With Hegel, it's important to be mindful of the use of dialectic wires. My suggestion is the thesis/antithesis models.
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Several years ago,I owned the H4A.It was an outstanding amplifier,Sonically it was the equal of any solid state amp that I had tried up to that time.Excellent tight/deep bass,sweet/extended highs and limitless power.It was too deep for my Millenium rack or I would still have it today.It ran cool as well.
I currently use a Muse 160 mk.II in a solid state 2 channel system(I have several systems in the home).At that time I had an Aragon 8008BB,a Hafler 9505 and a Plinius SA 100 mk.III along with several tube amps.All the amps sounded great(but different).I kept the Plinius in the system due to its shallower depth.When I aquired the Muse,I preferred it to the Plinius(in some ways) and its size works as well.
You owned some very good brands/models of amps. Good for you. Thanks for letting me know.
Yes I do feel a bit adventurous sometime. One time was to experiment a TVC with an integrated amp. But then I did checkout with forums members, users and the firms themselves about the combination. I finally decided that the TVC would probably suite my system. And guess what - it works great!! So now I want to move to next level of amplification and you might see my threads in this and other forums. I don't feel that there is anything wrong in asking/checking with other members. Infact it would be wrong if we don't ask - especially when we have such great forums with so many user experiences.
I will wait for CES 2010 and check for more reports. I am also interested to know what Aragon/Acurus debut during this show. If everything else does not suit me, then I will go get the Parasound A21 or keep an eye on the audiogon for used Plinius/Perreaux. Technically, the amp should be high sensitive (<= 1.5V for max output) to match my TVC. Sound quality does matter of course. I am also want to find out, in what way the "current" spec affects sound quality. For eg. the Parasound A21 is 250Watts and outputs 60A current, but the Hegel H20 is 200Watts and outputs 120A.
In no way am I opposed to fielding questions on A'gon. In fact, I know embarrassingly little about high fidelity audio myself. My post, and presumably that of Mst, was in reference to a different Hegel altogether; namely, the one belonging to the German idealist tradition.
You'll have to excuse the dry sense of humour, but it's not often that one gets the opportunity to insert a philosophy related joke. If you're really adventurous, try tackling the Phenomenology of Spirit!
Anyway, happy holidays and good luck with your audio endeavor!
Need a favour from the lucky few who will be visiting the CES 2010. Can you please (please, please) check out the Hegel H20 amp? I have narrowed my choices down to the Hegel H20 and the Parasound A21 at this point in time and need to buy one ASAP. I am loosing my mind trying to find out which one best matches in my system.
I have heard great things about the Aragon and Acurus brands, but don't know what products they will launch at CES.
I am aware of the H2O you mentioned. Here is the H20 I am talking about: http://www.hegel.com/h20.htm
H20 VS H2O :-)
What I intend to find out is - Is the Hegel H20 worth the premium over Parasound A21 at more than two times the cost of the Parasound? I know that I cannot go wrong with the A21. I have not come across one user experience that dismisses these amps as "bad". Most people consider them as "not as good as the ultimate", which is a very good thing for the price they command.
Class D is something I considered before (W4S, NuForce, CIA, etc). But looks like they might not go as well with a TVC, as a regular class AB amp would go.
BTW, The Hegel H20 is true balanced and delivers more current compared to the A21 (130amps vs 60amps). I don't think the A21 is true balanced. A true balanced amp would make a positive impact in my system(I believe - but I may be wrong), as the TVC is true balanced. I don't know how much of a difference the "current" ratings would make.
My panels are fused at 4amps. Even if the low end draws another 4, that is 8 total. And Maggies are considered current hogs. 60 amps? 130 amps? What's the diff? And, FWIW, what is the voltage at the mythical 60 amps? 5v? 10v?
a poorly designed 'balanced' circuit will be worse off than a conventional circuit properly executed.
more less than meaningful specsmanship.
Strictly my Opinion. Peak Ampere ratings are near-real world- meaningless.
NO speaker can take such current.
Output devices, as near as I understand, have what is called a 'safe operating range'. Go out of that envelop, and the devices either fuses or shorts. Either way, you are out of action. A fuse may not be quick enough and therefore speaker protection circuits, if employed should take that into account.
Safe operating area
The safe operating area defines the combined ranges of drain current and drain to source voltage the power MOSFET is able to handle without damage. It is represented graphically as an area in the plane defined by these two parameters. Both drain current and drain to source voltage must stay below their respective maximum values, but their product must also stay below the maximum power dissipation the device is able to handle. Thus the device cannot be operated at both its specified maximum drain current and maximum drain to source voltage. 
So, if you redline a device in current, you have to have lower voltage so as not to exceed wattage.
Now, forget all this nonsense and buy whatever pleases your ears. Any particular build philosophy has both good and bad implementations. Class (?) is no guarantee of anything. Specsmanship is for ad writers to compare what's in there pants.
1 - I used very successfully TVC preamp (Promethius) with my Spectron class D. When I saved money I bought 1st class tube preamp: first BAT and then I fall in love with Joule-Electra "300". Still, I use this TVC
as spare/2nd system preamp.
2 - In all discussionsof PEAK current or PEAK voltage never forget duration. If such peak lasts 20 msec (e.g. NuForce) then ...you do not hear it. On other hand, Spectron's peak current/voltage is 500 msec - long enough (actually longest in industry as far as I know).
On relation between voltage/current/ect and sound quality - read :
Thanks for the link. And good to know that the combination of TVC + Spectrons worked fine for you.
I get your point on the voltage and current. This was explained in detail in the link Rafael provided. My next question is, what is the link between "class" of an amp and it's wattage? I do not believe that a 50 Watts Class A amp will drive a speaker better than 100 watts class AB or D. It might sound better, but not "drive" better. Isn't more power always better than less power, to get more "headroom" for a better sound?
I recently happened to listen to some Hegel stuff, namely the P4A MKII pre-amp driving the H20 and the H4A MKII power amps, through Xavian speakers. The sound was indeed really (really) good, smooth, lucid and communicative, very detailed and with a very airy and silky top end. I was however thrown back by their pricing - for that kind of money I could think of (and have in fact listened to)better combinations out there..
Thanks much for your feedback. And what a timing!!
Yes, the price is a bit forbidding and even a good deal is very pricey on the H20. I am guessing it is a good amp, based on what you mentioned. But at twice the cost of the Parasound A21?
And by timing I meant - I found an article by Norway's Audio Fidelity's group test in May-2004 of the following amps: Hegel HP-4A transistor amplifier, EAR 509 Silver Jubilee tube, McIntosh 275 (revisited) tube, Dynamic Precision DP A-1 transistor amplifier, Naim integrated transistor amplifier, Tandberg Huldra 10 transistor radio, Rotel RA-1062 integrated transistor amplifier, Rotel RB-1090 power amplifier transistor, PB SDA 2175 semi-digital power amplifier, Embla ICE power digital mono blocks, Parasound A-21 transistor amplifier. They declared the A21 as a winner based on price/performance ratio. Some comments on the A21 were (Norwegian to English conversion) "Only a tiny hardness up reveals that this is not entirely same class as Hegel and DP to double times the price. Flaws little weight at the very bottom in terms of super amps to Hegel and the DP, but it has a warm and lush sound balance without being gross or fat. There was no blurring of detail and body and here is the air in plenty. Female Voices are bold reproduced with high 'femme fatale' factor."
The conclusion was "Another råbra amplifier that has the appearance that a more expensive amplifiers, the build quality as a more expensive amplifiers, have powers like a more expensive amplifier. And as the most important; also sonically is Para Sound A-21 very closely on a lot expensive stuff! It has a perfectly delicious body
with lush lower midrange, solid dypbass and a brave and småfrekk upper midrange that gives music high gøyfaktor. An unusual blend of soft warm and quick, sparkling transients! "
I am at this point heavily leaning towards a A21.
Those kind of 'quality' numbers don't impress me as much as the raw data, however. I like to see both impedance against frequency and Phase Angle against frequency combined into a 'Smith Chart'. This says it all, electrically speaking. Phase Angle is the 'missing link' in the good load / bad load debate which rages in the speaker postings. My current hungry panels, though no less than 4 ohms, are really not a bad load. Moderate phase means that more amp power actually makes it to the room as sound.
For some reason, people really LOVE numbers. All those awful sounding Japanese amps from the 80s, with incredibly low distortion numbers and high NFB didn't alway sound good, or sometimes even 'right'.
Is it time to begin discussing power supply regulation? A couple generations of NAD equipment ago, you could get an amp with an astounding 6db of dynamic power. So, what do you want? Pure RMS with little headroom? Or would you like a smaller RMS rating with huge peaks? I have no answer, only asking the question.
Enjoy whatever you end up with, That's all that counts!
For some reason, people really LOVE numbers.Nope, there is a specific reason that people love numbers. The reason being they do not have enough experience with different amplifiers and only numbers make sense to them. And this, I believe, will come as we get deeper into this hobby. It is a learning curve and most of the audiophiles have gone through this, I guess.
Milpai, the Hegel is indeed a very good amplifier but in my experience, the Primare A33 and the Densen 330 were every bit as good and at a slightly lower price point; the Audia Flight 50 and the Chord SPM 650/1050 clearly outperformed it. The Parasound A21 is a very solid bet and probably one of the best in its price point. You really can't go wrong with it. Happy listening!
I have heard H2A and H10(Limited Edition)with various gears. If you look for fast, tight, well controlled, lesser colored presentations, they can compete with many much pricier power amps. Both are modestly priced comparing to other similar products, especially H2A which is powerful enough in your system, IMHO.
It's a pity I couldn't compare Hegel H2A with Densen B-310 bi-amps the time I had them in our system. Yes, they are both hidden gems(as still modestly priced)with almost everything a power amp should provide. They couldn't help where "being harsh or too analytical/bright" are already dominating the sonic character of an audio system, my 2 cents.
Pls see my profile for some of their pics:)
Danwkw, good to know that at least 1 more person on this forum owns a Hegel. According to Hegel, the H20 is based on their H10 anniversary model and is the best amplifier from Hegel. There is not a single Hegel dealer near me where I can go and audition it. My system is neither bright or analytical. I am assuming that you have sold off the Hegel.
The new amp (whichever I get) will be used to drive my Quad 21L speakers. Please note that I am really not targeting high power. I want more "headroom" as they say. Should make the speakers sing with "ease" at low levels without affecting the music in a negative way. I mentioned in another thread about how I could easily make a difference in a pair of Silver i being driven by NAD VS Krell. There was a sense of "ease" when the PSBs were driven by Krell monoblocks.
And eventually down the years, I may upgrade my speakers. But I don't see that happening anytime soon. Not because of budget issue, but more so because I am very happy with my Quads.
My mistake, sorry...H2A(I heard) or H20 have similar specs and should be powerful enough in your system. On the other hand, H10 limited edition(I heard)or H4A seem to have similar specs and are powerful enough to drive a pair of KEF Reference 207/2!!!
About sonic signature, both Hegel amps can help when you expect more speed and control, a little more transparency but not brightness, more energy(like Densen amps) and less colorations of its own. More succesful match, for example, for H2A includes Aesthetix Janus(pre) and KEF Ref 205/2 with which the system was more "energetic", "lively", with more "extended" highs and lows, tonally well-balanced. But I would not use Hegel to drive ceramic cones...
Please see H10 pic in my virtual system;)
I've had the H10 now for 6 months. Here is my amp history: B&K_Symphonic Line_Graaf GM100_Chapter Audio_Hegel H4A and now the H10. All I can say is WOW!! It is super quite, poweful and dynamic. And is also very musical and sensual for an amp of this size.It rally allows you to hear into the music and feel it at the same time.
You have had experience with some of the very highly regarded amp. I believe you that the Hegel is a fine amp. But the A21 (given it's price) is no slouch either. Look at the comparison of amps in this mag: http://www.audiofidelity.no/comlete_mags/10.pdf.
Now look, I have already accepted that the grapes are sour. Don't tempt me more. Nah...I really like the A21. It is gonna take a mega-buck amp to make me upgrade.
Yes, I talked to Hegel and they indeed are coming out with the 1400 watt H30. I was the first to ask them to come out with monos, as I was so pleased with their H4A and now my H10. I don't need more than 300 watts, but after hearing a set of Mark Levinson No.53's over several months, I thought it would be a great idea for Hegel also. Don't get me wrong, I love my H10. It is dynamic, organic in it's ability to place notes in free space and it actually sounds better the more you crank it up. The monos will allow alot more dynamic headroom, and more "more".
Talk2me, I believe that you may live to regret moving on from the Hegel. I've heard and owned a lot of amps over the years and the Hegel H20 is one of the best I've ever experienced. It has many of the virtues of low power pure class A amps, but with a seemingly effortless reserve of power and control. Even more engaging is the level of transparency achieved while avoiding any of the common solid state grain or glare. I really don't understand how they do it but they're on to something special. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that you're buying another Hegel amp in the future, but only time will tell. I hope that you enjoy the hunt for another amp and please let us know what you find.
I bought the best amp I have ever heard in my life and it kicks the living shite out of the Hegel's amps. It is none other thean the Burmester 911 MK3.It has all the virtues of SE tubes and all the strengths of SS. Plus, it matches quite well with my other Burmester gear. The 911 MK3 is on a whole other plane than the Hegel stuff. If you get a chance go and hear Burmester, you will know exactly what I am talking about.Now please don't get me wrong. I loved the time I had with my Hegel amps. But it was time to step up to the big boys.