Hegel H190 150w Integrated amp w Streaming DAC - Apple AirPlay/DLNA/Roon/Spotify

HL 09 IA H190
NZ$ 6,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Hegel Audio

Natural, Engaging, Dynamic musical experiance

New

Hegel presents the H190, an amp with DLNA streaming capabilities that can play music from any streaming platform including AirPlay. With configurable inputs, a high end DAC, and a front facing headphone output you can enjoy ease of use with ultimate sound quality. In anodised black aluminium with an oled display, the H190 is beautiful enough to be the centre piece in any system and powerful enough to drive almost any loudspeaker on the market.

With a dampening factor of over 4000, the H190 is powerful enough to drive almost any loudspeaker currently on the market, especially the big ones! Plug in your loudspeakers and start streaming music over AirPlay, incl Spotify Connect or any other DLNA streamer, quickly and easily. The high end DAC ensures precision decoding, providing the best foundation of sound for your entire set up. The 2x150 watt SoundEngine2 error cancelling amplifier prevents distortion and preserves the details and dynamic range in the original music signal.

The H190 also features a sturdy 6.3mm Headphone output that is front facing, so you can easily plug and unplug as your listening style changes over the course of a day. With powerful technology inside of a modern casing, the H190 is the Hegel embodiment of Powerful Design.

DUAL AMP
All Hegel audio amplifiers are using a new kind of distributed amplifier technology called DualAmp Technology. This technology is used in all integrated amplifiers and power amplifiers from Hegel. In normal audio amplifiers the voltage gain stages and current gain stages are combined in the same amplifier module. DualAmp Technology from Hegel separates the voltage gain stage and the current gain stage into two completely different stages. First the music signal goes to the voltage gain stage, amplifying only the voltage level of the music signal. By doing only voltage gain in this first stage, we can use amplifier building blocks that are specially designed to do voltage amplification. After the separate voltage gain stage, we have the current gain stage, doing only current gain and nothing else.
This way we can use amplifier blocks that are specially designed to do current gain. The current gain stage is needed to deliver a lot of current to the loudspeakers connected to the audio amplifier. By separating these two stages, we can keep the sensitive parts of the voltage gain stages away from the large speaker currents in the current output stage. The output of the voltage gain stage is connected to the input of the current gain stage. There is no feedback from the current gain stage to the voltage gain stage. The Hegel DualAmp technology gives lower total distortion and a higher dynamic range than normal audio amplifiers. The Hegel DualAmp technology is developed in-house by Hegel, and is only found in Hegel products.

DUAL POWER
Normal audio amplifiers are using the same power supply for the different amplifier blocks within the audio amplifier. The amplifier output stage driving the loudspeaker is using the same power supply as the crucial input stages and voltage gain stages of the audio amplifier. The large currents flowing in the connected loudspeakers will disturb the sensitive input and voltage gain stages of the audio amplifier. Hegel integrated amplifiers and power amplifiers are using completely separate DualPower power supplies for the input and voltage gain stages, and for the current output stages of the audio amplifier. The custom designed Hegel power transformers have got separate DualPower windings feeding independent high speed rectifiers and high capacity power supply capacitors.
By using the DualPower power supply technology Hegel amplifiers will prevent disturbances from the high currents flowing in the loudspeakers entering the sensitive input gain stages and voltage gain stages. The Hegel DualPower technology gives lower total distortion and a higher dynamic range than normal audio amplifiers. The Hegel DualPower technology is developed in-house by Hegel, and is only found in Hegel products.

ORGANIC SOUND
Good recordings are best enjoyed naked. The organic sound of Hegel means that all parts of a dynamic recording are reproduced exactly like the original. The quality of the sound coming out of your speakers are only limited by what happened in the recording studio. Nothing added, nothing taken out - no artificial ingredients. Music enjoyed on a Hegel system is the closest you can get to the live studio session. We are proud to present The Hegel Concept - the first music system in the world that utilizes the very latest technology from all related fields, like integrated circuitry, broadcasting technology and telecommunication. More than 10 years of research and development have made it possible to reproduce music in a more natural way than ever before.
Our goal is give music lovers the most natural and engaging listening experience possible. Real life sound from acoustic instruments and voices from known artists were our preferred reference point while developing Hegel, because nothing else would do.

SOUND ENGINE
It's a common fact: As a story is told from person to person, details change. Things are added, others lost. At some point, the story has changed. When a music signal is passing through an audio amplifier a similar effect will take place. As the signal is passed from stage to stage within the audio amplifier, the music signal will be changed by every single amplifier stage. When the music signal finally reaches your loudspeakers, the signal is different from the original music signal from the signal source. The Hegel SoundEngine local error cancelling system prevents distortion in the audio amplifier circuit stages, preserving the original details and the dynamic range in the original music signal. The end result is a much cleaner music signal with a larger dynamic range and lower distortion.
The unique and patented Hegel SoundEngine audio technology is combining the advantage of class AB-amplifier and the advantage of class A-amplifiers, without having the draw backs of class A and class AB-amplifier technologies. The SoundEngine Technology will cancel crossover distortion found in all types of class-AB amplifiers. The human ear is very sensitive to high frequency distortion components in the music signal. The Hegel SoundEngine technology will cancel high frequency distortion components found in normal types of audio amplifiers. The Hegel SoundEngine technology is not using any kind of global negative feedback, it is using local and adaptive feed forward technology if there should ever be any need for cancellation of distortion within the audio amplifier stages.

SYNCHRO DAC
Almost all HiFi CD Players today are using asynchronous upsampling to convert digital audio data to analog audio. Hegel found that using this kind of asynchronous converter technology will convert jitter error into amplitude error, giving less than optimal sound quality. The Hegel CD Players are using a new digital to analog conversion technology called synchronised upsampling. This new technology gives higher resolution and less distortion, giving a high sound quality. The SynchroDAC technology is used together with the Direct MasterClock technology to keep jitter error and digital to analog conversion errors to a minimum. This will give a cleaner sound and a higher resolution than normal CD Player DAC technology.
The syncroDAC converter technology is using true balanced signal processing to preserve highest possible dynamic range and to reduce distortion. Hegel has done a lot of research to be able to design the DAC converter boards in-house to convert the digital audio data into high resolution analog audio from the CDs. To be able to design the CD DAC converter boards in the best possible way requires a lot of deep technical knowledge in the fields of low noise analog electronics, high frequency electronics, signal processing electronics and advanced circuit board layout techniques.

USB
The USB connector found on Hegel amplifiers and digital to analogue converters opens a whole new world for music and movie lovers. This functionality allows you to easily connect your Hegel product to any computer with a reasonably new Windows or Mac Os operating system installed. The most common Linux systems will also work. The Hegel USB technology is actually a computer sound card, or audio controller if you like. With the Hegel product connected, all sounds usually played through your computer will now be played through the Hegel. This means that, unlike let's say a music streamer, a Hegel DAC will not only play your music files, but also any sounds that come out of the computer, including Youtube videos or Skype chats.

What can it play? The Hegel will, when connected take over all sounds. This means you can play music, video, computer games, internet radio or hear the occasional "ding" when you press and hold the Windows ANY-key for too long. Everything with superb Hegel sound. The major benefit is noise reduction. Inside a computer you have all kinds of noise generating equipment. And especially the very low-gain analogue signal is very exposed to noise inside a computer. So just moving the sound card out of the computer gives a real benefit. So what is so special about the Hegel sound card? Well, it is not like computer manufacturers have not tried to do their best for years. And many of our competitors have tried doing great separate sound cards too, these last couple of years. The special thing with Hegel is that we do real life experiments. For example we found that the DAC-chip it self only had limited importance. The implementation of it, however, had a major impact on the sound. Compared to any other external USB sound card you will find the Hegel more quiet, more dynamic and with less distortion.

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Specifications

Power output 2 x 150W in 8 Ohms, 2 x 250W in 4 Ohms
Minimum load 2 ohms
Analog Inputs 1 x balanced (XLR), 2 x unbalanced (RCA)
Digital Inputs 1 x coaxial S/PDIF, 3 x optical S/PDIF, 1 x USB, 1 x Network
Line level Output 1 x unbalanced fixed (RCA), 1 x unbalanced variable (RCA)
Frequency response 5Hz-100kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio More than 100dB
Crosstalk Less than -100dB
Distortion Less than 0.01% @ 25W 8 Ohms 1kHz
Intermodulation Less than 0.01% (19kHz + 20kHz)
Damping factor More than 4000
Dimensions 12cm x 43cm x 41cm (HxWxD), 
Shipment weight 19kg

Reviews

Listening with the H190 was an absolute pleasure, and it drew out qualities in recordings I’d previously overlooked. I’d certainly want to own one, and recommend it highly to anyone looking for a powerful, network-capable integrated amplifier.
Al Griffin

SUMMARY: with its new H190, Hegel Music Systems gives you more and better: twice the Röst’s power and, with SoundEngine2, wider dynamic range and a higher damping factor. The H190’s inclusion of AirPlay, DLNA, and soon Spotify Connect will make it sufficient to meet most streaming needs, while its support of Control4 makes it a great option for environments with a home control system.

But the clincher is the sound. Listening with the H190 was an absolute pleasure, and it drew out qualities in recordings I’d previously overlooked. I’d certainly want to own one, and recommend it highly to anyone looking for a powerful, network-capable integrated amplifier. The H190 is just one more example of a revelation I’ve had with Hegel.

EXTENDED REVIEW: In 2017, when I reviewed the Hegel Music Systems Röst integrated amplifier , the experience was revelatory in several ways. The main eye-opener was the Röst’s sound, which was notably dynamic for a 75Wpc integrated amp, and presented a strikingly clear window on whatever music I played. Another revelation was that a modestly powered amplifier could comfortably drive any speaker I paired it with.

I was also surprised to find that the Röst’s relatively basic feature set served my needs, a topic I wrote about last August in an editorial, “The Röst Reconsidered .” As stated by the company’s head software engineer, Joakim Jacobsen, in a recent SoundStage! InSight video, simplicity is a conscious strategy for Hegel: “We don’t build our amplifiers around computers . . . because the computer will [become] obsolete very quickly, and so will the features we might have put on there.”

The H190, the latest integrated amplifier from Hegel, could be characterized as a next-generation Röst. It has many of the same features, including network connectivity via wired Ethernet, AirPlay, and DLNA, as well as support for a Control4 home automation system. (According to Hegel, Spotify Connect will be implemented in the H190 in a future firmware update.) Like the Röst, it provides a USB Type-B port for a computer hookup to its 24-bit/192kHz-capable DAC, and either of its analog inputs can be configured as a fixed, high-level home-theater bypass.

The main difference between the two Hegels is that the H190 can output 150Wpc into 8 ohms -- twice the power of the Röst. Like the Röst, it includes SoundEngine2, an enhanced version of Hegel’s “feed-forward” amplifier topology that, according to chief designer Bent Holter, provides increased dynamic range with a lower noise floor. Another benefit of SoundEngine2 is a high damping factor -- important for woofer control -- which in the H190 gets a boost to over 4000.

To make space for a bigger power transformer than the one used in the Röst, the H190’s case is taller and deeper: 16.93”W x 7.72”H x 16.15”D. The color options are black and, becoming available around May 2018, white. With just a large OLED display bounded on either side by knobs for input selection and volume control, the H190’s front panel retains the simple, elegant design of Hegel’s other integrateds. The only other thing on the front panel is a 6.3mm headphone output. The H190 weighs 41.9 pounds.

On the H190’s rear panel are audio inputs: analog unbalanced (two RCA) and balanced (two XLR), and four digital (three optical, one coaxial). Also here are USB and Ethernet ports, alongside a set of high-quality speaker outputs that accommodate spade lugs, banana jacks, pins, and bare wire. Last come a power-cord inlet, and fixed and variable analog outputs (RCA).

As with the Röst, Hegel bundles with the H190 its RC8 remote control, made of solid aluminum and with buttons to control track playback on a connected computer, along with standard functions such as source selection and volume adjustment. IR range was good, with enough power for me to bounce signals off the front wall of my room. I particularly liked how the H190 responds to a Mute command from the remote: instead of switching off abruptly, the volume level fades to silence.

Setup and use

I connected the H190 to my home network using a powerline adapter and Ethernet cable. I then connected it to a Pioneer BDP-88FD universal BD player’s coaxial digital and analog RCA outputs. The speakers I mostly used were GoldenEar Technology Triton Five towers, with MartinLogan Motion 20 towers briefly swapped in to test the Hegel’s handling of speakers with a 4-ohm impedance. For a DLNA input I used JRiver Media Center 21 running on a MacBook Pro. AirPlay sources included Apple Music and Tidal.

Sound

I began my listening by comparing the H190’s DAC with the one in the Pioneer universal BD player I use as a reference for CD playback. With “Barfly,” from Ray LaMontagne’s Till the Sun Turns Black (CD, RCA 83328), the Hegel easily revealed the detail in the singer’s breathy voice, and I heard a clear separation between his voice and that of the female backing singer. With the Pioneer handling the decoding, both voices sounded a bit flatter and less distinct. The Hegel also brought the brushed snare forward, making this track more appealing than the Pioneer’s more recessed presentation of the drum.

Streaming “Four Cypresses,” from Grizzly Bear’s Painted Ruins (16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC, RCA/Tidal), gave me a good demonstration of the H190’s dynamic capabilities. The martial snare-drum rhythm that opens this track was crisp and finely textured, and towered hugely in the mix. Other times I’ve listened to this song recently, the arrangement seemed too dense, but the Hegel drew out its various elements -- voices, synths, an arpeggiated guitar riff -- in an orderly manner. Loud washes of electric guitar in the song’s mid-section also had a powerful presence, sounding clean and unstrained as they slashed through the mix.

The H190’s power and precision were also on display with the title track of Traffic’s Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (16/44.1 FLAC, Island/Tidal). The piano and bass guitar sounded effortlessly smooth, as did Steve Winwood’s soulful lead vocal. Against this background, subtle percussive elements such as conga drums and handclaps vividly stood out, creating a 3D-like layering. Similar to the guitars in the Grizzly Bear track, the keyboard solo about six minutes in had a strikingly resonant quality, and I could push the volume up without hearing strain or harshness.

To get a sense of the Hegel’s handling of bass, I next played War Anthem, from Max Richter’s Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works (16/44.1 FLAC, Deutsche Grammophon/Tidal). The H190’s presentation of the movement’s low, rumbling percussion was deep and authoritative. Against this, the strings sounded textured and expansive, with a distinct sense of air around a solo cello that isolated it in space and drew it forward in the mix. Here, again, I heard no hint of strain, even as the track drew to its loud, somewhat explosive climax.

Comparison

Hegel’s own Röst has served as a reference for other integrated amplifier reviews on Simplifi, so it seemed natural to compare the H190 with it. While both models have a similar sonic signature, I felt that the H190 delivered more headroom and control. For example, in Ray LaMontagne’s “Barfly,” the bass guitar had slightly more extension and definition. The drums in the intro of “Four Cypresses” had an expanded presence, with more subtle detail in the snare-drum rolls. The foundation laid down by the low percussion in Richter’s War Anthem seemed more solid through the H190, the sense of air around the cello even more vivid.

Did I prefer the H190 to the Röst? Both sounded great in my room, though the effortlessness of the H190’s sound was compelling. I’d also choose it for use with difficult-to-drive speakers. The H190 proved a better match for the MartinLogan Motion 20s, for instance, which seemed to spark to life when fed extra power. However, with a sensitive speaker like the GoldenEar Triton Fives, or my Triton Twos with their powered subwoofer sections, the Röst would be more than adequate.

Conclusion

With its new H190, Hegel Music Systems gives you more and better: twice the Röst’s power and, with SoundEngine2, wider dynamic range and a higher damping factor. The H190’s inclusion of AirPlay, DLNA, and soon Spotify Connect will make it sufficient to meet most streaming needs, while its support of Control4 makes it a great option for environments with a home control system.

But the clincher is the sound. Listening with the H190 was an absolute pleasure, and it drew out qualities in recordings I’d previously overlooked. I’d certainly want to own one, and recommend it highly to anyone looking for a powerful, network-capable integrated amplifier. The H190 is just one more example of a revelation I’ve had with Hegel.
.... . . Al Griffin