Ayre v Hegel sound

My setup is comprised of a Roon-ready Ayre QX-5 Twenty DAC, Ayre DX-5 DSD disc player, Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamp and VX-5 Twenty amp driving a pair of KEF Reference 1s augmented below 80 Hz with s pair of acoustic room corrected Velodyne HGS-15s.  The speakers are high-passed at 80 Hz by a Marchand filter.  I've been mulling over the idea of replacing the DAC, preamp, and amp with a Hegel H390 integrated for simplicity and downsizing , but I have no idea what effect that might have on the sound.  Anyone out there know or have an opinion? 

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Through personal comparisons I agree with posters who point out the firmer bass sound of the Hegel (I understand that Ayre uses lower global feedback which usually means less firmness in the bass). I also agree that the H590 is a superior Hegel product. It’s DAC has no limitations or faults. Neither does the H390 DAC, albeit the H590 amplification sound quality is higher. As for Amazon Music HD the Hegels do not have built in streamers for any service, but serve as network endpoints that you can stream to for playback. The USB input of the 590/390 is also very capable. 


If what you are missing is streaming, consider adding a pure streamer such as the iFi Zen Stream or similar to your Ayre stack.

I have noticed that at KEF demos they use Hegel amplifiers so I would surmise this would be a nice pairing. I cannot speak to if the switch would be better or not but just the Hegel would pair nicely with the Reference 1 speakers.

kef and harbeth are just two well established successful speaker makers that consistently use big hegels at shows

my sense is that this is because they feel hegels control their speakers very well while not otherwise editorializing on the music played through them, even at significant show demo volumes, thus allowing the speakers to be at their best for demo listeners

not to say hegel is the only amplifier line that can do this, but it is instructive for amplifier buyers to note this fact