out of 10
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Read editor review
MASSIVE AUDIO NANO BLOCK “N2” 800 Watts RMS – 1600 Watts MAX
MANUFACTURER: Massive Audio
In a world where a small footprint is a desirable and ever more trendy thing there are very few amplifiers this petite. Plenty of small amplifiers but this one has an exceptional power to footprint ratio.
The smallest of the new Nano range from Massive Audio, there are four in the range and very carefully aimed at serious-but-not-rich ice hounds. There’s a four channel class AB called NX4 and the N2 here has a bigger N3 brother that can do 1400w RMS at an Ohm and there’s a whacker called N4 that has a cool 2,000w RMS output. The amp is worldwide standards compliant with firstly the reassuring CEA 2006 for veracity as to power claims but also RoSH, CE and E8. All are just over two inches or around fifty five millimeters thick and narrow as well.
They have a dark finish and are well bolted together with Chrome Allen headed bolts. There are skinny but strong feet at each corner and a central channel down the outside of the heatsink that is instrumental in the fixing of the joining pieces and end caps. First, there is the NEX connector piece to join any two amps into one long one. Then there’s the NE end cap that fits them all, one called NE3 that makes an NX4 and an N3 the same length and a fully five inch long piece NE2 that makes the NX4 and N2 the same length. Likewise but just shorter there is the NE4 that makes the NX4 and N4 match. This seems insane until you find out that these amps are ground-up designed to be mountable stacked up as you have seen before but also sideways. Four different combinations of systems are shown in the ‘quick guide’ sheet you get about stacking and line arrays of the product.
There are no fuses on board and on this smallest amp you get square compression grips whereas the N3 and N4 get a bigger power terminal set. There is also a dual set of paralleled speaker terminals of the same type as the power with a CEA mark on the end. The other end has the power and protect LEDs and RCA stereo inputs. There’s a three position switch for bass boost at zero, six or twelve dB, centered at a relatively high 50Hz. The low pass filter is steep and the subsonic filter says “Off to 50Hz” but ‘pon the netz says that ‘off’ is ten Hertz. There is a round micro jack plug socket near the RCAs for a remote bass gain device, which is optional. Most Impressive Feature is the low voltage protector circuit. It offends me deeply that so very, very many monstrously powerful car amps out there can be killed by sucking the jugular of their car’s power system too hard. It always struck me as madness not to feature this sort of protection as it’s what they DO, but it’s very rare indeed.
- Class D
- 1 x 200w RMS @ 4 Ohms
- 1 x 400w RMS @ 2 Ohms
- 1 x 800w RMS @ 1 Ohm (1,600w peak)
- Aluminium heatsink with ‘Raven Black’ finish
- 8Ga. Power Terminals with cross/Allen headed compression socket connection
- 0/6/12dB Bass Boost switchable @ 50Hz
- Adjustable input sensitivity: 0.2V to 5V
- Five different end cap/connecting piece designs available to link all the amps in the range
- May be lined up with end caps or stacked sideways or vertically
- Frequency response 10Hz to 220Hz
- Signal to Noise Ratio >80dB
- Efficiency >80%
- Subsonic Filter adjustable 10Hz to 50Hz @ 24dB per Octave
- Low Pass Filter adjustable 40Hz to 220Hz @ 24dB per Octave
- ‘Next generation’ protection circuits for short circuit/overheating and LOW Voltage
- Double sided military specification Surface Mount Device (SMD) board
- Fuse Rating not stated, no fuse fitted
- HxWxD(mm) 55 x 183 x 140mm
- Optional wired level remote, includes manual and connector/array information
Editor review : Massive Audio Nano Block N2
OVERALL RATING 9.6
SOUND QUALITY 9.0
POWER OUTPUT 10.0
BUILD QUALITY 10.0
VALUE FOR MONEY 10.0
I’m going to stick my neck out here and suggest that this series of ‘Nano’ amps could acquire Cult Status.
I tested it on the MTX Thunder 6000 T612-44 subwoofer, for trying out the sheer muscle of the thing and then with the DLS RW10 for the Sound Quality. Both subs are to be found on the review tree below this product. The tech in the amp is not all that awesome on the face of it but the innards really are a bit fabby, with military specification build techniques and ridiculous power for the footprint.
The connections on this smallest of the wee Nanos are not over built but can take a good fat wire and the controls are beautifully centered within the holes in the case, indicating good precision in build. It takes some time to grasp the possible permutations and combinations of this amplifier’s series brothers and all the end caps and different joining pieces but the possibilities add up to a slice of ironmongery that can rock and power your whole system from a ridiculously small chunk of your car’s cubic.
The thing was dead simple to set up although the bass boost frequency is fixed both a little high up perhaps at 50Hz rather than the more normal 45Hz and the simple three-way switch used to set said boost to six or twelve dB rather than a smooth sweep to say fifteen dB are less fabby than on some amps. But in truth I set it to six, was happy and cranked the hell out of More Bass More Boom More Bottom and a terrible rendition on a bass CD from Pandisc of some old Kraftwerk tracks.
The amp has only got a ‘better than 80dB’ signal to noise ratio but as the ‘noise’ is generally a hiss and the crossover is set too low to let that be hearable, all you get is the bass and it’s tight, deep and grippy. The MTX was flung on a serious set of excursions. My poor wife was in the bath on what she thought would be a languorous morning off and ended up complaining that the windows in the bathroom were bending outwards! It seems to have a nice high slew rate and can make a good leading edge to big boom notes and simply sounds like it comes from a bigger box of electronics. Somewhat stupefied, I looked at the subwoofer whanging and heard the loft ladder resonating above my head in the closed hatch and then looked at a box far too small to hold enough sandwiches for half a day’s fishing had it been Tupperware. ‘How does it do that?’ was all that kept flashing through my startled brain.
Then it was the work of a moment to switch the Neutrik gastight Speakon connector from one Acoustic Wood enclosure to another to try the RW10. This is a seriously high SQ product although not close to the £600 Morel Ultimo 12 I once so raved about, it is able to win at high level sound offs, partly due to it’s ability to be installed in such a small box that one chap on the contest circuit actually has genuinely front-emanating bass by using one of these. While I still itch all over to try this humble subwoofer with a very high end class AB amp to hear what can be described as the AB difference, I was still vastly impressed by the timbral tracking quality as you can hear the squidgy shape of the envelope on the bass notes’ synthesizer settings.
The fabulously steep slopes on the crossovers are a high end feature and the subsonic is similarly 24dB per Octave which, along with the brutal amounts of clean honest muscle this amp can deal out and that most excellent system of linking and stacking – quite unique as no other amps I know can do both, only one or the other – makes this lovely clean sounding amp literally State Of The Art. Value For Money is high as the 1.6Kw peak for £300 is nuttier than a fruit cake. Plenty may claim this amount but are they CEA compliant?
So an unassuming amp that implies a seriously badass attitude to high power audio and well deserving of one of the Talk Audio top accolades.