Intg Amps: Hegel 590 vs NAD M33 Masters vs Gryphon Diablo 120

Hi All: I am getting an itch to upgrade my integrated amp from Hegel 190 to something more robust that facilitates future speaker swapping.  And no, I'm not presently interested in separating components that much further (e.g. separate DAC; separate amp; clock; etc. etc).  I mainly interested in the following 3 on a used basis:

Hegel 590 OR NAD Masters 33 OR Gryphon Diablo 120

Max budget is $7500 if I choose to go towards the Gryphon (used), but curious if it's really THAT much better.   I'm particularly interested to hear from people that have had or auditioned at 2 out of 3.  The room correction on NAD is very appealing but I quite like my Hegel and it's tight control, and so something nice about staying true.


Current Setup:

* Unideal Brooklyn Apartment living room into Kitchen

* Hegel 190

* Monitor Audio Silver 7G 500

* Pine Tree Audio Cables

* Dual 1216

* Schiit Mani 2 (though I hear the phono preamp on some of above may make this superfluous)

* Spotify/Tidal (main streaming source)


In general in this pursuit you get what you pay for… particularly when you get to the ~ $7 - $10K or above. These are professionally designed, well reviewed and must be sonically of value or they are not going to sell for long.

Bringing in an audiophile component into your system will likely give it a big boost. My rule of thumb is you need to jump at least 2x in investment to get a clear and substantial improvement. So, I think the Gyphon meets that criteria.


However, you are talking about a system. While you can absolutely make good speakers sound great by investing more in electronics. In the end, you have a system and to have it perform well you need all equal performing carefully chosen components .


My rule of thumb in investment is 35% speakers, 15% streamer, 15% DAC, 20% preamp, and 15% amp. It is not a hard and fast rule. But I have gone through half a dozen upgrades over the last fifty years and usually ended up about there. My current system is $32K, $22K, $17K, $17K, $22K respectively… as an example.

Those of us that are really passionate about this tend to plan our upgrades to a new level, although it may take several years to get there.


I hope this is helpful.


Second sentence, "And no, I’m not presently interested in separating components that much further (e.g. separate DAC; separate amp; clock; etc. etc)."


Very first reply, "Have you considered an outboard DAC?"


Do people not read or just figure they’re going to disregard what’s been asked or already stated? Baffling.

Gryphon by miles

Agreed. @gill_benedek , if you can  get a used Gryphon within your budget, throw the Hegel and NAD in a ditch (it's a no brainer).