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Dynacord PowerH Amplifiers

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Pascal Pincosy:
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   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!

Jeff Taylor:
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.
From our engineering dept: the faceplate is 6060 AA, Aluminium Alloy AlMGSi0,5
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;)

Pascal Pincosy:
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.   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  

Gabriel Duschinsky:
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

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

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

Jeff Kang:
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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