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Is the Hifiman HM-601 worth getting?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

Alright, so I`m somewhat new to this hobby and I was wondering if it was worth the investment. I`m currently using TripleFis with an Iphone 3G, but Ultrasone pro 900s and a headstage arrow 3G are on their way. Would the Hifiman noticably improve sound quality, if I`m running my headphones off my Arrow amp? I have a Xonar D2 at home, but, as I prefer using headphones while I`m on the go, I really want to get the best possible portable experience.

I`d also like to mention, that my budget is tight, but as I was planning on getting Re-zero iems for my sister, the bundle on their website seems quite reasonable.


Edited by Leander7777 - 12/19/10 at 2:36pm
post #2 of 52

It doesn't play gapless, costs more than its worth and is way too chunky for a DAP. Testing shows that far from having superior sound quality it has rolled off treble and doesn't do anything else any better either.


It's worthless. Even the first four words show it is worthless. An "audiophile player" that can't play any mix album, live album or concept album like abbey road/we're only in it for the money???? Are you kidding me?


Buy a cheap player that can take Rock Box, be happy and save money.


That's my opinion, and its one side of a coin.


If others reading disagree, rather than flame me, make your counter argument and let the OP decide for themselves.

Edited by EddieE - 12/19/10 at 2:34pm
post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 

With gapless, do you mean it can`t play lossless, such as FLAC?

That`d be a real shame and probably even a deal breaker frown.gif

post #4 of 52

the no-gapless thing is a no-buy for me too.


I can live with it being bulky, can live with it having small internal memory(2 Gb) but no gapless ?


hell , it's excatly what the person above me said - if your music is playlists of songs then go ahead no problemo.


but me , who like to listen to ALBUMS , no chance i would buy a no-gapless DAP.


abbey road ?

white album ?

aenima ?

parliament ?

what's going on ?

here my dear ?

santana - lotus ?

mars volta - frances the mute ?


all these masterpieces castrated ? no thank you very much.


I can't speak about the quality -as i have not heard it but as i said the no-gapless thing would prohibit me from buying even a DAP made by jesus Christ himself.


Do some shopping around and see what you want from a DAP and which one has all/most of your requirements.






gapless = the DAP plays the tracks without a small gap in between.


imagine a live album , where every track flows seamlessly to the next one , like it's one big track.


The 601 does not do that,

Edited by proedros - 12/19/10 at 2:43pm
post #5 of 52
Thread Starter 

Oh, I was thinking gapless, as in the compression algorithm...I suppose I can live with that.

But, back on track, how would the SQ improve with my set up?


On a side note @Proedros: I completely agree with the first part of your signature on the new audiophile. But I really don`t agree with the established audiophile bit.

For me an audiophile is someone who can appreciate high quality sound and really enjoy it. A lot of people preceive headphones to have recessed mids, because they look at frequency response graphs, which make it look like the mids are recessed, but in practice, human ears are a lot more sensitive to mid range frequencies. As a consequence, we perceive them more loudly and, thus, for a headphone to be balanced, the mid range has to be recessed, in order to compensate for this sensitivity difference.

I, personally, think that an established audiophile knows what good sound is and based on this knowledge, he/she creates a hearing preference. It`s equally likely for an audiophile to prefer an emphasized bass range, as it is for one to appreciate a full and warm mid range.

That`s my take on your quote :)

Edited by Leander7777 - 12/19/10 at 3:05pm
post #6 of 52

Look a player should basically have a flat frequency response. It's up to the user to add flavour by the choice of headphones or through equalising.


The hifiman players have rolled off treble. That's why people say they sound "smooth" or "warm" or what-have-you.  But that's not an improvement in sound quality - that's a detriment in sound quality some people like the sound of. The exact same effect could be had by eqing down the higher frequencies on any player or buying a set of cans that had rolled off treble and it'd be a lot better value for money.


You have the Arrow ordered - good. It looks like a great amp with loads of functionality at a very fair price. That will genuinely improve your musical experience.


My advice is to stick with the ipod or get something like a clip or a fuze that can be Rockboxed and enjoy your music.

Edited by EddieE - 12/19/10 at 3:15pm
post #7 of 52
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply. Well, the only problem is that christmas is very soon and so I need to decide, whether I`ll be ordering the bundle or only the Re-Zero. I`d never spend 260 on the player, but essentially I`m only getting it for 160, which seems like a reasonable deal. As for the Arrow, I`ll be getting it sometime in January, I hope, so I`ll have to order with the blind hope that the Hifiman will indeed improve my sonic experience. Hence, I started this thread, in hope that someone could tell me whether or not a Hifiman 601 hooked up with an Arrow amp will sound superior to an ipod hooked up to the arrow. From what I`ve read, it seems like the ipod has among the worst sound of any DAC, however will the arrow amp fix the sonic issues with the Ipod or will a better DAC actually make a marginal difference?

post #8 of 52



the quote thing is just something i read and liked as a pseudo 'audiophile' haiku/zen quote  - in fact i too believe that a good/educated audiophile looks the whole sonic picture and not specific parts of the sonic spectrum bigsmile_face.gif


if you don't mind about the gapless part , this is good for you - so see whether you want it or not


as fopr the arrow - it is my next buy when i get some money (just spent 240$ on a J3) - but everyone only tells good things about it


Btw , the zero/601 combo should work great as the warm dap completes the zeros. if you want something cheaper , just get a clip+ - even this beats most ipods out there


as i said , do some reading and try to understand what you want most and what each DAP offers.


Good luck beerchug.gif

post #9 of 52
Thread Starter 

Well, to be honest, I don`t really need an mp3 player, as I already have an Iphone. I just though, that if the hifiman is good, I might as well get it with the Re-zeros. My main objective is and was to get the Re-zeros, the Hifiman 601 just happened to come with it in a modestly priced bundle.

So my question is merely, whether or not there is a feasible gain, if there isn`t, I`m more than happy to stick with my Iphone.

Thanks for the input , though bigsmile_face.gif

post #10 of 52

Well I do believe that there is a 30-day return policy, or something of the sort.  You can try it out personally to decide whether or not it's worth it...

post #11 of 52
Thread Starter 

There is, but that wouldn`t really work, as I`m planning on gifting the Re-Zeros frown.gif

post #12 of 52

read the 601 threads and see if you like it


if you like it and you buy it , wait until you know whether you wanna keep it or not.


if you keep it , sell the zeros.if not,simply return them both back.



post #13 of 52

Ugh, don't listen to Eddie or those other people who think flat responses make the best sound. Please people the clip is good for the price but it is not a be-end-all player. Seriously, there are many issues with the clip sound wise that iems like my se530 pick up.

It's not all about flat response curves, it's about enjoying the music.

When this hobby goes beyond enjoying the music and listening to what your ears agree with and starts becoming about frequency responses and all this other mumbo-jumbo crap then honestly you are just being an audio fool.

Go for what you like, not what people say is the "best" - because there is no best.

Once again: This hobby is for enjoying music, not frequency responses and graphs.

Edited by ProjectDenz - 12/20/10 at 12:18am
post #14 of 52

I actually didn't say a flat frequency response is the best sound. I think a pair of headphones with a flat frequency response would sound awful.


I said a player should have a flat frequency response. The aim of a player is to reproduce a recording accurately.


It is headphones, speakers twinned if the user preferes with equalisation or sound enhancements which shape the frequency response someone wants to listen to.


If a player has anything but a flat frequency response it is a defect. It doesn't matter if someone says they like the sound of that defect. If a player applied a blanket mid-bass boost to its frequency response a lot of people who listen to the top 40 would probably think it sounds great. It wouldn't though - it would be a flaw in its sound they happened to like the sound of.


I'm not trying to tell anyone what the "best" sound is - we aren't even discussing headphones here.

post #15 of 52

Lack of gapless is unfortunate, but if you have the disk space to spare it doesn't take too long to convert separate FLAC files into a single file which will play seamlessly. There is no replaygain support either, so if you want a normalised sound level it will be necessary to adjust the files you load on the 601 anyway - replaygain and merging can be done in 1 operation using Foobar2000.


It comes down to whether you like the sound of the 601. If you do, its limitations can be over-come, if not they provide a good reason to view the device even more unfavourably.

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