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Not long ago I had a good long demo of the SimAudio 340iX & the Hegel 590 driving Harbeth M40.2 speakers in a dedicated room..I was NOT impressed with either.The Simaudio WAYYY too much plastic for so much $ & the headphone circuit was HORRIBLE!The SimAudio sound is a LONG WAYYY from the beautifully voiced original i5...The Hegel was ok but sounded dry to me,no life,no soul..A week later a friend lent me his Sugden A21Signature(base model 23wpc.)& WOW,WHAT A WONDERFUL presentation.EVERYTHING I love about Class A SE tubes in a smaller,lighter package..Needless to say I’m now converted away from tubes to pure Class A Solid State...You owe it yourself to at least add Sugden & Pass Labs to the shortlist...
depends on what sound you want
focals can be a lil zippy up top (but maybe you like zippy, dunno)
hegel is pretty neutral, slightly warm, veeerrrryyyy smooth may be a good match, levinson/krell will be generally brighter leaner sounding
sim to me isn't in the same league, maybe i am wrong
consider also belles
Had the 340ix at one point and was good with the sound, but I'm looking for the next bracket up.
Not really interested in tubes...prefer the simplicity of solid state.
Looking for something that is neutral-ish and just gets out of the way while providing sufficient power to drive what I have now (and leaves room for something that needs a bit more). The Focals can lean on the brighter side, but that doesn't bother me.
Don’t know about the other two, but I’d rule out the Hegel as they manufacture in China, the land of little or no quality control. Check out Luxmann integrateds in your price range, made in Japan with excellent quality control. I’m unfamiliar with the other two brands offerings. Good luck with whatever you choose.
I’m using a Levinson 585 to drive a pair of Focal Kanta 2s. Very nice combination - pretty neutral, with just a touch of sweetness in the midrange. What I especially like is that I can listen to and enjoy all my music - even average or somewhat bad recordings are still very enjoyable. I’m not limited to a few great audiophile recordings.
I agree with freediver and mickeyb. I have tested hegel H390, H590, Mark Levinson 8505 and many others manufacturers. Hegel sounds like no soul and mark levinson is thin and laid back sound. Accuphase E-450 or E-470 are very musical and to bright side. You can read my test. Bryston 4B3 was very positive supprise. A lot of body and musical. I ended up to accuphase E-450 and PS Audio DirectStream as DAC.
Are you sorry you asked? Lots of preaching about the mortal sins of various brands. I will only say that I have a Hegel 390 driving a pair of ATC SM40’s and I could not be happier. Very authoritative and soulful, IMO. I auditioned both a class A and a class A/B Luxman, and a Naim Supernait 3 before I landed in the 390. For my ears, in my system, in my room, the Hegel moved me in ways the others didn’t. We all need to remember that this pursuit of ours is incredibly personal. Buy the one that your gut tells you to and don’t look back!
Selling my Bricasti M28 mono's in an attempt to simply and reduce my overall investment in the hobby (other priorities abound).
The more I thought about it last night, the more I reduced my wants to something that doesn't add color (IMO, that's what the speakers are for) but has sufficient power to not be stressed by a wide variety of music.
As much as I'd love to do in home, I'm not sure that's going to happen with all my choices. As such, your opinions are helpful and appreciated.
I have a Simaudio 680D Stream Dac hooked up to a Anthem-Str Integrated amp with Focal Aria 936 speakers. I know the the Simaudio cost way more than the other parts of the system but I listen to streamed music mainly. I plan on up dating the speakers at some point and maybe amp but it really sounds amazing. The source is very important too.
Before I purchased a Luxman 507uX MKII I also looked into the comparable Hegel model. Look at the pictures of the interior wiring of the Hegel 390 at
https://www.hegel.com/products/integrated/h390 (right above the technical specs) versus what you see after you you click on the picture of the interior wiring of the Luxman 507uX MKII (right above their Specs section) at http://www.luxman.com/product/detail.php?id=4. Draw your own conclusions.
That Hegel hides where their integrated is made is telling as well. The Hegel 390 gets great reviews, but again you’re gambling on Chinese products durability. I thought about Japanese Accuphase integrateds too, but there were local availability and pricing issues if I recall. Sounds like some other good choices have been mentioned above. Again good luck with whatever you choose.
”anything but Mac”. I’m confused, is it you or the OP who is buying? If it’s the OP then you do him/her a big disservice by stating that. The person should try to look at all brands in his price range. Just because you don’t like Mac doesn’t mean he won’t. The person is purchasing for their taste, not yours.