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Ferrum HYPSOS - Part 2

01.07.2021 // F.C. Gallowsky, D. Sommer

After the first part of the review, we finally get down to business : It's time to listen. In addition, with part 2 we provide you with the updated technical data at the end of the article. So you can compare yourself with the old data in Part 1 to see by how much the HEM team has exceeded its original calculations.

As I mentioned, I already know the power supply unit as a pre-release version. But you should be more than curious by now. Even during my first listening test before the official product release, I was unbiased towards the technology of the hybrid power supply. I first compared it with the internal switching power supply of the Brooklyn DAC+ and identified the changes in sound. A comparison with other linear power supplies active in my system was only made later, in another listening session. Nothing has changed now and I choose the same song to start with as I did before.

Peter Gabriel's "Secret World" from the album Us in FLAC format at 96/24 bears Gabriel's unmistakable signature - as a musician and producer. Thus, the listener can expect a work of sound art in which effects and mixing were used more as a means of expression and less as a technical aid to achieve the most natural sound possible. Toni Levin's bass playing can be heard on both the left and right channel at the beginning of the piece. Quite exceptional, the bass is usually mixed into the centre of the recording. Guitars and keys form a diffuse sound carpet, which is rounded off by Manu Katché's song-serving drumming. Gabriel's voice, which as usual is mixed somewhat unconventionally, takes up the stereo centre of the recording. With the HYPSOS, an unfamiliar depth of reproduction is noticeable from the very first second. The instruments are projected more emphatically and at the same time much more naturally into the room. The bass lines sound more solid, more tangible and at the same time reveal more micro details. Likewise, Gabriel's voice sounds more natural. The smallest nuances and the individual organic component of his singing stand out much more. In short, the singing seems more intimate and at the same time more emotional. Especially at the beginning of the piece, the greater independence of the instruments is also noticeable. Not only do both bass and vocals seem more powerful, but they also stand out better from each other without losing the musical context. The special stereo effect of the bass and the central mix of the vocals create a particularly interesting tension, which was clearly less energetic without the HYPSOS. The entire piece of music develops more liveliness with simultaneous precision. The effect of the HYPSOS power supply on my DAC is much greater than expected, above all many factors are influenced at the same time. I really have the feeling that I am listening to a revised version of the DAC, because of such clear differences.

DC output, IEC socket, trigger input and USB port for firmware update: nothing more is needed on the back of the unit
DC output, IEC socket, trigger input and USB port for firmware update: nothing more is needed on the back of the unit

While drummer Manu Katché kept himself rather in the background in Peter Gabriel's composition, in his solo work Neighbourhood he can become more prominent - as to be expected, nevertheless very sensitive and serving the piece. The opener "November 99" offers more unadulterated sounds and gives me the opportunity to examine the HYPSOS a little more intensively. Moreover, the album fits thematically into this test, because three of the musicians on this album come from the Polish jazz scene. Already the piano intro reveals a greater brilliance of the overtones. The sounds seem more floating, more detached, simply more realistic and believable. By the way, there is also a Marcin at work on the keys. The cymbals used for ornamentation sound more spacious and assert themselves even more. Manu Katché's special style and very individual playing dynamics are unmistakable: very supple, often almost as if in slow motion, but with a constantly present focus and clear accentuation, which discharges powerfully in the flow of the playing. How tastefully and sensitively, but equally emphatically and determinedly the power supply and DAC make the microcosm of the smallest dynamic explosions in drumming come alive is a blessing. The drum set literally breathes. And that's not all, after all, the piece has other fantastically played instruments to offer. At the beginning, the low-pitched bass drum and the double bass caress each other; later, with the main motif of the piece, the double bass clearly sets itself apart from the rest of the musical action. The playing dynamics of the bassist Sławomir Kurkiewicz are just as effortlessly comprehensible as those of the drummer before. The low bass of the double bass seems to merge even better with the overtones, which is very good for the organic component of the instrument. Switching off the 4T-sensing in no way serves to turn the sound signature of the HYPSOS upside down. Although the sound image seems minimally more relaxed and the detail resolution is somewhat scaled back, a high level of detail still remains the sound core of the PSU. A rather smooth and earthy sound will not be achieved with the HYPSOS. Switching off the spectrum mode does not result in any significant sound differences in my system.

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