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HiFiMAN™ Express HM-601 Slim

8GB portable digital music player

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  • HiFiMAN™ Express HM-601 Slim

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  • HiFiMAN™ Express HM-601 Slim

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  • HiFiMAN™ Express HM-601 Slim

    HM-601 and included accessories

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Our take on the HiFiMAN™ Express HM-601 Slim

by Ralph Graves
HiFiMAN
HiFiMAN%20HM-601%20digital%20music%20player

The HiFiMAN HM-601 Slim is simply a portable music player. But it's no ordinary portable music player. The HM-601 is designed for the discerning listener who wants the convenience of on-the-go music without sacrificing sound quality and optimal headphone performance.

Remarkable sound quality full of warmth and presence

The HM-601 sports an advanced dual 16-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter). This DAC ensures that your digital music files will be reproduced with rich, full sound. And unlike most portable devices, the HiFiMAN can play high-resolution audio file formats, such as FLAC, WAV, and Ogg Vorbis. So you don't have downconvert your uncompressed audio tracks just to get them to play on your portable.

Room to grow

High-resolution audio files take up a lot of memory — and the HM-601 is up to the challenge. In addition to having 8GB of built-in memory, the player also has an SD card slot. Take along as many 32GB SD cards as you want and never worry about filling up the player and limiting your playlist.

Listen with your best pair of headphones

It takes a pair of high-performance headphones to fully experience the rich, detailed sound the HiFiMAN's DAC delivers. That's why the HM-601 also features a built-in headphone amp. A typical player's headphone jack just doesn't provide enough power to properly drive demanding high-quality headphones. The HM-601#39;s powerful headphone amp ensures that your headphones have the juice they need to sound their best.

Simple navigation and display

The HM-601's navigation screen has a no-nonsense, stripped-down retro look. The screen only displays text — no video, no graphics, not even album art. But if you're just there for the music, the HM-601 provides the navigation you need. You can sort your music by album or artist, and organize your music into playlist folders.

You can also adjust the EQ settings, making minor (or major) adjustments as you choose. A selectable high or low gain switch lets you adjust the amp's output to match the sensitivity of your headphones. And the volume control is an analog dial so you can play your music exactly as loud or soft as you want. Now that's old school.

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Highlights:

  • digital music player — plays MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis
  • plays high-resolution digital music files (up to 24-bit/96kHz)
  • 8GB hard drive
  • SD card slot for cards with up to 32GB of memory (SD card optional)
  • backlit color LCD screen
  • built-in dual 16-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter)
  • built-in headphone amp
  • selectable high/low gain
  • stereo minijack line level output
  • high-speed USB interface (cable included)
  • built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery provides up to 9-10 hours audio playback
  • AC adapter
  • carry bag
  • 2-7/16"W x 4-1/16"H x 1-1/16"D
  • weight: 7 oz.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Graphite gray digital music player
  • AC adapter with Europlug and attached 46" DC output cord (DC output 5V/1A)
  • US plug adapter
  • 4' USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Mini B 2.0 USB on other end)
  • Black cloth storage pouch
  • Soft cleaning cloth
  • Owner's Manual
  • QC card

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The HiFiMAN Express HM-601 Slim (8G) is a high-performance portable digital audio player. It features an internal 8GB flash memory, and has a slot for SD cards up to 32GB. The HM-601 has a high-quality DAC to give you excellent sound quality. Coupled with the player's line output, the HM-601 can double as a portable external USB DAC for your home computer or laptop.

TDA-1543: The HM-601 uses the non-oversampling Philips TDA-1543 digital-to-analog converter (DAC). It is capable of playing multiple formats of compressed music (MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg, FLAC), as well as hi-res 96/24 FLAC files.

Headphone Amplifier: The built-in high quality headphone amplifier can easily drive efficient in-ear monitors and full-sized dynamic headphones. A Hi/Lo Gain switch on the side lets you pick the setting that sounds best with the headphones you're using.

Inputs/Outputs: The HM-601 features a USB Data Exchange input (Mini-B Ver.2.0) for downloading digital music from your computer. You can simply drag and drop your music files to transfer them to the player. There are two 3.5mm outputs on the top panel: one for headphones and the other a line output.

Power: The HM-601 is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery. The battery can be charged via USB or with the supplied AC adapter. A fully charged battery provides 9 to 10 hours of playback time.

Note: The AC adapter is equipped a European two-prong plug, and comes with a US power adapter. It is compatible with 100-240 volts.

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20k Hz
  • Distortion: 0.09%
  • Signal-to-Noise: 92 dB
  • Stereo Crosstalk: 74 dB (line out)
  • Headphone Output: 1.1v @ 32 ohms; 2.2v @ 150 ohms
  • Max Output: 30 mW at 32 ohms; 26 mW at 150 ohms
 
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HiFiMAN™ Express HM-601 Slim Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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1 out of 5

An utter disappointment

Written By Anonymous, Napa, CA on Thursday, July 03, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I had high hopes for this DAP as a low-cost alternative to the pricey Astell&Kern AK100. But I was in for a bitter disappointment. From the onset the build quality looked rather cheap.

When connecting a pair of very sensitive and efficient Grado SR225i headphones there was obvious hissing noise (similar to static) on the right channel, even though I was using several high-quality 16bit FLAC recordings of classical music. More generally, the audio performance was subpar, even when compared to a simple Rockboxed iPod. I'm suspecting that the trouble came from the high-impedance HM-601 (at 32 Ohm) and the low-impedance SR225i (at 32 Ohm), causing unnecessary sound-distortion, although I'm not ruling out systemic hardware/software issues.

As for the software, HM-601 hangs when trying to play 24bit/88kHz FLAC files. It seems that in the high-resolution FLAC department, it is only capable of playing only 24bit/96kHz, but not much else in my experience.

So unfortunately I had to return the item. If you want to pair the HM-601 with Grado headphones, don't even bother. If you have a pair of high-impedance phones (my guess would be above 50-60 Ohm) then I guess the HM-601 is worth a try (after all, there are positive reviews for this DAP online), assuming that you're OK with the software issues described above. For those looking for a less pricey alternative to the Astell&Kern AK100, however, there are other low-cost but high-quality DAP solutions available.
Pros:
None that I can think of.
Cons:
Hissing noise on Grado headphones. Subpar audio performance with low-impedance headphones. Missing support for some FLAC resolutions (e.g. 24bit/88kHz), causing software freezes.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

HiFiMAN HM-601

Written By Anonymous, Ohio on Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I've tried other music players and this one has the best sound ever. It even makes Mp3's sound clean. The headphone amp makes a average set of in-ear headphones rock. I listen to music when at work or in the car and have banged into stuff with it in my pocket, even covered it with sawdust but it plays like nothing happened to it. At first I did not want to spend this kind of money for a music player but now i don't think I can ever go back to those other types of smaller, cheaper, and poor sounding players. With the HiFiMAN you really do get what you paid for. I used a adapter and plugged it into my Bose Acoustic Wave System, and the bass comes out kicking deep.
Pros:
Sound is everything. The sound is clean. You can adjust the sound with the Equalizer if you run it through another system with the adapter and you want to crank it up loud.
Cons:
The USB computer cable they send is cheap so get a better one and be trouble free.
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5 out of 5

HiFiMan

Written By Victor K, Lake Worth, FL on Thursday, October 24, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I wanted something to listen to while watching sports on TV or late at night. Right from the get go I was blown away with the sound. Very easy to hook up, just drag and drop music file. It will take some time setting up the menus... Save yourself a lot of time and set up music folders on your PC by artist before you copy to HiFi as you cannot save a song list in a group of files it will not sort right. use one folder on PC place all you albums in that folder before the transfer also the directions from HiFiMan suck big time my advice is just play with you will really enjoy it. Also buy a set of Monster buds from Crutchfield it will sound better than most home stereo receivers.
Pros:
The sound is incredible you will hear sounds you never heard before...
Cons:
Directions are terrible ........
10 out of 12 people found this helpful
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