General Information

received_1506039533601672.png
received_775867421312995.png
received_1154272326019456.jpeg
received_1391028014946498.jpeg
received_1465583867370087.jpeg
received_1135860054532857.jpeg


FEATURES

● Dual 32-bit High-performance DAC Balanced Architecture - CS43131×2
● PCM Supports Up to 32bit/384kHz
● Native DSD 64/128/256
● 4.4mm Balanced & 3.5mm Single-ended Output
● CNC Aluminum Alloy Integrated Molding
● Practical Function Buttons (volume +-/filter switching)
● Sampling Rate Indicator
● 80mW+80mW@32Ω 3.5mm SE / 160mW+160Mw@32Ω 4.4mm BAL
● Compatible with All platforms: Windows/Mac OS/iPad OS/Android/iOS/Harmony OS
● Hi-Res Audio Certification

Latest reviews

MuddyCrab

New Head-Fier
It's nice but... | Hidizs S8 Pro Robin thoughts

Disclaimer:​

I’m a basic bitch and only use YouTube Music for 90% of my listening. Take everything I say with this in mind and please don’t come after me for being a normie. This is purely from my silly little point of view, of which you might be interested in.

Gear Used:​

Streaming Platform: Youtube Music Premium
IEMs: Moondrop Starfield II - 3.5 unbalanced

Build:​

Starting on the outside, the S8 Robin Pro has a solid build with its aluminum body. Nice hand feel and it’s not too heavy either so it doesn’t drag down and flex your cables too much if ever you happen to have it hanging off the side of your tablet or PC. The buttons are nice and clicky with easy to feel shapes. The one thing that disappointed me however is the Play/pause button. Not because it’s a bad button but because I honestly thought it was a volume knob at first. It even has nicely textured sides that give it that knob feel. I don’t really know if it would have been better if it was a volume knob but it definitely gave me the wrong first impression. It also wobbled slightly so that doesn’t give me too much confidence in its longevity but that might just be my unit specifically.

Sound:​

In terms of sound the main thing I really noticed from it was the nice boost in volume. Although I don’t think I needed the volume in the first place considering that I don’t listen at very high volumes to begin with. Along with this boost was also this feeling of warmth and brightness added to my listening experience. It was subtle at first but really came out during acoustic songs and guitar strings. I don’t know the proper terminology for this but it sounded a little more lively albeit a little grating on certain songs that make stuff like Lewis Capaldi’s belting a little hard to listen to at times. All this to say that I think it was a nice little addition to my listening experience, however minor it might have been at certain times.

Nitpicks:​

My phone has a lightning connector and for the life of me I could not get any lightning to Type C cable to work on this. I don’t know if I’m just dumb or if I'm missing something but one would think that that’d be a pretty simple thing to do although I get the inkling that this is partially Apple’s fault in their ways of proprietary stupidity.

If you plan on using this for calls then keep in mind that this will not pass through Mic inputs. I was told this was a pretty common thing among Hi-Fi DACs but that’s honestly still kind of disappointing. It would have been nice to use my IEMs from listening to music then swapping over to my headphones with a mic for discord when it’s time to game just to make things more of a seamless transition.

Don’t just shove this lovely little piece of technology in pockets willy nilly cus that fancy little not-a-knob will catch on crap like a plow on a rice paddy. The thing is already kind of shaky to begin with so I imagine bringing along some extra cargo in tow cannot be good for its lifespan.

Final Thoughts:​

All in all, I liked my time borrowing the S8 Robin but to be honest I don’t think It fits my use case. If you’re someone who wants to start dipping their feet into the greater heights of Hi-Fi audio then this might be the thing you need to open that door for you assuming you have all the necessary baseline gear for it of course.

ywheng89

100+ Head-Fier
Hidizs S8 Pro's Review
Pros: Natural timbre
Slightly coloured sound (personal preference)
Various digital filters available (6)
Cons: Non independent volume control
Front and back panel prone to micro scratches and fingerprint (nit picking)
AD_4nXci97vi-wpPGg3PJCXIxQYQH_TlFAUDReX0um3C4e3nzbq-kwXTbGiAQcruiAj6CCFortuzLj2yeZFBO4IVuSrefFMJrr2q4etvfYLsbzMCdRkqiMktYT6uqgdUAQZ-iOuwpL7xvzBbE7rLXeA0OhF4Vku9


General/Packaging/Build
Hidizs is a brand where most in the community are familiar with, particularly with their sources (Mini DAP, Dongle Dac Amp), recently, they are upping the ante by releasing several IEMs which are well received by the community. MS3, MS1, and the most recent Planar MP145, back to the S8 Pro, it is called Robin, why Robin? Here’s the snippet taken from Hidizs’s S8 Pro product page “Embodies seamless harmony between technology and sound. Named to highlight biodiversity's importance, it serves as a reminder to cherish our natural world. Through "Robin", we hope to deepen appreciation for the creatures around us, bridging the gap between nature and innovation”
Packaging is the usual Hidizs style packaging, minimal yet doesn’t look cheap. Build quality is fairly good, front and black glass panel looks premium but the trade off being prone to micro scratches and fingerprints. The bundled USB-C cable is not bi-directional, meaning one end is input, and the other end is output, so if you plug it incorrectly, there will be no sound or power to the dongle. The cable with the Hidizs logo will be the end to plug into your phone/laptop, the other end without any logo will be plugged into the dongle itself, or if you have any other type C cable that’s bidirectional, just use that, not really a big deal.

Specifications
  • Dual 32-bit High-performance DAC Balanced Architecture - CS43131×2
  • PCM Supports Up to 32bit/384kHz
  • Native DSD 64/128/256
  • 4.4mm Balanced & 3.5mm Single-ended Output
  • CNC Aluminum Alloy Integrated Molding
  • Practical Function Buttons (volume +-/filter switching)
  • Sampling Rate Indicator
  • 80mW+80mW@32Ω 3.5mm SE / 160mW+160Mw@32Ω 4.4mm BAL
  • Compatible with All platforms: Windows/Mac OS/iPad OS/Android/iOS/HarmonyOS

AD_4nXcXU3m1P7gpOmcseMddJy_Vkcu9LU57ekvu7Hy_Wbl6Ob3kAwVzvzXjLYQ4wM2cnK31oOzgC-55YoKdLSB1PB-nXTdJLjt6VMsKMECN8f3lzLXwMyYiHPsG8yBag8UKxBMxQ7OpL60uWkckP9a5PpnDFTup


Gears used for this review
  • Hidizs S8 Pro
  • NF Audio NE4
  • Fiio FT3 32 Ohm

AD_4nXfF9HleNz19QT_YKsg9NPNFhelPoCS0or8UimLdlQEP98yns0Kikv-rvNVZ7NdWp56PXHOa3mfK5V95ZmNn62noYHUx3C5KqXK-UU6jrmNhbdWVYYcnOOOX9LSevir3Ie943cZ5VQhTQ0-BDPEBDikv94J6


Foreword
My review is solely based on what I hear via my equipment and I never consider my reviews to be objective in any way rather a subjective approach. Do take into consideration that everyone’s ear anatomy is not the same, so the psychoacoustics perception might be different as well, but i believe it will not stray too far

Battery Drain on Smartphone (iPhone 15)
  • From 100% to 40%, running for approximately 7 hours +-
  • Volume level at 3/10
  • Streaming from Apple Music Loseless
  • Doesn’t consume that much battery based on my observation, unless you pump up the volume to around 6-7/10
Sound Impression (NOS Filter)
*The listening is done on my Macbook Air M2, occasionally on my iPhone 15
Having heard several DAC with CS43131, it's safe to say they all sounded different due to the implementation of the amplification stage. S8 Pro is certainly not neutral, slightly coloured, and it is a very dynamic sounding dongle dac/amp. Bass has good control and not boosted, the mids are neither too forward nor recessed, treble has good enough extension for the asking price, not overly boosted and not harsh even when you crank the volume up.
Another point to note is that, IEM pairing is also crucial, a bright sounding IEM works pretty well with the S8 Pro, the highs are slightly smoothed out, and added some body to the overall presentation, pairing it with warm IEM will make the overall sound thicker, but if you are someone who likes this kind of presentation, by all means, go ahead, nothing wrong with it.
Overall, it is a very dynamic and fun sounding dongle dac amp with plenty of power to spare for most IEMs out there, it can even power efficient headphones without any issue, the Fiio FT3, i’m not saying it sounds the best with the S8 Pro, but it’s safe to say it is at perhaps 70% of its performance, which is totally fine if you’re just casually listening to it instead of going into analytical mode.

Sound Characteristics of various Filters based on my own listening experience
High Pass Filter

  • Many would assume that high pass and that naturally means the highs are smoothen out, no, this is not the case at all, the high pass filter actually attenuates the bass, slightly tighter bass response based on my listening experience
NOS Filter
  • It is balanced sounding overall, nothing on either end are overly boosted
Deemphasis Filter
  • This filter attenuates the treble based on my observation, the difference in terms of treble is very different compared to high pass and NOS, i would say it is dark sounding in a way and note weight is rather thick overall
The other 3 filters, honestly, i can’t really tell much difference between the 3, of course your mileage might vary.
My Impression with the above filters are, they do sound different from each other, but to my ears, the differences are very minor, the most noticeable for me will be the three that i mentioned above, High Pass, NOS, as well as Deemphasis.
If you are interested in knowing more about the digital filters, please check out the spec sheet of the DAC here

Comparison
Fosi Audio DS1

  • The sound profile is fairly neutral to my ears, doesn’t add any coloration to the frequencies
  • Clean and balanced sounding
  • Hefty in terms of weight
  • Independent volume control on the DS1, S8 Pro doesn’t have that
  • Slightly higher power output for DS1, 220mw on Balanced. For IEM usage, it doesn’t really matter than much unless you are using it for headphones

AD_4nXcTRuRV6CFwO6q4FIw_fP4EE3vNvnejJunYhVcaMf5cjw9PTa2qfCLFqWt9_guuJlW4HfRJyFUXLqZpxgggkcjn19Xl05EIXmi3pm6hC7_quoquZD6GEYGyqtTzxAJDa7WouIVlO4fyRWlymobIq3fWzgA


Final Thoughts
Having tested several dongles from Hidizs, it’s good to see they are moving away from the 2.5mm and started to adopt 4.4mm for the balanced out port. In terms of sound performance, S8 Pro is not targeted at the high performance/high end market, it is fun sounding, slight warmth with natural timbre, combined with all the factors mentioned makes for a dynamic and engaging listening experience, it is also priced very competitively, hence, at this price, it is fairly safe to recommend this dongle to anyone who’s in the lookout for a new dongle.

If you are interested in grabbing a pair, head over to the following link:
It is currently on sale at 79$ instead of the usual 99$
Hidizs S8 Pro - Non Affiliated

*Received the review sample from Hidizs for the purpose of this review, big thanks to them for the support and opportunity as always

AD_4nXezr93DFKrOfDzWAbTbO765d4gdwe1c_0cdxNSXaKb9HkYolFIs8eOSc25T3c9aF61TLoyfmw2FusNgEleQytdZXC_tYoKZ6XtOulPo_3RTpG85l8iwhUlngs-5NV2obF8KyLAsW8oy1B8h3qFfuDweutKo

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
The little birdie
Pros: + Balanced and natural sound
+ Natural timbre
+ Punchy bass
+ Good technicalities
+ Minimum pre-echo and digital artifacts
+ Six digital filters to choose from
+ Power efficient
+ Three buttons
+ No background noise or hiss
+ Lightweight
+ Dual headphone outputs
+ USB-A and Lighting adapters
+ Plug and play with all OS
Cons: - No independent volume control
- No gain settings
- Somewhat odd appearance
- Less powerful than the competition
- Bulky center button
- No app connectivity
- Limited features
Hidizs is producing a great variety of USB DAC dongles like the S9 Pro plus, the XO and the SD2. Their most recent product is the S8 Pro, with the nickname Robin. You can read the whole history and why they chose to name it after this little bird here.

IMG_20240630_180612-wm-123332.79999995232_watermarked.jpg


Technical highlights

The S8 Pro is a compact USB DAC dongle with a detachable USB type-C cable and dual headphone outputs, 3.5mm single ended and 4.4mm balanced. This is a new model upgraded from the previous generation S8 DAC dongle. The Hidizs S8 Pro features a dual 32-bit DAC balanced architecture, powered by two CS43131 chips from Cirrus Logic, a chip commonly used by many other manufacturers. The chip has an embedded headphone amplifier with a maximum output power up to 80mW/32Ω from the 3.5mm jack and 160mW/32Ω from the 4.4mm.

Non Audio stuff

The S8 Pro has a middle frame made from aviation grade, aluminum alloy with some wing-shaped structures at both sides that supposedly mimic a flying bird. There are also three physical buttons at the right side of the chassis, the center one is kinda oversized and looks like a volume wheel but it is not.

Subjectivity speaking, I am not that fond of this design and I much prefer the cleaner and more minimalistic appearance of the Hidizs S9 Pro plus. Both the front and the black panels of the chassis are reinforced with delicate and light glass panels that add a premium and luxurious feeling but they attract visible fingerprints, especially in the black finish. A Hidizs logo at the lower part of the front panel is actually a LED light that changes color according to the input sampling rate.

The Hidizs S8 Pro is lightweight (17g) and compact enough for everyday carry. You can find smaller devices but they usually lack dual headphone interfaces and hardware buttons.

IMG_20240630_180752-wm-122668.39999997616_watermarked.jpg


How to use

This is a simple plug and play device that is compatible with Windows/Mac OS/iPad OS/Android/iOS/Harmony OS. The device is not configurable through an application, you can just use the side buttons to raise or lower the volume and press them simultaneously to cycle through the digital filters. There are six options available: High pass, NOS, De Emphasis, Fast and slow Low-latency and phase compensated, Wide band flatness mode. The Hidizs logo will briefly display a different color for each filter so you know what you have selected. It is worth noting that the volume control of the Hidizs S8 Pro is not independent from the source volume. The center wheel might look like a rotating controller but it is actually a press button. A single press will pause/play music and a continuous press will skip track.

Accessories

The package includes a short USB type-C to C cable of typical quality, as well as USB-A and Lightning adapters.

Power output and consumption

The maximum power output of the Hidizs S8 Pro is 80mW/32Ω from the 3.5mm jack and 160mW/32Ω from the 4.4mm so it is not the most powerful USB DAC dongle within its category. For the sake of comparison, the Hidizs XO can do 195mW/32Ω and the Hidizs S9 Pro plus 180mW/32Ω. However, this is the upper limit of what dual CS43131 DAC chips can do with their embedded amplifiers without an extra op-amp amplification stage. The S8 Pro is better for driving earphones and maybe some sensitive headphones like the Sivga Luan. With such loads, the sound is impactful with good dynamic range and plenty of headroom. The S8 Pro is also silent and well shielded from EMI.

The power consumption of the S8 Pro was measured at 0.06A 0.32W with a 32Ω load, so this is a very efficient USB DAC that is not going to deplete your phone’s battery too fast.

IMG_20240704_184650-wm-77321.89999997616_watermarked.jpg


Audio stuff

The Hidizs S8 Pro was tested with various earphones, like the Hidizs MP145, Hidizs MD3 and the FiiO FD15. The device was left playing music for about 50 hours before listening evaluation.

I have tested many USB DAC dongles with dual CS43131 DAC chips and honestly, the Hidizs S8 Pro is among the top sounding. Crystal clear and transparent with technical precision and fidelity but also not lacking in musicality. Frequency response is neutral without deviating from linearity, the sound signature is not too warm but not cool either, just balanced enough with the right amounts of every sonic ingredient.

The deeply extended bass is fast , tight and controlled with excellent clarity and definition. The layering is very satisfying even when the bass line is heavily populated and the sound is impactful and dynamic as long as you use sensitive earphones. The textures are full bodied and weighty, the S8 Pro is not dry or lean sounding and offers plenty of high quality and punchy bass.

The mid-range is also crystal clear and spacious with excellent separation and articulation while resolution and refinement are at the top limits of what the CS43131 can do in such a portable implementation. The timbre is natural and realistic with minimum pre-echo and digital ringing artifacts, a quality of the S8 Pro that also applies to the treble. The sound is harmonious and colorful to make for an engaging and realistic listening experience.

The treble is airy and extended with plenty of sparkle but not bright or sterile. There are other USB dongles that employ the same DAC chip that are more energetic and vivid, a bit more technical and transparent but few of them are as musical and smooth sounding as the S8 Pro which additionally is no slouch when it comes to technicalities and fidelity. The higher frequency textures are not thin or dry, as it usually happens, so the sound is very coherent with the same kind of weight from the top to the bottom. The CS43131 treble has always been good, expressive and quite natural sounding without much digital glare, and arguably the S8 Pro has one of the best implementations I have ever heard from a similar device.

The soundstage is airy, open and spacious with precise imaging and great separation in the horizontal axis. Don't expect much depth or any kind of spatial holography but rest assured that the Hidizs S8 Pro will never sound congested or be the weak link between the music and your earphones.

IMG_20240630_180703-wm-122999.60000002384_watermarked.jpg


Family comparison

Now, Hidizs has four USB DAC dongles in their portfolio. Except for the S8 Pro, there are also the entry level SD2, the XO and the S9 Pro plus, so someone might wonder which one they should buy. The SD2 speaks for itself, it is the most cost effective and portable option, plug and play without a cable and much clutter. The XO and S9 Pro plus are slightly more powerful than the S8 Pro so you may choose one of them if you need the extra power. The XO is the least heavy and more compact option of the three. The design with the unique LED lighting system is youthful and fresh, as for the sound signature, it is still typical Hidizs with good musicality and smoothness but not that technical, resolving and transparent as its brothers. The S9 Pro plus also shares the same kind of musical tuning but the overall sound signature is typical to ESS DAC chips. A little more technical than the S8 Pro, slightly more transparent and airy but also a touch sharper and not as organic.

IMG_20240630_181002-wm-121866.60000002384_watermarked.jpg


Conclusion

The Hidizs S8 Pro is yet another USB DAC dongle with dual CS43131 chips but a good sounding one. It doesn't break new ground and is lacking several features when compared with the competition but it has stellar audio performance that positions it at the top places. So, if you don't need extra features and you don't mind the somewhat odd appearance, the Hidizs S8 Pro will certainly leave you satisfied with its superior sonic qualities.

The review sample was kindly provided free of charge. The price of the Hidizs S8 Pro is $79 (without tax) and you can buy it directly from Hidizs.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Leonarfd

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Back
Top