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Qudelix 5K or Hidizs S9 Pro for iPhone/Mac?

POLL: Qudelix 5K or Hidizs S9 Pro for iPhone/Mac?


  • Total voters
    18

Vik

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It seems that I'll end up with buying Topping DX3 Pro +, plus either Qudelix 5K or Hidizs s9 Pro as a portable solution. I'm using iOs/MacOS devices, and will order the portable DAC from another country, so I need something as trouble free as possible in order to not have to send the DAC back and fort between here and some other country for repairs etc. Any advice from users of either of there DACS are very welcome!
 

guddu

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It seems that I'll end up with buying Topping DX3 Pro +, plus either Qudelix 5K or Hidizs s9 Pro as a portable solution. I'm using iOs/MacOS devices, and will order the portable DAC from another country, so I need something as trouble free as possible in order to not have to send the DAC back and fort between here and some other country for repairs etc. Any advice from users of either of there DACS are very welcome!

Qudelix 5K - 500 mA internal battery, 10-band PEQ, 24 bit/96 KHz
Hidizs s9 - no internal battery, no PEW, 32 bit/768 KHz

If not worries about consuming phone battery and equalisation then should be easy choice - Hidizs s9.
 
OP
Vik

Vik

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EQ actually is rather important to me, but apart from that, the quality of the amplifier in each of these, and of course the quality control in general are both very important too, since I can't buy any of them locally.

The presence of the battery, it seems, also makes the Qudelix total price increase, since it needs the Apple Camera Kit which costs $39 in US, but $55 here (including sales tac).
 

BostonJack

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I've been using Qudelix with iphone on bluetooth and its been just fine (modulo the SQ moderate degradation due to bluetooth). I use some EQ and have balanced cables to drive Drop HD6xx (HD650 variant) headphones which it does just fine. Balanced helps reach higher volume. Have also used the Qudelix via USB from a Macbook Pro, which works great, but, for me, is redundant with my Topping D10/JDS Labs Atom setup.

If I were you, I would consult the original Qudelix review here at ASR. My experience is that the application offers sensible control and monitoring of battery state (valuable) and the Qudelix hw itself has been trouble free.

Lightning connector on the iPhone is the phone's weak link. The best codex for Bluetooth isn't iphone-supported, so its not a pure picture.
 
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Vik

Vik

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I don't plan to send audio via Bluetooth, but with an USB cable (and I use Apple's lossless format anyway, but maybe that format also would have been limited by the same limitations that come with the AAC format?).
 
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Vik

Vik

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Btw, I'm surprised there are no votes for the Hidizs S9 yet, given that it has been suggested that this may be "the best phone adapter in the world".

 

BostonJack

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I don't plan to send audio via Bluetooth, but with an USB cable (and I use Apple's lossless format anyway, but maybe that format also would have been limited by the same limitations that come with the AAC format?).
I don't' know the details of AAC format. My comment is that every iPhone I have had has eventually had a failed lightning connector and I am, hence, adverse to using wired connections when I can avoid it. I don't use Bluetooth for critical listening. I'm usually just bopping around or working so convenience triumphs over SQ.
 

guddu

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Btw, I'm surprised there are no votes for the Hidizs S9 yet, given that it has been suggested that this may be "the best phone adapter in the world".


I am sure S9 Pro gets many many votes, if it matches your requirements then think nothing else.
I did buy S9 pro which I was using with AKG K371, and believe me you it was nothing less than amazing.
I then bought Creative Labs SXFI Amp (got good ASR rating as simple dac dongle) basically to try Sxfi multichannel thing and found it quite good.
But then tried non-sxfi simple DAC mode (sxfi disabled) as well for music and didn’t find it behind S9 pro. It has EQ as well, so now S9 pro has gone back and sxfi amp is doing all duties within half price.
 
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mrbungle

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EQ actually is rather important to me, but apart from that, the quality of the amplifier in each of these, and of course the quality control in general are both very important too, since I can't buy any of them locally.

The presence of the battery, it seems, also makes the Qudelix total price increase, since it needs the Apple Camera Kit which costs $39 in US, but $55 here (including sales tac).
I bought the Q5K for mobile after getting the H9Pro. Not sure the Hidizs is pointless or dumb, but it certainly isn’t that useful for mobile because it will quickly drain the battery. For Lightning port, both need an extra Camera Kit like adapter, not included. So not sure I understand the Q5K price increase comment?
 
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Vik

Vik

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So not sure I understand the Q5K price increase comment?
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this is my impression: The Qudelix both needs the most expensive camera adapter (the one with only Lightning to USB B is cheaper), and also seem to need more power than other comparable products. I was also recommended to use the camera adapter with two different USB connectors for the dongle I use now (in order to not deplete the battery in short time) but I found that I could listen to music for at least three hours even without connecting the iPhone to a powersupply at the same time.
 
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mrbungle

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That’s pretty much true for both. The advantage of the Q5K is that such a bulky setup is not really necessary for true mobile use since it comes with a decent battery.
 

multicast

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Have both here one my iPhoneX. First, you don't need a camera adaptor, a Lightning to USB-C cable is enough. Or use the ddhifi TC28i and some USB-C cable.

Cons on the S9 pro are two: they provide much EMI if the device is too near to the iPhone, especially if the LTE-signal weakens. A provided firmware update didn't change anything. More worse: the 3.5mm output has a loose contact. I've emailed the company, sent them a video which clearly showed the defect. Now Hidizs demanded to send the device back from Germany to China at my cost. The customs tax and the shipping costs would be more than $50 ... Now that's what I'm not calling a good customer service.

On the other hand, the Qudelix is the superior device (for me). With it's PEQ you'll be able to adjust the sound to your needs. No EMI, btw.

Mike
 

jhaider

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I bought the Q5K for mobile after getting the H9Pro. Not sure the Hidizs is pointless or dumb,

IMO a headphone signal chain that does not at least provide equalization capabilities is pointless and obsolete.

I wish Qudelix had some competition for not-pointless reasonably priced headphone DAC-amps. They make a fine product but it would be nice to see other approaches and competition to drive the market too.
 

JanesJr1

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It seems that I'll end up with buying Topping DX3 Pro +, plus either Qudelix 5K or Hidizs s9 Pro as a portable solution. I'm using iOs/MacOS devices, and will order the portable DAC from another country, so I need something as trouble free as possible in order to not have to send the DAC back and fort between here and some other country for repairs etc. Any advice from users of either of there DACS are very welcome!
I haven't heard the Qudelix, but I can give a thumbs-up to the Hidizs S9 pro because of surprise flexibility. I have both high-impedance, not very efficient Senn HD6XX 'phones and very-low-impedence, inefficient Dan Clark Audio Closed X 'phones. One is power (watts) hungry, the other current (milliamps) hungry. To my great surprise, the S9 drives them both in balanced mode, and very well, even with bass-heavy music..

Even more surprising (and I can't explain this), the Closed X phones sometimes cause a little bass-pumping (a sign of clipping or power overload) with sub-bass-heavy music on my Topping A50S desktop amp with 2-3 watts driven balanced into the Closed X phones with13-ohm impedance .... but the Hidizs does not ever show such pumping or power-related dynamic compression, despite much lower output watts.

This doesn't make sense, or I don't understand how it can, but maybe there is some difference between the amplifiers in handling current vs power ... I've A/B'd it many times. Both phones were EQ'd to Oratory/Harman (which may affect power-handling) but both the S9 dongle and desktop amp faced the same EQ for each set of phones. I've also made sure I was on a high-bandwidth stream with no VPN to prevent bandwidth problems, and have A/B'd while giving a modest but audibly-lower playback SPL for the desktop amp to disallow any volume-leveling bias in favor of the Hidizs. Go figure, but in any event, the S9 just seems to work with glass-smooth, clean response to tough power demands. I didn't expect this much power-handling flexibility from the S9 at all. I just hoped to untether one set of headphones from my desktop, to play when I'm working away from my desktop, and expected it would probably be the Senn's that would work, if either of the two phones worked at all with a dongle.

Whatever you conclude about the A/B comparison, I have found the Hidizs S9 performs well in balanced mode with both low- and high-impedance phones.

[PS, I just re-visited Amir's original review of the S9 and find that he made a similar comparison of its ability to handle both low impedance (DCA Ether CX) or high impedance (Senn HD650) phones, and also found that it worked well with both, in unbalanced mode. I guess I just confirmed his earlier finding. Nice dongle!]
 
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OP
Vik

Vik

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Whatever you conclude about the A/B comparison, I have found the Hidizs S9 performs well in balanced mode with both low- and high-impedance phones.

[PS, I just re-visited Amir's original review of the S9 and find that he made a similar comparison of its ability to handle both low impedance (DCA Ether CX) or high impedance (Senn HD650) phones, and also found that it worked well with both, in unbalanced mode. I guess I just confirmed his earlier finding. Nice dongle!]
Thanks for your reply, which feeds my curiosity about why the Hidizs (how is that word pronounced?) got only one vote in this poll while the Qudelix got 9.
 

staticV3

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Well for one, no independent measurements have been posted for the S9 Pro yet. Only for the original S9.
 
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Vik

Vik

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Just to add to the confusion (from a review):

"This (the Quedelix) little device is one of my favourite dongles. I think there is little else that comes close in performance and sound for the price. It is clear that the Hidizs S9 Pro does not have many of the features of the 5K (Bluetooth, control APP, control buttons, in-body clamp, battery). However, it does have a higher level of decoding (768kHz/32Bit and DSD512), compared to the 24-bit/96kHz, no DSD playback in USB DAC mode of the 5K. On the other hand, in power they are very similar, with the S9 Pro at 33Ω being more powerful due to the SE output (130mW vs 110mW). However, the Qudelix is more powerful due to its balanced output, reaching 260mW at 33Ω, compared to 230mW at 33Ω for the Hidizs. The 5K has no ASIO drivers and its DAC is the Sabre Dual ES9218P. Both devices have an output impedance of less than 1Ω.
If with the previous device the differences were small, between these two, the sound is once again very similar. Not surprisingly, it is once again Sabre vs Sabre. And the fact that the Qudelix has a Dual DAC allows it to compete with Sabre’s top of the range DAC. After several hours of comparisons, my feelings are subtle in this respect. A priori, I find the Qudelix a little more analytical, where the smallest details and nuances seem to be revealed more easily. However, I get the sense that the S9 Pro sounds more defined and higher resolution, offering a darker background, a little more separation and air. In the low end of the S9 Pro, there is a little more punch and speed, when playing the lower range. Lower notes seem to be reproduced more concisely and tightly on the Hidizs. On the other hand, the 5K’s vocals are a little more present and closer, sounding a little more complete.
As for the scene, slightly cleaner and wider on the S9 Pro, with a bit more air and separation, plus that slightly darker background.
It is a difficult choice between two great dongles. But the preference for one or the other should be based on two aspects: if you want to play music with the highest fidelity and quality, I would choose the Hidizs S9 Pro, because of its ability to play PCM up to 768kHz/32Bit and DSD512 and because its sound is slightly superior. But if you want to use Bluetooth and exploit all the capabilities that the Qudelix offers with its APP, it is clear that the choice will be the 5K. And on this I can’t fool anyone."

About the S9:

"The only issue I have is a little bit of peakiness in the Upper Mids/Treble, which can become a little distracting with certain pieces of music. It may also become fatiguing over time if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.

However, the boost in that part of the audioband does provide presence and airiness the competition doesn’t have. So if you like a little extra sparkle on the top end combined with decent technicality overall, you should check out the S9 PRO. It will definitely be an improvement to the built-in DAC on your smartphone."

S9 power consumption:

 
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Jimbob54

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Just to add to the confusion (from a review):

"This (the Quedelix) little device is one of my favourite dongles. I think there is little else that comes close in performance and sound for the price. It is clear that the Hidizs S9 Pro does not have many of the features of the 5K (Bluetooth, control APP, control buttons, in-body clamp, battery). However, it does have a higher level of decoding (768kHz/32Bit and DSD512), compared to the 24-bit/96kHz, no DSD playback in USB DAC mode of the 5K. On the other hand, in power they are very similar, with the S9 Pro at 33Ω being more powerful due to the SE output (130mW vs 110mW). However, the Qudelix is more powerful due to its balanced output, reaching 260mW at 33Ω, compared to 230mW at 33Ω for the Hidizs. The 5K has no ASIO drivers and its DAC is the Sabre Dual ES9218P. Both devices have an output impedance of less than 1Ω.
If with the previous device the differences were small, between these two, the sound is once again very similar. Not surprisingly, it is once again Sabre vs Sabre. And the fact that the Qudelix has a Dual DAC allows it to compete with Sabre’s top of the range DAC. After several hours of comparisons, my feelings are subtle in this respect. A priori, I find the Qudelix a little more analytical, where the smallest details and nuances seem to be revealed more easily. However, I get the sense that the S9 Pro sounds more defined and higher resolution, offering a darker background, a little more separation and air. In the low end of the S9 Pro, there is a little more punch and speed, when playing the lower range. Lower notes seem to be reproduced more concisely and tightly on the Hidizs. On the other hand, the 5K’s vocals are a little more present and closer, sounding a little more complete.
As for the scene, slightly cleaner and wider on the S9 Pro, with a bit more air and separation, plus that slightly darker background.
It is a difficult choice between two great dongles. But the preference for one or the other should be based on two aspects: if you want to play music with the highest fidelity and quality, I would choose the Hidizs S9 Pro, because of its ability to play PCM up to 768kHz/32Bit and DSD512 and because its sound is slightly superior. But if you want to use Bluetooth and exploit all the capabilities that the Qudelix offers with its APP, it is clear that the choice will be the 5K. And on this I can’t fool anyone."

About the S9:

"The only issue I have is a little bit of peakiness in the Upper Mids/Treble, which can become a little distracting with certain pieces of music. It may also become fatiguing over time if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.

However, the boost in that part of the audioband does provide presence and airiness the competition doesn’t have. So if you like a little extra sparkle on the top end combined with decent technicality overall, you should check out the S9 PRO. It will definitely be an improvement to the built-in DAC on your smartphone."

S9 power consumption:

You do realise there is no absolute right answer to the question you have posed (for yourself, really)?

One has onboard eq and Bluetooth (EDIT- and a battery!) . One doesn't. If you need neither of those features, get the hidizs. Especially if you are hell bent on playing higher sample rate files natively.
 
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