I have heard the Hegel integrated and came close to buying it. You may want to find some way of auditioning it, before you rule it out.
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I was able to see and hear the Hegel H80 this weekend. The demo, however, wasn't great. I heard it briefly with large floorstanding speakers instead of monitor. Some questions went unanswered. Are the discrete codes for inputs to program remote (Harmony)? Does the "Eco" mode serve as stand-by mode, turning screen off and reducing power? Overall, I walked away without knowing much, but I can home demo at some point?
For those who have heard the h160 or h300 how does the h80 compare? The Peachtree would be easier to demo and with a dealer who I have a rapport with, but the Hegel interests me more.
I've owned the Peachtree and Hegel 80 and to me, the Hegel clearly outperformed the Peachtree and gave me more pleasure. It was quieter, warmer, richer, had tighter, faster, more controlled bass and I could listen for longer periods. With the exception of the finicky volume control, it was a wonderful piece that I would include in my system for a long time.
On a whim, I tried the Clones Audio 25i integrated. At a retail price of around $890 I figured, what the hell?
Basically, the Clones integrated made the Hegel sound like HiFi, while the Clones sounded more natural and lifelike.
In fact, this little $890 black box sounded more natural and organic than my $1,400 Bent Autoformer passive preamp with my $1,500 Job 225 amplifier. Better than my $7,000 E.A.R. 890 amp and $5,000 (or whatever Tim is charging now), 834 integrated. Better than Kora, Dynaco and Wyred amps I've had.
I am in no way affiliated with the sales or distribution of Clones products in any way.
Funjoe has opened my ears to what I've been missing since I started this madness almost 30 years ago.
Someone above mentioned the Creek integrated. Don't waste your time chasing low-fi. Do yourself a favor Macct. Try the Clones. I'm not saying it's all things to all people. You may try it and hate it.......to each his own. I'm just saying I haven't been this enthusiastic about a product for a very long time.
Hey Z, like I said, I have no connection or affiliation with Clones at all. Like I also said, it may not be all things to all people and some may hate it. A staggering amount of equipment has passed through my system over the years that has received GLOWING reviews from magazines and people online. To describe those that have as a "piece of crap", would have been too kind. It's quit sad actually.
The Clones has mad me the most content I have ever been. I wish I had it years ago.
Good luck in your search Macct.
The Hegel is definitely a good sounding amp. However, it's interesting that Devilboy mentioned the finicky volume control on the Hegel H80. I had similar issues, and the problem was so significant that I ended up selling the Hegel.
The volume has a range of 0-99, but in my room the usable range was from about 42-46. That was it. Anything below that sounded muted and distant and anything above that was far too loud for my room. Even within this narrow margin, the volume was never "right." I was using 85db efficient speakers, and my room is hardly ideal (a bit live). Perhaps more efficient speakers in a well treated room would work better. Nevertheless, it was the only amp/integrated that I just couldn't make work well (and I've tried many). It is a very high quality amp, though.
Haven't heard the Peachtree, but I would audition the Hegel before buying as Devilboy is the second person to mention the volume control issue.
I've never heard the Hegel, but I do have the Peachtree Grand X-1, just a little up the food chain from the Nova. I'd like to check out the Hegel someday, just out of curiosity, because everyone seems to love them (this volume issue notwithstanding). Thinking about it objectively, I do think that the Hegel products seem to have more panache in the marketplace...people associate them as higher-end than Peachtree stuff, so maybe there's a bit of that feeling of not wanting to "settle" for a Peachtree with some buyers. It took me a while to finally pull the trigger on mine, to get over that feeling of "is it good enough?"
In my case, my main system is an Audio Research VSi55 into a pair of Proac D2 monitors, which sounds great. I got the Peachtree so I'd have something in the summer months when I didn't want to deal with tube heat here in Phoenix. That the Peachtree is just as musically pleasing as the Audio Research integrated, and I can swap them out without a thought, is the best compliment I can pay it.
I say this not to sell you on the Peachtree - you should buy what makes you happiest, since we're talking about a nice chunk of money - but instead to suggest giving the Peachtree a good listen without holding its affordability against it, just in case you've got some "I don't want to settle" doubts like I had.
Schubert, I understand what you're saying. I should have been more descriptive in my last post. What I meant by finicky volume is that I had to adjust the volume repeatedly DURING one song. I had to turn the volume down as the music got more dynamic, and up as it got softer. I never had this issue on another piece of equipment.
This issue was too annoying for me to keep it for the long haul, but once the volume was "right", it was nice to listen to.
However, after I heard the Clones, it was game over for the Hegel. The Clones just has more air, wider soundstage, blacker backgrounds, etc. It sounds more like a live listening experience and makes the Hegel sound like overpriced, exaggerated HiFi.
Although you have asked only about Hegel and Peachtree I believe it is worth thinking about the NAD D7050 integrated amplifier. I have one running a pair of LS50s and the sound is great. Very clean and detailed. And frankly I don't feel the need of more power. The NAD also gives you a lot of flexibility for digital and wireless inputs (but there are no analogs). The form factor is another plus for a bedroom system. Unfortunately I have not listened to the Hegel and Peachtree and therefore cannot compared them with the D7050.