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Finally, the new generation of HE-9 and HE-1 was born after 7 years of waiting. And it's not just some minor revision / facelift update that we're used to seeing like basic chassis redesign, adding some functions, slightly different tuning with similar circuit design etc.

According to Kingwa-the man behind Audio-GD, the new MK2 model features a brand new design and brand new concept, allowing Audio-GD to bring forward noticeable sonic performance upgrades to the table.

1) Adding an output buffer exclusively for preamp output, which will help to enhance the quality of pre-amplification.

2) Featuring a new “2-stages volume control”, which allows users to control the volume precisely and match well with different DACs and power amps.

Kingwa also applied a unique I/V conversion volume control on the MK2, instead of using a conventional potentiometer which might degrade the sound quality. It works as a “variable I/V conversion” applied at the output section of the ACSS amplifier to process the current signal (instead of voltage), which will help to keep the frequency flat without losing any details.

3) The circuit design of left and right channels are exactly the same. Hence the manufacturer can measure and match the circuit boards even more precisely before assembling to ensure the consistency and balancing of both channels in the machine.

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  • ⭐ Difference In Between HE-1 & HE-9

Both HE-9 and HE-1 are Audio-GD’s flagship Class-A pre-amplifiers with built-in regenerative power supply. The difference is that HE-9 also comes with a flagship level headphone amplifier, while HE-1 is just a pure preamp for stereophiles.

According to our experience, HE-1 is a slightly better choice if you only need the preamp function for your power amp. Benefiting from the purer circuit design, the HE-1 sounds slightly cleaner, more detailed and transparent than HE-9’s preamp section.

However, the HE-9 features an amazing headphones amplifier which can basically drive almost all headphones in the world effortlessly (except the power-hungry Susvara, we still recommend to drive it with Master-9P—though it’s not as high end as HE-9, it can provide stronger power that Susvara needs), and it’s just around RM2k+ more expensive than the HE-1.

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  • ⭐ MK2 Versus MK1

The house sound of Audio-GD is dark, solid and lively. The bass slam is really impressive. It surrounds you with a holographic imaging and rumbling feel, like the timpani or pipe organ are just blasting out right in front of you. The body is bold, firm and rich, blending into the scenery and ambiance perfectly.

Though it’s a dark sounding device, it doesn’t have the mellow and smooth tonality like most of the tube amps. The attack is pretty sharp and solid. The treble is also sparkling and well-extended.

While enjoying the liveliness of the HE-1 & HE-9, some might complain that it doesn’t sound as clean as their expectation. The MK2 was born to resolve this issue. Featuring the new preamp buffer and the specially designed 2-stages I/V potentiometer, the MK2 sounds significantly more neutral, transparent and smoother. The treble is more airy, and the bass is more “elastic”—while maintaining the weight and body, it sounds faster and manages to reveal more subtle nuances hidden in the music. The sound stage becomes more spacious, and the imaging is slightly more backward, hence now it sounds more relaxed and less aggressive.

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  • ⭐ MK2 Versus LE version

HE1 or HE9 MK2 is the ultimate flagship model featuring a fully analogue regenerative power supply, it is the best in sound quality but also being slightly more expensive; LE version comes with a linear power supply, powered by a built-in Class-A PSU. Both of them are using the same audio circuit board.

If you already have a high quality power regenerator, you could go for the LE version to save some cost. However, I would always recommend you to go for the HE-MK2 version. Yes it’ll cost you extra 3k, but remember, it’s almost impossible to buy a power regenerator in Malaysia at this price. Besides, the quality of Audio-GD power regenerator is far better than most of the entry level power filters or isolated power transformers in the market. It is not just filtering or isolating the power, it’s re-generating the power from the beginning as the name suggests—it converts the dirty AC signal we receive from TNB into pure DC, and then converts it back to the AC format. Hence you will be able to get the purest and cleanest power signal to run your devices.

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  • ⭐ Versus Vacuum-1 HE

Vacuum-1 is the only vacuum tube device from Audio-GD’s line up. Just like the HE-9 and HE-1, It also comes with 2 variants—HE and LE version.

As what we expect, the Vacuum-1 HE sounds sweeter, smoother, more refined and musical, while HE-1 or HE-9 offer a thicker imaging, more powerful bass slam, better separation and wider soundstage. I prefer to pair Vacuum-1 HE in a smaller room or with a system that already has enough energy. It will smoothen the sound, let the music flow naturally, yet retain the transparency and details. Overall it’s still a clean sounding preamp, it is sweet and airy, but definitely not something as rich as the Cayin.

If you want to play music with strong dynamics, such as symphony and Rock, then HE-1 or HE-9 are the clear winner. They will be able to bring out the grandeur and momentum of the full orchestra, live band and the music hall.

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⭐ [HE-9 MK2] SHOPIFY | |
□ Retail : RM11,500 (MK2) | RM8,299 (LE)
** PM for best price

⭐ [HE-1 MK2] SHOPIFY | |
□ Retail : RM10,699 (MK2) | RM7,699 (LE)
** PM for best price

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■ Physical shop / audio specialist⁣ since 2013
■ Authorised agent of Audio-GD in Malaysia⁣
■ 100% genuine / warranty covered⁣
■ Malaysia first audio theme cafe / library

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