To Hans Wetzel,
I'm French and I will try to write the best English that I can. I'm about to buy one of these amplifiers: Hegel's H300 or Musical Fidelity's M6 500i. I have just read your H300 review on the GoodSound! website.
Their prices are quite close in France, but still very expensive, and the products are a bit different.
The Musical Fidelity is very powerful, while the Hegel has a DAC inside (a very good one?), but with a less powerful 250Wpc power rating. My speakers are Dynaudio's C2. If you had to choose between these two amplifiers, which would you buy? Why? Thanks.
Bruno, if you've narrowed down your search to these two integrated amplifiers, you are in a very fortunate predicament. Both the Musical Fidelity and the Hegel are terrific, albeit different, products.
The $6999 Musical Fidelity M6 500i is a bit of a monster. Weighing in at more than 70 pounds, with a solid, overbuilt chassis, it's the kind of component that should last for more than a decade without any issues. It has a sonic personality that is not quite neutral, and errs on the warm side. While it does not have tube-like warmth, it's on the same continuum. Personally, I found it very engaging, and almost purchased my review sample. With 500W on tap, it's also highly doubtful that you would ever have need of a more powerful amplifier.
The Hegel has a different feature set and personality. Costing $1500 less than the M6 500i, at $5500, the Hegel H300 doesn't look or feel quite as substantial as its British counterpart. It's more sparse and utilitarian than the Musical Fidelity integrated in terms of its design, but also includes a high-quality built-in DAC. It also sounds a bit Scandinavian, in the sense that it's forward, and a little more honest and neutral. At 250Wpc, it sounds like it would be significantly less powerful than 500i, but in reality, doubling power only gets you 3dB in actual output. Unless you like to really pound out music through your Dynaudios, I doubt you'd need the overhead.
In the end, it comes down to what you prefer. The Dynaudio C2s are excellent, and pretty neutral, meaning you'll hear the coloration of the Musical Fidelity as much as you'll hear the forward nature of the Hegel. Personally, I'd lean towards the Hegel, but in an ideal world, I'd own both. . . . Hans Wetzel