Red Dragon M500MKII & M1000MKII MonoBlock Amplifier Review

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by admin, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
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    If you’ve ever been to a high-end audio show, one of the first things you’ll notice is the wide variety of manufacturers you’ve never heard of. Red Dragon Audio is one such boutique company that promises to deliver big sound with it's 500w (4 ohms) M500MKII and 1100w (4 ohms) MK1000MKII MonoBlock Class D amplifiers. Do the Red Dragon amps deliver the goods or do they fall short of their promise? Read the full review to find out.
    [​IMG]

    Discuss "Red Dragon M500MKII & M1000MKII MonoBlock Amplifier Review" here. Read the article.
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  2. Jeepers Audioholic

    Jeepers
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    "Whatever changes B&O made to the 125ASX2 module seems to have addressed the load problems previous generations may have been having. Unfortunately, B&O hasn’t released a comparable update for the core 1000ASP amplifier modules under the hood of the M1000s. Consequently, the M1000s just didn’t mate well with the Salon2s."


    </SPAN>Do you have any idea when/if B&O will release a comparable update for the 1000ASP amplifier modules ?

    Thanks for the interesting review.
    </SPAN>
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  3. TheoN Audioholics Contributing Writer

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    Hi Jeepers,

    Thanks :) Needless to say, I got to know these amps quite well with all the testing I did with them.

    Great question and I asked Ryan exactly the same thing! As far as he was aware, there was nothing imminent on the horizon for an updated 1000ASP module. B&O is obviously making updates to their amp modules, but those updates aren't yearly refreshes in the same way computer or phone models are today.

    I have a pair of NHT Series Three bookshelf speakers in for review here and I'll be firing the Red Dragons up with those. What you'll get out of the Class D amps really does depend on the load at specific frequencies. Gene and I had several conversations on this.

    Like I mentioned in the review, if you're looking for new amps and this seems like it may be something that fits what you're looking for, give Ryan a call. He'll be more than happy to talk about any specifics in your setup and you can always try the amps out and if they don't specifically match well with your speakers you can always return them.

    Theo
  4. Jeepers Audioholic

    Jeepers
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    Hi Theo,

    I am not in the market for purchasing that amp for the simple reason that I purchased an amp a few months ago. However I am interested in the ongoing debate between Class D and Class A/AB, testing of Class D amps in a realistic way and that is why I really liked your article.

    One can only hope that B&O is working on an updated 1000ASP module knowing that the updated 125ASX2 module apparently addressed a known issue.

    Jeepers
  5. TheoN Audioholics Contributing Writer

    TheoN
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    Hi Jeepers,

    That's great and thanks. The review gave me an opportunity to go in-depth with the amps and it was a ton of fun :)

    I think that the discussion in the review speaks to amps on a broader level and not just the supposed debate between Class A/AB/D etc. It really underscores the importance of pairing your amp and your speakers properly. If you're not attentive to that pairing, it can lead to issues. Simply put, you can have distortion with any amp and any technology.

    Theo
  6. RichB Audioholic General

    RichB
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    Thanks for the review.

    A few years back I auditioned a D-Sonic ICE 400WPC amp with my Salons and had a similar impression.

    At the time, I assumed that these large power rating also meant the amps was able to drive difficult loads.
    I no longer believe that and, personally, I will not go near them until I see trusted review sites like AH do a complete battery of measurements.
    Reactive load testing would be nice and perhaps something like a PowerCube.

    There are many reviews of digital amps but, unfortunately, not that many with measurements.

    - Rich
  7. TheoN Audioholics Contributing Writer

    TheoN
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    Hi Rich,

    I can't say for sure, but if those were 400wpc into 4ohms then those were probably older ICEpower modules. The newer ICEpower modules in the Mk500s had no problems with the Salon2s.

    Now here's the interesting thing. The M1000s are rated into 2ohm loads and the M500s are rated into 3ohm loads. The real issue, as Gene had pointed out in our many conversations, was really the load at a specific frequency or frequencies.

    Based on my experience with these amps and that two sets of speakers—one of which was a Salon2—my hunch would be that if you tried the current M500 MkIIs you'd have no issue with your Salons—I don't know whether you have the Ultima1 or Ultima2, but I don't think it would make a difference.

    Talking about amps always seems to stir up some great, healthy conversation. But one of the take-aways continues to be how important listening, pairing, and measuring all are. To me personally, that pairing is really important and sometimes you really need to see how a particular amp will react to a particular set of speakers. The SVS Ultra Towers are by no means slouchy speakers and they loved both amps and I found them to be a very capable match.

    Thanks for your comments! It's much appreciated.

    Theo
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  8. RichB Audioholic General

    RichB
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    Hi Theo,

    Thanks for the reply.
    I would love to see AH measure the M500 or the M1000s.

    I like the PowerCube (or something like it) that gives an insight into an amp ability to drive speakers with difficult impedance and phase angle loads.
    If an amp can drive difficult loads, has sufficient power and low distortion, then I would think pairing is less complicated.

    I have the Salon1's which appear to be a bit more difficult to drive than the Salon2's.
    Trying amps is no simple task, but at least the new Class-D amps are easier to handle.

    Unfortunately, high-end audio shops are endangered species.
    I went into one on Saturday, and all the salesmen appeared to be in their 60's :eek:
    It makes me wonder if it will be there 10 years from now. It is in a location where the real estate is valuable.
    At some point, the labor of love may end...

    - Rich
  9. jliedeka Audioholic General

    jliedeka
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    +1 for Power Cube, it makes the performance easy to see at a glance.

    I live in a medium sized city. We used to have at least three specialty audio shops. Now we're down to one.

    Jim
  10. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    All I can say is, that dragon picture on the front of the amp looks timid and it isn't even red. :D
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  11. TheoN Audioholics Contributing Writer

    TheoN
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    I know! Trying to capture the actual color of the "red" in the Red dragons just was beyond the capabilities of the camera. The red LED either came out magenta or a light red. I borrowed an SLR digital camera and that was the best I could capture. I can vouch that it is red :D

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