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HiFiMAN Megamini

Rating:
3.73333/5,
  1. Brooko
    HifiMan MegaMini – Good performance, questionable value
    Written by Brooko
    Published Oct 23, 2016
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Sound quality, build, form factor / size, ease of use, simple interface, power output
    Cons - Lacking features, battery life (only 9 hours real), competition is subjectively better in same price range
    MegaMini39.jpg
    For larger images - please click individual photos

    INTRODUCTION

    This was the 2nd round of the HifiMan review tour of the two new DAPs in their portfolio. I posted the review of the SuperMini earlier this week – and it proved to be reasonable value with a balanced output, excellent power, small form factor, easy to use UI, and 15 hour real time battery life. Combine it with the excellent IEMs bundled, and you effectively have a pair of IEMs worth $150-200 and a DAP worth $200-$250 – which made the package overall a good value proposition. And this was particularly so if you were looking for a synergistic total package.
     
    This time we're looking at the sibling – which is effectively one tier down. And at $249 and without the IEMs being included, I kind of expected it to struggle just a little against the more expensive (but better value) package deal. But I went into the test with an open mind – and there are some things I like about the MegaMini. Read on to get my thoughts on how the MegaMini performs, and how its value stands up against similar peers.
     
    ABOUT HIFIMAN
    HifiMan Audio was founded in late 2005 by Dr Fang Bian when he was resident in New York. He started Head-Direct, and in 2007 began use of the HifiMan brand. They started initially with in-ear earphones, branched out into building hi-res portable players, and this was followed by planar magnetic headphones. As the business grew, so did the need to expand, so in 2010 Dr Bian started two small factories in China, and moved the HQ to Tianjin China in 2011. They are now a well recognised brand globally – particularly in the field of portable or personal audio products.
     
    I found most of these short facts from a couple of interviews with Dr Bian posted on line, and among the interviews were a couple of direct quotes which I found fascinating and illuminating:
     
    I started listening to a lot of music when I was in high school. I used a Walkman and Discman all the time because I had nothing else available to me. They were designed more for convenience than great sound. I wanted both- convenience and great sound so that set the stage for my dream to build the best sounding personal audio products.
     
    Starting with me, everyone is passionate about what we are doing at HiFiMAN. We may not always do everything perfectly from the beginning but we try hard to get it right in the end and our track record is pretty good. Most of all, I want our customers to know how much we appreciate them. Their support and feedback is invaluable.
     
    DISCLAIMER
    I was provided the HifiMan MegaMini as a review sample and it will be returned once the review is completed. There is no financial incentive from HifiMan in writing this review. I am in no way affiliated with HifiMan - and this review is my honest opinion of the MegaMini. I would like to thank them for making this opportunity available though.
     
    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.
    I'm a 49 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (including the FiiO X5ii, X3ii, X7, LP5, L3, and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – usually either X3ii/X7/L3 > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
     
    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.
     
    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.
    For the purposes of this review, I have used the HifiMan MegaMini with a wide variety of headphones including both sensitive and harder to drive IEMs, portable headphones (HD630VB), full sized headphones (HD600 and HD800S), and also the balanced IEMs which were included with the SuperMini.
     
    WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A DAP
    I thought I’d list (before I start with the review) what I really look for in a new DAP.
    1. Clean, neutral signature – but with body (not thin)
    2. Good build quality
    3. Reasonable battery life
    4. Easy to use interface
    5. Able to drive both low impedance and (within reason) higher impedance cans without additional amping.
    6. Value for money
    7. Enough storage to hold either my favourite albums in red-book, or my whole library in a reasonably high resolution lossy format (for me – aac256)
     
    At the completion of the review I’ll refer back to this list and see how the SuperMini performed. This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    The MegaMini arrived in an all white retail box and lid. It (like the SuperMini packaging) is minimal, clean and stylish. The box measures 160 x 100 x 40mm. The lid is simply adorned with the HifiMan logo and name in an orange/gold colour.
     
    MegaMini01.jpg MegaMini02.jpg
    Outer retail box
    First glimpse at the MegaMini

     
    Removing the lid reveals the silver MegaMini safely nestled in a foam cut-out. You see 4 main buttons on the front face, otherwise at first glance it looks pretty similar to the SuperMini. Removing the foam cut-out reveals a warranty card (which also has links to the downloadable manual – http://down.hifiman.com/MegaMini/manual.pdf). Missing this time is the spare screen protector.
     
    MegaMini03.jpg MegaMini04.jpg
    Inner compartment
    Full accessory package

     
    Underneath this is one final compartment which houses a USB to micro-USB cable. To be honest, this package for a $250 DAP is pretty minimal.
     
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    The tables below list most of the relevant specifications. I have (as a comparison) also listed specifications from FiiO's X3ii and X5ii, which straddle the MegaMini in it's price bracket. I have also asked Ryne at HifiMan for further specifications, however have not received a reply at this time. Many critical specifications are unfortunately not stated by HifiMan.
     
     
    FiiO X3ii
    HifiMan MegaMini
    FiiO X5ii
    Approx cost
    ~ USD 170
    ~ USD 250
    ~ USD 300
    Dimensions
    ~ 96 x 57 x 16mm
    ~ 43 x 100 x 9.0mm
    ~ 109 x 64 x 15mm
    Weight
    135g
    69g
    165g
    Lossless PCM support
    APE, FLAC, WAV, ALAC
    WAV, APE, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC
    APE, FLAC, WAV, ALAC
    Lossy support
    MP3, OGG, AAC, WMA
    MP3, OGG, AAC, WMA
    MP3, OGG, AAC, WMA
    Highest lossless res
    192 kHz, 24 bits
    192 kHz, 24 bits
    192 kHz, 24 bits
    DSD/DSF/DFF support
    Yes – converted to PCM
    Yes– Native up to DSD64
    Yes – Native up to DSD64
    Play time / Battery Life
    ~ 10 hours
    ~ 15 hours (real test – 9 hours)
    ~ 10 hours
    DAC chip used
    CS4398
    Not stated
    PCM1792A
    Main amp chip
    OPA1642+LMH6643
    Not stated
    OPA1612+BUF634
    S/N (H/O)
    113 dB (A-Weight)
    Not stated
    114 dB (A-Weight)
    THD+N (H/O)
    < 0.003%
    < 0.08%
    < 0.001%
    Output into 16 ohm
    >224 mW
    Not stated
    >436 mW
    Output into 32 ohm
    >200 mW
    54 mW (1.4V @ 36ohm)
    >255 mW
    Output into 300 ohm
    >24 mW
    Not stated
    >27 mW
    Max output voltage
    >7.2 Vp-p
    Not stated
    >8.2 Vp-p
    Balanced Out
    None
    None
    None
    Impedance (H/O)
    < 0.2 ohm
    Not stated
    < 0.2 ohm
    Line Out
    Yes, shared with digital out
    No
    Yes, shared with digital out
    Digital Out
    Yes – 3.5mm to coax
    No
    Yes – 3.5mm to coax
    External storage
    1 x Micro sdxc up to 256Gb?
    1 x Micro sdxc up to 256Gb
    2 x Micro sdxc up to 512Gb?
    Internal memory
    None
    None
    None
    Screen
    2in colour TFT 320x240px
    2” OLED (~30x45mm)
    IPS 400x360
    Shell / Casing
    Aluminium alloy – gun metal
    Aluminium alloy
    Aluminium alloy – gun metal
    Bundled earphones
    No
    No
    No

     
    Feature support
     
    FiiO X3ii
    HifiMan MegaMini
    FiiO X5ii
    Equaliser
    Yes, 10 band adjustable + presets
    None
    Yes, 10 band adjustable + presets
    Use as external DAC
    Yes up to 192/24
    No
    Yes up to 192/24
    Use as digital transport
    Yes 3.5mm SPDIF out
    No
    Yes 3.5mm SPDIF out
    Adjustable gain
    Yes 2.6 dB L, 8.6 db H
    No
    Yes 2.6 dB L, 8.6 db H
    Adjustable DAC filter
    Yes – high / low
    No
    Yes – high / low
    Replay gain support
    Yes
    No
    Yes
    Gapless support
    Yes
    No
    Yes
    Balance control
    Yes
    No
    Yes
    Tagged browsing
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Explorer/folder browsing
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Searchable library
    Yes
    No
    Yes
    Playlist support
    Internal and External
    Internal
    Internal and External

     
    I’ll also look further at features as we continue with the review.
     
    BUILD / DESIGN
    The build on the MegaMini really is very good. Just like the SuperMini, it is tiny compared to a lot of my other DAPs – about the same height (100mm), but super thin (just 9mm) and only 43mm wide – so perfect for slipping into a pocket, or simply holding in the palm of your hand. And at a mere 69g, the MegaMini is brilliant to have for on the go.
     
    MegaMini05.jpg MegaMini06.jpg
    Left hand side view
    Bottom view and ports

     
    From what I understand, the MegaMini casing is CNC'd from a single block of aluminium alloy. It appears to be two piece – a frame (the sides) including a short plate on the front face, and a full length rear plate. The body is practically seamless though. One thing I noticed immediately after using the SuperMini earlier in the week is that the MegaMini's corners are sharper – where the Super's are more rounded. Anyway – the Super feels slightly nicer to hold overall.
     
    The front face top section is dominated by the 2 inch OLED screen, and underneath this resides 4 clickable buttons. These are (left to right) : a back or return button, back, forward, and play/pause/select. The buttons are easy to locate and navigate, and the click is firm and reassuring. The build appears to be good quality overall.
     
    MegaMini07.jpg MegaMini08.jpg
    Right hand side (reset pinhole and on/off button)
    Rear panel

     
    On the left hand side edge are 2 buttons toward the top – volume up and volume down. On the right hand side edge at the top is the power button (or screen on/off). On the right edge toward the bottom is a reset pinhole. At the bottom from left to right is the 3.5mm single-ended socket, the micro SDXC socket (up to 256 Gb) and micro-USB port for charging and data transmission (loading onto the micro SDXC). The rear of the casing simply has the HifiMan logo and some compliance information.
     
    MegaMini30.jpg MegaMini31.jpg
    Main buttons
    Screen next to SuperMini

     
    The screen is appears to be OLED, colour this time, and is both very clear and also reasonably easy to see in direct sunlight. It has good contrast, and viewing angles are almost 180 deg. The actual screen content is minimalist but effective – we'll go into this shortly. From an overall build and aesthetic standpoint, the MegaMini is well built and apart from the slightly sharp edges, a really nicely sized ultra-portable DAP.
     
    DESIGN – INTERNALS
    I will add to this section at a later time if I am able to. What we do know is that the MegaMini uses a combined DAC and amp in a single chip. Unfortunately the rest of the actual specifications are pretty much unknown. They've advised a power output of 54 mW @ 1.4V into a 36 ohm load and THD of 0.08%, but there is no mention of specs like SNR or even output impedance (although thatonenoob did measure and the OI appears to be around 1 ohm).
     
    I have requested information from HifiMan on a variety of internal information and specifications including the DAC chip used, OP amps, specs like output impedance and more information on power output. Unfortunately so far I have not been able to ascertain any of this information and to date HifiMan's engineers have politely declined, citing proprietary discretion (which I can understand). I will say that it is disappointing that necessary specs like output impedance aren't stated – and also highlight again that other Companies (FiiO, and even L&P) have been far more forth-coming with their specifications.
     
    UI (USER INTERFACE) / USABILITY
    Please note that this is with the released firmware UI2016-09-22V005Beta.
     
    Like with the SuperMini I'm going to choose my words very carefully here – because I don't want to give the wrong impression. The UI on the MegaMini is minimalist, but functional, and easy to navigate. I'm someone who has come from early audiophile DAPs like the HSA V3 Anniversary Edition, and experienced a lot of FiiO's transitions from early betas to more advanced UIs, so I tend to be a little more tolerant of minimalist designs than most.
     
    MegaMini09.jpg MegaMini10.jpg MegaMini11.jpg
    Main menu 1st page
    Now playing screen
    Hold the play button accesses the play mode option

     
    When first switching on the SuperMini, you are greeted by a HifiMan splash screen, and then simple hierarchical and quite simple menu system. There is a top status bar, and no matter where you are, this will always display the current volume level and also the battery status. The menu has the following options:
     
    1. now playing
    2. file explorer
    3. artist (ex tags)
    4. albums (ex tags)
    5. genre (ex tags)
    6. favourite (I'll run through this shortly)
    7. all songs
    8. settings
     
    MegaMini12.jpg MegaMini16.jpg MegaMini15.jpg
    Using the folder mode - and my usual organisation
    Alpha range to Artist
    Artist to Album

     
    The now playing screen takes you to the main screen when a track is playing. The first change you'll note (from the SuperMini) is that there is small album art included this time. The top status bar now shows track number and total tracks, and the play settings (repeat on or off, and also the play-through method / shuffle etc)
     
    Below this is the main screen with file name, artist, and album name. Below this is the album art. There is a scrubbing or track position indicator, and a time played for the current track. Slightly above this is the file format and bit-rate for the track. Whilst in this screen you can press and hold the play/pause button for 3s, and when released it allows you to quickly access the play mode (turn shuffle or repeat on) – a nice touch. So minimal but functional.
     
    MegaMini17.jpg MegaMini18.jpg MegaMini19.jpg
    Tagged library - Artist
    Tagged library - Album
    Tagged library - Genre

     
    The file explorer is simply that – a means of accessing files, and has become my preferred method of playing full albums. My recommendation here (if you have a larger library) is to arrange in hierarchical folders – I use:
    /A-C/artist names/ albums/ tracks
    /D-F/artist names/ albums/ tracks
    /G-I/artist names/ albums/ tracks
    etc
    This is a pretty simple way of getting to a preferred artist and album in as few clicks as possible.
     
    Using the tagged library (artists/albums/genre) is very simple, but everything is in a longer list. Fortunately pressing and holding the up or down button allows rapid scrolling (although it is not as snappy as the SuperMini) – so this does help navigation. But it is laborious for a larger library. There is a slight delay from selection of song to it playing. One thing to note is that you can't add a track or album to favourites from the explorer or now playing screen – it must be done from within the artist, album, genre, or all songs (tagged) lists. Personally I think it would have been handy to have this function available from now playing also. Pressing and holding the play/pause/select button from any of these lists allows an option to add to favourites.
     
    MegaMini21.jpg MegaMini20.jpg MegaMini22.jpg
    Tagged library - All Songs
    2nd part of main menu
    Adding a track to favourites

     
    The favourites menu allows access to the files you've tagged as favourites. Unfortunately they go in the order you've tagged them and there doesn't seem to be any way to manipulate the files other than removing them (done by pushing the select button when in the favourites men). There is also no option for multiple lists. You have the one favourites list, and that is it. If you're methodical and don't mind spending time setting it up – it can be pretty handy. But for those who use play-lists a lot – the implementation here is likely to drive you mad.
     
    The all songs menu allows you to access every song (through the tagged library) and displays them via file name (alpha numeric). This is the easy way to shuffle your whole library. Put it on random/shuffle hit play and press next. The only issue with this of course is that there is no replay gain, so you'll need to be adjusting volume often.
     
    MegaMini23.jpg MegaMini24.jpg
    Settings Menu - part 1
    Settings Menu - part 2

     
    The settings menu allows you to access:
    1. System version
    2. Repeat and shuffle settings
    3. The back-light (how long it is on)
    4. Auto power off (and this is what it says – its basically an off-timer)
    5. Screen lock switch (on or off)
    6. Language
    7. Update database
    8. Full reset
    9. Format the micro AD
     
    Updating the database (with approx 6500 aac256 tracks) takes about 4 minutes, so its not super quick – but once the database is up to date, overall the UI is not too bad to navigate.
     
    FORMAT SUPPORT
    HifiMan list the supported formats as (see below image):
    Lossy – MP3, WMA, OGG and AAC
    Lossless – WAV, APE, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC and DSD64
    I tested all of the listed formats except for WMA and had no issues with playback apart from OGG files and 24/96 WAV (wasn't recognised). Basically I started with Bob Dylan's album Infidels – I have a copy in 24/96. I didn't buy it for the hi-res, but rather for the mastering. I then proceeded to use dbpoweramp to transcode each track in succession to:
    MP3 V0, Ogg -q1, WAV 24/96, APE 24/96, FLAC 24/96, AIFF 24/96, FLAC 24/192 + I added a DSF file from Quires and Cloud to test the DSD.

     
    Everything played without a hitch (and sounded good too) apart from the Ogg and the WAV file. Thinking I'd made a mistake with the encoding, I recoded and tried again (no dice). So I tried the micro SD card with my FiiO X3ii – immediate success with Ogg and also WAV. So I'd list the Ogg support as “questionable” - it wasn't working for me. Everything else was as advertised, and the AIFF support was actually better at 24bit rather than 16bit. Not sure what was happening with WAV playback – especially when AIFF worked with no hitch.
     
    POWER OUTPUT
    HifiMan publishes the output power at up to 54 mW (1.4V @ 36 ohms) – so it's clear that this power output should be targeted more toward IEMs than full sized headphones. It does have the 32 volume steps though so it was a good chance to test real-world how that power translated into actual performance with a wide variety of headphones and earphones.
     
    Full headphones
    For this part of the exercise I used my full sized headphones, SPL meter position inside the cushions adjacent to my ear, and the track “Joker man”. The SPL meter was set to measure A-weighted, and my aim was to try and match as closely as possible my desired peak listening level at around 75dB. Results listed below. Each time the SPL meter was reset, and peak SPL recorded:
    HD630VB => volume 17/32 = 75.2 dB
    HD600 =>volume 25/32 = 75.7 dB
    HD800S =>volume 25/32 = 75.4 dB
     
    MegaMini26.jpg MegaMini25.jpg MegaMini27.jpg
    MegaMini with HD630VB = very good
    MegaMini with HD600 = good to very good
    MegaMini with HD800 = good

     
    All 3 headphones sounded pretty good with the MegaMini and I have to admit I was scratching my head a bit as the stated power output didn't seem consistent with what I was hearing (had HifiMan understated the power output?). Anyway I carried on listening to the HD800S for a while afterwards and have to admit that the combo was pretty darn good (but then again the recording is truly excellent).
     
    IEMs and Ear-buds
    For the next series of tests I simply repeated the same IEM's I originally used with the SuperMini. For this test I used the included RE600 variant, the Campfire Andromeda (super sensitive), the MEE P1 (harder to drive), and the VE Zen2 320 ohm ear-buds.
     
    MegaMini28.jpg
    Again I used my trusty SPL meter, “I and I” from the Infidels album, and recorded the following results (once again the dB figures are volume peaks from the same portion of music).
    HFM RE600 => volume 13/32 = 75.2 dB
    Campfire Andromeda => volume 6/32 = 77.9 dB
    MEE P1 Pinnacle => volume 18/32 = 75.1 dB
    (With the MEE P1 and the MegaMini at full blast – 32/32 volume with that track will produce peaks of an ear shattering 99.6 dB – so the available power is quite a bit more than I was expecting)
     
    With the Zen2, like the full sized headphones, I simply wanted to get to a comfortable listening level, then measure the comparative output. At a volume of 20-21/32 it was pretty close to my normal listening level (peaks of around 75-78dB, but averaging around 70 dB). And in particular with the Zen2, it was clearly obvious that the MegaMini was driving these 320 ohm earphones particularly well. A really good combo.
    MegaMini29.jpg
    With all of the earphones tested, the MegaMini went beyond my expectations – and I wish there was more data available for its output (into different loads). You can see from the results above that there seems to be enough output to satisfactorily drive most earphones, and quite a few headphones. The headphones were calibrated to my own volume listening preferences which I know may well be lower than a lot of members here listen at. So take that into account if you prefer to listen at a relatively loud level.
     
    I got my daughter (Emma) to test the Andromeda with the MegaMini. I know its really sensitive, and suspected there would be some hissing. I of course would miss this because quite simply my tinnitus masks it. But Emma has excellent hearing (she listens at levels which I can get no enjoyment at – too quiet), and she said that the Campfire Andromeda hiss was noticeable from a very low (1/32) – and still audible at her normal listening volume 3-4/32. So for people with sensitive hearing who own the Andromeda – not the best pairing.
     
    Will you need a separate amp for the MegaMini? Pretty much “no” in my opinion – and it doesn't have a dedicated line-out anyway.
     
    OTHER ERRATA
    1. Updating database – 6500 aac256 tracks – approx 4 minutes
    2. Battery life – I tested this with the RE600 IEMs (from the HifiMan SuperMini package), Pearl Jam's album Rearview Mirror in aac256 on continuous loop, and for the majority of the time the screen off (turned on periodically for a few seconds simply to check progress). The battery lasted 9 hours and 16 minutes until full shut-down which is far less than the claimed 15 hours. So like the SuperMini, I can only guess that their stated battery life in in “idle” - with nothing playing in. As it is 9 hours is not bad for such a tiny DAP, but I found some of their campaign messages (what can you do in 15 hours – fly from Shanghai to NY) a little misleading – as it implies you can have 15 hours play time which is clearly not the case.
    3. There is no shut-down after inactivity. The screen will switch off but the MegaMini remains on. This is something to consider if you are the forgetful type, as in idle, you will use battery life.
    4. Disconnecting the headphones from the socket does not stop the MegaMini playing. I've forgotten this a few times (the FiiO devices I have automatically stop playing, and will go to sleep if left for a while) – and the resultant flat battery if left for a while has been a little annoying.
     
    SONICS
    So lets talk about how the MegaMini sounds.
     
    Some of you may find this section a little limited, so I’ll give you some insight into the way I’ve changed my opinion on how to describe the sound with any competently made DAC, DAP or amplifier. The problem with trying to break the sonics down to bass, mids and treble is that DAP / DAC / amp is designed (or should be designed) to be essentially flat across the frequency spectrum. If it has enhanced bass, then isn’t it adding colouration that should come from the headphones or EQ or recording? Likewise, I won’t comment on sound-stage, as this is primarily a by-product of the actual recording, or the transducers you’re using.
     
    So how do I go about describing it? Well I can’t measure it this time (I’d need to be able to isolate the signal from the MegaMini, and it can't be used as a stand alone DAC, nor as a pass through amplifier). I’m pretty confident the MegaMini will be very linear in its measurements, so you’ll be left listening to the recording pure and simple (and isn’t that what we all want?). To my ears it doesn't sound if any frequency is being bumped or is recessed anyway.
     
    So instead, I’ll just say that I really enjoy the sound so far from the MegaMini, and give you my (very) subjective impressions of the MegaMini compared to my other DAPs. But if I was to give a one line sentence on the overall sound characteristic, I would say that the MegaMini is very similar to the SuperMini in overall tonality – so again quite linear with maybe the tiniest tilt toward warmth (or in audiophile terms – musicality). There is definitely a nice depth to the sonic signature with the right earphones.
     
    With each of these comparisons, I used a 1 kHz test tone to exactly match volume, and used the VE Zen2 320 ohm ear-buds to directly compare to other DAPs in a similar price range. I used the Zen2 simply because I was really enjoying them during the power tests and wanted to continue the listening experience.
     
    Warning – very subjective impressions ahead.
     
    MegaMini vs SuperMini
    The two have very similar build and dimensions with the MegaMini being slightly smaller at 100 x 42 x8.5mm. Button layout is slightly different with the Mega having 4 buttons on the face and 3 on the sides compared to the Super's 3 on the face and 4 on the side (the return button being the point of difference). The Super does have a longer real-world battery life (~15 hours vs ~9 hours), and is also slightly more powerful (although not as much as I expected) – and of course the Super has balanced which yields even higher power output.
     
    MegaMini32.jpg MegaMini33.jpg
    MegaMini vs SuperMini
    MegaMini vs SuperMini

     
    I really think I’d struggle to tell these two apart in a completely blind test. Tonally they are extremely similar, and during the course of the A/B the only feeling I got was that there was slightly more depth or separation to the Super. But this could have simply been the very slight difference in volume (0.2dB), and also natural expectation bias in a sighted test. If I was to choose one purely based on what I'm hearing, I would lean toward the Super. From a recommendation POV, it would come down to what you need. If you value the balanced option, and need a little more power, plus if the included IEMs have value for you – then the choice is an easy one (the Super). If you are simply looking for a great small form factor DAP, don't need balanced, and already have your preferred IEMs, then from a value standpoint the Mega is probably the better option. Looking at value on a whole – the Super would appear to give more bang for your buck.
     
    MegaMini vs FiiO X3ii
    The X3ii is bigger and heavier being more around twice the weight and twice the mass/size. Battery life is actually in favour of the X3ii which will generally give me ~10 hours even with the Zen2. It would be difficult to talk about power output – as the X3ii has full specifications released for differing loads while the Mega only has output for a 36 ohm load listed. With the Zen2, 20/32 on the Mega is ~ 75/120 on the X3ii, so on a pure volume to available volume ratio they are practically identical. I'd suggest their total power output may be very similar under load – however with the X3ii you do have added gain options which cannot be under estimated. Where the X3ii kills the MegaMini is on its feature set, and also price. At about 2/3 of the cost, you also get true gapless playback, replay gain, searchable database, external play-lists, user configurable equaliser and use as a DAC.
     
    MegaMini41.jpg MegaMini34.jpg
    MegaMini vs X3ii
    MegaMini vs X3ii

     
    Sonically I'm finding very little difference between the X3ii and MegaMini during fast switching. They both have very similar overall tonality – and this is one test where I'd suggest I again would have issues telling the two apart if it was a blind test. One thing that is true though is that there is less hiss with the Andromeda (using the X3ii). Both players are brilliant with the Zen2 – and I'd take either one for a long term listening test.
     
    So the choices this time are really on size (MegaMini) vs the extra features and slightly longer extra battery life of the X3ii. When you factor in cost – the X3ii is simply the better option IMO.
     
    MegaMini vs FiiO X5ii
    The X5ii is much bigger and heavier being more than twice the weight and twice the size. Battery life is again in favour of the X5ii (~9 hours vs ~10 hours). Again it would be difficult to talk about power output – as the X5ii has full specifications released for differing loads while the Mega only has output for a 36 ohm load listed. With the Zen2, 20/32 on the Mega is ~ 70/120 on the X5ii, so on a pure volume to available volume ratio they are close to identical (but in favour of X5ii). Where the X5ii is different is the additional output of its extra gain stage which does deliver higher voltage and current. What the X5ii loses on portability (size), it more than makes for on features – including gapless playback, replay gain, searchable database, external play-lists, user configurable equaliser and use as a DAC.
     
    MegaMini36.jpg MegaMini37.jpg
    MegaMini vs X5ii
    MegaMini vs X5ii

     
    Sonically, although both are close, I'm finding the X5ii is perhaps slightly cleaner in its output, and there is a little more definition or separation. The differences are tiny and could be more imagined than real. Again they both have very familiar overall tonality. Again both players are sublime with the VE Zen2.
     
    So like with the X3ii, the choices this time are on the smaller size of the MegaMini vs the additional power, slightly more refinement, and abundance of features of the X5ii (as well as double the potential storage space). For a mere $50 more – again to me the X5ii simply presents a better value proposition.
     

    CONCLUSION / SUMMARY HIFIMAN MEGAMINI

     
    It's been an interesting 10 days since the Mega and Super Mini players arrived. And I've been suitably impressed with the SuperMini – from both a performance and value performance. With the cheaper MegaMini – while I think it is overall a really nice sounding player – IMO it will struggle as a value proposition at its price of $249.
     
    What you will get is a great footprint (ultra-portable), really good SQ, good power output for its size, and an easy to use simple UI experience.
     
    Like the SuperMini, what it lacks is features – and for many these will be deal breakers. No gap-less. No EQ. No DAC mode. No replay-gain. No searchable database. Limited play-list support. And the unfortunate thing is that this time it doesn't have the bundled IEMs, or the balanced output, to help level the overall value. For $249 there are simply better options out there which sound just as good, but give you much better value overall.
     
    So would I recommend the MegaMini? – well this time, not really. Despite it being a great sounding DAP, I simply think its over-priced. If the Mega was listed at $150, and maybe $200 at the high end, it would at least stand a bit of a chance. I still regard it as a very good DAP, and it sounds really good too. If you value ultra-portability over everything else, its definitely worth a look.
     
    The review sets will both be returned to HifiMan and I am going to miss them both. My thanks to Dr Bian, Peter Hoagland and Ryne from HifiMan for their assistance and for giving me the opportunity.
     
    AND WHAT ABOUT MY CHECKLIST
    Back at the start I listed what I looked for in a new DAP. So how did the MegaMini go?
     
    1. Clean, neutral signature – but with body (not thin)
      Definitely has very good SQ – tick.

       
    2. Good build quality
      Extremely good build quality - definite tick.

       
    3. Reasonable battery life
      If I'm looking at usable battery life, and considering the overall feature set – then unfortunately this one is not quite ticked for me. Close though.

       
    4. Easy to use interface
      Definitely a tick – it may be short on features, but the design of the UI is really good.

       
    5. Able to drive both low impedance and (within reason) higher impedance cans without additional amping.
      Definite tick with the headphones I have.

       
    6. Value for money
      Sadly no – there are better options out there, and I personally don't see $249 value subjectively

       
    7. Enough storage to hold either my favourite albums in red-book, or my whole library in a reasonably high resolution lossy format (for me – aac256)
      Another tick I tested most formats, but most of my listening is usually AAC256, and I had my entire library at my disposal with a 64 Gb card.
     
    MegaMini40.jpg
      Erfan Elahi, hqssui, peter123 and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Sonic Defender
      I would be curious what DAPs you feel are easier to recommend at the price of the MegaMini. Thanks for the review.
      Sonic Defender, Oct 23, 2016
    3. Brooko
      Well for a start - the FiiO X3ii - which is why I compared it in the review.  To be honest, I'd imagine the MegaMini to be on par with original FiiO X1.  The Mega has a bit more power and slightly better SQ.  The X1 has the better features.  The X3ii kills it - not even close.
      Brooko, Oct 24, 2016
    4. thatonenoob
      My thoughts too.  The Supermini can still hold its own against the X3ii with its feature set and alternative sound sig...but the Megamini can't.
      thatonenoob, Oct 24, 2016
  2. micropixel
    Punches above its weight
    Written by micropixel
    Published Oct 23, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Small, light, no frill DAP, good for vocal jazz
    Cons - Prickly edges, battery life, album art, micro dynamics

    So I am another lucky person who got selected by AV One here in Singapore to do a review of this wonderful player.  I have been using it for about 3 weeks now.
     
    Quick background of my dabble in personal hifi – I own a few DAPs (Sony A845, FiiO X3, X5ii, QP1R), portable amps (XDuoo, Mojo), desktop amps (ADL Esprit, Liquid Carbon).  Not forgetting inventory of headphones – LCD2, T1, PM3, Beo H6, T51p, M50X, and some less known ones like a self-rewired-to-balance Yamaha RH5ma which is an excellent value for money pair of headphone which is very detailed and pleasure to listen to.  Latest acquisition is a pair of Denon AH-MM400.
    01.jpg
    The startup screen
     
    02.jpg
    It is impressively small and light
     
    03.jpg
    The 3.5mm socket, mSDHC slot and microUSB charging port
     
    04.jpg
    Well machined and feels premium in the hand
     
    05.jpg
    Screen light bleeding into the volume buttons on the left side with nice effect
     
    06.jpg
    Light bleed into the Power button on the right
     
    07.jpg
    Size comparison with Samsung S7 Edge
     
    08.jpg
    Album art seems to work only for mp3, not FLAC
     
    09.jpg
    It feels small in the hand especially these days we are so used to handling bigger handphones
     
    10.jpg
    The locked screen after pressing Power button once, to unlock press Power button another time
     
    11.jpg
    In a leather case I stitched together to cover up the prickly edges and to prevent damage to screen in case I accidentally drop it
     
    12.jpg
    Stacked on the Samsung S7 Edge
     
    13.jpg
    With Denon AH-MM400 and Beoplay H6
     
    14.jpg
    Comparable in size with Sony NWZ-A845, but its sound is not bloated like the Sony
     
    First impression
    It is a solid looking player, much smaller than anticipated.  Comparable in size to my old Sony A845.  Smaller footprint but a few mm thicker.  As handphones get bigger (again) these days, the MegaMini just feel so diminutive.  In use, you hardly notice it is in your pocket, and you have to fish around your bag/pouch to find it.
     
    It is a very well made player, feels solid yet light.  The only part which does not sit well with me are the pointed edges which feel rather prickly, which could have been rounded off a bit.  On top of that, because the player is small, I just feel the risk of dropping it which may crack the glass screen is high.  So, me being me, I just had to make a case for it – it helps that I had some spare leather scraps… 3 hours later, and I have a case for the MegaMini!  No more prickly corners, and no more stress from drop-phobia.
     
    UI
    As instructed, I updated the firmware soon after I got the unit.  The process was painless.
     
    The screen size reminds me of my Nokia phone from yesteryears. It is sufficient, nothing fancy, it gets the job done – displaying whatever vital info and with an equally no frill menu to allow for the usual basic set up.  There is no EQ – something I usually do not dabble with anyway.  So no issue for me.
     
    The Power button doubles up as a lock button.  To unlock, you will have to press the same button twice – once to activate the screen, and the second time to unlock.
    Given the screen size album art is nothing to get excited about, you can make out which album you are listening to.  Something which I hope future firmware will fix – at the moment it does not display album art for FLAC files.
     
    To scroll through songs, you can either do individual clicks or you may hold the directional buttons so that it scrolls through at a pleasant speed – not too fast, nor too slow, it is at just the right speed.  While playing songs, you can press and hold the play button much like a right mouse click and a menu for shuffle and repeat will pop up.
     
    Overall the menu is no frill and straight forward.  It will only take you couple of minutes to go through all the menu options and you are ready to focus on listening and nothing else.
    A nice touch is when fast forward or rewinding a song, the sound elegant fades out and in.  It is an elegant and premium touch.
     
    Battery gauge could be erratic e.g. while it may show about 70% of charge when no headphone is plugged in, this could drop drastically the moment a headphone is plugged in.  In use, I think it lasts less than 10 hours per charge.  I suspect your mileage may vary depending on the sleeper timer setting because it does not automatically turn off after finishing the album if you decide to turn off the timer.
     
    The Sound
    The obvious thing to do when getting a new DAP is to get the mSDHC  from an existing player and plug it in.  A 128GB card from QP1R did not work, was prompted to reformat with any menu button presses.  A 64GB from FiiO X5ii however works perfectly.  Scanning the card took a good few minutes.  The progress bar stayed at 0% for quite a while, I had thought that it hanged.  Anyway, I just left it there to do what it had to and came back later rather than stare at it because the bar is not a progressive one, instead it jumped from blank to half way and probably straight to 100% after that.
     
    My obvious go-to pair of headphone for now is the MM400, so most of my review is done using this.  It has just been burned in over the last month or so.  At 32ohm impedance, it does not require a lot to drive it, even with just my handphone so it is a perfect candidate to test this DAP.  Most of the time I just need to go between volume 13 to 20, out of max 32.  There is no gain setting.
     
    The sound of this small DAP impresses me.  It is better than I expected and it definitely punches above its weight.  It is full sounding with good separation and clarity.  It is detailed and I can hear every accompanying instrument to the vocals as I should.  Soundstage wise, it does not sound compressed like with some portable amp I have experienced especially when paired with PM3; so it is comfortable and not overly intimate, therefore I would rate it as above average and better than I would expect. 
     
    High and low are pronounced and extended, but high is not piercing and I do not find any sibilance.  Low on the other hand is not the thumping sort, just a subtle extended sort of bass.  Mid is forward, just like other reviewers may have commented.  MM400 by itself is supposed to be flat but I find mid is just a little bit more forward than the rest of frequency range, so when paired with MegaMini the mid sounds just a little too domineering for my liking.  On the other hand when the MegaMini is paired with something which is brighter say Beo H6, I would say it sounds about right, what I would call balanced across the frequency range.
     
    The dynamics is up to my expectation, the macro dynamics are there and you can hear the variations.  I hear the strums and twangs of guitars and the subtlety in voice variations.  They sound familiar and as they should, just like it should when listening to something higher end, albeit at a different energy level – this is the best way I could describe it.  Now over to micro dynamics, this is probably where it is too subtle.  Smaller and softer details can be heard, but I have to focus and track them in order to hear them.  They are not distinct and so can be easily missed if I do not focus on listening out for them.
     
    From the sound signature, I like this DAP for listening to vocal jazz and blues.  Perhaps not so much for classical where I would prefer wider soundstage and better dynamics especially with micro dynamic details so that I can feel immersed in the musical hall, and knowing the full suite of instruments at play.
     
    Conclusion
    For the size and the price, I think this is a keeper.  It is most suited for on-the-go set up when I want to go light and easy.  It feels so carefree with minimum tweaking or menu to be bothered with.  It is so small that it can easily slip into my pants or shirt pocket and you won’t even realize it is there until you check.  It offers substantial sound upgrade compared to my phone, and indeed it is almost comparable to my other setups which cost a few times more and equally weight a few times more too.  The sound of MegaMini in my mind is 70%-80% of what I would expect in term of the best I have heard from my other portable gears.  So unless I want to do some critical listening or insist on having those full sound potential while on the go, I would likely just grab the MegaMini for its ultimate portability in order lose myself in the music while on the go.  Just be sure you have it charged up before heading out just to be sure it can last you the whole day.
  3. tassardar
    Little Box of Happiness
    Written by tassardar
    Published Oct 18, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great sound for its price, nice forward wide soundstage with good positioning, compact size
    Cons - May sound a little too cold depending on pairing, Some UI querks. Sharp edges

    _NIK6101.jpg
     
     
    Hifiman Mega Mini Review
     
    Some disclaimer: This set is provided to me by HifiMan for review as part of the tour in Singapore. Thanks to AVOne for arranging this :D
     
    Little box of happiness.
     
    In the age of monster players that cost >500 USD, here comes this little box of happiness by HifiMan, The MegaMini Player. 
     
    This little player is similar sized to a AK Jr, and like it, the only purpose is to output great music to whatever portable headphones or IEM you have. Lets go through part by part on the player.
     
    Physical
     
    _NIK6103.jpg
     
     
    The player is small, about the size of the AK Jr but slightly shorter. It looks rather similar too, with that top section being the glass and matt aluminium. It even got the sharp edges that the AK Jr has. It however doesn’t come with a touch screen, instead you get a few buttons to do things you need. The front buttons mainly control the navigation and menu while the side are the power and volume controls. The headphone jack, charging port and SD slot sits at the bottom of the player. Overall its pretty good looking and feels ok to hold except for the corners which could have been a little more rounded. At its price range, you probably will not need to baby it like the AK Jr though.
     
    Software
     
    The software is a custom build from HifiMan. Relative minimalist, navigation is done through the buttons with the usual menu selections such as artist, song and file explorer. Booting up the software or waking it from sleep takes a longer time then what we are now used to in a modern smartphone. Once up, navigation is quick with clicks on the button. Its definitely faster to use then the AK Jr which had a lot of stutter. There are some oddities in the menu such as shuffle and looping is done at the settings rather then calling it up from the play screen. Theres also the issue of pressing back after selecting the song do not bring you to the last menu but the main screen.

    In terms of audio support, it does play every thing except certain DSD such as those above DSD64. Else it handles things like flac, alac and mp3 all fine.
     
    If I had a complain, it will be “Why is the music still playing after I pull out the headphone?” This sometime lead to a dead player on my way back home as most of us would had probably been trained by modern devices, that pulling the plug will stop the music.
     
     
    Sound Review
     
    This review was done with a B&O H6 and Shures KSE1500. For its price and size, its biggest competitor will probably be the smart phones. As such I will be putting it against the Iphone SE. The ZX2 will be brought in just to see where it stands against higher audiophile players.
     
    Tracks use are mainly from Adele 25 and Distance World: 2
     
    Against the Iphone SE using the H6
     
    _NIK6104.jpg
     
     
    The MegaMini had a relatively different sound. Firstly the Iphone SE was straight up muddier in sound. Theres a bloom in the mid and bass that mixes which was obvious the moment you compare it to the MegaMini that had a much cleaner sound. The MegaMini do lean more towards the treble side  in comparison resulting in a cooler sound. This was easily noticed in the voices of Adele track like I Miss You where the moment the bass comes in, the SE would mix it into the mids a little while the MegaMini clearly separates them.  This also results in overall better detail on the MegaMini vs the SE as the little sounds in various tracks are fleshed out easier due to the cleaner and more treble leaning sound of the MegaMini

    In terms of soundstage, the MegaMini sounds like a forward wide stage while the SE sounds all around but rather cramp. The MegaMini do have a vocal that felt further away in the center while instruments were placed left and right of the it while the SE had an all around intimate close up sound.
     
    The bigger soundstage on the MegaMini and better clarity resulted in more defined positioning that’s noticeable especially in the instrumental tracks of Distant World compared to the SE. 

    With this, I am sure that most people will prefer the MegaMini over the Iphone direct audio out unless you are one for the more warm and close up sound.

    Now how does it stand against the ZX2 with the KSE1500?

    Using the KSE1500 a few notable things can be said:
     
    Straight up the MegaMini felt a little  too cold and towards metallic sounding vs the ZX2. This was probably escalated due to the nature of the KSE1500 being relative neutral sounding and the slight treble bias of the MegaMini.
     
    The MegaMini does have a nicer treble  with a little more sparkle then the ZX2. If you like treble, the MegaMini probably is better.

    That said, the MegaMini just could not compete in vocals or bass. The ZX2 has the touch of warmth and smoothness with no mushiness in the vocals, making it sound closer to a live performance. On the other hand, the MegaMini felt like a obvious recording, with vocals that’s cold and at times a little metallic sounding. The bass of the MegaMini also felt less tight then the ZX2 with some mushiness in tracks with quick slams like those of distant worlds.
     
    The soundstage held similarity with the above against the Iphone SE. The MegaMini feeling more in-front of you type of sound while the ZX2 is all around. However unlike the SE, the ZX2 sounds bigger with clarity, with much more air in the voice and notes of the various tracks. That said positioning I may actually give a slight edge to the MegaMini as the ZX2 sometime may lose me in the sound in very complex track as it goes all around the head.
     
    One final point, in terms of driving capability using my H6, the MegaMini and ZX2 is about the same while the SE felt a little back in terms of the ability to fully bring out the headphones capability. So for a small package, it performs really well.
     
    Overall I think the MegaMini is a good product for its price. Other then the button nature and maybe a slightly below average interface response time, it may just be the best thing at its price point and with its size and price, a good replacement to a smartphone for listening to music.
     
    I will say I prefer the ZX2 but the MegaMini comes close and if you prefer that type of cooler nature of sound, it may just be the better player.

    For me, I will pair the MegaMini with my KSE1500 at times  as it’s the most compact package that sounds really good.
     
    If you are looking for a small compact player at a good price, this is definitely a little box of happiness that could improve your overall audio experience on the move.
     
     
    _NIK6102.jpg
     
     


    1. twister6
      Press and hold Play button during the playback, you will get shuffle/looping option.  Unfortunately, it's not documented anywhere.
      twister6, Oct 18, 2016
    2. tassardar
      Oh thanks! Always found its positioning really out. So there is a short cut
      tassardar, Oct 19, 2016
  4. HanyTheo
    Mega Practical, Mega Sound
    Written by HanyTheo
    Published Oct 16, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Form Factor, Battery Life, Vocals, Glare free sound
    Cons - simple yet prehistoric UI, sharp edges
     

    14625742_120300000641988563_787520466_o.jpg  


     

    first of all I'd like to thank eng siang, my local distributor and of course hifiman for providing me the Megamini review unit. I've been very familiar with hifiman players having been using and very enjoying quite a few of their players in the past. started from the hm801, hm901 and lastly their latest flagship the hm901s (still using until now!) gotta admit first that I'm a sort of a  hifiman player fan myself, but I'm going to try my best to be as unbiased as possible doing this brief subjective review since I currently don't have the equipment to do an objective empirical measurement.  anyways,  I'll conduct the review in the most objective way possible. *I've been using the megamini everyday as a daily portable player this past 2 weeks*

    the unit came in a simple, small white cardboard box with golden hifiman logo printed. inside, there's the player and usb cable for charging. pretty standard, I believe this is the same as the production unit. Build quality&form factor: the form factor is all you could ever ask for a portable player really, small, thin, light with well placed buttons out of the box, the build quality seems pretty solid.  made of metal, reasonably smooth machining for a player this price. but after a week of use, i noticed a little paint started chipping off from the 'next' button from normal use. this kinda shows that the paint used isn't really the durable type. User interface: for hifiman standard, i mean it when i said hifiman standard. their players is usually the laggiest, using ancient looking interface and typically not very user friendly. surprisingly, the megamini while the UI is still ancient looking. it is looking simpler n fresher than ever, gone are the days of lag n long scanning times (less than a minute scanning my fully loaded 128gb card). interface is quick, easy to use. it's very sufficient and not annoying enough to be used as a daily player.

    For the sound impressions I've been using various equipments with the megamini like IEM: JVC fx850, campfire andromeda, ocharaku flat 4 kaede type 1. Earbuds: yuin pk1, sunrise dragon, blox tm7, crossroads hr1. also Full sized headphones: Grado old alessandro ms1, Audeze LCD-4 (100ohm), hd650, hd800S. Also, I'll be AB comparing the megamini with some players that i have in hand currently.  keep in mind that my listening level (db) is louder than average powerwise, the megamini is driving pretty much all iem comfortably with lots of headroom left, but it struggles to drive higher impedance earbuds like yuin pk1(150ohm) to the db level that I'd like em to be. it's way underpowered to drive the likes of hd800s let alone the hungrier lcd 4. I get roughly the same db at 21-22/32 at the megamini as my smartphone(galaxy s7edge) at 100%. First impression of the sound, it is quite lightfooted yet it has enough impact to make it feel planted, doesn't have a lot of that sub bass, strong in midrange n organic vocal delivery, it doesnt have a hint of that metallic glare, treble is a little smoothed,  some might say it's rolled off but it's not veiled dark like the older generation fiio x3 and even ibasso dx90. A very classic hifiman house sound, overall delivery kinda reminds me of the older 901 running on single ended with the balanced card, with less bass emphasis and extension, a more lightfooted presentation.

    I'm gonna do an AB comparison with some player for easier judgement.

    vs AK jr: AK jr is brighter with more bass. megamini has a lot more vocal presence n body(more forward mids) megamini has a better 3dimensional feel due to the fuller sound which gives a more natural sense of depth.

    vs dx90: dx90 is slightly darker, superior in the imaging precision n overall frequency balance yet is far more terrible at rendering vocals due to the grainy rough delivery with some metallic quality to it

    vs fiio X3: fiio x3 is very bassy, muddy n dark compared with the megamini. fiio X3 has a 'drier' presentation on the vocals compared with the megamini.

    I hope this brief review helps!

     





    1. Sonic Defender
      Nice, short and sweet. It does help, but a little more detail and time spent on describing the sound signature would help. I would like to read more detail so hopefully you get a chance to add some additional information.
      Sonic Defender, Oct 16, 2016
  5. Cinder
    A DAP That’s… Mega
    Written by Cinder
    Published Oct 12, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Light, long battery life, neutral tonality, decent UI, solid build, premium look and feel, great sound quality
    Cons - Strange auto-shutdown behavior, static menus, deep microSD card slot actuation point

    IMG_1326.jpg

     

     

    -Introduction-

    Hifiman is no stranger to the DAP game. In fact, they are amongst some of the most venerable of veterans in the brutal war of high-end audio gear. Today I’m reviewing one of their two new DAPs, the Megamini. It’s a small little device, but boy does it have some great stuff going for it.​

    Disclaimer: I was provided this product by a manufacturer or distributor as a loaner unit. I do not profit in any way from this review, and was offered no incentives. I retain full and complete control over the content of my review.​

    The Megamini, as of October 11, is not for sale. However, it will be soon. Find the Indiegogo page here. When on sale, the MegaMini will be priced at $249.​

    -Build-

    Tech Specs

    1. -Dimensions:1.69”x 3.93” x 0.31” (43.0x100.0x9.0mm)​
    2. -Weight:2.43oz (69g)​
    3. -Frequency Response:20Hz — 20kHz​
    4. -THD: 0.08%​
    5. -Max. Output:54mW (1.4V @36 Ohm)​
    6. -Battery Life:15 hours​
    Connectivity

    The Megamini has microSD card support, and accepts up to 256Gb of expandable storage. It charges and connects to computers over microUSB and is capable of acting as a surrogate device for the SD card. This means that when you plug the Megamini into your PC, it will show up as your SD card, enabling you to interact with it as you would normally. The Megamini has no internal storage.​

    The microUSB appears to be implemented on some variation of a USB 2.0 hub and has a very respectable 11Mbps transfer rate off my PC’s USB 3.1 port.​

    Playback

    Hifiman’s fancy new player supports at least the following formats​

    1. MP3, DSD, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, AIFF, ACC, ALAC, WMA​
     ​
    [​IMG]
    I have tested playback over MP3, FLAC, ALAC and WAV. I did not notice any significant difference in playback quality other than a slightly longer delay between high-bitrate songs.​

    Construction

    The Megamini is built from nicely-finished aluminum that doesn’t get dirty too easily. The buttons are made from metal as well, and have a nice click to them. The full color screen is covered in a sheet of glass that looks like it could scratch easily, but I’m not in a position to test it.​

     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    The 3.5mm out, SD card slot, and micro-USB port are all located on the bottom on the Megamini. I find the SD card slot’s actuation point to be too far back in the device, making it a hassle to get the SD card in and out of the device.
     ​
    [​IMG]
     
    On the front of the device you will find four buttons. From left to right you get the back button, the left/up button, the right/down button, and the select/play/pause button. On the right you have the power button, and on the top left you’ll see the volume up and down buttons.
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    [​IMG]
     
    The Megamini is light and small, making it an excellent device to use on the go. It’s rather long operational time is a big plus as well, letting me stay off of the charger and in to my music for longer. I find that I can usually go about two and a half days of listening at moderate volume levels for a good amount of time per day before I need to recharge.

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    -User Interface-​

    The UI of the Megamini is pretty good. When powering on the device you’ll be greeted with a tasteful power-on animation. Soon after you will be put in the main menu which contains the Now Playing, File Explorer, Artist, Genre, Albums, Favorite, All Songs, and Settings sub-menus. This menu is currently static, and cannot be rearranged. That’s a slight annoyance for me, as the All Songs option is all the way at the bottom of the menu, while it’s the sub-menu I use the most often.​

    In the settings you’ll find a good number of options. Here you can configure the repeat, shuffle, back-light, auto power-off, screen lock switch, language, database, and reset options. It’s decently comprehensive, but a little out of the way, especially for commonly swapped settings like shuffle. Furthermore, the auto-power off has a different behavior than I would expect. On many audio players, the auto-power off option only starts counting time when the player is idle. On the Megamini and Supermini, the player will just turn itself off, regardless of whether or not the device is in use.​

    IMG_1335.jpg
     
    The Now Playing screen has a lot of information on it as well. It displays the current album art, the file type of the current song, the bitrate of the current song, the name of the file, the album name, and the name of the artist.​

    Feature request

    Custom menu layout. As I mentioned earlier, it would be awesome if we could rearrange the order each sub-menu appears in.​

    Library search functionality. I understand the difficulty involved here, but if anyone can do it Hifiman can.​

    Remember volume settings after powered off. Minor, but in my opinion, a nice touch.​

    Hard volume cap. Sometimes users will have certain files that play out louder than others. Allowing a user to set a hard cap of volume out would certainly be a valuable addition to the Megamini.​

    [​IMG]

    -Sound Signature-

    I am a huge fan of neutral output from my DACs and DAPs. I find that a good earphone should be able to sound good without any particular frequency response bias from the source. This has lead me to collect earphones that do just that: sound good on neutral sources. Luckily for me, Hifiman is trying very hard to get the sound signature of the Megamini to match that of their flagship reference DAP — a laudable goal indeed. I find that, for the most part, the Megamini does do a very good job driving my earphones and headphones with near-neutrality. Some warmth slips in here and there, but it’s not noticeable to me on most of my setups.​

    -Preferred Pairings-

    Accutone Pisces BA (9/10 match)​

    Chord&Major 8'13 (9/10 match)​

    Chord&Major 01'16 (10/10 match)​

    Meze 99 Classics (10/10 match)​

    I have too many earphones to test against the Megamini. If you want me to test out a pair I have in my inventory that’s not listed here, leave a comment.​

    -Summary-

    The Megamini is a very ambitious device from a very ambitious company. To be frank, I’m impressed. It’s light, well machined, and has a decent UI. The very solid battery life and mostly neutral audio output of the Megamini make it hard for me to not recommend this device, even at its $250 price point. Good job Hifiman, you’ve got yourself a winner.​

      golov17 likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. thatonenoob
      I've tested all the bit rates on all the file types.   Right now ALAC 24/192 is acting weird...and AIFF is hit or miss.
      thatonenoob, Oct 13, 2016
    3. Snappyhead
      Does the Megamini support gapless playback? 
      Snappyhead, Oct 13, 2016
    4. Cinder
      @Snappyhead not in the Beta firmware, but HiFiMAN has said that they are working on it and it should be included in the final release firmware. 
      Cinder, Oct 13, 2016