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Author Topic: Dynacord PowerH Amplifiers  (Read 21477 times)

Pascal Pincosy

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Dynacord PowerH Amplifiers
« on: July 20, 2007, 11:48:38 pm »

A few weeks ago I received a rack of Dynacord PowerH 5000 amplifiers for my first Road Test review. The package consisted of 4 PowerH 5000 amps, a rack, cables, and a handy patch panel. As I unpacked the units and got them racked, I wasn't surprised at the light weight of these bad boys, but I was impressed with the build quality, considering how light they are. The front panel is made of a very sturdy-looking black plastic, and the rest of the amp is encased in sheet metal. It has the exact solid feel you would expect from a touring amplifier.

Visually, the amps aren't exactly beauty-contest winners, and the black plastic gives them a somewhat generic appearance. But plug one in, turn out the lights and WOW! In the dark this is by far the best-looking amplifier I've ever seen (pics to come.) The blue of the digital screen contrasts nicely with the large white power indicator, and the led indicator lights are clearly readable, yet unobtrusive.

The front panel has an easy to use interface that allows one to access the logging features, service information, display setup, and to set the breaker current. When you're not accessing these features, the display shows input voltage, power draw, temperature, operating mode (dual, parallel, bridged), mains circuit protection point, and sensitivity. It's a lot of information in a small space, but all in all, it's very easy to read.

The back panel has the usual speakon connections, binding posts (thank you!), input connections (XLR in and out and Phoenix connections), sensitivity selector, and mode switches. It also has a Powercon connection.

Which brings up the first issue: The power cable. What the heck is a 20 amp Powercon connector doing attached to a 12 gauge cable and a 30 amp Twistlock connector? A call to engineering cleared it all up: The amplifiers nominal current rating is 18 amps. So a 20 amp cordset is adequate. But CSA requires that the plug carry 125% of the nominal load, which meant that the mains connector had to be a 30 amp plug. The Mains Current Breaker Protection (which does just that) allows you to dial the input amperage from 30 on down, allowing one to scale the circuit for the exact-sized breaker you're dealing with.

Over the course of this review, I'm going to test these amps in a variety of situations. First show will be an outdoor weekend-long event on generator power. Second will be an indoor show in San Francisco. Third will be a dance party on a boat sailing the SF bay. Fourth will be an outdoor event where I plan on hitting the amps hard, as I'll be loading one PowerH 5000 with four Bassmaxx Trips! That's a 1.3 ohm load  Twisted Evil And the last will be another outdoor 3 day event on generator power.

Also I'm planning a series of ABX listening tests powering a pair of EAW MS30C's (full range), a pair of Bassmaxx Trips, and a pair of proprietary subs front-loaded with McCauley 6174 drivers. The Dynacords will go up against my Camco Vortex 6, a Crest 9001, and whatever else I can round up for the subs, and against the Vortex 6, a Hafler P500, and a Crest 4601 for the full-range test. The panel of judges will all be experienced engineers from several different pro audio companies in the area.

A final note about pics: I've been experiencing some serious camera issues the last couple of weeks, and every pic of the amps I've taken to date has had problems of one sort or another. I should be able to get some up next week though. Especially a night shot. A rack of these amps just looks great in the dark!
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Jeff Taylor

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Re: Dynacord PowerH Amplifiers
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2007, 11:14:06 am »

Hi Pascal, and hello Labsters.
Jeff Taylor, Dynacord Americas.  
Thanks for taking your time Pascal to put the H5000s through the paces for everyone's benefit here on the LAB.
Thanks to Sarah for kindly arranging this test.  Sounds like it should be fun, and interesting.
One point on your post so far,,,,,
I don't believe there's any plastic in the face plate of the PowerH amps.  There are two removable (allen wrench) "grilles" for user-servicable filters, metal, and the face itself from handles to lcd is all metal.  It's Saturday so I may not get an immediate answer, but I've asked Germany's engineering dept. to specify the materials for us.
(EDIT)
From our engineering dept: the faceplate is 6060 AA, Aluminium Alloy AlMGSi0,5
(/EDIT)
Otherwise, have a great show this weekend, and I'm looking forward to your opinions.

Oh, here are some daylight pics - hope your camera feels better;)


index.php/fa/10464/0/
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Pascal Pincosy

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First show out
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2007, 02:09:39 am »

My first gig with the PowerH amps was a 3 day campout event in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Music was varied electronica, ranging from Techno and House to Hip-Hop and Downtempo. The whole party was powered by a 25Kw MQ Whisperwatt genset. Setup was a bit difficult as the lighting crew chief forgot to pack some of the feeder cable in the truck with the rest of the show, and then showed up 3 hours after start time with the cable in his car.  Rolling Eyes We made do by temporarily moving the distro and running 100' of extension cable, but as it was very last-minute, I didn't get much time for a sound check or tweaking with the amps.

The setup for the show consisted of 4 corner tops (my customized 3-way RS 2.2s on Ultimate stands) and 2 front and centered Bassmaxx Trips. I had another rig in SF doing a stage for Gay Pride, so for this show I was using the 'B' rig processing: A Behringer DCX-2496 (which I actually like thanks to its flexible routing and incredibly cheap price) and an Aphex Dominator II. Source was a Rane MP44, Technics SL-1200s, and Pioneer CDJs, as well as a number of live acts that used gear ranging from laptops running Abelton Live, to a full-on analog setup including a 303 and an 808.

With the show up and running I noticed a problem. One of the subs was putting out some seriously distorted sounds, and the other wasn't working at all. Freaking out thinking I'd blown all my drivers (and the show to boot!) I swapped the cables running to each sub. Now the distorted output was on the other sub. OK. Seems the PowerH running the subs was the cause of the problem. I grabbed a Vortex 6 I'd brought as backup, swapped some cables around, and the show was on. Minus the SOA (Sick On Arrival) sub amp, the rest of the show was flawless. [Edit: Note the problem was me, not the amp, see below]These amps sound great, and why wouldn't they?

One of the really nice features about the PowerH amps is the front display. What a pleasure it is to scan the front panel and quickly check out the input voltage, current draw, and operating temps. I didn't mess with the log recorder much as it didn't have anything exciting to say. Running the tops with a 4 Ohm load meant the 5000's didn't even break a sweat at any point during the weekend, and thus nothing special to report. Oddly enough the broken amp didn't put up any red flags about its condition either  Confused
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Gabriel Duschinsky

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Re: First show out
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2007, 12:47:40 am »

Great review Pascal, keep it coming!

The company I work for just bought 4 Electro-voice TG7, wich seems to be the exact same thing as these Dynacord amps, except for minor esthetic changes. I too am really impressed with this amp, it seems very well built, the sound is really transparent. I ran a show couple of weeks ago using the half of our full PA wich consisted in 4 EV Xi1152-64F and 2 EV X-Subs. Music was oldies and "classic" rock. I was totally happy with the package, as I kept getting compliment on how well it sounded during and after the show.

The DSP option with control throught ethernet via the RCM26 is really nice as it gives you acces to a plethora of information and gadgets from your laptop at FOH Cool

Oh yeah, and the high efficiency of these amps is one the most intersting things in this amp. We ran the whole PA at full-volume (that's 8 tops, 4 subs) off one 20A outlet. That was in the shop though. I checked during a show and with normal running volume the current draw per amp was aroung 1.7-2A. Not bad Razz



Aniways, sorry for the thread hijack, and here are some pics:

index.php/fa/10414/0/
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Jeff Kang

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Re: Dynacord PowerH Amplifiers
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2007, 04:49:04 pm »

Hey Guys,

I had the chance to play with a few PowerH5000 amps back in January when the EV Road Show came out to town. Now let me first tell you that I was a big fan of a big heavy creme colored amp with red lights.... Since I got to playing with the amps and the DSP that the RCM-26 module had, I was fairly impressed. We proceeded to try some things in our shop, such as:

-Run 4x Dual 18" DAS Subs on the amp and pound it on a 30A Breaker.
-Then do the same on a 20A Breaker.
-Then we got a little dumb and ran it on a 7A breaker, max output of the Sine Wave inverter installed on my truck....
-Then just for grins, 2 Dual 18"s and a pair of passive EAW tops, still plugged into the truck...

We just sat around the shop in disbelief. We couldn't believe the tonality and the raw power of the amp. We were impressed to the point that we wanted to try it out on a show. So, naturally we took it to a fairly critical show with unpleasant conditions, To the NFL ProBowl.

The units we took out handled moisture, humidity, direct sunlight various loads per channel, and still kept on going. By then we were quite happy. We then decided to outfit our Monitor system complete with PowerH amps. (see our picture in Jeff Taylors post) I now have used them all spring and so far into the summer with more than positive responses from touring engineers and artist. I wouldn't trade these amps in for anything else anytime soon!

I did get a chance to get into the DSP in the amp. I got deep into the presets, crossover, EQ and Limiters. I didn't get a chance to take advantage of the FIR function due to no FIR presets exist for the monitors we use... yet. Anyways, I got into doing a festival that wanted 14 mixes of bi-amped 12" wedges for one act, 12 mixes of bi-amped 12" wedges and 4 mixes of bi-amped 15" wedges for another act, 4 mixes of bi-amped 12" wedges and 2 mixes of bi-amped 15" wedges for the last act.  Using the multiple presets available (6), I was able to make a preset for each act, and be able to have a single cable to each position regardless of what type of wedge was on the end of it. As long as the right wedge was on the right cable for that specific act. I was able to recall the preset for that act and the amps would change crossover and eq according to the wedge I programmed to be on that mix. I also set up Master EQ controls for the different types of wedges per act and was able to EQ all the 12" wedges at the same time and all the 15" wedges at the same time as per the engineers requests, per act. Gotta love presets! Finally I got to do one more unique thing with the amps. I had 2 different monitor consoles, 1 Yamaha PM5D-RH and a Digico D5 Live. In the past I used to have to re-patch the cables from the amp racks between acts. With the PowerH, I was able to program the "A" input to be from one console and the "B" input to be from the other console and the amp would sum the two signals with no signal degradation or impedance issue... totally cool feature! Makes life so much easier than what we used to have to do...

All in all, Totally satisfied with the power and agility of the PowerH!
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Jeff Kang
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Jeff Taylor

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Re: Dynacord PowerH Amplifiers
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 05:17:58 pm »

Since I've had some PM inquiries about cost, I thought I'd add it to the thread.

PowerH 5000 $4400 US MSRP
230V/120V, 2 x 2500W @4Ohm, Class H amplifier

PowerH 2500 $3800 US MSRP
230V/120V, 2 x 1450W @4Ohm, Class H amplifier


Also, here's a 3d graph of available output power from the H5000 with different signals, and loads applied.

index.php/fa/10463/0/
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Pascal Pincosy

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Wiping the egg off...
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2007, 01:56:31 am »

It took a bit to figure out the problem, but apparently the amp was not the issue with my last show. The problem was me Embarassed When the PowerH amps are used in Parallel mode, the Channel A Speakon is set so that pins 1 are set for Channel A and pins 2 are set for Channel B. And the Channel B Speakon is set so that pins 1 are set for Channel B and pins 2 are rendered inoperative. Guess I should have taken the time to read the manual after all  Rolling Eyes

Since my Bassmaxx Trips are powered by pins 2 of the Speakons, when I set the amp to Parallel mode, it meant that one of the subs didn't work. What about the distortion from the other cabinet, you ask? Well that was caused by one of the Trip's drivers giving up the ghost. By the time I'd swapped the amps out, the driver had died, and was no longer making any sort of noise at all. I'm assuming the damage had been done at the previous show, and the noise it made on power-up was its last hurrah.

Anyway, the result is no broken amps, one blown driver, and a very ashamed Pascal. It's one thing to misdiagnose a problem at a show, and quite another to report it in a review. My apologies to Jeff and Dynacord.
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Pascal Pincosy

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Show #2
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2007, 02:21:48 am »

The second show I used the Dynacord PowerH amps at was an all-night house music party at a club called Fat City here in San Francisco. The club has a decent house system, but it's a bit inadequate for dance music, so we were brought in to provide sound. Again for this show, I used my 'B' rig processing (A rig was doing a smaller room at the same club) with a 4 corner setup and centered subs. Due to noise restrictions at the club, I wasn't able to give the sub amp a heavy workout, but the system performed admirably and sounded great.

The low power draw of these amps is really something. Due to the limited amount of power available at the club, I had to double up the amps on 20 amp circuits. But even with 2 amps per circuit, I had no problems at all. The power limiter meant that I didn't even have to worry about it. Plug amps in, set limiters, and go. For events where I have to plug into house power instead of running my distro, this is a godsend. And having a clear readout of exactly how much power an amp is drawing at a given moment means that I got a clear picture of what my power needs would be on average. I think I would have no problems with running 3 of these amps off one 20 amp circuit, as long as I wasn't trying to power subs.

Next week is the boat party. No noise complaint issues on the bay, so we'll get a good opportunity to let'r rip!
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Pascal Pincosy

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Show #3
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2007, 11:14:54 pm »

The third show was a house music party on a boat sailing the San Francisco bay. Here's a link to the boat:

http://www.baydelta.com/boats/sfspirit.html

There are three decks in all, with my system on the main deck, a buddy's system on the upper deck, and a pair of Mackies outdoors on the top deck with signal piped in from the upper deck. Music was mostly DJs, and one band on the upper deck. All told there were about 600 people on board. The ship sails the bay and makes a quick trip under the Golden Gate Bridge.

My system for this gig consisted of a pair of Bassmaxx Trips, one on either side of the DJ, and my RS 2.2s set up 4 corner. Processing was the 'A' rig this time: BSS Varicurve for EQ, BSS TCS-804 for delay, Aphex Dominator II for limiting, and BSS FDS-360s for crossover. The PowerH amps ran highs, mids, lows, and the subs. The system is run on ship power. We plug into the coffee service outlet which is a special ship version of a 50A Hubble 240v connector.

Given the ability to let the subs rip, I finally got to hear what these amps could do on bass. The last show didn't really impress me, but I was limited by the noise and power restrictions at the club. So during sound check I brought the PowerH 5000 right up to limit. These amps are bass monsters!  Shocked Compared to my Vortex 6's it was like night and day. So much more full and rich. It was like I had new speakers. I wouldn't say the PowerH's hit harder than the Camco's, but they sure sounded better and bigger.

All in all it was another great show. The amps performed flawlessly. Everything sounded great. I'm definitely looking forward to running the rig outdoors with the quality processing.  Which is what we're doing next week. I'm also going to try and run 2 Bassmaxx Trips on one amp channel and see what happens. Given that this amp is rated for a 2 Ohm load, and the Trips are 2.66 Ohms each, I'm fully expecting failure. It will be interesting to see what happens though.
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Pascal Pincosy

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Show #4
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2007, 04:53:37 am »

For the fourth Road Test demo, I took the PowerH rack up to Mendocino County for a small outdoor event located on private land. The property is on the grid, and there's plenty of power, including a panel behind the stage. For this event I ran my RS 2.2's 2 cabinets per side, set up as a vertical array, hung from pipe and base goal-posts about 10' up from the dance floor. Subs were placed across the front of the stage. I used the 'A' rig processing this time, with a Crest 4601 for highs, and PowerH amps running mids and lows. This left me with two PowerH amps for subs.

Jeff had asked me to run a two Ohm load on the amps at some point during my testing, but as my Trips show a 2.6 Ohm load, I couldn't deliver. So I did the next best thing: I ran 2 Trips per channel of both channels of an amp! The last amp I left cabled and ready to go in case of any issues. I didn't expect the amp to hang through the 18 hour event, but as we had some noise restrictions at night, I figured I'd run a single amp through the night, and switch to two amps in the morning when we could be really loud for the headliners.

The music for this event was psychedelic trance. Psytrance has a continuous bass warble AND a heavy pounding kick at about 140-150 BPM. Psytrance is VERY hard on subs and amps. It does not let up, and the gear gets no rest at all, outside of the occasional short break between poundings. This music is about as close as it gets to playing continuous sine waves through a system. I have blown more drivers (all over-heated after many hours of abuse) with psytrance than I have with any other musical style.

During sound check I slipped up and put the amp into hard limit for about 30 seconds. It freaked out, went into protect, and cut the output with a voltage error displayed. I reset the amp, and short a driver Embarassed I'd just blown in the mishap, I brought down the gains a bit and continued with the test.

With the output modulated a bit, the amp hung on just fine. Over the course of the night, while reading a continuous power draw of ~40 amps, the PowerH would slowly build up heat, then go into protect and limit itself by lowering the output a bit, allowing the amp to cool off, then it would return to the previous output levels. This was about 2-3 dB below limit. The amp ran in this state for about 9 hours. At no point did it cut out. It would smoothly ramp up and down the output, and the protect light would turn on and off.

In the morning I switched over a couple of the subs to the other amp. Now we were cooking! The Trips went wild. I actually ended up turning down the subs after a while as the bass on the dance floor was just out of control (even with a blown driver in one cabinet!) The whole system sounded great IMO. And how often do you have too much bass outdoors?

Now for some subjective opinions. Both myself and a friend who's a studio engineer and is pretty familiar with my system felt we could notice some weirdness or artifacts in the response. The system (with mids and lows usually powered with Crest 8001's) didn't quite seem to have its usual clarity. The subs, on the other hand, were awesome. The PowerH just went on my (very) short list for my upcoming sub amp purchase. Whether or not the weirdness with the sound quality in the mids and lows was the amps or just a glitch of some sort will be better addressed at the planned ABX listening test. I really really really want to put the PowerH 5000 up against the Powersoft K series on subs. Hopefully I can get that worked out before Jeff makes me give the Dynacords back...

Oh, and after issues with both my cameras, I borrowed one to shoot some pics of the rig. And once again I was foiled Sad Borrowed camera had a dead battery and the owner had failed to put the charger in the bag for me... Sorry everybody about the lack of pics. I tried.
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