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HiFiMAN HM-801 Portable Player / DAC Review: Part One of Two - Page 16

post #226 of 622
But Jimmy,
Your amount of available lossless files, is only limited by the amount of flash cards that you want to have on hand. You have unlimited potential.

Also,
you will have the affordability to have the amp of your choice installed once our vendors provide their boards to Head-Direct, so you have total adjustability to cater it to your tastes.

If Justin or Ray or Tyll, etc. agree to make an amp for this, the choice will be up to the user. Pico for 3 months (perhaps winter months), then time for spring cleaning...Mustang for 3 months.

I call it "amp-ability".

I think the demographics will be larger than you estimate.
post #227 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
Your amount of available lossless files, is only liimited by the amount of flash cards that you want to have on hand. You have unlimited potential.
Sound a lot like Hi-MD in a bigger form-factor.
Quote:
you will have the affordability to have the amp of your choice installed once our vendors provide their boards to Head-Direct, so you have total adjustability to cater it to your tastes.
Nice concept, but very difficult to accomplish. Understanding basic development timelines, including getting the final, production HM-801 itself out as a platform to develop on, time is not on their side. Plus, technology will continue to move on at a faster pace.
Quote:
If Justin or Ray or Tyll, etc. agree to make an amp for this, the choice will be up to the user.
Have any of those guys said they even might develop something for the HM-801??? Even if they did, how long would it take? We are still waiting years for GS-1 upgrade modules from Headamp, and that's Justin's own product! Let's just say, I have my doubts, and certainly wouldn't spend the $700 based on that expectation.

I think what's in the production HM-801 will be the final "box". Better stuff will come in a second gen (HM-802?), if that ever sees the light of day.
post #228 of 622
Also, is this product aimed to a niche? If so, how would sales from third party manufacturers (Headamp, RSA...) even cover the efforts spent in designing a modular amp?
post #229 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg View Post
How I see it

An "interesting" product from an audiophile/geek proof-of-concept perspective. Yet I remain more than a bit confused about the HM-801. What exactly is it's intended use?

1. Portable player? Waaay too large, yet not enough storage for a significant amount of lossless files, lack of support for taggable lossless formats = Major Fail
2. Stationary DAC? Then no need to pay for all that extra playback stuff & for portability = Fail.
3. Transportable rig? Perhaps, but you you still don't have enough storage, and can do at least as good, if not better for your $$ with other carefully chosen pieces = Fail.
I think the use is one and three, and it works pretty well for both:

1. It isn't that large, look at it in comparison to the Gigabeat and iRiver, it's just a little bit bigger. For people who are used to carrying around rigs or CD players or tape players it's actually much smaller, which brings us to point 3:

3. As a portable rig, I don't think storage is an issue. 32gb is as large/larger than the iPod touch or any of the flash players that people hook up to their portable amps. If you want more than 32gb, you can either carry another flash, or get another player, the 801 can't satisfy EVERYONE! The $$ value argument is valid though.

At least with the 801 you know the DAC and AMP and player all sound good together, you have the convenience of a single warranty in case anything fails, and you don't need to worry about stray interconnects - that's a huge convenience.

Some people enjoy scouring the boards to mix and match components, but I've been looking for a hassle free portable player/transportable rig so the 801 looks good. The fact that it functions like a stationary DAC is just an added bonus.

My concerns are more about the usability and audio quality, is it as good as it's made out to be? Does it support all my mp3 tags? Album art? Is there hiss on the headphone out? And there's the price, it's a huge chunkachunkachange, but getting an imod+iconnects+amps isn't too cheap either...

Of course the 802 will be better, but I think the 801 is a pretty sweet player too, and very far from a fail.
post #230 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentred View Post
I think the use is one and three, and it works pretty well for both...I think the 801 is a pretty sweet player
Thanks for your perspective. Have you tried it at Can-Jam?
Quote:
Does it support all my mp3 tags?
Do you plan to use mp3's or WAV's with it?
Quote:
the 801 can't satisfy EVERYONE!
Agreed. I'm just trying to understand who it does satisfy, and if the size of that niche is enough to sustain it. I tend to think it tries to do too much, and ultimately requires too many compromises in the process. I hope I'm wrong.
post #231 of 622
I think it's not as much about size as it is weight to a point, I remember the problem with my Q5W is that it was like a small brick, both in bulk and in weight. If something is a bit larger but light, it's less of a hassle than something smaller and heavy. Not having a hard drive will help this a little...Probably still heavy though.

Still, the supposed best portable rig up until now has been the H120/140 + D10 combo, and that's much larger. Most other setups that deliver SQ in that range are around the same size (And some much larger, don't we have people that carry around lisa IIIs here? ) And that's just people with PDAPs, those PCDPs are heug, man.

I still don't see why people are arguing space. Obviously if you post on head fi at least every few days, then you access a computer every few days. Do you listen to enough music to get through 64gb before you get to the computer that you keep all of your files on? I don't think many people do this, and the few that do should be willing to carry around a spare card or two. You also have the fact that you cannot listen to 64gb of music before the battery dies, so you can just swap some music while you are charging it.

Let's see what else, something was said about tagable lossless formats, I would think the GUI would be more of a cowon 'organize by folder and file name' style than a ipod 'organize by tags' style, it just seems to fit the format better. Then again he said the GUI would be like an early ipod.... I don't use tags for anything except last.fm myself, so it wouldn't matter much to me, but I can see some people having problems with this.

Personally I like the idea of a stationary DAC. One can argue about the whole multitasker bit, but since I don't own a uber expensive DAC, and it looks to be better than what I got now (see sig broskis) then I got no problem with it. I would think that it uses that DAC for portable use anyway, so it's just making it capable for stationary use as well rather than it just sitting there doing nothing when it's being used away from a separate source and only for non-portable use.

Price is about the only thing that someone can argue against it (In my opinion at least), but then again it's not like you get twice as good SQ from twice as expensive headphones, or amps, or DACs, or cables or any of that, so it certainly shouldn't be expected for PDAPs, the way I look at it, is if it's better than all other portable setups, then 800$ is not that bad. Still 800$ I don't have, but it's 800$ I would be willing to spend.
post #232 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg View Post
Thanks for your perspective. Have you tried it at Can-Jam?
Have you? I'm happy to admit the ferrari 430 is a sweet ride without driving it and Dom Perignon is a tasty champagne without having drunk it.

The 801 looks like a sweet player based on the arguments you raised: size, storage and cost. If you're wondering who it appeals to, it appeals to people looking for a high quality portable mp3 player.

Just because you wouldn't consider it portable doesn't mean no one else does. I'm used to carrying around far larger rigs and heck, my old mp3 player was much bigger and heavier.

Just because 32gb isn't enough for you doesn't mean it isn't enough for everyone. I recently swapped a 120gb Zune for a 16gb Sony and didn't mind, I'm sure many other people have done something similar.

Spending $700 on this is comparable in theory to a $500 amp/dac combo, $50 interconnects and a $200 player.

I made these points in my last post, and the real consideration for me is whether the quality of the 801 does match that $500 amp, and whether its interface is as nice as the $200 player.

It's all subjective, so you might consider there to be too many compromises, but other people consider them small compared to its advantages.
post #233 of 622
I'm not arguing with anyone. All of our perspectives can be valid for ourselves. I'm just asking the questions.

Like, how much are 32GB SD cards these days? $100-150? That adds significant cost to the player up front, even for one card. AND I have to "manage" what music goes onto, and is taken off that card (or multiple cards at an even higher cost). Having a high capacity DAP is not about how much music I can listen to between "here" and "there". It's about having the choice of a large music library at any given time, without the need to overmanage.

I owned an H120 + HR MicroStack for a short time. Not bad on storage, but the package was far from portable. While I do miss it sometimes, if I were to assemble a work rig again, I'd probably go with a Pico amp/DAC or something similiar in size/cost, and use my PC as the transport. But not for moving around.

Maybe if I was commuting on the Metro-North again, two hours each way, the HM-801 might begin to make sense. Maybe.

Folder organization is fine with me too.

Agentred, from your post it sounded like you had seen/heard it so I assumed you were at CJ this weekend. No offense. Btw, I could not imagine driving a Ferrari every day, and Dom is way overrated, IMO.

Cheers guys. It's all good.

post #234 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
Ah, but is it larger than a iPod + amp + high quality DAC?
why would you want a DAC of you are on the go? unless you also carry your laptop that is...if that is the case, then you have all the storage you need in your laptop and a Pico or Vibe would be enough I think
post #235 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilency View Post
why would you want a DAC of you are on the go? unless you also carry your laptop that is...if that is the case, then you have all the storage you need in your laptop and a Pico or Vibe would be enough I think
I wouldn't. I am on a plane 2-3 days a week and in a hotel room those nights, and I don't take my H-120 and D-10 with me. I use that combo when I am sitting in front of the house or walking leisurely around my park. For travel, I use an iMod with a Tomahawk, Mustang, Reference, Portaphile, etc.
Going through security is too much of a hassle at the airport with a "Wyle E. Coyote" rig.

My point was that the HiFiMan contains all three, which I am hoping will provide slightly better performance than an iMod/amp combo, all in one package.
According to Fang, the DAC in this unit is killer and it would be a small sacrifice for me, to carry a slightly bigger single unit "on-the-go", then to worry about interconnects, the components, and a band to tie them all together.
post #236 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg View Post
I'm not arguing with anyone. All of our perspectives can be valid for ourselves. I'm just asking the questions.

Like, how much are 32GB SD cards these days? $100-150? That adds significant cost to the player up front, even for one card. AND I have to "manage" what music goes onto, and is taken off that card (or multiple cards at an even higher cost). Having a high capacity DAP is not about how much music I can listen to between "here" and "there". It's about having the choice of a large music library at any given time, without the need to overmanage.

I owned an H120 + HR MicroStack for a short time. Not bad on storage, but the package was far from portable. While I do miss it sometimes, if I were to assemble a work rig again, I'd probably go with a Pico amp/DAC or something similiar in size/cost, and use my PC as the transport. But not for moving around.

Maybe if I was commuting on the Metro-North again, two hours each way, the HM-801 might begin to make sense. Maybe.

Folder organization is fine with me too.

Agentred, from your post it sounded like you had seen/heard it so I assumed you were at CJ this weekend. No offense. Btw, I could not imagine driving a Ferrari every day, and Dom is way overrated, IMO.

Cheers guys. It's all good.

32gb SDHC cards are about 80$ for the cheapest one on newegg right now, 16gb are 30$ and 8gb are 17$.

But yeah, using the words fail tends to set of an argument, moreover I like to practice my typing skills. I do think fang has made something that could be very, very good though, it does seem a bit early to be using words like fail. Then again it can also be said that it is to early to be saying it is something very, very good, so -shrug-

I don't know why someone would spend this kind of money on a portable if they didn't use it a lot though. When school is in I listen to music all day, no overstating there either. So for someone like me who gets a good 6+ hours of listening in away from a home setup, this definitely looks like a good investment. Now if for some reason I didn't listen to music at school and what not, I probably wouldn't think about buying one of these. I can see how people who don't do a lot of portable listening would think the same way as well.
post #237 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg View Post
I owned an H120 + HR MicroStack for a short time. Not bad on storage, but the package was far from portable. While I do miss it sometimes, if I were to assemble a work rig again, I'd probably go with a Pico amp/DAC or something similiar in size/cost, and use my PC as the transport. But not for moving around.

Maybe if I was commuting on the Metro-North again, two hours each way, the HM-801 might begin to make sense. Maybe.
Yeah that's it exactly, size and portability are so subjective.

Like I think the iPhone is just waaaaaay too big for jeans or a suit pocket, but everyone tells me my Nokia communicator is a brick and I should get an iPhone because it's smaller. Similarly, I didn't mind carrying the dinner-plate-sized Creative Nomad Jukebox but as soon as anyone brings up a tiny Sansadisk Fuze + Pico/Tomahawk with rubber bands and dangly bits I run away.

I think we can both agree that price is just the giant elephant in the room, especially with the $100 SDHC card like you mentioned. At least the portable rig can be built up over time or sold in bits if you need cash. $800 is a hard pill to swallow...

But if you think Dom P is overrated then $800 for an mp3 player should be little more than pocket change for you!

And hey Konakona, listen to your teachers not your headphones
post #238 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentred View Post
And hey Konakona, listen to your teachers not your headphones
Now why would I do that?
post #239 of 622
I like the 3 in 1 concept very much (source + DAC + Amp) and has been wondering why can't iBasso add a SD card in D10 to make it a 3 in 1 product. I did carry a laptop (600g) + iRoc + 12V SLA battery + Lisa III around for some time and of course that was heavy. I can still find headfiers carry IMod + VCap dock + Lisa III around.

For me, PC -> D10 Dac -> a good amp sounds better IMod 4G -> D10 HP out. From the start of this project, we know that it's for a niche market. The sad thing is up till now I still cannot find a complete impression on this product. The one that Jude gave was for the DAC only sample, not a complete product. Jude did mentioned the DAC of this product is phenomenal and I did explicitly asked him to compare with some DACs that we know but so far I've got no answer. If the DAC is as good as the Pico (it should be according to Jude's impression) and the amp is as good as toma, then it is easily 650 USD. There are no need for the ICs. In this perspective this item is totally not expensive.

In terms of size, that's personal. I've toma paired with IMod 4G but it doesn't make the footprint much smaller because the IMod is comparatively 'too' large. Finally, I'm not going to use it as an MP3 player -- MP3 does not deserve such a high quality DAC, IMO. What I am going to use it will be 16/44 files and I would like to try 24/96 files as well -- but 32GB will then be inadequate.

The battery life can be cured by having a spare battery.

So what I'm saying is that apart from the memory problem (and hence the management of the SDs), the rest of the problems can be solved readily and the price of this product is not that steep when COMPARED with setups of similar quality.

If there is no HM801, probably there will not be a HM802.

I look forward to seeing some impressions of the finished sample.



Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
I wouldn't. I am on a plane 2-3 days a week and in a hotel room those nights, and I don't take my H-120 and D-10 with me. I use that combo when I am sitting in front of the house or walking leisurely around my park. For travel, I use an iMod with a Tomahawk, Mustang, Reference, Portaphile, etc.
Going through security is too much of a hassle at the airport with a "Wyle E. Coyote" rig.

My point was that the HiFiMan contains all three, which I am hoping will provide slightly better performance than an iMod/amp combo, all in one package.
According to Fang, the DAC in this unit is killer and it would be a small sacrifice for me, to carry a slightly bigger single unit "on-the-go", then to worry about interconnects, the components, and a band to tie them all together.
post #240 of 622
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
My point was that the HiFiMan contains all three, which I am hoping will provide slightly better performance than an iMod/amp combo, all in one package.
The one thing that grates with me using an iPod is listening to any music with, say, piano in it, as the horrid digititis of the Cyrrus Logic DA shows through and ruins the experience for me. At the very least, you'll get the natural reproduction of the PCM1704 and the smoothness of the OPA627. Both are a hell of a lot better than what's in an iPod. It looks like being a rather bulky box though, which may or may not be a bad thing, but obviously can't be helped considering the aims of the unit.
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