Well gents, thanks for all your comments! They inspired me to take the plunge and add the Hifiman to the repertoire a couple months back. I am working overseas and am always on the prowl for some good portable audio equipment. (You should see the strange looks my audio bag gets in third world country customs...add the visa stamps from all the places I've been and they think they are getting a promotion going through all my stuff) The Hifiman made it here last night and I got it charged up. I have a thing early morning tomorrow but as I was sitting at my desk...and opened up this thread and saw the mention of Wadia and SPDIF coaxial....I thought to myself I just added a Wadia iTransport as well...why not run it digital through the DAC as I am a bit short on SD cards at the moment...running close to a terabyte of music though I will likely bring closer to a couple hundred gigs with me when I travel.
First impressions on the HiFiman running digital through the Wadia iTransport is that it is amazing! I don't have some of the higher end phones in my collection over here but I was going through what I had and was very very happy. (I did a limited listening session with my ALO modded Grado 225s, Westone 3's and some recabled Senn HD 650's. I am using an ALO SPDIF coaxial cable from the Wadia i170 to the small adaptor provided with the Hifiman. The session was more or less straight out of the box so once it is burned in a bit more I will add more. I am running mainly Apple Lossless audio files for now.
I made the initial mistake while I was playing with the mode button on the i170 to not check the volume knob on the Hifiman while wearing the Westone 3's....the Hifiman puts out some great power...so be careful haha. Really grabbed the 225's and the Senn's as well.
There is some amazing detail here with the Hifiman and the Wadia...the Wadia is pretty new to me so I am not sure how much that influenced the sound but it sounds great. Nice black background, amazing fine detail and separation...listened to some Cosmic Gate and the "bass wave synth" they throw in alot of their music literally gave me goosebumps. A little AC/DC Razors Edge (Sorry Bonn Scott fans) sounded great...it was a different sound but didn't steal the balls from the music...AC/DC
sounded super clear but all the raw that is there in the music with the band was there...awesome! I really hate a clinical sound to my tunes, I want some passion in my music and so far on day 1 I have been enjoying running through my collection and picking out those little new details I was missing before. To expand a bit on the AC/DC, it was all there...it felt on some live recordings you could tell when Angus was maybe going through the motions but on the recordings where he was in the moment, when he was on fire you could feel the intensity...I never really noticed that before with a set up...pretty cool. I know that most aren't going to do a listening impression based on Razor's Edge...haha...but if you are a fan, give the old AC/DC files some more play time and reconnect with the memories once again.
So out of the box I hear what I would call great separation, the soundstage I am getting seems very detailed and seems to layer the music very well. This will be a great companion for me on trips and the gear that I have right now with me is gear that I use when I travel so I am very pleased. For those of you that are on the fence, great sounding product...I doubt very much that you will be disappointed.