This week, we tested the HiFiMAN Supermini DAP. This ultra-compact model featuring an aluminium casing was developed to listen to CD-quality and studio-quality files on the go. The Supermini is fitted with a microSD slot and two headphone outputs, one balanced, the other unbalanced. Its integrated battery can provide up to 22 hours of playback with compressed audio files.
HiFiMAN Supermini: DAC
HiFiMAN doesn’t specify the type of DAC used; the Chinese company only mentions that PCM audio stream up to 24 bits/192 kHz is handled, while DSD stream is limited to 2.8 MHz. This is more than enough to listen to the majority of tracks offered by streaming platforms (Spotify, for example).
HiFiMAN Supermini: amplification
HiFiMAN has used no less than eight operational amplifiers for theSupermini’s amplification stage. The model of the components is not specified, but their power is rated at 320 mW into a set of 32 Ohm headphones via the balanced output. The power rating of the classic, unbalanced output has not been communicated, but our listening sessions lead us to think that the power is probably about half that of the balanced output, meaning around 150 mW into 32 Ohms.
HiFiMAN Supermini: storage
The HiFiMAN Supermini DAP does not offer internal memory but is fitted with a microSD slot compatible with cards up to 256Gb with the current firmware. Audio files can be copied onto the card by connecting the player to a computer (then using the computer?s file manager). Once the Supermini is connected to a computer, playback is paused and browsing functions are deactivated. The Supermini cannot be used as an external sound card since HiFiMAN did not implement a USB DAC mode.
HiFiMAN Supermini: ergonomics
The HiFiMAN Supermini features a monochromatic OLED screen which offers excellent legibility even when used outside. However, the brightness of the screen cannot be adjusted, and only the idle screen mode can be programmed, ranging from 10 seconds to 10 minutes. Beneath the screen, three navigation keys allow the user to browse and select menus. On the DAP?s right-hand panel, there are two volume control buttons, a return button (for browsing), a power button, and a reset button (which can be accessed using a paperclip, for example). On the HiFiMAN Supermini?s bottom panel, two headphone outputs (3.5 mm mini-jack format), a microSD card slot and a micro-USB port may all be found. A USB cable is included for charging the player.
HiFiMAN Supermini: functions
In addition to browsing by artist, genre, album and folder, the HiFiMAN Supermini offers a repeat mode and a random playback function. For those who like to fall asleep while listening to music, it is possible to program this DAP to power off automatically. During playback, functions are limited to volume control, previous/next track, and pause.
HiFiMAN Supermini: test conditions
We used a pair of Meze 99 Classics headphones to assess the HiFiMAN Supermini?s qualities. The earphones which come with the device are suitable but lack smoothness in the mids. We listened to FLAC files (16/44 to 24/192) and DSD (2.8 MHz). At a volume ranging between 10 and 14 (over 32 increments), the Supermini lasted about fifteen hours before running out of power.
HiFiMAN Supermini: listening impressions
The sound is strong and immersive and there is no problematic coloring – only the highs are a little shy. The soundstage is well constructed, although mostly frontal, and could use more depth and space. Vocals and instruments are noticeably grouped together, which makes for tiring listening sessions over a long period of time. Nevertheless, the Supermini provides a constantly dynamic sound and is a great fit for modern music due to its ability to reproduce its energy. Above all, this DAP can deliver a very high sound volume, which should please the owners of low-sensitivity headphones.
HiFiMAN Supermini: conclusions
Lasting up to fifteen hours (using Meze 99 Classics headphones), the HiFiMAN Supermini DAP is an attractive choice for its small size, light weight and ease of use. Its simple interface will please people who are not looking for any advanced functions (EQ, artwork, etc.), while the performance it offers will please energetic sound enthusiasts.