HiFiMAN is mainly known for their over-ear planar headphones like the Sundara, and Arya. In the past, they’ve come out with a few desktop amps like the EF600 as their most recent edition. Now, HiFiMAN is expanding this product line with two new units: the EF500, and EF499. These DAC/Amp combos are entry-level products, with the EF500 costing $459, and the EF499 costing $299.
The EF500 desktop DAC/amplifier features HIFIMAN’s Hymalaya LEladder DAC, consisting of an array of highly accurate resistors that use a “ladder” method of conversion. This approach converts the digital signal with maximum accuracy and overall musicality. Signal-to-noise ratio, total harmonic distortion, and energy consumption are at their musical and efficient best. A highlight of the EF500 is HIFIMAN’s Hymalaya LE R2R DAC, which provides unsurpassed sonic output, especially when compared to the more commonplace PCM1704kmodule. The Hymalaya LE, with the added support of a new algorithm and 0.01% precision resistors, reaches a THD (total harmonic distortion) rate of0.0025%(-8dB), with distortion reduced to a previously unheard-of low with no audible distractions.
The EF499 offers similar benefits as the EF500 but with the familiar Philips R2R DAC architecture known for its naturally warm, full-range sonics and the company’s signature sonic tuning.