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  NuForce Reference 8 amplifier, debunking the myth? 
  Mar 06, 2006, 09:30am EST 


By: Sander Sassen

Iíve wanted to take a closer look at NuForceís amplifiers for a while now as my fellow journalists, mostly from magazines, have been giving them rave reviews left and right. I was however utterly disappointed by their performance, these amplifiers donít sound any better than the $200 Philips A/V receiver I use for background music in my lab, and thatís featuring a run of the mill class-AB amplifier in the form of a potted STK module. The question comes to mind whether these journalists perhaps listened to fine-tuned Ďevaluation samplesí or whether they evaluated production samples, much like the ones Iíve evaluated here? Either way these amplifiers are one of the biggest disappointments Iíve come across in years, they do not, repeat: do not live up to any of the claims or rave reviews, theyíre mediocre performers at best.

Whatís more of a concern is the excessive amount of RF these amplifiers generate which seriously interferes with radio and TV reception and which is inexcusable. Every manufacturer is by law required to meet FCC requirements in the US and CE requirements in Europe and I simply refuse to believe that the amplifiers I have here would pass these, under any condition. Furthermore, the fact that their design includes a direct copy of the known-bad standard HIP4080 MOSFET driver application circuit (including its infamous lack of EMI control), their incorrect use of feedback, the excessive RF output and abysmal performance goes to show that they still have a lot to learn about designing and building class-D amplifiers.

Sander Sassen.

Manufacturer: NuForce
Model: Reference 8 class-D amplifier
Price: $799

1. Introduction
2. Hooking them up
3. Listening impressions
4. A look inside
5. Conclusion
6. Measurements

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