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Oh my stars and garters, a flac player!

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Oh, the crying noobies at HF.

wahmbulance.jpg

"Waaaaaah, I hesitated too long, the price went up, and now I'm not getting a tighter spec'd chip that I wouldn't be able to hear the difference."

-Ed

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Oh, the crying noobies at HF.

wahmbulance.jpg

"Waaaaaah, I hesitated too long, the price went up, and now I'm not getting a tighter spec'd chip that I wouldn't be able to hear the difference."

-Ed

Dunno. I'd whine a bit too if they downgraded the spec on the DAC chip (even if it's inaudible).

Mine shipped today. :)

Look forward to hearing impressions :)

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Dunno. I'd whine a bit too if they downgraded the spec on the DAC chip (even if it's inaudible).

They actually upgraded the spec on the DAC chip from what was originally listed. But there were in limited supply, so they were giving them first to those that preordered earlier.

So the cry babies were those that were the "wait and see" crowd. I think it's a nice gesture to the early adopters.

Look forward to hearing impressions :)

Me too. :) I just bought two 32GB SDHC cards and am loading them up. They've dropped in price even more than when I last checked.

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My HM-801 has cleared customs. I thought shipments from China went through Los Angeles port. This time it went through San Francisco. Always takes longer going through San Fran. Usually packages from Japan I've ordered go through San Fran. Other parts of Asia go through LA, where they just fly through customs, that is if they even check. LOL.

Oh, well. Means I'll have the HM-801 in my hands early this week. Probably Tues or Wed.

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Just got it. Wow the packaging is complete overkill.

Here's my initial impressions:

The Good:

  • High End Sound. Very Clear, HeadAmp Pico USB DAC sounds veiled in comparison. (will need to listen more for better impressions)
  • Little to no hiss noise with even the most efficient IEM's like the Westone ES3X.
  • Powerful built in headphone amp.
  • Lightweight for it's size.
  • Fast Boot Up and Pretty Fast User Interface


    The Bad:
    • Confusing Front Panel Button layout, User Interface still needs work.
    • Large Size for a DAP
    • Huge and Heavy charger that gets quite warm.
    • Lean Bass (but very tight, needs burn in?)
    • No Charging indication when turned off. (How do I know it's done charging without having to turn it on?)
    • Sometimes swapping SDHC Cards or switching back to Player mode causes "Updating hifiman HM-801 Media" which takes anywhere from 1 -15 seconds
    • USB DAC mode and Internal SDHC mode playback does not sound the same. (Will have to listen more and double check my Foobar settings to make sure)

    The Ugly:

    [*]Slight very high frequency noise emitted when touching the buttons or the upper front metal panel surrounding the LCD. (Can be avoided by not touching the top panel when listening. It's not loud enough to hear when listening to music)

    [*]Ground loop Buzzing when touching the unit when charging

    [*]Headphone amp too powerful for IEM's, very little volume adjustment available

    [*]Switching to and from USB or Coax DAC mode back to Player Mode without turning off first causes Player Lock up and/or weird static noise, requires resetting to turn off.

    [*]Flawed Paint Job.

    Most of the issues I have are fine or can be addressed with a Firmware update. But the Very High Frequency Noise when touching it is probably a deal breaker to me. It's most noticeable with my JH13's, since they have such a huge frequency range.

    I contacted Fang and he is going to check it out and replace my HM-801. Apparently he has an address in the USA in NYC. That makes return shipping a lot more convenient.

    -Ed

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The Bad:

  • USB DAC mode and Internal SDHC mode playback does not sound the same. (Will have to listen more and double check my Foobar settings to make sure)

I've talked to Fang about this and he said it was because of jitter. I dont know how much I believe it, but thats what he said

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I shipped my HM-801 back to Fang. He'll be replacing it, hopefully with one that is dead silent and without scratches under the LCD screen cover. :rolleyes:

I took some pics before I sent it off, including some close up ones I'll post later.

I've never been a fan of the styling (or almost complete lack thereof). But it's what's on the inside that counts the most, right? If I wanted styling and little substance, I'd just get an iPod.

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_01.jpg

Notice that the paint finish is completely different on the front and back. Much thicker orange peel finish on the back. Not perfect, but hopefully it really is more durable than hard anodized finish.

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_02.jpg

The charger is fucking ginormous and weighs well over a pound.

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_03.jpg

Scale comparisons with my iRiver iHP-132

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_04.jpg

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_05.jpg

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_06.jpg

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_07.jpg

Scale comparison of the just the HM-801's battery. LOL, it's huge. It needs lots of power.

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_08.jpg

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Overall, I really like the HM-801. It definitely sounds better than the Pico, even in USB mode, but not as dramatic as with SDHC card mode.

If it had direct USB to I2S it would've been even more awesome. Oh well. I would've preferred USB DAC only and no Coax input if that meant I could have direct USB to I2S.

The "mosquito" tone it keeps making when touching the button was subtle, but enough for it to be very annoying. I'd say it's in the 12-16kHz range.

The Firmware is quite buggy, but mainly with switching back and forth from USB/Coax DAC mode and SHDC Player mode. You have to turn the unit off before unplugging the USB or COAX cable or it almost always locks up the player.

There are a few niggling UI issues, mainly the retarded button interface, but it's not nearly as stupid as the iRiver's wired remote. Honestly, Fang needs to make ver 2 of this thing have a D-Pad or small toggle joystick The 5 button X Pattern needs to go. There's really no reason it couldn't have a small D-Pad with a center select button. I've seen smaller ones in many many many digicams and other DAP's.

-Ed

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Build Quality nit pick time.

Numerous scratches under the LCD screen cover, likely on the LCD surface itself, and blotchy as well. Not really visible when the screen is on, but I would expect more careful handling for a $600+ player.

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_09.jpg

The rear metal plate sticks out more than the steel cover for the Gan-Qi amp board module. You can clearly feel and see the gap.

Edwood_HifiManHM-801_10.jpg

-Ed

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Just got my replacement HM-801. It still has the high frequency issue(very quiet high pitched 16KHz "Eeeee" noise when touching buttons), unfortunately. But it seems to be quieter and mostly on the left side. I can hear it with built in amp, and with my Pico through it's line out. But I don't hear it at all with a Line out to my Grace m902 unbalanced input.

This is when using my JH13's which I can hear this noise clearly. It's much more difficult to hear with my other headphones like my ES3X. I'll test them with my R10's later, and the Shure SRH840 which I'm getting next week, and a loaner HifiMan RE252 I'm getting later as well.

Another unfortunate part is the build quality. While there was little to no sacrifice with regards to the internal parts, the outside is not quite the case. Both HM-801's I had had dirty and messed up LCD's (under the outer glass cover). The previous one had scratches and dust. The current one has a fingerprint there. Also a weird blotchiness under the glass. Granted none of these are visible when the LCD is on, but it's still annoying to see under light.

Otherwise, I really missed having the HM-801 it sounds so great.

-Ed

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Regarding my previous "lean bass" comment. It's pretty much the built in amp's fault. Trying it now it's line out to my Pico and also with my Grace m902 and all da bass is dere. Still nice and tight, which is how I like it. :)

We need to get Justin in on building an amp board for the HM-801. Shall we start a list? (yeah yeah, the list of actual people owning an HM-801 is quite small now). I'm for sure interested.

Or maybe a DIY effort for a better amp board?

-Ed

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I'd like something that would have better synergy (and better volume adjustment range, i.e. less gain) with the JH13's.

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Regarding my previous "lean bass" comment. It's pretty much the built in amp's fault. Trying it now it's line out to my Pico and also with my Grace m902 and all da bass is dere. Still nice and tight, which is how I like it. :)

We need to get Justin in on building an amp board for the HM-801. Shall we start a list? (yeah yeah, the list of actual people owning an HM-801 is quite small now). I'm for sure interested.

Or maybe a DIY effort for a better amp board?

-Ed

Using SMD I guess it would be possible to fit a mini3 inside.

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