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Roon Readiness comes to the Hegel H120, H190

  • It’s been a long road for Hegel’s software development team adding Roon Readiness to the majority of the Norwegian company’s streaming amplifiers. And the associated end-user patience is about to pay off. From today, an over-the-air firmware update adds Roon Ready support to the H120 and H190. Instructions on how to apply the firmware update can be found here.

    The upshot? Roon’s own RAAT transmission protocol will call the shots on all Roon streams, asynchronously and with hi-res support. For Tidal users, MQA Masters also enter the fray. Roon’s รผber-thorough certification process also means that streams will be free from glitches (local network conditions notwithstanding). Here’s our video coverage of the H190 (with Eclipse loudspeakers) from June 2018, just before we at Darko.Audio made the jump from embedding Vimeo videos in written reviews to a full YouTube commitment:

    This news announcement being specific to the H120 and H190 will understandably trigger some whataboutery: “What about the H390?” “What about the H590?”. Their collective omission from Hegel’s press release suggests that Roon Ready status for the bigger Hegel integrateds has yet to be finalised. That certification will be (Roon) ready when it’s (Roon) ready and Hegel will dispatch a press release when the time comes.

    For anyone not yet hip to Roon basics, a typical setup involves three components: the server (called ‘Core’), a streaming endpoint and a (remote) controller to call the shots.

    Roon Core optionally integrates Tidal and Qobuz and runs on MacOS, Windows or Linux as well as QNAP or Synology NAS drives. Alternatively, a very specific NUC hardware configuration permits the installation of Roon Rock, a Linux-based OS that optimises the Core’s performance on dedicated Intel hardware. Check out our step-by-step video setup guide for that here; and 10 more thoughts on the same here. For those who have more disposable income than free time, Roon offers the Nucleus: Rock OS running on that same NUC but stripped of its cooling fan and fitted into a ribbed metal chassis for passive cooling and a server that doubles as a Philippe Starck-esque design object.

    The Roon Remote app (or Roon’s MacOS / Windows variants) takes care of remote control, instructing the Core to stream music to the Roon endpoint directly. In today’s case, that’s a Hegel H120 or Hegel H190.

    H390 and H590 owners unable to wait for Roon Readiness to land on their amplifiers should consider a Raspberry Pi-based Roon Ready streamer with a 7″ touchscreen as an interim outboard solution. A streamer that can be repurposed as a now playing screen for the Hegel amplifier’s Roon Ready streams when the time comes.

    Further information: Hegel Music Systems

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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