Two weeks ago I received my HM 901 from Audioadvisor. It came with the standard amp. I ordered the balanced amp from Hifiman about a week ago. Since then I have been doing a comparison between the standard (stock) amp and the balanced amp.
I have also been switching back and forth between the hi –res and the classic switch. The headphones I'm using are the Shure 1840, Grado 500, Sennheiser HD600 and my Sennheiser HD650.
I owned and sold my HM801 so I know the difference in performance between the two. I also owned the HM601 but will not use this to compare either since it is not in the same league.
Simply put the HM901 is better then the HM801. I thought the HM801 would be hard to beat. I also thought the HM901 with the sabre dacs might sound drier and not as analog as the HM801. It does not.
My 4 pin balanced 3.5 mini cable is from Charleston Cable company. Manufactured here in the good old USA. They are beautifully made, and the sound quality is exceptional. I can honestly say this having used various major brand cables on my HD600 and HD650. That said I highly recommend the Charleston/Audience cable. He is a great guy to deal with and very customer service oriented. Not to mention the quality of this cable. The cable he uses is designed and manufactured by Audience. This is simply my opinion. I have nothing to do with this company. Do a search for additional information.
My experience in music professionally has been a long one. I have been fortunate enough to have owned and tried many hi-end stereo products.So sound quality is very important to me.
I won’t go in to a long detailed description in terms of the sound quality the HM901 produces. There will be plenty of professional reviews coming out soon.
Having said that I will say Fang did one hell of a job designing this. Is the body brushed aluminum. No it is not. It’s plastic. Does it feel like a $1000.00 portable player. In a way, yes it does. Does it look good to the eye. Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me it looks fine. The plastic is a high grade plastic. The seams are perfect. Everything looks like they took their time to assemble it. Pride maybe. Whatever it is it just works. It feels right in the hand. It is easy and friendly to use. Again,to me I really like the way it looks.
How does music sound on this amazing digital player. To my trained ears it sounds perfect. My stereo home system is top of the line. I now spend 90% of my music listening with the HM901 and my Sennheiser HD650 instead. I do prefer the 24 bit music though. Just a bit more quality, detail, etc then 16 bit. Not a lot but enough. To me it’s definitely noticeable. I am a person who is very very picky about the sound quality of the music I listen to. Sometimes maybe to picky. Especially how it’s produced through the equipment playing it.
I do highly recommend the balanced amp over the (mini amp) and definitely over the standard amp. There is a quite a noticeable difference between the standard and the balanced amp.
I haven’t had any trouble with any particular manufactures memory cards although I prefer sandisc. The latest firmware works fine. Did not change the sound signature or cause any problems. Easy to install. Twice it skipped ahead on one of the songs I was listening to. That was before the firmware. It never happened again afterwards. I guess we willl see what happens down the road.
I Love everything about the HM901. To me it was worth every penny. To hear music produced with this high quality coming from such a small device is amazing. I am listening to sound quality that I enjoy more then my home stereo system lately. That's saying a lot. All this coming from a portable player. I could not ask for more. Fang did a super job in the design, build and quality of the HM901.
Edited by glockhit - 8/26/13 at 1:31pm