Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › Review: HiFiMAN HM-602 vs. HM-801 Comparison (56K Warning)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review: HiFiMAN HM-602 vs. HM-801 Comparison (56K Warning) - Page 5

post #61 of 233
Thread Starter 

That is correct.  No issues with that so far, which is a major convenience when swapping SDHC cards with the HM-801 since you don't have to worry about sorting the content.  Really cool feature and allowed Fang major cost savings he passed onto the customers vs. the HM-801's dual PCM-1704xx DAC.  BTW, interested parties may want check out Jude's excellent review on the HM-801 standalone DAC feature here:  http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/514687/hifiman-hm-801-desktop-class-digital-sound-to-go#post_6956172.

post #62 of 233

Sorry if these are dumb questions:

 

I'm planning to DIYmod my 5.5 iPod that currently has an LOD into an AMB Mini3.  Should I expect that the HM-602 would provide better sound quality by a wide margin?  I listen to almost all ALAC files, so I would have to convert them to FLAC, but the price of this thing is really tempting me, I could sell the ipod and Mini3 amp to make this a fairly inexpensive upgrade, if I end up really liking it as I expect I would.  Bonus is that I won't have to mess with modding the iPod and buying the parts to build a capped LOD....

 

Also, are the free RE-262 IEMs still included?  It says included with batch 2 on the Head-Direct site.

post #63 of 233
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meltdown100 View Post

Sorry if these are dumb questions:

 

I'm planning to DIYmod my 5.5 iPod that currently has an LOD into an AMB Mini3.  Should I expect that the HM-602 would provide better sound quality by a wide margin?  I listen to almost all ALAC files, so I would have to convert them to FLAC, but the price of this thing is really tempting me, I could sell the ipod and Mini3 amp to make this a fairly inexpensive upgrade, if I end up really liking it as I expect I would.  Bonus is that I won't have to mess with modding the iPod and buying the parts to build a capped LOD....

 

Also, are the free RE-262 IEMs still included?  It says included with batch 2 on the Head-Direct site.


1.  I do not know what kind of mods are you planning to make to the iPod (quality and type of components in the signal path), nor what type of LOD are you planning to use.  Neither do I have auditioned the AMB amp you referring to. There are just too many variables to consider, too many unknowns.  In general, I have refrained from any comparison to other player/amp combinations until the 602 unit I have has been burned in some more.  There are professional xMod versions available with reference LOD options that may offer comparable sound quality to the 602 when paired with a top quality portable amp, but nowhere near the price range of the 602 when you add everything up.

 

2.  If the Head-Direct website offer for the free RE-262 IEM is still up, I would expect them to honor the promotion, yes.  If you like those IEMs, then it may make it a deal that is hard to resist.  I have not auditioned the RE-262 either, so I can't recommend it one way or another, but I know that previous versions of the RE series received favorable reviews.

 

I hope this helps, wish I could be more specific.

post #64 of 233

welcome Apple lover ~ sounds like the seed has already planned in you, since you are on the edge of spending money and possibly (or not) regret it later.

 

the cheapest way to solve your doubt and make you a very happy ipod owner or hifiman owner is to find  a way to audition 602 ~ be that taking up the head-direct order page "terms and conditions" challenge or some one in your area who owns it.

 

wish you have very happy musical journey
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meltdown100 View Post

Sorry if these are dumb questions:

 

I'm planning to DIYmod my 5.5 iPod that currently has an LOD into an AMB Mini3.  Should I expect that the HM-602 would provide better sound quality by a wide margin?  I listen to almost all ALAC files, so I would have to convert them to FLAC, but the price of this thing is really tempting me, I could sell the ipod and Mini3 amp to make this a fairly inexpensive upgrade, if I end up really liking it as I expect I would.  Bonus is that I won't have to mess with modding the iPod and buying the parts to build a capped LOD....

 

Also, are the free RE-262 IEMs still included?  It says included with batch 2 on the Head-Direct site.

post #65 of 233

Thanks-

 

I knew that my question might be tough to answer, subjectivity with this stuff is obviously a huge element.  Warp08, I was hoping you'd heard a setup like mine since it seems to be a fairly common portable setup, but thanks for trying - and for the very nice initial impressions write up.

 

Some things seem to be "no brainers" for most folks, like getting the LOD for the ipod (a decent LOD but not super hi-end) and building the Mini3, which was a noticeable improvement over the PA2V2 I was using before - and an unquestionable improvement over plugging straight into the headphone jack.  The PA2V2 was relegated to collecting dust once I heard the Mini3, so I unloaded it.  Which was sad, because I really liked the PA2V2 - until I heard something better.  My upgrades have been carefully planned based on an evaluation of feedback from forum members here.  I usually stew a lot before I pull the trigger on a purchase over $100, so this being a pre-order and being based on one review it would be out of character for me to bite, but your favorable impressions and the free headphones if I order now makes it really tempting.  Yeah, the seed is planted alright.

 

I like Apple, but I'll dump the ipod in a second for a better portable player that offers significantly better sound quality and overall capability.  The ipod was an easy first portable rig choice because 5 and 5.5 gens are so easy to fix and cheaply gotten on ebay, I've reconditioned 5 or 6 already and have them in the car, in a kitchen dock player, etc.  I got them since they had a decent Wolfson DAC and were considered to be the best ipod choice when paired with an LOD and good amp.  But while the sound is certainly good, it doesn't totally blow me away - I'm using RE0s with the portable rig, btw.  Another problem is the kind of music I listen to, mostly metal, rock, blues - stuff that I can now tell is horribly recorded, especially stuff from the past 20 years.  Fortunately there are a few newer bands I like - like Porcupine Tree - who know how to record music, but they're an exception.

 

Thanks again for the feedback.  I'm very tempted to get it...

post #66 of 233
Thread Starter 

An unmodded iPod, regardless of model, is not comparable in sound quality to the HM-602 regardless of what LOD or amp you pair it with.  That doesn't mean it can't sound good to your ears, especially with a top-of-the-line IEM like a TWagged JH13 Pro or JH16Pro but you'll be always subjected to source limitations.  The 5th gen iPod may have a decent DAC, but it's what after the DAC--low quality SMT coupling caps which are in the signal path and its op-amp mediocre standard output stage design--that is the reason for the negative impact on audio performance of them.  Vinnie Rossi at Red Wine Audio realized this when he came up with the original iMod concept.

 

A top-of-the-line mod, such as the WhipMOD/Elite Reference WhipMOD combo with a hiqh-quality amp is a different matter altogether, but then you're talking $1K+ not including the cost of IEMs and TWag replacement cable.

 

In terms of the DAC itself, the HM-602s Phillips TDA-1543 will hold its own against the Woolfson in the iPod in any case, but that is only part of the picture.

post #67 of 233

You might be making a good point when you mention the JH13's - my RE0 phones while great for what they cost could also be a limiting factor on how much improvement they'll reveal.  With the wife being in school I can't drop a grand on IEMs like those, not that I wouldn't like to.  You're listening to stuff on an entirely different level from what I have, but I'll get there eventually.  For me the journey is a big part of the fun.

post #68 of 233

If the HM801 is any example, the 602 should be able to drive harder to drive iems (like the JH13Pro and JH16Pro) better than the iPod as well - with fuller bass and smoother treble - more akin to what JHA intended. I assume that is the case, but I'll reserve judgment till I've heard the 602.

post #69 of 233
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

If the HM801 is any example, the 602 should be able to drive harder to drive iems (like the JH13Pro and JH16Pro) better than the iPod as well - with fuller bass and smoother treble - more akin to what JHA intended. I assume that is the case, but I'll reserve judgment till I've heard the 602.



The answer to that is a qualified "yes" depending on whether an iPod HP-out or an iPod/xMod LOD output paired with a dedicated amp is being compared. So a lot depends on the LOD cable and the amp itself.

 

As far as the 602 is concerned, even at Low Gain setting, the comfortable listening volume for my JH16 Pro hovers around 1-1.5 and the JH13 Pro is 2.  Anything louder is not sustainable for me.  So there is plenty of power and lots of headroom in the 602 coupled with a touch of lushness the TDA1543 DAC.  I'm at about 60 hours of break-in and it has smoothed out a bit further and the sound stage widened a bit also.

 

post #70 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by warp08 View Post

The answer to that is a qualified "yes" depending on whether an iPod HP-out or an iPod/xMod LOD output paired with a dedicated amp is being compared. So a lot depends on the LOD cable and the amp itself.

 

As far as the 602 is concerned, even at Low Gain setting, the comfortable listening volume for my JH16 Pro hovers around 1-1.5 and the JH13 Pro is 2.  Anything louder is not sustainable for me.  So there is plenty of power and lots of headroom in the 602 coupled with a touch of lushness the TDA1543 DAC.  I'm at about 60 hours of break-in and it has smoothed out a bit further and the sound stage widened a bit also.


So warp, some of the discussions I've read about the TDA1543 before the 602 came out was the ability to offer an amazingly accurate richness and timbre to things like acoustic instruments.  Much more so than many modern DACs that measure better but sound more clinical.  Do you find this aspect of the DACs character to be immediately recognizable? 

post #71 of 233

^^ Ani - there has to be a bette way to ask that question simply because it is setting up Warp to answer 'yes' no matter the truth. At the same time, how does one ask a difficult question like that? haha, brain fried.

post #72 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by meltdown100 View Post

You might be making a good point when you mention the JH13's - my RE0 phones while great for what they cost could also be a limiting factor on how much improvement they'll reveal.


Truth. If you are considering dropping ~$400 on a new DAP or LOD/AMP set up... consider dropping that money towards some decent high end universal IEMs (or even the JH-5?). The RE0 will certainly be a limiting factor and the sooner you upgrade that, the better. See my signature for further reference wink.gif

post #73 of 233
Thread Starter 

Yes.  I have heard some of that even on the prototype Fang showed me at Can Fest back in August, but the sound of that wasn't as good as the final product.  At that time the HM-801 had a decided edge in overall SQ I could hear.  Now--especially with this model somewhat burned in--the SS have diversified between the two players.  Some will prefer the HM-801's more detailed and analytical presentation, but I have grown to appreciate that richness and warmth that has been reminiscent of the first and second generation of reference CD-players before the oversampling craze had begun.  The TWag IEM cables I use further enhance these qualities so the total synergy is pretty cool to experience. 

 

I was listening to a 16-bit rip of the Bon Jovi:  This Left Feels Right SACD and Track 6 "Give love a bad name, " a fully acoustic recording was just awesome, great sound stage, instrument separation and could clearly hear the resonance reverberation the guitar pick generated thru the strings and the guitar body.  I was using the JH16s at about 1.5 volume.

 

Yup, to my ears, the little brother has a personality of its own.

 

post #74 of 233
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

^^ Ani - there has to be a bette way to ask that question simply because it is setting up Warp to answer 'yes' no matter the truth. At the same time, how does one ask a difficult question like that? haha, brain fried.



It worked....  "Yes" that is exactly what I was referring to, and as luck would have it, happened to listen to an all-acoustic recording today, so it was really easy to answer.

post #75 of 233
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero Kid View Post


Truth. If you are considering dropping ~$400 on a new DAP or LOD/AMP set up... consider dropping that money towards some decent high end universal IEMs (or even the JH-5?). The RE0 will certainly be a limiting factor and the sooner you upgrade that, the better. See my signature for further reference wink.gif



Exactly.  No matter what you improve, there will always be the next bottleneck--sorry about our wallets--somewhere.  But, yes, the biggest single upgrade is the headphones/IEMs, but you still need a quality source, too.  And luckily, it seems the price of entry for a really decent quality one has just dropped to a new low.  Indeed, the difference between the retail pricing of an HM-801 vs. the 602's current sale price nearly pays for a pair of JH5 Pros....

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Source Gear
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › Review: HiFiMAN HM-602 vs. HM-801 Comparison (56K Warning)