HiFiMAN EF400 and HM800: new amplifier/DAC and DAC dongle

HiFiMAN has presented two new devices at CanJam, a portable audio fair that has been held this weekend in New York. On one hand we have the HiFiMAN EF400, a desktop DAC with headphone amplifierand on the other hand the HiFiMAN HM800, a fully balanced DAC dongle. Although the well-known manufacturer already had some headphone amplifiers in its catalog, most of them have quite prohibitive prices.

With the new HiFiMAN EF400 the manufacturer is looking to enter the market for “affordable” headphone amplifiers again, which in 2022 is really competitive thanks to brands such as iFi Audio, Schiit Audio, Topping and Cayin. The same happens with the DAC in dongle format HiFiMAN HM800, which arrives to compete with the proposals of iFi Audio and FiiO. Let’s take a look at everything the new devices have to offer.

HiFiMAN EF400: DAC with headphone amplifier

The HiFiMAN EF400 is a desktop DAC with headphone amplifier. It’s not overly large, so it will fit on most desks. The case is matte black with a brushed aluminum front.

It is on this front face that we find 6.35mm and 3.5mm outputs single-ended, along with balanced 4.4mm and XLR outputs. It also has two knobs, one is the gain/oversampling selector switch and the other is a volume dial, located on the left and right of the unit respectively.

HiFiMAN EF400 Rear DAC

In the back we have includes two USB digital inputsone type A and one type C, along with a RCA and XLR analog input. That is, we can use the HiFiMAN EF400 as a USB DAC/Amplifier or as a pure headphone amplifier. We can also connect an external phono preamplifier or a CD player through any of these inputs.

Internally, the EF400 is fully balanced and uses the module HiFiMAN Himalaya R2R DAC. The chip reaches a maximum of 24bit/768kHz for PCM and includes oversampling on the digital side, which can be disabled via a front panel switch.

DAC HiFiMAN EF400 front two

The amplification is Class A/B. On the other hand, it uses a buffer, followed by an active filter, which makes the output punchy and clean, with a +118dB SNR and one 0.004% THD+N. 4.4 watts of output power (on balanced outputs) gives the EF400 the ability to power even the most demanding headphones with ease.

The HiFiMAN EF400 It is already available for reservation, at least in the United States, and the first units will be shipped in March 2022. Its official price is $599.

HiFiMAN HM800: DAC dongle to take anywhere

HiFiMAN has designed the HM800 to be one of the smallest DAC Dongles on the market, however, does not include a 3.5mm jack. which will surely scare away many users.

HiFiMAN HM800 life

The small device includes a USB Type-C input at one end and a MMCX port pair in what would become the headphone jack. That is, the HM800 uses a pair of MMCX outputs. It comes with MMCX to MMCX, MMCX to 0.75mm bi-pin and 0.78mm bi-pin cables.

In other words, it is a clear warning from the manufacturer that the HM800 is designed to work with IEMs and headsets. Not having a conventional 3.5mm jack limits what can be plugged in, thus preventing plugging in models that are not appropriate for use with this little DAC. It is a somewhat strange move from the manufacturer.

Internally, the HM800 uses the module HiFiMAN Himalaya R2R DAC to manage the decoding. This DAC allows the device to overcome many of the limitations typically associated with portable DACs. Although the specifications of the HM800 have not yet been released, we do know that the Himalayas support PCM up to 24/768 and that supports oversampling.

HiFiMAN HM800 connector

The output of the DAC is sent to an amplifier designed for minimal power consumption and providing a 40mW output power per channel. The HM800 offers a fully balanced DAC/amplifier that is no bigger than a pack of gum and provides a fully balanced output. The HM800 is fully differential and fully balanced. Has a 112dB SNR and one THD+N of 0.0025%.

The HiFiMAN HM800 It is now available for pre-purchase, at least in the United States, with deliveries expected from March 2022. Its official price is $299.

Via | ecoustics

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