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Hegel H95 Review (Streaming Amplifier)

MacCali

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its clear now that Tarun is paid for his "reviews" by manufacturers so ive unsubscribed from his you Tube channel and that danny darko prick as well
Yea, for real, that guy from iwi I think is his channel, was basically saying it's so good he bought the H90.. not that I can give a definitive fact that the h90 is worse, but I wouldn't doubt it honestly. He mentioned he borrowed it from a friend to do the review and he loves it so much and it sounds so great that he decided to buy it from his friend.

This is another audioquest product.. pretty sad honestly. Strictly shows how marketing works, it just shows how far behind all these older companies truly are.

I still cant understand how you let a product like this leave it's developmental stage into production with all these issues. Maybe another ploy to simply get people who just purchase this guy thinking it's good that the higher units are better and keep sales revolving. Cause I am not sure who would be happy with this..

Dont forget the idiots from audio excellence and I think that Jay iyagi was praising the unit as well. Would love to see the 390's performance and put the nail in the coffin.
 

pozz

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There was digital audio in the 60s?
Yes, though largely experimental. The theory was worked out in the 1930s.

No idea what the performance was in the first DACs.
 

DACs_Lover

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Oh BoY! This guy is going to be eating his words, "The DA converter is massively improved" "Much more expensive DAC" " DAC is the same as in the H120 and the H190" "AKM DAC chip" "H95 is revealing more detail, is more fluid, more musical than the H90, paints a bigger soundstage, so you can really hear the flow wide and deep of the speakers" and blah blah he goes on and on.
This guy is a goof.
dz0xMjAwJmg9OTc0_src_63549-hegel-h95-audiocompl-fot3.jpg
I watched many clips he created. From now on, I know all the product description/reviews he made are useless.
 

watchnerd

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Yes, though largely experimental. The theory was worked out in the 1930s.

No idea what the performance was in the first DACs.

Even earlier.

Foundations like PCM, in 5 bit form used for telegraphs, dates back Western Electric in 1921.

Nyquist's first papers laying down the theorem were in 1924 and 1928.

A patent for a 5 bit DAC was published in 1939.
 

garbulky

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Even earlier.

Foundations like PCM, in 5 bit form used for telegraphs, dates back Western Electric in 1921.

Nyquist's first papers laying down the theorem were in 1924 and 1928.

A patent for a 5 bit DAC was published in 1939.
Whaaat?? Tell me more please
 

dshreter

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To me it seems pretty reasonable that the line out is intended for connecting a subwoofer. It wouldn’t make much practical sense to buy an integrated amp to use it with an external amplifier if what you really need is a pre-amp. It’s also an incredibly common use case for an integrated to pair it with a powered sub.

So I get that the design has a drawback in relation to all of the ways it theoretically could be used, but driving it to clipping all the time while using the line outs would also be strange. I don’t have an issue with Hegel’s commentary.

Amir’s testing is valid, and consistency from one component to the next is important. Nothing need be taken back, but there’s a layer of interpretation that puts the results in a better context than just being a super noisy design.
 

solderdude

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The DAC measurements are correct. I fed the unit digital data and it converted them to analog and output them via line out. That it has a limitation of 0.55V is a problem in the design, not instrumentation. I note the same in every AVR I review. Some of those companies took note and now let you power down the amplifier so that the line out is not impacted when the amplifier clips. Hegel needs to do the same. Otherwise there is no point in getting a more powerful external amp and take advantage of the streaming/DAC subsystem here.

Note also that the DAC measurements showed high noise floor which was also reflected of the same when I used digital input to measure the amplifier. So they are definitely instructive of the performance of the DAC.

Oh I agree that the DAC does perform about as well as a USB dongle does. No arguments there.

The point I am trying to make is that the line-out is not your regular line-out. It is just labelled as such.
The DAC performance itself above -11dBr just isn't as poor as the measurements show.

The max. output voltage level of the line-out is actually 550mV despite it being able to reach 2V, be it distorted.
This is because of poor engineering from Hegel. This is true of course and measurements show this.

However, as long as you do not use the 'line-out' as the line-out we all use and love so much the distortion above 550mV simply does not occur and SINAD will improve to about... say... 75 ? at 1kHz and 0dB digital input (which arguably is still mediocre)
In order to measure the DAC section via the 'line-out' the volume control must be dialed back so that 0dBFS = 500mV or so instead of 2V.

I fully agree that Hegel made the mistake to assume people may want to use a different (brand) power amp and not use the internal amp and it would have been technically very easy and cheap to create the 2V out without any distortion of the DAC and to ensure that the line-inputs also are not attenuated 4x on the 'line-out'.

IMO the measurements are correct when one assumes line-out level is 2V but the line-out is just 550mV in reality.
 
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pma

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In order to measure the DAC section via the 'line-out' the volume control must be dialed back so that 0dBFS = 500mV or so instead of 2V.

It might have been a nice note in the user manual of this “highend” product.
Like: “Attention, in order to measure our high-end DAC properly, turn the volume control until you get 500mV output with 0dBFS digital input data. The calibration file is free for download in our web download section”. Cheap DMM available at nearest gas station.

Would be nice, right? :D:facepalm:
 

Geert

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I should have been more clear. One can choose " absolute" level or "relative" level. "relative" goes from -82 to +16.5 and "absolute " goes from 0 to 98.5. 82.5 on the absolute scale equals 0 dB on the relative scale.
I see. Relative is probably relative to the reference input level. Which, assuming the numbers are dB's, would mean the volume control provides 16 dBV additional gain. That could also allow you to overdrive the amp if the inputs signal is already at maximum input level. A lot of assumptions, which is why I asked for measurements.
 

solderdude

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It might have been a nice note in the user manual of this “highend” product.
Like: “Attention, in order to measure our high-end DAC properly, turn the volume control until you get 500mV output with 0dBFS digital input data. The calibration file is free for download in our web download section”. Cheap DMM available at nearest gas station.

Would be nice, right? :D:facepalm:

It would have been nice if Hegel actually published some real specs to begin with.:)
They simply should not have called the RCA out 'line-out' but 'pre-out' and could have published something like:
pre-out: max. 550mV

That Hegel spec. sheet is not a spec sheet but a sales brochure.
 
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Doodski

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It wouldn’t make much practical sense to buy an integrated amp to use it with an external amplifier if what you really need is a pre-amp.
I've done this several+ times. I even added pre-outs to a integrated amp that I used as a test bench head unit. Having the pre-outs is a very handy feature in a integrated amp.
 

TOR

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To me it seems pretty reasonable that the line out is intended for connecting a subwoofer. It wouldn’t make much practical sense to buy an integrated amp to use it with an external amplifier if what you really need is a pre-amp. It’s also an incredibly common use case for an integrated to pair it with a powered sub.

I connect the 'Line out' of my integrated amp to a headphone amp. As the headphone out of most integrated amp are pretty bad.
 

KSTR

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It would have been nice if Hegel actually published some real specs to begin with.:)
They simply should not have called the RCA out 'line-out' but 'pre-out' and could have published something like:
pre-out: max. 550mV

That Hegel spec. sheet is not a spec sheet but a sales brochure.
Well, the spec should be more like:
Pre-Out: THD+N < 0.xx @ 500mVrms output.

--------:--------

For me, the bottom line of all this is
  • The H95 is not a SOTA-measuring amp and most of it appears to be intentional (the no-global-feedback "magic"). The measurements are what they are
  • Hegel's docs leave a lot to be desired, making it harder for (more technically inclined) customers to get insight on specs and features and use cases
  • When used as an integrated or power amp you'd need very specific speakers of low sensitivity and stellar distortion to have any chance of noting the relative increase in amp distortion at higher output levels. Same goes for any connected subwoofer, with regard to the preamp section distortion.
  • Comparing the power amp performance to another amp in controlled blind listening test might reveal nothing wrt discrimination and even if otherwise it is not at all clear that a general preference would direct to the lower distortion amplifier
  • If anything, you might have more problems with high-efficiency speakers due to residual hum/buzz
  • Using the line out to redistribute the signal to a better power amp or headphone amp will degrade measured performance of the whole setup significantly... but I'm not convinced it would matter that much audibly, for the same reasons. With caveats including "ground loop" issues which might quickly become an issue here -- class-I device plus low send level
 
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amirm

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It wouldn’t make much practical sense to buy an integrated amp to use it with an external amplifier if what you really need is a pre-amp.
It is a growth path. You buy integrated amp and later you wish you had more power. My own system uses the preAmp in an integrated because I very much like it functionality as a preamp.
 

DanielT

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It is a growth path. You buy integrated amp and later you wish you had more power. My own system uses the preAmp in an integrated because I very much like it functionality as a preamp.
This can be fixed afterwards. Okay for the most part I goofed and waffle in that thread BUT for me one of the most important aspects of HiFi is to have fun. :p He he.

But it worked .:)

 

mabar

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Just out of curiousness, where the other references that performed better, also tested at 98% capacity?
 

Geert

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For me, the bottom line of all this is
  • The H95 is not a SOTA-measuring amp and most of it appears to be intentional (the no-global-feedback "magic"). The measurements are what they are
  • Hegel's docs leave a lot to be desired, making it harder for (more technically inclined) customers to get insight on specs and features and use cases
  • When used as an integrated or power amp you'd need very specific speakers of low sensitivity and stellar distortion to have any chance of noting the relative increase in amp distortion at higher output levels. Same goes for any connected subwoofer, with regard to the preamp section distortion.
  • Comparing the power amp performance to another amp in controlled blind listening test might reveal nothing wrt discrimination and even if otherwise it is not at all clear that a general preference would direct to the lower distortion amplifier
  • If anything, you might have more problems with high-efficiency speakers due to residual hum/buzz
  • Using the line out to redistribute the signal to a better power amp or headphone amp will degrade measured performance of the whole setup significantly... but I'm not convinced it would matter that much audibly, for the same reasons. With caveats including "ground loop" issues which might quickly become an issue here -- class-I device plus low send level
And as an extra bullet point: when using the line output to drive a subwoofer you will probably not drive it into heavy distortion because you'll hear the amplifier clipping via your main speakers. Most people won't even go to that far because the sound level of the main speakers will already be pretty high.

(Just saying to put things into perspective).
 
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