Last report from CanJam NYC 2022: HiFiMan

HiFiMan presented a few noteworthy new products at CanJam NYC, including the EF400 DAC/headphone amplifier, the Edition XS planar-magnetic headphones, the HE-R9 closed-back dynamic headphones, and the HM800 mini-DAC.

The HiFMan EF400 DAC/headphone amplifier (shown above with the HE-R9 headphones) follows their older EF6, the company's PR rep, Adam Sohmer, told me. "People were looking for an update." Updates it brings. The EF400 contains HiFiMan's latest "Himalaya" R-2R "ladder" DAC module. It converts PCM signals of up to 24/786, Sohmer told me. The EF400 DAC/amp will retail for $599 and should be ready to ship in a couple of weeks.

The amplifier contains fully balanced, differential circuitry and 4.4Wpc RMS (into 36 ohms) of class-AB amplification—power sufficient to drive low-sensitivity headphones, including the company's higher-end planar-magnetic designs like the Susvara and the newer Edition XS ($499 MSRP), which was also on demo.

The EF400 offers four settings—high or low gain, with "Non Over-Sampling" turned on or off—via a knob on front. Inputs (on back) include RCA, USB-B, USB-C, and dual stereo three-pin balanced (XLR) line outputs. The front panel also has a volume control knob and four outputs: 6.35mm and 3.5mm (both single-ended), 4.4mm balanced (Pentaconn), and XLR four-pin balanced. The chassis looks sharp. This DAC/amplifier is suitable for desktop or main-system use.

HiFiMan Edition XS

A brief listen to the EF400 with the Edition XS planar-magnetic headphones—the top photo shows the HE-R9 headphones described below—revealed spacious soundstaging on Joni Mitchell tracks. The honkier sax notes on "Raised on Robbery" seemed clearer in the mix than usual. On Mitchell's Blue, "California" might have sounded cleaner and quieter in NOS mode. I heard an airy quality—on Chesky Records Orquesta Nova 10th Anniversary Special Edition, for instance—and not just on the flutes, which had realistic timbre. Backgrounds seemed quiet, and strings displayed a lacey delicacy. London Grammar's "Hey Now" sounded three-dimensional, and the low-end tones delved deep—not always true with planars.

HiFiMan's exhibit also presented the HE-R9 ($599) headphones (top), a rare closed-back 'phone for the company, the only other examples being the HE-R10D (dynamic version), which the HE-R9 borrows some technology from, and the HE-R10P (planar version). The HE-R9s can receive music wired—via a balanced, 3.5mm connector beneath left earcup or dual 3.5mm cables—or wirelessly when combined with HiFiMan's Bluemini R2R Himalaya DAC dongle ($150) via Bluetooth 5.0 (HD). The HE-R9's sensitivity is spec'd at 100dB, its impedance at 32 ohms. The lightweight, shiny red 'phones have earcups of soft leatherette.

The Bluemini, which is USB-C-chargeable, can be bundled with the HE-R9—$749 gets you both—and will be available later in the spring. HiFiMan HM 800

Finally, the aforementioned Himalaya R2R DAC architecture also comes in a smaller package—a tiny one, in fact: The HM800 Mini-DAC/amplifier, which is intended to be used with IEMs. It's about the size of an old-fashioned pencil sharpener and spec'd to output 40mW of class-AB power. It has a USB-C input on one end and a pair of stereo MMCX outputs on the other. Three connector cables are included: MMCX coaxial plus MMCX-0.78 and MMCX-0.75 two-pin.

The HM800's MSRP is $299, and it's due out this month.