The Hegel H90 integrated stereo amplifier is capable of becoming the center of a high-quality audio system and is equipped with a full range of modern functions. This amplifier implements several proprietary technologies previously used in Hegel Reference series models, which are now available at a very attractive price.
On the front panel of the device there are only two input selection and volume control knobs, as well as an OLED display for displaying operating modes. The amplifier features proprietary SoundEngine 2 output stages, Reference preamp stages, and a high-tech digital-to-analog converter. The DAC in the amplifier is built according to the same scheme as individual Hegel converters, which received many flattering reviews in the specialized press. This device has five digital inputs supporting 24-bit/192 kHz signal conversion, and two unbalanced analog inputs. One of them can be reconfigured to connect the amplifier to a surround processor, if used as part of a home theater.
Hegel H90 also has a USB input and can be connected to a PC to listen to music using an external sound card (files with a resolution of up to 24 bit/96 kHz can be played). In this case, the standard remote control of the amplifier can control the operation of the software player. The new DAC section now also allows streaming over Ethernet. Those looking for better DSD performance among Hegel products may want to look at one of the two separate DACs, as MQA is not currently included in Hegel. Apple Airplay is also supported.
Another way to listen to music is through headphones, and here Hegel again shows the highest results compared to built-in amplifiers. This is far from a minor issue, and while there are better standalone headphone amplifiers out there, this is a very good example of what can be done in a dedicated two-channel amplifier. The H90 may indeed be the cheapest component in the entire system, but it won’t be the weakest link.
“DualAmp” technology separates the voltage and current amplification stages between two different amplifier modules, while “DualPower” is designed to supply current from a small power supply to the input/voltage amplification stage in the preamp section and to the current output stage of the power amplifier path with separate branches from independent power supplies feeding the transformer. “SoundEngine” is a form of local error elimination rather than global feedback that transforms a Class AB amplifier into something approaching Class A in terms of sound quality. Together they create Hegel’s signature “organic” sound that is not tied to a specific engineering concept. , but more so with listening tests and general application of technology to ensure that the amplifier sounds as natural as possible.
Hegel H90 develops an output power of 2 x 60 W when operating into an 8-ohm load and has a high damping factor (more than 2000). The latter circumstance, due to the use of proprietary SoundEngine 2 output stages, allows the amplifier to sound great even with speaker systems that have a complex impedance characteristic. Hegel H90 has a neutral tonal balance and a very wide frequency range, so it is quite universal in relation to music of any genre.
Specifications Hegel H90
Output power 2 x 60 W into 8 ohms
Minimum load 2 ohms
Analog inputs 2 x unbalanced (RCA)
Digital inputs 1 x coaxial S/PDIF, 3 x optical S/PDIF, 1 x USB, 1 x Ethernet
Line level output 1 x Unbalanced Variable (RCA)
Frequency Response 5Hz-100kHz
Signal to Noise Ratio More than 100dB
Distortion Less than 0.01% at 25W 8ohm 1kHz
Intermodulation Less than 0.01% (19kHz + 20kHz)
Damping Ratio More 2000
Dimensions 8 cm x 43 cm x 31cm (HxWxD),