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.



@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.


So you're saying that after many hours of A-B'ing, you thought that the Ayre DAC was the best you heard, at least at a halfway similar price point?  And that you'd rank the Hegel only slightly below the Ayre?

Of course, a lot depends on associated equipment, power, and room, but what you say is consistent with much of what I've heard from other users who have gone out & actively auditioned DACs.


Ayre had a bit more open 'stage and a bit more top octave energy without sounding bright while the H590 just has a solid grip on everything. thr h360 was a little less in control that could be better with some music than other. I consider Hegel int's good value for the money. Avanti the p20 is a pre amp, you probably meant the H20.