HiFiMan's HM-801 ($790, head-direct.com) is the size of a Walkman — I mean literally. A cassette could fit inside it, with plenty of room leftover for the heads, playback motors, and whatever other analog hoopla those things had.
Instead the HM-801 (the big brother of the HM-602 I reviewed in S+V’s June-July-August issue), is a high-end "portable" music player. As something that would hardly fit in most pockets, I'd hesitate calling it truly portable in the modern sense, but it is hand-holdable, so I guess that's something.
Inside is a bunch of audiophilia: a modular amplifier section, a Burr-Brown PCM1704U-K DAC, and an SD card slot. This latter augments 8 GB of internal storage. Two USB connections line the bottom, one for importing music, the other to use the 802 as a USB DAC. For outputs you've got a coax output so you can digitally hook up to a receiver, and a line-level analog one for portable speakers or what-have-you.
Control of the player is the via the same oddly configured (and mildly infuriating) interface as the HM-601. Once you get used to the simplicity of Apple or Android designs, everything else is a noticeable step back. Importing music is drag-and-drop from your computer, or you can use software like MediaMonkey (which also burns lossless FLAC files, if so desired).
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.
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