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HiFiMAN HM-901 visit pg 18. IMGS pg 19. NEW beta FW 1st page. . to the 901s. .new 901s FW . - Page 48

post #706 of 3412
Quote:
Originally Posted by fermelom View Post

I remember a list of the amp cards planned for the hm-901 where one of the cards was a mimic of the stock amp card of the 801. It seems that you can have a better dac than the 801 but with that sound signature that some people love in the 901 using that card. If you love 801 that would be a great option.

You are right. There was something about a HM-801 amp card for the 901, but is has be very low output impedance ( > 1 Ohm) then, which none of the 801 amp cards are (respectively 10, 18 and 32 Ohm). However, if a warm sounding IEM amp card with less than 1 Ohm output impedance shows up, then I might be tempted.

 

I should add, that the warm sound of the HM-801 is not (only) in the amp section, it is surely in the DAC section (also). The Butterworth filter after the DAC chip is the cause of this, I think.


Edited by LarsHP - 7/18/13 at 7:52am
post #707 of 3412
I always thought the DAC in the 801 was a very prized DAC? I do wonder about all this warm talk as well. When I have listened to equipment praised as neutral from members of this forum, clear and clean and such and in the same breath negating warm sounding equipment I have found the "warmer" sounding equipment to be far more enjoyable to listen to compared to the clearer, cleaner sounding equipment. In fact that equipment I find very tiring to listen to and though great at picking out detail rather lacklustre in terms of musicality.

It will be interesting to see if the 901 can bring a middle ground to the playing field as for me both the AK100 and DX100 though technically very good I would not have over my 801 or the CLAS/Classic combo as I just found them very un-involving to listen to compared to the 801 or CLAS/Classic and to be honest very digital sounding compared to those two. I would forgive the last ounce of transparency any day for musicality and ability to listen for many hours without fatigue which I personally could not do with the AK100 or DX100!

I must admit as well, pair the 801 with a truly great amp (my ASP tube amp for instance) and the ability to resolve inner detail is outstanding but not at the loss of musicality or richness and depth.

I am keeping a very good eye on this 901 and I am very much looking forward to your thoughts Lars!
Edited by ianmedium - 7/18/13 at 8:05am
post #708 of 3412
One last thing, and I think this very telling. How many 801's come up for sale in the for sale section compared to the DX100 or AK100!
post #709 of 3412

I think we agree that warm and "musical" (and analog) sounding goes hand in hand. To me "neutral sounding" is slightly warm. I have never heard real world instruments or voices sounding cool or analytical ...

 

The DAC chip in the HM-801, Burr Brown PCM1704, is supposed to be the best R-2R chip ever made. John Darko at DigitalAudioReview referred to reviewers calling it "the master of neutrality" in his review of Audio-gd's Reference 7.1 DAC which uses 8 pieces of this chip. I have that DAC and it really is neutral in the best possible way - as well as highly transparent etc. etc.

 

In other words, the DAC chip itself is not coloring the sound. It's most likely the Butterworth filter making the HM-801 sound warm, musical and analog, as I said in my previous post. I even think Fang said this was the goal using that filter.

 

For me the reason to upgrade to the HM-901 is not the sound of  the DAC section, but more or less all the rest:

1. Very low output impedance (less than 1 Ohm)

2. Stepped attenuator (which makes low level listening possible without channel imbalance on sensitive IEMs/CIEMs)

3. Sampling compability (specifically 88.2kHz files)

4. Album art

 

If the HM-801 had an amp module with considerably lower gain and output impedance (fixing #1 and #2) and a firmware update could fix #3 and #4, then I couldn't care less for the HM-901.

post #710 of 3412
Very interesting Lars, I really appreciate the knowledge on this and as I say, I am really looking forward to your thoughts on the 901.

I have a stepped attenuator on my amp, it is wonderful as there is zero channel imbalance even with my most sensitive IEMs at low volume. It is also the most transparent volume control I have ever used.
post #711 of 3412

I'm a big fan of the 1704 but don't feel it needs to sound warm in an optimized setup. It can be nicely fiddled with but you're limited in a portable so the best results probably need to be a little warm there. 801 is doing a similar filter to the Tera except that it likely still oversamples which would make the filter more effective. I'm sure Charles would disagree.wink_face.gif I prefer a well done 1704 to the ESS variants but I would bet that you can get more from the ESS DACs in a portable because all of its massaging is on board. Does lots in a little package.

post #712 of 3412
FYI potential buyers, you can get the Hifiman HM-901 for $899 if you use code "bbheadfi" at ACGears.com. Do take note its in pre-order status. smily_headphones1.gif
post #713 of 3412
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarsHP View Post

I think we agree that warm and "musical" (and analog) sounding goes hand in hand. To me "neutral sounding" is slightly warm. I have never heard real world instruments or voices sounding cool or analytical ...

 

 

 

 

I also agree with this.  DX100 and AK100 had always sounded a bit too sterilized/clinical for my taste.  I honestly think 901 achieved both super resolving power without compromising too much on the musicality (or you may flip it and think achieving musicality without sacrificing resolution).  To some extend my AK120 seems to be after this goal and is also quite successful but 901 give me more resolution, more power, and equally musical.  There had been talk of a 901 amp board with an LP analog signature similar to the ones for 801 but no timeline yet.  With my balanced amp board I am already happy as can be with the sound.  

post #714 of 3412
kkcc. That is what I felt about the DX and AK, your description of the 901 has me very interested. It does indeed sound like they have done a superb job with this one!
post #715 of 3412
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

kkcc. That is what I felt about the DX and AK, your description of the 901 has me very interested. It does indeed sound like they have done a superb job with this one!

 

Soundwise it really is superb.  I just wish it is less ugly and in a smaller package.... I was turned off by these earlier and almost passed up on this.  My initial demo of the 901 was with the stock amp board, and I thought the AK120 equaled its sound with a much nicer overall package though slightly more expensive.  But was totally blown away after demo'ing with the balanced amp board (with non-balanced cable/iem at the time) that I went ahead and boy I'm glad I did.  

 

Still hate the unwieldy look and size (it actually look bigger than it actually feels in my pocket but either way it is still much bigger than the AKs).

post #716 of 3412
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarsHP View Post

I think we agree that warm and "musical" (and analog) sounding goes hand in hand. To me "neutral sounding" is slightly warm. I have never heard real world instruments or voices sounding cool or analytical ...

 

The DAC chip in the HM-801, Burr Brown PCM1704, is supposed to be the best R-2R chip ever made. John Darko at DigitalAudioReview referred to reviewers calling it "the master of neutrality" in his review of Audio-gd's Reference 7.1 DAC which uses 8 pieces of this chip. I have that DAC and it really is neutral in the best possible way - as well as highly transparent etc. etc.

 

In other words, the DAC chip itself is not coloring the sound. It's most likely the Butterworth filter making the HM-801 sound warm, musical and analog, as I said in my previous post. I even think Fang said this was the goal using that filter.

 

For me the reason to upgrade to the HM-901 is not the sound of  the DAC section, but more or less all the rest:

1. Very low output impedance (less than 1 Ohm)

2. Stepped attenuator (which makes low level listening possible without channel imbalance on sensitive IEMs/CIEMs)

3. Sampling compability (specifically 88.2kHz files)

4. Album art

 

If the HM-801 had an amp module with considerably lower gain and output impedance (fixing #1 and #2) and a firmware update could fix #3 and #4, then I couldn't care less for the HM-901.


I quite agree with you comment on the warmth. It should be in my opinion SLIGHTLY warm to be organic / music. And :

 

  • The Tera is the most analog / musical DAP I know and it is slightly on the warm side of neutral
  • The AK120 with 1.00 was too warm. The warmth made it sound  congested. I think with 1.32 is closer to perfection for me
  • The DX100 was too neutral for me, therefore boring on certain tracks
  • The AK100 with orginal firmware was too cold and thin, but warmer and fuller with Listrid and thus better sounding
post #717 of 3412
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

FYI potential buyers, you can get the Hifiman HM-901 for $899 if you use code "bbheadfi" at ACGears.com. Do take note its in pre-order status. smily_headphones1.gif

I was told by another vendor that it will not be released for another 2 weeks! Something about a ROM update.
post #718 of 3412
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogdor View Post

I was told by another vendor that it will not be released for another 2 weeks! Something about a ROM update.
Yeah I shot AC Gears an email on rough shipping timeframe and will post here if/when i get the answer.
post #719 of 3412

They need to fix the firmware. It's still very buggy even with latest 1.80.

post #720 of 3412
What bugs have you encountered?
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › HiFiMAN HM-901 visit pg 18. IMGS pg 19. NEW beta FW 1st page. . to the 901s. .new 901s FW .