I don't have the balanced board yet. I am waiting on it and the IEM board.
- 15,857 Posts. Joined 11/2004
- Location: Lower 48
- Select All Posts By This User
Thanks jamato8 :)
The main concern i have now with the HM-901 is the built quality of the movable parts, especially the navigation wheel.
Cos the entire menu navigation and selection of music is only with the navigation wheel, if not built hardy enough, will breakdown often or come off (as in some reports). Am also not thrilled with the prospect of sending in for repair every other few months too. If even an almost no mechanical moving parts approach by Apple, the "touch and click" wheel can get faulty in less than a year, am very concerned with a full mechanical version of it.
Which is why at this stage the Fiio X3, iBasso DX50 and iRiver AK120 seems to be better compromising options (not considering SQ alone).
Can go for these new offerings which will likely come before HM-901, while the DX100 keeps my SQ hunger satisfied.
Afraid Hifiman may seriously be losing out sales internationally, coming into the market after all the new announcements.
Today's world with the internet is truly a different ball game altogether. Changes come so fast, something relevant today becomes a thing of the past tomorrow.
Although i do get where you're coming from, would have to say a software update to fix an issue is preferable to having spend extra cash, and loss of weeks sending a faulty hardware back for servicing. Perhaps it's just myself preferring a buggy but usable (and expensive device) over a device that potentially suffers from physical wear and tear, and not having to use it for weeks or worst case, months, which seems to be a case for quite a few unfortunate users.
Take nothing away from the HM-901, and the SQ will very likely exceed the DX100 itself, and i may have bought it had it arrived earlier. However, after much consideration and scrutiny, the delay may have been a blessing. Yes, HiFiman would very likely have a very stable software out the door on day 1, but that's not the issue. The real issue here is its hardware. Specifically, the navigation wheel. How many music players have we seen, use a mechanical wheel for music navigation? Given how large our music library can be, going into the 192GB region, that's a lot of files to navigate/scroll through. Do it daily and even a well built mechanical wheel will suffer from wear and tear. To put it bluntly, the mechanical navigation wheel is THE design flaw in the HM-901. It is the straw that broke the camel's back.
I could be making a mountain out of a molehill and i do hope it is.
Sorry, the photo was taken with my iPhone :-
I can't give full objective impressions 'cos I listened to only 8-10 mins for the HM-901 & AK120 (whilst the RWAK100 on the right is mine). Briefly though about the HM-901 :-
1) UI was driving me nuts. Slow and the scroll dial a little finicky (maybe ta little too tight? Some lessons could be learnt from Canon's DSLR command dial)
2) Buttons were ok but also didn't have a distinctive click
3) Volume dial was also a little tight.
4) The OS (sorry, didn't know version) crashed twice whilst trying to play an AAC m4a track
OK not all's gloom and doom with the HM-901. Sonically if I had to pick one of the 3 above, I'd pick the HM-901. The dynamics of it just sound more engaging and involving. I can't pinpoint down what exactly - I was using the same microSD on both the HM-901 & AK120 even though I was using just folder access. The AK120 didn't grab me as much whilst the HM-901 I was toe tapping in the store.
However not knowing the battery life of the HM-901, in addition to its size & weight, I've been spoilt by the RWAK100's size and battery life the AK120 is probably more practical for "On the Move" whilst the HM-901 is probably more "in your satchel until you get to a coffee shop" kinda DAP - at least for my lifestyle.
I enjoy the AK100 (modified bypassed the 22ohm resistor) but sonically, it is no match in any area to the 901. While I normally refrain from stating there is a great deal of difference between amps or players stating more by degrees or characteristics but the difference between the enjoyable AK100 and the 901 sonically, to me, are great. There is more separation, a noticeable layering and much greater dynamics even with the standard card with the 901. The buttons, on the unit I have here, have a distinctive click both audible and tactile and the scroll wheel moves easily. The volume control could be looser but it also does not move by accident. I think there is a learning curve to most any item. I have Canon cameras and each one is a little different from the 5D, 5DII and 5DIII and while I have to review at times to use the 7D, it is something I accept.
It's all good. Glad we have so many enjoyable dacs to choose from with more to come.
AnakChan, I like our line below your avatar. I always get a kick out of it.
ooh, you are giving me nightmares, I`d better send you music tracks haha.
I havent given the DX100 a good listen, does Fujiya have the 901?