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Article: Hegel Music Systems HD30 DAC Review

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Chris, thanks for a very enjoyable review. I'm a bit older than you so I had to laugh and also envy you for having missed the Eagles Hotel California radio onslaught(a fine performance but if I doubt that I could stand to listen to it even one more time). If you like the Eagles I'd highly recommend their album On the Border.

 

The Schiit Yggdrasil aside, it looks like the 5-6k US pricepoint is the sweet spot for high resolution DACs(think the Metrum Pavane, PS Audio Directstream, La Scala's flagship whose name escape at the moment and now, of course, the Hegel HD30).

 

It would be a slam dunk for many DSD listeners if Hegel were to come up with a firmware upgrade to make the HD30 DSD128 compatible.

 

Esau

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Chris,

Since you are using a SOtM sMS-1000SQ Windows Edition, is a review forthcoming? BTW, I hear the same things that you hear on that Tim Ries track using my Yggy.


ChrisG

Seattle, WA

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Yes, this is their flagship, but -150dB noise floor, well, c'mon it is getting to the thermal noise which AFAIK really hard to avoid and this value is rather the PR use case.


--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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Hello Chris,

I am surprised I am the first one asking the question... How does it compare with Yggdrasil?


Mac Mini Late 2014 (16G/SSD) w Uptone JS-2 w OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini RAID (JS-2) / Uptone ISO Regen w Uptone UltraCap™ LPS-1 / Roon + HQP / Aqua Formula xHD w Siltech Classic Anniversary USB w Ocellia RCA Interconnect / Hattor Passive Preamplifier w Uptone UltraCap™ LPS-1 w Ocellia RCA Interconnect / Nagra MPA w Nirvana power cord / Magico V2 w Ocellia cables w Shunyata Dark Field Elevator / REL Stadium III w Shunyata Diamondback power cord.

 

All equipment, including subwoofer on Modulum platforms.

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I wouldn't attempt to speak for Chris, but what I glean from reading both of his reviews is that the Hegel may be a bit more ultimately revealing of subtle detail allowing you to hear further into the recording, and the Yggy may tend towards a warmer balance. Just my two cents, please only take it for what it's worth.

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My takeaway is one of omission - since Chris did mention Yggy being in the same company as EMM Labs' DAC and Berkeley's Reference DAC but didn't mention these two DACs in his Hegel review, my conclusion is Yggy is better.


ChrisG

Seattle, WA

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Nearly $5K and does not manage to work with truly hi-res sampling rates?

IMO a "non-starter" and "non-recommendable" right out of the box. Makes me wonder why they bothered releasing such a ham-strung product - particularly as their "flagship." Seems they've shot themselves in the foot.

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Nearly $5K and does not manage to work with truly hi-res sampling rates?

IMO a "non-starter" and "non-recommendable" right out of the box. Makes me wonder why they bothered releasing such a ham-strung product - particularly as their "flagship." Seems they've shot themselves in the foot.

 

I don't really understand why new products need to support 768/384kHz PCM. There are very few recordings available. So unless people are using their PCs to upsample and run sophisticated filters and sending the hi-res signal into the DAC, I just don't fully comprehend the use case.


ultraRendu > Chord Blu Mk. 2 > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature + Sunfire TS-EQ10 subwoofers

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Nearly $5K and does not manage to work with truly hi-res sampling rates?

IMO a "non-starter" and "non-recommendable" right out of the box. Makes me wonder why they bothered releasing such a ham-strung product - particularly as their "flagship." Seems they've shot themselves in the foot.

 

Sorry. I got what you mean now. You meant uPNP Ethernet streaming at 24/192. Yeah. That's a reasonable expectation.


ultraRendu > Chord Blu Mk. 2 > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature + Sunfire TS-EQ10 subwoofers

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Nearly $5K and does not manage to work with truly hi-res sampling rates?

IMO a "non-starter" and "non-recommendable" right out of the box. Makes me wonder why they bothered releasing such a ham-strung product - particularly as their "flagship." Seems they've shot themselves in the foot.

 

A typical reaction for someone who is spec oriented. To make it more colourful, DSD is only adopted by the market because it sells and I have to meet the first person who is really able to hear the difference between 24/192 and something higher in resolution...


Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom power cables Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon 1.6 | Tidal hifi Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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Nearly $5K and does not manage to work with truly hi-res sampling rates?

IMO a "non-starter" and "non-recommendable" right out of the box. Makes me wonder why they bothered releasing such a ham-strung product - particularly as their "flagship." Seems they've shot themselves in the foot.

 

Bit of an overreaction? The problem streaming 24/192 UPNP is an issue; what other problem do you have with it? In any case if you use USB, even that isn't an issue. I'd guess they do a firmware update to fix the streaming issue in the near future.

 

The unit has gotten universally sterling reviews so far, for both the preamp and DAC sections. Chris preferred it with a preamp, I"ve seen other reviews where the reviewer said it outperformed and expensive pre. You are free to call it a non-starter for you, but I don't think they have shot themselves in the foot.


Main listening (small home office):

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Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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We are trying to test high resolution by using Hotel California album!!! When it was recorded, C'mon :-)

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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We are trying to test high resolution by using Hotel California album!!! When it was recorded, C'mon :-)

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I've never thought the SQ of Hotel California was great, but OTOH there are many older recordings with great SQ in hi res, having been carefully converted from the analog tapes. (DSD download of Sam Cooke's hits is a personal favorite.)


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC ->

Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I've never thought the SQ of Hotel California was great, but OTOH there are many older recordings with great SQ in hi res, having been carefully converted from the analog tapes. (DSD download of Sam Cooke's hits is a personal favorite.)

 

Sure, it can sound good, but it wasn't recorded in high resolution. For me to test latest, greatest DACs we have to use modern recording which were done throughout the audio chain in high resolution. Of course, you can use oldies to test the tonal balance etc. but not the performance of the DAC IMHO.


--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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Sure, it can sound good, but it wasn't recorded in high resolution. For me to test latest, greatest DACs we have to use modern recording which were done throughout the audio chain in high resolution. Of course, you can use oldies to test the tonal balance etc. but not the performance of the DAC IMHO.

 

Whereas for me, The Beatles' "I'll Follow the Sun," recorded in mono over 50 years ago, which I have in just RedBook resolution, is one of my test tracks for how various sample rate conversion filters/modulators/algorithms work.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC ->

Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Sure, it can sound good, but it wasn't recorded in high resolution. For me to test latest, greatest DACs we have to use modern recording which were done throughout the audio chain in high resolution. Of course, you can use oldies to test the tonal balance etc. but not the performance of the DAC IMHO.

 

To me a great DAC is one that does magic with RedBook. More than 90 percent of my music collection is in this format.


Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom power cables Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon 1.6 | Tidal hifi Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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Whereas for me, The Beatles' "I'll Follow the Sun," recorded in mono over 50 years ago, which I have in just RedBook resolution, is one of my test tracks for how various sample rate conversion filters/modulators/algorithms work.

 

Interesting, maybe because you really know the sound of this tracks and think that's the reference somewho. Jud you know that's tricky and subjective.


--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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Interesting, maybe because you really know the sound of this tracks and think that's the reference somehow. Jud you know that's tricky and subjective.

 

Very much so. :)

 

It does have the advantage of being just the harmony vocal with two extremely familiar voices and very simple backing instrumentation, which makes it easier for me to pick out little things. The backing instrumentation, in fact, is a little unique, as Ringo is slapping his pant legs for the "drums." You know how that is supposed to sound in real life, and it is interesting to hear how close various DACs, filters, and other aspects of the setup can get to it. (There is another one where his percussion consists of shaking a box of matches - I forget the specific song right now, but it isn't "Matchbox." :) )


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC ->

Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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