NCore vs. Ice -- single or separate cases

Hey guys,

I've recently gotten a bug that I can't shake. I went to sleep thinking about it last night.

I want to try out a class D amp.

I've narrowed my choices down to something based on either the NCore NC400 or the IcePower 125asx2.

If I went the way of the NC400, I'll be building them myself. If I went the way of the Ice, I may build it myself or just buy the assembled units. Either way, the NC400 builds will run about twice that of the Ice builds.

Is there anyone out there that can comment on which is better? If the answer is that the NC400 is better, is it worth twice the price?

My next question is whether I should build the mono units into separate boxes or a single box? In other words, is it better to use a longer interconnect with a short speaker cable or vice versa?

You want both power supplies. One of the key aspects of a good amplifier is a robust power supply, and having independent power supplies is a good thing indeed.

How does it compare to NAD? Compared to a 325BEE (or whatever designation they're using today), it isn't even close. The NAD masters series would compare more favorably if their M51 DAC is anything to go by.

Would be good to know what you're using as a preamp.
The pre amp I'm using is an NAD C162.
What sources are you using?

I think the preamp is going to hold you back. If you only have digital sources, something like the NAD C390DD would be a better overall buy for you.

Or if you already have great sources or analog sources, a second hand integrated at $2000 would be a better bet than a the NC400 paired with the C162. Unless of course you're planning to change out the C162 at some point.

A very good indeed integrated that can be had used for around $2000 is the LFD MK3 or MK4.

I've run my NC400 direct to amp from the NAD M51 (excellent) and also with the Coincident Statement Linestage (even more excellent).

Anyway, my opinion only. Take it for what you will.
Tony, clearly your budget seems to be driving your choice for a new amplifier. I would only suggest whatever you choose give it 200 hours or more before you do any critical listening.

Don't sell your current amplifier just in case things don't work out for you.
Tony, I strongly suggest you look into getting a passive preamp. You can acquire a very good one (again, very good at an elevated price point, not just very good for the money) for under $400 and the nCore or the Wyred4Sound amps for instance will mate well with them. Brands to look at are Luminous Axiom, lightspeed attenuator or Goldpoint. They will function at a far, far superior level to your NAD. Keep in mind that nCore's are really designed to be used with balanced (XLR) inputs.