7
18 Australian ON TEST Rather than build ‘one-off’ amps, he de- cided the circuit was so good it deserved to be built into fully commercial products, capable of being mass-produced, so Holter negoti- ated a partnership with one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world, the Telenor Group, which is based in Oslo, Norway, but has mobile operations in 13 markets under its own name and in another 14 markets in partnership with VimpelCom Ltd. In all, Telenor manages more than 390 million mobile subscriptions. Of course the new company required a name, so Holter decided on using his band’s name for both the name of the company and the brand name of the amplifiers. Thus it was that Hegel Music Systems came into being. THE EQUIPMENT Hegel variously identifies the H160 as either an ‘integrated amplifier’ or a ‘Music Machine’ H egel is a Norwegian company which had a rather strange beginning. ‘Way back in 1988 Bernt Holter, a young electrical engineering student at the Technical Univer- sity in Trondheim (NTNU), was paying his way through uni by playing in a heavy metal band called ‘The Hegel Band’. As the band became more successful and started playing larger and larger ven- ues, it needed more powerful amplifiers, so Holter decided to build them himself, using a new amplifier topology based on a circuit he’d developed for a thesis in which he’d proved that it was possible to reduce distortion in an audio amplifier without adversely affecting other perfor- mance parameters, in particular frequency response and damping factor (the circuit he developed is now trademarked by Hegel as ‘SoundEngine Technology’). depending on where you look on its website and although the latter label suits it the best, it doesn’t really describe exactly what it is, because as well as being an integrated ampli- fier, the H160 has a DAC built in as well. It would be better to call it a ‘Amplidac’ as this is the label that describes most precisely ex- actly what the H160 is and what it does, but unfortunately this word has yet to enter the audiophile lexicon, despite the attempts of Australian Hi-Fi’s editor to popularise it. (I’ll get there in the end… Editor.) Essentially the Hegel H160 is an integrated amplifier with an inbuilt DAC that has both hard-wired inputs (analogue, digital and USB) and a streamer, so it can stream music wirelessly from any Apple AirPlay or DLNA device (though you do need to provide your own network—the H160 can’t do everything entirely on its own!) As an integrated amplifier, the Hegel H160 is rated with an output of 150-watts per INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER Hegel H160

Hegel H160 - nextmediai.nextmedia.com.au/Assets/hegel_h160_amplifier_review_test_lores.pdf · avhub.com.au 19 Hegel H160 integrated amplifier ON TEST Readers interested in a full

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18 Australian

ON TEST

Rather than build ‘one-off’ amps, he de-cided the circuit was so good it deserved to be built into fully commercial products, capable of being mass-produced, so Holter negoti-ated a partnership with one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world, the Telenor Group, which is based in Oslo, Norway, but has mobile operations in 13 markets under its own name and in another 14 markets in partnership with VimpelCom Ltd. In all, Telenor manages more than 390 million mobile subscriptions.

Of course the new company required a name, so Holter decided on using his band’s name for both the name of the company and the brand name of the amplifiers. Thus it was that Hegel Music Systems came into being.

The equipmenTHegel variously identifies the H160 as either an ‘integrated amplifier’ or a ‘Music Machine’

Hegel is a Norwegian company which had a rather strange beginning. ‘Way back in 1988 Bernt Holter, a young electrical

engineering student at the Technical Univer-sity in Trondheim (NTNU), was paying his way through uni by playing in a heavy metal band called ‘The Hegel Band’. As the band became more successful and started playing larger and larger ven-ues, it needed more powerful amplifiers, so Holter decided to build them himself, using a new amplifier topology based on a circuit he’d developed for a thesis in which he’d proved that it was possible to reduce distortion in an audio amplifier without adversely affecting other perfor-mance parameters, in particular frequency response and damping factor (the circuit he developed is now trademarked by Hegel as ‘SoundEngine Technology’).

depending on where you look on its website and although the latter label suits it the best, it doesn’t really describe exactly what it is, because as well as being an integrated ampli-fier, the H160 has a DAC built in as well. It would be better to call it a ‘Amplidac’ as this is the label that describes most precisely ex-actly what the H160 is and what it does, but unfortunately this word has yet to enter the audiophile lexicon, despite the attempts of Australian Hi-Fi’s editor to popularise it. (I’ll get there in the end… Editor.) Essentially the Hegel H160 is an integrated amplifier with an inbuilt DAC that has both hard-wired inputs (analogue, digital and USB) and a streamer, so it can stream music wirelessly from any Apple AirPlay or DLNA device (though you do need to provide your own network—the H160 can’t do everything entirely on its own!)

As an integrated amplifier, the Hegel H160 is rated with an output of 150-watts per

integrated amplifier

Hegel H160

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Hegel H160 integrated amplifier ON TEST

Readers interested in a full technical appraisal of the performance of the Hegel H160 should continue on and read the LABORATORY REPORT published on page 24. Readers should note that the results mentioned in the report, tabulated in performance charts and/or

displayed using graphs and/or photographs should be construed as applying only to the specific sample tested.

Lab Report on page 24

LAB REPORT

Hegel H160 InTEgRATEd AmPLIfIER

Brand: HegelModel: H160Category: AmplidACRRP: $6,195Warranty: five YearsDistributor: Advance Audio Australia Pty LtdAddress: Unit 8, 509–529 Parramatta Rd Leichhardt nSW 2040

(02) 9561 0799 [email protected] www.advanceaudio.com.

• Silky sound• Endless power on tap• Exciting dynamics

• Balance control• Analogue inputs

channel into 8Ω (or 250-watts per channel into 4Ω) and has one balanced (XLR) input, one unbalanced (RCA) input and a single ‘home theatre’ (RCA) input. It also has two line-level analogue outputs (one fixed volt-age, the other variable voltage) plus of course, speaker-level analogue outputs in the form of the usual colour-coded multi-way banana-capable terminals. They’re not on standard 19mm centres, so you can’t use dual Pomona banana connectors.

As a DAC, the Hegel H160 has six digital inputs: one coaxial digital input, three optical (Toslink) digital inputs, one USB (Type B) input and an Ethernet (RJ45) input. It also doesn’t use one of the ‘usual suspects’ ICs from Burr-Brown or Cirrus Logic, but instead uses an Asahi Kasei AK4396 192kHz/24-bit 128× oversampling delta-sigma device… one that has full differential SCF outputs, so there’s no need for Hegel to use any coupling capacitors.

As a Streamer, Hegel says on its website—and I quote—‘You can also stream wireless music to it from devices with Apple AirPlay or DLNA’ but this is not strictly true, because you have to use the Hegel’s Ethernet connec-tion to link to a wireless router, and it’s only after doing this that you can interface with UPnP and DLNA clients or Apple AirPlay. Note also that the Hegel H160 is a passive recipient of whatever music you send to it as data via Ethernet (or USB). It can’t request music from any of the components on your network, wired or wireless. Personally, I prefer this approach, because it means you don’t have yet another renderer in a system, meaning the renderers can be on other de-vices—devices that are more easily changed, upgraded and/or updated.

As you can see, the front panel of the H160 is beautifully simple and elegant: two large rotary encoders flanking a display with

a deep ‘blue on black’ readout. The only other thing on the front panel is a standard 6.35mm headphone socket. Unlike most headphone sockets, lurking behind the one on the H160 is a full low-impedance, high-current headphone drive circuit. I tested this fairly early on in the reviewing process with every pair of headphones I had at my disposal, including the in-ear Sennheisers I use when I’m at the gym, and the H160 made every pair sound brilliant: no noise, no dis-tortion, and more power than I’d ever need. Would that all amplifiers had headphone circuits this good!

Inside the amplifier are a multiplicity of what Hegel refers to as ‘technologies’ so you have ‘Dual Amp Technology’, ‘Dual Power Technology’, ‘Line Drive Technology’, ‘Masterclock Technology’ and others. I don’t know why Hegel calls these ‘technologies’ (maybe this is just an issue with the transla-tion from Norwegian to English) but I think they’re more akin to being ‘features’ than ‘technologies’… which is not to say they aren’t great features. For example, let’s look at what ‘Dual Amp’ means: In most ampli-fiers the voltage gain stages and current gain stages are combined in the same amplifier section. Hegel’s ‘DualAmp’ approach splits the voltage gain and current gain stages into two completely different stages. According to Hegel’s Bernt Holter, this has significant advantages. ‘First, the music signal goes to the voltage gain stage, amplifying only the voltage level of the music signal, and by doing only volt-age gain in this first stage, we can use amplifier building blocks that are specially designed to do voltage amplification,’ he told me. ‘Then the following current gain stage has only to do the current gain and nothing else, allowing us to use amplifier blocks that are specially designed to do current gain. Finally, there’s no feedback from the current gain stage to the voltage gain stage, which results in lower distortion and a higher dynamic range than normal audio amplifiers.’

Hegel’s ‘Dual Power’ approach ensures that the voltage gain and current gain stages are fed by completely separate power sup-plies. Hegel says it uses custom-designed toroidal power transformers with dual secondary windings, with each winding feeding independent high-speed rectifiers and high-capacity power supply capacitors so the voltage rails for the voltage and current stages are completely isolated from each other.

According to Holter, his ‘SoundEngine’ approach ‘combines the advantages of Class-AB amplifiers and the advantages of Class-A amplifiers without any of their drawbacks and without any global

feedback.’ The patented circuitry apparently cancels crossover distortion by using local feedback in combination with adaptive feed-forward circuitry.

The ‘LineDriver’ seems to be a differential balanced output stage that has a low output impedance and a high-current capability, so if you need to run signal wires a long way you’ll get reliable, noise-free performance almost irrespective of the length or design of the cables you’re using. Of the other Hegel technologies inside the H160, there wasn’t sufficient information on the company’s web-site for me to understand how the company’s approach to, say, clocking, was different from other companies. One exception was the Hegel’s DAC technology.

Power Output: Single channel driven into 8-ohm, 4-ohm and 2-ohm non-inductive loads at 20Hz, 1k and 20kHz. [Hegel H160]

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Whereas most manufacturers use asyn-chronous upsampling to convert digital audio data to analogue audio signals, Hegel uses synchronous upsampling, which it claims re-sults in higher resolution, reduced distortion and much lower jitter.

in use and LisTening sessionsI didn’t really think too much about the He-gel’s analogue inputs until I hooked the H160 into my system and, after I had connected the output from my phono preamp, and that from my SACD player, I realised there were no analogue inputs left for my DVD player’s audio output or for the audio output from my external DAC (I couldn’t use the ‘theatre’ input because it bypasses the Hegel H160’s volume control). Hegel would no doubt recommend I should instead connect the SPDIF output from my SACD player to one of the digital inputs on the H160 and also get rid of my DAC and plug my computer straight into the H160 as well, which would then create a spare analogue input for the output of my DVD player. Well, yes… I could do that, but I’m rather fond of the sound of both my SACD player and my DAC… that’s why I bought them in the first place. Given that there’s plenty of room on the rear panel, maybe two more analogue inputs would not have gone astray (and maybe an AES-17 digi-tal input while they’re at it). But if, like most people these days, most of your sources are now digital, the H160 has more than enough inputs to keep you happy.

Once I’d hooked up, I pulled out the remote… and what a great remote it is. It’s obviously made by Hegel, being formed from extruded aluminium with custom buttons (and button layout) on it. Eagerly pressing a few buttons, I discovered the remote didn’t work. It took a Philips-head screwdriver and the removal of four screws to discover the rea-son: no batteries. Nor does Hegel provide bat-teries… you’re expected to supply two of your own AAA batteries. This isn’t a very customer-oriented approach, and I’d fully expect that

Australian retailers will make sure you don’t leave the store without a two-pack of good-quality Eveready Alkaline batteries… gratis. Anyway, once I’d supplied and loaded my own batteries, the remote worked perfectly.

However, it did then take me a while to work out what buttons did what because He-gel’s Owners’ Manual identifies the buttons by numbers… and there are no matching numbers on the remote. It must be some sort of strange Norwegian logic. As it happens, of the 15 buttons on the remote, it turns out that most are dedicated for use with other Hegel components, so there are only six buttons that operate in conjunction with the H160: volume up/down; input source selection; front panel display on/off; and mute on/off. Speaking of muting, the circuit works perfectly: one of the few I’ve seen that does, because when the H160 is muted, if you touch the front panel volume control, the muting disengages, which is proper opera-tion for this function. On most other amps, it doesn’t, which can lead to speaker damage.

You can, of course, operate the H160’s most important functions using the two front-panel rotary controls. The left-most is for input source switching. It’s an electronic selector with continuous rotation. If you rotate it to the right it will toggle through the inputs in the following order: bAl, Anl, Ht, col, OP1, OP2, OP3, USb, and NEt. And if you’re wondering about the weird upper/low-er case mix I used in the previous sentence, I did it that way to try to replicate what the display looks like, and demonstrate why I found it sometimes hard to read. It comes about because the display Hegel is using is an old-fashioned seven-segment type designed for displaying numbers, not characters, which means an ‘8’ would look exactly like a capital ‘B’. This is the reason for Hegel’s ‘creative’ use of upper and lower case. It does require a stretch of the imagination to realise that col stands for Coaxial 1 though. You certainly won’t have any trouble seeing the display from a distance, because each numeral is around 1.5 centimetres high and shines a very bright blue. If you’re operating the H160 with the display turned off, it will briefly turn on whenever you use one of the controls so you can see what you’re doing, after which it will switch off again. The mains power switch for the H160 is located underneath the unit, just in front of the left-most front support foot. It’s large, with a ‘soft-push’ action that makes it easy to find and to use. Its hidden location will stop people using your hi-fi system who you’d rather didn’t use it!

I knew I was in for a great listening ses-sion right from the opening moments of 5 Seconds of Summer’s album ‘LiveSOS’ which contains tracks recorded on the group’s 2014 world tour, apparently recorded mostly in Los Angeles. The first track is 18, but before the

If, like most people these days, most of your sources are now digital, the H160 has more than enough inputs to keep you happy, but a few more analogue inputs would be nice...

Power Output: Both channels driven into 8-ohm, 4-ohm and 2-ohm non-inductive loads at 20Hz, 1k and 20kHz. [Hegel H160]

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band starts playing, I could hear the ambience of the stadium and then, as the crowd starts cheering and screaming, the Hegel H160 caused individual voices in the crowd to stand out with breathtaking clarity. Then comes the drum intro by Ashton Irwin followed by the distorted, screaming guitars of Michael Clifford and Luke Hem-mings, all underpinned by the solid bass of Calum Hood. It’s a track that begs you to turn up the volume and I did, progressively, as my speakers begged for more, and the Hegel H160 willingly obliged… power on tap. By the time we got to the line ‘I’ll make my move when I get older’ which prefaces first a guitar solo, then a crowd chant accompanied by a bass solo, I was pretty much up at concert-volume levels and everything was sounding fabulous, I had such a good feeling about the music that I was not just tapping my foot, but also air-drumming into the bargain. Real music! Fabulous!

There are 15 tracks in all on LiveSOS and they’re all great. If you dismissed 5SOS as a ‘boy band’ because they gained fame by touring with One Direction, do yourself a favour and take time out to listen to this album, most par-ticularly if you like rock ‘n roll. All except four tracks were written by the band, and they’re all great, and the musicianship demonstrated on this album shows they certainly know their way around their instruments. Sure the boys play up to their mostly teenage female audience (all of whom know all the lyrics and sing along tunefully most of the time), but why should we blame them for that? They show a great sense of humour too, playing a great (and fast!) cover of Greenday’s American Idiot for the LA audience. At the end of this CD I put my hand on the top of the H160, because I’d been thrashing it, but it felt only moderately warm to the touch, so it doesn’t appear there will be any problem with heat dissipation, despite the fact that the heat-sinking is all internal and there is no cooling fan.

Following LiveSOS it was on to the gentler and more acoustic sounds of Sahara Beck on her album ‘Bloom’ and in this sparser, far-

cleaner musical environment the Hegel H160 proved itself beautifully transparent and totally whisper-quiet. I was loving the way it delivered the guitar sound and Beck’s voice on her song Brother Sister, then transfixed by the way the amplifier caused my speakers to explode into life in the chorus. The exceptionally-good transient performance was also demonstrated in this track, with the hand-claps, synth effects and percussion reproduced perfectly. Pretender introduces Jasper Lambert’s down-tuned bass and I was left in no doubt about the H160’s ability to deliver tuneful low frequencies, pitched exactly and with exact timing. The Hegel also showed its ability to deliver the true sound of a piano (albeit one in need of a good tune!) on the track The Creators. Beck is an amazing talent, and it’s not only her voice that’s good: her lyrics are wise beyond her years and her melodies owe nothing to anyone.

I trialled the digital inputs of the Hegel H160 first using some great historic hi-res recordings I own that were made here in Mel-bourne by none other than Kostas Metaxas on his modified battery-powered Stellavox SM8, then transferred to disc as 48kHz/16-bit WAV files. Allowing for the eclectic nature of the mu-sic and the fact that all the performances (with

performers of various talents) were ‘first takes’ in front of live audiences, the sound quality is outstandingly good, but more important is the way Kostas captured the ‘you are there’ feel-ing and the total realism of the sound. What I find amazing is that despite the recordings being only ‘a little bit’ better than CD quality (technically-speaking), the ‘sound’ itself is so much better than CD.

Speaking of ‘better than CD’ I trialled ‘true’ high-res—and the DAC section of the Hegel H160—by playing ‘03’ from Katzenberger Productions [www.katzenberger-music.com], a recording of the Kalnein/Gille/Sieverts/Burgwinkel Quartet (they don’t get many gigs because no-one can fit their name on the signboards outside) playing works by Heinrich Von Kalnien, captured at 24/192, and achiev-ing a dynamic range score of DR19. Although I am not a fan of the ‘sound’ of this type of jazz quartet (two reed instruments, string and percussion) this is a ‘must have’ Blu-ray disc because the sound will make your jaw drop… literally. (Plus you can compare with exactly the same performance on CD, because Katzenberger provides both discs in the same package.) The tenor saxophone sound on 03, in particular, is absolutely brilliant and so realistic that my neighbour commented on how much my sax playing had improved and asked when I’d started playing with a band. He was fairly disbelieving when I told him my sax playing hadn’t improved, and what he’d actually heard was just hi-res music played through a great hi-fi system.

ConCLusionHegel’s advertising blurb for the H160 is: “connect whatever you want and make it sound as good as it can”, and for once I agree with the advertising blurb, because the Hegel H160 is an absolutely outstanding amplifier, which would be a bargain at its asking price even if you didn’t get a top-quality DAC into the bargain as well. The icing on the cake is that it’s one of the classiest-looking, most wife-friendly high-end amplifiers I have ever seen. Blake Gelle

One of the classiest-lookingand most wife-friendly hi-end amplifiers I have ever seen

laB repOrt On page 24

Power Output: Single and both channels driven into 8-ohm, 4-ohm and 2-ohm non-inductive loads at 20Hz, 1kHz and 20kHz. [Hegel H160]

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Hegel H160 integrated amplifierLAB REPORT

COntinUed On page 26

COntinUed frOm page 22

LaboraTory TesT reporTOn Newport Test Labs’s test bench, the power output of the Hegel H160 was measured at 150-watts (21.7dBw) per channel, both channels driven into 8Ω right across the frequency band, from 20Hz to 20kHz. With only a single channel driven, maximum out-put increased to 173-watts (22.4dBw) across almost the entire audio band, but decreased to 157-watts (21.9dBw) at 20kHz. When the H160’s output was measured into 4Ω loads, it delivered 240-watts (23.8dBw) per chan-nel, both channels driven, at 1kHz, but man-aged only 203-watts (23.0dBw) at 20Hz and 217-watts (23.3dBw) at 20kHz. With only a single channel driven into 4Ω loads, the Hegel H160 delivered more than 250-watts (23.9dBw) right across the audio band. Although the H160 didn’t quite manage to reach its spec’d output of 250-watts both channels driven into 4Ω, it fell only 0.1dB short, and was likely the result of Newport Test Labs not keeping the mains power stable at 240-volts (you can see that during the entire duration of testing, the mains voltage varied between 237-volts and 251-volts).

The laboratory also tested the Hegel H160’s power output into 2Ω loads, for which Hegel does not provide a rating, into which load it delivered more than 220-watts (23.4dBw) per channel at all frequencies with both channels driven, and more than 276-watts (24.4dBw) per channel at all

frequencies when only one channel was driven. For the exact results, check out the tabulated results, or for a general overview, the accompanying bar graphs illustrate the power output graphically.

Harmonic distortion was measured using non-inductive 8Ω and 4Ω loads and a 1kHz test frequency. The results at a power output of one watt are shown in Graph 1 (8Ω load) and Graph 2 (4Ω load). Performance is clearly superior into 8Ω loads, with all har-monics except for the 2nd (at –93dB/0.022%) and 3rd (at –77dB/0.0141%) harmonics more than 110dB down (0.0003%). This amount-ed to an overall summed THD+N result of 0.009%—an excellent result. You can see harmonic distortion increased at the lower load impedance, with the 2nd harmonic increasing to –80dB (0.01%) and the 3rd to –78dB (0.0125%). The higher harmonics also increased slightly in level, but all except the 5th harmonic were more than 100dB down (0.001%).

Note that the noise floor across most of the audio range was sitting down at around –130dB. It was only at low frequencies that it increased, but was still almost entirely below –100dB (visible at the extreme left of the graph). Importantly, all these harmon-ics are low-order, which sound ‘good’ to the human ear, whereas higher-order harmonics are most often perceived as contributing harshness to the sound.

Total harmonic distortion at rated output was much higher, as I would expect. This time there are fewer differences in distortion between the two load impedances, as you can see from Graph 3 (which shows distortion when the Hegel H160 is delivering 150-watts into 8Ω) and Graph 4 (250-watts into 4Ω). On these graphs, second harmonic distortion hovers around –84dB (0.0063%) and third harmonic distortion at around –65/75dB (0.0562/0.0177%). Although higher-order harmonic components are now visible, they’re all around 100dB down (0.001%) or more, and so would not contribute to the sound. (Indeed the lower-order harmonics are so low in level that it’s arguable that even these would make an audible contribution to sound quality.) What’s most noticeable on these graphs is that the amplifier’s noise floor has for the most part (above 2kHz) dropped to more than 140dB down, and the low-fre-quency components of the noise (most likely to be mains hum and harmonics) is around 120dB down. Excellent performance.

Intermodulation distortion (CCIF-IMD) is shown in Graph 5. There are some high-frequency IMD products visible either side of the two test signals (the ‘spikes’ at 19kHz and 20kHz) but the two highest are 90dB down (0.003%) and the others are more than 100dB down (0.001%). The unwanted IMD product at 1kHz is around 93dB down, so just 0.0022% which, although it’s measure-able, is so low in level that it would be totally inaudible.

The overall wideband signal-to-noise ratios of the Hegel H160 were measured by Newport Test Labs as being 82dB (unweighted) and 88dB (weighted) referenced to an output of one watt, and at 102dB (unweighted) and 107dB (A-weighted) referenced to rated output. All figures are excellent, and the two latter results exceed Hegel’s specification, which indicates the S/N should be ‘greater than 100dB’ referenced to rated output.

Frequency response was excellent, show-ing that the Hegel H160 is a very wideband device. Newport Test Labs measured the H160’s frequency response as extending from 5Hz to 102kHz ±0.5dB, with the –3dB down-points of the response at 3Hz and 170kHz. Across the audio band, the response was even flatter again, as you can see from Graph 6, which shows the response into both a standard non-inductive 8Ω laboratory test load (black trace) and also into a load that simulates that which would be presented to the H160 by a typical two-way, bookshelf bass-reflex loudspeaker. As you can see, the black trace extends from 20Hz to 40kHz ±0.01dB and the red trace from 20Hz to 40kHz ±0.15dB. These are outstanding results and led me to believe that the amplifier’s damping factor would also be high, which it proved to be,

Hegel H160 Amplifier/DAC — laboratory Test ResultsTest measured Result Units/Comment

frequency Response @ 1 watt o/p 5Hz – 102kHz –1dB

frequency Response @ 1 watt o/p 3Hz – 170kHz –3dB

Channel Separation (dB) 89dB / 91dB / 60dB (20Hz / 1kHz / 20kHz)

Channel Balance 0.01dB dB @ 1kHz

Interchannel Phase 0.02°/ 0.2°/ 3.74° degrees ( 20Hz / 1kHz / 20kHz)

THd+n 0.009% / 0.011% @ 1-watt / @ rated output

Signal-to-noise (unwghted/wghted) 82dB / 88dB dB referred to 1-watt output

Signal-to-noise (unwghted/wghted) 102dB / 107dB dB referred to rated output

Input Sensitivity (Unbalanced Inputs) 34mV / 424mV (1-watt / rated output)

Output Impedance 0.1Ω OC = V

damping factor 80 @1kHz

Power Consumption n/A / 35.12 watts (Standby / On)

Power Consumption 72.49 / 496.3 watts at 1-watt / at rated output

mains Voltage Variation during Test 237 – 251 minimum – maximum

Hegel H160 Amplifier/DAC — Power Output Test ResultsChannel Load (Ω) 20Hz

(watts)20Hz

(dBW)1kHz

(watts)1kHz

(dBW)20kHz

(watts)20kHz (dBW)

1 8 Ω 173 22.4 173 22.4 157 21.9

2 8 Ω 150 21.7 150 21.7 150 21.7

1 4 Ω 250 23.9 250 23.9 250 23.9

2 4 Ω 203 23.0 240 23.8 217 23.3

1 2 Ω 276 24.4 278 24.4 348 25.4

2 2 Ω 220 23.4 220 23.4 264 24.2

note: figures in the dBW column represent output level in decibels referred to one watt output.

26 Australian

LAB REPORT Hegel H160 integrated amplifier

with Newport Test Labs measuring a factor of 80 at 1kHz. This is far from being the equal of Hegel’s specification of 1,000 but it’s more than sufficient to provide adequate damping with any loudspeaker system (based on tests conducted by Floyd E. Toole at the National Acoustics Laboratory of Canada).

Channel separation was excellent almost right across the frequency band, averaging around 90dB, but diminished in the up-permost octave, dropping to 60dB at 20kHz, presumably the result of some high-frequency inductive coupling between the channels. Channel balance was a good 0.16dB. Cross-channel phase was also good right across the audio band, again increasing only in the up-permost octave, returning 3.74° at 20kHz.

The results of the square wave testing performed by Newport Test Labs were outstand-ingly good, as you can see by the accompany-ing oscillograms. There’s only a minor tilt on the 100Hz square wave top, which shows the low-frequency response doesn’t quite extend to d.c., but no bending of the top, showing ex-cellent group delay. The 1kHz wave is impec-

cable: the output waveform was indistinguish-able from the input waveform. The same was almost true of the 10kHz square wave, except that there’s the tiniest bit of rounding on the leading edge, but this is a superb result for this test frequency. When the output is loaded ca-pacitatively there’s a substantial overshoot and some extended ringing, but this settles fairly quickly, so the amplifier would be completely stable into any loudspeaker load.

Interestingly for a European product, the Hegel H160 doesn’t have a standby mode, but even if you leave it switched on all the time (muted, or with the volume control set at minimum) power consumption is relatively low, at just over 35-watts. When the ampli-fier is in use, it will pull around 72-watts from your mains supply, so it’s pretty efficient, but if you work it hard, power consumption will increase to nearly 500-watts.

The Hegel H160 is a very well-designed amplifier. It has high power output, low distortion, extremely wide bandwidth, and is capable of driving even the most diffi-cult loudspeaker loads. Steve Holding

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Graph 1: Total harmonic distortion (THD) at 1kHz at an output of 1-watt into an 8-ohmnon-inductive load, referenced to 0dB. [Hegel H160 Amplifier/DAC]

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0.00dBFS

Newport Test Labs

Graph 4: Total harmonic distortion (THD) at 1kHz at rated output (250 watts) into a 4-ohm non-inductive load, referenced to 0dB. [Hegel H160 Amplifier/DAC]

0.00 Hz 4000.00 8000.00 12000.00 16000.00 20000.00

-140.00

-120.00

-100.00

-80.00

-60.00

-40.00

-20.00

0.00dBFS

Newport Test Labs

Graph 2: Total harmonic distortion (THD) at 1kHz at an output of 1-watt into a 4-ohm non-inductive load, referenced to 0dB. [Hegel H160 Amplifier/DAC]

0.00 Hz 6000.00 12000.00 18000.00 24000.00 30000.00

-140.00

-120.00

-100.00

-80.00

-60.00

-40.00

-20.00

0.00dBFS

Newport Test Labs

Graph 5: Intermodulation distortion (CCIF-IMD) using test signals at 19kHz and 20kHz, at an output of 1-watt into an 8-ohm non-inductive load, referenced to 0dB. [Hegel H160]

0.00 Hz 4000.00 8000.00 12000.00 16000.00 20000.00

-140.00

-120.00

-100.00

-80.00

-60.00

-40.00

-20.00

0.00dBFS

Newport Test Labs

Graph 3: Total harmonic distortion (THD) at 1kHz at rated output (150 watts) into an 8-ohm non-inductive load, referenced to 0dB. [Hegel H160 Amplifier/DAC]

10.00 Hz 100.00 1000.00 10000.00

-3.00

-2.50

-2.00

-1.50

-1.00

-0.50

0.00

0.50

1.00

1.50

2.00

2.50

3.00dBr

Newport Test Labs

Graph 6: Frequency response of line input at an output of 1-watt into an 8-ohm non-inductive load (black trace) and into a combination resistive/inductive/capacitive load representative of a typical two-way loudspeaker system (red trace). [Hegel H160 Amplifier/DAC]

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