Hegel H80 for KEF LS50? Or other amp?


Hello all,

I am seriously considering the Hegel H80 based on the reviews I've seen and the recommendations of a few people who have heard it. My only concern is that my speakers are KEF LS50s, which drop to 3.2 ohms at their minimal impedance (although overall they are not an extremely difficult load) and have a sensitivity of 85db. The Hegel is claimed to sound more powerful than its claimed 75 wpc and to have a powerful bottom end. However, there is no specification into 4 ohms, and I'm worried that it will not have the dynamics or the bass that a more powerful integrated might have (for example, the Krell S300i is on sale for $1800 new and doubles down into 4 ohms - very tempting).

If any of you have experience with the Hegel into 4 ohm speakers, I'd love to hear about it. And if you have another recommendation for the KEF LS50s, I'd appreciate your input. I LOVE the speakers, but I just haven't found the right integrated yet. My listening room is about 14 x 16 feet, and I listen at moderate levels to a wide range of music.

Thanks so much!
Scott
smrex13
I too am interested in the Hegel H80 integrated amp as I am thinking to buy one
for music and TV watching in the living room.

While Hegel does not provide any information about the power capabilities of
H80 into 4 ohms, I have found a review on the net where it was mentioned that
H80 puts out 135 watts into 4 ohms.

I too am a bit puzzled by this. Has Hegel simply forgotten to list the power
capabilities of H80 into 4 ohms, or they have not listed this information because
H80 is not happy to drive speakers with a nominal impedance of 4 ohms?
Nvp - there are some companies (LFD and Musical Fidelity come to mind) that don't provide a 4 ohm rating for some of their products. However, at least in the case of LFD, their integrated amps handle 4 ohm loads quite easily. Not sure why they don't provide that info.
I have the Hegel H80 with Magnepan MC1s and 2 DWMs. the Hegel drives it fine without strain. My dealer drives his 1.7 with it. I am also considering purchasing the LS50 this week.
I have the Hegel H80 with Magnepan MC1s and 2 DWMs. The Hegel drives it fine without strain. My dealer drives his 1.7 with it. I am also considering purchasing the LS50 this week as well.
I have had excellent results with the Simaudio i3.3 DPX. (100wpc). Deep,
taught natural bass and an extended top end. The music has a live sound
that is dynamic with great pace and rhythm. Very satisfied with this
selection.

I previously had been using a Naim Nait 5i (italic) Mrk ii (60wpc), with
good results, but I felt the speakers needed more clean power to perform
at their best.
I can't speak to the Hegel H80, but I was able to compare the Hegel H100 and H200 with my LS50's. Both were good.
I bought the Bryston B135 SST² as it was better than the Hegel's and 2 others I listened to. Quite noticably better I might add.
"I can't speak to the Hegel H80, but I was able to compare the Hegel H100 and H200 with my LS50's. Both were good.
I bought the Bryston B135 SST² as it was better than the Hegel's and 2 others I listened to. Quite noticably better I might add."

YOU liked it better. It's your ears and system synergy. I heard the LS50's with an Octave tube amp and whoa!!!!
I have the H80 going to Audio Physic Classic 30s which are 4 ohm. Plenty of power with no roll off. Has a tube like sound, great integrated.
I use the Parasound Halo A23 (125 watts). I bought it on eBay for about $550 used. It was the amp that KEF was demoing the LS50's with at some US shows. I have no complaints.
Hey Donjr;
Sorry, the Bryston B135 SST² was better than the Hegels; as stated.
Not a question of "liked" better, It was better in all ways except low bass detail and control where they matched. But of course, you would have to have been there.
in the show they use the h80 to drive the 86db 4ohm magio s1 small floorstanders with 1 in and 7 in drivers

I have been using the h80 for 3 mths and the speakers are the used quad 22l 89db

people in audioasylum use the h80 for the Maggie 1.6//1.7

the 85 db ls50 is a small monitor that
the h80 can be able handle; just turn up the volume a bit

I only use 50 out of 99 to drive my quad22l to moderate level which is good enough for me in a 350 cu feet plus room

I wish to get a pair of used ls 50 with stands later

it should be 3000 plus cu feet NOT 350

norman
Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your responses. I pulled the trigger on the H80, and it should be here next week. Can't wait to start breaking it in!
Hey Dmacg, don't be sorry. I stand behind what I said and I've heard both but not with the LS50's. I have heard the LS50's however.
Scott,

So what did you think of the H80 with the LS50s? I'm running a NAP-100 with a Burson Conductor and am very impressed. Of course, I'm wondering if I can do better.

A. Hegel H80
B. Hegel H200
C. Hegel H300
D. Bryston B135 SST2
E. Croft Phono Integrated
F. Arcam A38
G. Sim moon i3.3
H. Naim SuperNait 2
I. Rogue ST100
J. Hercules power amp
K. Parasound A21
L. Parasound A23
M. Heed Obelisk SI
N. Stick with my NAP-100/Burson

So many options :)

Adam
I just picked up the LS50s for my office and have the Hegel 80 hooked up to them, but have only listened for a few hours and will get into it more in the next few + weeks, so they are still breaking in.

My initial impressions are as follows and using Analysis Plus Oval 12 cable (may swap out with my Kimber 4TC later for an A/B speaker cable comparison);

The volume on the Hegel aparently goes to 99 (I never went up to that level). My low level hearing is not terribly good, but I can't hear much from 0 to 10, a little bit thereafter and at about 20 to 30, I hear more sound. When I raise the volume to 40 to 50 range, this is equivalent to a lower (1st quartile) volume setting on my home system of Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3, with Audio Research LS17 SE with a 200+ watt Anthem Amp.

At the 40 to 60 volume range on the Hegel (normal listening volume to me), all I can say is "wow". The Hegels give such a grip on the LS50's that it sounds like I have a subwoofer attached or a much more powerful amplifier. The background is the blackest I've sensed from anything I've every listed to, with sounds just emerging from all around. The sound is holographic and incredibly dynamic, and the combination of the LS50s with the Hegel is solid, incredibly clear, warmer to me (non-fatiguing) which I prefer, and just plain musical and beautiful.

I'll post again in a few months if my impressions change. However, based on my first impressions, I could not be happier with this combination and can only imagine going up higher on the Hegel food chain would only enhance the positive qualities that I've heard thus far.

Bertram - with the KEF LS50 and the Hegel at your office, how do you get any work done?? :) I have had this pairing for a few weeks now, and I am very impressed with the Hegel 80 - clear, powerful, transparent…it just seems to do everything well. Nothing is emphasized, which is exactly how I like it. If anything, it's ever so slightly on the warm side of neutral for a SS integrated.

I have had a similar experience to you with the volume setting, until I tried the balanced inputs. With the RCA connections I heard relatively little coming out of the amp until I got up to 30 or so on the Hegel, and I really had to be around 46-50 for good, clear sound. I attributed this to the low sensitivity of the KEFs, but It was a bit frustrating in that it seemed there was a very small range between "too quiet/background music" and "the neighbors are going to hate me."

However, since my Oppo has balanced outputs I decided to try a JW Audio signature balanced interconnect and the soundstage just exploded, the separation of instruments was starting, and the volume range from about 30-45 was nicely adjustable. There may be different gain for each connection, but even when I adjust for volume levels the balanced connection is significantly better. I have another pair of balanced interconnects coming to see if it's the balanced connection that makes the difference or the particular cable (or some combination of the two).

However, right now I could be happier with the sound that I'm getting. Oh, and the Hegel DAC is a very solid performer. If you only use computer audio, get a good cable, the Hegel, and the KEFs. For about 4K, you're not likely to get better sound anywhere.

Overall, though, I significantly prefer the Oppo for DAC quality, for versatility, and for the fact that I can play DSD files.

Hope everyone is well,
Scott
Oops, that "couldn't be happier" :)
Scott, thanks for the great suggestions! I will try out the balanced inputs. I'll also explore the Oppo futher as this makes a lot of sense, given that it can play DSD files, USB disc drives, etc. I have a couple of balanced DACs that I have that I might bring to the office to play around with as well - a Cambridge Audio DacMagic and a Bryston BDA-1.

I'm on the hunt for good speaker stands as well. My ear height is 3'10" to the ground from my office chair, so I need a taller than typical stand. I have Skylan stands with my Harbeths at my house, which are fantastic; however, I don't think they make stands above 29/30". Sound Anchors are my present number one choice as they make stands above 30" and am considering placing an order tomorrow.
Betram, did you get the Sound Anchors? I'm looking into speaker stands for the KEF now as well, and I'm interested in your thoughts.

Thanks,
Scott
I have the Skylan stands for my Harbeth Compact 7's. They are a great match. Skylan also makes a real nice looking stand for the LS50 that is I think 28" and appears to be reasonably priced. With my height and chair height, I likely will order the Sound Anchors today or within the next few days, since I need a stand that can go to 34 to 36" in height. The model that I like is the Sound Anchor ADJ1, wich is an adjustable stand. If I buy this I can adjust the height to the higher height at my office and if I ever decide to bring the LS50s home, I can lower the height to ear level with my home seating. The ADJ1 is expensive, though. Sound Anchors also has a single post stand that is much cheaper and a 4 post stand that is more expensive than the ADJ1.
Hegel H80 can drive the LS with ease, its an excellent value for money amp - and yes with balance input the input gain is higher, my brother has it feeding the Harbeth M30 to good effect.
Will be comparing a Hegel H80 to my Croft separates shortly. Also internal Dac versus Benchmark Dac2 HGC balanced. I'll report back. Went back back to Harbeth P3esrs. Just the kind sound I like. I'm in heaven with the NOS tubes I got for Crofts. Just don't know if the Hegel will compare with the midrange and effortless beautiful sounds I'm getting right now. We will see. Adam
Will be comparing a Hegel H80 to my Croft separates shortly. Also internal DAC w. audiophilleo versus Benchmark Dac2 HGC balanced. I'll report back. Went back back to Harbeth P3esrs. Just the kind of sound I like. I'm in heaven with the NOS tubes I got for Crofts. Just don't know if the Hegel will compare with the midrange and effortless beautiful sounds I'm getting right now. We will see. Adam
Also tried a Simaudio Moon Neo 250i. Crofts just have that magic and nothing can compare. Now I just need to save up for the RIAA R phono preamp.
I have the LS50's paired with Audio Research VSi55 I got for 1830 on audiogon. They are an amazing match. I don't think I could do much better. I keep on thinking of ways to change/upgrading the integrated but just in the end don't want to loose the synergy of this setup, its phenomenal, even despite being set up in a fairly large room with 9 foot ceilings.

If I had a balanced source I would like to compare it to a Ayre Ax-7e someday...

Entry level Transparent cabling and a Bluesound Vault as a source using the on board DAC. Soon to be switch to a Auralic Aries Mini.

Sam
I've been using a Proceed Amp 2 to drive my LS50s with an Oppo 95 as source. I substituted a used Parasound A23 to check it out in this simple setup. The LS50s sound very good with either amp, but I think I prefer the sound with the Amp 2, a bit more presence and a bit less warmth. I think a used Amp 2 is just a few hundred dollars more than an A23, but they are older amps and don't have the neat audio trigger of the A23, a nice feature given neither an Oppo 95 nor 105 supplies a 12 v trigger for the Amp 2.

db
I've had nice results pairing the LS50s with an Ayre AX-7e. I listen mainly to jazz and classical. If you like the "ayre sound" and are able to run your sources balanced, it's another option to consider.
I've owned several of the integrated amplifiers above; LFD; Naim; and Hegel H80 but never paired them with the LS50's. They've all been enjoyable when paired to my Penaudio Cenyas but will be able to finally pair my Hegel H160 and LS50's coming later this week.

More to follow...