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HM802 Initial Impressions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My Hifiman HM802 arrived this morning and I wanted to give you guys my thoughts thus far. I will add some pictures soon.


The unit is quite hefty, about like the HM801.  However the HM802 is smaller in size and would fit in a shirt pocket.  Its color is kind of a metallic teal.  I like it. The build quality is solid.


The unit came fully charged and ready to go.  I have been enjoying the beautiful tunes for about two hours.


The UI may be a little hinky as it does not always do what I expect.  There may be a learning curve involve so I'm not going to be too critical at this time.


I've plugged in a 32GB card and am listening to Emmylou Harris.  The sound quality is just beautiful, with nice bass.  I cannot find fault at all with the sound produced.


Now, I ordered the unit with the standard amp card and I assume that's what in the unit.  However, it also came with a second amp card called a "headphone (not IEM) amp card".  The extra card looks different from any shown on the Head-Direct site.  When my ears fall off or I need to charge the battery, I'll open the unit and see what amp card is in it.  Then I'll Hifiman's domestic customer service number and see if they were just feeling generous or did they make a mistake.  Of course, I'll return the extra card or pay for it, depending.  By the way, I did have occasion to to call HM's service center with a couple questions.  I had the pleasure of speaking with a nice young lady named Summer.  She picked up the phone on the first ring and answered my questions easily.  She seemed quite familiar with the product.  This service is a far cry from the dismal experience I had getting my questions answered on the HM801.


So, as you guys ponder what to buy from all the new DAPs coming to the marketplace, I suggest you not overlook the HM802.  It's very nice.


February 19, 2014 - Editted to add:  I am learning that the user interface is indeed kinda twitchy. 


At one point the player would not turn on.  I have no idea why.  I took off the back and took the battery for a few minutes.  Taking out the battery not easy because there's a little tab that has to be push while pulling up on the battery.  Problem is, I have only two hands and they is nothing on the battery to grasp and no way to pull it out.  Just have to keep trying.  When I reinserted the battery, I gave the unit a few minutes and then it powered on.


At another point, the player would not play music... which is kind of annoying.  I think the reason was because I had just turned it on and the music wasn't fully loaded.  I think with this player a modicum of patience is called for becasuse it seems there are things going on behind the scenes and until they're finished, nothing much is going to happen.


Another time the unit just froze and no matter what button I pushed, nothing happened.  I could not even power the unit off.  I had to reset the system.


When music is playing, there are two counters at the bottom of the screen, as well as a progress bar.  One counter is for elapsed time and the other for time remaining.  Well, sometime the progress bar and counters work... and sometimes they don't.


Regarding the user interface, I can live with the options offered.  I can play all songs, songs by artist, by album, favorites, etc.  Plenty of options for me.


That little wheel that is used to navigate is not very tactile.  It has ribs on it but they're very shallow.  It would help if the wheel had a rubber finish to make it a little tacky.


The power switch is spring loaded.  To turn the unit on or off, you must push this little guy in the same direction.  However, the spring is very weak and I fear this will be a problem area at some point.


These are all little problems that annoy.  If I can identify software issues, HifiMan should have found and fixed the issues before release.  The hardware issues are design problems and they are what they are.  I'll just have to be careful not to break anything.


The sound quality, when the unit will play music, is beautiful.  So far, I have listened through Etymotic ER4-Ps and some simple Bose headphone (not noise cancelling).  I have yet to listen through my HD600s and I think they will be a great match.  I also have some Mad Dogs but have the 1/4 inch plug so, until I can get an adapter, I'll have to wait to hear these.

Edited by Willieboy - 2/19/14 at 6:57pm
post #2 of 8

All the new HM901 and HM802 do come with 2 amp module now. One is the 'classic' card (similar topology to the standard card on HM801 and is the standard card for HM802 and HM901 now), and another one is the AD8397 card (which is the original standard card for HM901). They upgraded the standard card from AD8397 card to the newer classic card, but decided to still include the AD8397 card as an extra.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Original post has been expanded upon.

post #4 of 8

Do you still have the 801? How's the SQ compared to it?

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

I no longer have the HM801 but remember it well.  Compared to the 801, I prefer the 802.  To my ear, the 802 sounds more open and a little less warm.  However, headphones have to be taken into account too.  I don't recall what phones I was listening to when I had the 801.  I do know though, that I have upgraded my phones since then.  Since you asked about SQ, I'll add that there seems to be no EQ capability with the 802.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Well, I've had the HM802 for almost one month and it has been a joy.  The sound quality has been amazing and it has performed perfectly after resolving a couple issues early on.  Those issues were the result, I believe, not fully understanding the FW. 

post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by Willieboy View Post

Well, I've had the HM802 for almost one month and it has been a joy.  The sound quality has been amazing and it has performed perfectly after resolving a couple issues early on.  Those issues were the result, I believe, not fully understanding the FW. 
The wheels in my head are turning. This is now on my radar as I find the astell & kern are overpriced for the SQ.
post #8 of 8
For those interested check out my review of the HM-802
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