NS10's.

Thanks James for your response. I haven’t ruled out the option you kindly provided. Although, I have been on the hunt for user reviews and they are extremely thin on the ground! The main thing I need to ascertain is how “silent” is the unit?! especially with it using fans and not convection cooling. I just need to ensure that it doesn’t generate any audible noise, as I will be sitting very close to it! Also I would be absolutely thrilled if I can spend less then the Nord, but it does cause me to wonder how are they able to produce this unit at such a low cost?! 😄
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by James Perrett »

I'd be surprised if the fans even came on at typical monitoring levels because the modules run fairly cool in my experience. However, I can't say for sure as I've not used those particular amps so I don't know what temperature thresholds they've set for the fans.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

James Perrett wrote: Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:44 pm I'd be surprised if the fans even came on at typical monitoring levels because the modules run fairly cool in my experience. However, I can't say for sure as I've not used those particular amps so I don't know what temperature thresholds they've set for the fans.

Appreciate your response James and for your honesty. I’m awaiting a response from them to hopefully answer my questions. So will be sure to update if I do go ahead with the purchase.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Hello again,

I just wanted to provide an update on the amp situation:-). James: you might be interested to know that I did in fact purchase the amp, which you so kindly recommended ING STA-400D. However, unfortunately I did have to return the unit! Namely due to the noise it was producing, which was too loud when sitting in close proximity. However, the fan noise was noticeable but not as much of an issue as the strange rattling noise and hum that it also produced. I appreciate the recommendation and I am glad that I did get to audition the unit and could see that it would have been less of an issue if i was not so averse to noise and also if I was situated further away from the unit.

I then proceeded to order the Avantone CLA 100 based on your advice regarding wattage Hugh: I decided to go for the 100 watt p/c model as opposed to its bigger brother CLA 200. I figured the CLA 100 would be perfect for my needs as I don’t listen to my NS10’s at glass shattering levels!! but rather quite modest levels. Early impressions so far is that I am really happy with it. It’s still early days but i certainly hear an improvement in the NS10’s, which is great. I had comments from someone who came into my home studio and commented on “what’s changed” as they thought I had new monitors and said “sounds great and completely different”, so they were unaware that I had in fact changed the amp, so that is also encouraging. I will continue to test and update if anything changes.

Thanks for all your help and advice.😄
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Great news. Thanks for the update -- it's always helpful to hear how the recommendations worked out.

Disappointing about the unwanted mechanical noises from the ING amp.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by James Perrett »

Thanks for the update. It is disappointing to hear that, what should be a very fine amp, was messed up by something that IMG added.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Hi again Hugh and James

Yes it was a great shame, as my pockets would have thanked me had the IMG STA 400-D worked out, (thanks for correcting my typo James:-) It wasn’t to be unfortunately, but I am still glad that I got the chance to put it to the test as otherwise. I would have been left wondering!!!

I have a further question for you both or anyone else that can shed some light…do amps generally require burn in like say monitors do??

Many thanks in advance
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Martin Walker »

Angelface78 wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 3:28 pm However, the fan noise was noticeable but not as much of an issue as the strange rattling noise and hum that it also produced.

This could have been a mains transformer inside the unit buzzing acoustically, whose level is tied in to the purity of the mains waveform you receive, and as such might be inaudible, or even change in level throughout the day.

So it's certainly possible that the rattling noise wouldn't be audible to the amp's designers and many of its users.

Then of course it could be due to dodgy design ;)

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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Thanks Martin for your helpful explanation as to what may have been the cause, as I did wonder! The noise did seem to be louder at points and less so at other times during testing. Therefore, what you have mentioned does seem possible. However, it was slightly irritating and I tend to think if things start out as a small annoyance a lot of the time they then become bigger annoyances:-) or sometimes you simply get used to it!! Although, I didn’t feel it was something I could live with hence me returning it pretty swiftly.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by James Perrett »

Martin Walker wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:24 pm
Angelface78 wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 3:28 pm However, the fan noise was noticeable but not as much of an issue as the strange rattling noise and hum that it also produced.

This could have been a mains transformer inside the unit buzzing acoustically, whose level is tied in to the purity of the mains waveform you receive, and as such might be inaudible, or even change in level throughout the day.

This uses a switch mode power supply so no mains transformer to rattle or hum. The important parts of this amp (power supply and amp modules) look identical to my main monitor amp which produces very good results. I'd guess that one of the fans was faulty as, from looking at internal pics, that's about the only thing in there that could produce a rattle.

The cost of the amp is actually cheaper than the cost of buying the individual modules for the private constructor so I'd be tempted to buy it and then rip out all of IMG's modifications (the fans and the input board) and just feed the balanced inputs of the Hypex modules directly. The fans are unlikely to be needed in the typical studio environment - certainly mine are still cool after a days work.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Thanks James for your response. You are clearly very knowledgeable and know these amps well-far more then me that’s for sure:-)! The very fact you mentioned possibly purchasing the unit to rip it apart indicates to me that you have a good working knowledge of them, as the thought of doing anything like that would fill me with absolute dread😄. Let’s say I know my limits!! But please report back should you decide to do so. I would be interested to hear your experience.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:53 am Just for clarity... ART have two similarly-named, but completely different products.

The CleanBOX II is a dual-channel passive box containing a pair of audio transformers connected with TRS sockets in and out. The transformers provide galvanic isolation between the line level inputs and outputs (to break ground loops) and also convert between balanced and unbalanced connections on either side.

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It operates at nominally unity gain (ie, the output level is the same as the input level) and is ideal for converting between unbalanced outputs and balanced inputs, or vice versa, and for breaking ground loops.

It has a slightly more expensive (but far more versatile) sibling called the DTI which is essentially the same thing in a differently shaped box with a plethora of different parallel-wired connectors on each side (XLR, TRS and RCA-Phono). This makes it far more convenient for connecting different devices as well as for splitting and duplicating signals. (I have five of them at the last count as they are so extremely useful).

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Then there's the CLEANboxPro which is a dual-channel 'level converter'.

Image

It looks similar to the DTI, but it has volume knobs on the front and no TRS connectors!

Internally, this is a very different device, though. It is an active product that requires external power, and it is intended to connect unbalanced domestic equipment like video recorders etc to balanced professional equipment. To that end, it receives unbalanced (RCA-phono) inputs at a nominal -10dBV and provides +12dB boosted balanced outputs at +4dBu. It also receives balanced +4dBu inputs and attenuates them by 12dB to provide unbalanced outputs at -10dBV. (The actual gain is adjustable.)

The nature of the active circuitry means there is no galvanic isolation between inputs and outputs. It's a useful box for converting between consumer and professional equipment connections, especially if you need to also adjust the signal levels, and can also be used to interface between pro gear and fx pedals. But it will not help with ground-loop problems.

Hi Hugh or anyone else who can answer this question:-)

I reintroduced my IK ilouds micro monitors back into my system as a second set of reference monitors. However, there is a buzz and hum coming from them constantly, which I am trying to eliminate. It is less noticeable when music is playing of course, but when the music stops it’s quite noticeable. Do you think any of the Art devices such as the DTI or Cleanbox. Pro might help with this? I would prefer a passive design over powered if possible. I am currently using Pseudo Balanced RCA Phono to TRS Jack Van Damme leads connection from speakers to Audient Nero Monitor controller, so I don’t think the issue is with the leads-as they were quite expensive and I did purchase them to try to mitigate potential unbalanced to balanced issues. So I wonder if an Art device would be helpful in this instance?

Many thanks in advance
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I suspect the problem here is that the speakers lack a solid ground connection (since they appear to be powered from a double-insulated external PSU).

That being the case, your 'pseudo-balanced cables' probably aren't helping, and isolation transformers could make it even worse.

I'd suggest trying simple mono jack (TS) to RCA-phono cables. That way the shield of the RCA cable will carry the ground back to the Nero... which will hopefully be carrying a solid ground from other devices connected to it.

If the Nero itself lacks a solid ground (as it too is powered from a double-insulated PSU) then you could try grounding the speakers with a wire between something you know to be grounded and something earthy on the speaker.
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Re: Recommend a NS10 Amp?

Post by Angelface78 »

Thanks so much Hugh for your very helpful and also insightful response.

It’s disappointing that the pseudo leads aren’t helping here, but it’s good to know. I will certainly do as you have kindly suggested re. Leads but think that will require me purchasing some new ones! I did also try attaching Ferrite noise suppressor cable clips to the power supply lead, but this did nothing at all, so I removed them.

I always wonder why these manufacturer’s use these power supplies especially for audio when they are aware of the noise that they can potentially introduce. I know cost is the probably the main reason, but I’d much rather spend a bit more to be free from hum:-)!!

Also I am slightly unclear re. how to ground speakers using wire as you kindly mentioned! So I am hoping the new leads might do the trick instead , as I wasn’t sure if the speakers or power supply were faulty.

Thanks again Hugh
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