Hifiman HM-602: Hi-Fi DAP Perfected

Excitement!

Earlier today I saw some japanese tweets about the HM-602. I couldn’t have guessed that later the same day I would be listening to some sweet music out of the Hifiman HM-602 player. When I saw the package sitting on my desk, I only remarked “Ah, that’s probably the new Hifiman HM-602″. Last month I received a big package that is the Zana Deux, and after that, it’s pretty hard to get excited about anything. Anyway I opened the cardboard box, and quickly opened the packaging. The HM-602 was enclosed in an anti-static plastic, and it didn’t look too good with that packaging wrapped inside it. So I put the box in the car and drove to the office.

I finally unwrapped the player from the anti-static packaging, and boy it looks really sweet now! First impression, and probably the most significant of all is the small size of the HM-602. Now THIS is something that I would actually use on a regular basis. After all, the HM-801, though EXCELLENT, was simply too big to fit in the average jeans pocket. I continue to inspect the player, on the back panel it says “16GB”. Sweet, it must have built in memory, in additional to the external memory slot. The paint finishing is dark metallic grey and it looks very good. I think the quality of the finishing is much improved from the HM-801 player. It also feels very lightweight, much lighter than the HM-801 and surprise-surprise, even lighter than the Ipod Classic, and by quite a significant margin. Gosh, I’m not going to need that new Ipod Touch after it seems.

The layout is very good, and the screen is much brighter than what I remember the HM-801 to be. Two USB ports for data exchange and for using the HM-602 as a USB DAC. Oh, this thing is sweet. I still can’t believe that a small player like this can excite me the way I was with the Zana Deux amp. Headphone out jack, line out jack, and volume control. All good. 5VDC external PSU for charging, and last but not least, a high and low gain switch! (I don’t think the HM-801 has such a switch). I think this player is perfect! Thank you Hifiman for such a wonderful product!!!!!


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  • Audiofriend

    Hi, Mike, Just want to know , how about comparing that to the Sony M10 and D50??..(HM602)

    and according to your updated, i want to cut the capacitor after purchase, while can you put a little bit detail for the steps.

    for example which one should be cut out and what for replace??

    Also, heard that they do a little bit modify from Hifiman on the wave filtering part , AD8620 and OPA2604 also the headphone amp. is OPA2604, just want to know how can i distinguish the new one or the old one. Did you try them both?

    Finally, what do rate for the DAC part of HM602

    P.S. i really willing get the HM801, while got stucked for its size, sigh!!`

    Thanks you so much!!~ Really lookign forward to your reply!! : ) (after that i would get one)

    • Anonymous

      Hi,
      Been wanting to compare these to the Sony player/recorders, but I
      haven’t had the chance to. As for the capacitors, I don’t think you have
      to do it. I received the prototype version, but everyone else should’ve
      gotten the version without the output caps.

      I will try to compare the new HM-602 to the old one. I personally don’t
      know if they have changed the opamps.

  • Christian Lebert

    Hello Mike,

    I have a question. If I want to use USB DAC I put mini cable in USB DAC and on my USB Laptop . I put my earphones in Hifiman 602 . I take a flac on my computer but it doesn’t work. I have no sound .

    What is the problem?

    Sorry for my poor english.

    Best regards.

    • Christian Lebert

      Hi Mike,

      I have found .

      Best regards

    • Anonymous

      Hey Christian, I suppose your problem is fixed now? You need to choose the proper output device on windows/osx and you need to toggle the switch on the HM602 to DAC mode.

      • Christian Lebert

        Thanks for your anwer.

        Best regards.

  • 9homme

    Hi

    I already have Hifiman HM-602.
    Now, after reading your review, I deciding to buy some DAC from HRT or CA DacMagic or Matrix mini-i but I’m not sure that is it a worthy buying.

    I’m not sure that Dac which listed above will do a lot better that HM-602 or it is in the same league.

    My preference is musical and analog sound but still love to hear the detail of music.

    Could you give me the ranking for Dac which listed above?

    Could you give me some recommend about this case?

    What should I do?
    . Buy HRZ Music stream II+
    . Buy HRZ Music stream II
    . Buy CA DacMagic
    . Buy Matrix mini-i
    . Don’t buy anything and use HM-602 as DAC

    Thank you so much

    • Anonymous

      Hi,
      I found out that the HM-602 hangs out with the best $300-$400 DACs including the Dacmagic and the HRT Music Streamer II+.

      You can read the comparison in more detail on these two articles:
      http://www.headfonia.com/hifi-dap-comparison-hm-801-hm-602-qa350-boomslang/
      http://www.headfonia.com/hm-601-and-hm-602/

      To recap the results of the test, here is the list that I created, sorted according to the sonic performance and nothing else. I added some comments such as soundstage size, depth, micro details, etc. In my experience, a good soundstage depth is far harder to achieve than a wide soundstage. Hence I will rank a source with better depth even if the width is narrower than the source below it. Likewise things like micro details and ambiance, though very subtle, is also harder to achieve than soundstage width, so the same logic applies to the ranking.

      (Best)

      * Hifiman 801 DAP = Detail, ambience, bass, depth, separation
      * Ibasso DB1+PB1 Coax = Soundstage slightly more narrow than HRT, but more refined, little details, depth, separation
      * HM602 DAP = Soundstage slightly more narrow than Ibasso DB1+PB1 Coax, but still very good micro details, depth, separation better than HRT2
      * HRT MS2+ USB = Very good overall. Widest soundstage (even wider than HM801), but micro details, depth, separation is not as good as the three above it.
      * HM602 USB DAC = slight downgrade than the DAP version, loses a little bit of refinement.
      * Ibasso DB1+PB1 USB = also downgraded, and more than the HM602 this time
      * QLS QA350 = wide soundstage, good separation, but lacks depth and micro details
      * HM801 USB DAC = soundstage and detail suffers a lot, but still maintains separation and depth.

      (Least)

      • 9homme

        Hi Mike

        Thank you so much for your comment.

        It is very very useful for me.

        Best,

        • Anonymous

          You’re welcome.

  • Christian Lebert

    Hello Mike,

    I have a question… I have bought on internet CD at the website :

    http://www.linnrecords.com/index.aspx

    I have taken STUDIO MASTER FLAC in 24 bits 44,1

    When I have load these tracks on my 602 I have seen only 16 bits on the screen!!

    What happens ? The 602 desn’t take the 24/44,1 ???

    I hope your answer.

    Best regards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Suarez/100002172660943 Jason Suarez

    Hi Mike. I’ll make this relatively short and quick so as to not bother you.
    My parents don’t think I should get a home setup right now. They say there’s plenty of time to build a good one up later and that I should keep my audio setup portable.

    Rather than bother you in great length the way I normally do, I’ll just say that i’m stuck and can’t convince them in the worth behind the U100 or that rockbox/imod compatibility justifies purchasing an older Ipod 5.5G when I have a 6gen 80gb classic, even though I bought my IPod from a friend for $30 usd. (They think newer=better)
    So I might switch out the K271MKII’s for the HF5 and enjoy my current setup in all its upper Low-fi glory rather than drive myself crazy XD.

    More importantly, have you ever heard of the ColorFly C4 Hi-Fi Player? At $799 it aims to be direct competion to the HM-801, with anSPDIF in/out, a 3.5mm/6.3mm headphone jack/line out and oversampling up to 24/192KHZ; unique features in a portable player to say the least. It has a “jitter kill” module and a Cirrus Logic CS8422 chip, so I wouldn’t know whether or not its as good as the HM-801 is based on its own ability. Although durability might be an issue, the steampunk design is really kickass. Talk about a classy DAP; you Hi-End audiophiles deserve choices as well . :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Suarez/100002172660943 Jason Suarez
    • Anonymous
      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Suarez/100002172660943 Jason Suarez

        Figures… =/
        Nice review Mike.

        I’m a steampunk fan, so I really would like to order this from the chinese site in 16 for $500. I think it will give my parents a good laugh at any rate… :)

        • Anonymous

          Lol.. Enjoy the C4. It’s a good player.

          • jr

            I’m trying to find out how the hm-602 would compare to a 5g iMod. Any thoughts on that? I know the iMod is much more expensive, but would you say the price is justified strictly based on sound quality? Thanks for any feedback you can give!

            I really like the idea of an integrated unit, although the UI of the iMod is pretty convenient. How would you compare the relative sound signatures?

            Thanks again!

            • Anonymous

              The Imod takes on the basic sound signature of a regular Ipod. Expect a
              little more open sound, slightly better detail and instrument separation.

              The HM-602 is based on a much better DAC chip, the TDA1543. In terms of
              sound signature, it is warmer and mellower. If you like to listen to
              Jazz and Classical, the improvement on the soundstage imaging and micro
              details should be obvious. For Rock and general Pop Music, the Ipod is
              more livelier sounding, though some people also prefer the HM-602 due to
              its warmer tone and sweeter mids.

  • Francis88

    Hi mike, i have a few question regarding the HM602
    1.What is the average charging time from empty to full
    2.Does it generate any heat when use as both dac and dap (when not connected to any power source or pc).
    3.Does it generate any heat when charging.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Francis,
      1. I’ve never counted the hours.. if I were to guess probably around 2 hours? 2. Yes it does
      3. No

  • Nishy Wijewardane

    Mike, re. the EQ settings of the HM-602: can one hear the differences on say RE-262 easily? I am asking because I can’t distinguish any variance whatsoever and wonder if this is normal or a fault. Further which of the Sennheiser 5xx series might you reccommend for listening to jazz instrumentals/vocals, given the Hm-602’s adequate but not expansible bass? (I have Re262). Thanks.

  • Anson

    Mike, I understand that this is an audiophile class DAP, but I have a few questions hoping to be clarified:

    1. Since my music library is mostly non-English, is HM-602 able to show non-English metadata, meaning UTF-8/Unicode support?

    2. Does it support to show lyrics from the metadata?

    3. Does it support ReplayGain?

    Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1063825347 Rian Kurniawan

      Ive used the hm602 and notices the japanese and chinese characters displayed as a title, but no lyricss

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1063825347 Rian Kurniawan

    Mike, sorry for bumping this old topic, but when we use hm602 as a dac, the dac and amp used is it the same circuitry used as when it is used as a DAP?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Yes I believe so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.loke.7 Stephen Loke

    Hey Mike,

    Sorry for bringing up an older review. Does the HM-602 have gapless playback?

    Thanks.

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