January 21, 2021

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HIFIMAN HM1000 Amplifier Carmine Version Review

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For HIFI enthusiasts, if you want to get a good listening sensation, the headset, front end and lossless sound source are indispensable. No matter which link is missing, the final effect will be greatly discounted. Among many brands, HIFIMAN has a good reputation in both headphones and front end, and HM801 and R2R2000 Prince have also won a good feedback among users. The HIFIMAN HM1000, known as the “senior product”, has recently come to our department. The screenless design makes me have a strong interest in it. After nearly two weeks of use, I would like to discuss with everyone to how it replace the former products.

“Addition and subtraction.”

“Cut out 80% of the features of this product, and focus on getting that 20% to 80 or above.” I think this statement is very suitable for the HIFIMAN HM1000.

Nowadays, the middle and high-end HiFi players on the market all choose to embrace intelligence, larger screens andrThe latest Android system. And whether to have the ability to install third-party players has become one of their selling points. Players are becoming more and more like phones, and more and more fancy, but the percentage of voice that users care about the most is getting lower and lower. HiFiMan HM1000 was the forerunner to do the opposite. It eliminated all the “functions unrelated to the main purpose of the product” and strengthened the core functions, making it the most authentic HiFi amplifier of this era.

There are three versions of the HIFIMAN HM1000. The HIFIMAN HM1000 carmine contains two PCM1702 chips and the top-end champagne gold HM1000 contains four PCM1704K chips. PCM1704 is certainly a legend, but after all, the production of PCM1704 has been discontinued, and the number of PCM1704 has been greatly reduced due to excessive belief. Moreover, HIFIMAN’s replacement plan requires disassembling the R2R2000 chip and installing it into the HM1000, which leads to low “cost performance”.

PCM1702 uses BB company’s unique COLINEAR structure, compared with BB company’s classic DAC chip PCM63, the performance index is better. It uses two 19bit DAC in each channel respectively responsible for the positive and negative half cycle signal, and then the current output part of the DAC is 2 into one, this structure not only has the high dynamic characteristics of multi-bit DAC, but also successfully solved the problem of zero crossing distortion on the general multi-bit DAC, so that the output linear improvement. Therefore, HIFIMAN HM1000 carmine, just like R2R2000 red prince, which is more universal.

Once the addition was done, HiFiMan subtracted from the product. The most notable aspect is that it removes the screen and leaves all control to the phone and computer. After removing WiFi, 4G network and screen, HIFIMAN HM1000 cuts down most of the interference to sound, and obtains a more closed and pure playing environment, which makes sound become purer and better quality. Of course, removing these makes the whole product more like an amplifier, or “brick” in the real sense.

 

Return the option to the user

Subtraction doesn’t mean it’s hard to use. HiFiMan puts control in the hands of the user. If you are a user with high requirements for audio sources, most of the songs you listen to on daily days are directly scraped from the CD audio sources, you can store your accumulated audio files in the memory card, and put it inside the player to read, FAT32 format supports 1TB at most. The HiFiMan Remote app on the mobile phone can then switch songs, and the playlist can be updated via USB OTG, manual copying, and wireless transmission.

If you are used to the convenience of streaming platforms and have a membership in music apps, the HiFiMan HM1000 will also be a good Bluetooth DAC. It supports Bluetooth audio encoding including LDAC, APTX, APTX-HD, AAC, SBC, and can easily transmit lossless audio sources via Bluetooth. In addition to listening to music, the most enjoyable part of the author’s actual use is to watch Dolby movies via HIFIMAN HM1000. When the sound is decoded by HIFIMAN HM1000 and transmitted to the high-end wired headset at the terminal, the headset with strong spatial sense, accurate positioning, clear hierarchy and good separation will give you the immersive feeling like you are in a cinema. At the same time, various sound details in the film are also restored, and the thrilling sound effects of the film complement each other with the picture and story content of the film.

The device also supports USB/OTG Audio DAC mode. Using the HiFiMan HM1000 is like having an external sound card, which can be used with headphones for better listening experience. It can be said that even if the HIFIMAN HM1000 cancels the screen, it can play excellent sound quality itself and at the same time help mobile phones and computers get sound quality improvement in a variety of ways.

 

A bright red brick

As a “brick”, the HIFIMAN HM1000 naturally has a tough exterior design. At around 4.52* 2.44*0.7 inches, it’s about the size of a traditional tape case, making it a throwback to a cassette listening era. The color is like rouge like red, which builds a perfect advanced sense of feeling.

HiFiMan also cuts the edges and corners of the fuselage to increase the dullness and reduce the harshness and aggression. The front of the device is covered with a dark black glass panel. Under the panel, the internal PCM1702 chip can be seen, and there is an LED indicator in the upper right corner when it is running. The blue light is for Bluetooth connection mode, and the green light is for USB/OTG Audio DAC mode. The lower left side of the front is also engraved with HIFIMAN, which enhances the brand recognition. The back is also covered with a black panel, which is printed with the gold HIFIMAN logo, model number and the signature of the founder, which will directly bring out the style.

The top design of the HiFiMan HM1000 has four audio ports, from left to right, the Headphone 3.5 Balance/Single Port, the BAL 4.4 Balance Port, and Line Out 3.5 Single Ended /4.4 Balance Port. The left side is equipped with three function keys, which are OUTPUT, INPUT and gain switch. Users can press the Output button to select the appropriate audio OUTPUT interface according to their requirements. When selecting this jack, the LED light below the corresponding interface will be green. The gain switch is divided into three gears, from top to bottom, high, low and ultra-low. High gain is suitable for headphones with low sensitivity and high impedance. Low gain is suitable for headphones with high sensitivity and low impedance. Ultra-low gain is ideal for headphones with very high sensitivity and very low impedance.

The right side of the machine is equipped with power on key, volume control key and TF memory card slot. Long pressing the power button for 3 seconds can start/close the machine, long press for 10 seconds can restart the machine, and when used with APP, short press can play/pause the machine. The volume control button can increase or decrease the volume, the maximum volume is 32 and the minimum volume is 0. After using APP, long press the volume +/- to adjust the first/next song.

The bottom of the fuselage is equipped with a Type-C interface and a charging button. You can start charging by inserting a USB charging cable and connecting it to the power supply device. The red light is always on in the state of charging, and the green light is always on in the state of full electricity. Press the charge button and the HM1000 will switch to no charge mode. In this state, the light of the charging state flashes alternately; When the battery is low, the red light of charging status will flash. If the battery is too low, it will shut down.

 

How does a TF card, Bluetooth, or USB DAC actually sound?

As a HiFi player that supports three modes of TF card, Bluetooth and USB DAC, I  uses two entry-level flat diaphragm headphones, HIFIMAN HE400SE and Sony MDR-Z7M2, respectively corresponding to 0.13inch interface and 0.17inch balance port, to test the sound quality performance of HIFIMAN HM1000 under three conditions.

The first testing song to play is inside the TF card. “Croatian Rhapsody” and “Wild Bees Flying” are both representative works of Maksim Mrvica, and they have similar music styles. This kind of fast music is a good choice for the test. I am satisfied with the sound processing of HIFIMAN HM1000. It is full and broad, with solid sound and distinct layers, which ensures a certain distance between various instruments. The scattered and uneven feeling left a good impression on the author, and the first ear was quite amazing.

Then I played a piece of lyrical song. The beginning strings felt very close to the ear, and the vibrato after poking could be clearly restored, which caught the ear at once. When the singer’s voice comes out, it feels good.

When playing “Just One Last Dance”. HIFIMAN HM1000 handled the sound very cleanly. The first part of Sarah Connor hit the heart like a faint whisper of a lover, the long, long voice in the middle part was mellow and memorable, and the second part also handled the treble cleanly and the voice was clear and bright, pushing the emotion to the climax. And another singer’s song allows users enter the world of song. Exquisitely crafted mixed sound forms and literal processing just give more humanistic temperament, which is also perfectly restored by HIFIMAN HM1000.

When you use Bluetooth to play Dolby sounds in a movie, there is no delay at all, even better than most Bluetooth headsets on the market, using the HiFiMan HM1000 is like carrying a small home theater. Listening to music is also very sweet, although slightly inferior to TF card playback, but you can still enjoy a variety of high quality music anytime and anywhere. It also broadens the use of wired headphones. After all, most phones on sale now have no headphone jack. The HiFiMan HM1000 also gives these wired headphones a new use.

In addition to Bluetooth connectivity to mobile phones, the HIFIMAN HM1000 can also connect laptops and mobile phones via dual Type-C USB cables. I use a Windows10 laptop, so I don’t need to download a driver. Connect the HM1000 directly to the computer with the Type-C USB data cable. Press the input selection button once and the input mode will be switched to USB Audio mode. Then select “HM1000” in “Control Panel, Sound, Play” to play the song through the device.

When playing a song full of Chinese style on the computer, the fresh and melodious flute in the opening brings people to a picturesque mood. The good percussion of the board makes the listeners feel the real lingering sound and endless aftertaste. The traditional instruments such as flute can be easily identified. The decode sound is quite delicate and exquisite, as if it is played for me alone.

 

The end:

HIFIMAN HM1000 is undoubtedly a pure HiFi player to the extreme. It removes the interference of unnecessary factors such as the screen and makes the sound more pure. Supports many Bluetooth lossless formats and USB DAC at the same time, so it fits perfectly with your other terminals. With it, even an ordinary mobile phone or computer can be transformed into a HiFi gadget, which makes the HM1000 stand out from the category of portable Amp. The HM1000 is an anomaly in the modern era, and it offers you a superior sound experience. You can also give more possibilities to this product.

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