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Hidizs S9 Review (Headphone Adapter)

raistlin65

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I want to use my Hidisz S9 as DAC conntected to my JDS Labs Atom amp, to listen to more power requiring headphones. How should I set the volume on my phone with UAPP controlling the Hidisz S9?

In single-ended mode, the HIDISZ S9 has 2.1V output which should work well with the Atom amp. So my guess is to leave everything turned up (on the dongle and phone), and rely on the Atom to control the volume. Or maybe turned down one notch on the S9 if you find the Atom distorting at max volume.

At least, that's what I do with my Tempotec Sonata HD Pro with Windows and the Atom (when I was using it with it).
 

MrOtto

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In single-ended mode, the HIDISZ S9 has 2.1V output which should work well with the Atom amp. So my guess is to leave everything turned up (on the dongle and phone), and rely on the Atom to control the volume. Or maybe turned down one notch on the S9 if you find the Atom distorting at max volume.

At least, that's what I do with my Tempotec Sonata HD Pro with Windows and the Atom (when I was using it with it).
But could I connect my Atom amp with RCA to the balanced 2.5mm TRRS on the Hidisz S9, will the higher volt be a problem?
 

staticV3

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But could I connect my Atom amp with RCA to the balanced 2.5mm TRRS on the Hidisz S9, will the higher volt be a problem?
No, but the lack of a GND connection with 2.5mm will.
2.5mm Bal should only be used with headphones or battery-powered Amps.
 

Veri

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But could I connect my Atom amp with RCA to the balanced 2.5mm TRRS on the Hidisz S9
You can't go balanced to RCA: you can't transfer the higher volt over just an RCA cable unless you have some specialised gear for that like a transformer or a converter circuit. And as said, you can damage the device due to lack of GND trying to do it.
 

Bow_Wazoo

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My s9pro arrived yesterday. in direct comparison to the s 9, I'm a little surprised. supposedly the pro version has twice the power. I can't "see" any of that. It seems that both have the same volume
 

mrbungle

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No, but the lack of a GND connection with 2.5mm will.
2.5mm Bal should only be used with headphones or battery-powered Amps.
Pardon the naive question, but would there be an issue with 2.5mm balanced to dual XLR? I replaced my S9Pro with the Qudelix 5K for mobile due to battery drain and now use the Hidizs as secondary DAC on a small USB-C dock I mainly use for an iPad Pro. Connected to the Topping A90 via XLR switch.
 

staticV3

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Pardon the naive question, but would there be an issue with 2.5mm balanced to dual XLR? I replaced my S9Pro with the Qudelix 5K for mobile due to battery drain and now use the Hidizs as secondary DAC on a small USB-C dock I mainly use for an iPad Pro. Connected to the Topping A90 via XLR switch.
Mains-powered PC->S9Pro->2.5 to 2x XLR adapter->mains-powered Amp can kill the DAC.
If either your DAC or your Amp is battery-powered, then I believe you'll be fine.
 

alleroy

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Anyone using the S9 connected to a Samsung Galaxy S10e has the problem that volume output is low, that is lower than the one of the smartphone direct output?
 

raistlin65

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Anyone using the S9 connected to a Samsung Galaxy S10e has the problem that volume output is low, that is lower than the one of the smartphone direct output?

If you're using low impedance headphones, doesn't the S9 have an auto impedance sensing and so goes into low gain? I know with the S8, that is a -6db gain reduction.

You can trick it into high gain if that's the case.
 

alleroy

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If you're using low impedance headphones, doesn't the S9 have an auto impedance sensing and so goes into low gain? I know with the S8, that is a -6db gain reduction.

You can trick it into high gain if that's the case.

Thanks for your suggestion. I haven't been using S9 for a while because of the cited issue. Yesterday I updated my phone to Android 12 and since then the issue seems not to be present anymore, at least when pairing S9 with my Fiio F9 Pro (using balanced output) in ear. Today I will test it again with my other headphones, Audio Technica ATH-MSR7b, but neither this nor the Fiio should be low impedance ones, afaik.
 

ZolaIII

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Thanks for your suggestion. I haven't been using S9 for a while because of the cited issue. Yesterday I updated my phone to Android 12 and since then the issue seems not to be present anymore, at least when pairing S9 with my Fiio F9 Pro (using balanced output) in ear. Today I will test it again with my other headphones, Audio Technica ATH-MSR7b, but neither this nor the Fiio should be low impedance ones, afaik.
To my better knowledge they used CS43131 input impedance sensing on S8, the ES DAC's (S9) don't use such.
 

raistlin65

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Thanks for your suggestion. I haven't been using S9 for a while because of the cited issue. Yesterday I updated my phone to Android 12 and since then the issue seems not to be present anymore, at least when pairing S9 with my Fiio F9 Pro (using balanced output) in ear. Today I will test it again with my other headphones, Audio Technica ATH-MSR7b, but neither this nor the Fiio should be low impedance ones, afaik.
With the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro/HIDISZ S8, headphones under 150 ohms go into low impedance mode. I have not tried the S9.
 

alleroy

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I tried also with ATH-MSR7b, it seems the issue is not present anymore. Maybe there was something in Android 11 that was limiting output through usb, even it appears very strange to me.
 

iliketohideincloset

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Anyone else using the Hidizs S9 with HQPlayer and DSD upsampling? Just tried DSD512 for shits and giggles and am pretty impressed. Not gonna lie, this thing is worth every penny. Glad I got one early with a decent discount shortly after Amir did this review.
 

Domenico

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Hidizs S9 USB-C DAC and headphone amplifier. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me. The S9 costs US $112 on Amazon including Prime shipping. There is a 5% discount there as of this writing.

The S9 comes a in stout thumbnail sizes package:

View attachment 117364

There are no controls on it unlike S8. A multicolor LED indicates the sample rate of the music being played. It is quite bright.

The predecessor to S9, the S8 had up down volume control which I miss here.

You now have a choice of balanced and unbalanced outputs:
View attachment 117365

No USB-C cable came with it which was surprising as they almost always include such.

In use, the S9 got a bit warm indicating it is rather power hungry.

Hidizs S9 Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard of 1 kHz tone, testing both outputs (2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm unbalanced):
View attachment 117366

View attachment 117367

Hidizs delivers once again with desktop class performance. Distortion is well below threshold of audibility and we have 4 volts output which should produce lots of power for high impedance headphones.

View attachment 117368

Signal to noise ratio is excellent for a dongle and even desktop class:

View attachment 117369

Not so much at 50 millivolt though so you may get some hiss with very sensitive IEMs.

Jitter shows the typical interference we see in these types of devices but levels are quite low:
View attachment 117370

Multitone performance is desktop class:
View attachment 117371

Due to the way these DACs announce themselves to Windows, I can't use my analyzer to run sweeps properly. So no IMD vs level test. I will show power sweeps but note that the noise floor shown (sloping down part of the curve) is wrong and artificially elevated. Just look at the graphs for maximum power and distortion:
View attachment 117373

View attachment 117374

This is a powerful dongle:
View attachment 117375

View attachment 117376

Power is everything in this class product and the S9 delivers so strongly.

Hidizs S9 Listening Tests
I started testing with my Sennheiser HD-650 high impedance headphone using unbalanced output. There was enough power to generate good volume. Everything was right with the sound with great fidelity, detail, and overall performance.

I then switched to my tough to drive, Ether CX 25 ohm using balanced connection and the S9 drove it as it it was a desktop class amplifier! I had to actually turned down the volume for comfortable listening. The sound was a delight with excellent bass, detail, etc. It was so good I did not want to stop and take pictures of S9 to publish this review!

Conclusions
The Hidizs S8 was a ground breaking adapter delivering stunning good performance. The S9 takes that performance and adds balanced output to deliver even more power at the same cost as the S8. The result is a tiny device that delivers desktop class performance. You pay more than $9 that throw-away dongles cost but in exchange you get a serious player which delivers great fidelity in wide range of headphones.

It is my pleasure to highly recommend the Hidizs S9.

Edit: video review available now:

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Hello everyone and thanks for your precious contributions. I have a question: in the dongle list under load power on 300oh and 32ohm the mW of the hidizs s9 (but also the others) are the balanced output of 2.5? And if so, how many mW are there out of 3.5? Also why not add a 600ohm load in the tests? Thank you
 

staticV3

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in the dongle list under load power on 300oh and 32ohm the mW of the hidizs s9 (but also the others) are the balanced output of 2.5?
The S9's balanced output is listed. For the others, it's always the output with the most power.

And if so, how many mW are there out of 3.5?
90mW @32Ω according to Hidizs.

Also why not add a 600ohm load in the tests?
Because there's nothing we could learn from a 600Ω sweep that we haven't already learned from a 300Ω sweep. Max power @600Ω will be ~26mW.
 

Domenico

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Viene elencata l'uscita bilanciata dell'S9. Per gli altri, è sempre l'uscita con più potenza.


90mW @32Ω secondo Hidizs.


Perché non c'è niente che possiamo imparare da uno sweep a 600 Ω che non abbiamo già imparato da uno sweep a 300 Ω. La potenza massima @600Ω sarà di ~26mW
The S9's balanced output is listed. For the others, it's always the output with the most power.


90mW @32Ω according to Hidizs.


Because there's nothing we could learn from a 600Ω sweep that we haven't already learned from a 300Ω sweep. Max power @600Ω will be ~26mW.
Thanks, so at 300ohm on the 3.5 output we don't know how many it delivers .... That's what I would have liked to know.
 

staticV3

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Thanks, so at 300ohm on the 3.5 output we don't know how many it delivers .... That's what I would have liked to know.
Yes we do. At 300Ω the S9 will output between 2.0 and 2.1Vrms via its 3.5mm port. That's about 13.5-14.5mW
 
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