Denafrips Hyperion Power Amplifier Review
If anyone wants to understand/appreciate the results of the technological revolution that has taken place in China, look no further than this amp.
The law of diminishing returns on investment operates fuzzily in the wacky world of audiophile components – apropos, people with not a lot of money often do not get as much sound-quality-bang-for-their-buck as they might want.
But this amp is a genuine high-end amp for just $2100 CAD (duty/taxes included) delivered to your door.
For great photos that reveal the fantastic build quality/design, along with a super-detailed review far more informative and insightful than mine, check out this online review from 6 Moons:
Class A/B amplification, and the amp runs warm so I suspect the first watt or two is Class A
Dual mono design – but alas the amp is NOT bridgeable
80 watts per channel in 8 ohms, 150 into 4 ohms, so pretty linear
ONLY fully balanced inputs, no unbalanced RCA
300 VA power supply
147’600 uf capacitance
8 transistors per channel
Bandwidth 10hz – 80khz -2.2 db
Total harmonic distortion plus noise is .00078
Signal-to-noise ratio is 125 db
Dimensions are 32W x 38D x 10H cm
Weight is 16.5 kg
3 year warranty
My review setup:
PS Audio Directstream Junior DAC/Preamp
PS Audio power cables
PS Audio Dectec power conditioner
Denafrips Hyperion or PS Audio M700 monoblocks or Bryston 4B3
Transparent speaker cables
PMC twenty.24 floorstanding speakers
NOTE: all music was streamed through my preamp from Tidal via Roon
Just to be clear, I bought this amp, and received zero consideration by any means in exchange for this review, meaning this review is my honest assessment of this amp; however, this is not a professional review, although the *specs ARE supported by measurements (for example Denafrips claims 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms but the measurements reveal 91 watts per, so Denafrips is UNDER-REPORTING the specs.)
My setup is in a 4-meter-by-7-meter rectangular living room with floor to ceiling windows on one side and an open-air kitchen on the other, no room treatment software or sound treatment features, not even carpet, so it is not an especially acoustically-friendly room, although not the worst as the dimensions and layout of the sparse furniture make it better than many others.
Apropos, the short version of the sound quality of the Hyperion is WOW – buy with confidence if your speakers are reasonably efficient (86 db minimum) and you like your amps slightly on the warm side of neutral.
The current on tap from the amp seems high, so although 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms does not sound like much, there is drive and no little authority to the sound. There is a weight and body to the sound, a corporeal character that is really fleshy with vocal-heavy tracks, and is especially pronounced with bass notes; however, I have to turn up the volume when compared to my PS Audio M700 monoblocks (350 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 700 into 4), so for example for the similar approximate output at 50 on my preamp steps using the M700s, I have to go to 75 using the Hyperion.
But the quality of the sound is decidedly different than the other amps I have had in my system: the monoblocks produce an airy atmospheric quality, coupled to a low end authority (the output stage is Class D so no surprise), my Bryston 4B3 an electricity and excitement and exactitude – but the sound signature of the Hyperion is grounded, emphasizing a rich musical coherence that makes for easy listening. Meaning if you prefer long non-fatiguing listening sessions rather than short-term critical listening, this is the amp for you.
Chamber music, acoustic instruments in general, and especially when combined with vocals (such as John Dowland lute pieces), jazz, are all rendered life-like; the amp delivers delineated, solid bass too, so classic rock and roll and R&B are also sweet spots. I enjoy ambient and electronica as well (Brian Eno, Stars Of The Lid, etc.), but I find my other amps perhaps emphasize the other-worldliness of those genres a little more persuasively than the Hyperion, although if the track has vocals, then I am torn between which amp I prefer to use. If you like modern rap and pop – which are vocal and bass heavy – then I suspect the Hyperion might serve you well too, but I cannot say for sure because I do not listen to these genres (I am a 50-something white dude audiophile so my musical tastes are boring or outré for most young folk).
To sum up using the typical audiophile parameters: clarity is good, but like most higher-end hi-fi equipment is dependent on recording quality, the soundstage is average spatially speaking, instrument separation is good, detail retrieval is good, but when assessed according to the money spent, I would say the Denafrips performs outstandingly in all these criteria.
Credit: Mike Mityok
Source: Facebook Page
Audio Precision Measurements (Provided By DENAFRIPS)
Output Voltage Vrms