Hegel h200 low level listening

I'm curious to know what h200 owners think of their low level listening and detail. I'm close to pulling the trigger and unfortunately I didn't do a lot of low level listening when I auditioned the amp. I have no option to listen to it again locally.

I've spent the past year listening to integrated amps and darned if I can't find one that I like nearly as much as this ugly beast. Not even close, right up to the Ayre AX5. I'm so tired of listening to absolutely beautifully built amplifiers while thinking about my two hours with the Hegel H200. Please don't mention the H300 because I can't afford it.

I would greatly appreciate any information you can pass along.
Donjr - I am in love with my Hegel H200. I bought it used early this year intending to use it as backup for Consonance Cyber 800SE tube mono blocks. Since installing it, it has not left the system. It drives Totem Forest speakers. I'm not 100% sure what constitutes low level listening for you. Using a R/S SPL meter I tend to listen at volumes in the upper 70s to mid 80s db range. The Totems seem to need a bit of volume to sound best. I'll make an effort to do some listening at mid-60s - 70s later and report back to you. I really like this amp. I posted comments about it on other threads here on A'gon. Don't wish to repeat myself here. One final comment I will make is that the Forests can be a bit harsh with certain (poorly recorded?) CDs. The Hegel seems to make even these sound great. Hope you get something that gives you many hours of fantastic listening.
Thanks Ghosthouse. I truly understand why this integrated gets so much praise. It's the first ss integrated I've heard that makes me want to unplug my Rogue and put it back in the box. With better case work they could fetch $10k for H200.
I once tested a Hegel integrated a few years back now and can't remember which model. All I can say is that is was good at all levels and almost displaced the system I was using. It's good but I like my Cyber 800 monoblocs by Consonance better, you just need the right pre amp, cables, and tubes.
Mechans - we can start another thread and trade stories about how the Cybers are set up. Seriously...I'd enjoy reading how you run yours and, in particular, with what speakers.

Donjr - hopefully you can get the Hegel AND keep the Rogue. Always nice to have something to switch off to from time to time. Cheaper than selling & buying all the time.
I thin this amp is fantastic at all levels. Have not heard anything i like more at this price range.
I agree about keeping the Rogue. I love the Rogue and by keeping it, I can get a new top plate and KT120's for a mere $300 and then I'll have several options available for my listening pleasure.
Don - listened to a couple of things tonight at (for me) very low levels. First, Diana Krall (SACD) "The Girl in the Other Room"; next, Crowded House (redbook CD) "Time on Earth". SPL (C weighted & Slow response) in the mid to upper 60s. I think it sounds OK. Much better clarity than I would have expected. Bass in particular is nicely articulated. Not my favorite way to listen, however. Don't know what your music tastes or expectations are. Things definitely sound better to me at a little higher volume for what I'd still consider "low level listening"...say low 70 db range while listening to the Crowded House CD. I'm thinking the answer to this sort of question might be very speaker dependent. OK. Good luck.
Thank you. I don't listen too low and prefer to listen at higher levels as yourself. We have similar taste in music. I just get a little grief from my wife occasionally and wanted to make sure something like a channel didn't drop out at very low levels.

My dealer is close friends with another dealer within the state and I'm pretty sure he's going to be able to get the amp for me. The guy dropped one off for a week this past Spring and I went to hear it when the store was closed on a Friday night. I had a great time and absolutely loved the sound through the same speakers I own (Harbeth C7es3). My dealer is a great guy and has been trying very hard to get me set up. He's a big fan of Ayre and loaned me the AX7 but that amp just didn't do it for me. I'm used to sitting 14 feet from my speakers with a room filled with music and the Ayre just couldn't pull it off. It couldn't even get a grip on these speakers.

If you've ever read any of my posts on the Hegel, you'll know I can't stand the casework. It's taken me a long time to tell myself that's not important. I've listened to integrateds that are amazingly well engineered with 5mm thick aluminum casework and not one of them made my toes tap like the Hegel. I can always put up my old poster of Farrah Fawcett in front of it.
Hey Don - good luck with whatever you end up getting. That's too funny about the Hegel casework...personally, it doesn't bother me. FF poster is dating you...on the other hand, I might suggest Christie Brinkley from back in the day.
The only knock I can offer on the Hegel as well as ANY integrated amplifier that lacks tape (line level) output jacks is that i insist on this feature. i don't think it is too much to ask and yet the Pass INT's lack these outputs as well as a host of others. Hegel (IMO) needs to add another couple of buttons/switches to the design
but the casework doesn't bother me at all- as long as it's solidly built.
Its my experience that some speakers have a problem maintaining their full range (ness) at low volume and not the electronics.
"Its my experience that some speakers have a problem maintaining their full range (ness) at low volume and not the electronics."

That actually hadn't dawned on me but seems like it could make sense to me.

I also agree on the line level outputs but that's something I can live without. I'm really surprised Pass omit them.
Check out Fletcher-Munson curves on the web. If you plan on listening at low levels most of the time then it makes sense to buy speakers that have a boosted bass and treble. This will make them sound better at low levels but not at realistic SPL's. I listen at realistic SPL's most the time so I need speakers that sound good at those levels.

The one speaker I had that sounded balanced at low levels was bass heavy at higher levels.
Guys and gals, I pulled the trigger on the H200 today. Now the wait. To say I'm excited would be an understatement. I've been trying to find an ss integrated that I liked more than the H200 for a long time now and it never came along for me. The musicality of the Hegel is just flat out amazing. I'll follow up with my impressions of the H200 after I put some hours on her.

My plan is to keep my Rogue Cronus Magnum and possibly order the KT120 kit from Rogue later in the year.
Congratulations. Hope you enjoy it very much.
Please keep us posted on your impressions once you get it. I too listen at lower levels. So far I have found my Accustic Arts Power 1 integrated to be very good in my small room but all the good reviews Hegel has received is intriguing to me.
Thanks everyone. I'm stoked. I'll surely keep you posted. I don't change out gear very often so as you can imagine I'm rather critical of my system. I was the guy that wanted eye candy plus a great musical experience. I didn't like the looks of the Hegel. After a dozen auditions with gear up to $10k I couldn't find anything that I liked the Sound of better. I know I made the right choice.
Hi everyone. It's going to be official tomorrow afternoon. I pick up my spankin' new Chuck Hegel H200. I'm looking forward to first impressions as well as the break in period. Once I connect Chuck, I'm turning it on and letting it get to temp for a half hour and then it's all over. Nothing but tunes and leaving it on in mute when not in use for a long time. I'll keep you posted.

Okay, so here goes after 24 hours in comparison to my Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum which I will always love.

I let the Hegel H200 warm up for 45 minutes before I played a CD (I'm CD only right now). Slightly wider and deeper soundstage on Ms Gradenko off of the policy's Synchronisity album. Greater detail and separation of instruments with an airy texture. Bass control is noticeably tighter and theres a lot of it. Midrange is as good as the Rogue but the highs aren't quite there yet. I do hear more detail on everything I've listened to so far.

So far both my wife and I are pretty much awestruck by this amp. I started playing music this morning before breakfast and we haven't stopped at all today. From Mozart piano concerto's to Eddy Vedder, Cassandra Wilson and Bonnie Raitt, it's all been amazing. I can't imagine what's in store after this breaks in.

I'm not running balanced right now because the Rogue didn't have that option. My plan is to get a good XLR as soon as I can. I also need to add banana plugs to the amp end of my Audioquest Rockefellers. I've decided to order some Oyaide Rhodium banana plugs for both ends of my AQ speaker cables. The spades don't bottom out on the lugs. I figure I'm looking at another grand for the Oyaides and XLR and I'm good to go.

I'll keep you posted as the weeks go by and I get my new XLR's and bananas. I'm really looking forward to running balanced and hope I hear a substantial difference although I can't imagine this sounding a heck of a lot better. There's some music we've been playing that revealed some instruments and notes we've never heard before. That's always a good
Don - I was following your posts up to your decision to actually buy the Hegel.
Did not realize you had posted some early listening impressions. It's great to
hear you are enjoying it. What CDP do you use in your system? I think you have
Harbeth speakers? (are they full range or monitors?) I also use the H200 as an
alternative to tubes. Your comments on the Hegel pretty much match my
impressions. Bass is tighter and maybe a little deeper than the Cyber 800SEs.
Mid-range is nicely warm. This might be helped in part by a high end that is a
little rolled off in comparison to the Cybers. Detail and separation is excellent
though I note slightly less air and dimensionality in the overall presentation
(attributable to the rolled off treble, I think). The upside is that on hot
recordings and with Totem Forest speakers (metal dome tweeter) the top end is
tamer. Overall, listening with the Hegel is very, very enjoyable. I bought the
Hegel used and ran it from March of this year to just recently. Took it out in
August and went back to the tubes 'cause I was a little concerned about not
running that gear for a prolonged period. I really liked the Hegel and was
thinking I might be disappointed going back to the Cybers. Not the case,
however. I feel very fortunate that now I've got 2 great sounding modes of
amplification that are just different enough to liven things up when I feel the
need for a change. One helps me appreciate the other (if that makes any sense)
though neither leaves me feeling dissatisfied. Hope to hear from you on how
things are progressing. By the way - how are you finding low level listening?
Ghosthouse, my CDP is the Audiolab 8200 CDQ. I biught this because of the reviews and the flexibility it offers me. Im staring to mess around with computer audio (slowly). Speakers are Harbeth C7es3 monitors. I'm going to be going balanced by this weekend. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for the Nordost Red Dawn LS xlr interconnect. There's also the possibility I may put Oyaide Rhodium banana plugs on my Audioquest Rockefeller speaker cables. Then there's also the possibility of a subwoofer but who knows.

One thing I've noticed thus far which is in comparison to my Rogue Cronus Magnum. Bad recordings sound bad and good ones sound great. With the Rogue, everything sounded pretty good but I felt like I was missing out on the finer details. With the Hegel, I do hear a lot of details I was missing out on but some of those details are bad recordings.

I'm going into this as slowly and with a positive attitude as I can. It's funny because I thought I would just buy the Hegel and be done with it. Once I got it, I realized I had to run balanced. Then, with the amp not being as deep in length as the Rogue, I couldn't effectively use the spades on my speaker cables. Then I found out how revealing this amp is and although good bass, I could probably throw a subwoofer in the mix and be very happy. I guess sometimes you think you're about to jump off the merry go round only to find out the rides only half over.

Once I get this dialed in I know I'm going to be very happy and broke. Although I'd prefer to run the tubes this winter, I think I'm going to use this indoor time in Upstate NY to get this up to par.

Were you leaving the Hegel turned on 24/7? If so did you mute it? Hegel told me to turn it off but every review I've read says leave it on.

It sounds fine at low levels which is what I do when the wife goes to bed. Occasionally if I'm not in the mood to turn it down, I have a Schitt Lyr headphone amp with AKG K702's to fill the need.

Thanks for checking in. I'm glad you said that one helps you appreciate the other. I've found that to be the case as well. I really thought for a moment that I would sell the Rogue. I don't think I can. I also don't think ill be parting with the Hegel for many years.
Don - thanks for the reply...it's late now. I'll look at your cabling and CDP tomorrow (or should I say, later today). I'd been leaving the Hegel powered up 24/7 when I had it in the system. There's no mute that I can see on mine...I just turned the volume all the way down. Funny about the balanced XLR thing. I've been looking at possibly getting a new CDP and balanced out is on the list of features because of the Hegel. Curious how that will sound vs unbalanced RCAs.
Don, why do you feel you should go balanced?
Unless you are using long runs ,with equal quality rca,balanced a very slight difference soundstage slightly larger in Xlr mode ,but imaging with
RCA perhaps a percent better. Not worth selling your other cables
Unless everything is true balanced input to output.including your source
Cd ,phono
I am not even sure if the Hegel is fully balanced inputs to output.
I bought the Hegel 200 I could have bought the 300 which is more neutral
And perhaps a bit better detail,but image density warmer tonal balance
Fuller Bass the 200 is a more musical amplifier in my opinion.
I did not think the Hegel would be sufficient for my YG Carmel loudspeakers for they will let you know if something is lacking.
I was pleasantly surprised it is a dam good amplifier and the preamp
Section is first rate. I would need to spend at least $10k in separates to
Truly make it a bit better,but here too you would need another pair of quality
Interconnects,and power cord which is another $1,000 or so.
Hegel engineers told me a 10 awg cord or better for best results because of the high current.i also replaced the 10 A slow fuse with a Furutech fuse
And for sure gives better low level resolution and clarity.