Hegel Music Systems states that its new Hegel V10 phono preamplifier is a reinterpretation of a well-proven technology, drawing on 30 years of experience in the development of discrete amplifier solutions to create a phono preamplifier like no other.
When it comes to describing the reproduction of music from vinyl, the Norwegian high-end hi-fi manufacturer Hegel Music Systems goes into a frenzy. Listening to vinyl is a sensual experience, they say. Carefully open the record sleeve, take the record out of the inner sleeve, examine it for dust or scratches before placing it on the turntable and letting the needle sink slowly into the groove, according to the Norwegians.
Then the focus is only on one thing, the absolute enjoyment of music, and this is exactly what the new phono preamplifier offered by Hegel Music Systems with the new Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier is supposed to provide. The developers’ declared aim is to make the special experience of reproducing music from records even better. To this end, the Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier has been developed from scratch and uses particularly clever and unique technologies to offer unprecedented transparency and clarity. Music that one hears should appear almost tangible and real.
Hegel Music Systems repeatedly emphasises that no detail has been left out to guarantee the best possible quality. This begins with the basic construction of the phono preamplifier. The chassis is divided into two sections that physically separate the power supplies from the sensitive amplifier circuits. There is no detectable interference between the two parts, the Norwegians promise.
For the best possible connection, they say, the Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier is equipped with gold-plated connectors, balanced XLR outputs and a solid custom ground screw. In the all-important input stage, extremely low-noise discrete JFET transistors are used for both the moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) inputs. The elimination of extraneous noise is particularly important, especially when using sensitive MC pick-up systems with their system-related low output power. Therefore, the MC input of the Hegel V10 phono preamplifier is equipped with four JFET transistors connected in parallel. This makes the input completely noiseless and prevents any feedback of the bias current to the pick-up coil.
The input signal is fed into equally silent amplifier circuits, with both the MM and MC amplification stages using extremely low-noise power supplies built with discrete bipolar transistors to reduce signal noise to a minimum. This ensures extremely accurate amplification of the input signal coming from the turntable. And to give the Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier the best operating conditions, it is powered by a linear, low-noise, analogue AC power supply. This has a large, custom-made transformer, which, as already described, is housed in its own enclosure to really eliminate any possibility of interference.
The new Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier was deliberately designed to be an excellent plug & play MM preamplifier. This is especially relevant for beginners. Those who want more, however, can also optimally adapt the phono preamplifier to their own ideas. Thus, the Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier can be optimally adjusted for every MM and MC pick-up system.
When using an MM cartridge, the capacity can be increased freely between 100 and 467 pF, and when using an MC cartridge, the impedance can be set freely between 33 and 550 ohms or fixed at 47 kOhms. For both MM and MC, the gain can be increased by 5, 10 or 12 dB to match the output of other sources at the amplifier. Of course, the Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier also has a subsonic filter to remove unwanted low-frequency noise if required.
Interestingly, the developers have even included an adjustable auto-standby function, this should be mentioned in conclusion.
The design of the Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier is quite simple, but that is a characteristic of all solutions from the Norwegians. Only the manufacturer’s logo adorns the front, below it a button with status LED. The rear, on the other hand, is very crowded, because here there are rows of DIP switches for the configuration and the inputs and outputs. As already mentioned, these are of very high quality. While the inputs are all designed as pairs of RCA sockets, the output is also available in a balanced version in the form of XLR sockets.
The new Hegel V10 phono preamplifier measures 21 cm in width, 6 cm in height and 28 cm in depth. The weight is given as 2.2 kg.
According to the manufacturer, the new Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier should be available in specialist shops as early as the first quarter of 2021, probably as early as February. The recommended retail price is given as € 1,500.
Getting to the point…
The Hegel V10 Phono Preamplifier is a brand new interpretation of an old technology. With 30 years of experience in the development of state-of-the-art discrete transistor circuits, the developers at Hegel Music Systems have, by their own admission, built a phono preamplifier like no other. It is supposed to be neutral, dynamic and exceptionally open. To achieve this, they used all their knowledge in the field of amplification and focused it on one goal – to literally penetrate the record and reveal every bit of information. Sounds exciting!