Oslo, Norway based Hegel unveiled their new H80 Integrated Amplifier/DAC ($2,000) which offers 5 digital inputs (2 coax, 2 optical offering up to 24/192 playback, and one 24/96-capable USB), a pair of analog RCA inputs, a single XLR input, and a 75W/channel integrated amplifier in one nice understated package. We were treated to several comparisons including a head-to-head with the H80's predecessor the H70 which showed the newer unit to have a "sweater and smoother" sound according to my notes. Coupled with a McBook Air running Audirvana, a pair of Magico S1's ($12,500), and Nordost Red Dawn cable, the H80/Magico combo proved to be engaging and well-matched partners.
Bent Holter, Hegel's founder and designer (and musician) pictured above, offered some background on Hegel and their design approach which is firmly rooted in science. The Hegel H80 will officially launch the second week of November.