Thanks to Alvin, I have the Denafrips Hestia-Hyperion combo on loan for a month side by side with my modest reference Pass Labs HPA1-XA25 combo.
I will just share some of my own impression.
Using the Hestia as pre-amp, comparing Hyperion (XLR) vs XA25 (RCA), I found both XA25 and Hyperion are warm sounding and quite opposite to Kinki EX1M amp. The details and transparency are on par with slight edge to the XA25. I like that the Hyperion has more power, not that my 96db rated speakers (Spatial Audio M3 Triode Master and Tekton Encore) needed the extra wattage to get deafeningly loud. I used Luxman AS55 switch to connect the amps to my speakers for fast AB comparison.
Preamp comparison is made when connected to XA25 using Luxman AS44 switches, the Hestia is very different from the HPA1 in nearly all aspects. Hestia bass is more articulate while HPA bass is more impactful.
Hestia soundstage is wider while treble extension and midrange clarity is amazing.
As a preamp, the Hestia has refined qualities that are much like the Linear Tube Audio MZ3 that has just been delivered a week earlier and not fully run in. It is very impressive as it is only fraction of the price of MZ3 and HPA1.
The Denafrips duo built quality is excellent with the aluminium chassis having thickness that are matching the Pass Labs.
Very impressive debut for the Denafrips duo. The 6moons review and awards are well deserved.
Credit: Andy @ Singapore