Hegel H390, H590, Mark Levinson 8505, Accuphase E-480 Test.
I have tested now many days Hegel H390, H590, Mark Levinson 8505 and Accuphase E-480. I own Accuphase E-450, Audiolab 8200CDQ V12E (used as DAC) and Magnepan 3.6. Testin is done against E-450 and Audiolab.
In the first minute i notest that it sounds that speakers are behind curtain. Singer was between speakers. Overall sound was dumped and i never got exited.
Mark Levinson 8505
Very controlled and tight grib. Also laid back and relax. Sounds like when instrument or singer give drama i didn’t get that feeling. Actually sound was thin and did not exited me at all. Then i connect my Audiolab DAC. Sound became alive but still controlled and tight. Still i miss present feeling and livenes instead that i felt lisnening only speakers. 8505 DAC seems to be weakest link in this integrated amp. Separate pre amp and power amp would be nice to test.
In sound Hegel has taken a giant leap forward grom H390. Curtain was gone and instruments was clear. Dynamic was present a lot. BUT... the stage was dissapointing. Singer was in both sides a bit before speakers and changing from side to side. I got really confuced. Sounds like singer was cutted half. Instruments came also from speakers and between speaker was nothing. The 3D dimension was great. Then i connected my Audiolab DAC. Same feeling. So that feature is in amp section. H590 DAC is good.
I notest that E-480 has tighter grip and a bit controlled. Also highs are not sparkling any more as with E-450. Very pleasant sound. After 3 hours listening i notest that quitar gave to singer more space. It sounds also quieter. More control seems to take some livenes from music. But other hand, it is very pleasant to listening without listening fatigue. I reconnect my E-450 and liveness and drama came back. Singer was between speakers. Sound more forward compared to E-480. E-480 has not lose Accuphase sound. There is small changes and differences. Highs are very good. Overall sound has more control. But still to me it lose a bit liveness.
Audiolab 8200CDQ V12E is a damn good DAC and wiped floor with Levinson DAC and is better to my gear compared to H390 and H590 DAC. I have done tests against separate DACs exampe Chord Qutest and Hegel HD20. None of these could not compete with Audiolab. So if i want to upgrade, i have to pay at least 3000€ to get better DAC. If Hegel makes separate DAC based on to H590, it will cost at least 3000€.
Accuphase E-450 has smile affect with very high highs and liveness compared to Hegels and Levinson. E-450 has quite forward sound compared to others. E-480 is very close and with slightly relaxed and laid back feeling. With different set up it can be the number one choise. But not for me this time.