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Hifiman 801 Appreciation thread

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by greenleo, Sep 29, 2009.
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  1. zilch0md

    This is very interesting - what headphones do you use where there's no pop between tracks when using a "normal" volume level (not lowered)? And are you using headphone out or line out? Which amp module? Battery or AC adaptor? Which firmware version? Thanks!

    What headphones? Headphone out or line out? Which amp module? Battery or AC adaptor? Thanks!

    What headphones? Headphone out or line out? Which amp module? Battery or AC adaptor? Thanks!

    (I'm trying to identify the precipitating factor here, but it might simply be that some of us have defective units.)

  2. zilch0md
    By the way, two business days have passed with no response (yet) to my emails sent to technicalsupport@hifiman and customerservice@head-direct.

    I can put up with everything except the pops. This thing will be going back under their 30-day guarantee if the problem can't be resolved.

    Trying to enjoy the awesome HM-801 sound quality with loud pops between tracks is like trying to enjoy your favorite food while seated in here on a hot summer day:


    It just doesn't taste the same!

  3. ianmedium

    Both headphone and line out Mike. Headphones used are PF's T5P's HeavenS Etymotic ER4S, Victor FX500and DT1350.

    All on battery (I have never used the player with the adaptor plugged in) and with the stock V2 amp card that has been standard I believe for most of the 801's lifespan (there was a V1 but it was short lived) I really did not like the sound of the blue amp card they shipped with it as an extra but very impressed with the stock one as I mentioned in my PM. Oh and I am on the latest version.

    As to communications, the best route I found was to PM Eric here on headfi ( I forgot about that until I went through old PM's just now!_

    Here is the profile page..

  4. zilch0md
    Thanks again (and again) Ian! I'll send him a PM right away.

  5. LarsHP
    The pops or clicks I often - far from always - hear between tracks are low - well, certainly not loud. I asked Fang Bian in a PM long ago if there was something wrong with my HM-602:
    My question:
    "There is a "tick" sound at the beginning of nearly every track - especially if I choose a new one, but also sometimes during continued play. It is also there via line out. Could this be fixed?"
    Fang Bian's answer:
    "Tick sound is OK."
    In other words, the HM-601/602/801 often has this little click sound at the beginning of tracks. HiFiMan did not fix it and apparently have no plans doing it. Whether the new HM-901 has clicks/pops, I don't know.
  6. zilch0md
    Thanks for that reassurance Lars, sincerely, but my pops are loud enough I'm worried about damage to headphones, amp, and even my ears.

    I'm having to pay attention to the playback progress bar as each song draws to a close, then scramble to turn the volume down in time to avoid the pop or double-pop. Despite my being hyper-aware of the problem, I sometimes get into actually enjoying the music, only to lapse my attention and get NAILED again. It sucks frankly, and neither HIFIMan nor Head-Direct are exhibiting any concern - not yet, anyway.

    For the record, swapping amps doesn't help; headphone out and line out are equally affected; battery power or AC adaptor, FLAC or WAV, 44/16 or 96/24, flash on board or SD card... It's all the same... Pops or double-pops between every track, now. When it only had about two hours on it, the morning following delivery, it went about 30 minutes without popping (blue amp board, headphone out to LCD-2, 44/16 WAV from SD card). But I can no longer reproduce that fleeting moment of bliss.

  7. zilch0md

    Wrong! I was not using 44/16 WAV that first morning when no pops were heard! I've now remembered that, at the time, I was using 96/24 FLAC in an attempt to verify Lars' advice that the HM-801 is incapable of playing 96/24 WAV.

    Coupling this recollection with Ian's "no-popping-between-tracks" testimony that he uses only FLAC files, we have a revelation...



    UPDATE: Ian has brought to my attention, below, that his HM-801 can play 44/16 WAV files without popping between tracks! So, I guess that means those of us who can't have defective units, but the workaround is to play FLAC instead. Sheesh!

    Just try and find this information anywhere on the net, including Head-fi threads. I have searched and searched for a resolution to the pops-between-tracks problem, to no avail, but thanks to the assistance of Lars and Ian, it's a secret no more.

    My thanks to everyone except the non-responsive folks at HiFiMan and Head-Direct.

    And now, to enjoy the fantastic sound of the HM-801 (while converting my entire library from WAV to FLAC with dbPoweramp's batch converter).

  8. ianmedium
    Ah Mike. I hate to burst your bubble with that but my 16/44wav files play perfectly, no popping! But, if that is the case with yours then FLAC all the way is what I would do. One thing. Would you try converting with XLD and see if that makes a difference.

    I remember once doing a wav file I converted with iTunes from CD and re-doing that itunes wav file with XLD, I have no idea why but the sound quality was better. It's like XLD cleaned up the iTunes rip! Just have a go with one of your power amp rips in wav and convert it to wav with XLD and see what happens.. If anything, I have not used power amp as i have a Mac.

    Likewise when I rip a CD with XLD I usually get a 1mb bigger file than the same CD ripped with iTunes!!
  9. brunk
    Hey Zilch, 
    I had some problems with my 901 and wasn't successful contacting customer support through the standard emails. Team Hifiman reached out to me and took care of me promptly. I'll send you a PM with his email in case he doesn't respond to the PM you sent him in a timely manner. Hang in there!
  10. zilch0md

    Oh, that just kills me! I've corrected my post, above! I don't get it, but I'd rather use FLAC than WAV, just for the compression benefits, so I don't think I will invest another minute of my time trying to get WAVs to play without popping between tracks. It will just have to remain an undocumented mystery, as with much of the HM-801.

    Now, I'm turning my attentions to finding a way to increase play time away from AC outlets, without having to purchase and carry multiple HM-801 batteries at $80 each. The "mysterious," proprietary, polarized, double-barreled power connector must be replicated if we're to make use of an external battery pack such as the Anker Astro 3 (which can output 9V DC at more than the required 0.8 Amp current provided by the AC adapter).

    Interestingly, I've measured 9.21VDC at one of the two power connectors and 9.38VDC at the other, with both of them showing tip positive (+) and thus, barrel negative (-). This suggests that one need only supply two 3.5mm (O.D.) x 1.35mm (I.D.) connectors with 9V DC (tip positive) to replicate the AC adapter. But I haven't tested this, so (readers beware), proceed at your own risk.

    The odd thing about my measurements is this: If both barrels are 9VDC tip positive, why is the adapter's connector polarized? There are only two possibilities: It's absolutely necessary -or- it's not. (Duh!)

    Pursuing a confirmation of the first possibility, I measured the voltage across the two barrels... Surprise! I got the following results, which I'm still pondering....


    My conjecture: There would be no need to polarize the connector (to prevent sticking it in upside down) if they were pulling power from each of the two prongs, independently. No, the connector is (most likely) polarized because they pull power for one circuit from the two barrels and power for the other circuit from the two tips (as shown in the bottom half of my graphic.)

  11. zilch0md
    Brunk, that's awesome!
    Email sent.
    At least I'm making progress.  No more pops thanks to the FLAC workaround!  [​IMG]  
  12. brunk
    Hey no prob man, glad to help out. That charger certainly is interesting, same with the 901 pictured below...
    23-35-19742-a2d2073b608300feabc1af6f9f295ceb.jpg HM-901Battery.png
  13. zilch0md
    In addition to my ongoing effort to imitate the HM-801 PSU connector (from a 9V battery pack), I have tested both the Anker Astro 3 and Energizer XP8000 5V USB ports to see if they can recharge the HM-801's internal battery either during play or with the HM-801 turned off.  
    The answer is "no" to both questions.   
    Interestingly, when I connect a USB cable from the 5V power port of either LiPo battery to the HM-801's data exchange port, the HM-801 does not go into USB transfer mode, because it doesn't see any data - it only sees power.  And if the HM-801 is already turned on when only 5V power starts coming into Data Exchange port, the battery status symbol begins to animate as if it has begun to recharge the battery.  But something causes this obvious charge-in-progress state to terminate within about 20 seconds - the battery status symbol goes back to statically showing the current state of charge.  For the record, a standard USB 2.0 port can only deliver 500 mA of current at 5VDC, where the AC adapter can deliver 800 mA at 9.3VDC (avg).  At best, even if the Data Exchange port could be used for charging from a 5V external source, it's unlikely enough power could be delivered to operate the player and/or recharge the battery when the HM-801 is turned off.   So... forget about that idea.
    Coming up with a dual 9V, external battery solution, that uses the same double-barrel connector as the AC adapter, is likely the only way to achieve high capacity portable operation without dependence on either the internal battery or access to a 120V AC outlet.
    Stay tuned...
  14. zilch0md
    At first glance, they seem to be going out of their way to lock people into buying proprietary battery packs, but there could very well be significant sonic advantages to having independent power supplies fed by "twinned" battery packs.  Either way, five to six hours is all I'm getting out of one HM-801 charge, so I've got to find a better way...   Besides, sooner or later, these battery packs will go out of production.  Then we'll all be using our HiFiMan DAPs as desktop units. It's almost enough to make me want to order three or four extra batteries.  
  15. brunk
    Yeah tell me about it....
    I have thrown away numerous items just because their battery wasn't replaceable, atleast Fang gives us that option lol. However, i agree that it's just a matter of time until they're gone with the wind. I do believe there are some specialty battery stores that can custom make some for you, but i doubt it cost less than going straight through hifiman. Knowing you and your aficionado for batteries you could possibly DIY one [​IMG]
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