Norwegian audio manufacturer Hegel has established itself as a serious player in the high performance audio world with its remarkable lineup of integrated, pre, and power amplifiers. When I learned that they were introducing a new DAC, to bridge the performance between their $1200 entry-level HD11 DAC and their engaging $2500 flagship DAC, the HD25 at $1400 would be warmly welcomed. Another eye-opener is the Hegel HD25 is their first DAC to accommodate DSD files. Naturally I was more than just a little curious to give it a spin.
The Hegel HD12 is housed in a compact, unassuming, all black chassis measuring some 2.35" x 8.3" x 10.24" (HxWxD) and weighs just 6.6 lbs. The front panel sports only the Hegel logo above the large (3.75" x 7/8") illuminated display, both centered, and a 1/4" headphone jack to their right. The back panel is organized categorically; analog outputs, digital inputs, power management. From left to right, we find a set of single-ended (RCA) outputs, a set of balanced (XLR) outputs, one coaxial input, two optical inputs, a mode selector switch for the USB input management, one USB input, then the fuse and power rocker switch set above the IEC socket.
The USB mode selector switch offers two positions; A (up), for plug & play mode up to 96kHz/24-bit playback, and position B (down), allows for 192kHz/24-bit and native DSD64. Position B requires the installation of the ASIO drivers (downloadable from the Hegel HD12 Support website) to allow for this more versatile playback. Further, position B permits truly native DSD64 playback, not DSD over PCM (DoP). DSD over PCM packs the DSD file into a PCM-like signal for bit streaming. This works in a similar way to how AC3 is packed into a PCM-like signal for S/PDIF surround sound output. This is a real advantage for a DAC in this surprisingly affordable price range.
czytaj cały: TEST