Originally Posted by Pegleg85
The perfect album exists in the Robert Plant / Alison Krauss album which can be had from hdtracks in both formats. I would love to know how much of a difference 24/96 makes on a hi-end rig (i.e. custom IEMS + good amp + good cables).
I mean that really is the only compelling reason to carry around a brick like the 801.
Very disappointing that the small brother doesn't play 24/96. What is the point then?
You bring up some interesting questions. The debate over high-res vs. Redbook standard rages on and it's a can of worms not worth opening up--although some helpful volunteer usually bites anyway when he or she sees a thread like this.
I love high-res reference recordings, own a bunch of SACDs, XRCDs and HDCDs. They sound great on my home system.
However, in a portable form factor, especially on-the-go, even with the best interconnects and custom IEMs, I predict you will be hard-pressed to distinguish between the same recording master recorded in 24/96 or downsampled to 16/44 or 24/48. The actual sonic differences will be so minute (if detectable at all) that it is hardly a deal-breaker over which of these two players should you pick. And the HM-602 will play those same files, just downsampling them. It still sounds awesome.
Jude's recent review of the HM-801 demonstrating the capabilities as a standalone DAC in a stationary desktop application, highlights the superiority of the HM-801, including the ability to natively process 24/96 files, but as you pointed out, the disadvantage is the power requirements and the size of those high-end components require.