Looks like a nice piece of gear. My biggest concern would be misplacing it.This is a review and detailed measurements of the TempoTec Sonata BHD Pro portable DAC and headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $70.
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I really like the fresh look of the BHD. There is a red LED that lights up the tiny ICs in there, giving it some elegance. There are volume control buttons on the side with good tactile feedback. And from what I could see in measurements, they have fine resolution.
Importantly there is support for 4.4 mm balanced headphone out in addition to 3.5mm.
EDIT: I originally left out "Pro" out of the name. Corrected some but the rest of the graphs are still missing that word in the model name.
TempoTec Sonata BHD Pro MeasurementsLet's start with our dashboard using balanced output:
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SINAD of 105 dB is excellent for a portable DAC. But check out unbalanced output:
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Wow, this thing will give many desktop dacs a run for their money! And that is not all. See the dynamic range:
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Jitter performance is the best of any dongle from what I can remember:
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Dynamic range is excellent even at 50 mv:
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High output voltage translates to plenty of power for 300 ohm headphones:
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Same for 32 ohm:
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Not feeling well so no listening performance. May do so tomorrow and report back but I expect no surprises.
The performance of the Sonata BHD Pro rates as state of the art for portable DACs and will easily substitute for many desktop DACs as well. Add this the nice enclosure and controls and you have a winner.
It is my pleasure to add it to my recommended list.
Sonata BHD Pro is a USB C dongle DAC&
- DAC: 2*CS43131
- SNR: 131dB
- THD+N: 0.00012%(@32ohm 1kHz 0dB signal )
- OUTPUT LEVEL: [email protected]/32Ω,[email protected]/32Ω
- OUTPUT POWER: [email protected]/32ohm
- Frequency: 0-40KHZ /+- 0.5dB
- RGB light: indicates working status
- PCM: up to 32Bit/384kHz DSD256(NATIVE)
- DSD: up to DSD256
- MQA: MQA renderer 8X
- Volume Control: hardware buttons
- Platform support: Windows PC,MACOS and Android
- USB Audio driver: Win7,Win8 Win10 & Exclusive ASIO driver for windows system
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.
Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
You still have to pay tax even if you buy from shop site plus if your shipment lost or delivered to wrong address - you are on your own.They are available right now at various sites for 89.99. Not sure where the $70 price tag is coming from unless you want to wait two months...
Yes so that's $70 plus tax which is about another $5 or $6 depending where you live. Or you can pay $13 more and have it on October 3rd via a shop site.
@Bicep You would only use the SU1 as a desktop or main system DAC plus, you would need to buy a headphone amplifier to connect to it. This device has both the DAC and the headphone amp in one small unit. If you are using IEMs or other relatively easy to drive headphones, it is likely all you might need. Also, portable. If you are thinking of using as the DAC to your existing amp hifi setup, again, not quite the higher numbers of the SU1, but if you use a 3.5mm to 2x RCA cable, you may not even hear much difference, depending upon the rest of your kit.As someone quite new to all of this. What would be the benefit of using a smsl su1 compared to this in a desktop setup?
Good question, Termpotec claims in its product page "Low power consumption / Playing continuously 35 hours on mobile phone with 4000mAh battery".What could be expected from this if considering battery drain when used with a smartphone?
We evoluted the CS43131 design many times in the past and gave proper credits that it deserves. Reason it performs so good is still class leading EMI rejection rate and embedded class H amplifier. It is very low power consumption because of embedded amp (no need for separate OPAMP tho even such keept power consumption good like in the case of Meizu Pro or Sound BlasterX G6). Because it's simplicity it didn't had really bad implementations if you count out one or two iBasso dongles they didn't did firmware right and abandoned them without fix. There were and cuple where higher amplification stage or power delivery for bi amped embedded one's whosent implementated great (close to clipping and probably soft clipping on full output). So it's not all that simple and bad USB bridge, FPGA or voltage regulation (and pump) can mess the things up significantly (lower the performance, cause problems in operating and increase power consumption) and good jacket as additional EMI rejection cage is important even with class leading IC design. Best implementations so far reach 118~119 dB SINAD on balanced out. Of course it's not all roses so CS43131 has not so great automatic impedance sensing future which user's tend to hate so in later designs OEMs disabled it and a bit fluffy bottom end (really minor, reed Wolf's blog about it). CS43131 isn't new design and all do others are still catching up its time to go future on to new and refined one with USB audio 3.0 specifications.In those type of devices, the credit for performance should really go to IC designers (in this case, Cirrus Logic). The OEM only adds a PCB (usually, following a reference design from the chip vendor) and a nice metal enclosure. Assuming a proper design following vendor's guidelines, performance differences among devices using the same IC are typically so small as to be meaningless. So these reviews should really be grouped by the type of chips used.
That is a state of art CS43131 implementation but certainly not worth of money and compared to W2.Output impedance?
My recent experience with a very expensive dongle (L&P W4) solidified my opinion that output impedance is of utmost importance, especially with my iems that all range from 10 to 30 ohm. With W4 I noticed on my moondrop variations decreased bass quality and quantity and slight increase increase in shout... measured output impedance and behold it's 3ohm on its 4.4mm output
I am not familiar with the su1, except that seems to be a stand alone DAC and you would need to add a headphone amplifier to it, while this little thing has both a dac and an amp integrated into it. Though the su1 has optic and coax digital as well as usb inputs. And is easier to I grate with a speaker amp and such.
Depending on what you choose as an a stand alone desktop amp you can get more power especially for non-balanced. Whether you need it will depend not only on impedance but also sensitivity of the headphone you are driving. There are some relatively low impedance headphones that still require tons of power to drive them properly (many planar magnetically for example). And if you have 600ohm Beyerdynamics dt880s, you need more power than this dongle single ended, but could likely get away with the balanced output though the bass might be thin. It’s that whole current vs voltage limited thing.
This dingle-dongle is gonna work better with high sensitivity IEMS than some desktop amps that may cause hiss.depends on output impedances and such.
You can get better SINAD from separate desktop amps and DACs, even very cheap ones like the schiit magni heresy amp and a good dac. But the difference may not be audible. Likely is not unless you have golden ears and some fantastic headphones with impeccable sources.
However, chances are this little deally-whopper will work great and I don’t know of a desktop combo dac/amp or separates that would perform as well for the same money. There might be, just can’t think of one off hand.
I recommend reading lots of reviews from the review index to get a better sense of pros and cons and whatnot.