So how does it sound?
The HM-700’s sound signature is a bit of a departure from what I’m used to. My main listening system is an EHHA, which is ever so slightly on the warm side with the tubes I’m using, and a Gamma2, which is also rather warm-sounding. While the HM-700 never approaches a cold sound signature, it’s the closest thing I’ve heard to an “energetic” sound signature from a DAP. Its soundstage isn’t the biggest because of its relatively forward sound signature. It has a pretty good amount of detail, which is likely the result of its slightly bright sound signature. That’s not to say it sounds thin—in fact, I’ve never found it to lack bass in the slightest. If anything, it provides enough in both power and sound signature to provide a sense of control to almost rival the much more expensive Fiio X5.
Overall, while I struggle to call the HM-700 neutral, it doesn’t have any glaring faults with the sound, unless you want a huge soundstage, which the HM-700 won’t augment. Power isn’t exactly the HM-700’s forte, which is expected considering its size. For kicks, I tried plugging my 600ohm AKG K240 Sextetts into them. At max volume, I get to a comfortable listening level, but not all that much control. It’s definitely not performing at its peak, but it’s really not all that unexpected. Though I did find an interesting pairing that worked; the Sennheiser HD650 was surprisingly good with the HM-700. It was most definitely not being driven to its potential, but the sound signatures made for a very nice synergy. It also drives my ZMF T50RP to decent levels, but again, it’s not the same as putting them through a dedicated amplifier. The HM-700 wasn’t created to drive all sorts of headphones; it was created to pair with a balanced IEM, and that it does fantastically. If power is what you want, let me direct you to their more expensive DAPs…
Click on next page for the RE-600’s review.