Hegel H2 Power Amp Mini-Review Oftentimes I am succinct because a product sucks: I just want to get it over with, without the effort of another fifty lines of damning praise. The Hegel H2 is not such as product. Hegel is a Norwegian brand. Like Eddie Current. Or at least Craig Uthus is Norwegian. That's why he's tall, has stringy muscles, and can lift heavy amps all day. I believe his original surname wasn't Uthus, but his parents changed it to Uthus because that was the town they came from, and Americans back then, like Americans now, were slightly retarded and couldn't pronounce his real Norwegian surname. I apologize if Americans think I am dissing them, but seriously, when people keep getting Taiwan and Thailand mixed up, I start to wonder. It's the schools. Too much time on Sumerians and too little time on current events, geography, and culture. But I digress. I was offered the chance to borrow this amp and I accepted once I was assured that it did not sound like shit. This amp was stored in a dank closet, partially off the shelf. I assumed it was a piece of shit, although the Hegel name did ring a bell. Maybe I was thinking of Katherine Heigl. Or maybe because @jelt2359 might have mentioned he had a Hegel or was dating Heigl in some post buried somewhere. The chassis is plain grey. It's very plain and utilitarian. A large circular power button rests on the front panel. The Hegel logo is silkscreened on top of the power button. Kind of reminds me of Schiit. Although it's my understanding that these amps are priced quite high! OK, let's get down to it. The Hegel H2 is absolutely fantastic. I honestly don't have many words for it. The tonal balance is bright. We are not talking HD800 bright, or HD800 glare. Just tipped up in the treble. It's not mid-forward. It's not aggressive. It's not lean. It's just slightly bright. (I consider the Crest CA2 neutral, it's always seems to be in the middle of various amps I've auditioned). The bass is very well extended and has a nice growl to it. The H2 seems to bring the Fostex BLH's bass extension down half an octave (not in a measurement sense, but in a subjective sense). The tonal balance is nothing that cannot be worked around with appropriate tweaks: cables, preamp tubes, speaker placement, etc. But this is something that I did want to mention. So getting past this, what we have is magic! This is the magic that I've been looking for in solid-state amps. Magic in sense that the gear transcends technicalities and sonic descriptions, and only leaves us with feeling. You know, the kind of feeling that makes our eyes well up with tears. Yep. This is it. The Guaravidian meter is registering with this one (and how often do I say that?) To sum up with a few points: Great sense of flow. Not in the sense of fluidity or liquidity for DACs, but in the sense of feeling. There's a flow and a rhythm, a life pulse that especially goes with vocals. Growl and crunch. Projection of attack. Not quite macrodynamics and not quite microdynamics. But little things like rimshots on the drums in the background, or picks on the guitar strings - these sounds are thrown at us. With most other gear, they just happen on the stage. With the H2, the soundwave is thrown at us from the stage. Palpability and tactility. Not only do we hear the body of instruments, but we feel the vibrations. With my hand on the couch, I can feel the vibrations, like a live event, as if vibrations from instruments are illuminating the room and everything in the room. Fast attacks and transients, but not artificially so. Lines are not artificially straight or narrow. Very natural, but fast. Hegel totally nailed this. Sweetness to timbre. Reminds me of 45 tube. Well defined bass and great textures. "Phat" with sustain when music calls for it. Chameleon like tone: Trebly when music is trebly. Bassy when music is bassy. I really like that there is no tonal pervasiveness. Ease. This is the better version of "powerful". Glorious soundstage! IMAX huge and enveloping with precision and no a wall of fuzzy diffusion effect. NONE OF TECHNICALITIES GET IN THE WAY. We are left with only music. I don't think I am listening to the Hegel H2. I don't think about plankton, resolution, dynamics, blah, blah, blah. One downside: Ton of gain. Some buzz heard on the high-efficiency Fostex BLH ~92db with Freya tube which has another 14db of gain. No annoying and difficult to hear noise at listening position, but one is aware of it. Another note: The amp runs fairly cool. That is maybe slightly warm to the touch. Associated Gear: Schiit Freya Preamp Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC (output stage bypass) Marantz CD5004 CDP (modified for use purely as a transport) Fostex FE108 Sigma in BK-16 BLH Enclosure Fostex T90A Supertweeters Crest CA2 Power Amp Hegel H2 Internals. Bigger than it looks. The chassis is 19" across. The internals look very similar to that of the H20.