Integrated amplifiers… bad, right? Because there’s a power supply being shared. And there’s all kinds of radiation… scattered fields and other problems. In short: avoid like the plague. Or is it different in the year 2019? We’ve already had some gems in our hands. Think AVM, Hegel or NAIM. What about the latest and greatest: the Hegel H590… Let’s find out
The Hegel H590 has been introduced at the High End Munich 2018. The enormous beast of the Norwegians went to the shopkeepers for demos a few months later. Including Chattelin in The Hague where we attended a demo on a pair of Blades.
The Hegel H590 stands above the well-known H360. And since the H360 isn’t a nauseating device, the 590 must be a brute. And it is. The H590 isn’t much bigger than the 360… under the hood, there’s a big difference. However, on paper it does not have the figures you would expect. But also here: appearances can be deceiving: there may not be doubled power: the power supply is significantly larger. And partly because of this, the H590 can supply a lot more power than the H360… And you have to check: the H360 can already power easy and a few serious floorstanders!
Also changed on the Hegel H590 is the dac-board. That’s completely redesigned. The board is built around an AKM chip. That chip can process both PCM and DSD native. DSD can be delivered via usb. MQA is also supported. In short: Tidal on and go with that banana!
Hegel has completely changed the clocking and power supply on the new dac-board compared to the previous generation. ROON can also be used via usb and ROON can also control the usb volume of the Hegel H590. Unfortunately the Hegel H590 for ROON can only be controlled via Ethernet via AirPlay. And so no official ROON endpoint. That would be an advantage, because there is no native app for the H590. And via Ethernet, only the moderate Airplay can be used. Yeah… that’s just audible. Try Airplay and then UPnP… exactly: Airplay just doesn’t sound right. Spotify Connect is also an option… but yeah. Lossy, too.
Just some short specs. There are two XLR inputs, three single ended inputs, Ethernet, usb, three times optical, coaxial and bnc (YES!!). Also: BNC off and twice single ended (variable and fixed). And not to forget: a set of speaker terminals. Phono’s not built-in.
Beneath the hood lies a gigantic food with considerable flattening. The class AB amplifier delivers 2 x 300 watts in 8 Ohms, 2 x 570 watts in 4 Ohms and 2 Ohms? I don’t know. Stable, though.