If it has a weakness, it’s that the smoothness doesn’t quite extend across the frequency range and the top-end energy can make some of the more obvious casualties of the loudness war sound more stark than usual. This does seem to go away with burn-in and really only applies to that one per cent of almost unsalvageable albums, but the potential combination of Oasis tracks played through a new Hegel into some metal dome tweeters is not a promising one. This seems like nit-picking, however.
In fact, I’d almost place this weakness as a strength, because what it shows up in less than wonderful recordings, it also shows up when playing good recordings. In other words, while it makes the bad ones bad, it makes the good ones great. I think this is a better position for an audiophile DAC to make than to basically lie about the bad or cover up the good.
Hegel has come to stand for good, honest performance at a fair price, and the HD11 typifies that stance. It manages to balance between what audiophiles want from their systems and what music lovers want from their tracks. This is the kind of DAC you want to listen to, when you get over all the fireworks displays and show-boating of some of the more exotic variations on the theme. Highly recommended.
Digital inputs: 2 coaxial, 1 optical and 1 USB-B
Digital input precision: Coaxial / optical up to 24-bit 192kHz USB up to 24-bit 96kHz
Digital Filter: Linear phase analogue filter, 32-bit precision
Output signal level: 2.5V RMS (at 0dBFS)
Analog outputs: XLR balanced and RCA phono unbalanced
Frequency response: 0Hz - 50kHz
Noise floor: -140Db
Distortion: Typically less than 0.0007%
Power supply: Internal toroidal transformer and 30.000uF capacitors
Dimensions (WxDxH): 21x26x6cm
Manufactured by: Hegel
Distributed by: Aventure
Tel: +44(0)1347 440401