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RMAF 2018: ListenUp, GoldenEar, Hegel, Audioquest and Shut Up and Take My Money

By | November 11th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , |

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I don’t have a lot of experience with GoldenEar speakers, although plenty of audiophiles, not to mention most my old dealers, have given me an earful—they offer outstanding value, they’re incredibly dynamic, and whatever I’m representing better be able to compete with these products from audio legends Sandy Gross, Don Givogue and Bob Johnston.

When I walked into the darkened ListenUp/Hegel/GoldenEar room at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I was taken aback by the simplicity of the set-up which consisted of just the GoldenEar Triton Reference loudspeakers ($8500/pair), a Hegel Mohican CD player ($5000) and a Hegel H590 integrated amplifier/DAC ($11,000), all wired up with Audioquest cabling.… Read the full article

A short film about the Hegel H590 integrated amplifier

By | October 26th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

(The following is based on a true story)

Darko.Audio presents: A Short Film About the Hegel H590

Starring: the Hegel H590 integrated amplifier

Co-starring: Harbeth Compact 7 and KEF LS50

Special guest appearance: ALLO DigiOne Signature

Also featuring: The Smiths, Thin White Rope, Momus, American Music Club, The The, Planetary Assault Systems and Deadbeat.

Camera / colour: Line Kühl

Editor: Jana Dagdagan

Director: John Darko

Further information: Hegel Music Systems

Read the full article

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15 ‘must-hear’ super-integrated amplifiers

By | July 17th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Go hard or go home. The clarion call of the maximalist audiophile compiling an audio system for ultimate sound quality irrespective of its floor- and rack-space requirements, the hairball of interconnects that joins one component to another or the numerous credit card swipes that brings them home – see above. A solid understanding of how to mix and match components is mandatory. Understanding equates to experience. Experience takes time.

Enter the minimalist, drawn to audio systems where the box count is driven south for shorter signal paths, fewer interconnects and fewer power cables.… Read the full article

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Into the white: Eclipse TD510Z MK2 + Hegel H190

By | June 27th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Out of the blue and into the black? Nope. Subverting Neil Young’s song title we look to a Pixies b-side to go into the white for an elegant hi-fi system that oozes Future-Fi inside and out but in the passive loudspeaker domain. In this post, we look at how a pair of wonderfully unusual standmounts meet an integrated amplifier loaded with DAC and streamer.

The Eclipse TD510Z MK2 loudspeaker (£3840/pair) from Denso Ten. That’s quite the mouthful. TD510Z MK2 is the model number, Eclipse the brand and Denso Ten the parent company, established in 1972 with initial investment coming from Fujitsu Limited and the Toyota Motor Corporation.… Read the full article

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The Music-First Audiophile and Spotify Connect

By | June 22nd, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Missing: Richard D. James. I Care Because You Do. Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2. Drukqs. Four downright essential Aphex Twin albums and nowhere to be found. Missing too was Prefab Sprout’s Crimson Red (from 2013) and Luna’s debut Lunapark (from 1992). Missing from where exactly? Tidal.

Despite an advertised 50 million+ songs, for this electronic/indie music fan there are holes in Tidal’s library. Filling in those blanks is Spotify whose Ogg Vorbis-encoded lossy streams cast it as the Coke Zero of music rental services.… Read the full article

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Statement made: Hegel debut H590 with KEF Blade

By | May 15th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

When we visited Hegel’s Oslo HQ back in March, founder and lead engineer Bent Holter could be seen readying a new flagship integrated. Back then it was all hush-hush. A few months later, that flagship has a model number – the H590 – and for its worldwide debut in Munich, Hegel had gone all out, partnering with KEF and their resplendent Blade loudspeakers.

The H590’s class A/B output is executed by 12 transistors per channel (4 more than the H360) to deliver a very specific 301wpc into 8 Ohms.… Read the full article

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Hit the north! A visit to Hegel’s headquarters

By | March 2nd, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Hegel. In this case, not the 18th Century German philosopher but a Norwegian rock band formed by one Bent Holter who would recycle the name in 1997 for an Oslo-based hi-fi company that’s been going strong (but stready) ever since. Happy 21st birthday, Hegel Music Systems.

Hegel’s main thrust is integrated amplifiers. On their website we count five, each offering in-built UPnP/Airplay streaming and D/A conversion: H90 (US$2000), Rost (US$3000), H160 (US$3500), H190 (US$4000) and H360 (US$6000). Pricing isn’t astronomical and the casework isn’t fancy schmancy.… Read the full article

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An industry overview from Norddeutsche Hifi-Tage 2018

By | February 6th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Train, train. The Sunday night ride on rails from Hamburg to Berlin was a time for contemplation, soundtracked by 1more ANC IEMs pulling Nina Kraviz’s 2017 Essential Mix from an iPhone. The 2018 edition of Norddeutsche Hi-fi Tage (translation: North German Hifi Days) had wrapped not an hour before: over 170 rooms of the Holiday Inn converted into high-end audio listening spaces.

By Sunday afternoon, a weekend long snowstorm had slowly filtered the view from the 16th floor to monochrome, no Instagram intervention required.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: GoldenEar makes huge statement with Reference Triton

By | October 8th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The GoldenEar Triton Reference is designer Sandy Gross’ latest statement, and it’s got exclamation points written all over it.

The monster is $8500/pair, and did I mention it’s a monster? Over 100lbs per side, the speaker is 58″ tall. Frequency extension is a mind-boggling 12Hz-35kHz. Perhaps it’s obvious, but the Reference is a partially-powered speaker — there are 3 subs per tower, with a “1800 watt SuperSub digital/56 bit DSP Subwoofer Amplifier” getting you into the down-lows. Two 6″ mids and a high-velocity folded-ribbon tweeter rounds out the set.… Read the full article

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AXPONA 2017: KEF and the art of the demo

By | May 25th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , |

Johan Coorg and Dipin Sehdev are fixtures on the high-end audio show circuit, and for damn good reason — they put on one of the best demos going.

With a wild disdain for decorum and outright mockery audiophile norms, the pair are just as likely to be strafing the room with a sonic fusillade as they are to “play nice” with yet another request for “something with female vocals”. Look, I like Diana Krall’s cover of “Temptation” as much as anybody, but I’m pretty sure I trashed my lifetime threshold somewhere back in 2010.… Read the full article

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