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Better match for Graham Audio speaker - Hegel, Naim, or ???

Discussion in 'audio' started by popthinker, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. popthinker

    popthinker Member

    Hi. I have Graham Audio LS6f speakers on their way and am looking for an integrated all-in-one that will let me both play CDs and stream, using files from my NAS or a streaming service. I really want a system where I can get lost in the music, and I prefer a realistic, transparent sound. There's not much chance to audition equipment, but my reading so far has me interested in either a Hegel H190 or a Naim Star or Nova. There's a fairly large difference in price between the Hegel and Naim products.

    (My other system features an H.H. Scott valve amp from 1960, a turntable, CD player, Chromecast Audio and bookshelf speakers, so I get a classic, warm sound from there.)

    Which product would you recommend? Or is there another option to consider in a price range closer to the H190? Thanks.
  2. simon g

    simon g Older, wiser & retired

    Of the options you list, only the Naim Star will allow for CD playing, along with the other features. Hegel is an integrated amp; no inbuilt CD playing facility. There aren't many one box units that offer all the options you're after. Of those available, the AVM CS2.2 may be of interest? very nicely built and sounding units from the brief listen I've had.

    If you go to two boxes then the choices are immense. It also depends on how much you want to spend.
  3. popthinker

    popthinker Member

    Thanks for the information. I should have been a little more clear -- I'm not averse to having a separate CD player/transport. I'm looking for the all-in-one to do the other functions. I'm also located in the States, and I've noticed that Naim is quite a bit more expensive here.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  4. Whatsisnaim

    Whatsisnaim pfm Member

    I can see why people are put off the potentially daunting task of ripping a large CD collection, and therefore choose to keep a CD player when they have a streaming setup that will do the same job in a different way. But with the right hardware, ripping is quick and easy, and to my mind, it then makes no sense to keep a CD player when you could invest the same funds in a better streaming solution. If I were starting down the streaming route now, I would probably look at an Innuos Zen Mini (there are more expensive alternatives from Innuos, Naim and others, too.) Insert a CD, and 5 minutes later, it's ready to play, and stored for future access whenever you want it. It also gives you access Tidal, Spotify, iRadio etc.
    You then have the option of connecting the USB output to a DAC of your choice, or you can use it over UPnP to a streamer. The second system you have could access it over your network, too.
  5. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    I have not heard the Uniti Nova or Star yet, except for some show demos, but I think that the H190 blows away the last generation Uniti 2 and SuperUniti models in sound quality terms. I have the LS6f and the H190 here and I can confirm they work very nicely together. The Uniti products have a broader range of built-in streaming capabilities and the Star has a built-in CD transport, but if the H190 does what you need then I would definitely recommend an audition.
    popthinker likes this.
  6. Musicraft

    Musicraft Trade: Musicraft

    Almost feels like last Sunday again :) Anyway and yet even after dems over fifteen months no one preferred/took a H360 over a SuperUniti. From what I hear the H360 is still the daddy of Hegel’s integrateds as it offers superior power and performance over the H190.
    Strictly Stereo and ryder like this.
  7. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Most reviews from EnjoyTheMusic and Stereophile have described the Hegel to be tonally smooth and natural. EnjoyTheMusic has described the Hegel to be the "The Silk of Softness", sounding smooth and soft. Perhaps there are folks who prefer the Hegel when combined with forward and/or bright speakers. Those who want a more exciting sound or fireworks may find the Naim to impress more.
    popthinker and Strictly Stereo like this.
  8. popthinker

    popthinker Member

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I've found a dealer about four hours away with both Naim and Hegel, though they have the H360 rather than the H190 in stock. I know there are sonic differences so it's not ideal, but it's what I have access to, and I can definitely compare their sound. For streaming, I was originally planning an Ethernet connection to my NAS to 'get by' until I figure out what I want to do, but I've heard good things about Innuos from the UK dealer where I got the LS6fs (as they are not yet available here in the States).

    I prefer what the recording 'is' and ideally want a system where the amp adds none of its own character...simply lets what's on the recording come through.

    I think the best approach is to go listen, let my ears decide, and go from there. I won't be able to do that for several weeks, but getting your opinions and refining my approach (as opposed to just reading sales material and reviews) is really helpful. Thank you all.

    Feel free to keep commenting, and I'll let you know where I wind up.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
    Strictly Stereo likes this.
  9. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    Perfect. Please let us know how you get on. For what it is worth, I regularly use a Zenith II connected via USB to my H190 and other Hegel integrated amps. I run Roon on my Zenith II, which is available as an alternative to the UPnP, LMS and Sonos integrations which come as standard, partly for the extended metadata it provides and partly for its built-in EQ.
    popthinker likes this.
  10. Musicraft

    Musicraft Trade: Musicraft

    Hi popthinker

    If budget allows then Devialet’s 130 Pro might also be worth a look. Hopefully by the time you’re ready to audition Devialet would have also SAM profiled the LS6f’s.

    All the best

    Rick @ Musicraft
    popthinker likes this.
  11. popthinker

    popthinker Member

    It took a while to wend my way around the Midwest to hear Hegel, Naim and SimAudio Moon Neo Ace (a late add) in head-to-head combinations. Of the three, I preferred the Hegel house sound. So I demoed a Hegel 360 (no 190 available) against Devialet on Graham speakers (albeit not LS6fs because no one has them here). Bottom line: there's a demo Devialet Expert 220 Pro on its way. I liked the overall sound and soundstage better. The ability to digitise parts of my vinyl collection via the two-way USB, future upgradability, and a great price sealed the deal.

    Thanks, everyone, for the input.

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