I bought a factory refurbished HM-801 that arrived three days ago with the latest (and last) firmware revision (v.0.23), but if they can't tell me how to stop it from popping between every track, I'll be returning it under their 30-day guarantee. It's bad enough that playback isn't gap-less, as it is with the M10, but most people are saying it's "normal" behavior for the HM-801 to pop between tracks.
This could end up being my first and last HiFiMan purchase. It's a joke for a lot of other reasons, but the pops are a show stopper. About the only thing that's "right" with the HM-801 is the SQ, which I bittersweetly admit, is phenomenally good.
The PCM-M10 Line Out is not that far off when used with a neutral amp and warm headphones, like the LCD-2, but I'll be looking for another contender to see if I can better it.
No one seems to appreciate that if the PCM-M10 were produced in limited quantities like most high-end head-fi gear, if it weren't mass produced for the legion of amateur musicians and concert goers and field recordists who use it for its intended purpose, a device of its quality would cost the head-fi community three or four times as much. Just compare the PCM-M10 owner's manual to that of any other 96/24-capable DAP. It's got that classic Japanese electronics stamp of quality, through and through. I've been using mine for nearly three years - bug-free and no hardware failures. And no waiting and hoping and hassles of downloading firmware revisions as the manufacturer enslaves their customer base to perform quality assurance testing that simply is not done to any great effect prior to shipping.
I intentionally waited for release of the HM-901 before getting my hands on an 801, assuming that I would skip all the bleeding edge frustration of early adopters by patiently waiting for the last 801 firmware revision. Great idea, in theory, but next to worthless in practice. Even at its most mature evolution, the 801 is a FAIL in my opinion. Great sound wrapped with intolerable compromises. iBasso and FiiO aren't far behind with their "best" DAPs.
(PCM-M10 fan boy)
Edited by zilch0md - 9/7/13 at 8:55pm