Hegel H360 Amplifier

All-in-one integrated amplifiers are like golfers - they must do three things well. Play precise iron shots golfers must drive with power and then putt direct. Golfers and one-box amplifiers put within an average score and regularly struggle with among the skills. Then comes a Tiger.

The H360 is Hegel's latest integrated amp and is set to replace the outgoing H300. It claims a similar healthy output of 250W into 420W and 8ohm with completely new power supplies and output phases promising to empower 50 percent more present delivery, but into 4ohm. The balanced analogue input signal draws upon its reference and is wholly revised P30 preamp. Hegel has also incorporated power supply and a different transformer for DAC and the preamp having a view to lowering distortion and sound. A brand new DAC utilises AKM chips as well as a master clock that is new to boost data handling to 24-bit/192kHz for all input signals along with native 'non-asynchronous' USB input Hegel prefers. Also, its patented SoundEngine technology was revisited and is claimed to attain lower distortion and a high damping factor of 4,000.

The H360 appears nearly identical to those that precede it. The H160's headphone output phase has been dumped to concentrate maximum budget on speaker responsibilities. For analogue input signals it has a single dedicated analogue RCA input alongside a fixed-amount RCA input made for home theatre programs (reconfigurable that are to be a regular RCA input) and also the revised balanced analogue XLR input signal for people with sources that are balanced. Digital input signals comprise one digital coaxial, three visual inputs, a single USB input and also a network connection enable control via AirPlay or UPnP and to obtain stored music files on a NAS.

The H360 comes with a metal remote that is purposeful, but do not anticipate to reach a world of attributes with it. Instead, Hegel asserts to focus totally on lower distortion, eradicating sound, and more powerful period and timing performance. Control via the remote is simple and once plumbed into a network, further control with a phone or iPad is clever, fast and uncomplicated.

Sound quality

I warm the H360 through with the INXS track Elegantly Wasted on CD, feeding the amp's onboard DAC. From bass, the opening cow bells and guitar riff that was springy just how very fast and ultra clean this amplifier sounds immediately struck me. Improvements are profound and clear. Percussion has additional impact and speed, tambourines shimmer with additional energy, bass lines are tight and dry but now have significantly more incisive force and extra musicality. Hutchence's lazy vocals are abundant, yet every tiny inflection of his sultry voice carries emotion that is actual and puts him in a great three dimensional soundstage. This track seems simple, but trips up many amps with poorer timing or an inability to solve detail around fast-shifting transients across compact, well-recorded layers.

Joining one's MC phono stage to the analogue input signal I spin Robert Wyatt's Shipbuilding on 12 in vinyl, which affirms that the H360 is just as powerful with analogue signals.

Both instruments' emphatic bass tones are similar but distinct and I clearly hear the difference between reverberating piano and plucked bass strings. Wyatt's fragile, wistful voice is portrayed beautifully and the amplifier handles every tiny lilt and syncopation of this epic track with entire mastery.

What may seem just like a single resonating wine glass passes to another and to another, whenever a distinct related tone of growing intensity, until a complex, revolving cascade of tones, ringing harmonics and overtones floats between and broad beyond the loudspeakers. Huge bass notes that are brooding and ultra high harmonics join together to create a pulsing pattern of gently shifting sonic colours and textures. If you think ambient music is not difficult for an amplifier, you might be startled by that which you haven't heard. Here the H360 is in complete control, layering subtle, haunting tones over richly detailed shimmering layers, with mosquito and deep drones -like highs handled with equal aplomb.

Hegel is the H360, and an audiophile brand through and through supports native DSD64/128 via USB to show it, but it also prides itself on making music files that are modest seem not bad. Accessing my iTunes library through the network connection a modest AAC file and I remotely play with and I'm actually surprised by the fullness and three-dimensional definition of the soundscape. Deep bass has detail that is leading-edge that is excellent along with the charged acoustic aura of the live performance is conveyed. The H360 really has no right to deliver this impressive degree of playback from such ingredients that are small.

It is not difficult to view the product as some pretty high-end hi-fi using the convenience of a one-box lifestyle product's meeting. Focus to the preamplifier, power supplies, DAC and power output sections all seem to give outstanding new sonic results for critical listening.

The balanced analogue input signal is also really well executed as well as the standard of speaker control is excellent. On the convenience front, the H360 is extremely comfy acting as an entire entertainment hub across Hegel's refinements around simple network access and a raft of inputs makes casual listening a wind.

Lower octaves are certainly there and potently handled, although some bass addicts may find the H360 rather dry because of their tastes. Some acclimatisation is needed by the claimed damping factor of 4,000, especially if some of the bass you're used to actually comes from an amp that is losing control. The H360 actually satisfies speakers that simply give their greatest from powerful control and demand plenty of current to reproduce substantial dynamic swings, including some standmount layouts when muscled that just create quality bass. If you have a simpler load or more sensitive speakers, this merely means without breaking into a sweat the H360 will deliver the goods. Midband and treble management is exceptional and even has a suggestion of valve- like flow, belying its technologies that are solid-state that are cutting edge. The cleanliness of the sound and low distortion that is perceived expresses a kind of sweetness without grain that's well judged and relatively easy to love for extended periods without exhaustion.

This integrated amplifier may be likened to Tiger Woods. Royal power when needed, subtle finesse when delicacy is a requirement and absolutely confident precision when it counts most. Yet, in summary I want to change my sporting analogy. In Hegel eradicating sound, joining its wide-ranging know how around lowering distortion and maintaining period and passing time, the H360 is achieving something that is far greater in relation to the amount of the parts that are advantageous. It is the effect of watching a talented footballer like Messi or Cantona on the ball - ability only expresses time magnificently and itself slows down. Every track I have listened to feels more relaxed, more grand, less hurried and more private somehow. Music one know extremely well is refreshed along with the musician's intention becomes clearer. It's not a matter of additional detail shown, it is simply effortless, unhampered communication. The absolute cleanliness of the delivery of the H360 means I'm better able to understand and revel in my music.


Qualities of Hegel's best preamp, best DAC and finest power amp have now been brought together in the H360. GBP3,400 is a tidy sum for an integrated amplifier, but you may select to look at it as a greatly marked down set of separates optimised with short signal paths into a single unpretentious carton. The integrated amplifier is coming of age again, and also in the H360 Hegel has generated a new reference product in its range that looks to be creating a whole new standard performance for other people to try their best to match.

Hegel H360 Amplifier photo

Review price £3400 / $5100