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Old 05-18-2019, 11:34 AM
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Default Testing the Hegel H590 at Chattelin Audio, The Hague

After our visit of the Northstar Studio - https://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=45800 - we drove to Chattelin Audio, in the Hague.

I'm interested in getting into SS again, and after having heard the fantastic Mola Mola electronics (on the Vivid Audio G1 Spirit, the G4 and the Kaya 25), my mind was already pretty much set on a couple of mono blocks, to be paired with the Mola Mola pre and/or DAC.

But I've come to really appreciate Ben van Leliveld.
He did our room treatment.
He has an excellent ear and really wants to cater the best sound possible to music lovers.
This starts from making splendid recordings (check his trptk label), continues with importing gear (Harmony Audio Import with Kroma Audio, Zanden and CAD), then selling gear (he bought himself into the high shop Chattelin Audio) and finally installing the gear and optimising the room (AcousticMatters and RTFS).
That way he really has influence on the whole chain!
And he does this remarkably well.
It isn't exactly next door for us, we do have other magnificent stores close by, but it's worth the trip.

In his recording/remastering studio, he uses Hegel amplification (H30s), with Merging NADAC and 5 KEF Blade 2s.

That piqued my interest.
Why not Mola Mola?

To find out, we decided to compare Mola Mola directly to the top integrated of Hegel, the H590.
I had read great reviews, and wanted to hear this device, but wasn't expecting it to be able to change a lot in my plans.

But first, lunch!
Peter Chattelin had already provided a healthy light lunch.




The store is not that big, but you immediately feel at home.








During luch we listened to one of the excellent recordings of the trptk label:

__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E

Last edited by bart; 06-23-2019 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:44 AM
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Okay, lunch finished, up to the comparison!

The room:




The electronics:




A CEC-transport, Auralic G2 streamer, Hegel H590 and CAD GC3.

.
__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:55 AM
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Speaker: the Vivid Kaya 45.




Compared to the Kaya 25, the 45 has quite a bit more bass.
It comes close to full range.

Ben's colleague had set up the speakers, and Ben did the final adjustments.




He always uses a couple of tracks from the following albums.



__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E

Last edited by bart; 06-23-2019 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:01 PM
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I could immediately hear, no rather feel the power of the Big One.
301 Watts into 8 Ohm, doubling into 4 and then again into 2 Ohm are impressive figures on paper, and after experiencing the amplifier, I tend to believe them.

It was my turn to put my test CDs in the tray of the beautifully designed CEC.



__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:20 PM
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First up: Bruno Cocset.




This is really a marvellous recording.
You can hear all the timbres of the wonderful instrument.
The soundstage and ambience of the venue are impressive.
I have heard this on at least 20 systems.

It was different than what I get at home of course.
Maybe a bit rougher.
After all, my Halgorythmes do have tubes.
They are very neutral, not 'warm' in the sense of covering up (I found them brighter even than my Burmester gear).
But what struck me was the insight into the music.
I don't remember having heard this album so clearly, so real.
Not even on the Accuphase 900 separates.

I looked in disbelief at Ben.
Wow!

This is one of the best DACs I've heard he said, at least one of the best 10K DACs, but it competes with even higher priced devices.
It goes so far that when we play discs on the Luxman D-08u, we always use the digital out into the Hegel, because it blows the Luxman DAC out of the water.
With a power section that equals the H30 added as a free bonus.
And it doesn't stop there: it also offers a top pre and a streaming section.

Whatever I threw at the Master and Commander, the Hegel excelled.




Ella's voice sounded simply stunning.




This '56 album can sound a tiny bit digital on most DACs.
Here Satchmo and Ella's voices were perfectly natural, as were their accompanying musicians.





Holy cow!
This DAC is simply amazing!!
Had I ever heard the details of this recording better?
I don't think so.

.
__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E

Last edited by bart; 08-23-2019 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:23 PM
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To test the bass, the 9th track on this recording:




The Kaya 45s didn't go down quite as easily as my G2s, but I could hear the grip of the Hegel.
A lot of amplifiers don't do well on this track.
__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:24 PM
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More later, now off to a concert!

Edit: it was a fantastic concert with the Budapest Festival Orchestra!!
__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E

Last edited by bart; 05-18-2019 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:51 PM
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Next album is a torture disc for many systems.




Not so good amplifiers and/or DACs tend to muddle things up with a harpsichord.
The Hegel didn't.
What it did was bring the lower pedal notes even a bit better than I remembered from at home (and my amps are designed by a harpsichord player!).
__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:04 PM
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Conclusion so far: this is a seriously good integrated amplifier.
And it is a seriously good DAC also.
2 for the price of one!

But how would it fare, compared to Mola Mola?

There was one inconvenience.
The Mola Mola DAC was not in the store, it was at a client for a home demo.
Fortunately, Ben had a DiDit DAC available, which can compete with the Mola Mola from his experience.
It has a good volume control.




It was connected via a XLR digital cable to the Mola Mola mono blocks.










Which gives us the following set-up:

__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:18 PM
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Was it a fair comparison?
Would inserting the Mola Mola DAC instead of the DiDit have given another outcome?




We went through the same test tracks and there was no doubt: the Hegel beat the Mola Mola - DiDit system, in about every aspect.
The Hegel gave a deeper soundstage, was more lifelike, and the musicians had more flesh on the bone.
The Mola Molas sounded flatter.




With the Hegel, I was simply more touched, more drawn into the experience.

.
__________________
Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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