Hegel Design Flaw?


I recently had an unfortunate experience with a Hegel H20 power amp. And I know of someone who had a problem with a Hegel integrated a couple of years ago. This leads me to believe there may be a hidden design flaw with some Hegel products. Has anyone else had problems with Hegel?
sabai
2 problems does not sound like a trend to me. Do you have a reason to believe the two problems are similar and related to the design, as opposed to a bad part/batch of parts or a slip up in QA/QC?
Swampwalker,

Certainly not a trend. A rare but possible flaw. I have no indication of exactly what may be happening here and if these 2 cases are related. It just seems odd to me since the Hegel head office were not only dismissive but "me thinks he doth protest too much". What's the point if there is indeed nothing wrong? This sent out a warning flag, in my mind, that there may be something going on that is not being acknowledged.
2 bad units out of their entire production run of several years hardly sounds like the stuff conspiracies are made of. I do think you protest too much...

-RW-
I'm sorry, but this has to qualify as one of the most ridiculous threads ever. First of all, if the OP is not stating what the "flaw" is, how could anyone weigh in on whether it is a malfunction or possible operator error? I agree that 2 out of thousands doesn't sound like a trend. Also, why is this posted under "cables"?
Sabai - Do you know of any manufacturer that has never had a problem/failure?
Why is this posted on the Cables Forum?
Since 4 of my replies have been declined I would like to let posters know that I have not ignored their comments.
:

Post #1.

Rlwainwright,

Kindly note that I did not state or infer “conspiracy”. I stated “a rare but possible flaw”. Please read my post carefully. Also, please note that I am not protesting here. My OP is in the form of a simple question — “Hegel Design Flaw?”. And my text simply asks “Has anyone else had problems with Hegel?”

Peter_s,

I have no idea why this is under cables. An error somewhere, obviously. The flaw is one channel producing distorted sound or no sound at all. Kindly note that I did not say or infer a trend. I simply stated “a rare but possible flaw”. Please read my post carefully.

Post #2.

Xti16,

Your point is obvious. But that was not my question.

Post #3.

Xti16,

The surprise was that they refused to stand behind their product — with vehemence. Which led me to believe there may be something going on here.
Without saying what your problem is, nor providing a history of your interaction with Hegel you raise the issue of "design flaw". It's a loaded question and suggests that you could have some hidden agenda at work. Do you?
Onhwy61,

No hidden agenda at all. Just wanting to hear from folks about any similar problems.

Sorry it was not posted -- I stated the problem in an earlier post that was deleted. The problem was one channel producing distorted sound or no sound at all. Hegel first hung up on me calling my case "bulls**t". Then they agreed to talk to me to try to help "in whatever way we can". But after 45 minutes on the phone with their customer service manager they refused to help -- in any way.

I was astounded by Hegel's response. I have never had such an experience with any other audio company. In all the years of dealing with dozens of audio companies I have been thorough only one similar case. This was years ago with an AMR DAC. They finally admitted there were 2 design flaws and they stood behind their product 100%.
Onhwy61,

With all due respect, I don't feel my question is loaded. It is simply a query.

I have a follow-up question. Has anyone had any experience dealing with Hegel customer service?
I'm with Peter S. I thought this thread had been deleted, and now I see that, unfortunately, it's still "alive." The title of the thread is simply begging the question.

FWIW, a friend of mine has had a number of Hegel integrated amps and has nothing but rave reviews of their products AND customer service.
I have a Hegel H-30 amp, and only have enjoyed and experienced outstanding customer service. I love my amp, and it produces great sound, I feel its a good value..occasionally some components fail on almost all manufacturers gear..I feel my Hegel has been very reliable and well built. Sorry you are having problems, and a different outcome. Has your dealer been helpful? How old is your amp?
Mribob,

Whenever products work as expected then talking about not standing behind the product or not giving good customer service is a moot point. But when things go wrong that's when you may find out things you would rather not have found out.

You stated, "... occasionally some components fail on almost all manufacturers gear." I agree. As I stated earlier, what I am reporting must be a rare failure. But when it does happen -- as your post indicates, these things do happen with all manufacturers -- one would expect at least a modicum of courtesy, sympathy and respect from the manufacturer after paying many thousands of dollars for their product. One would also expect the manufacturer to stand behind their product. Before this case I had never seen any manufacturer who, when things turned bad, refused to take any responsibility and were abusive to the customer. These are the only points I am trying to make here.
Couple years ago I bought brand new Hegel amp (HS4A). from the first time I plugged it in, it started to develop smell coming from the unit. In spite of my concerns and complains, Hegel kept saying it is normal and nothing should be done. Eventually (after about 400 hours of use with smell still present) I sold this amp.
Denon1,

Thanks for posting your story about Hegel. I find it interesting that this happened to you -- and that Hegel had an excuse not to back their product, as in my own case. You have confirmed something important here regarding Hegel, IMO.

Their excuse in my case: they insisted there was something wrong with my system -- that it was impossible there was a problem with their amp! They said I needed to dismantle my system to find out what was preventing the H20 from integrating with it. I found this very strange. In all the years, I have never had a single problem with "integrating" any component from any other company. And that means dozens of components from dozens of well-known companies.
Sorry it was not posted -- I stated the problem in an earlier post that was deleted. The problem was one channel producing distorted sound or no sound at all. Hegel first hung up on me calling my case "bulls**t". Then they agreed to talk to me to try to help "in whatever way we can". But after 45 minutes on the phone with their customer service manager they refused to help -- in any way.
Have you tried not running the H20 in a series with the Atma-Sphere S30 and Paul Speltz ZERO-Autoformers?
I'm frequently astonished that in this age of forums and nearly instant posting of customer opinions of things that manufacturers aren't aware of how this stuff can mess with their reputation…and cost 'em…can Hegel afford bad publicity? They're reviewed by the audio press as soon as the paint is dry on any new piece of gear with nearly unanimous praise for their designs…and should jump on any complaints like their business depended on it…which it does.
Wolf, I agree with your point (it's in Hegel's best business interests to quickly address such complaints) BUT I find Sabai's vagueness about the exact nature of the complaint that Hegel "vehemently" declined to address as curious. I'm guessing if it were clearly described here, Hegel's refusal might appear more understandable. In the absence of additional facts, my O-pinion at this point is that, not getting the desired response from Hegel, the original post was written in an attempt to pay them back by generating some bad press. Of course, I could be completely misreading the situation. Been wrong before, I'm sure it'll happen again.
Knghifi,

I did not run the H20 in series.

Wolf_garcia,

I agree. I am astonished that Hegel did not make any attempt at all to help out. It perplexes me why they would simply walk away from their own product.

Ghosthouse,

I agree that "it's in Hegel's best business interests to quickly address such complaints". With all due respect, I believe I was clear about what happened. I stated in an earlier post, above, that "The flaw is one channel producing distorted sound or no sound at all."
Did you purchase new or used? From a dealer or private party? With a factory warranty, third-party warranty or no warranty at all?

Until you provide that information, it's going to be a hard sell convincing anyone you got screwed.
Sabai, thanks for providing some additional info. I think you would have been more accurate and got better responses if you had titled the thread something along the lines of "Anyone having problems with Hegel customer service?" Hope you get your issue resolved.
Sabai - I apologize. I had forgotten you had provided that additional info. Do agree with Onhwy61 however about a less provocative title for the thread. I have an H200 purchased used on A'gon. It has given no problems at all. Simply because I do like it so much, I am planning to send it to the Hegel authorized service center below for a check up. Maybe this will be of use to you.

Approved Audio Service, Inc.
49 Commons Dr.
Litchfield, CT 06759
VOICE 860-567-5801
FAX 928-222-9493
www.approvedaudioservice.com
08-21-15: Denon1
Couple years ago I bought brand new Hegel amp (HS4A). from the first time I plugged it in, it started to develop smell coming from the unit. In spite of my concerns and complains, Hegel kept saying it is normal and nothing should be done. Eventually (after about 400 hours of use with smell still present) I sold this amp.
If purchased new, why didn't you ask dealer for a refund or exchange for another one?

08-22-15: Sabai
Knghifi,

I did not run the H20 in series.
Just checking ... maybe you should. LOL!

Seriously, if purchased new, I would work with the dealer.

If use, is it possible you purchased a damaged H20 or got damaged in transit? I would contact your local Hegel importer for the nearest authorized Hegel repair facility and have it checked out. It's possible just defective parts and not a design flaw.

IMO, creating a thread "Hegel Design Flaw?" is preponderance before gathering all the facts.

I have a H30 and have exchanged emails with Magnus Holhjem of Hegel in Sweden and he's been very helpful. All my questions were answered in a timely manner.
Onhwy61,

You're very welcome. You make a good point.

Ghosthouse,

No problem. Thank you very much, but I live overseas. I have been up up against the wall for months. With a defective unit and no help from Hegel I had to make a difficult decision. I have sold the H20 back to the dealer -- at a large loss.
Arghh...OK - well I can certainly better appreciate your dissatisfaction now! Could the dealer not help you find a remedy? Sorry you had that experience. Hope whatever you are running now serves you better.
Knghifi and Ghosthouse,

I tried to work with Hegel and the dealer for months. They would not budge. Both insisted there must be something wrong with my system. They insisted I eliminate whatever was preventing the H20 from integrating with my system. The only problem is there is nothing wrong with my system. This was a Catch-22 for me. There was really only one possible decision.
Are you sure it's the Hegel? I had that problem once and it turned out to be an interconnect.
Abucktwoeighty,

It is certainly not the inconnects. I use Anti-Cables, Furutech, Shunyata and Elrod interconnnects.
Did you bring the amp back to the dealer and have them run it in one of their systems? That would have shown whether the issues was with the amp or something else.
I own a Hegel H200 which I love. That being said, I don't doubt your experience one bit and I'm baffled why any of the Audiogon members would question you. I've read interviews with the designer and he's a total narcissist.
P95teitel,
Great idea there!
J.
P59teitel,

I have just recently sold the H20 back to the dealer -- at a large loss.

Donjr,

Thank you for your sympathetic post. Your observation about the designer may explain a lot regarding how I was treated by two of Hegel's employees.
So your dealer not only would not help, but only offered you partial money back? Why aren't you outing the dealer's name in addition to Hegel?
Hi Sabai,
I am completely puzzled that you have sold back the amp at a huge loss without bringing it back to be hooked up in the dealer's system to show that it was the amp itself and not your system that was at fault. Incredible, man!
J.
I tried to work with Hegel and the dealer for months. They would not budge. Both insisted there must be something wrong with my system. They insisted I eliminate whatever was preventing the H20 from integrating with my system. The only problem is there is nothing wrong with my system. This was a Catch-22 for me. There was really only one possible decision.
Sabai, did you try H20 with another preamp, bypass pre and go direct from DS to the amp or not run your ICs in a series? Probably just an incompatible with your pre ...

I am completely puzzled that you have sold back the amp at a huge loss without bringing it back to be hooked up in the dealer's system to show that it was the amp itself and not your system that was at fault. Incredible, man!
+1. If purchased from a dealer, just return it so puzzled with HUGE LOSS.
Jon2020,

I live in a remote part of Asia. It was shipped to me here and I had no alternative but to ship it back and take what they would give me for it. They would not give the 30-day guarantee that is usually standard with Hegel dealers.

P59teitel,

The dealer did as much as he felt he could under the circumstances after claiming there was nothing wrong with the unit. I was between a rock and a very hard place. I really had no other choice but to take what he would give me.

Knghifi,

I tried bypassing the pre. No luck. I do not run ICs in series anymore. So that was not an issue.

The dealer claimed there was nothing wrong with the unit. He claimed there was something wrong with my system. Hegel claimed the same thing. The only difference here was that Hegel was abusive where he was never abusive. There is nothing wrong with my system. There has never been a single glitch with my system in all the years. It runs flawlessly.

I have replaced the Hegel H20 with my Atma-Sphere S-30 that was unavailable for a while. No problem with Ralph Karsten's great product. Ralph has always backed his product 100% and has always been a terrific gentleman -- in contrast with Hegel. When you pay that kind of money for a component you expect, at the very least, that the company will stand behind their product and that you will be treated well.
Sabai, some questions, which regardless of the answers should not be interpreted as any kind of excuse for the poor behavior of the manufacturer and dealer. I see that you use a Rel T3 sub in your system. How did you have it connected when the Hegel was in the system?

The Hegel is a fully balanced amp, and its negative output terminals therefore have a full amplitude signal on them, as opposed to being grounded. Therefore if you connected the T3's speaker-level inputs to the amplifier outputs, including the ground wire from the T3, it could very conceivably have caused the symptom you have described, depending on the internal grounding configurations of the sub and the amplifier. It might have even caused damage to the amp.

Also, if you connected the sub at line-level, what preamp or other component were you connecting it to, and were the connections between that component, the sub, and the Hegel balanced or unbalanced, and by any chance did you use an XLR to RCA adapter or adapter cable for the connection to the sub?

Regards,
-- Al
Almarg,

The REL was connected to the speaker binding posts via the Synergistic Research REL cable.

My system is fully balanced from wall to speakers.
08-24-15: Sabai
Almarg,

The REL was connected to the speaker binding posts via the Synergistic Research REL cable.

My system is fully balanced from wall to speakers.
Unless you initially tried the Hegel prior to ever connecting it to the REL and found the symptoms to occur at that time, it seems quite conceivable to me that connecting the ground wire from the REL to one of the negative output terminals of the amp could have caused the symptoms you described, or possibly even damage. As I said in my previous post, it depends on the internal grounding configuration of both the amp and the sub.

Do you happen to recall, btw, if the channel in which the problem appeared was the same channel to which the ground wire from the REL was connected?

And if, as it appears, you are presently doing the same with your fully balanced S-30, and that works well, it's one more reason for kudos to Ralph/Atmasphere.

Regards,
-- Al
I do not run ICs in series anymore. So that was not an issue.
So you FINALLY see (hear) the light? I guess there's hope for you afterall. LOL!

Nothing wrong with Atmasphere but now you need an amp that can drive your speakers to its potential.
Almarg,

I connected the REL and the H20 together. The ground wire was attached to the left channel. The problem was the sound coming out of the right speaker. So, the REL could not have caused this problem.

Even supposing the REL may have been the culprit in some hidden way, why would the dealer or Hegel not ask about sub connections and make appropriate suggestions instead of saying I needed to dismantle my system? Surely, this problem would have shown up earlier with thousands of Hegel products out there, some of which must surely be attached to REL subs. I think it is clear that the REL was a moot point.
08-25-15: Sabai
I connected the REL and the H20 together. The ground wire was attached to the left channel. The problem was the sound coming out of the right speaker. So, the REL could not have caused this problem.
Agreed.
Even supposing the REL may have been the culprit in some hidden way, why would the dealer or Hegel not ask about sub connections and make appropriate suggestions instead of saying I needed to dismantle my system?
Yes, the (non-)support they provided sounds like it was very poor, as I said earlier.
Surely, this problem would have shown up earlier with thousands of Hegel products out there, some of which must surely be attached to REL subs.
Several manuals I've seen for various REL subs state that when the sub is connected to the outputs of a fully balanced stereo amp, and if the amp does not provide a circuit ground terminal (such as some of the Pass amps do, for example), the ground wire should be connected to a chassis screw, not to a negative output terminal.

I would expect doing that to work well in at least most cases, and for that matter you may want to try it with your S-30, as it may provide better sonics than connecting the ground wire to a negative output terminal (that has a signal on it, and a signal which corresponds to just one channel). If and when you try that, keep in mind that you may have to re-tweak the level control on the sub.

Regards,
-- Al
Almarg,

Thank you very much for this helpful suggestion. I will give it a try.
Knghifi,

The Atma-Sphere S-30 drives the Raidho C1.1s with more than enough headroom thanks to Paul Speltz Zero-Autotransformers.
The Atma-Sphere S-30 drives the Raidho C1.1s with more than enough headroom thanks to Paul Speltz Zero-Autotransformers.
I never understood why adding a transformer to an OTL just to make it work. Either buy a bigger OTL or different type of amp IMO.

I auditioned Atma-Sphere M-60 with Paul Speltz Zero-Autotransformer driving Acoustic Zen Crescendo. It sounds fantastic on less demanding material but overall had trouble controlling the speaker. Acoustic Zen Crescendo is much easier to drive than C1.1.
Knghifi,

Ralph Karsten or Paul Speltz may want to chime in with a technical explanation. The fact is that without the Speltz Zeros the Raidho C1.1s are hard to drive. But with them the sound is stunning and there is loads of headroom.
Knghifi,

You stated, "I auditioned Atma-Sphere M-60 with Paul Speltz Zero-Autotransformer driving Acoustic Zen Crescendo. It sounds fantastic on less demanding material but overall had trouble controlling the speaker."

There are 3 or 4 levels of adjustment with the Zero-Autotransformers. Perhaps the level was not the correct one. Is that possible? I am puzzled about your lack of success with the Speltz. How did this control problem manifest itself in terms of SQ?
There are 3 or 4 levels of adjustment with the Zero-Autotransformers. Perhaps the level was not the correct one. Is that possible? I am puzzled about your lack of success with the Speltz. How did this control problem manifest itself in terms of SQ?
I know there are different levels of adjustments.

I was at a BM and the dealer setup the system. I was considering Atma-Sphere MA-2 and wanted to reacquaint myself with their sound again.

I only demo with Zero-Autotransformers in the chain but dealer told me with Zero-Autotransformers, SQ and transparency suffered a little but has better speaker control. I forgot his reason not getting MA-1 so he needed Zero-Autotransformers.
Knghifi,

With my system, SQ and transparency improved a lot with the S-30. I can think of 2 possibilities here -- the driver tubes and system synergy. It took me months to find the best tubes for the S-30. And it has taken years to optimize the S-30 with cables, tweaks and accessories. So, the reason for this happening in your case may not be apparent.