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Hegel H95 Review (Streaming Amplifier)

Bruce Morgen

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I always thought that was the adventure of finding "synergy"....
That's why the smaller "high-end" companies are so afraid of and resistant to active speakers, the one exception being subwoofers -- the good active solutions obviate the whole process of achieving amp-speaker "synergy" as an ongoing (and often expensive) hobby, thus sabotaging the gear-buying/trying/trading activity that supports their otherwise-tenuous cash flow.
 

danielbaen

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That is why I am very happy to find this page and its oscilloscope reviews. There are hundreds of pages and video reviews of high-end devices but in the end, not the only thing that they expose you is the perception of the one who explains it, nothing more. That is useless. Exactly the same as going to a specialized store if you ask the seller, at least here in Spain, they only give their personal opinion and try to sell you the product that generates the most margin, a real shame since in HIEND there is already a lot of profit in the distributors ( even 60%).

Then, of course, your personal taste intervenes and with that there is nothing to do. For example, I got rid of my old ELAC Adante for some KEF R3 that if you look at this website, the measurements are infinitely better than the KEF, because I found the ELAC more pleasant and melomaniacal.
...
 

Lambda

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I'm interested on how you calculate this, without seeing schematics? We don't know the gain structure, and it's an analog Volume control. Do you mean that if you feed the digital input with 0 dBFS it will clip at any volume? I really dont get your resoning. what is the clipping we see as any relevance with the digital being fed? You can tell that the line out clip before full volume, and it's a problem, but there is no way to know that 0 dBFS is clipping the output of the DAC, please explain your reasoning, what does Digital level has to do with this? when we have no digital volume. Why would you need 0 dBFS being impossible to clip the amp? You turn down the volume that's all but if the only way to get the full power of this amp you need 0 dBFS it's in my book more of a problem because you don't know if all your digital source will come in at 0 dBFS. The volume control is analog, it's not so different than an analog input, in analog you want the input sensitivity to be lower or equal than the full output of the upstream device with the lowest output you can find to connect to. If not you are wasting Watts, for anything that is not normalised at 0 dBFS. Yes most sources will end up clipped at full volume that's what we want no? Why should it be different for digital exactly? Don't get me wrong I don't think it's a good amp and I don't thing it's a good idea to have analog out clip that early, I just don't get your reasoning about dBFS here, it's an analog gain structure.
Your oncept of amplifiers putting out "Watts" is wrong to begin with.
Your Amplifier amplifies voltage and it puts out voltage. The speaker might be pulling amps depending on the voltage but Volts times Amps is VA
not Watts only if the Current and voltage is in phase its real power.

Most Amps have a fixed Gain an Analog Attenuation.
The designer knows Exactly how many Volts the DAC outputs at 0dBFS and how mush gain the Amplifier has.
If it can’t Handel this badly designed.

The limiting factor shuld never be how many Volts your Amp can output but how loud you want to listen.

If for some wired reasoning you want excessive gain over 0dB (and you don't want to boost in digital)
It shuld Clearly be labeled as excessive gain region with clipping to the user.
For example if the volume controls go from 0 to 100% (like in usually in bad consumer gear)
It shuld go from 0 to 150% ore something

I find it strange that you seem to want your amp to be clipping at full volume?!
I want an amplifier to never Clip and to never be the limiting factor.
 

Doodski

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You might not know but Vikings where in Newfoundland a long time ago.

"With tree-ring analysis of structures at the site dating to the year 1021 and a mean carbon date of 1014, L'Anse aux Meadows is widely accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact of Europeans with the Americas outside of Greenland. It is notable as evidence of the Norse colonization of North America and possible connection with Leif Erikson as mentioned in the Icelandic sagas, which were written down in the 1200s."

More>
 

DanielT

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People who buy tube amps don’t know any better or else they wouldn’t buy tube amps. The best engineering is the engineering that results in the best performance. Otherwise it’s just abstract art. Which could be beautiful in anyones eyes regardless of performance.
As good as it can get, tube pre amp. Low distortion on that tube pre amp.

Missing tube power amp. But that's another matter.:)


 

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Bogda

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If I am not understanding it wrong, worst part was DAC SINAD performance. But since this is not DAC/PreAmp, variable line output was not designed go into external power amp. Amir, are you going to do addtional tests with lower output volage/lover volume?
 
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AudioSceptic

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I am so glad this site exists. The amount of *** I have read about the Hegel products and this is what they deliver. Unbelievable.
Indeed. The DAC SINAD of 0.1% was the standard for *amplifiers* in the 1960s! My impression of Hegel was "good but pricey" until now. What a let-down!
 

BDWoody

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But don’t you feel naughty knowing that you spend lots of time on a forum that shames that kind of behaviour? In audiophile world, they call that a subjectivist.

Shames it? What are you talking about?

I think that's just called being honest with oneself. That's the part 'subjectivists' miss. They don't need DBT's, they have wives in the kitchen after all.

Once I realized how 'bad' something has to be before it really impacts the sound I hear, i was happy to look into and buy some nice vintage gear. It's cool, sounds great, and I enjoy it.

There's no 'shame' to be felt for that.
 

voodooless

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Once I realized how bad something has to be before it really impacts the sound I hear, i was happy to look into and buy some nice vintage gear. It's cool, sounds great, and I enjoy it.

There's no 'shame' to be felt for that.
Oh man, you'll need to talk to your sponsor again! And that AA (Audiophiles Anonymous) badge, will need to be confiscated :facepalm:

... And we thought you wouldn't cave this time... and you actually think it's not shameful :eek: ... I'm not sure we can save you once more :rolleyes:

;)
 

KSTR

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Did anybody actually notice that it's clear the DAC itself is not distorting at all? Amir tested the "line out" in good faith but the line out is the dimmed down speaker out and to reach 2Vrms the amp is already on the edge of clipping. The DAC itself was never tested and cannot be tested.
The DAC itself performs just fine im 100% confident, as does the amp. Not SOTA performance but completely OK. The price/performance ratio looks to suffers a bit which is also quite clear why.... Norway is an expensive country, Hegel is a small-scale outlet.

Ok, this "line-out" issue was not to be expected by Amir but now I come down to the main point:
ASR tests now have gained so much impact (typically including a shitstorm from all the backseat drivers and hobby-dissers) that it is absolutely required that those test be as thorough as they can. The internet doesn't forget anything.

There is a huge responsibility and sorry to say it so directly to you, @amirm, you seem to lack that engineering thoroughness that is required by now. Don't post review/measurements when you are not 100% sure you can really nail down what's going on. Check back with the manufacturer in case you see unexpected behavior, or at least check back with the local forum experts, you know who those are.
And most importantly: take your time. IME (and I'm doing this for along time now), a proper device test takes at least one work day, double- and triple-checking everything. In case of odd behavior this can easily extend to several days, even up to a week, including some "settling time".
 

BDWoody

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The "incident"? Do tell...


Quick dashboard after return:

Post in thread 'Devialet Expert 200 Amplifier, DAC and Streamer Review' https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...ier-dac-and-streamer-review.12286/post-399323
 

dougi

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Did anybody actually notice that it's clear the DAC itself is not distorting at all? Amir tested the "line out" in good faith but the line out is the dimmed down speaker out and to reach 2Vrms the amp is already on the edge of clipping. The DAC itself was never tested and cannot be tested.
The DAC itself performs just fine im 100% confident, as does the amp. Not SOTA performance but completely OK. The price/performance ratio looks to suffers a bit which is also quite clear why.... Norway is an expensive country, Hegel is a small-scale outlet.

Ok, this "line-out" issue was not to be expected by Amir but now I come down to the main point:
ASR tests now have gained so much impact (typically including a shitstorm from all the backseat drivers and hobby-dissers) that it is absolutely required that those test be as thorough as they can. The internet doesn't forget anything.

There is a huge responsibility and sorry to say it so directly to you, @amirm, you seem to lack that engineering thoroughness that is required by now. Don't post review/measurements when you are not 100% sure you can really nail down what's going on. Check back with the manufacturer in case you see unexpected behavior, or at least check back with the local forum experts, you know who those are.
And most importantly: take your time. IME (and I'm doing this for along time now), a proper device test takes at least one work day, double- and triple-checking everything. In case of odd behavior this can easily extend to several days, even up to a week, including some "settling time".
Give @amirm a break. He is doing it for nothing, with no advertising. Yes the DAC is loaded down by the amp most likely, but the line-out test is perfectly valid. The manual does not indicate its limitation on use. Yes it is Hegels "budget" model, and people can choose to buy locally designed/made or whatever, but that does not make the tests invalid. Amir tries to identify the cause of bad measurements where he can and, yes, sometimes others have views as to not going far enough. Tests though do not take days (i do them on my own devices myself). My background is in digital broadcast transmitter testing, and those don't even take days, unless there are setup problems to solve to get within spec.
 

Bjorn

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Because the described distortions are by all accounts not audible, and hearing is extremely prone to bias. So when reviewers think that the Hegel amp is expensive and well-engineered and is supposed to "sound very good", they do - honestly and actually - think that it sounds very good.

I'm fairly sure a blind test would not reveal the amp to sound bad, but simply that it will sound like 98-99 percent of other amps - indistinguishable from each other under most listening conditions.

The problem for me is not the level of distortion, which is below the limit of audibility for all practical purposes, but the prices they charge for it and the audiophile mumbo jumbo the company engages in.
There are very few amplifiers that have passed for example LTS' blind test in being audible transparent and that's in a room that is far from great. That also corresponds with good number of AB tests I've conducted of both power amps and DSPs (DACs).

However, how much the audible distortion is perceived as negative (or sometimes positive) is something that I believe varies condsiderably and depends especially on how critical one is a listener besides the quality of speakers and the acoustics.
 

KSTR

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Give @amirm a break. He is doing it for nothing, with no advertising.
Amir doing this for free does not imply that sloppiness is excusable, in my view.

This is not some unimportant random blog with zero hit rates. You have to get real and serious if you really claim to be the lighthouse in the dark.
 

Geert

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Did anybody actually notice that it's clear the DAC itself is not distorting at all? Amir tested the "line out" in good faith but the line out is the dimmed down speaker out and to reach 2Vrms the amp is already on the edge of clipping. The DAC itself was never tested and cannot be tested.
This has been discussed, and Amirm provided some feedback in https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-review-streaming-amplifier.28435/post-987630. But regarding the statement the DAC cannot be tested; are you sure the line out signal is derived from the speaker outputs, or can it be from a buffer stage behind the volume control. In the latter case you test the DAC + volume control, and I expect S/N to be OK.

Ok, this "line-out" issue was not to be expected by Amir but now I come down to the main point:
ASR tests now have gained so much impact (typically including a shitstorm from all the backseat drivers and hobby-dissers) that it is absolutely required that those test be as thorough as they can. The internet doesn't forget anything.
I also suggested to update the first dashboard that shows the measurement of the clipping output, it's what most people pay attention to. No need to wreak more havoc than needed. I would mention the clipping issue afterwards. It might not impact most of the users. (S/N still remains an issue of course).
 
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