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.



@avanti1960  I'm sure we could do this all day.  Here's what The Absolute Sound had to say about the H30



The Hegel H30 is not just a great-sounding amplifier, it’s also a tremendous bargain. I know I’ll get letters complaining that a $15k power amplifier by definition can’t be a bargain. But what else can you call a $15,000 amplifier with massive output power, unflappable stability, and a gorgeous musical presentation that vaults it into a select league of world-class power amplifiers? Or one that is fully at home in the context of my reference system that includes the $54,000 Basis Inspiration turntable and $94,000 Focal Stella Utopia EM loudspeakers?

As adept the H30 is at all aspects of portraying the music, it’s the H30’s rendering of midrange and treble textures that makes this amplifier a standout. The Hegel coupled a warmth and lushness of timbre with tremendous clarity and resolution, a combination that is rare in an amplifier of any price. The sense of timbral realism and palpability was world-class by any measure. Moreover, it’s difficult to overstate just how greatly these qualities induced a sense of ease and deep musical involvement.

If your amplifier budget is anywhere near $15k, the Hegel H30 should be on your short list of products to audition. You may find, as I did, that this unassuming and understated black box contains a Scandinavian surprise.

I owned three different Hegel amps and loved them all.  

I'm a Hegel H590 owner who just recently had an opportunity to have an extended listening session with the new H600 (I use a separate external DAC) .  I can tell you that based on just the amp/preamp sections of the two, I didn't hear a significant enough improvement in the SQ of the two to make me want to run out and buy the H600.  I'm sure that there is SQ improvement, but not nearly enough to make me want to switch.  Not at all.  So, I'll be holding on to my H590 for the foreseeable future.  I have no experience with the H590s internal DAC, but the improved DAC in the H600 may be the ultimate determining factor for some. I good.        

@kennymacc   I'm confused by your statement "I have no experience with the H590s internal DAC"   Are you saying in all the time you've owned the 590, you've never run your digital feed through it and compared the sound to whatever DAC you are using?  That just strikes me as rather strange. IMHO

@bigtwin    No, I never used, nor did I ever intended on using the internal DAC of my H590.  I never us the internal DACs that come with any component.  I've invested in a great deal into a stand-alone, reference caliber DAC that I believe to be superior to the internal DACs of the H590 and the H600.  So, obviously, I felt that any comparisons between my reference DAC and the H590s internal DAC would be quite futile.  Happy listening.

@kennymacc   Ok, I get your point, but aren't you just the least bit curious as to how the 590 DAC compares to your reference DAC?  I have done the comparison with DACs that were supposed to be on a whole other level, only to find I couldn't hear the difference.  Maybe it's just my ears.  I would be interested in your detailed comparison between the 590 and whatever your reference DAC is.  I suspect others who are considering the 590 would also benefit from your comparison.   But hey, that's just me.  Cheers.