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)



Hard to compare a NAD Masters M33 to the Gryphon Diablo 120.  I consider the NAD as a convenient lifestyle swiss army knife product that really doesn't excel at anything. The amp of the NAD doesn't deliver ample current to control speakers and I find it to be severely harsh sounding at moderate volume levels.  While convenient, the NAD's built-in DAC / Streamer is average at best.  I did find the BluOS control system and the DIRAC room correction to be nice to have's but again fit into the convenience lifestyle category. 

Before purchasing my Gryphon Diablo 300 I auditioned the Diablo 120 and found it to have the same sonic footprint as the Diablo 300 with the same incredible build quality that Gryphon is famous for.  The Gryphon Diablo 120 has ample power to drive your Monitor Audio Silver 7G 500 speakers and most any future speaker upgrades you may consider. 

Don't be fooled by Hegel watts compared to Gryphon watts. Gryphon wattage ratings are always conservative and typically double down based on speaker resistance as you can see in their specs.  Hegel's specs only state wattage at 8 ohms.  Speaker resistance varies at different frequencies and rarely operate at 8 ohms.  This is the area where Gryphon excels. 

My Diablo didn't have the optional DAC module as I use a dCS Rossini as my DAC/Streamer.  I did have the Gryphon phono module which will allow you to get rid of your Schiit Mani 2 phono stage.  You'll be amazed how good a turntable can sound with a good phono stage. 

I can't comment on the Hegel 590 as I've never owned or auditioned Hegel equipment.  Based on others in this forum, it seems that a Hegel 590 would also be a great option. 

I saw someone recommend a Boulder 866.  I love Boulder and have owned many of their components.  The 866 build quality is terrific but the 866 SQ doesn't really live up to high praises I have for their separate components.  And you must use Roon with the 866 as the MConnect app that Boulder recommends as an alternative is horrible. 

There's really no comparison between the NAD and Gryphon.  The NAD feels like a plastic toy compared to the amazing build quality Gryphon provides.  The Gryphon speaker terminals are a good indication of how serious of a component the Diablo is.  And the Gryphon remote is what you'd expect from a $50,000 component.  

If you want your last integrated, I highly recommend the Gryphon Diablo 120. 


One of the few reviews on H590 which is not all that favorable. He is one of a very tiny list of reviewers I find credible. Was surprised to hear his take on the amp




@marcyun I met Rune Skov of Gryphon at a demo, he said that all Gryphon amps are very neutral, except for the Antileon and Diablo 120 which are warmer, rounder and a bit colored.

@swede58 Rune's comment aligns with my experience. If I had to characterize the ones I've heard: the Antileon is on the "fatter" side, Essence is agile and articulate, while the Diablo 300 is ballsy (but can be a little forward for some tastes). These are all very subtle traits though - I agree the entire line is centered on what most would consider neutral. I have not heard the Mephisto or Apex. :)  

@cycles2 your comments about the Boulder 866 are interesting - it was on my list of integrateds to try, but I wasn't sure how much to believe some of the raves I've seen. Boulder is probably a tad too lean for my Audiovector speakers anyway.

@marcyun Yes, he explained that the Antileon stands out from the other amps with it’s more colored sound; fuller, warmer with huge bass. He said that the Antileon will stay in their lineup forever. Rune also told us that the D120 is slightly warmer than the D300, a subtle but noticable difference.

I've heard the Gryphon 120 ,it blows compared to the 300,imo...way too many Hegel amps around for sale at any given time so those deals are kind of done with euro amps,service is questionable...for me I'd buy a Pass int 60..their customer service is surpassed by none., and the resale is fantastic