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Centrance Hifi-M8 and Hifi-M8 LX (8 versions!) impressions thread

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by expatinjapan, May 6, 2013.
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  1. ExpatinJapan
    Due to several requests that from the HF community  that a Head-fier who have actually pre-ordered a unit should start a thread I have made this impressions thread.
    This thread is in development.
    1). OP/first page is general information and specs(In development).
    2). Second post is a FAQs.
    3). Third post is where you will find  impressions/appreciation etc.
    OS ipods
    Samsung Galaxy
    Initial head-fi hifi-m8 thread
    Website with general information
    Hifi-m8 blog
    *Hifi-M8 wiki
    *Impedance switch is 11-2-1.
    Jude of head-fi fame video review of the Hifi-m8 and LX August 2013.

    And one of the greatest designer of DAC/Amps etc of course, jokes are often directed at the ones we admire and love.
    Let’s recap:  There will be 8 versions of HiFi-M8 in total.

    That’s four versions of HiFi-M8 and four versions of HiFi-M8 LX.



    As a reminder, HiFi-M8 LX has S/PDIF input and USB input, while HiFi-M8 has iDevice input and USB input.


    Each product will come with a choice of side panels, as follows:


    – Unbalanced: 1/4″ jack, 1/8″ jack and Balanced 4-Pin XLR jack

    – Unbalanced: 1/4″ jack, 1/8″ jack and Balanced 4-pin RSA jack

    – 2x Neutrik Combo jacks offering balanced and unbalanced output

    – 2x Neutrik Male XLR  jacks offering balanced output (this is the Pro version)


    The “heart” will be the same across all products, but the connectors will differ. The side panel PCBs are making the different products possible.

    Support for Unbalanced OR Balanced headphones, IEMs and overhead



    [​IMG]11ohm, 2ohm, 1ohm.[​IMG][​IMG] Three levels of output impedance, for best headphone linearity

    [​IMG][​IMG] Three levels of headphone gain, for headphone sensitivity matching

    [​IMG]Flat, +, ++[​IMG][​IMG] Three levels of bass sonic shaping, for matching to various headphones

    [​IMG]Flat, +, ++[​IMG][​IMG] Three levels of treble sonic shaping, for matching to various headphones


    RE: Bass and Treble switches:
    `Each gives a slight boost of about 3 dB in the ++ position. Bass accentuates the kick drum area and treble lifts the "sheen" at the top. These are not plain vanilla shelves found in consumer stereos. Both curves have complex shaping and come from years of studio recording experience. They are very subtle-sounding`- M.Goodman
    Digital specs

    [​IMG] Resolution

    24-bit (Also supports 16-bit)

    [​IMG] Sample Rate

    USB: 44.1 kHz, 41 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 172.4 kHz, 192 kHz


    USB Host and Device compatible

      Local clock

    10 ppm precision, unmeasurable jitter


    iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mac, PC



       +19.0dBV (600 Ohms load) (still verifying)

    * Listening to IEMs or other high sensitivity headphones at maximum level may damage your hearing.


    General Specs


      Shipping weight:

    the shipping weight is 905g (2.0lb)
    The unit is 331g (or almost 12 oz)​




  2. ExpatinJapan
     Hifi-M8 and friends FAQ.
    *Hifi-M8 wiki
    *Impedance switch is 11-2-1.
    *Line out: Set the gain at 2 and turn the volume to maximum, this is effectively the Line Out.
    HiFi-M8 is designed so that you can achieve "line level" output by keeping the gain switch in the middle position and putting the volume control all the way up.
    -Kenny/Kefsef10 (Centrance)
    *Galaxy S4:Samsung S4 > ibasso otg cable > Hifi M8 
    As expected, it only works with USB Audio Recorder Pro app. (same as my Dacport)
    Thanks to Wormsdriver.
    Centrance windows driver to work with a PC
    HiFi-M8 supports 24-bit / 192kHz  asynchronous audio under Windows. The latest driver release 7.4.5 is compatible with XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
    No driver required to work with MACs (already built in).
    The leftmost LED that has a lightning sign above it would turn off when the unit is done charging. The three battery LEDs will be on long by then.
    Charging takes a little while due to large battery, so best to leave your HiFi-M8 charging overnight. It will stop when it's done. No harm leaving it plugged in. It might top itself off every once in a while, just like a cell phone.
    Originally Posted by JoonBug [​IMG]

    I've a few questions for Michael after having used my M8 for a few hours: (I've got the 4-pin XLR iDevice unit)

    1. How long did you find the M8 takes to charge from a 110V outlet?
    -mgoodman-- Likely as long as it takes to discharge, so consider 6 hrs as a guideline. It might go faster. We are still collecting data.

    2. The 1/8" combo optical jack shines red (presumably the optical signal?) all the time (that the M8 is on). Is that normal??
    -mgoodman-- Yes, normal and safe, no reason for alarm. Just don't stare at it for a long time. Don't stare at any other bright lights either [​IMG]

    3. There seems to be a little "click" when I change the M8 to a different mode (iDevice to USB input, iDevice to power off, USB input to iDevice, etc.) Is that the sound of something frying?
    -mgoodman-- We have to turn the circuit off and then back on again when we switch modes, so the unit actually turns off for a moment. That produces a click. I recommend taking the headphones off your head when switching modes.

    4. My included short 30pin cable didn't seem to connect for some reason... I tried a regular stock Apple 30pin to USB cable and it connected to my old iPod touch just fine. Is the CEntrance cable particularly finnicky?
    (Honestly if it turns out the cable has some kind of defect, whatever.
    -mgoodman-- This is not normal. Our cable is fine. Please talk to Stacie about that.
    !!!!NOTE: it seems Centrance no longer includes the short 30pin LOD cable for idevices (June 2014).
    via ButtUglyJeff
    So far, in my limited research, these are the LX compatible DAPs:
    AK100 & AK120
    DX100 (HDP-R10)
    and in a limited fashion the IHIFI960
    Android phones also have limited capabilities, depending on flavor and app used...
    *Via Buttuglyjeff
    iMac - all the HiFi-M8s will work with iMacs, no drivers required, via USB.  You will need to check and see if your iMac has Toslink in the headphone port like most Mac laptops do, if you want to use optical input on the LX models.  But, since you can use USB, I consider it a non-issue.
    iPod Classic - there isn't a 160gb stock Classic that won't work with the M8.  I'm not sure how you are shopping for your iPod, but be careful of modded iPods.  Many are older models (like 5th or 5.5 gen) that had bigger hard drives added.  Avoid those just because they won't work with the HiFi-M8.  Now for the bad news.  24/96 support for iDevices isn't out yet.  CEntrance is still promising its in the works, but not yet.  More bad news.  I'm quite sure iPod Classics will never be able to play more then 16/48 files without down sampling.  That's is merely my opinion/assumption at this point.  CEntrance has made a release yet, so we are all in the dark.  I just believe that you'll need to run IOS7 to make higher sample rates possible, and Classics run their own unique firmware, not any IOS.
    Nexus 5 - I'm not sure if any members confirmed success with the Nexus 5, but considering its the purest form of Android, without the phone manufacturer adding their own garbage, I would expect it would run fine through the USB A port, which is in all HiFi-M8s.
    I'm just going to throw this out there.  ExpactinJapan has succeeded in playing up to 24/192 with Flac Player App from 2 different IOS7 devices, a 5th gen iPod Touch, and an iPhone 4 (24/96 tested) I believe.  He's using the Camera Connection Kit (CCK), into USB A, which is the same port you will use with your iMac and Nexus 5.  USB A is on all models of the HiFi-M8.  Depending on you library size, maybe you can go iPod Touch instead?
    feeding external home systems etc
    up to pg 21 impre/ pag
  3. ExpatinJapan
    (General head-fiers impressions at the bottom of this post).

    Jude of head-fi August 2013 hifi-M8 video review.
    Earlier pre-release impression February 2013.
    I tried the Hifi-m8 at the Tokyo portable Headphone show today  and met Michael.
    The show was very populated with many booths, people and oodles! of gear.
    Michael was as nice in person as he has been on these forums.
    I was accompanied by my two year old son so could only listen for a short time so my impressions are rather superficial.
    The unit was connected to a laptop and I used my ATH-ESW9, their balanced  LCD(2?/3?) and some balanced beyerdynamic cans I believe.
    The sound was as expected nice and clear, I could get enough power switching between the gains for each headphone to dive them enough. I could hear the subtle differences between 1ohm and 10ohm headphone output impedance by using the switch.
    The bass and treble settings are very gentle and are not huge jumps which at first i found hard to notice, but after playing with them I could hear they hit the sweet spot. The bass doesn`t go into thumping bass overload the kids like on the highest setting, it also doesnt distort or get muddy. It is enough to give color and bass where needed.
    The treble switch is nice and gentle also in its increments, it doesnt screech on the highest setting.
    I did find myself turning up the volume quite far to get my preferred volume, I do like using low gain as a preference though. With the bigger cans I used more gain and it was enough power to reach a satisfactory volume. 
    Michael also asked for my feedback, i couldnt give anything definite due to being slightly distracted by my two year old, but I couldnt really pick out anything wrong.
    My Fostex hp_p1 is warm sounding, burned in and also at 10ohms or HOI. The Hifi-M8 seems more clear and less colored, not to the point of sterile at all, just seems `true` sounding.
    I wish I could have had more time to trial the unit but fatherhood called. Hopefully my brief impressions will be enough to satisfy my fellow headfiers. :)
    Here is a picture of my Fostex hp_p1, the hifi-m8, my ATH-ESW9 and my sons deluxe version Anpanman toy. 
    The hifi-M8 is not as big as I thought it might be.
    Met Michael and Stacie today at Tokyo Headphone Show.
    I tried out the three models and was pleased with what I heard, although I dont think I have the best ears as others perhaps do.
    I tried them out with my ATH-ESW9 and Triple Fi10 and iphone4, gain set at 1 and 1ohm.
    Gain 1 , 1ohm.
    Clarity and clear.
    More `warmth` when set at 10ohm.
    The sound stayed more smoother at higher volumes than on my Fostex hp_p1.
    Flacplayer app worked with no problems.
    Bass and treble hardware settings are nice, subtle and gradual, not overly done. Bass change is more subtle than the treble switch.
    USB LOD cable is snug and a good fit.
    It gets a bit warm when in use (it was also plugged into the AC power at the time).
    I preferred them on gain2 (I dont like using gain2 on my Fostex as it loses details)- still sounded good, kept the clarity and details well.
    Triple Fi10- smooth and clear, sounded as they should at 1ohm.
    LCD(2?,3?)-single 4 pin XLR I am not familiar with these headphones. Gain 1 was just fine, Gain2 had more body.
    T1 Beyerdynamic - Dual XLR. Clarity (the headphones natural sig I think), smooth. Gain 2 -beautiful.
    Excellent review and summary
    headfonia BRIEF impressions
    Yes here it is: http://www.headfonia.com/centrance-m8-lx-brief-impression/
    *up to page 21.
  4. Saraguie
    Great start Expatin thanks! I have a feeling this thread is going to grow and grow. I really like what you had to say about how nice the bass boost works.
    I'm sure when units get out into the wild we will have more to read about. And if there are any other Head-FIers who get a chance to listen at the Tokyo show they will post their thoughts here.
  5. ExpatinJapan
    I will try it out again this Saturday at the Tokyo headphone show and of course post some more update impressions on the more recent/finished models.

    Also I will clean up the op when i have time.
  6. mgoodman
    Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, as long as Cleveland, the Alaskan volcano doesn't disrupt air traffic with its ash... :)
    We at CEntrance are as excited to be "done already" as you are to get your hands on the HiFi-M8!
    The good news is we are well over the hump. This boulder is rolling downhill with the force of gravity at this point. We just need to jump out of its path :)
    We can't wait to move this thing into the category of "shipping product"!
  7. Khalem
    Thanks for your initial impressions Expatin. Really cannot wait to get my hands on mine :)
  8. eron
    Thanks. It's great to have someone organised and 'pride-less' start and manage the thread. 
    I'll post my brief impressions here when I have mine.
    Initial impressions:
    Way better than my current desktop amp- AUDIO-GD NFB-10SE
    I just want to listen intently, and more to the HiFi-M8.
    For anyone just starting in the balanced head-gear, the M8 is a winner for its price and package. 
    A switched on M8 charges iDevices if it's plugged into the power adaptor. Charges the iPad faster than the iPhone 5W charger. Seems like the speed is at least on par with the 10W Apple charger. M8 needs to be on either USB or 'i' to charge the iPad.
    Unfortunately I most definitely won't bring the M8 power adaptor along with my travels, so I'll charge via my regular USB means.
  9. Zuqi
  10. Audiowood
    Audiowood reports here..
  11. thegrobe
    The excitement builds...good start to the thread, Expat.I look forward to your upcoming impressions.

    I continue to be impressed on a daily basis by the DACmini, so if the M8 gets even reasonably close to that, we are all in for quite a treat. I can't imagine that balanced output, tone shaping, adjustable gain and impedance are going to make things worse. Lol.

    Is it June yet??
  12. LFC_SL
    Direct face-off against AlgoRythm Solo + amp please!!
  13. sonictransducer
    I second that request!  I'd love to know how the (much less expensive) M8 compares to the solo/MKIII combo.
  14. zilch0md
    Page 1?

  15. ExpatinJapan
    Solo + amp comparison is difficult because there are so many variables depending on which amp one chooses to pair it with.

    But of course we all want to see comparisons.

    idevice DAC/Amps such as Solo, Fostex hp_p1, Sony PH1, Go Dap, Go DapX and Verza etc.

    Also Daps such as Colorfly, AK100/RWAK100/stage2 etc, DX100, Tera Player and Hifiman etc etc:wink:

    Hopefully the first page initial page/post is enough for people for now.
    I will add to it over time with more details, pictures and information.

    Anything that people recommend added to OP either post in thread or PM me, thanks. :)

    *A few family members are ill atm so hopefully it all clears up so i can attend the Tokyo headphone show this Saturday on your guys behalf and get us some Hifi-m8 listening impressions.
    Anything in particular you want me to check or listen for?
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