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Hegel Mohican CD Player – One Last Hurrah

Jump to film straightaway – click here, OR read technicalities first?……

On the face of it, looks can be deceptive. The Hegel Mohican is a plain understated looking CD player….the bold utilitarian functional looks of Scandinavian minimalist design are on your ‘mince pies’.  Far from some flimsy and cheap Nordic furniture manufacturing : automatic pads pressing repetitively onto products like chairs to test long term longevity. That’s not needed here! Definitely not. The pitted bead blasted surface aluminium case is fastidiously and exactingly constructed. Even the front buttons are milled out of aluminium and they are quite difficult to make.

Hegel are from Oslo and opening the manual it says their aim is to chase lower distortion and noise, which is their approach to *maxing out* sonics. I might have more rabbit than Safeway in always banging on about minimalist design and whether notionally it belies sound quality. It can go one of two ways can’t it! The product either lives up, or it doesn’t… Turkey or ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’?

This CD player was released in 2016 and is described by Hegel as the last CD player you will ever need. That’s why it’s called the Mohican, in homage to The Last of the Mohicans…Hegel’s last effort at the disc of compactness. CD disc production is undeniably going south but that doesn’t mean CD players are. We’ll be ‘spinning up’ for years to come, much like vinyl. But *reflecting* in disc diminishing times – excuse the pun, it eggs on the question, one last hurrah for a CD player to suit you Sir? And don’t worry about this product becoming obsolete either – Hegel have the parts to make these for a year and an age…..

Hegel Mohican CD Player Review

Hegel say that everything except the tray and pick up is designed by them, including even the small servo motors for the laser. They are in 100% control of the signal flow from the point where it is just a light pulse. They say that very few players are like this nowadays.

Mohican works on 16 bit 44.1khz CD resolution – no upsampling or upscaling. Spit. No DSD super audio capability. Spit. It solely and exclusively asks; ‘What can be pulled from a CD?’. The AKM AK4490 DAC it uses is a 32bit type, but working in native CD quality form. The disc mechanism is Sanyo’s which Hegel say is “updated with our servo boards”. Its drawer is slightly agricultural sounding in operation and not uber smooth – like a budget mechanism, but frankly who cares! You don’t buy a CD player to be moved about how a tray retracts, but to be moved on how it sounds, so any criticism by others on this score is unjustified to my mind. Hence my correction here… Should I care how smoothly my car boot opens when the measurement is mainly on how it drives!

In taking two years to design, Hegel say it utilises their own patented and optimised SoundEngine clock. Used to control the timing of the digital data and eliminate jitter – clock timing errors so harmful to sound quality.

Simple minimalist design is a trademark of Hegel
Hegel Mohican CD Player Review
Hegel Mohican CD Player Review

That’s all very well, but Hegel play to my tune when exclaiming ; “let us not bury ourselves in the technical details. What does it do for you?”. Some Audiophiles love technicality, but I’m not a technical Audiophile – I’ll understand techiness to the extent I need too, but what I won’t do is make it the ‘crunch all’ to my comparative benchmarks and judgements about sonic qualities of products. In so doing eliminating the techy alienation of ‘Audiophilia’. Essentially audio products are ALL a means to an end of music and it matters not to consumers, how we get there. If you had to pay audio firms like Hegel to magic you faithfully reproduced music instead….

Unfussy & Easy : XLR/RCA Analogue Outs + BNC Coaxial Digital Out (Transport)
Rear Connections of Hegel CD Player
Hegel Mohican CD Player Review

This Hegel is conquering a British Cyrus CD-T CD transport I have at the moment, extremely convincingly in its sonic canton. Unsurprising at its price. But what of its relativity to other DACs and cheaper digital transports?

Well watch on… see my film of how this player operates and crucially, what does it do acoustically?

Specifications

  • Sanyo CD drive mechanism
  • DAC: 16 bit/44.1 kHz
  • Hegel patented ‘SoundEngine’ clock
  • Analog outputs: 1 fixed line level (RCA), 1 fixed line level (Balanced XLR)
  • Digital outputs: 1 BNC, true 75 ohm
  • Frequency response: 0 Hz – 50 kHz
  • Noise Floor: -145 dB
  • Distortion: Typical 0.0015%
  • Output impedance: 22 ohms unbalanced and 44 ohms balanced
  • Finish: Black and Silver
  • Dimensions: 8 cm (10 cm w/feet) x 43 cm x 29 cm (HxWxD)
  • RC5 remote coding for other brand compatibility
  • Weight: 6.5 kg (net)
  • Warranty : 2 years

Price

€4595 / $5000 / £3,900

Manufacturer

Hegel Music Systems
PB26, Blindern, 0314 Oslo, Norway
Contact : [email protected]
Web : https://www.hegel.com

Test Systems

PMC twenty5 23 speakers, Cyrus Audio Signature Pre and power, Isotek Aquarius Power Conditioner Marantz PM7000N Streaming Amp, Definitive Technology Demand D11 bookshelf speakers. Neat Iota Alpha floor-standing speakers (soon).

Playlist: ‘Norwegian Nice’ Electronica

Got Qobuz – click here

5 Comments

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  1. Simon’s wonderful film making skills and honest and open reviewing has splashed a large dollop of colour onto Hegel’s Mohican.

    How can you not want to have one!

  2. Dear Simon,
    thank you for your review.
    I am thinking of replacing my 13 years old combo naim cd5x + add. power supply Flatcap 2x with a more updated “all-in-one box” cd player, and I’m thinking about the Mohican…
    what do you think? My system is Naim 202-200DR amp + Harbeth Compact 7-es3 speakers

    thank you

    • I really wouldn’t know as I don’t know the naim kit David tbh. Sorry about that. I do think you won’t be disappointed with the Mohican if you’ve got the gear to reveal its true potential. Best Wishes Simon

  3. Dear Simon,
    Hi. Very interesting review – thank you.

    I have many CDs and am lookig for a nice system, but am not really a techie but just appreciate classical music. Assuming I were to get the Hegel Mohican CD player, what would you recommend by way of amplifier and speakers?

    Thanks#Andrew Vincenti

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Written by Simon Price

I'm an audio lover who likes sharing experiences of faithfully reproduced audio in a CREDIBLE, BALANCED and ENGAGING way. I’m interested in products; their looks, functionality and features, and most importantly how they sound! My reviews keep technicalities easy, as I believe great audio is non exclusive and to be enjoyed by all! It's all about the music!

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Marantz PM7000N Streaming Integrated : Chipping away at Audiophile HiFi