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Hegel H390

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Simon 13th note

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the h390 is a new model, hence, rick may not of experience of it but i may be wrong. looking forward to simons thoughts on this model compared to his current hegel amplifier.
Thanks, still waiting for it to arrive. Went Via Norway, Sweden, Germany, Stansted, then Sussex .
 

Simon 13th note

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This is a terrific amp already. Only using cheap £4/m cables. immediately it has much more control over the PMCs than the Cyrus signature gear which was £7.5k in pre and power sig stuff

Going to swap to my chord epic ref speaker cables, wonder what the Hegel’s DAC is like. Routing -innuos zenith into my Qutest atm, then the Hegel.

My chord cables have funny deltron plugs for Cyrus so am going to have to take them off.
 

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MUSICRAFT

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the h390 is a new model, hence, rick may not of experience of it but i may be wrong.
I stand to be corrected however i believe the H390 was launched around a year or so ago.

I heard the H390 at our clients home who is now looking to upgrade his amp with either Anthem's STR integrated (which he has already auditioned and has informed he already prefers to his existing amp), NAD's M33 or Lyngdorf Audio's TDAI-3400. The reason he's already looking for a change of amplification is because his system has lost the "snap, punch and drive" he had " so much enjoyed" with his previous Primare amplification.

We got chatting and i mentioned to our client that i had courtesy of another client seen and heard Lyngdorf Audio's TDAI-2170 which i was extremely impressed with (my brief impressions of my experience with the TDAI-2170 are below btw). The bottom line is that if our client is looking for another integrated amplifier around the £5k mark then he might as well also look for and consider amplification which offers bass management and crucially digital room correction to help optimise or as near as the full potential of his curved SCM40's and E-110 subs.

Based on my experience with Anthem's STR pre amplifier i recommended Anthem's STR integrated (features Anthem Room Correction - Genesis) and also Lyngdorf Audio's TDAI-3400 (features Lyngdorf Audio's RoomPerfect room correction). So far it looks like in due course Anthem's STR integrated will be displacing the current amplifier to form the heart of our clients system. It's now over to the M33 and the TDAI-3400 :)

Anyway, my brief impressions of my experience of the TDAI-2170 -

I was asked by a client to visit him because he wanted to show me and listen to his new single chassis £3k amplifier which according to our client"wipes the floor clean" with his DAC and pre amp/mono amps costing many times more.

First, we heard the DAC, pre amp/mono's and B&W 805's with a B&W ASW675 sub. This system sounded pretty damn good to me (y)

Next, the DAC and the pre amp/mono's were substituted for Lyngdorf Audio'sTDAI-2170 digital amplifier. Before playing something our client asked me to put my ear next to the 805's with the TDAI-2170's volume on max. I heard nothing. No noise, no hiss and no hum. Nothing. The TDA-2170 was dead quiet. Next with the volume now turned down our client hit play on the CDP. The result was WOW :) Our client wasn't kidding when he said the TDAI-2170 "wipes the floor clean" with his DAC and pre amp/mono amps (which are all massively built and impressive to look at btw).

Things were set to get even better because our client now activated the ace up the TDAI-2170's and Lyngdorf Audio's sleeve. Lyngdorf Audio's Room Perfect room correction. RoomPerfect maps and corrects the acoustic errors of the room and importantly without changing the characteristics of the loudspeakers. I'd read about RoomPerfect and now i got experience the technology first hand. The 805's/ASW675 were now locked together, without a change in their presentation, playing as one and simply breathing. My jaw hit the floor.

With the restrictions in place and being at home i got a hold of the daddy in the range the TDAI-3400. Sure enough the qualities of the TDAI-2170 which to put it mildly impressed me so much are carried over to the TDAI-3400 and then some. The TDAI-3400 is stunning. Just stunning.

Btw, our clients previous DAC/pre amp/monoblocks were from Chord Electronics and Classe Audio.
 
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Simon 13th note

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can i wave a white flag lads and ask simon what the main difference, sound quality wise, is between the hegel h390 and your previous h120 unit ?

here is the h120 review :-
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=895SR1oXRaM
Hi plus1. There is more space to sound, it‘s more dynamic and open and transparent. It does keep the sound of the h120 which is a very good amp. But the dac in the Hegel H390 is a lot better and I’m umming and arring atm to decide between it and a Qutest Dac. the Hegel dac is thicker with bass and goes a bit lower , with the Qutest spacier with a wide soundstage, which I’ve found using it with lots of gear (eg Jade 2 HIFiMan electrostatic headphone system) but so far I can’t say one is better than the other. People are saying on the Hegel fb group that the Bit perfect dac in the H390 is really adequate. I’m gonna try it with the ‘Dac loop‘ feature where you plug another dac from the digital output utilising the reclocking bit perfect stage of the Hegel to another dac. Then you go back into the Hegel via xlr analogue inputs. Im about to try an RME ADI-2 DAC FS for that purpose.

but whatever about the dac, this Hegel is tremendous, so good that I’ve decided to buy it. Ok It doesn’t have a flashy display of the naims and nad m33 masters of this world. Hegel boast Scandinavian minimalist design. This amp is all about sound quality and using another streamer - the node 2i is fine. Im talking about this distinction as ‘a pretty boy amp’ versus ‘a sounding amp’ and it’s in the latter catergory the Hegel excels. An excellent product worth it. Like the h120, it’s an audiophile delight.
 
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plus 1

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Hi plus1. There is more space to sound, it‘s more dynamic and open and transparent. It does keep the sound of the h120 which is a very good amp. But the dac in the Hegel H390 is a lot better and I’m umming and arring atm to decide between it and a Qutest Dac. the Hegel dac is thicker with bass and goes a bit lower , with the Qutest spacier with a wide soundstage, which I’ve found using it with lots of gear (eg Jade 2 HIFiMan electrostatic headphone system) but so far I can’t say one is better than the other. People are saying on the Hegel fb group that the Bit perfect dac in the H390 is really adequate. I’m gonna try it with the ‘Dac loop‘ feature where you plug another dac from the digital output utilising the reclocking bit perfect stage of the Hegel to another dac. Then you go back into the Hegel via xlr analogue inputs. Im about to try an RME ADI-2 DAC FS for that purpose.

but whatever about the dac, this Hegel is tremendous, so good that I’ve decided to buy it. Ok It doesn’t have a flashy display of the naims and nad m33 masters of this world. Hegel boast Scandinavian minimalist design. This amp is all about sound quality and using another streamer - the node 2i is fine. Im talking about this distinction as ‘a pretty boy amp’ versus ‘a sounding amp’ and it’s in the latter catergory the Hegel excels. An excellent product worth it. Like the h120, it’s an audiophile delight.
thanks for the detailed reply and i'm glad you like it. the fact your purchasing it says it all !

i personally like the hegel designs with their symmetry etc but would love to see a gloss black finish.
 
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Simon 13th note

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thanks for the detailed reply and i'm glad you like it. the fact your purchasing it says it all !

i personally like the hegel designs with their symmetry etc but would love to see a gloss black finish.
i know they do white. I quite like that symmetry too. A lot of my thinking is hifi isn’t really showey anyway because it’s boxes and how do you make that sexy. Just buy art instead. That’s why I like the Cyrus cases, as retro.

put it this way, I’d rather buy something simple and well designed that is huge on sound quality than a showy amp like the naim nova, similar ballpark price albeit with better streaming features. I do like the naim Nova which looks great with materials used, like the muso music bar thingy, but what cost all that for sound quality. That’s always a big part of cost and it gets people hook line and sinker into thinking sound is as good, I think. I don’t get it. I’d just get the Hegel and bung on a relatively inexpensive streamer with a better interface with an app like the node and Bluos. Also if you are paying £4-£5k for a streamimg amp, at this price isn’t sq the number one priority that you just would not forego when you hear how damn good this Hegel is.
 
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Romulus

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Naim Audio and Hegel in my eyes are both serious good HiFi Brands, and preference of sound is simply down to the subjective test of the listener. I would imagine those who would be hooked on the Naim sound would not get the Hegel presentation and so goes the vice versa...
 
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MUSICRAFT

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he should just go to the active versions of the ATC’s to my mind. If he has a h390, wouldn‘t a change to that Lyngdorf be a sideways step given it‘s down on power and ATC’s need power too.
Our client is fully aware of passive SCM40's v active SCM40A's however he prefers the traditional approach of using passive SCM40's with external amplification.

The TDAI-3400 has ample reserves of power for curved SCM40 passive monitors. 200w 8 ohms or doubles in text book fashion (usually a good sign) to 400w 4 ohms. We've not got anywhere near the TDAI-3400's power limit with any loudspeaker we've used the TDAI-3400 with.

So far TDAI-3400's performance particularly with RoomPerfect engaged has been consistent at any level I've listened to. Even at the lowest level the sound is full, rich and dynamic with depth, weight and power. I am sure Lyngdorf Audio's fully digital amplification is also playing a big part here -

"using the fully digital amplification technology, which means volume control is done by adjusting the voltage of the power supplies so we have full dynamic range at any range at any normal playback level"

"we have exactly the same sound at 0.5w as we have at 400w, which is unusual and impossible to achieve any other way"

Anyway more on TDAI-3400's true digital amplification, RoomPerfect with subwoofer integration, Digital voicing equalizer and DSP by Peter Lyngdorf CEO Steinway Lyngdorf in this video -

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3rq3ZfzNos
 

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may i ask simon are you using the isotek aquarius with the h390 or is the amplifier plugged direct to the wall ?

also are you also using the supplied power cable or an aftermarket version ?
 
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Simon 13th note

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may i ask simon are you using the isotek aquarius with the h390 or is the amplifier plugged direct to the wall ?

also are you also using the supplied power cable or an aftermarket version ?
yes with the aquarius high current output. Just using a clearer audio copper line I think it is. Not expensive.
 
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MUSICRAFT

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Yes, Hegel components are designed in Norway and unless something has changed recently are built in China. If a Hegel product requires repair/service then the product is shipped to a contractors repair centre in Holland.

Btw, last Saturday one of our clients who’s used a SuperUniti for seven years placed an order for Uniti Nova after also having listened to a H190 and a H390. We placed the order today for the Uniti Nova and a Uniti Atom also sold on Saturday. Received confirmation from Naim Audio that we should receive the Uniti Nova and the Uniti Atom on 21/10. Our clients KEF R7’s will soon benefit from a new hand built Uniti Nova :)
 
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Simon 13th note

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Yet I sometimes read that Hegel with Atc is good combination but ATC with Naim was even better to some listeners. Its not a question of what is better more comparing oranges and Lemon. Some people find the Hegel presentation bland and Naim presentation involving and musical. I respect your beliefs as above, Naim and Hegel are both good designs, that Naim have manufacturing in Salisbury can be an advantage eg Customer support which Naim have gained a solid reputation, all done in UK. With Hegel if something goes wrong with the component where is the support coming from, its a bit of a mystery considering the amp is designed in Norway but actually made in China? Some people will prefer a component to be made in one Country when considering actual customer support. However it does not mean that the Hegel is of questionable design, quite the opposite a very solid well designed components with at last an improved DAC for the lower amps. A HiFi dealer said it all when he confirmed "It all comes down to what presentation of sound does the customer like or prefer?" You also fail to recognise the Naim Sound which has grown a cult like following among audiophiles and some musicians. It may not be strictly neutral, but its a sound a lot of people love and I bet you will not find it in any Hegel amplifier, so I do not agree with your above view. Hegel may offer more 'bits' for the price but it s not a Naim sound and Naim will not sound like Hegel. Oranges and Lemon ;)
If people said Hegel is bland - which I’m not sure what that means, sorry - I’ll go with no treble or detail, don’t know what they are talking about. The h120 and H390 I reviewed have loads of detail and are far from bland amps. High damping factor which makes the drivers dynamic, is one of the highest for class ab you can get. Extremely musically involving. Harbeth for example insist on the use of these amps above anything else, I know.

Often what it comes down to in HiFi is not actual experience based reasons. Most people would not know the difference unless they sit there and form their own opinions. So I’m interested in that. People are shaped by the branding, by price means better (not always) and loyalty to brands. So I take it with a pinch of salt if the reasons are not what the products actually do sonically.

On service, I have no concerns with that. Hegel have been one of the most communicative firms I’ve dealt with. Naim do not return calls in my experience. Supply chains are all over the place with HiFi and that applies to naim as much as Hegel. So long as you get good service with the firm it’s fine and anyway your point is hypothetical.

The idea brands have a house sound like a grape variety is often a misnomer in HiFi. They often do but not always across the whole brand. Especially when you start using different amp topologies, or improved power which gives more detail. Or different DACs. So Cyrus for example have class d in the one cast then ab in other amps. The integrateds are low on power and the signature stuff sounds different again. Accounting differences in sonic signatures across a range.

When I tried £5k of naim stuff I was underwhelimed because it has a totally different set of design criteria to a naim pre and power and streaming set up I heard which was around £16k which blew me away. Because of that different set of design criteria the sound is different. But it’s also about what that £5k does for the money and it’s value for money. If it’s short on detail because most HiFi people don’t fit into the smooth brigade, then it won’t be as good. If bass is woolly, or it isnt dynamic......

what happens when you compare one amp with another of a different brand which uses the same or similar amp modules, like the hypex the nad m10 uses. You’ll get a similar sound, so you look at the features and price. Not just say the naim sound can be applied to all to make the decision. People who do this are hook line and sinker to manufacturers because they want you to buy without trying a to b. Often what you find reviewing stuff is this is the case. The kennedys and darkos of this world won’t point it out so the naim people can keep buying naim. As I say I doubt they prefer it.

so it’s not about oranges and lemons. It’s about one orange with good taste at a good price, relative to a different orange at a different price with possibly a different overall character.
 
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Simon 13th note

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Yes, Hegel components are designed in Norway and unless something has changed recently are built in China. If a Hegel product requires repair/service then the product is shipped to a contractors repair centre in Holland.

Btw, last Saturday one of our clients who’s used a SuperUniti for seven years placed an order for Uniti Nova after also having listened to a H190 and a H390. We placed the order today for the Uniti Nova and a Uniti Atom also sold on Saturday. Received confirmation from Naim Audio that we should receive the Uniti Nova and the Uniti Atom on 21/10. Our clients KEF R7’s will soon benefit from a new hand built Uniti Nova :)
to most audiophiles I think the r7 will sound a hell of a lot better with the Hegel H390 with a similar bass treble balance to the nova but with more power, detail, control and transparency. Even h190 too.

the nova does pick everything out in the sound in that forward mid centric naim way, the Hegel is more about spaciousness and openness and an almost airy all out means of showing it off. But the difference in performance is accounted by bass response, by control and dynamic astuteness which the H390 will have all over that nova. the detail that a higher power damping factor amp will have. The h190 too.

i understand how people like the all in one and pretty case and display but I hope you showed them a ‘sounding’ amp of brands you sell, for similar money to let them decide on a different option. Ie just an amplifier. In fact I’m comparing the nova in my video to the H390.

i get how people want all in ones but tbh buying at this price is about sound I think. People might see another way if shown an amp sounding much better at similar Ballpark money to the nova, then bolt on a streamer. Lots of facts come in like looks, display, features, one box, and so on.

the hand built Hegel is of course that too rick, lol, as all amps are hand built in these classes with populated boards by machines.
 
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theLamb

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Just in case anyone has any concerns over Hegel support, I had a H160 a couple of years ago and the ethernet board failed. I had bought the amp 2nd hand but I dropped a call into a dealer (Peter at Igloo - very helpful!) and he put me onto Magnus at Hegel and he helped me sort it. You should always measure a company when things go wrong, and Hegel came out as 1st class. Just my experience. I also know the folks at Naim to be excellent engineers (I worked with them on a project circa 12 years ago!). In summary buy from both!
 
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a little bit, but not massive Tbh. Still really enjoying it going through all my favourite albums. With the Hegel Mohican CD player I had from Hegel, which I thought as good as a chord Hugo tt2, or a Dcs Bartok I tried, this would be terrific combo. The guy who bought a naim nova against this must have been off his rocker, assuming that even happened. Absolutely no way that amp competes to this amp.
shame you still dont have the mohican cd player to hand as you could of compared linking it to the h390 via the rca, xlr or digital option to assess the differences.
 
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SHaines

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Howdy folks,

Please keep our forum rules in mind when posting. It's very important to keep our focus on hi-fi equipment and accessories.

Any posts that change the topic from a device to the intentions of other members of the community will be removed.

Thanks
 
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Thanks for the wonderful review. Would this pair well with :
klipsch cornwall iv?
Also ARIES G2.1 but now thinking this might be overkill?

Sorry if silly questions (learning on the job!)
i'm affraid i have no idea !
simon 13th note would be best to advise as its his film. you could ask / contact him through youtube / the above video.
 
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