The H600 is Hegel’s Reference Integrated Amplifier, replacing the H590—one of the best integrated amplifiers on the market. So when a manufacturer replaces such an excellent product with a new model, we’re naturally curious as to “what can be improved”? What benefits could come from replacing such a well-received integrated amplifier design?
The new H600 is very much an All-In-One super system. When many manufacturer’s make a compact design such as this, certain compromises are made to account for a singular chassis, whether it’s in the preamp, power amp, or even DAC section of the devices. For this reason, many people resort to separate components for better power and clarity. However, Hegel has set forth to design a component that does not make these compromises, delivers excellent clarity and performance, is compatible with analog and digital mediums of audio, and delivers the power needed for a reference system.
The H600 has 303 WPC into 8 ohms with a damping factor of 4000. Not only does it spec high power, but it sounds powerful and can drive virtually any speaker. The H600 features a Dual Mono design, bringing it close to monoblock performance in a single box—again, the performance expected from a large system in a single chassis.
The preamplifier used in the Hegel H600 features much of the same technology as Hegel’s awarding-winning P30A Preamp, offering precision control over the H600’s massive power supply. First and foremost is Hegel’s own SoundEngine 2 distortion canceling system, meaning the noise floor is extremely low, offering a pristine listening experience with a massive, detailed sound stage, incredible imaging, precise dynamics, and mountains of bass. Furthermore, the H600 features a dedicated, shielded, low-noise power supply, factoring out any additional interference.
Another new advancement with the H600 is a redesigned DAC. Specifically, a bit-perfect ESS Sabre 9038Q2M, which maximizes resolution and smoothness for a rich analog sound and has much more detail than the previous H590.
Spotify Connect, Apple Airplay, Tidal Connect, and Chromecast are all built-in, allowing you to use the native app of each streaming service. Streaming is far more simple and convenient without the need to go through multiple streaming platforms. Lastly, the H600 does have Roon capability and will be Roon ready in the coming months via a software update through the ethernet connection.
Inputs and Outputs
The Hegel H600 has two unbalanced RCA inputs, two balanced XLR inputs, three optical inputs, a coaxial, and a BNC input, giving you a variety of ways to connect–both analog and digital. You can also connect a hard drive using USB-B to access local digital files.
As far as outputs go, there is a variable output for a subwoofer or external amplifier. And a fixed output if you ever wanted to use an external preamp.
The Hegel H600 might be a little less bass heavy than the 590, but it’s more accurate and controlled. It’s tighter, more composed but doesn’t hit any less harder—still tons of slam and, now, even better grip and control. And the soundscape is immense with more space between instruments, along with better dynamics.
Overall, the sound quality has improved. However, it’s still classic Hegel—tons of detail but in no way fatiguing. It leans warm but not lazy—still tons of energy.