Hegel 190 impressions compared to SN3 and 282/250

System: Chord Qutest II => Supernait3 => harbeth P3ESR.
My primary use case for this system is doing conference calls and meetings all day long. Harbeth is known for it’s non-fatiguing sound, and I figured that’s what I need if I’ll be in meetings all day long since I’m working remotely. Also I can literally touch them with my arms while seated. I’ll put a picture up if my desk is ever clear.

Having heard that the Hegels are awesome matches for P3ESRs, got a used Hegel 190 as a “longer in home demo” with little risk. Didn’t think the SN3s were getting the best but probably just a breakin issue. Just needed a change, I guess.

Yeah, they were a nice match. Maybe a little more control. A little less drive and energy. And the P3ESrs are laid back and boring enough that the SN3 characteristics and Naim sound doesn’t really come through. If I were buying new, and were doing a store demo, the price difference might have persuarded me to get the Hegel. The onboard Dac isn’t bad either.

Ultimately, I’m a Naim Guy, and the SN3 just looks better and classier. The Hegel with it’s heat vents and grills looks like a cheap 80s receiver. So, listed it.

I probably had the Hegel in my system for 2-3 days, if that. I can see that you could like it - low noise, good grip on speakers, and musical enough, but no match for the SN3.

So person comes in to demo the Hegel before the sale, and I’m getting the room ready for him: I got another system going - NDX2/282/250 into Totem Signature Ones. Listening to Fleetwood mac. I slot in the Hegel 190 - and all of a sudden the music sounds dead - and there is no energy whatsoever!! So - I guess it is a good match with boring harbeths, since it’s a boring amp itself. But absolutely horrible match with the Totems - that are a staple in Naim systems.
Anyway - this guy comes in, and listens to the system - he is a tubes guy and likes the way it sounds - enough to pay me, take the amp and leave happily.
But before that, he requests me to put on the 282/250 so he can listen to it. It sounds like a Naim system - and I think it was way too much for him, so he politely says it’s awesome but that it will hurt his ears in the long run - and we’re so lucky to have different systems for different tastes. And I’m glad my sale is still going through. :slight_smile:

Summary - Hegel sucks, stick to Naim. :slight_smile:


A newer version? A mk2?

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I’m having a tough time following your story. The first part kind of makes sense. The Harbeths are boring the Hegel was ok but ugly, the SN3 looks better and sounds ok . Then you are on lots of conference calls, with a messy desk.

But then you are a HiFi salesperson and this guy comes and listens to the Hegel I guess in a store it sounds like , but of course first he listens to a Naim system which you think sounds better but the guy didn’t like it and bought the Hegel. Then Hegel sucks, stick with Naim.

Here’s my summary are you eating Shooms cause your whole story sounds like you’re tripping :upside_down_face:


I’m not too surprised with the outcome. It’s interesting to note that the Hegel only lasted about 3 days in your system before it was put up for sale. In my experience, Harbeth loudspeakers have a strong house sound of their own and don’t react much to different amplifiers unless a significantly different sounding amp is used. Also, there is possibility the Hegel H190 is underpowered in driving the P3ESR. Although Alan Shaw endorses Hegel with his creations, similarly I prefer the energy of the Naim with Harbeth loudspeakers. The slightly laid back (or boring sounding) Harbeth gets a dose of adrenaline drive when matched with Naim amps.

It is a surprise to hear about the stark difference between the Hegel and big Naims on the Totem Model 1 Signature though. Perhaps the Totem is capable of revealing the character or sound signature of amplifiers more than the P3ESR.

No. Not yet.

There’s no clear answer to pairing of components. I AB tested Harbeth 40.1 with a Supernait Vs Hegel H390. The Hegel trashed the Supernait. Same with SHL5 Plus. It was clear that Harbeth enjoy the added power and woke up and felt much more relaxed.

The reviews of the newer generation Hegels on YT seem to be really positive overall.

One reviewer that i personally quite like, 13th Note HiFi Reviews, compared the H390 to the Naim Uniti Nova and said the Hegel completely obliterated the Nova in terms of sound quality at roughly similar price points. His opinion was that the H390 brought separates audio quality in your room at an integrated price and form factor. He ended up buying the H390 for himself since he liked it so much.

The guys from Audio Excellence Canada seem to have similar opinions on Hegel, as well as Darko and A British Audiophile.

I haven’t heard any Hegels myself and as a Nova owner i don’t really mind since i still enjoy my own setup very much, but it was interesting to see/hear nonetheless!


He bought the Hegel used, didn’t like it, and sold it on?

Never liked the cheap made in Asia build quality of these over priced and over hyped Hegel


I think @Bobthebuilder haves one H190 and very happy with.
I too consider Hegel makes good material.
But in the end it’s always a question of personal taste

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That’s a very simplistic and possibly xenophobic comment. My new Qb is made in China and its build quality and finish are impeccable. My new iMac is just the same. It’s perfectly ok just to say that you prefer Naim to Hegel.


If I may, I can also add that material made in China ( like elsewhere) depends on the budget.
One of the best headphone brands ( for me) is Chinese.
Few manufacturers beat HifiMan on that regard.

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Which brand? I rarely listen to headphones (not my thing). But I own a Takstar top model. It replaces the Beyerdynamic T1, and I prefer the sound quality of the Takstar more than the T1. Also, the Takstar feels a lot more comfortable on my head which is a huge plus point as well.

Last phrase on the post.



Also Moondrop is considered to be one of the best brands of in-ear monitors, they’re also based in China.

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Ok I prefer Naim to Hegel

I don’t like the sound of Hegel

I don’t like the build quality

I think Hegel is way overpriced considering it’s Asian manufacturing

But that is the fault of its owners based in Europe


Yes, just as it would have been OK for you to have said you prefer your P8 to the Thorens deck in the other thread.


Lol! Yes - I often have more naim gear than some dealers do.

(One local dealer just has an atom and a nova). :slight_smile:

Long timers on the forum know me. :slight_smile:


Yes but I didn’t lower myself to xenophobic tropes. Nor did I say I prefer the Rega to the Thorens. I simply think the latter looks awful. So the two cases are utterly different.

Yeah, I had SHL5+ for over a year and they didn’t wake up even with the 250 series. I think they might have sounded better with the 300 series I had. I sold them off ultimately- they sounded very sweet, but I actually prefer the totem
Model ones.