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Two new HifiMan players announced: HM700 and HM802 - Page 22

post #316 of 335

Here's my review of the HM700/RE600! http://headfonics.com/2014/04/the-hm-700-and-re-600-by-hifiman/

post #317 of 335

My HM-700/RE-400B has landed! 

post #318 of 335

I have all HM Players in my possession now.  (except the HM-60x series)   I will be doing a shoot out review (HM-901, HM-802, HM-801, HM-700) in the future after I finish my HE-560 review.

post #319 of 335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood View Post
 

I have all HM Players in my possession now.  (except the HM-60x series)   I will be doing a shoot out review (HM-901, HM-802, HM-801, HM-700) in the future after I finish my HE-560 review.


Awesome. I look forward to the comparisons.

post #320 of 335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood View Post
 

I have all HM Players in my possession now.  (except the HM-60x series)   I will be doing a shoot out review (HM-901, HM-802, HM-801, HM-700) in the future after I finish my HE-560 review.

 

YESSSSSSSSSS. Awesome : )

post #321 of 335

post #322 of 335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirmalanow View Post
 


Awesome. I look forward to the comparisons.

Hey D, how do you like your HM802?

; )

post #323 of 335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tympan View Post
 

Hey D, how do you like your HM802?

; )


It sounds great. It does not quite come up to the same level of naturalness and organic sound that the Tera has, but it comes very close. Very smooth and yet clear sound. I would recommend it as a poor man's Tera, especially now that the Tera is priced so ridiculously high. And of course it has more features than the Tera if that matters to someone. I am waiting until I get my JVC HA-FX850 iem's before I decide whether to keep the Tera or the 802. But unless there is an especially magical synergy with the Tera and the FX850s, I am leaning towards keeping the 802.

post #324 of 335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirmalanow View Post
 


It sounds great. It does not quite come up to the same level of naturalness and organic sound that the Tera has, but it comes very close. Very smooth and yet clear sound. I would recommend it as a poor man's Tera, especially now that the Tera is priced so ridiculously high. And of course it has more features than the Tera if that matters to someone. I am waiting until I get my JVC HA-FX850 iem's before I decide whether to keep the Tera or the 802. But unless there is an especially magical synergy with the Tera and the FX850s, I am leaning towards keeping the 802.

You read my mind, nice! 

Nice little guys these FX850 but 16 ohms iems with the Tera... I wish you luck, never know... 

How about HM802 <=> HM801?

post #325 of 335

Highflight says the JVCs work with the Tera in spite of their 16 ohm impedance....we will see. They are somewhat bass heavy phones (although this does supposedly calm down some with breaking in), so maybe the Tera will balance them out.

 

It has been a long time since I had the 801, but based on my memory, the 802 is warmer, clearer and smoother. However, I am also using different headphones now, so the comparison is probably not reliable.

post #326 of 335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirmalanow View Post
 

Highflight says the JVCs work with the Tera in spite of their 16 ohm impedance....we will see. They are somewhat bass heavy phones (although this does supposedly calm down some with breaking in), so maybe the Tera will balance them out.

Yes, I sure hope their synergy works better for you than what the Tera-RE600 synergy did for me : ) 

post #327 of 335

Hi,

 

Figured, I'd add my "something" to the mix. Enjoy. :veryevil:

 

In the beginning there was only voice in my head

Alright, it's time to do this. HM-802 is sitting on my desk, looking at me strangely for some time now. Something tells me, nope, scratch that, I'm quite positive that if this device could speak, I'd hear something like: "Just do it already, write this thing! Stop toying around, be a man!". There. If some piece of hardware is speaking to me, well, it's time to go to a doctor, that's one thing. But maybe I really should do what device wants from me, just for my own safety.... and that's the second one. So I'm quite sure that's the reason why we've gathered here, to check what's going on in HiFiMAN DAP world. And it's going a lot, oh yes. HM-802 is going on. TLDR: really good things are going on. Enough said, let's get down to it.

 

Having HM-901 in one hand, and HM-802 in another, well, it was pretty obvious for me what I should do. Yes, below you'll find some comparing. But bear in mind, that in many aspects those are IDENTICAL devices. Though it's a pity that I couldn't get my hands on AK120 on time. On many levels that's one of the biggest competitors of HM-802, sound wise in 100%.

 

Two, scratch that, three disclaimers before we go:

 

  • I hadn't payed for any of those DAP-s, they were delivered to me as a free samples, no journalistic surprises or secrets here. Both came directly from HiFiMAN HQ
  • I'm not affiliated with companies mentioned in this article in neither financial, nor personal way. Though, obviously, I know PR people working there, but we get along only on professional level and that's it.
  • Sorry about my language skills, I'm aware that they could use some improvement. But I honestly believe that by writing stuff such as this review I'll get better. If you consider yourself as a language purist and are afraid your eyes might fall off, please stop reading here.

 

List of music I used is quite vast: Nine Inch Nails, Bat For Lashes, Rebecca Pidgeon, Einsturzende Neubauten, Corvus Corax, The Knife, Fever Ray, early albums of Mike Oldfield, Filter, Wardruna, Pig, Ministry, Michael Goddard/Monteverdi, Dead Can Dance, KMFDM, Jarboe, Muse, David Lynch, Therion and some Chesky's stuff to name a few. No additional details are needed here, but if someone asks about specific tracks, I'll gladly answer.

 

 

Build quality

Judging book by its cover, HM-802 is the same exact thing as HM-901. Those devices are identical. Every bit of their cases is identical. The only visible difference is actually the colour, but you guys already know that. So there's no point for me to write about things like buttons, sockets etc. in HM-802, you're all are familiar with them. But what I can do is to address changes in comparison to HM-901. Just to be clear: that DAP is my all times favourite one, my end of the road in terms of pure SQ. OK, so if you don't know whether HM-802 is for you usability wise, stick to the fact that it's the same brick as HM-901, but tweaked here and there. 

 

Changes, changes and even more... changes ?

We all know now that HM-901 isn't ideal DAP. It's not even close. It should be bashed heavily for certain things, thats the truth. And it takes lots of courage to use it, you really have to be SQ nut to put aside lots of usability issues it actually has. Lots of them. But when you do, well, this thing plays oh so darn good, with proper set of cans or CIEMS often magic happens, no joke. OK, but for now let's put this aside. One thing that can't be changed in HM-802 is its case work. The design of that DAP is actually justified in my eyes on many levels. Just think about stuff like modular amp boards and double battery. This one mounted in both HiFiMAN DAP-s mentioned here is huge, it's hard to argue with that. Just look below.

 

But before we go any further, let me just mention stuff that's the most annoying for me in daily HM-901 usage. Screen resolution is OK for me, as I don't need fancy stuff. But it really drives me nuts that I can't increase its brightness. Covering this DAP-s display by hand on a sunny day is something usual, yet always hard to not be mad about. At least for me. Next there's that famous UI wheel. In my HM-901 sample it's not fluent, on some "hours" frictions are way more felt than on other. That drives me mad as well, to a point where I have all my favourite tracks storaged in one folder and shuffle is on. That's why I don't have to use wheel so often, that's my semi measure. This somewhat solves my usability issue, but you get the point - it's not the way it should work. Moving on, volume knob is perfect in terms of channel balance, even at very low volume levels. But again, there are frictions between some steps, and it shouldn't be like that. Volume management should be fluent, smooth, effortless. Those are my main issues with HM-901. Now let's see how many of them have been taken care of in HM-802, and which ones are still present.

 

Screen in HM-802 is almost the same as the one mounted in HM-901, hence hand covering is still on the table. To my eyes it has a bit more intense colours and is a bit brighter, but this doesn't change much. Another thing, firmware, is also exactly the same, so there are couple functions missing, like wheel speed adjustment. But we now have DSD playback, applied Wolfsons can do that. OK, fine, ES9018 can do that too, but for some reasons on HM-901 that files were playable, but unlistenable. OK, let's move on. For me the most important thing is, that piece of hardware delivered straight into my hands, talking about HM-802 here, has properly implemented wheel. No loose spots between steps, same resistance everywhere, very smooth work. I'm impressed, now I can't say bad words about that element, not even one. Look, this is huge improvement for me personally. HM-802 is very similar in terms of its weigh to HM-901, which is a kind of obvious thing to write. That's not a problem for me, never was actually. They both go on hand exactly the same way, they use the same SD cards, which is a good thing in my book overall. And one thing worth to address (hardware wise) is volume control. It seems the same in both models, but the one in HM-802 is much more smooth. Now it is very comfortable during outdoor usage, and I wasn't that much happy about it in HM-901. That's about it in hardware department. Let's go to software stuff.

 

HM-802 OS works much faster and smoother than the one implemented in HM-901 overall. But when I was benchmarking access time to some key functions with watch on hand, well, it turned out that those times are exactly the same. "WTF?!?" - someone might ask. Let me tell you why. The secret of that HM-802 smoothness and "fast response" is properly implemented wheel of that particular DAP. To put it as simple as I can, it works as it should've in the first place. I feel that I have full control over HM-802, no unexpected moves are being made, no mistakes, and that often happened with HM-901 unit I currently have.

 

Look guys, those things are only small stuff, nothing shocking or groundbreaking. But most of major flaws of HM-901 have been taken care of, and now I can easily say, that daily usage of HM-802 is enjoyable for me. Yes, small steps, but in good direction all the way. Even despite of this DAP's size and weigh. One more thing, that concerns both devices: now in their FW there's a loop implemented. This means, that if I'll go to the very end of some list I don't have to turn back all the way. If I'll go just one step forward from this point, I'll be at the beginning of that list. This very small update makes my life with HiFiMAN DAP-s much easier.

 

Well, it plays music, does it ?

Yes, it does. I'm not sure if you're aware, but when HM-802 was only a sketch in Fangs head, he wanted this device to sound it HM-801 alike. Darn, it's not an easy task to do. I'm a huge fan of PCM1704, and for me nothing can play like this d/a chip, nothing. And for me, well, Wolfsons are way below that vintage multibit on many levels, it's just not the same sonic league for me. I'm not going to argue about that with anyone, as we all know that implementation actually counts, power supply etc. But people who know what PCM1704 can do, how good it sounds, will agree with my fanboyish attitude here, at least to some degree. Yet, another side is that we all know, that in audio business one has to listen first, then jump in judges shoes, as theorycrafting is often misleading when it comes down strictly to sound, eh?

 

OK, knowing what DAC is inside HM-802 I really regret that I hadn't AK120 with me, or at least MA9. So you might consider this review as not really helpful. But what I can do is to compare new kid on the block to HM-901. I've done listening with their stock amp cards on board, just to make it fair. But bear in mind, that those thingies DO change lots of stuff in sound department, so I encourage you to buy some, balanced or MiniBox, those are my favourite ones. During comparison I've used RE-600 and Heir Audio 8.A. Let's get down to it then.

 

In my eyes HM-901 is very dynamic beast, with a bit straight forward presentation. One can say that this DAP uses brute force. HM-901 is more of fast rapist than gentle lover, and I do like this brick for that kind of approach to my ears, I really do :veryevil:. But don't get me wrong, it can sound musical and all "that". HM-901 has big soundstage, but AK120 plays wider, and AK120 is narrower in comparison to MA9. HM-802 is also just a bit wider than his older, more expensive brother, but those differences aren't big, barely audible. Another thing is depth, here HM-802 isn't as direct sounding as HM-901, but it's fair to say it's more generous in that department. Overall, HM-802 is darker, more round, and laid back sounding DAP, but that's not all. Though it's fair to say, that that kind of presentation actually should remind some of you something. Yes, PCM1704 usually sounds more or less like that to some people. Though one person considers this multibit as fairly dark, and another - as dead neutral.   

 

Both DAP-s handle lows in different way. HM-901 has those frequencies more tight and stiff, but they do go way to the very bottom and have the power needed to crush rocks, literally. The same parts done by his younger brother are more smooth and full, not so powerful, and not so "in your face". But I have to admit, those are so damn musical and enjoyable, it reminds me what MA9 did with lower parts of FR, it really does. So it's power and direct force against more polite, yet smoother presentation, apples and oranges so to speak. One thing though, HM-802 doesn't have midbass hump, and that is what HM-901 has. Soundstage is something that divides both players the most. HM-901 has mids direct. Well, not "in your face direct", but you get it, they're fairly close. HM-802 has everything layered deeper, especially middle of whole show. And tthat's the thing that gives more dark sound signature to this DAP. But as I've mentioned, both devices share similar width and height, all those small details are where they should in both cases, only the middle is presented differently. Though I must admit, that HM-901 is more airy and not so thick sounding, yet this stuff goes with sound signature of HM-802 rather nice. And bear in mind that because of that HM-901 should lack body obviously, but it doesn't, this DAP still sounds full and oh so enjoyable overall. HM-901 has brighter midrange, one thing I'm very fond of is the weigh of guitar parts this DAP delivers. HM-802 has that stuff darker obviously, but audibly smoother, more polite. Yet another point to make: HM-901 doesn't sound harsh at all. Treble is a bit rolled off in new DAP, in comparison to older brick. But both devices have those parts smooth and detailed.    

 

Bottom Line

So there you have it, apples and oranges. I'm not going to judge which DAP sound wise is better choice to make. I'm sticking to HM-901, because above all I really do enjoy dynamics of that particular device, I can't help it. Yet, this is my subjective point of view. And another thing to mention is, that with my Heir Audio 8.A it goes really well. But if I had some lighter, more airy and more detail oriented CIEM-s, I'd probably jump onto HM-802 wagon. So to sum things up, this DAP isn't "the worse one", oh no. It just sounds differently, which is a good thing, and shouldn't be bashed because of this. And I'm a very sane audio consumer, I know exactly what sound I like on the go. So there you have it, HM-901 and 8.A rocks my boat like anything else thus far, that's the bottom line for me.

 

As for HM-802, yes, it really reminds me PCM1704 based stuff on many levels. Though, from the deepest corners of my memory I recall, that i. e. MA9 goes even further with smoothness, natural presentation and coherence of soundstage. Though I need to verify this one day, once one of my mates will send it back to me. But that aside, HM-802 is excellent DAP to have, and it's worth your money if you're into a bit dark and thick sound signature. I really enjoy this device especially because of many build improvements it has over HM-901. It doesn't mean that's the most comfortable DAP out there, as it is not. But I really do enjoy using it, and I catch myself that lately I take it with me more often than HM-901. Yup, those small but noticeable tweaks do the trick for me. I apreciate HiFiMAN-s improvements on this one, I really do. Both sound and build wise HM-802 is something really worth taking into consideration. And it won't be a surprise for me if HM-802, when combined with balanced amp or MiniBox, will perform much batter than AK120. It won't be, at all. You don't have to like HiFiMAN's stuff for "unique" designs and build quality. But you really should respect them for sound quality they deliver. HM-901 did that, HM-700 as well, and, no surprise for me, HM-802 does it again.    

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Cheers,

00L.


Edited by 00lunar - 4/7/14 at 7:18pm
post #328 of 335

Thanks 00Lunar! Your comparison confirmed my intuition.

I wish Hifiman had a HM902 with a switch on the side to either select HM901 or HM802 sound signature... and of course the size of the HM700 with 15 Hrs batteries :eek:

Wouldn't that be nice? :wink:

post #329 of 335

Thanks for the great review. I have never heard the 901, but your perspectives make me pretty sure I am happy I got the 802 instead.

post #330 of 335
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