A customer wanted to hear the Hegel H-360 integrated amp ($5700, 250×2) on the Bryston Model T speakers ($7900pr). I moved the H-360 into the room and sat it on an open shelf next to our Mac gear for the audition.
The customer had an SACD with him, so we ran the Mac MCD-550 ($6500) SACD/CD player into the balanced inputs of the H-360. The sound was warm, rich, clear- everything I expected and am used to. Then he wanted to hear a few Red Book (regular) CDs. They were outstanding too, but you couldn’t miss the difference that SACD offered.
I was thinking out loud, is the difference due more to the particular disc we were listening to?
Or was it indeed SACD vs CD?
I decided to try something else. Let’s run the Mac disc player’s coax-digital out, into the H-360 DAC. So now when we spin the Red Book disc, we’ll be listening to the DAC in the Hegel, not the one in the CD player.
Ohmygosh! The upgrade in sound going through the H-360’s DAC vs what is built in one of the best CD players in our biz- was shocking. The clarity and space around the instruments improved quite noticeably. It’s been a while since I’ve done an A-B like this and… I’d forgotten how superior the performance is through the H-360! Why?
Hegel has a different DAC layout from everyone else. Hegel doesn’t believe running an asynchronous DAC is the way to go. For openers, Hegel uses a separate Master Clock which uniquely shakes hands to the CD servo and DAC board. This reduces jitter to all but immeasurable. Hegel’s DAC system is SynchroDAC, (Synchronized Upsampling) it is NOT asynchronous. These core decisions used with proprietary Hegel circuitry yield a noticeable improvement in detail and the SPACE around which the recording itself was made.
This technology is the same on all three Hegel integrateds. For as low as $2k you’re into SynchroDAC- and that’s before we start crowing about all the other Hegel technology.
You also get:
Sound Engine: Hegel’s patented zero negative feedback design
Dual Power: Separate power supplies for preamp and power amp sections
Dual Amp: Separate current & voltage stages
USB: World Class linkage to optimize trouble free USB performance
Hegel H-80: $2000, 80×2
Hegel H-160: $3500, 150×2
Hegel H-360: $5700, 250×2