You are right that the sonic differences between remotely decent amplifiers and DACs are hard to detect, if at all (they have been for ages), and even when one measures quite badly. My hunch would be that you would only be able to hear a difference with highly dynamic music, and only because power is king. At the same time, at the more modest level of traditional 2x100 watt integrated amplifiers, the Yamaha AS 701 would be at least as good as the Hegel, for a lot less. And if we are talking looks and a modern use case, how about a 2x125 watt Sonos Amp? It looks sleek, and even better, you can put it away out of sight. There is no better looking amplifier than an invisible amplifier.