Integrated brand choice -- Simaudio, Hegel or Mark Levinson?

Narrowed down my integrated brand choice to these three.  Looking to spend $7-8k (used or new).  These will power Focal Electra 1028be's for now, with a possible upgrade to something else next year.
I'm familiar with Simaudio, but haven't heard/owned the Hegel or Mark Levinson.
Opening the floodgates for your opinions...
Not long ago I had a good long demo of the SimAudio 340iX & the Hegel 590 driving Harbeth M40.2 speakers in a dedicated room..I was NOT impressed with either.The Simaudio WAYYY too much plastic for so much $ & the headphone circuit was HORRIBLE!The SimAudio sound is a LONG WAYYY from the beautifully voiced original i5...The Hegel was ok but sounded dry to me,no life,no soul..A week later a friend lent me his Sugden A21Signature(base model 23wpc.)& WOW,WHAT A WONDERFUL presentation.EVERYTHING I love about Class A SE tubes in a smaller,lighter package..Needless to say I’m now converted away from tubes to pure Class A Solid State...You owe it yourself to at least add Sugden & Pass Labs to the shortlist...
The question remains as to how much of a family resemblance there is between the 340 and the 600i v2, which is more in the OP's price bracket.
depends on what sound you want

focals can be a lil zippy up top (but maybe you like zippy, dunno)

hegel is pretty neutral, slightly warm, veeerrrryyyy smooth may be a good match, levinson/krell will be generally brighter leaner sounding

sim to me isn't in the same league, maybe i am wrong

consider also belles 
Had the 340ix at one point and was good with the sound, but I'm looking for the next bracket up. 

Not really interested in tubes...prefer the simplicity of solid state.
Looking for something that is neutral-ish and just gets out of the way while providing sufficient power to drive what I have now (and leaves room for something that needs a bit more).  The Focals can lean on the brighter side, but that doesn't bother me.
ML or the newest Krell. I can categorically state that the ML 585 is not bright and lean. I’d bet that the Krell isn’t either. Both can be had for under 8k. Very high quality units.
I've listened to the h390 Hegel and felt it was a bit dry and antiseptic. I'm sure the h590 outperforms it. Ended up with a Naim Supernait 3 which I love. To me Naim gives me what I like to hear: rich, full-blooded clarity. Good luck and let us know what you end up doing. 
Don’t know about the other two, but I’d rule out the Hegel as they manufacture in China, the land of little or no quality control. Check out Luxmann integrateds in your price range, made in Japan with excellent quality control. I’m unfamiliar with the other two brands offerings. Good luck with whatever you choose.


"Don’t know about the other two, but I’d rule out the Hegel as they manufacture in China, the land of little or no quality control."

Fell off my chair laughing.
Did you look at McIntosh? You can get a nice one in that price range with an upgradeable DAC. Also, I have heard the Anthem STR and it is pretty amazing too especially with the built in room correction.
I’m using a Levinson 585 to drive a pair of Focal Kanta 2s.  Very nice combination - pretty neutral, with just a touch of sweetness in the midrange.  What I especially like is that I can listen to and enjoy all my music - even average or somewhat bad recordings are still very enjoyable.  I’m not limited to a few great audiophile recordings.  
Matching with your speakers is most important of all.  I have a Hegel H360 and absolutely love it, matching really well with my Raidho's.  Try to get opinions of those that own Focal's or speakers that you are thinking of upgrading to-- that's my 2 cents.

David Belles has a new integrated amp coming out soon, the Virtuoso (200wpc into 8 ohms). He's getting ready to retire, from what I've heard, and this is supposed to be his swan song. A little over $6000. Might be worth checking out.
Some good suggestions above. My concern is that you may be buying 
in the wrong order if a speaker upgrade is in the offing. Proper synergy
between the amp/speakers is key to good sound. As speakers impact
sound much more than power, I would shop the speaker first.
I agree with freediver and mickeyb. I have tested hegel H390, H590, Mark Levinson 8505 and many others manufacturers. Hegel sounds like no soul and mark levinson is thin and laid back sound. Accuphase E-450 or E-470 are very musical and to bright side. You can read my test. Bryston 4B3 was very positive supprise. A lot of body and musical. I ended up to accuphase E-450 and PS Audio DirectStream as DAC. 
Are you sorry you asked? Lots of preaching about the mortal sins of various brands.  I will only say that I have a Hegel 390 driving a pair of ATC SM40’s and I could not be happier.  Very authoritative and soulful, IMO.  I auditioned both a class A and a class A/B Luxman, and a Naim Supernait 3 before I landed in the 390.  For my ears, in my system, in my room, the Hegel moved me in ways the others didn’t.  We all need to remember that this pursuit of ours is incredibly personal.  Buy the one that your gut tells you to and don’t look back!
That is true. Only what i want to add is you have to listen in your home first There is no short cut if you want to find best unit for yours system. 
👆🏼 Agree completely. My auditions were done in my home. Made all the difference in the world.
OP what are you coming from? Are you downsizing? Do you like the sound? Might be easier to make recommendations. But have to agree with several posters regarding your speakers which to me are a bit sizzling on the top end. Change your speakers first then match the electronics just my opinion.
Speakers first then match amp to suit them. I bought big Tannoy Ardens and then changed amplifier to match. Bought A class Luxman and been overawed by ease, musicality and even in built phono stage...
The speaker meant my Leben valve amp had to go but easy sacrifice to get the sound. 
But Sugden, accuphase and Luxman do great a class amplifiers. Look also at match to speaker sensitivity... You won't need 800w if speakers are 94db sensitive and you listen to folk music at low level... As they say first Watts the most important. 
I love my Hegel H390. It is powering a pair of Focal Aria 936s and it sounds great!
Thanks all.
Selling my Bricasti M28 mono's in an attempt to simply and reduce my overall investment in the hobby (other priorities abound).
The more I thought about it last night, the more I reduced my wants to something that doesn't add color (IMO, that's what the speakers are for) but has sufficient power to not be stressed by a wide variety of music.
As much as I'd love to do in home, I'm not sure that's going to happen with all my choices.  As such, your opinions are helpful and appreciated.
Agree with a few other on here regarding the Luxman. I bought my first Luxman integrated amp earlier this year and its by far the best amp I've ever owned. You should definitely consider a 507UXii.
I would agree with bluorion, the 507UXii sounded beautiful when I auditioned it recently.  Smooth, powerful, and intoxicating.  It was a very hard decision when I went with the Hegel 390 instead, but I knew I would be super happy with either.
I have a Simaudio 680D Stream Dac hooked up to a Anthem-Str Integrated amp with Focal Aria 936 speakers. I know the the Simaudio cost way more than the other parts of the system but I listen to streamed music mainly. I plan on up dating the speakers at some point and maybe amp but it really sounds amazing. The source is very important too.
With Focals I'd err towards Luxman, Accuphase, Pass, Ayre.

The Belles Aria Signature integrated is available nowl; the Virtuoso integrated will still be a little while coming.
Before I purchased a Luxman 507uX MKII I also looked into the comparable Hegel model. Look at the pictures of the interior wiring of the Hegel 390 at (right above the technical specs) versus what you see after you you click on the picture of the interior wiring of the Luxman 507uX MKII (right above their Specs section) at Draw your own conclusions.

That Hegel hides where their integrated is made is telling as well. The Hegel 390 gets great reviews, but again you’re gambling on Chinese products durability. I thought about Japanese Accuphase integrateds too, but there were local availability and pricing issues if I recall. Sounds like some other good choices have been mentioned above. Again good luck with whatever you choose.

If tubes are an option:
 Aesthetix Mimas
MAC mc 352
Modwrights new INT

If SS only, in the past I own a Luxman 509x....killer!


”anything but Mac”.  I’m confused, is it you or the OP who is buying?  If it’s the OP then you do him/her a big disservice by stating that. The person should try to look at all brands in his price range.  Just because you don’t like Mac doesn’t mean he won’t.   The person is purchasing for their taste, not yours. 

the naysaying is tiresome

all are good brands, make music in certain ways, with certain signatures

one must try and find their own sweet spot

for higher end focals, i would personally err on the side of gear that provides a softer sweeter uber refined high end, a neutral, detailed midrange and strong grip down below

For the Focal 1028be I would lean towards the Mark Levinson. I have a Hegel H360 and H590 and really appreciate what they do, but I've heard the 1028be with older average recordings and it needs a warm forgiving amp and Hegel's are neutral. Sim idk

Ayre, best I have found for my preferences after lots of gear. US made, great support, build quality and technology.