Perhaps you haven’t heard of Hegel Music Systems. They are a manufacturer of audio electronics based in Oslo, Norway famous for their amps (featuring patented SoundEngine technology) and, more recently, their phenomenal line of external DACs. Check out their excellent web page at www.hegel.com. If you have heard of them, you probably haven’t actually heard them (and you should!). They are new to the American market and currently only have a dozen or so dealers. I am happy to report that Adirondack Audio & Video is now one of them.
As a longtime audiophile, I’m thrilled whenever I have an opportunity to listen extensively (and intensively) to new gear, but I have rarely been this excited about taking on an entire new line of electronics as I am with Hegel. Owning a HiFi store allows me lots of opportunities to demo new products, but deciding to become a dealer (with the accompanying financial commitment) involves making business calculations that are often more stressful than fun. With Hegel, none of that mattered. The sound quality of Hegel electronics is so good that I felt compelled to offer it to our customers. If you live nearby and you love music, you need to come in and listen. And then you’ll know what I’m writing about.
For those of you who are too far away, let me try to explain. I’ll start with the amps (and discuss the DACs in a future blog entry). We have the two least expensive Hegel integrated amps on display in the showroom (the H70 and H100). Before you even listen, you will notice that the look of the amp is “Scandinavian minimalist”—simple and purposeful while at the same time looking exquisite and expensive. The quality of design and workmanship is evident immediately. Press the large, central power button and the amp turns on with a satisfying ka-thunk. No matter what source or volume you might have been previously listening to, Hegel will always revert to the balanced input and a moderate volume—a thoughtful touch. Then there’s the sound. I can think of no other amp—at any price—that exhibits as much control over loudspeakers as Hegel does. Each instrument, each note, is clear and distinct, like there are no electronics in-between you and the musician. The base, even at moderate volumes, is balanced and tight—powerful while at the same time articulate and controlled. Hegel amps are exceptionally neutral, so you’ll easily hear any imperfections or tonal coloring coming from the source or your loudspeakers. You’ll want to pair these amps with the best speakers you can afford.
With high-quality loudspeakers, the Hegel amps are truly magical in their ability to present music with all its original dynamic punch and tonal balance. The SoundEngine technology—found only in Hegel products—undoubtedly has a lot to do with this. I’ll let Hegel explain:
The HEGEL SoundEngine™ local error cancelling system prevents distortion in the audio amplifier circuit stages, preserving the original details and the dynamic range in the original music signal. The end result is a much cleaner music signal with a larger dynamic range and lower distortion.
The unique and patented Hegel SoundEngine™ audio technology is combining the advantage of class AB-amplifier and the advantage of class A-amplifiers, without having the draw backs of class A- and class AB-amplifier technologies.
What this means for the listener is a level of clarity and resolution in sound that is immediately apparent. You will find yourself re-listening to your entire music collection, hearing nuances that you never knew were there.
As you can tell, I’m very enthusiastic about Hegel and I hope to play my small part in helping them become as successful in the United States as they already are in other parts of the world. With sound quality like this, the task should not be difficult. You’ll understand what I mean as soon as you listen.