We were recently introduced to Hegel by a friend of some years. “We don’t need another amplifier” was our immediate reply but his friendship and reputation got him through the door and into the demo room.
The amplifier he brought for us to listen to was the Hegel H90 and we enclose here some information about it;
The H90 provides the most dynamic 60 watts per channel sound you have ever heard, and comes with a set of features that add value and flexibility. In the Hegel H90 we included network streaming, Apple Airplay®, and a variety of digital and analogue connections. All (except streaming) of which are configurable to be fixed level inputs, allowing you to easily integrate the H90 in a Home Theater system. Or perhaps you just want to connect the digital output of your Sonos streamer and use the Sonos volume attenuator rather than the Hegel remote? There is also a high quality headphone output and a sleek, informative, white OLED display.
The new and improved SoundEngine2 reduces distortion even further than our older models. It makes certain you hear all those tiny details in the music. The ones that suck you in and give you the feeling of actually being there, while also sounding natural and fluid. SoundEngine2 also quite dramatically improves bass control, and the amplifier’s grip of the loudspeakers, which is why even a tiny 60 watts of output power can be enough. The grip, or damping factor as it is called, is up to 20 times higher than the industry average. Ensuring a dynamic and powerful bass response, even on larger floor standing loudspeakers.
The H90 is designed simply, making it a perfect stand-alone unit. Connect your TV, cable decoder, phono stage or phones. Add a pair of speakers and you are good to go!
Power output 2 x 60W in 8 Ohms
Minimum load 2 ohms
Analog Inputs 2 x unbalanced (RCA)
Digital Inputs 1 x coaxial S/PDIF, 3 x optical S/PDIF, 1 x USB, 1 x Network
Line level Output 1 x unbalanced variable (RCA)
Frequency response 5Hz-100kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio More than 100dB
Crosstalk Less than -100dB
Distortion Less than 0.01% @ 25W 8 Ohms 1kHz
Intermodulation Less than 0.01% (19kHz + 20kHz)
Damping factor More than 2000 (main power output stage)
Dimensions 8cm x 43cm x 31cm (HxWxD), 11kg shipment weight
Dimensions (US) 3.15” x 16.93” x 12.20” (HxWxD), 26.46lbs shipment weight
We took his advice and listened initially using Amphion loudspeakers. We were impressed with the detail and musicality and the effortless way the Hegel drove the speakers. They “disappeared”. Even more impressive was the in-built UpNp function which allowed us to stream music directly from our network. The in-built DAC handled our FLAC rips and the wide range of 24/192 files we have on our NAS.
We controlled the unit with an app called 8-Player and this also enabled us to listen to Tidal; our go-to streaming service.
In short the H90 was little short of a revelation at this price (£1499).
Read a review here.
Hegel make other electronics and we’ll be exploring more of them.
A little more about Hegel
The story begins in 1988. Bent Holter – student at the Technical University in Trondheim (NTNU) decided to do a thesis under the original design of the amplifier transistor that would cure the problems of classical systems. Enemy number one – harmonic distortion. Holter somehow could not accept the fact that when we give a simple signal to the amplifier, you will get that signal plus something else – distortion produced by electronics. Fighting distortion usually meant the deterioration of other parameters, including damping factor. Holter decided to break out the classic schemes and developed a project that became the basis of what we know today as SoundEngine Technology. And where the name of the company came from? Well, after hours Bent played in a rock-metal band called The Hegel Band. When they needed amplifiers for concerts, Holter suggested building them himself. His ideas took on real shape, but it took lots of money to refine the technology. Help came from Telenor – one of the biggest players in the telecommunications industry.
The early nineties were a period of prosperity for the brand. First they ensured the patented solution known today as SoundEngine, later developed a DAC (1994) and the first CD Player (1996). Over the next eight years the company has steadily improved the product range and generated more and more profits from year to year. When the financial crisis came, most companies immediately took a defensive strategy which meant cutting costs. Norwegian designer played differently. He hired new engineers to design devices. Some time later, brand new D/A converters were born.
Today Hegel is one of the best established brands in the European Hi-Fi market, producing integrated, pre and power amplifiers as well as CD players and some of the most modern and sophisticated C/A converters. The SoundEngine Technology was just a start. Today there are six more original technical solutions in Hegel’s portfolio. The company has dealers in 32 countries and its products are sold all over the world. Awards and press reviews speak for themselves.
Call in for a listen or call/email to discuss.