With team HEM in receipt of Midi 120 samples, I just had to ask about their impression: "We're testing still. To be honest, we originally didn't design Hypsos for such high transient currents at 24VDC or thought about active speakers but it's a great idea. Fortunately we always conceptualized Hypsos with plenty of room to upscale its current especially at high output voltages. Right now we're specifying how Hypsos must change to become fully compatible with the Midi 120 at all volume levels. I can already tell you that these speakers sound more precise when powered by Hypsos." Yet more proper resourcefulness. Would it raise the current 6A limit?
Meanwhile HighFidelity.pl had published their Polish Hypsos review. It concludes that "I don't know of another power supply this versatile, functional, easy to use and—important to me!—so nicely and solidly put together. There's real engineering here with proprietary solutions not found elsewhere. As to the sound, I now can't imagine playing the Mytek [Brooklyn Bridge – Ed.] sans Hysos. All Mytek owners should start saving." It also mentions "spread spectrum mode in which the switching power inverter doesn't work at a fixed but 20% variable frequency relative to its nominal value. This avoids disturbances at the converter frequency and its multiples which are fuzzy so much lower in level. This means far fewer harmonics in the supply voltage which otherwise could modulate the audio signal. As Marcin Hamerla explained, thanks to SST and another linear power stage, they eliminated a switching power converter's disadvantages whilst retaining the advantages of their hybrid solution, i.e. very fast response to pulse currents, small dimensions and high efficiency."
Hypsos won that publication's Red Fingerprint award and here's how the reviewer summarized the sonic benefits: "It transformed the Mytek's sound not by simple modification but far more thoroughly and comprehensively. Now the file player sounded like a far more expensive device so much more refined. The presentation on the one hand was softer and more natural, on the other hand more resolving." About altering the Mytek's nominal 12V supply voltage from 8-13.5V, "I heard the effects as similar to a tone control. Generally higher than nominal voltage made the sound denser and less bright, lower values leaned it out. For me the Hypsos/Mytek combo worked best between 13 and 13.5V." This adds some useful data points for loads which draw from Hypsos half than what ours would.
Fram's more recent versions over ours, with a new thicker baffle shown already on the previous page and now exposed bolt heads in the back.
Jarek: "Matching Midi and Hypsos wasn't easy. Yes Hypsos can deliver up to 30V and over 6A current but not simultanously. Its output power of voltage x current is only 60 watts so for example 30V/2A. Hypsos was really designed for signal sources where this is sufficient. My standard power supply for Midi 120/150 can deliver long-term 24V/5A so 120W or twice of what Hypsos can. At first this seemed mismatched. Of course the nature of music is impulsive. We consume max power only for very short durations like with a drum hit or bass guitar attack. Average power draw is far lower. Many designers exploit this, for example on-stage speakers with a constant 100W power driven by 500W-max amplifiers. My drivers will handle 30 watts of constant power but 70 watts on short-term pulses. So initial trials with Midi were very good on sound but limited on power because Hypsos employs many protection systems. It certainly delivers sufficient short-term power but the new design will have even more intelligent protection to enable 120 short-term watts or more without exceeding its average 60W operating parameter. I'm told they're ready with the update but want a few more days for testing. So we need to be a bit patient. You pushed these designers to create a more versatile device!"
Reviewers. So rude and demanding.
Marcin Hamerla, CEO: "I'd like to inform you that your Ferrum Hypsos sample will ship to you on Monday. As you already know, we designed Hypsos as PSU for DACs, preamplifiers, phonostages etc. We never thought about a power supply for active speakers. But now we tweaked some firmware parameters which made us realize that we had created a far more powerful unit than initially intended. We originally spec'd the unit to be 60 watts. Now we see it should be called 80W, with impulse capability of 200 watts. I'm pretty sure you will be surprised." I thanked Marcin and his team for such willingness to revisit a design and make it copasetic with Jarek's active speakers and other more demanding loads like them. By then first Hypsos shipments had departed Poland and Noël Coquet, founder/owner of Tonmeister pro-audio cables and Dutch representative of Lipinksi Sound and Melco, reported that he had received his first units and was pleasantly surprised that they outperformed the linear power supplies he had in use.
Here we remember Nagra's use of switching or hybrid supplies in some of their kit. We recall Chord's embrace of switching power. We could cite many other brands who found that if properly designed, it can outperform linear power. These lines have long blurred to make any blanket endorsements for one or the other tech unrealistic. Different applications and implementations respond differently. For Hypsos, HEM decided to use both, exploit microprocessor control and two extra cable poles beyond the DC signal to include the connected component in a feedback loop for more precisely administered voltage. There's nothing off-the-shelf here. It's a ground-up proprietary design. As of late 2020, it's probably the most powerful and universal PSU upgrade to market.
Whilst thinking on what small hifi-related wall warts I could get busy with, I recalled our days of the iPod. At one point we had three iPod-as-transport systems. A sift through our hifi storage spotted two Cambridge Audio and one ProJect digital dock. Two fully loaded iPods plus one Nano were still around even though my iMac's newer OS could no longer sync to them. Their libraries were fixed. With a 12V/2A DC input for the iD100 and an 18V/2A for the Dock Box, both were perfect for Hypsos. I set up a Cambridge in my most resolved rig, a bedside Raal SR1a ribbon headfi with Soundaware SD DAC and Schiit Jotunheim R integrated. The ProJect set up in my wife's Midi 120 system. Two more trials on the books. Done. Of course now Hypsos was conspicuous overcoin. And those who think all digital transports equal would never conceive that a snazzier PSU could make any difference whatsoever; never mind use a 160GB Classic iPod as transport. As always, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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