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Hifiman HM-801 RMAA Tests

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by dfkt, May 7, 2010.
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  1. 3602
    Auditioned the HM-801 at a local store.
    Clerk told me that it was a Batch 1.
    Compared to my PortaRig (see sig), it did not sound superior, nor inferior.
    Price for both rigs are about the same.
    So that was my result.
    Disagree? Sue my ears.
  2. Trogdor


    My lawyer is drawing up the paper now...just kidding...
    Anyhoo...I am still going back and forth with it.  Its certainly not a mediocre player, so I stand corrected in this thread.
  3. DaveBSC
    I've spent quite a bit of time comparing an HM-801 to my Cowon S9 using my 32 Ohm Beyer DT880s to compare the straight headphone outs of both players. With the Cowon's EQ flat and all enhancements off, the 801 just rips it to shreds. Absolutely no contest. With my preferred EQ settings and other enhancements on, the Cowon kept up a little more, but the bass sounded bloated rather than anemic, and there was still that "hole in the mids" feeling that I never got with the HM-801. From deep bass up through the treble region, the HM-801's sound is well balanced and transparent. That being said, its highs are a bit on the sweet and laid back side. This is easily noticeable on the Beyers, which when used with the Cowon set to flat sound excessively bright and have a glaring, spitty response.
    Headphones with neutral to forward highs should mate very well with HM-801. The DT880s high frequency response with it was just about perfect. Headphones that are dark up top may not work so well. If you're planning to use $100 headphones with the HM-801, you're wasting your time. The $250 DT880/990, K701 etc. level is probably the minimum if you want to get the most out of the HM-801.
  4. Trogdor

    The laid back sound is what threw me off before I bought it.  Especially given the music you and I frequent.  I believe that is due to the Burr Brown Ops in it which is known for this house sound.  The other aspect is I beleive the HM-801 DAC stage is a roll-off filter which has its own unique characteristic and presents to you a very big soundstage.  Fang was very deliberate in his design.  He wanted a portable with a very very big sound (jude was spot-on) and achieved it in spades.
    I compared the Flo2 vs HM-801 vs the Pico DAC/amp.  The HM-801 is by far the most balanced sound.  The Pico has the more forward intimate sound but definitely a bit compressed compared the HM-801.  And frankly, the Flo2 is the most musical and fun.  The bass is loud and proud but certainly a bit rough around the edges.  Also its treble extension is not nearly what the HM-801 and Pico offer (the dual Wolfson DACs are really nice though in the Flo2).
    Despite the RMAA tests, I have to say, immtbiker was right.  The HM-801 is a serious rig and can hold its own with a lot of multi-thousand dollar transports.  Fang really did something special for us HeadFiers and should be commended.
  5. Anaxilus
    Trogdor.  Which Flo2 FW are you using?
  6. Bullseye
    You people praising the HM-801 are missing what the point of High Fidelity is. If it had the price of a sansa clip it wouldn't need to be mentioned, but costing so much it is just a rip off.
  7. Trogdor

    You people praising the Ferrari's are missing what the point of High Automotive Performance is.  If it had the price of a Honda Civic it wouldn't need to be mentioend, but costing so much it is just a rip off.
  8. Trogdor


    Have no idea...I'd have to ask....I returned the Flo2 since I now own the HM-801.
  9. Bullseye
    You got it all wrong then.
    First audio and cars are two different things.
    Second, in the case you mentioned you screwed up, because it explains my point perfectly.
    A Ferrari has great performance is very exclusive and its engine (V8 or V12) will perform better than that of the Honda Civic. The work inside the car is mostly handmade in the Ferrari in contrast to the automated one of the Honda car. (If you want to know more about how Ferraris are made I think there's a video out there on how they are made)
    And getting back to this product, which has nothing to do with cars, it has a very poor performance (as measured by DFKT with RMAA) it is extremely expensive, it is like a brick, has FW issues; yet it performs worst than the Sansa Clip (for example), which is smaller, doesn't have FW issues, better performance (= higher fidelity).
    As a note, high fidelity means less coloration, a flatter response, less variation over the original.

  10. JaZZ Contributor

    Hey, I strongly disagree with your implication that a flat frequency response (plus decently low HD/IMD/noise) automatically means absolute fidelity.
    I have auditioned numerous headphone amps with virtually perfect measuring data – and each of them has an individual sonic signature.
    So a flat response is one thing (which I attach importance to), but the sonic characteristic of an amp isn't solely defined by it. Let alone resolution, transparency and other subtle variations independent of the sonic balance.
  11. Bullseye
    You can disagree if you want, however looking for those things mentioned (flat FR, low noise, IMD, etc) is what makes equipment better than other.
    At the moment of listening you might find some individual sonic characteristics between amps, but in most cases (SS, speaking here), you won't be able to tell in a DBT.

  12. JaZZ Contributor

     Yes, but only in the mentioned criterion. As explained, there are other, hard to measure criteria with equal importance (at least to my ears).
    Since I don't do DBT, the moments of listening (to music) are my all-time reference.
  13. Catharsis


    If you were a little more rational or had the forethought to understand audio science before delving foolishly into this hobby, then you wouldn't be under attack for purchasing a ridiculously expensive piece of sub-par equipment.  I can speak from experience, as I was a poster child for foolishness before I started to understand audio science - I recommend you do the same and save yourself some money. 
    Do you feel that objective evidence (RMAA measurements) are threatening to you?  The OP is just posting some interesting RMAA measurements that are worthy of discussion and are quite revealing of the bull that is embedded into the audiophile world. 
    No matter which way you put it, why kind of magical DACs and opamps did you expect to find in a $800 MP3 player.  We're talking $5,00 / $.10.00 components that measure and sound totally transparent (which are found in pro-audio gear btw).  How do you figure a $800 MP3 player or $8000 Wadia CD player can be justified?
    I don't know why I bother as it boils down to objectivist (rationalilty) vs subjectivist (belief) arguements.
  14. Trogdor

    Even though I am in the RMAA and DBT camp some of these comments are extremely ignorant on how performance is measured.
    I will keep it short:
    RMAA is ONE metric not THE metric.  That is all what JaZZ is saying.
    Your logic is still flawed regardless of products for the same reason above.  You are using one overriding METRIC as the overall determining factor for performance.  Again I can reverse your own example and say the Honda Civic is much much better than the Ferrari, its easier to maintain, easier to find, more socially accepted, prone to get less tickets or stolen.  If I change the metrics, I can change it up on you. 
    So again YOU got it all wrong.
    Have either you (Bullseye and Cartharsis)  actually listened to the HM or are you trolling?  Answer this right now else its a complete waste of time arguing about it.
    I was in your camp, borrowed the unit for 2 months, listened to it non-stop, compared it to other pieces of equipment, and you know what...it sounds orders of magnitude better than a Sansa Clip (thats apparent after the first 20 seconds of listening).
    All audio equipment uses $10-20 components - same goes for computers (the PS/2 port was typically one of the most expensive parts to produce - but that CPU design is worth billions in development).
    Listen to it first, THEN talk about it....
  15. Catharsis
    I have a better question for you - have you ever compared the HM to another well measuring source such as the Clip+ using proper volume matched, blind ABX tests?  I doubt you have either - don't make me start re-hashing the effects of psychoacoustics and expectation bias.
    And no, I haven't listened to the HM (and I never will) because I have the sense to spend my money elsewhere after reading the measurements.  Audio science has determined all of the factors responsible for sound reproduction.  If you care to suggest another undetermined variable with evidence I'll eat my words and you'll win a nobel prize.  But you can't...so I won't.
    Sorry to sound so abrupt, but this conversation has been done a million times over and it's always an objective vs subjective argument.  I get a little tired of it at times.


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