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Hidizs S9 Review (Headphone Adapter)

Acerun

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Looks like same SINAD as Topping E30 actually
 

staticV3

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Regarding the lack of hardware volume buttons on S9, is that something significant ?
The ones on S8 are (I suppose) a "software" volume control (inside the chip ?) doing anyway the loss of bits (dynamic range) if attenuate a lot (<--this is a question)
afaik, every kind of volume control that's happening outside the source device is classified as hardware volume. The S8/Tempotec HD Pro uses digital hardware volume, so no channel imbalance, but digital signal degradation.
 

vkvedam

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Measures inferior to S8, how come this has become the best :confused:?
 

Ismapics

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I like the idea of heat-shrink tubing, especially as the Apple cable is so thin. That removes the main objection to the Apple adapter IMO (assuming it has enough power). Which size did you find works best?

Ohh man , I'll get back to you on that one. I have one of those multi size kits. I took another pic, it has numbers in it, maybe they make sense. But yeah, they last much longer and don't get misplaced that easy any more.

IMG_6164.jpg
 

staticV3

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I don't know if mine is broken but my S9 cannot drive Aeon RT closed, it has horrible bass clicking at high volume, distortion is through the roof. On 250ohm dt770 I dont get this problem. Maybe it is the headphones.

Mine also has intereference sounds when I plug it in. It is like you leave your phone next to a speaker, sometimes when you get an incoming call there is this buzzing sound. But I am not getting any call.

But I only tried unbalanced. Will order balanced cables to try.

Also on Windows it will not let you get to the distortion level, it will be fine but Aeon will not be loud enough for some songs.

Using apple USB adapter it will also not let you get to distortion level, it will just say "this accesory is beind disabled because it uses too much power"

But if you are on android or use the hidizs lightning cable it will get louder but distort in bass, at least on my Aeon. But my other headphones are okay.

But then again high sensibility 32ohm headphones dont need this power, I can just use apple dongle.

Not really enough power for DT990 600ohm.
The Hidizs S9 has a hard current limit at about 60 mA RMS. Here's what kind of power you need to drive the ÆON RT Closed:
Aeon RT Closed Power Requirements.png
 
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According to the Hidizs' specs, the S9 supports headphones with inline microphones (hopefully adhering to a commonly used TRRS wiring scheme and presumably with the unbalanced jack only).

Given this, does this mean the device (and its DAC chip) does ADC as well? If so, any thoughts on the quality of its ADC compared to a typical Audio Interface device? Would this work as a decent poor (or cheap) man's Audio Interface for recording live music?
 

AudioSceptic

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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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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
I see that Audiophonics is selling this and quoting your review. <https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/mobi...3eq-balanced-32bit-768khz-dsd512-p-14840.html>
 

LTig

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Looks to me like the cheapest DAC with usable (4V @ 0 dBFS) balanced output with very good SQ. Just needs an (admittedly clumsy) adapter cable 2.5 mm to 2 x XLR.
 

Veri

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Looks to me like the cheapest DAC with usable (4V @ 0 dBFS) balanced output with very good SQ. Just needs an (admittedly clumsy) adapter cable 2.5 mm to 2 x XLR.
I remember that was a bad idea with the E1DA 9038S since a simple cable adapter provides no ground return path when you use it with an external amp. I think it's meant to be used as the final link to a more portable headphone/earphone rather than as a balanced DAC, really.
 

0RF30

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Interesting, so am I right in thinking this is probably ok power wise for a Hifiman Sundara? But may not be great for IEM (moondrop starfield) based on the 50mW test?

No problem driving Sundara more than loud enough, even with a -7db preamp PEQ (balanced). Actually S9 is pretty good with Sundara, better than 9038GS3 (too much details with Sundara/9038GS3, inducing not enough separation, lack of bass body/texture, loss in imaging/depth due to the amount of details - overall presentation is a bit weird with this pairing). S8 is no powerful enough to properly drive Sundara with a substabtial EQ preamp.

For no power hungry headphones I usually prefer S8 sound/presentation (very natural sound - I'm musician, pretty detailed, very good imaging/depth, nice bass texture) over S9 (and for most of my headphones, over 9038D/S - but they're f.. awesome for details, just too analytical, not enough depth, not enough body/texture in instruments timbres).

S9 drains much more battery on smartphone than S8 / E1DA 9038D/S.
 
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LTig

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I remember that was a bad idea with the E1DA 9038S since a simple cable adapter provides no ground return path when you use it with an external amp./QUOTE]
I didn't realize this. Makes the adapter more clumsy by using also the 3.5 mm connector for the ground connection. Unplugging it works as ground lift :p
 

XGEOX

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According to the Hidizs' specs, the S9 supports headphones with inline microphones (hopefully adhering to a commonly used TRRS wiring scheme and presumably with the unbalanced jack only).

I'd love for this to be the case, but it says 'Headphones with Mic: Compatible', which could mean anything really. It might just be that TRRS(CTIA/OMTP)-plugged headsets can be used with the 3.5mm socket as output only; not necessarily that audio input is supported, sadly.

I've ordered one from AliExpress anyway to see what it's like. If it does support headset input it would be a great replacement for my 'Sharkoon Gaming DAC Pro S' for general multiplayer gaming use. Otherwise, it will add a high quality output to my Xperia 1.
 

0RF30

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I'd love for this to be the case, but it says 'Headphones with Mic: Compatible', which could mean anything really. It might just be that TRRS(CTIA/OMTP)-plugged headsets can be used with the 3.5mm socket as output only; not necessarily that audio input is supported, sadly.

I've ordered one from AliExpress anyway to see what it's like. If it does support headset input it would be a great replacement for my 'Sharkoon Gaming DAC Pro S' for general multiplayer gaming use. Otherwise, it will add a high quality output to my Xperia 1.

Just tried a wired Momentum 2 with microphone on windows, it doesn't detect S9 as a recording device, so... I'll try tomorrow a call on android (middle of the night here), but I'm pretty sure it won't do the trick. Audio output is fine though with TRRS CTIA OMTP connector.

[EDIT] No better luck on android phone, so compatibility is just for audio output.
 
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typericey

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Hopefully no bugs like the clicking noise on my bricked S8.
 
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