To Hans Wetzel,
Thank you for all of the valuable information you provide. I recently bought a pair of Dynaudio Special Forty loudspeakers and while I am looking forward to listening to them, they are only part of my stereo system right now. Next, I am in the market for an integrated amplifier. I am considering the following: the Naim Audio Nait XS 2, Hegel Music Systems H160, Raven Audio Nighthawk MK3, and Simaudio Moon Neo 340i.
My listening room is a somewhat cornered-off section of a large loft, and I think I enjoy a slightly warmer sound, but please don’t put too much stock in that assessment. Could you advise on which of the above you think would work best with my speakers, and, if you have time, why? Many thanks in advance for your thoughts. I can’t demo amps right now for obvious reasons, but would like to have a nice system to listen to while stuck at home.
Hegel’s older stuff -- like the H160, which I reviewed, and the H300, which I reviewed and owned -- doesn’t sound very warm. In fact, it’s a bit forward-sounding, leaning towards the eager and dynamic side of neutral, so I’d rule that out. I’d actually never heard of Raven Audio before you mentioned the company, but their electronics, which seem to be all tube designs, look interesting. The Raven Nighthawk MK3 is a really neat integrated, but its power rating of 20Wpc into 8 ohms isn’t a lot to work with when your Dynaudios have a sensitivity of 86dB. With the system in a large loft, I’d have to imagine you’d really want to hammer your two-way Danes at some point, and I would worry that under those circumstances the Raven integrated might come up a little short. If you are more conservative with your volume control than I am, however, the tube-based integrated could work, depending on your listening material, and it will almost assuredly bring a touch of warmth and body to your system. I have no experience with Naim, unfortunately, but it’s listed as having 70Wpc into 8 ohms, which is plenty of power for your setup.
Finally, the Simaudio. Of the four amps you mention, it’s the one that instantly jumped out at me as a likely candidate. With 100Wpc into 8 ohms, and a really wide-open, yet neutral sound that isn’t as forthright as the Hegel, the Sim would make a great partner for your fancy new Dynaudio monitors. If I were in the shoes, I’d grab the Neo 340i and not look back. . . . Hans Wetzel