ConclusionAt every level, the Hegel H120 is a superbly integrated amplifier that doesn't lack anything. Because Roon wasn't available yet, we can't give a perfect score, but when it does, we will gladly adjust the score. For those looking for something in this price range, this is an absolute must. Gratulerer!
Compact Disc Dummies make delicious electronic rock music and the H120 just grabs the music and never let’s go. The fresh, light, left side of neutral signature of the dac doesn’t mean it sounds cold, chilly or clinical. Vocals sound just right and pure without a sharp edge. The longer we play through the Hegel the more we start to appreciate the AKM dac. The stereo image is wide and stable and the sweet spot nice and spacious.
The new album of Destroyer is very varied and has a rich instrumentation that comes through smoothly on the H120. Once again we’re impressed with the dac which passes through a lot of details and delivers the voice of singer Dan Bejar flawlessly. The amplifier in the H120 distinguishes itself on this album by a tight and very dry, clean sound with heft in the lower regions. We’re pulled into the music and put the laptop aside to enjoy the rest of the album.
Schntzl, fantastic name, is a Belgian duo that makes quirky jazz music. They bring a mix of piano, drum and synthesizer to shape their own sound. The beats have an enormous impact and we’ve never known the Vienna’s to go so low. They seem to have more low end then ever before. The H120 reminds us a bit of the Bryston B60r but the Hegel digs even deeper. Impressive! Whatever music we choose, the H120 knows how to handle it.
When we rebuild our system we get a bit more refinement, detail en energy – small improvements on every level – but the Hegel H120 is not slayered. The M50 sounds a bit better than the built-in streamer via UPNP, the Onyx is different from the AKM dac and the Benchmark maybe a bit more neutral. But honestly; the differences are not shocking. After a few days we don’t hear anything disturbing and we don’t miss our own system anymore. As a critical listener we can perfectly live with this.
The Hegel H120 is, like the Röst, a serious device with serious specs. Depending on which speakers you use, you have everything you need to play your music. Those with difficult speakers can go up the ladder, but the H120 will do for most. The H120 is better than the Röst and the H90 and once Roon gets implemented, you have a modern device that in terms of ease of use and playback in our opinion has little competition in its price range.
Put a white (black is also allowed) Hegel H120 on your furniture and connect it to your favorite speakers and you’re ready to go. If you want to do better then you will have to spend a lot more. The built-in AKM dac is very well implemented and only in a direct comparison you will hear a difference. It is clear that those delta-sigma and multi-bit dacs are getting better and better every day. The amplifier is different but as good as our Benchmark and that’s a big compliment.