Life With Ric Schultz' $2200 Highly Tweaked EVS 1200 class D IcePower Dual Mono 600w Amp


Unboxing: no expensive tool and die laser cut foam, though I suspect that will change once the word gets out. However, it Is EXTREMELY well packed. After all, these are Rics’ babies  

Listening: I have listened to my system, as is, for a good 3 months, so I am very familiar with the way it sounds on various types of music, including red book and SACD/DVD-A   My sole/soul reason for ordering the EVS 1200 was my DPA-1 is undersized for my large room. It would be totally unfair to compare to my DPA –1 @ 125 wpc vs the 1200s 600wpc,since my large room robs a lot of the DPA-1s goodness out of it, especially on dynamic music. (this was evident when I compared it to the PS Audio M700s MSRP $2999.) In a large room there’s no substitute for sheer power.    

A fair comparison would be to the new Elac DPA-2 (same designer as the DPA-1) which is 210wpc as a stereo amp, BUT with the flip of a switch it becomes a 625w mono amp @ $1499: 2 DPA-2s is $2990. Factoring in built in dealer markup, pretty much apples to apples price-wise. Now, unless someone sends them to me, it’s anyone's guess how they would stack up. Besides one power cord is cheaper than 2. My DPA-1 sits on my rack connected direct to 20 amp dedicated wall outlet with a WireWorld series 7 PC. 

Initial Set Up: I don’t have room in my rack unless I remove the DPA-1, just in case I wanted to compare. No need! Instead, I put a milk crate in front of my rack. 4 x 4” ceramic tiles were placed at the corners. On top of the tiles is a large 3/4” thick acrylic shelf, with 4 Machina Dynamica springs directly under the 1200. Alas, the WW PC is too short. Not to worry, I have an excellent TekLine PC ~ $900 MSRP that has been powering one of my subs. It’s well broken in and long enough to make the connection. Not exactly 100% the same, but under the circumstances, close enough.

Prior to the 1200s arrival I listened to Yo Yo Ma’s Soul of the Tango, which is very clear, but not a demanding disc, and it sounded terrific. Logically, it was the first disc I played through the EVS 1200. Although initially lean sounding, which I find typical of new kit, or kit that has been unplugged for a good while until the parts get warmed up and/or broken in. However, immediately the 1200S provides a deeper sound stage and the instruments sound BIGGER. Just what the doctor ordered. I can tell good things are at hand. YMMV

This is all I will say about the EVS 1200 until it has considerably more hours on it  

A NIT PICK: I forgot to put the resistors on last night, or to flip the enable/disable switches on the back of the amp to standby. I know Ric is all about keeping things simple BUT, moving the toggles to the front, actually, replacing them with push button switches that light up red for standby/green for play (or just green for play) would not only be helpful (who wants to go behind their rack every time to enable/disable the toggles?), but would look cool on the otherwise plain Jane faceplate. Not doing this means instead of sipping one watt of juice the amp is gulping 54 watts 24/7. That’s probably less important then protecting the amp in case of overnight electrical storm or neighborhood transformer blowing up as they are want to do in S Florida during the high electrical use summer months and storms
tweak1
The amp has been on 24/7 since putting it into my system. I’ve probably played music through it for only 20 hours. The sound was mostly uneventful until last night.


After spinning Duetche Gramophone Romeo and Juliet all day yesterday, as background music, last night I sat down for my first critical listening.

I sat down for my first critical listening. First up, Cat Stevens Mona Bone Jakon, and it sounded vg, then by the 6th song it was like someone released the beast within the amp. This was followed by Neil Diamond Up On The Roof. t felt portaled back in time to listening to my Accoustat 2+2s and how open and effortless they sounded with the Accoustat servo OTL amps, which had a few tweaks. This morning I’m listening to John Denver Live: O-M-G. Will it sound even better with another 20-50 hours playing time? To my ears that will be hard to imagine

The 1200 reminds me of my Kinergetics KBA 75 Platinum, the only amp (and maybe the best period) I ever had that grabbed ahold of the heads on my Genesis V speakers (HPs actual pair) and made them come alive https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649510304-kinergetics-kba75-platinum-series-pure-classa-power-amplifier-restored/ I wish I knew this guy when I blew it up changing power cords. Alas, I gave it to a friend who never got around to fixing it, and is now dead. That would be a cats ass comparison.


FYI: each amp module is 600 watts, so 1200 watts

I find it odd that Ric's Website address also starts with TWEAK..Same as the OP’s ID..Hmmm

http://tweakaudio.com/EVS-2/EVS_1200_amplifier.html


RIAA, I agree it LOOKS suspicious, which is the word you seem to have been searching fo.
Back in 2000-2004 I was partner in a audio company called Audio Tweakers. No affiliation to RIc Schultz.
Saturday late, I had help to get the 1200 off the milk crate and into my rack. Because Ric put the enable/disable toggles on the back, the only way to get at them without contorting each time was to put the amp way up high. This required moving 4 pieces of equipment down one shelf, which of course meant unplugging everything, removing each piece from the Machina Dynamica iso springs. All this because the toggles are on the back. Come on, man!


I hope Ric takes to heart what a PITA this is for most potential owners, and will move the enable/disable feature to the face plate, where it belongs, AND, consider replacing the toggles with push buttons that light up either in standby (red) or light green when enabled- but please, no glaring 450 blue leds


In pre-sale conversations , Ric talked about his speaker binding post bypass, and said bare wire was the best connection, then spades, then bananas. My speaker cables are WireWorld, Their speaker cable design provides for switchable spades or bananas. I’ve been using bananas, and the WW bananas are an extremely tight fit, so I was hesitant to remove them at first, but since I had to remove them from the 1200 anyway, I decided to go with the spades.

Firing the system back up: I was not prepared for the level of improvement. Was it solely due to moving the amp from a milk crate to the rack (it was isolated with a butcher board and on springs and had a concrete stone on top, or was switching bananas for spades this huge, or breaking any oxidation by removing and reinserting 4 components? Oh, and I was now able to use my WW power cord on the 1200? Dunno, and frankly, I don’t care, but DAMN
Thanks for providing details about speaker wire connections.  Keep the connections the way they are, and tell us how the sound compares at 100-200 hours compared to now.
There is no going back to bananas, especially since the cable leads are very stiff, making it difficult to position and lock onto the binding posts
What you mount something on is super important. All footers and shelving will change the sound. I am going to be experimenting with different reasonably priced footers and wood and let everyone know what I hear. My reference has been an inner tube on the floor then a bamboo Ikea butcher block then on top of that a 1.5 inch piece of maple butcher block and then the latest $300 Mad Scientist footers. I am going to play with using smaller innertubes instead of one larger one and also try the Teo Diamond dampers on the floor. I will try different stacks and configurations of butcher blocks (I have two Ikeas and two maples) and will be trying the Mad Scientist feet against the Ceraballs, Gingko, and Teo Diamond Dampers.....maybe some others. This stuff really makes a serious difference. And not every component will sound best using the same footer/shelving system (you tune to taste and for system synergy).

Mass loading on top of the amp makes a nice improvement as well.  You can use even $1 cement stepping stones.  One 16 lb stone makes an nice improvement.  Make sure to never put anything directly on the top unless it is damped.....anotherwords, don't put cement or anything directly on the chassis.  I use a folded towel or thick felt to isolate the weight.  You can make this look as cool as your imagination.

What power cord you use makes a tremendous difference. I have one customer who loves the Audio Envy cable (under $200).

My amp is not the only one on the planet with switches on the back. Odyssey amps, Nuprime amps, Cherry amps, etc. all have the power switch on the back. So far, none of the other customers have mentioned this as a problem.....but yes, it is a deep amp and I can see the concern for some people. Since I am using the switches for mute/short as well as standby (each switch is a 3 pole switch) then the way to change this reasonably would be to mount two 3 to 4 pole relays (with 5 volt regulators and power supply caps) on the back panel that would be controlled by a switch on the front panel. You do not want the input wires going all the way to the front of the amp. If I were to do this it would cost more money and take more time. I would have to raise the price. Maybe I will offer it as an option? ($100?).
Just because others do not take customer convenience into account, does not make them right
I leave my Nuforce STA200 (class a/b) on all the time and heat is not an issue. I'm sure leaving class D on all the time is not an issue at all. So turning an amp on/off every now and then (vacations, etc) should not be a big deal. One should have at least an arm's width above-around the unit anyway.
It's not a question of heat. And, it's not a "BIG" deal if you don't mind paying for 54w of electric 24/7 x the life of your ownership
@ricevs 
"My amp is not the only one on the planet with.......the power switch on the back......You do not want the input wires going all the way to the front of the amp."
Good point, particularly with amplifiers that are meant to remain powered up mostly all the time (i.e., except when leaving home for days or during power storms).  I have commissioned a pair of monoblocks from another designer and having the power switch on the back was one of the design choices, with the designer in the camp of that being a better option because it is closer to the power input and helps separate power from signal sections of the amplifier by not having power wires running to the front of the amp.  The power switch will be on the back.

Old man learns new things.

A friend came over to hear the EVS 1200, and used a phone app in an attempt to calibrate my passive XO EP KCII speakers to my room. No matter what he tried there is a ~ 12dB suckout at 100 Hz. His band-aid was to increase volume on my 2 powered subs. While that helped, my SVS Plus & Ultra powered subs have very low quality XO adjustments, especially the volume controls. Consequently, I do hear them woofing as well as smearing all the upper frequencies.

The primary cause is my speakers are too small for my big room, which exposes a shortcoming in the speaker that would not be noticed in a smaller room, AND, the EVS 1200 is so much better than my AA DPA-1.


With the previous amps I mentioned, there simply wasn’t enough bass or mid-bass. I have 2 SVS powered subs (Plus and Ultra), which I used throughout. The subs were a band-aid and were near impossible to blend. Awhile ago I decided to turn them off. Ahhhhhhhh. Reminded me of my Magnepan 3.5Rs seamlessness, which also lacked bass, which is why I bought the subs. The KCIIs were a good 6 ft from the front wall. I decided to move them back settling on ~ 4-5" farther back, and whamo, solid bass with a rich mid-band. The EVS 1200 is that much better
^I started that thread also
Am I missing something here? We all get new stuff occasionally and often think it’s the best we ever had.

BTW my feelings towards "tweaked" stuff is why not just make it right to begin with. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. And you'll almost never get back your investment on a modified item.
jaybe
yes you are missing something here. In my 5 decades as an audio buff, I have owned MANY amps/preamps, dacs, transports, speakers..., AND for amps; both SS, tube, hybrids, as well as 6 different class D amps in the last couple years

The modules come from IcePower to be assembled into a usable amp. People like Ric, can look at the basic modules and figure out how to improve on their sound
Sounds like you'll miss out on this fantastic bargain
Well then I haven’t missed much, my buying decisions are not predicated on "bargains".

Quite happy with my Pass Labs equipment.

Glad you’re happy with class D.
Then Im confused. Why would you bother to open and comment then? It's rhetorical