Hegel H390 Sound Quality

Hear only stories about welles nietus with regard to Roon, weird it’s all about how an amplifier sounds.
Bought the Hegel H390 for its sound quality, now play Roon with the ifi Zen Stream, with good power supply, via USB directly on the DAC of the H390, and think the sound is great!! Have compared this amp in its price range with competitors but found none. I don’t find the character of the sound by any means with other amplifiers, they are often much too soft and warm in the sound.


This is how i regard my H390 as well, a great amplifier and use it with a RPi2 /DietPi on USB.
I do not have a fanboy relationship with it, or hegel for that matter, though.

How does the dutch “welles nietus” translates to english?! :wink:

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Welles Nietus, continuously for or against. I think it’s about the sound and not directly about what he can do. A lot of stuffed ■■■■ here about Hegel cheating with regard to Roon. Then buy a Nad M33, everything is possible!!!, the sound is much less than with the H390.

Loan an RME Adi 2 DAC from someone. Or any other well respected DAC. Then you can truly see the difference between the really poor dac of Hegel and a good one. It was quite revealing to me personally


kidding sure, we already compared, crappy DAC, even the ifi Zen DAC V2 already sounds better. DAC in the H390 is certainly not bad, can always be better at more cost, eg Denafrips Pontus 2. But with RME dac you do not get much!

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I think sweeping statements like this aren’t helpful. Not all Hegel DAC’s are created equal, so a little qualification would help! The DAC in the H390 is I believe not the same as in the H590, for example.

Honestly at $6000-$7000usd (cost of the h390) most amps from decent companies sound really good. I generally try to encourage people to go and audition for themselves regardless of what the reviewers and bloggers say. If someone were to do this with an open mind I believe they would quickly see that Hegel isn’t special. In fact it’s kinda mediocre once you listen to the competition. The value proposition of the Hegel system was an all in one box, but for many of us who now need two or three in order to get the promised functionality that value is completely lost. In many cases it’s costing us more. Furthermore, I don’t think Hegel is working hard on this problem. I think they are stalling to get frustrated users to sell… as many of us have. If they really wanted to, Hegel could have replaced the cheap Chinese streaming / DAC cards in the past four years but they just don’t want to do this.

As far as the censorship goes… I’ve seen the ChiFi issue being heavily censored by Hegel. Try asking them directly about their mislabeled products and Chinese components. See how far you get.

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I believe the streaming / DAC cards are identical on both the 390 and 590.

The RME dac is great .

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When someone tells you that the ifi Zen DAC V2 sounds better than the Hegel one, but the RME does not sound better you know that arguing with that person is a waste of time :slight_smile:


unless you have blind tested NAD M33 and Hegel with their output levels matched by a voltmeter, then your claims of different sound should be dismissed as complete hogwash.

Hegel amps having any special sound is just fantasy in the minds of Hegel fanboys.

EDIT: looks like part of the “community” has found my post off-topic. I am just going to quote directly the post I replied to so there is context as to how this tangent about sound quality started:

I think it’s about the sound and not directly about what he can do. A lot of stuffed ■■■■ here about Hegel cheating with regard to Roon. Then buy a Nad M33, everything is possible!!!, the sound is much less than with the H390.


Okay, amplifiers having “special” sound is not only a “hegel fanboy” privilege.
The amp you have has certainly a special sound for you as well, please stop bashing with arguments that are so subjective.
The topic is “Hegel Roon Ready status statement”, bash or rather discuss that.

i am not a fanboy but happen to have a H390 (willing to sell or trade)

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have you ever blind tested two level matched, similarly powered amps with more or less flat frequency responses, adequate damping factor and distortion and noise smaller than audible levels? I have, and I can tell you I couldn’t tell them apart. My partner is a musician and has near perfect pitch and she couldn’t tell them apart either.


Absolutely. There is far too much bs in the hifi world and we must start to dismantle it one truthful statement at a time.

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I’ve split out the tangent to it’s own topic.


Be careful man. The Hegel youth are after you.

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Show me your measurements of sound stage depth and instrument separation.

you show me yours? you are confused about burden of proof.

That sort of psycho-acoustic inter aural perception mechanism cant be directly measured - foolish if you think so - but differing channel crosstalk measurements and masking effects due to different higher level distortion components can well help explain these perceived differences.

Watch John Darko’s video review of the NAD M33 in which he specifically compares with the Hegel 390. As he notes, NAD is airier and more transparent, the Hegel meatier. It’s a matter of taste. I have the M33 and the sound quality is excellent, used with Harbeth SHL5plus XD speakers in my case. Just as Darko says, an incredibly clear, transparent look into the music, and it not only works with Roon but with BluOS and Dirac room correction. And less expensive than the Hegel.

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