HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card: a review

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HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card: a review

HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card: a review

The HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card is a digital audio converter or DAC with a little headphone amp and about the size of a Zippo lighter. Think of it as an audio dongle, plug into your usb then plug your headphones or external speakers into the HM-101. The convenient little portable sound card is formally known as the Express HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card, it is lightweight, convenient and a snap to use.

Why would you want this if you can just plug into your headphone jack on your laptop? We all know on-board sound is sometimes less than par. You get hiss, bad quality or low volume output. When you want some meat on your music/audio quickly and easily the HM-101 will fill that in short order without costing you a ton of dough.

Express HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card

Express HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card

The Budget conscious HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card from HiFiman provides a line out, headphone out and USB port is convenient for anyone to attach to their laptop or pc to enhance their sound and increase volume. The mini DAC draws the power needed through the USB port so there is no need for any power cord.

HM-101, driver windows7, x64

While this is not a true audiophile product, the DAC is able to output sound at 16-bit 44hz digital audio, which is a common road for most CD rips and mp3’s. If you are looking for audiophile quality sound, you may wish to consider something more professional and upgrade to a more expensive DAC or optical or even SPDIF. If you are a mac user you may not notice much increase in quality since Apple’s macintosh has always had 16-bit digital audio at 44khz as standard audio output quality, but you will see an increase in volume output. You are able to utilize the line out port for output to another amp source but the HM-101 is not intended to out-match the heavy weight DACs but rather to provide an inexpensive solution to enhance and solve many common sound issues for everyday users at a budget price point. At $39 the HM-101 from HiFiman achieves this very well.

HM-101, Sound, control panel, windows 7 x64 UltimatePinstripe Magazine was able to test drive the HM-101 recently. It comes with a short mini-usb to usb cable and is slightly less than the weight of a bic lighter. We were able to plug this into some random everyday laptops of friends with external speakers, alternated with headphones as well and were pleased with the results. We experienced an increase in volume without noticeable distortion.  The HM-101 was extremely easy to use. We plugged it in, selected the output from the audio driver and pointed it to the HM-101.

The Express HM-101 Portable USB Sound Card is available from HiFiman and is a convenient little unit that works well for what it is. It’sgreat if you are a budget conscious nomad that wants to enhance your sound and volume no matter where your going, at an affordable price.

Retails for $39.00 from HiFiman.com



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