Denafrips Hestia & Hyperion - HYPE : ON
That review, the preface was more about emotions, now the main story. First there will be a small introductory word, split into 2 parts, one about the technical side, the cables used and how the test itself is conducted.
The second, the main part, will be more about the sound and, looking ahead, I will say that I did not regret at all about the time I spent on the test and my acquaintance with the new technology, it turned out to be interesting.
I ask in advance to take easily my desire to write something more than just a report, and accordingly, to publish a larger amount of text than usual.
On tours, I suddenly liked to describe the subject of audio, compose texts and turn scattered, not even thoughts, but sensations from contact with the world of audio, into something that can be shared with others.
The opportunity to write and be heard by a very respectable audience seems to me interesting.
I am grateful to the creators of the opportunity for it and to all of you who are not indifferent to a good sound and simply indifferent, those who are ready to agree, accept and give advice, criticize, argue and instruct in our hard hobby.
Different people gathered around this tour: idly curious and interested in the industry novice, who managed to attract the eye with the beautiful facade of their product and bold statement about entering the high-end league, sellers looking through various sources of information not to miss the latest trends.
It is doubly intriguing that this is a newcomer from China, a country with a rich history and world-famous everything, but not the audio components of the premium segment.
You can only respect the determination of the developers who sent their offspring to the crucible of the tour, and with a timid hope of looking: how will they deal with it?
The equipment passes through different systems, looks to sophisticated audiophiles, who managed to see and hear a lot on their way, and to people with serious technical capabilities who, trusting, will check and measure everything.
In such circumstances, there is a risk to win as many good words, and serious criticism, and even worse - indifference.
So, the hot technonovink from the Celestial Empire: Denafrips Hestia & Hyperion pre-amplifier and power amplifier , setting a new level of affordable high-end! Or not asking? This is what we have to find out!
From publicly available information, we managed to find out that Vinshine Audio currently carry 4 brands - these are Jay's Audio, Kinki Studio, Soundaware and Denafrips.
On account of Kinki Studio there is already an integrated amplifier EX-M1, highly valued in quite serious systems of 6moon and hifiknights portals.
And about a year later, in a similar budget, Denafrips made its move, releasing the Hestia preamplifier and Hyperion power amplifier, which were under our scrutiny.
Were there any expectations? When I saw the first photo, I even froze for a couple of seconds, a thought flashed through my mind - this is probably something extra class. After the tour has already started and reviews have gone, expectations have disappeared.
Just recently, an interesting study by University College London came across. Robb Rutledge, a neuroscientist and his author, revealed that the secret of happiness is low expectations. He says: "Happiness does not depend on how well things are going, but on whether things are going better or worse than expected."
I will compare Denafrips with Atoll IN 100 SE. The device appeared about 10 years ago, made in the old school style: classic AB class, alps regulator, no new-fangled technologies, displays and ultra low distortion.
Declared power of Atoll (double mono, 2 * 330 VA): 100 W at 8 ohms and 140 W at 4 ohms, against (1 * 300 VA) 80 W at 8 ohms and 150 W at 4 ohms, at Denafrips Hyperion.
The battery of electrolytes in the Atoll power unit is 30,000 uF versus 147,000 uF for Denafrips and, judging by the numbers, the Chinese’s electrical power, especially when connecting complex acoustics, looks more solid.
Comparison of the passing, first of all it was interesting for me to just listen to these new guys with divine nicknames, and to understand what they are - I could not avoid the charm of the exterior and the significant TTX, according to which it would appear that the devices should at least go into Space. (LFD smiled now)
We determined with the test subjects that the modern stationary computer with the tenth Windows as the source of the figure, the atoll dac 200 pin, as well as a small, but daring noname acoustics, will remain unchanged.
Unbalanced interconnect cables that participated in the test pair: oyaide tunami terzo v2 1.0m, qed reference audio 40 0.5 m.
Balanced interconnect cables : Tchernov Cable Reference IC XLR 1.0m, qed reference audio 40 xlr 0.5 m, professional Procab CLA710 / 1 1.0m, 2 cables from Michael, traveling with devices.
USB : WireWorld Silver Starlight 7 USB A to B 2.0m
Power : tchernov cable reference ac power 1.65m on Hyperion,
tchernov cable classic xs ac 1.65m power on Hestia
tchernov Cable Special 2.5 AC Power 1.65m at atoll dac 200,
ortofon reference spk-400 1.0m on PC.
Acoustic Tchernov Cable Classic Mk II SC and vdh the wind mk2.
The test passed as standard, used to listen to the slightest opportunity and a variety of musical material.
Firm canon, zoom and fresh coffee from the family shop “2 coffee maniac” actively helped the process.
We also managed to test the Chinese pre-amplifier and power amplifier separately.
Such combinations turned out:
- Hestia + Atoll IN 100 SE end section,
- Hyperion + atoll dac 200 with the included preamp function.
Details about the sound will be lower, but I will say at once that the native pair turned out to be preferable. A powerful non-native preamp showed some very interesting results.
But finally, listen. It's all about music, right? )
And immediately the final practical conclusion for myself: would I be satisfied, right now switching from my Frenchman to Hestia & Hyperion? Perhaps, yes. I could switch to a Chinese couple, implying an easy upgrade, rather, even a change of impressions. I think that there is no need to clarify further, who needs to be compared.
I do not completely agree with the presentation of touring Chinese, but on the whole they turned out to be interesting, as well as sufficiently universal, so as not to think about preferred musical genres.
The pair broke out and I noted a certain resemblance to the Frenchman - a dark pitch, abundant and thick, but not viscous low frequencies, the soundness of the sound as a whole. Seeming easy slowness, easily replaced by a thunderous material blow where it is needed.
The main differences of the apparatus in the flow of the middle and space.
In the French, the middle is a bit better balanced relative to the rest of the range, the vocalist is separated from the general canvas.
The Chinese pair has higher resolution, better heard the separation of tools, a smoother middle (less grain). The sound is generally neater.
But, perhaps, we will already leave the Frenchman, he is old and will not spoil the furrows. More details about Denafrips, how will it bump?
Thoroughly about mirages
Hestia & Hyperion unfold in front of us a detailed and elegant sound in the middle range that does not go over to the analysis, the high frequencies are calm, they do not pull attention to themselves.
The sound is solid, plastic, not tense, but not too relaxed - it balances well in its ability to show flow, event, not highlighting every detail and line in the musical canvas, but also without losing important shades and details.
There is a slight mutedness of colors, but I quickly got used to this and stopped noticing how a camera change: one takes a brighter photo, the other calmer with flowers when you have one, you don’t think about it.
There is a slightly arbitrary lower case flirting with the listener, however, with good control and a normally readable structure, which passes into a neat, even refined middle, entertaining combination. The main part of the range seems to rest on a pedestal of low frequencies, this bass can roll like a wave, and set the rhythm with metronome precision and lively pulsation.
There is a low massiveness of this pedestal from low frequencies, and this may slightly eclipse neat mids, but after a little getting used to the feed, the middle begins to be perceived normally.
The advantages of having such low frequencies are difficult to overestimate, because this is the basis of a whole layer of music, from symphonic classics and rock to modern dance and electronic styles.
The timbers play nicely, I haven't noticed any special moments.
On extreme genres, with a lot of aggression and sounds, a decrease in intelligibility is possible. For lovers of trash, death metal and the like, it is probably worth looking at another gain.
But I like the classic rock, progressive rock and similar genres, but most of the genres are normal. It is necessary to spur the volume and the room fills a dense and rhythmic flow, no softening or hollow volume.
Background volume without problems, on the night radio you can hear the thinnest sound weaving.
Here we are approaching the moment when the devices can be and that something is presented, otherwise they have already swelled because of the importance. Claims may occur to the tonal balance of Hestia & Hyperion.
Midrange would not hurt to reduce the activity in the upper middle on some records. And convert the resulting decibel to another in the middle as a whole, its level is relatively low frequencies and, to a lesser extent, high.
Most of the questions arise to the initially blatant records, as well as to those where there is activity in the upper middle.
The opera on the part of the recordings is not a cake at all , where the lamps will smile with a kind smile, this transistor pair will wash Netrebko in such a way that she will not dream that she can do that.
Piano: just some of the records from the collection sound with an odd emphasis on the upper middle. In general, it is not critical, there is a tendency to soften the sound of the pair, but until the end, I think the accent will not smooth out.
There is also a moment, at a high volume in the sound, the overall feed rigidity sometimes skips, it also depends on the recording.
Jethro Tull went with a bang, Ozzy Osbourne in No More Tears harshly stele. But the bulk of the records from the collection still sounds good.
There is also a non-trivial edge in Hestia & Hyperion - this is how the space of the stage and the image of the vocalist on it is formed.
This is not the most remarkable moment, but, at the end of almost six days of the test, looking and listening, noted that this is at least unusual, I have not heard it before.
What does a familiar scene look like? There is a depth, there is a solo sound: the vocalist, the piano keys, it is not so important that. Take the vocalist - his image is not just well heard, it is clearly highlighted from the general canvas, as a rule closer to us, the instrumental background is further. It looks differently from recording to recording, and on different systems, but the solo, embossed image easily clings to consciousness and serves as a kind of key, “entry point” to listening if the music does not sound like a background.
What a Chinese couple gives : a peculiar flattening of the scene in both directions, a sound canvas as if it consists of an indivisible monolith, it is not easy to make a middle out of it in a visible, relief image.
When you change the habit of focusing on the central image and you look at everything that happens at once , it gives a curious effect, listens just as well, just a little differently perceived space and virtual sources of sound.
Separate testing of Hestia and Hyperion.
I won’t be spreading here, I’ll say that each appliance has stayed with its own - Atoll sounds better with a native pretext, both external and built into dac 200.
Hyperion is generally more organic with Hestia , together they have what can be called a branded sound.
The Hyperion + atoll dac 200 power amplifier liked the preamp like more than the Hestia + Atoll IN 100 SE end section.
Is Hyperion + atoll dac 200 better than the pure integral Atoll IN 100 SE? Better, but not much, such an upgrade is definitely not worth the cost of buying a helper.
Hyperion itself is more neutral, in the absence of Hestia all the unusual moments left the sound, the vocals and the scene became habitual, the power of the sound and the bass lines remained.
Hestia, however, did not add anything to the Atoll terminal (compared to its native one), except for increased clarity and clarity of sound . The stock volume was less than 20 percent, the sound became duller.
The interconnect cable between Hestia and Hyperion had a very strong influence ; the cable that sent the signal to Hestia was almost not important.
The variant with the Tchernov Cable Reference IC between the two Chinese was advantageous, it was copper and of a large cross-section, the brightness was smoothed, the lower middle improved, plus it was good with the stage.
With a professional Procab and inexpensive Qed, it was also possible to listen, but not so well anymore.
And, with all due respect to the cables, a samoplet (on the usb converter with a digital converter, the samoplet did a great job), but with them was the Achtung.
Everything died at once, as Sergei ( @Gimmy ) responded , I wouldn’t say so, but it became indigestible, they did not make friends with these Chinese components. Professional cable for 1300 r played smoothly and without quirks, if you do not know the cable debauchery, you can safely listen to it.
So, Denafrips Hestia & Hyperion, is it high-end or right ? )
Records, pampering allowing to hear a lot remotely and argue about what exactly was heard).
Dictaphone 2 m from acoustics, between speakers 2.20, stand close to the wall - the room is audible, do not be angry.
The recording volume may not perfectly match.
Just a studio voice and female solo vocals - timbre. drums and percussion - low cut and high frequencies. spatial test, at the same time a distinct sound of metal - as it forms one amplifier and the other. Littered on all electric guitar loss from Nils Lofgren.
Credit: Review by Eugene at dastereo.ru
(Google translated from Russian)