Audio-gd HE-9 MK2
May 26, 2022 at 7:51 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 63

FredA

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I received the new HE9 MK2 (http://www.audio-gd.com/HE/HE9MK2/HE9MK2EN.htm) this week. For those coming from the original model, the new he9 is now almost exactly as descibed on the webpage. More dynamic, more detailed. I think it will also be smoother but my unit needs more burn-in. The pre output is now more neutral, more laid back, with dryer bass and no mid emphasis. So the sound is not as "in your face". I had to get used to it but i quickly started to enjoy it. Some running hours likely helped too.

The mk2 has a totally new layout compared to the original. There has been some cost reduction (now uses surface mount resistors in the audio path) but the optimized new layout more than makes up. I already prefer the new unit after only 2 days.

Operating the unit is not as intuitive as before, setting the gain, for instance, but using the product webpage, i quickly managed to set it up to my likings.

Operating the unit, there is one thing a little annoying. When changing input, three clicks are emitted from under the hood and two popping noises on the loudspeakers (no popping on headphones though). Kingwa will send me an updated mcu program to fix this. The unit does a mute/unmute sequence when switching in order to mitigate pops when a source with a dc offset is connected. I don't need this feature.

One last thing, the new unit uses only 66W compared to 95 for the old one. So it gets just a little warmer compared to the r7he mk2. Great, with summer coming. I will leave it on 24/7.
 
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May 26, 2022 at 8:04 AM Post #4 of 63

arayasg

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Thanks for sharing your impression. I wish I could leave it on 24/7 here in Bangkok.
 
May 26, 2022 at 3:17 PM Post #6 of 63

FredA

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Enjoying the mkii now on the tuner (Kenwood KT5020). . Less full sound but more micro info, more laid back and more staging depth. Enjoying a nice classical concert, and resting. Very pleasing and relaxing. Great tuner and great pre. The original he9 is very enjoyable too, more forgiving but with a little less air. More bassy. Less neutral as already mentioned.
 
Jun 7, 2022 at 10:45 PM Post #8 of 63

FredA

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Quick update on the mkii.

At the end of the first week of burn in, i inserted a new power cable in the system, to feed the he9 kiii. I took at least a week to come around. The sound was hard at first. Stiff. The burn-in is pretty seemless otherwise. The dynamics and smoothness slowly improve.

I notice the pre gradually plays louder, or is just becoming more dynamic. In any case, i lowered the listening level by 3 over the 3 weeks i have had it.

Again, as Kingwa mentioned, the biggest change is with the pre function. It is more neutral, with also smoother highs. The only drawback is the fm tuner has not as good a balance with it. Thus sounding more like a tuner now. Otherwise, no negative point.

Kingwa managed to lower the cost of the product in absolute term (meaning the old he9 would cost more to make) and still make a better headamp/pre. This is quite an achievement AFAIAC. Kingwa totally changed the layout and decided to use surface mount resistors. One big advantage is the soldering can be partly automized. But Kingwa mainained the quality of the transistors and the rest.
 
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Jun 8, 2022 at 9:53 AM Post #12 of 63

FredA

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I wished they had a plexiglass top as an option. Would love to just stare at its internals.
Easy to make one. You need tools though. You would need to cut addtional holes as plexiglass is not a good heat conductor.

There are businesses who can do this for you, look online.
 
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Jun 15, 2022 at 9:07 AM Post #15 of 63

FredA

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Would you call the MK2 TOTALLY uncolored- and if not- where is the coloration and how much?
Hi Steven.

As a preamp, the old he9 has a low-mid/mid emphasis. The mkii sounds very flat. The hp amp has the same balance as before but it is a little more detailed and dynamic. Relatively small difference.

The difference for the pre is significant. The sound is not in your face anymore as the reduction in mids and low mids make the sound more laid back. Imaging is a little better while the stage got farther by 1-2 feet.
 
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