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hifiman hm801 versus hm601 (just sound, with iems)

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone, in a short while I will be receiving my westone es5 custom iems and i am thinking of upgrading my source. I know i want an all-in one solution. I was first thinking of getting the hm601 but then started thinking of the hm801 with game amp module. But i did read a while back that some peiople were complaining of lack of bass response with the hm801, is this still the case if you install the game module and has anyone compared the sq of the 801 and 601 with iems? Thanks in advance for any information, Greetings, Anouk,

post #2 of 43

I'm not sure who said the HM-801's standard amp lacks bass with any headphones, for me it is very warm and maybe even too boomy in the bass with headphones that are warm by nature (namely the IE8 and Edition 8).  I don't think this will be an issue with the ES5, which is a fairly neutral headphone--the bass should be spot on.

 

IMO, the main reason to get the GAME amp card is to get a lower gain and more volume control.  The HM-801's standard amp card (at least the version 2 card from last year) sounds great with full-size cans, but its gain is way too high for customs.  I haven't done a direct comparison of sound quality between the amp cards, but the GAME is probably a little cleaner and more refined than the standard card with IEMs (maybe in part because of less hiss and a blacker background).

 

Another advantage of the HM-801 is the high quality line-out, which you can use if you decide to get a portable amp later.  A neutral or slightly bright amp should pair well with the HM-801, since the HM-801's DAC also seems slightly warm to me.  But in terms of detail, dynamics, and realism, the HM-801 is the best portable source I've heard, although the Solo seems to have the slight edge for the few people who have both.

post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hi djnellie, i read the hm801 threads but that has been a long time and in there it was mentioned that the hm801 had a lack of bass, i thought head-direct more or less acknowledged this by releasing the hm601-602 who are supposed to have a bit more bass. Thanks for the info about the game module, if i get a hm801 it will certainly be with the game module because i only intend to use it with the es5. I dont see the game module on the head-direct website anymore though. Greetings, Anouk,

post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 

I changed the thread title because I now know what the game module adds to the hm801 (thanks dj nellie). I thought there was a review o nheadfonia a while back but feedback from head-fi members that have heard both (if there are any) would be appreciated, i also cant seem to find the review anymore. @djnellie I thought about the solo but the hm801 is just so versatile. Greetings, Anouk,

post #5 of 43

Hi Anouk, I have both the HM801 and the HM602. I do not have the same IEM's you have but with Westone 2, TripleFi 10, and Yuin OK1 the HM801 is the better performer all around. I have not had any issues with the bass being lacking with the HM801. I will say that from a convenience (size) the HM602 is much easier to live with.

post #6 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hi Miguel, that is very reasuring indeed. Yes i bet the 801 is bigger, do you feel the firmware of the two players is the seem and the battery life? Greetings, Anouk,

post #7 of 43

The HM801 provides you the option of obtaining a second battery as well as a second smaller charger. From this angle it provides additional flexibility. I feel the firmware is very comparable and easy to use, the biggest challenge is the loading of ALAC files from my iMac to the internal memory in the HM602 (16 Gb). I still do not know how to do it right and it takes me a bit of time to do so, not so with a PC so it may be my iMac which I purchased as a refurbished unit.

post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hi Miguel, thanks for the additional information, so i could buy a second battery from head-direct to use with the hm801? Is it easy to replace the batteries? I know te newer units come with a smaller hcarger and that you canalso buy it from head-direct. I guess i cant just use a pc power cord to attach to the charger or can i? (because of the different plugs used everywhere). Also i was wondering if you have experience with the external flash cards that you can use with the hm801, if i buy second hand i might get a 2gb unit and have to use external flash, is there some kind of play all function that lets you play music from both internal and external storage or do you have to select from which medium you want to play music/ Thansk again for all your help. Greetings, Anouk,

post #9 of 43

Yes, you can buy extra HM-801 batteries from Head-Direct, IMO at least 1 extra is necessary since they only have about 6 hours of life.  The battery is very easy to take out and insert, you just slide the front cover down, then either shake or pick the battery out.


You have to use a charger made for the HM-801, I guess the new units are shipping with the smaller charger which is good (although the old bigger one supposedly makes the HM-801 sound better when running off AC power).

 

I wrote a brief guide to some tips on using the HM-801 here, that post has a link to a thread where people discuss the SD cards that work and don't work for them.  And yes, you can "shuffle" all tracks on the HM-801 (whether on internal memory or flash) by picking a song under "Tracks" when in Random play mode.

post #10 of 43

Hi Anouk, as stated by dj nellie the battery is very easy to replace. In my experience I get about 9 hours of use. I use the Kingston 32 GB Class 4 SDHC which I purchased from Amazon. The charger that came with my HM801 has an adapter for the European market.

post #11 of 43
I have 801/602. Gurantee 801 does have bass. 801 is much better than 602 which sounds crappy to me.
post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the help and quick replies everyone! I am blind so the news that you can play all tracks (internal and external memory) by just doing one action is very good for me indeed! Thanks again, Greetings, Anouk,

post #13 of 43

I have both.

For me, it is very clear that the two have different sound signature, without one being better than the other. The HM-601 has the warm, organic and analog sound, with excellent detail and 3D presentation. Listen to this DAP is a great pleasure and reminds me of the sound of my old pick-up.

Moreover, the HM-801 are tilted to the bright side of the sound. And is not that he lacks bass: He lacks weight or body to his sound. Lack soul.

The HM-601 is fun and the HM-801 is boring. His sound is not charming.

Moreover, using the HM-801 as a DAC (USB) connected to the iBasso P3+ headphone amplifier and Ety ER4S, this setup have the best sound quality I have ever heard until today, despite having to increase the bass a little in Foobar to compensate for the slightly sterile sound.

Finally, I do not think the HM-801 is worth it. It is very expensive for a DAP, even if it can be used as a DAC, and the sound is not something from another planet, as the price suggests.

If I had to choose today, I would get the HM-601.

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

post #14 of 43

Cardozo, what headphones did you use with the HM-801?  With everyone headphone I own, the HM-801 sounds very warm with rich bass to me.  Maybe all of my headphones have slightly higher than neutral bass, but I can't see anyone saying it sounds bright.  In fact, many people (often based only on frequency response graphs) have said that the HM-801 has a treble roll-off.

 

Anouk, please be aware that the HM-801 does not have a very intuitive interface.  It's actually quite clumsy and takes a little while to learn.  You may have to memorize the right number of button presses to get to the "Tracks" option (or just remove all other options so it's the first option).  You can always press the top left button to return to the main menu.  If you can learn the awkward interface, the 801's sound quality is the best I've heard from a portable.  I wouldn't call it boring at all, it is very airy, full and realistic to me.  I should have the Solo this week to see if the 801 has been surpassed...

post #15 of 43

Hello dj nellie!

 

I own an Etymotic Research ER4 that plays beautifully with the HM-601. With the HM-801, as you can imagine, the result is a very bright sound.

I also have a Westone 3 and I like this headphone with the HM-601, but after a while, I get tired. I like the HM-801 + Westone 3 a little more, because the HM-801, with his flat sound, tame the excitement of this Westone. I also had a Shure SE530, and like the Westone 3, married well with the HM-801, despite this too bright sound for my taste (again, I know... :o)). Already with the HM-601, the sound was too dark.

Finally, proving that the world takes many turns, the best DAP to use with the Westone 3 is... Sansa Fuze! And the funny thing is that many DAPs have passed through my hands and the Sansa Fuze is still wowing me.

 

Cheers,

 

Peter
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post

Cardozo, what headphones did you use with the HM-801?  With everyone headphone I own, the HM-801 sounds very warm with rich bass to me.  Maybe all of my headphones have slightly higher than neutral bass, but I can't see anyone saying it sounds bright.  In fact, many people (often based only on frequency response graphs) have said that the HM-801 has a treble roll-off.



 

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