Hegel comparison

I have the opportunity to buy either a Hegel 390 or 590.  Pricing to be negotiated, and there are no dealerships anywhere in my region that would allow me to hear either one before making a decision.

Does anybody have an opinion, based on live auditioning, re: the relative sonic profiles of these two products?

Thanks for any opinions based on first-hand experience.




I’m using Harbeths. I’ve heard many times over the years that they mate particularly well with Hegel & Ayre electronics.

What speakers / associated eqpt / sources gave you that "dull and flat" sound with the Hegel?  What other electronics worked better in your system?

This is useful information, thanks.




>I could be wrong but I believe the DAC is basically the same between the 2. In a technical sense the notable upgrade is 50 more watts. And a slightly beefier power supply. 

As I'm sure you'd agree, it's tough to sort through the responses to a question like this.  There are so many variables in everybody's system, power, and room, too many to list in most postings.

What I've gathered, by aggregating comments & reviews here & elsewhere, is that the H590's analog sound is a big step up from that of the H390; and that the H600's DAC is a big step up from the H590 DAC.

There doesn't seem to be consistency in what people hear re: other criteria.



>the sound ranged from bland and lifeless to overly punchy and bass heavy to unrefined and overly detailed and bright.  


Whoa!  Is it even possible for one component to be flawed in ALL those ways?

I've never owned or heard Hegel gear, so I don't have a horse in this race.  The Hegel integrateds are contenders for me b/c of their superb connectivity, generally excellent reputation for sound quality, and relatively light weight (300 wpc Class A/B, 49lbs).  My integrated would have to fit into a complex-topology surround system, and laugh if you must, but 49 pounds for this much non-ClassD power makes a big difference to these old bones.

Your observations don't jibe with those of most Hegel owners I've spoken to.  But, hey, maybe a corollary to the Anthropic Principle could be at play.  People who own and love Hegel gear may just be self-selected from a subset of listeners who originally liked Hegel enough to buy it!  So your comments, as a non-owner who has heard Hegel in a variety of systems, are certainly valuable.

But could you expand a bit on your comments? What other components were configured when the Hegels sounded lifeless, overly detailed, bass heavy, bright, etc.?  I'm still trying to wrap my mind around those seemingly mutually-exclusive characteristics.

FWIW, as I mentioned above, Hegel and Ayre -- my two top contenders at the moment -- are both reputed to pair well with Harbeths.  In fact, I've been told that Harbeth uses Hegel electronics in its show rooms.


@avanti1960   It's funny how people obviously hear different things.  I have owned the 390, 590 and currently run a pair of the H30s.  You can see my system in my details.  The sound is warm, luscious and several other superlatives I could throw in.  None of your criticisms have been apparent in my system(s) using Hegel amps.  I have combined them with GoldenEar Triton Reference,  Acoustic Zen Crescendo Mark ll, Focal Sopra 2 and lastly with SoundLab Majestic 745 speakers.  I'm not saying you didn't hear faults in dealer systems, just saying others couldn't disagree more.  That's why I find it so hard for anyone to be giving advice here.  There's just no guarantee the next person or the next system or the next listening room is going to prove a recommendation is correct.  IMHO.  Cheers. 

You can never take one opinion too seriously. What you CAN do is look at the trend or the majority of opinions. And that seems to show you get a lot of power, great sound, connectivity from the 390, 590. I don’t care what piece of audio equipment you’re talking about, there’s always a few guys who will proudly stand up and say it’s utter crap. No matter how good it is. Presumably to show how deeply golden their ears alone are.