I know this has been answered, but here's another spin. First of all both reviews sing the praises of the Hegel, only in the case of the second review, he said digital (and here he goes off the deep end to explain that it's the best kind of digital and starts mumbling about algorithms and whatnot to explain the "artificial" wide separation instead of merely accepting the intrinsic limitations inherent to phono playback, before finally admitting he has no idea what he is talking about) but goes on to make claims about how exceptional the sound was, and then concludes the review with analog sucked, I tried and tried, and this unit simply couldn't make magic.
What I heard were too infomercials, only deprived of much in the way of actual information. I also have a guess as to why instruments jumped out of the velvety black backgroud--which surely is not related to the mediocre noise levels that were measured (and might be a cause were they exceptional and playback of a high dynamic range recording was played back st moderate to loud volumes--that would make sense). What if these technically ignorant and self appointed audio gurus had been drinking from the same batch of kool aid during their self taught journeys through the strange world of audio and came to believe that negative feedback is a flaw and only the most judicious use is allowed, and then sparingly. I suspect that given the way the mind works (and illinformed audio press enables) is that negative feedback came to mean that the sound was constrained, confined and strangled by the unrelenting chains of negative feedback. Now a product in hand whose only claim to fame is some device that enables minimal use of negative feedback. Now unfettered by large amounts of global feedback, the sound issued forth free, fluid, and fully expressive. Do you see the way that dubious technical claims can lead to a particular shared perception based on confirmation bias? That's my story. Because it strikes me as far more plausible than some undefined and immeasurable "qualities" of reproduction, that defies any kind of physical description. Ghosts and ESP fall in the same category: Lots of reports but precious little, in fact, no physical evidence to support their existence.