Today I received a review sample of the HM-901. I have not used any of the previous HiFIman daps so to those, I can not compare. I did not receive a user guide and with the screen in Chinese, I guess it was a test to see how I would do. :^) It took about 20 minutes to figure everything out and get it into English and then to realize that the SD slot is covered by a hard rubber door that pulls out.
The tactile buttons take me back to the iRiver H120 series. Easy and straight forward to use and intuitive. The volume control is an analog type that has indents and will not change if packed along in a pocket of a coat or large pant pocket.
More as this develops. Oh the packaging is solid as it is the same type as with the HE-6 headphones. Lots of fun awaits.
Going from song to song or from album to album is very fast, almost no lag time, maybe a second if that. I am using micro SD cards in an adapter. With this using SDXC SD cards the sky is almost the limit on what storage will be available.
3 23 2013
This is one of the longer burn-ins to get a handle on the sound. Not that other devices I have listened to haven't taken some time but for me, the 901 has gone through some strange musical contortions. It started off sounding pretty good, then more and more diffuse and kind of staying that way. Today it is more focussed and enjoyable to use but that is later today, in other words, not so much not so much earlier. I just keep it going and going. With two dacs to burn-in with the caps to form and the amp section, well, I listen and then let it play and listen to other daps so I don't form myself to the sound of the 901 but listen objectively.
The sounds are starting to snap back into place and there is layering now and finally, some good dynamics. Bass is also tightening up.
3 27 2013
Comparing the 901 to the AK100 (22ohm resistor bypassed):
I find the 901 projects a better since of distance from the performance. It gets the music more out of your head. The placement of instruments is better defined with more sense of air around them. Also there is a great degree of vibrancy and life to the sound. This is not to say I do not enjoy the AK100 but to my ear, the 901 is better at rendering the pace and life of the recording. Bass has a better foundation and drive and is better focused. Mids are well fleshed out, with both male and female voice sounding realistic.
3 28 2013
I have been listening to Beethoven's 6th Symphony conducted by Norington and I am thoroughly enjoying in. Great dynamics very good imaging with excellent instrument timber. Horns are well fleshed out and the underlying bass is well controlled and natural in the delivery. A nice width and decent depth. Very smooth and yet dynamic. This is on my ATH-ESW10's.
3 30 2013
I am looking forward to trying other amplifier boards with the 901.
At this point, I find that the 901 does excellent with classical music. It retrieves the right amount of detail while preserving the feel of the hall. Strings have that sweet singing sound. Horns sound like horns and wood instruments the right timbre. This goes for small groups to orchestras on a large scale.
4 6 2013
I have been listening with the JH13's and the 901. Very detailed in a good way. On some of my jazz recordings you can hear the slap of the pads on a sax or clarinet. While this isn't needed for musical enjoyment, the sound is there and can lead to a feeling of being up close to the music, which for me, can add to the realism. Bass drive is very good with well balanced approach in that it does not intrude but is seamless. Obviously the highs are there and male voice is not bassy (not a real word but I like it) but controlled and realistic.
Both the 901 and the DX100 do these things well, just in a little different manner. The DX100 has a little more air, much like to different venues. Both DAPs are very fast, meaning they do not muddy the sound with lows bleeding into the lower mids and over shoot of other frequencies.
The UI is pretty straight forward. A little wheel on the screen is moved by a wheel on the face of the unit. From there you can go to "folder" and choose an album and it cues up almost instantly. There is no artwork, but then I don't listen to artwork but I know some like it. This goes back to a utility that gets you to the music and lets you go to Now Playing, favorites, SD card, artist, genre, All Songs and Setting.
Dual Sabre dacs
Module amplifier boards both single ended and balanced amplification - More on this when I get the balanced and IEM amp boards.
Run time with full charge, approximately 11 hours with the single ended 8397 opamp, Currently I am getting 7 to 8 hours of run time.
UI, simple and straight forward
Tactile button operation, no touch screen
Low and high gain
HD (high definition) Vintage (3db down at high frequencies)
Analog volume control
SDXC SD memory card slot, SD micro cards with SD adapter
Removable battery with upcoming separate battery charger for additional ready charged batteries
5 amp boards to be available:
1.. Balanced board 4Xopa627 and 4Xbuf634
2.. Balanced board 2Xopa8397
3.. IEM board specially tuned for IEM and having less power than the other boards
4.. Mini Box ES board 2Xopa627 4X634
5. 801 board - same as in the HM801
Edited by jamato8 - 10/31/13 at 12:51pm