When taking away all biased views of the Norwegian review, one is left with the following..
<- measurement, forvrengning means distortion.
While some focus on the best possible analogue stage in their digital converters, Hegel choose instead to suppress digital noise that manifest itself in the form of time errors in the digital signal a.k.a. jitter. (bla bla bla.. meaning it can be used as a re-clocker).
The USB signal is processed by a new chip from Tenor providing low jitter (not asynchronous). After being converted into SPDIF the signal passes through two additional AKM circuits with jitter correction, combined with a discrete master clock.
It's power are drawn from the USB which gives it lower output voltage compared to other DACs, but Hegel seems to think that op-amps degrades the sound.
A biased Norwegian in a no-brainer thread stated that the choice of components and layout was indeed smart and worth every cent. A Japanese blogger (to some extent -> http://muplay.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2011-03-30) are agreeing that it's a simple and convincing design, but changed one Rubycon YK to a Sanyo OS CON and added two Shizuki caps beneath those green ones (think he's saying something about the limit of Hegel's budget). According to the shoddy Google translation he might be in cap-rolling limbo for some time-> http://muplay.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2011-04-17
Maybe the answer is not Nippon, one practical Danish guy tends to use Vishay / BC Component..
128 SAL-RPM (MAL212855478E3) and 136 RVI series (MAL213661102E3).
What makes the SAL caps sound better is the fact that the plates are held in place with a solid potting compound that prevents any kind of micro-vibration when currents run through the capacitor. The lifespan of a SAL cap is an impressive 30.000 Hours at load.
Look at the data sheet (PDF - 136 RVI). You will see nice linear curves for higher ripple currents. In our case it shows that for the 2.7A RMS you have a 1.5 - 2 times life expectancy (meaning 10500 - 14000 Hours) from 43 - 48 C ambient temperature. And as we all know this is only when playing sine waves. With music, the average ripple current is about 1/3 of that, increasing the life expectancy about 3 times the 10500.
Makes more sense spending $13 on capacitors and add some clean power, than trying to fix the "problem" with expensive cables.
Edit: Former Hi-Fi pusher now employed by Hegel explain the unexplainable or monolithic.. sort of, who really knows?
Edited by Albedo - 7/2/11 at 10:28am