T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 Highlight: CEntrance HiFi-M8

CEntrance HiFi-M8 (~$699)
Here's a product with a hell of a story. As Michael Goodman (CEntrance's CEO) began the development of the M8, he began strongly interacting with the Head-Fi community in this thread, which is now some 2268 posts long! In the thread, Michael continued to ask what people might like to see in a top-of-the-line portable headphone amplifier, and boy did he get a lot of feedback. Having had many experiences developing products myself I know how difficult it would be to start taking advice in the open on a forum as popular and well trafficked as Head-Fi. But he persisted, and now feels that while the process took much longer than he would have liked, the product is much better for the input from Head-Fi members.

For example, the HiFi-M8 will be available with three different front panel layouts featuring a variety of connector configurations for both balanced and unbalanced headphones. The rear panel also has some unusual controls. The bass boost and gain switch are reasonably common, but the treble boost and switchable impedance are pretty unusual. I've noticed that a number of headphones tend to roll-off a bit over 10kHz and was very pleased to hear the treble control tastefully compensate for this. Here's a pic of the rear panel.

2013THEShowNewport_Photo_CEntrance_Rear

This is a complex and very interesting product and I can't wait to get my hands on one for an extended listen as what I've heard so far is very promising. There are far to many features for me to go over in this short show report, so I'll simply point you to some resources if you'd like to read about it further.

CEntrance HiFi-M8 product page.
Michael Goodman's HiFi-M8 development blog.
Head-Fi HiFi-M8 appreciation thread.

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COMMENTS
johnjen's picture

I see what you did there… enlightened

Nice!

 

JJ

jcheadphone's picture

Tyll,

How does the HiFi-M8 compare to Fostex's HP-P1 portable headphone amp?  It looks like the HiFi-M8 can extract USB audio from non Apple devices too and has more music controls.

Tyll Hertsens's picture

...I've got no experience with the Fostex.

expatinjapan's picture

I have the Fostex hp_p1 and have tried the hifi-m8 several times.

My impressions are from this thread:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/662881/centrance-hifi-m8-and-hifi-m8-lx-8-versi...

 

My Fostex hp_p1 is warm sounding, burned in and also at 10ohms or HOI. The Hifi-M8 seems more clear and less colored, not to the point of sterile at all, just seems `true` sounding.

The sound stayed more smoother at higher volumes than on my Fostex hp_p1.

paul's picture

I don't think I'm alone (at least I don't think so). The vast majority of my headphone listening is portable. 

I found your comment "...I've got no experience with the Fostex." curious.

Tyll Hertsens's picture

...just haven't heard it but very briefly at a trade show. Not enough to make any judgement.

mikemercer's picture

SO proud to have Michael and Judd at The Headphonium.

The HiFi-M8 (pronounced Hifi "mate") was the last project I worked on with the CEntrance team, and I know its going to be a KNOCK OUT.

We even had fun designing the HiFi-M8 t-shirts!!

I love Michael's thirst for knowledge, especially when it comes to pop culture.  I had to explain to Michael the reason hip T's today have their logos in the upper back/between the shoulder blades (like the CEntrance logo on the back of the HiFi-M8 shirts we designed)!  He loves to learn about everything.  It stems from underground rave culture!  We used to wear our backpacks really low, covering our backs ar raves (before they went commercial).  The companies figured out that their logos could still be seen through the upper ridgeline of all backpacks if they dropped the logo up there!

He's a great man Michael Goodman, and his team are TOP NOTCH

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