Get the Hegel/ Schitt combo. I'm sure you will be blown away!
Both are great amp makers.
To me ideally the best amps are full on class a, or set tube amps. Good class ab like Hegel get close to the smooth sound of class a and sometimes top them without the size, heat and cost. Hybrid tube designs don’t quite cut it for me. They miss the full tube experience while also lacking the class a sound.
I have a Hegel h200 and haven’t considered an upgrade. For me the h200 is the solid state sound I like. I could spend more on a better solid state but I can’t justify it in my budget - it would be a case of diminishing returns and I am very happy with the sound and the fact that it matches to a wide range of speakers.
The only change I would make is to get a set tube amp as a second amp for a totally different flavor and experience.
I used to have the rogue Cronus magnum ii with the kt-120 tubes. I liked it a lot except for the loose bottom end with my floor standing ushers. I then got the Hegel H100. I liked it better than the rogue but lite on the power. I bought a new Hegel H300, much much better. If you need the power, I would go with the h300 and save for a better external dac since the h300 has a built in dac that is pretty decent.
Thank you all for the input. This is super helpful and much appreciated.
For starters, I’ll try to setup an in home demo of the Hegel, or at the very least go listen at my local dealer.
How does the H160 DAC compare to the H300 DAC? I like the added bonus of the network/airplay function on the H160 (but realize quality will be lower than the usual wired USB or Optical input).
For phono stage, do people like the Jolida JD9 MK II? Seems like a solid unit if I'm gonna spring for the extra $$$.
Courtney - I would check out a DAC made by a company called Denafrips - a newer Chinese company. They sell a few in your price range. Unlike the Yggy - which uses a R2R chipset made for medical devices, Denafrips makes DACs that use a discrete R2R ladder DAC designed to play music. Denafrips DACs can also play DSD files so your not just limited to red book pcm files. Lastly, they are affordable. I bought there top end DAC called the "Terminator" and it's fantastic. If it was made in Europe it probably would have cost double or triple the price I paid. It competes with DAC many times it's price. They haven't been reviewed much, but if you read the forums like head-fi, everybody seems to love their sound. Good luck!
I compared the Rogue Pharaoh and Hegel H360 in my home for a few months. I use ATC SCM40 v2 speakers. I found that the Hegel was over damped for my speakers.
I'm very happy with the Pharaoh and Siemens tubes but I'm trying to find a Class A amp that will give me the tube sound without relying on scares NOS tubes.
I still own my Rogue Sphinx v1 and it was great with my Ryan R610 speakers and NOS Mullards. I would only get the Sphinx if you have slightly forgiving speakers. The component/build differences between the Sphinx V1 and Pharaoh really show up on the ATCs. The Cronus Magnum II which I owned for a year is far better than the Sphinx in my opinion.
I have both a hegel h360 and a cary sli80. .I go back and forth between the two and find I love the sound of both of them although I find the cary is a better listening experience when it comes to vinyl. .as far as a good dac I own a rega dac and love the organic analog sound I get from it..and you can find used one's for a bargain. Both amplifiers you're looking at are quality audio gear but it comes down to price and budget. Best of luck.
Not specifically related to the OP's question/topic, but fwiw, just purchased a Hegel cdp4a CD player and find it eminently enjoyable. My first experience with the brand. Excellent build quality, very organic, almost analog sounding. Captivating! I prefer it to other players I've owned: Audiomeca, Marantz, NAD,
Jungson. Great sounding product.
I spent time auditioning the hegel h160 vs the h360 on spendor speakers and I liked the 160 a lot. I did not hear in that room in that system over two visits a difference to go for the 360. If you were doing maggies or other power hungry speakers perhaps it would make a difference but I could not hear it.
For those interested, I ended up purchasing a Hegel H160 paired with a LFD LE Phono Stage. The increase in musicality, power, and clarity is quite impressive.
Overall I am very happy with the Hegel, both as an amp and as a DAC. The convenience of streaming via Apple Airplay is effortless, and the quality is still head and shoulders over my previous Rotel integrated. As expected, the DAC performs much better when wired via USB or Optical with a nice wide soundstage. For vinyl, I am currently only using the LFD LE in its MM mode, and look forward to trying out a high output MC cartridge in the future.
Would be interested to know if other Hegel owners have speaker suggestions that they feel pair nicely with this brand? I am currently using Tekton Lore’s and am quite happy for the time being. I am eyeing either Zu Audio or Devore Fidelity as a future speaker upgrade, but that’s a ways off. Any and all thoughts/suggestions welcome. Thanks!
Glad you are enjoying the Hegel. Hegels are very versatile with speakers so you can go in almost any direction. Smaller Maggies, Harbeth and Spendor are popular matches for the 160 and they sound great. If you like the sound of zu the Hegel should work fine but it is a unique sound so see if you can try it first. The devore is a good idea but I haven’t heard them with Hegel. Keep us posted.
I just bought the H360 for my revel salon's and I demoed the rost and h190, the replacement for the h160, and tbh they all sounded so clean and 'live' that any of the 3 sounded good and the h190 with 150/250 into 4ohms was going to be the one I bought until I put my hand on the case and it was slightly warm, maybe i'm being over cautious, but since I personally couldn't hear a difference between the two I opted for the extra headroom of the h360 for the power hungry revel's.