I feel shy to say this before. Now I think it is fine because HM-801 was discontinued (PCM1704U-K DAC is not available any more).
When we were designing HM-801 in 2008, the reference CD player was Meridian 508. We adjust HM-801's sound signature very close to 508. The little difference between HM-801 and 508 is that 508 has more and better bass, and HM-801 is slightly more neutral. I bought a 588 in 2009. I was surprised that can not find the difference from HM-801 and a 588.
If any of you have a meridian 588 or 508, please do a A/B test.
Edited by Nankai - 4/13/12 at 6:39am