Wednesday, May 13th 2009

HiFiMan Sets HM-801 PMP on Charitable Pre-order

HiFiMan has come up with a new high-fidelity portable media player, the HM-801. Unlike consumer-ended product appearance and feature-sets of PMPs such as Apple iPod, Microsoft Zune or Creative Zen, this one sits in its niche of audiophile products, emphasizing on audio output quality and support for high-bitrate lossless audio formats.

To begin with, the HM-801 uses a unit design that is uncompromising from a sound perspective, featuring a modular amplifier section and the highly regarded Burr-Brown PCM1704 DAC capable of 24-bit/96 KHz. That, coupled with the OPA627 Op-Amps, which have quite the reputation among audiophiles, is bound to give you world class sound quality on the move. Supported audio formats include WMA (including Pro and Lossless), MP3, FLAC, AAC, Ogg-Vorbis, and WAV (PCM,MS-ADPCM,IMA-ADPCM). Its storage is care of an SDHC slot, that will support SDHC cards with capacities as high as the standard supports.

The HiFiMAN PMP also features an analogue and digital line out (via coaxial SPDIF) so that you can feed your portable DAC or amplifier with a good signal. Uncompromising sound quality on the move is bound to cost big bucks and the HiFiMAN is also quite costly at $700, which is $600 at launch due to discounts that include donating $10 per purchase to audiophile website Head-Fi.org. The bigger charity of course would be that you are getting this with $100 off. And this is even without a memory solution you have to buy the SDHC card yourself.

Source: Head-Direct.org
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24 Comments on HiFiMan Sets HM-801 PMP on Charitable Pre-order

#1
Assassin48
looks like a modified gameboy color :roll:
Posted on Reply
#2
z1tu
it doesn't look like it's from this era :D
Posted on Reply
#3
Wile E
Power User
Many of Cowons offerings already play the lossless codecs, so this is indeed a niche product. It would take $800 headphones to hear the benefits of their op-amp and DAC choices.
Posted on Reply
#4
DaC
by: Wile E
Many of Cowons offerings already play the lossless codecs, so this is indeed a niche product. It would take $800 headphones to hear the benefits of their op-amp and DAC choices.
Not really.... Senn HD-650 for $450.... or even others like HD-555 for $100 are already good enough to take advantage of this....
It isn't really something top notch hi-fi, but indeed, I'd love to have one like this, but not paying $700 bucks.... more like the price of an ipod would be already enough....
$700 = Nice External DAC (much better than this mobile thing has) + Nice Headphone + Nice Sound card + Nice AMP..... so even it being a mobile device, I just can't see the reason for this crazy price....
Posted on Reply
#5
BazookaJoe
These devices are nice for the OCD crowd, but has ANYONE ever even bothered to test the ACTUAL frequency output range of their stupid little "earbuds".

(And PLEASE - No Pork-Chops reading the "Frequency Response Graph" CLAIMED on their packaging - that only tells how/what frequency's are RESPONDED to - It has NOTHING AT ALL to do with what sounds their speakers can reproduce. - that's why its always clearly labeled a RESPONSE graph)

I don't see the point in a portable True "High-Fi" player when you'd need a studio headset almost double the size of your own head, to actually be able to reproduce the signal range that is being output by the device.

But - I'm sure SOMEBODY has one of those headsets, and this must be the player for them.
Posted on Reply
#6
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: BazookaJoe
I don't see the point in a portable True "High-Fi" player when you'd need a studio headset almost double the size of your own head, to actually be able to reproduce the signal range that is being output by the device.
A good pair of in-ears do the trick too. No hard-and-fast rule that you'd need on/around-ears to get the most out of this.
Posted on Reply
#7
Weer
by: btarunr
A good pair of in-ears do the trick too. No hard-and-fast rule that you'd need on/around-ears to get the most out of this.
Of course you do. A 'good' pair of earphones won't be able to do this contraption justice. It doesn't get anymore "hard-and-fast" for the customer base for this device which is undoubtably audiophiles. And get the most out of this? To get the most out of this you would need at least the HD650, so be careful around the use of the word "most" amidst us audiophiles.
Which is why this is indeed ridiculous, from a marketing point of view.
Although, you could make the case, like me, that the difference between the HD555 and the HD650 isn't that noticeable. But then, you'd also have to make the case that there is thus no reason to buy anything better than an iPod.
Posted on Reply
#8
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Weer
Of course you do. A 'good' pair of earphones won't be able to do this contraption justice. It doesn't get anymore "hard-and-fast" for the customer base for this device which is undoubtably audiophiles. And get the most out of this? To get the most out of this you would need at least the HD650, so be careful around the use of the word "most" amidst us audiophiles.
Which is why this is indeed ridiculous, from a marketing point of view.
Although, you could make the case, like me, that the difference between the HD555 and the HD650 isn't that noticeable. But then, you'd also have to make the case that there is thus no reason to buy anything better than an iPod.
I'm looking at it from the point of view of on/around-ears being bulky and less portable compared to in-ears, and I'm not deviating from them being high-end. Think Sennheiser IE8, et al, that can compliment this player's SNR, and frequency response. So I don't have a case you can use for "if..then...else" arguments.
Posted on Reply
#9
Weer
by: btarunr
I'm looking at it from the point of view of on/around-ears being bulky and less portable compared to in-ears, and I'm not deviating from them being high-end. Think Sennheiser IE8, et al, that can compliment this player's SNR, and frequency response. So I don't have a case you can use for "if..then...else" arguments.
I'm not trying to argue. Either you understand all the factors that are mandatory to sound reception devices, and we can converse over their basic importance, or I make a factual statement regarding what is widely accepted to be true, and you agree.
Now, the IE8's are excellent. I own them myself. But, they're not capable of using the hardware specified to its maximum output capacity. There are things like bass, treble, open-interface designs, that cannot possibly be utilized to the extent with earphones. That's beside the fact, that while the frequency response is high, it's simply not possible to compare them to top-end headphones. And so, while I don't think it's possible, even if they come up with earphones with the same factual quality, on paper, as headphones, it would still not have everything needed to provide an audiophile with the experience he/she looks for, and that's what I think this product is aiming to do.. which is my entire argument.
Posted on Reply
#10
hat
Maximum Overclocker
Heh, I dunno who would pay $600 for this upper-class society level of audio quality when the average Joe Dirt MP3 player produces just about the same quality sound coming from the same file. There is nothing wrong with MP3, hell I personally hear no difference from MP3 and FLAC coming from my 5.1 speaker setup on my Audigy 2 ZS.
Posted on Reply
#11
tkpenalty
by: hat
Heh, I dunno who would pay $600 for this upper-class society level of audio quality when the average Joe Dirt MP3 player produces just about the same quality sound coming from the same file. There is nothing wrong with MP3, hell I personally hear no difference from MP3 and FLAC coming from my 5.1 speaker setup on my Audigy 2 ZS.
MP3 only supports up to 16bit 320kbps 44000hz, and your FLAC probably is only encoded at 44000hz, 16 bit too, thus you wouldnt be able to hear much difference. Moreover, you're using XP. Afaik there is no place where you can change these settings.

by: Weer
I'm not trying to argue. Either you understand all the factors that are mandatory to sound reception devices, and we can converse over their basic importance, or I make a factual statement regarding what is widely accepted to be true, and you agree.
Now, the IE8's are excellent. I own them myself. But, they're not capable of using the hardware specified to its maximum output capacity. There are things like bass, treble, open-interface designs, that cannot possibly be utilized to the extent with earphones. That's beside the fact, that while the frequency response is high, it's simply not possible to compare them to top-end headphones. And so, while I don't think it's possible, even if they come up with earphones with the same factual quality, on paper, as headphones, it would still not have everything needed to provide an audiophile with the experience he/she looks for, and that's what I think this product is aiming to do.. which is my entire argument.
Weer, why do you ALWAYS try to argue/prove the TPU staff wrong? I see this happening in every news thread.
Posted on Reply
#12
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Weer
Now, the IE8's are excellent. I own them myself. But, they're not capable of using the hardware specified to its maximum output capacity. There are things like bass, treble, open-interface designs, that cannot possibly be utilized to the extent with earphones.
Having owned the IE8, by now you should have realised that it is the pair to have for a PMP such as this for the specs it has. Also that your IE8 does feature adjustable bass. There is a reason why in-ear monitors are replacing large around-ear monitors in the production industry, because they're spec'd to offer the same output quality as larger cans. In-ears caught up with their larger cousins. I'm surprised this assessment is coming from a person who owns a pair of IE8, let alone the fact that IE8 costs $400.
Posted on Reply
#13
hat
Maximum Overclocker
I can change from 48KHZ to 96KHZ in my sound card driver options, but I've only ever been able to change from 16 bit and 24 bit in Vista. I always thought that once you installed a sound card it automatically produced 24 bit sound anyway so choosing 16 bit in Vista was like lowering the default quality level?
Posted on Reply
#14
tkpenalty
by: hat
I can change from 48KHZ to 96KHZ in my sound card driver options, but I've only ever been able to change from 16 bit and 24 bit in Vista. I always thought that once you installed a sound card it automatically produced 24 bit sound anyway so choosing 16 bit in Vista was like lowering the default quality level?
Yup :). Thats why vista owns lol. Well for audiophiles that is.

Anyway to get 48khz audio you need stuff from DVDs. 96khz, as i said, where the hell do you get that stuff from? Blu Ray?
Posted on Reply
#15
WhiteLotus
That look hideous. Someone needs to work on the comsmetics of that device quick snap
Posted on Reply
#16
Gian-Pa
What is the Creative XEN?? i think you btarunr meant Creative ZEN...
Posted on Reply
#17

by: hat
I can change from 48KHZ to 96KHZ in my sound card driver options, but I've only ever been able to change from 16 bit and 24 bit in Vista. I always thought that once you installed a sound card it automatically produced 24 bit sound anyway so choosing 16 bit in Vista was like lowering the default quality level?
by: tkpenalty
Yup :). Thats why vista owns lol. Well for audiophiles that is.

Anyway to get 48khz audio you need stuff from DVDs. 96khz, as i said, where the hell do you get that stuff from? Blu Ray?
I'm not an audiophile but I've been using Audacity software lately (GNU freeware) and I can set the sample rate as high as 100k. I'm running Windows XP. I assume I could also play 100k through the software. When I go into the device manager and look at the codec properties, some of these are limited to 44k, but wouldn't that be a different issue?

This is a little off topic, but at what sample rate is a digital recording indistinguishable from analog? I eventually got used to the fact that cd's didn't sound as full as my beloved Telefunken recordings but I never like the idea.

Also, how important is frequency response when above maybe 10khz, you're not really listening to music anymore. If your a Phillip Glass fan maybe . . . but oh, that's right, we're talking about MUSIC. Hehehe. :D
#18
DaC
by: Weer
Of course you do. A 'good' pair of earphones won't be able to do this contraption justice. It doesn't get anymore "hard-and-fast" for the customer base for this device which is undoubtably audiophiles. And get the most out of this? To get the most out of this you would need at least the HD650, so be careful around the use of the word "most" amidst us audiophiles.
Which is why this is indeed ridiculous, from a marketing point of view.
Although, you could make the case, like me, that the difference between the HD555 and the HD650 isn't that noticeable. But then, you'd also have to make the case that there is thus no reason to buy anything better than an iPod.
555 is a great headphone for the price, it will be eneough to take advantage of it.
I've owned 555 and own 650, yes there's difference, the problem isn't you, it's the equipment, using an ipod to compare it won't do the work for sure. :roll:
Another thing, you must have it for quite some time to "discover" the full benefit brought along.
Happened to me going from a dirty phillips sbc 250 to senn 555.... I heard little difference at the beginning, 3 or 5 weeks later.... wow... I just don't know how I could ever have lived without something like 555 is.... :toast:

by: Weer
I'm not trying to argue. Either you understand all the factors that are mandatory to sound reception devices, and we can converse over their basic importance, or I make a factual statement regarding what is widely accepted to be true, and you agree.
Now, the IE8's are excellent. I own them myself. But, they're not capable of using the hardware specified to its maximum output capacity. There are things like bass, treble, open-interface designs, that cannot possibly be utilized to the extent with earphones. That's beside the fact, that while the frequency response is high, it's simply not possible to compare them to top-end headphones. And so, while I don't think it's possible, even if they come up with earphones with the same factual quality, on paper, as headphones, it would still not have everything needed to provide an audiophile with the experience he/she looks for, and that's what I think this product is aiming to do.. which is my entire argument.
Look for Triple.Fi 10... seems like it's much much much better (and expensive) than most full sized headphone out there. But it won't compete for sure with the top dogs.... but it isn't a fair competition without setting a price range.

by: hat
Heh, I dunno who would pay $600 for this upper-class society level of audio quality when the average Joe Dirt MP3 player produces just about the same quality sound coming from the same file. There is nothing wrong with MP3, hell I personally hear no difference from MP3 and FLAC coming from my 5.1 speaker setup on my Audigy 2 ZS.
You're right, you won't listen to any difference from MP3 to Flac on your 5.1 and Audigy 2 setup, but this thing is aimed for a level of quality that your setup won't give you, so FLAC starts to make sense at that point.


by: tkpenalty
MP3 only supports up to 16bit 320kbps 44000hz, and your FLAC probably is only encoded at 44000hz, 16 bit too, thus you wouldnt be able to hear much difference. Moreover, you're using XP. Afaik there is no place where you can change these settings.
I agree w/you.... but there's always a chance to use ASIO, although you need a sound card that can support it, so you can get bit perfect 24/96 or /192 under windows XP


by: hat
I can change from 48KHZ to 96KHZ in my sound card driver options, but I've only ever been able to change from 16 bit and 24 bit in Vista. I always thought that once you installed a sound card it automatically produced 24 bit sound anyway so choosing 16 bit in Vista was like lowering the default quality level?
It's all relative to your digital out encoding.... going from 16 to 24bit when your archive is 16 bit won't do much.

by: tkpenalty
Yup :). Thats why vista owns lol. Well for audiophiles that is.

Anyway to get 48khz audio you need stuff from DVDs. 96khz, as i said, where the hell do you get that stuff from? Blu Ray?
Some guys rip their vinyl and a lot of material is being made in 24/96 already.

by: twilyth
I'm not an audiophile but I've been using Audacity software lately (GNU freeware) and I can set the sample rate as high as 100k. I'm running Windows XP. I assume I could also play 100k through the software. When I go into the device manager and look at the codec properties, some of these are limited to 44k, but wouldn't that be a different issue?

This is a little off topic, but at what sample rate is a digital recording indistinguishable from analog? I eventually got used to the fact that cd's didn't sound as full as my beloved Telefunken recordings but I never like the idea.

Also, how important is frequency response when above maybe 10khz, you're not really listening to music anymore. If your a Phillip Glass fan maybe . . . but oh, that's right, we're talking about MUSIC. Hehehe. :D
don't confuse sampling rate (44/48/96/192 khz) with frequency response. 20hz-20khz they have nothing to do in a raw way.
10khz isn't the upper limit for most people, but 20khz, try yourself to download a frequency response wave (lossy formats are useless for this), and check for yourself with some sort of plug in, which frequency was the last you heard something while the wave was playing, remember that speakers and source frequency response will also play a roll on it.....

BTW although above 20khz most people just can't hear a thing, Harmonics are build up to 100khz and this is what makes every single voice and instrument unique also lower frequency 10hz interact with your body making it vibrate, you can "touch" the music.... so yes, getting flat frequency response from 1hz to 100khz is important although you can't hear must of this range. :toast:
Posted on Reply
#19
Wile E
Power User
by: hat
Heh, I dunno who would pay $600 for this upper-class society level of audio quality when the average Joe Dirt MP3 player produces just about the same quality sound coming from the same file. There is nothing wrong with MP3, hell I personally hear no difference from MP3 and FLAC coming from my 5.1 speaker setup on my Audigy 2 ZS.
Then you aren't an audiophile, and this PMP or the headphones/IEMs being mentioned are not for you. Be glad, it's much cheaper that way. lol.

by: tkpenalty
MP3 only supports up to 16bit 320kbps 44000hz, and your FLAC probably is only encoded at 44000hz, 16 bit too, thus you wouldnt be able to hear much difference. Moreover, you're using XP. Afaik there is no place where you can change these settings.
There is a huge difference in sound quality between FLAC and ANY mp3, regardless of the mp3's bitrate, even if both are 16bit @ 44khz.

by: tkpenalty
Yup :). Thats why vista owns lol. Well for audiophiles that is.

Anyway to get 48khz audio you need stuff from DVDs. 96khz, as i said, where the hell do you get that stuff from? Blu Ray?
96khz is multi-channel DVD, 192khz is 2 channel DVD, and some CDs are 48khz.

by: DaC
BTW although above 20khz most people just can't hear a thing, Harmonics are build up to 100khz and this is what makes every single voice and instrument unique also lower frequency 10hz interact with your body making it vibrate, you can "touch" the music.... so yes, getting flat frequency response from 1hz to 100khz is important although you can't hear must of this range. :toast:
I always got a kick out of people arguing that any frequency response above 20k is useless "because nothing plays there, and you can't hear it anyway."

Well, first off, I can. I hear to around 25k, and second, have you never heard of harmonics? lol
Posted on Reply
#20
DaC
by: Wile E
Then you aren't an audiophile, and this PMP or the headphones/IEMs being mentioned are not for you. Be glad, it's much cheaper that way. lol.

There is a huge difference in sound quality between FLAC and ANY mp3, regardless of the mp3's bitrate, even if both are 16bit @ 44khz.



96khz is multi-channel DVD, 192khz is 2 channel DVD, and some CDs are 48khz.

I always got a kick out of people arguing that any frequency response above 20k is useless "because nothing plays there, and you can't here it anyway."

Well, first off, I can. I hear to around 25k, and second, have you never heard of harmonics? lol
Never mind bro... this thread belongs to head-fi.org, not tpu :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#21
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Wile E
I always got a kick out of people arguing that any frequency response above 20k is useless "because nothing plays there, and you can't hear it anyway."

Well, first off, I can. I hear to around 25k, and second, have you never heard of harmonics? lol
You do understand that sample rate has nothing to do with harmonics? When a PCM stream has a sample rate of say 44.1 kHz, the DAC is producing 44,100 "sounds" per second. Yes, the human ear cannot perceive frequencies above 20 kHz, but there's no telling how many unique pieces of sound can your brain piece together per second, so you get the perception of something that makes sense.
Posted on Reply
#22
Wile E
Power User
by: btarunr
You do understand that sample rate has nothing to do with harmonics? When a PCM stream has a sample rate of say 44.1 kHz, the DAC is producing 44,100 "vibrations" per second. Yes, the human ear cannot perceive frequencies above 20 kHz, but there's no telling how many unique pieces of sound can your brain piece together per second, so you get the perception of sound.
I wasn't referring to sample rate. I was referring to frequency. I don't recall even making a reference to sample rate in reference to harmonics? :confused:
Posted on Reply
#23
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Wile E
I wasn't referring to sample rate. I was referring to frequency. I don't recall even making a reference to sample rate in reference to harmonics? :confused:
Ofcourse. My bad. :o
Posted on Reply
#24
Wile E
Power User
by: btarunr
Ofcourse. My bad. :o
It's cool. I thought maybe I mistyped something. lol.
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