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 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.

@bigtwin Your point is well taken. I’m sure that if there were no other options, I could live happily ever after with the H590s or the H600s internal DACs, because on their own merits, they do sounds quite outstanding. Heck, for years and years, well before outboard DACs became so popular, I immensely enjoyed the DACs that came with my high end CD players without a second thought. So, I hear where you’re coming from. I’m sure that the internal DACs of the H590/H600 will easily equal or outperforms many, many higher priced stand-alone DACs on the market. However, there’s good reasons why so very many well versed audiophiles have opted to go with external DACs. There are levels of proficiency, at various price points, in all things high end audio and DACs are no exception. Based on my experience, extensive listing sessions, comparison after comparison, etc., I felt that the DAC of my choosing, consistently outperformed every internal, and most other outboard DACs I compared it to, even some that were far more expensive, so I ran with it and never looked back. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend my whole life doing a/b comparisons. I just want to lay back, be content with my audio system and enjoy the fruits of my labor. At some point, you have to trust your own ears, be confident and content with your audio choices. I’m not one who enjoys digging deep into my wallet every time a new shiny penny comes along. My audio purchases are intended to be for the long-haul. Despite the constantly changing technology of current DACs, I’m confident that my Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty Streaming DAC, at it’s elevated level of proficiency, will stand the test of time, and will be with me for years and years to come, simply because, to my ears, it outperformed most everything else (within my budget, whether new or pre-owned). Happy listening.