Hegel Music Systems H600 Integrated Amplifier-DAC $12,500 Review
August 14, 2023 §
That the H600, with more than twice the power of the B1352, should handle high-volume playback with greater ease is to be expected, of course. What surprised me was the Hegel’s superior resolution and jet-black background at low volumes. As quiet as the Bryston was, the Hegel proved to be quieter still. This allowed tonal texture and delineation to emerge even at low volumes, as amply demonstrated by Angela Hewitt’s piano in the Chopin nocturnes. If you’ve got a big room or highly inefficient speakers (or both), you need power, and in this case, the scale is decidedly tipped in the Hegel’s favor. But even at low volumes, as I’ve mentioned, the H600 still pulls ahead.
The Hegel H600 is an exceptional integrated amplifier. Using the Bryston BDA-2 DAC I was able to compare the H600 and B135 strictly as integrated amplifiers and found the former superior—effortless and pristine at any volume. Remarkably, Hegel includes with this outstanding amplifier a topflight DAC that can easily rival external DACs costing thousands of dollars. This is the finest integrated amplifier-DAC combination I’ve heard in my time as a reviewer. At $12,500, the H600 isn’t cheap, but I suspect it would cost at least as much, probably more, to find another combination of integrated amplifier and DAC, whether as one or two units, that could outperform it.