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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric UX-1, Yamamoto YDA-01
Preamp/Integrated: Esoteric C-03, Hegel H-100 [on review], April Music Stello Ai500 [on review]
Amplifier: FirstWatt F5, Bel Canto Design S300
Speakers: ASI Tango R, Boenicke Audio W20SE [on review], Albedo HL2.2 [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of ASI Liveline
Stands: Ikea Molger and butcher-block platforms with metal footers
Powerline conditioning: 2 x Walker Audio Velocitor S
Sundry accessories: Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; Nanotech Nespa Pro; extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters, Advanced Acoustics Orbis Wall & Corner units
Room size: The sound platform is 3 x 4.5m with a 2-story slanted ceiling above; four steps below continue into an 8m long combined open kitchen, dining room and office, an area which widens to 5.2m with a 2.8m ceiling; the sound platform space is open to a 2nd story landing and, via spiral stair case, to a 3rd-floor studio; concrete floor, concrete and brick walls from a converted barn with no parallel walls nor perfect right angles; short-wall setup with speaker backs facing the 8-meter expanse and 2nd-story landing.
Review Component Retail: €1.750/pr, €1.999 for the SE version as reviewed

I would like to find out if there is any interest to review our Premium 1.0 power amplifier based on Hypex uCD technology. We are a Belgian company which manufactures equipment and accessories largely as an OEM company. Clients include Meridian Audio and Vertex AQ. Our current lineup is as follows: Premium 1.0 100W/4 ohm €875 per unit / €1750 per pair

Reference 4.0 400W/4 ohm €1899 per unit / €3798 per pair

Studio 700 700W/4 ohm pricing TBA
The Premium 1.0 power amps feature a linear power supply with a 10-cap parallel supply rail. Input buffer is the famous National LM4562 opamp. Add Shottky diodes. Input caps can be bridged with jumpers. High quality selected parts. As an upgrade we offer the SE version with discrete power regulators for the low voltage circuits and input buffer.

100 watts into 4 ohms, half into 8 ohms. Flat, fully load-independent frequency response, low output impedance, very low frequency-independent THD. The unit can be used in 110 and 220V countries due to the dual primaries on the toroid after making the required adjustments. DC protection included. Balanced or single ended configuration available. A matching linestage for the Premium series is in the works.
The sender was Richard Krol, general manager of Hexateq BVCA in Genk, Belgium. Checking their website photos, I couldn't fail to think on the $6.800/pr Kharma MP150 monos which Marja & Henk had reviewed in May of 2007 [the two small and faded photos were inserted below for comparison to the Hexateq Premium 1.0].
While not equally powerful -- the Kharmas do 100/150 watts into 8/4 ohms -- cosmetics are very close. With Hexateq's disproportionally lower pricing but ignorance on the kind of modifications Charles Oostrum might have specified for his Hypex modules, gloating would seem premature. Yet savvy shoppers still grow suspicious. (At right, Hexateq's mondo 700s.)

I replied to Mr. Krol's query in the affirmative but asked for the SE version to doll it up. He'd also do the optional input capacitor bypass for a best cap is no cap huzzah & hurray.
Tripath. TI/Toccata. ICEpower. NuForce. Flying Mole. Sony. Denon. Onkyo. Esoteric. Hephaestus. The list of class D implementations grows with each passing year. Bruno Putzeys of Philips, now Hypex, enjoys a reputation for being perhaps the most gifted and knowledgeable designer in the field. It's why Kharma and Genesis went Hypex for their upscale amps. Of course simply repackaging off-the-shelf amplifier modules in fancy casings isn't terribly inventive. Never mind enclosure craft, I  wanted to know just what kind of alterations and enhancements Hexateq performs or specifies for their uCD parts. (Hexateq are champs at metal work and fabricate classy stands for Meridian's Ferrari's 'clock radio' and ProJect turntables for example.)

Other companies I know of in affordable 2
nd class on the Hypex train are Audio Zone, CIAudio and DIY Cables. At 4.500 Swiss Franks, Resolution Audio's two integrateds too run uCD but sit closer to 1st class [below].

There likely are far more embracers of Hypex tech. It's proven circuitry after all. Unlike some class D solutions which aren't the stoutest into challenging low-frequency transients, Hypex plate amps are famous for their power and control into subwoofer applications. Perhaps that's because Putzeys' modulator includes the speaker terminals into its feedback loop to "remove the output filter from the closed loop response and eliminate speaker dependence that is all too common in class D amplifiers". That's how Jeffrey Kalt's website explains it.
Clearly the Class D For High End bumper sticker on amps from Jeff Rowland & Bel Canto (ICEpower) and Kharma & Genesis (uCD) has signalled that this once lowly technology has arrived. At the very least, Hexateq rides this ground swell as a proven repackager [at left their €220 enclosure to DIYers]. At best, the Belgians massaged the stock recipe a bit. Either way, I looked forward to hearing a Putzeys circuit mano i mano with ICEpower, conventional transistor amps, gain clones and tubes. Delivery of the Hexateqs got delayed because Hypex had recently overhauled their modules and Richard Krol was keen on getting the most current iteration reviewed.