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HI All, I had the good fortune to have the Hegel 190 in the house last weekend. Bear with me for a moment as I explain the Hegel and then the competition. (I think it will save time in the long run) When comparing A-B-A with the Mac (MA252 Hybrid), the presentation is so much more immersive and slightly holographic that you really feel like you are in the room with a piano. Brad Mehldau's cover of Martha My Dear. It murders the Mac for sound stage and scale. The Hegel offers a warmer/slightly darker presentation and is superlative with Orchestra and Jazz. By comparison, the Mac sounds a bit brighter and leaner with a more direct sound stage. However, when playing James Taylor, the Beatles, Ray LaMontagne, Sting, the Mac is my preference. It sounds more "real." It is doing many, but not all, vocals better. Ultimately though, the comparisons all get tossed out with the bath water. Once your in the bath tub for ten minutes, you don't notice the mineral content of the water. The overall immersion in the hot water is a different story. That's the Hegel. It does lots of what the Mac can do, but it also does something the Mac can never do. The sound pours all over you. THIS iS WHAT I"VE BEEN MISSING. A new source was never going to fix this. The Mac, new, goes for €5k. The Hegel 190 €3.7k. The Hegel also comes with DAC and streamer. Sometimes the DAC is better than my Node 2 other times not. However, I'm not interested in the 190. I'd like to hear the big brother 390 at €5.8k, If this is the 190 and more, the Mac is on it's way out. (98% of listening is Tidal into the Node2) I was reading some reviews, I know lots of people hate them, but when they use comparisons it's helpful to me. http://www.serious-music.com/Blog/?p=6747. This is the Hegel 390, Mark Levinson N 5805 and the Krell 300i. Both can come with the digital module and will for my demo. One of the shops here in Brussels has both the Levinson and Krell, but not the Hegel. I have a demo with both amps tomorrow morning. One Problem: They don't carry the Spendor nor my normal substitute the ATC SCM40. Will the Sonus Faber Olympica Nova 2 or 3 be a decent replacement for my Spendor D7 (sensitivity 91dB) for the demo? The sales guy seems to think so, and I have my doubts. (other options would be B&W, Kef, Focal, Dali, Dynaudio). I've not heard Focal floorstanders, nor anything from Sonus or Dali. Dynaudio, Kef and B&W to my ears are not Spendor D7 like. The other amps on my shortlist are: Leben CS600, Pass labs Int 25, Line Magnetic ????, and possibly the Audio Research VSi75 (a bit out of my price range). Other than these there is not much else available as far as integrateds go in this price range. The second hand market is also very wishy washy here and I'm not very interested. All advice is welcome and appreciated. Chem
Mark Levinson No585 - £8,495 ex-demo with one year warranty - The foundation of the No585 is its fully discrete, mirror-imaged, dual-monaural analogue circuitry featuring individual signal switching relays for each of its four stereo inputs http://www.audiologica.co.uk/mark-levinson/