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Integrated amplifier


Manufacturer: HEED AUDIO Kft.
Price (in Poland): 16 900 PLN

Kontakt: Heed Audio Kft. (Ltd.)
PO Box 45
H-1676 Budapest | HUNGARY


Provided for test by: NAUTILUS Dystrybucja

HEED is a small, specialized company from Hungary, run by Mr. ZSOLT HUSZTI. It was established in 1987 as a distribution company offering British brands. In 1991, they prepared their first product, StandArt speakers. Since 2000, they have been also offering electronic devices packed in chassis of unusual, as for today, dimensions. The LAGRANGE integrated amplifier is their first "full-size" product.

he first product related to electronics, bearing the Heed logo, was a power supply designed for Rega turntables. Today, the company is known for something else - integrated amplifiers. The first one was the Obelisk, prepared together with Mr. Richard Hayem, designer of Nytech and later also of Ion Systems. Messrs. Huszti and Hayem together designed a small amplifier based on the design developed in the 80s by Richard. This is how the amplifier was developed, and its next version is still manufactured by Heed Audio today.

A characteristic feature of the Obelisk - and other products of this company - are the dimensions - the front is half the width of the standard "rack size". Although most people don’t realize that, the sizes of audio devices as we know them and which we understand as "standard" ones were defined in recording studios, and for home audio determined by Japanese producers in the 1980s. Professional devices are mounted in so-called racks of different heights, but always with the same width: 19" (482.6 mm). When we take the so-called "wings", i.e. a piece of the front used to fix the device in rack, the width left is about 430 mm. That’s the Lagrange size.


Heed's devices were smaller than most product, in which they resembled devices of another British manufacturer - Cyrus (as well as some Rega products). The adopted format is excellent because such products do not take up much space, are mechanically compact, and the signal path is very short. Heed benefited from this decision because their amplifiers often sounded as if they were two or even three times bigger.

However, small dimensions result in some compromises; compromise is the audio’s middle name. In the case of amplifiers, this means that if we want to stick to a classic power amplifier operating in AB class and do not want to use a switching power supply, and still want to offer w high output - the amplifier must be large. It can’t be done otherwise, even if the designs are as clever as Heed's.

There is also a second aspect of the "small is beautiful" approach. It's about the so-called product’s perceived value. Looking at the Obelisk amplifier and seeing its price, people who are not experts in audio see not representatives of high quality audio products, but a small, black amplifier with limited functionality. What's more, it costs two or even three times more than a stereo receiver featuring digital inputs, Bluetooth, radio, and sometimes even a file player (streamer). Which is also much bigger. But if you give it a try you won’t need much time to realize that there is only one winner of such a duel and it’s Heed.


The advantages of small devices are still there, these are still very cool devices and they are the core of Heed's lineup. However, taking into account all of what we’ve already mentioned, the company middle of last year decided to propose a device with a chassis of a regular width - the LAGRANGE amplifier. Its name is a tribute to the French mathematician and astronomer of Italian origin Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736-1813), who worked in France and for twenty years in Berlin for the Prussian king Frederick II. He is known for Lagrange's theorem, or one of several theorems regarding the average value in differential calculus (finite increment theorem).

Design | The amplifier is the most advanced in terms of external design product of this Hungarian manufacturer. The front is made of black acrylic framed in matte silver aluminum, and - as we read in the company materials - "symmetrically arranged knobs with front milling and a two-element air outlet on the top panel that complete the industrial, but extremely exclusive and consistent style." The amplifier is not very big, but it makes a big impression.

Features | Lagrange is an integrated amplifier offering an output of 60 W per channel (at 8 Ω), increasing to 100 W at 4 Ω, with AB class output stage. It benefits from the Transcap proprietary technology, i.e. RC coupling with the output capacity responsible for the storage and releasing of the energy of the musical signal.

„Tuned non-direct coupled amplifier technology”

Transcap is a solution used by Heed Audio in output stages of their amplifiers. Like the almost forgotten (and then reincarnated) valve technology, the output capacitor transistor amplifiers can normally only be found in the deepest recesses of engineers drawers. (source: company materials). In this solution output transistors don’t use direct coupling with speaker, but rather via a circuit featuring a resistor and capacitor („RC-coupling”). Heed points out that it’s a great solution for coupling that has also a (wanted) side effect – namely capacitors store energy that can be released exactly when it is needed.

source: How it works,, accessed: 27.05.2020

Lagrange offers four line inputs, one phono (MM), as well as pre-out and line-out and so-called "HT", and input allowing user to integrate this amplifier with home theater system. User of smaller models who want to use also headphones have to purchase external device, but in this case they have a built-in one at their disposal - it’s Class A amplifier. The device also has a built-in Bluetooth receiver.

One of the advantages of the Obelisk amplifier was the possibility of adding modules to it - a phono preamplifier, and a DAC. The situation here is similar - there is a phono preamplifier permanently built-in, and one can buy a digital-to-analog converter module. It’s fairly simple to install. One has to unscrew a small cap on the back of the device and slide the DAC module board in its place, connecting it via a multi-pin connector. The module costs PLN 3800.

Operation | The device is heavy, compact and well made. Operating the knobs has a nice feel to it - a selected input is indicated on a small display with a blue-ish color, and the volume level by a white LED installed in the knob. However, the LED does not shine forward, but to the side, which is a much more comfortable solution for user. To control the device one can also use a remote control. It is a plastic unit, not very nice, but it gets the job done. It can be used also to operate Heed's CD transport.


The Heed Lagrange amplifier was placed n the Acoustic Revive RAF-48H anti-vibration platform on the top shelf of the Finite Elemente Pagode Edition rack. I placed the Nordost QRT QPoint noise generator on its top. It was powered using the Siltech Triple Crown cable. It was connected with speakers using the Triple Crown cables from the same company. I used two signal sources: Mytek Brooklyn Bridge file player and TechDAS AIR FORCE III turntable with SAT LM-09 tonearm and X-quisite ST cartridge.

HEED in „High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Heed ELIXIR | integrated amplifier
  • TEST: Heed CANALOT/DACTIL 1.2 + Q-PSU | headphone amplifier/DAC + power supply
  • AWARD | BEST PRODUCT 2009: Heed OBELISK Si + OBELISK X-2 | integrated amplifier + power supply
  • TEST: Heed OBELISK Si + OBELISK X-2 | integrated amplifier + power supply (in a system)

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

    • Agnes Obel, Myopia, Strange Harvest Limited/Tidal Master MQA 24/44,1 (2020)
    • Clannad, In A Lifetime, BMG BMGCAT427DLPX, 2 x 180 g LP (2020);
    • Depeche Mode, I Feel Loved (Danny Tenaglia Mix And Edit), Mute/Reprise PRO-A-100720-A, „Promotional 12”/45 rpm”, LP (2001)
    • Nat ‘King’ Cole, Just One Of Those Things, Capitol Records/S&P Records S&P-508, „Limited Edition | № 0886”, 180 g LP (1957/2004)
    • The Weeknd, After Hours, XO | Republic Records/Tidal MQA 24/44,1 (2020)
    • Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela, Rejoice, World Circuit/Tidal MQA Studio 24/96 (2020);
    • Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet, Polka. Remixed, U Know Me Records UKM 044, White Wax 180 g LP (2016)

    This is amazingly transparent amplifier! Listening to it and remembering other great devices that I listened to in my system - say SPEC RSA-V10, which was featured on our cover last month - I was amazed by the fact of how differently music can be presented while following the same direction. Lagrange follows the path of transparency, selectivity and dynamics.

    Its sound is incredibly open, but it is not bright. If someone thinks that tube amplifiers sound "muddy", if they thinks that new Accuphase devices sound too dark, and SPEC amplifiers - sweet, the new Heed device will be just for them. Not because those devices do it wrong, but because Lagrange does it differently.

    The tested amplifier compared to them seems as if someone had opened a window in front of us. By refraining from boosting the lower midrange and enriching the upper bass, we get great selectivity. The new Agnes Obel album titled Myopia begins with muffled piano sounds. The instrument sounds as if the sound came from under the water. This is a processed sound, but it resembles what Sławek Jaskułke did on the Sea, which he recorded on a practice piano covered with a duvet (our 2015 Award; more HERE).

    Anyway, on Myopia there is an intro presented in such a oneiric, muffled way, with a dominant midrange. But right after that in the foreground enters, spaced very widely in both channels, vocals of the singer with a lot of treble. It's a difficult combination, but the Heed amplifier had no problem with it. For one, it perfectly differentiated these two layers - both in terms of timbre and space. For two - without brightening the vocals, it perfectly "spread" it strongly and broadly, which is what the producer of the album probably wanted.

    The other end of the band is extremely dynamic and the amplifier goes very low. At the very bottom it is not as taut as large devices, and yet it lacks nothing. I would even say that it seems to better hit the "point", push the attack harder than the otherwise excellent Accuphase devices. I heard that with the After Hours by The Weeknd, or with the fantastic duo - Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela on the Rejoice.

    On this last album I again paid attention to the clarity and precision of the treble. If it were a product of any other company, it could end badly. But Heed has accustomed us to natural, not sterile sound. Thanks to the greater possibilities offered by the Lagrange format, as well as due to its higher price, giving the designers a greater range of possibilities, the company went even further, opening the treble without sharpening it. The sound is not so aggressive, it is not even bright. It's simply - open.

    So the Clannad’s LP album In A Lifetime sounded nice, I mean the farewell anthology of this Irish group. These are digitally remastered recordings and cut from files. They have a slightly shifted tonal balance towards the treble, and the first song has slightly distorted vocals in some moments. Heed showed it like it is, it didn't hide it behind the midrange - it is not a device that could hide anything. However, it did not get to the place where the sound would become annoying. I just listened to this album as it sounds hearing its downsides but appreciating its qualities too. What's more - I listened to the music, not the sound.

    In turn, when I cued in the Nat 'King' Cole’s LP with the analog-mastered album Just One Of Those Things I heard fullness, density, strong vocal. And something else - it had been a while since I enjoyed the tube sounding in the opening track so much. It had a great, low timbre and was simply clear - a thing that most amplifiers overlook. Every now and then there was also a light, but tangible (!) "p", captured during recording with the microphone, testifying to the naturalness of this amplifier's presentation.

    And all of this served with unrestricted dynamics. That's probably why the space is so expansive here. There is no clear emphasis on the instruments and vocals bodies, this is not a device of this type. There is still something else - a momentum, breath. Interestingly, it is similar to what I heard from the headphone output. It was a good sound and with the HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 headphones I got dynamic and open sound. I would, however, be looking for some warmer sounding design, say Audeze LCD-3, to complement the midrange a bit.


    I haven't heard such an open sound for a long time - not from the devices I tested. It is also dynamic and there is a great bass. The sound seems to be unrestricted and free of compression. It resembled what I heard with the Swiss X-quisite ST cartridge, costing 10,000 Euros - this is a similar type of sound philosophy.

    Timbre differentiation is incredible here, which in combination with fantastic differentiation in sound layers results in a sound in which a lot happens, in which there is a lot of information. It is an amplifier for those who want to feel excitement, nerve, buzz, and do not like brightening of the sound. You won’t get it with this amplifier - there will be openness and breath. If we get used to it, all other amplifiers will seem dimmed, almost broken. The amplifier fully deserves our RED Fingerprint.

    Front and rear | The Heed Lagrange amplifier is a heavy device with an extremely compact mechanical structure. Its housing is made of thick, bent steel sheets. From the front, an aluminum frame was screwed to them, with an acrylic, black plate placed under it. The white Heed logo shines through it, as well as the blue-ish display showing the selected input. Knobs to select the inputs and for volume control are made of aluminum.

    On the rear panel one finds good quality, gold-plated RCA sockets with a Teflon dielectric. Next to the phono input there is also a ground clamp. Extremely on the left side there is a covered slot that can fit in an optional DAC module. Gold-plated speaker terminals of high quality come from WBT. The IEC power socket is integrated with the fuse and above there is a mechanical power switch; the device has no standby mode. The amplifier features plastic feet. They are fixed using large screws, so they can easily be replaced with any other ones of user’s choice.

    Inside | The interior of the amplifier has been tightly filled. Small size is an advantage, but also exposes components to operation at high temperatures, and thus their lifespan is reduced. Heed Lagrange doesn't warm up too much as it has a large heat sink, so temperature shouldn't be a problem.

    The inside is divided into two parts - there is a power supply on one side of the heat sink, and amplifying circuits on the other. I was surprised to see separate transformers in the power supply for the power amplifier and preamplifier stages, and the latter has separate secondary windings for the left and right channels. Both toroidal transformers are very large and have their housings filled with resin, which dampens their vibrations. Next to it there is a bank of capacitors - they belong to the preamplifier power supply circuit.

    Two large capacitors for output stages, part of the Transcap circuit, were placed on the audio board, right next to the the output transistors. These are high quality Mundorf products from the M-Litic series, custom made for Heed Audio, which is confirmed by the inscription placed on them. I have just mentioned the problems of high temperature designers have to face - these capacitors have a specification at 105º C, and therefore higher than usual, so overheating is not an issue.

    The whole amplification circuit is a discreet design featuring transistors. The phono preamplifier occupies the biggest space - it is a serious in-built device, not an "add-on". There are polypropylene capacitors and precise resistors in it, and the same elements are used in the whole circuit. The output stages operate in a Darlington system, with two pairs of ON bipolar transistors per channel. They were screwed to a large aluminum plate and the latter to a heat sink.

    The input switching is handled by hermetic relays from Tamamisawa, and volume control by a large Alps potentiometer with a motor. Next to it there is a Bluetooth receiver module. This is a Roving chip, RN-52 model. Unfortunately, this model does not support hi-res signal (aptX HD).

    The whole internal design looks very neat, it is assembled professionally and with attention to even small details. What particularly attracts attention is the advanced, oversized power supply and precise components in the audio signal path. The phono preamplifier also looks great.

    Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

    Inputs: Line – 4 x RCA, phonostage – 1 x RCA, HT – 1 x RCA
    Outputs: line – 1 x RCA, loudspeaker
    Nominal output: 60 W/8 Ω | 100 W/4 Ω
    Nominal headphone output: max. 210 mV/75 Ω
    Input impedance: line - 10 kΩ | phonostage – 47 kΩ (100 pF)
    Power consumption: max. 600 W | idle – 20 W
    Dimensions (W x H x D): 430 x 90 x 345 mm
    Weight: 15 kg


    Reference system 2018

    1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
    2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
    3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
    4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
    5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
    6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
    7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


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    Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
    Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

    AC Power

    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
    Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
    Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
    Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
    Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
    Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
    Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


    Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
    Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
    Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

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    Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

    Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

    Record mats:


    Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

    Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC