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Hegel H190 Review: Delivers clear and open sound with superior resolution

The Hegel H190 model occupies a niche between the flagship H390 and the more budgetary Hegel H120 integrated amplifier in the brand line of complete amplifiers. The main difference between the new item and its predecessor H160 is the clear OLED display, which replaced the vacuum-luminescent indicator and increased damping coefficient. Well, plus to this, the amplifier is now available not only in conservative black, but also in extravagant white.

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The design uses the legendary Sound Engine 2 technology, developed by Hegel founder Bent Holter for Telenor 20 years ago, to correct the signal entering the amplifier in real time. In this case, instead of the traditional feedback in the circuits, a direct connection is used. All this helps to minimize various types of distortion, make the sound cleaner and smoother, increase the damping factor and enhance bass dynamics.

The Hegel H190 is perhaps one of the most versatile machines available today. The model has a built-in DAC, a USB port, a high-quality headphone amplifier on the JRC4556AD chip and can be used as an end-point in a DC. The AirPlay function is supported, but the Wi-Fi module is not provided in this “integrated”, therefore, to implement it, the H190 must be connected to a local network via a LAN interface (DLNA and UPnP protocols are supported). For AirPlay to function, iOS devices must be connected to the same network. Thanks to the built-in DLNA streaming module, you can play files from NAS servers and computers at resolutions up to 24-bit / 192 kHz.

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The power supply contains a toroidal transformer and 6 high-capacity capacitors. The H190 achieves 150 watts (8 ohms) per channel and has a damping factor of over 4000. This means that the amplifier will dominate even the most capricious speaker systems. In the output stage of the Hegel H190, Japanese-made fast transistors are installed.

The device is made in a strict “Hegel” design. The slightly convex aluminum front panel contains a display showing the selected input, power rating and other symbols. On the right is a volume control and a 6.3 mm headphone jack, and on the left is an input selector. The power button is located on the bottom of the case. There is a remote control, which can also control the playback of tracks from software media players when connected to a computer via USB.

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Inputs: linear RCA, balanced XLR, RCA for direct access to the final stage (relevant for DC), three optical, coaxial, USB and LAN. Outputs: line level fixed and variable (both on RCA connectors). There are two pairs of screw terminals for connection to the speaker.

Conclusion

The Hegel H190 amplifier delivers clear, open sound with superior resolution and tight, dynamic bass. The model also allows you to significantly improve the sound of sources such as smartphones, tablets, etc.