H390 Distortion

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

G2Digital nuc / Debian / i3-5010U / 4GB / Roon 1.7 (Build 555)

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

Ubiquiti USG → Unifi Switch 8 → Hegel h390

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

Hegel H390

Description Of Issue

I hear distortion when the Signal path is to the H390.
I don’t hear distortion when the Signal path is to a Sonos AMP.

Please hear recording here. Baring in mind it was recorded with an iPhone.

The type of distortion to listen for is tiny crackling/popping which happens after each note.
(Use headphones if you can’t hear it)

Signal path



For diagnostics I have tried using a Macbook Pro as the Core to rule out the NUC. And the distortion remains. That helps narrow it down somewhat.

So the problem

  • isn’t the NUC
  • isn’t the Recording
  • isn’t the route from the NUC to the Hegel

…any help appreciated!

How is Roon sending to the H390? AirPlay? Chromecast? Or are you one of the lucky few to have the beta RAAT support?

You can see the Signal path in the above image. It is Airplay. (Not a lucky one :laughing:)

I see no image in the original post… Edit: nm, it was hidden behind a collapsable.

Since it’s a NUC, should be fairly easy to move it around for testing. What if you connect it directly to the H390 via USB? Do you still get the distortion?

AirPlay isn’t exactly great…

Seems like a logical next step. I will try and report back.

Yeh, USB is fine.

So it must be something to do with Hegel’s custom Airplay implementation :thinking:

Hi @amk221,

Are you using the latest firmware on the Hegel? Do you experience the same issue if you try to output to the Hegel via iTunes Airplay or an iOS device?

:wave:t2:Hi @noris. Yes, I’m using the latest firmware.

I experience the same issue (but to a much lesser extent, almost inaudible) when played via iTunes’s airplay.

Hi @amk221,

Thanks for checking. Since the issue occurs with just iTunes alone (even if to a lesser extent), this might be an issue with the Hegel itself, I would suggest looping in the Hegel support team on this matter. I’ll also reach out to our hardware team to see if they have this device in-house and can provide any further context for this issue.

Hi @amk221,

I spoke to our hardware team regarding this issue, and since this issue occurs both in Roon and in iTunes, it would be best to reach out to Hegel directly regarding this issue, as we do not have visibility into how your Hegel handles the Airplay communication internally.

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Thanks. I want to try one more thing first. Macbook as core direct to hegel via ethernet

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Confirmed. Distortion still exists going direct:

Macbook Pro → Ethernet (Airplay) → Hegel H390

…but just to re-iterate, it’s way worse through Roon.

Starting to think this is a Roon thing. I tried again with:

iTunes → Airplay → minuscule distortion, but only really present when adjusting volume
Spotify → Airplay → no distortion
Roon → Airplay → very clear distortion

Anybody knows when Hegel will release the Roon ready update?


I have a similar crackling distortion and connection drops with my H590 / Roon setup and I’m still testing but it seems like it was related to bad Ethernet cables. I’d suggest making sure you have good quality CAT6 instead of the CAT5e or CAT5 which ship with older hardware.

My setup is:

UniFi switch
Paradigm Persona speakers.

In my case the distortion was as follows:

Roon —-> H590 (Airplay) barely noticeable but present in some songs
Roon —-> Node2i —-> H590 (Coax or RCA) very noticeable (this is where I found the bad Ethernet and I need to retest).

I’m going to replace all with CAT6 and will I’ll let you know once I finish testing.

Let me know how it goes with your troubleshooting, I’ll be happy to compare notes.

Please don’t hijack the thread, there are other posts about future Hegel updates.
I really want to get this solved.

I’m already using CAT 6a, and I’m not a big subscriber to the belief that they would introduce this type of distortion.

Besides, cables have already been ruled out of the equation, because streaming from apps like iTunes and Spotify yield less/none distortion. And, if you see my previous message you’ll notice I tested the same route with a Sonos AMP, and that was fine.

But thank you for chiming in!

Hi @amk221,

Just to confirm here, you were using the Airplay functionality in the Sonos AMP or using the Sonos Roon protocol?

If the airplay input on the Sonos exhibits the same behavior, that would be an interesting data point to have, but if it’s just the Hegel, then as I mentioned we have no visibility on what the Hegel is doing internally with Airplay and it would be best to reach out to Hegel for clarification.

We’re not seeing widespread reports of Airplay issues and the Airplay devices we have tested do not exhibit this issue, so it is very likely specific to your Hegel, meaning the manufacturer should be in the best position to help you here.

@noris Thanks.

That’s right…

Roon → Airplay → Sonos = no distortion
iTunes → Airplay → Sonos = no distortion
Roon → Airplay → Hegel = distortion
iTunes → Airplay → Hegel = ever so minor distortion
Spotify → Airplay → Hegel = no distortion

I have emailed Hegel.

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Use headphones.