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Hidizs Sonata HD DAC cable - new tiny and mighty DAC&AMP

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by IryxBRO, May 25, 2018.
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  1. jasonb
    Baten likes this.
  2. Mellowship
  3. Navanod
  4. Mellowship
    What I can understand from that forum replies is that the D firmware was not used, it was tested right out of the box. The user does not believe that the D firmware would make a difference. I guess he just didn't read the instructions.
    This is an example of pure objectivism. They just don't believe in many things and that impedes them to see the bigger picture and to be the most objective they can be.
    Lifted Andreas likes this.
  5. jasonb
    I hadn't even thought about this. I loaded up the "D" firmware right from the start so I kind of forgot about it. I guess that could make a huge difference in the results.
  6. Lifted Andreas
    That sounds like one of humanity greatest failings.
    Mellowship likes this.
  7. Navanod
    After reading the reviewer's reply when asked about firmware used, he basically thinks that his tests showed that the dongle lacks power, so the firmware will not do anything.

    On Android, I can definitely hear an increase in volume, power and details after flashing to D, so it's a shame it didn't get tested
    archdawg and Mellowship like this.
  8. jasonb
    The last 2 nights I've been using my Topping NX4DSD, and right now I'm using the Sonata HDII. For the volume levels I listen at the Sonata HDII is still more than enough power and sounds great to me. I find it hard to believe the best it can do at 300ohms is 3.4mw, but with that being said, the HD650 only needs .51mw to reach 100db, and I definitely don't listen at 100db. The whole HD650 needing tons of power thing is blown way out of proportion. The HD650 sounds great with the NX4DSD, and with the Sonata HDII.

    With the Sonata HDII and the UAPP app on Android I use the software volume and usually listen anywhere between -20 to -12db at the most, so there is plenty of power left. I have cranked it to -3 just to see what it does, and it still seems to sound fine, it's just way to loud for me.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  9. Mellowship
    The reviewer tested it using Windows, which is not the most audio-friendly OS for the intended purpose of the Sonata. Moreover, tested the Sonata without firmware D (or tested it using only the default option, failing to explore the full set of capabilities the Sonata can offer). Also, the comparisons and ranks are made against many DAC that are not at the same functionality and specification levels, including external-powered and/or with dedicated amplification sections. The objective review is an interesting exercise to see how the Sonata can compare, out of the box, with other DAC/AMPs independently of typology and type of usage. It is not a valid review regarding the main intended usage for the Sonata, or more specifically, the audio-oriented use, i.e., to be connected to an Android device, to be set in firmware D, to be locked in bit-perfect mode using an App that allows it.

    Other critic that comes to mind is the choice of headphones to verify the sound impressions of the Sonata, which CAN and WILL drive such demanding drivers but, at the limit, SHOULD it? It is reported that the Sonata can drive the HD650 at satisfying levels of sound pressure, but does it justify using it as a main system, when the Senns are from another division in price, sound and power demand? Do the Sonata buyers really want it to drive a pair of 300 Ohm headphones or even orthodynamic headphones, or do they, in contrast, expect it to extract the best they can of some 16, 20. 32, 64 Ohm IEM or portable headphone? Wouldn't a Koss PortaPro be a better fit for a sound impression test?

    Also, to avoid confirmation bias, the subjective experience should always be conducted before the objective one. This is to say that you cannot cheat the oscilloscope, so you should first try to listen to music through the Sonata, take impressions, marvel at what it can do for as little money and footprint, and only then take it to the testing apparatus. Doing it otherwise, like the reviewer did, gives the impression that he/she first saw the graphics and then went to listen to the defects that were detected.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    baskingshark likes this.
  10. Mellowship
    It most certainly is!
    We are always searching for simple explanations where there's none!
    Lifted Andreas likes this.
  11. jasonb
    I don't use mine in bit-perfect, but I do use the UAPP app, and for me, the main thing I use it with is an HD650 and it does fine for safe listening levels. I leave the Sonata attached to my HD650 and then just plug it into my pixel 3a, so it's super simple just like plugging headphones into a headphone jack. Unlike having to mess around with attaching a bigger DAC and amp to my phone and then plugging it all into each other. Lately I've been putting a lot of value into just keeping it simple and convenient, especially when I'm not sure I notice a difference between the Sonata and my Topping NX4DSD anyway. Sometimes I even use Bluetooth.... Oh the audiophile humanity!

    Otherwise I agree. He should have explored all the options. And I'll still say that for $26 this tiny thing is ridiculously good. But, most people probably didn't buy the Sonata to use with an HD650 like me.
    archdawg and baskingshark like this.
  12. Navanod
    Just received a 2nd Sonata HD to replace my first that has failed after a year of use.
    Thanks to advice from this forum, I got it from AliExpress at a good discount instead of direct from Hidizs as the price has increased on Hidizs webstore.

    This new one has a few differences (can't seem to upload photo)
    It has slightly longer cables, the Hidizs logo on the USB C end is inverted and the 2D barcode is missing from the metal head of the USB C connector.
    There's also an additional tiny USB thumb drive included that wasn't in my original purchase from Hidizs. Unfortunately, I can't seem to read it on Windows 10. Maybe it contains all the firmwares and instructions? The seller must be really nice if that's the case! [Update: it's just an empty microSD card reader freebie!]

    Worried that I may have gotten a fake, I listened to it on stock firmware and after flashing to the D.
    As my old Sonata can still play music on one side/channel, I was also able to compare them.

    The new unit sounds identical and is again, much better than the stock Pixel 2 dongle.

    Note that this listening test was done using Neutron player on Android with direct USB DAC control enabled to avoid the default digital gain from affecting the volume and quality (which is the main problem with the Pixel's).

    Also related to the above posts about the new review rubbishing this dongle, the D firmware definitely increased the volume and power of the dongle many folds.
    On stock, I need to increase volume on Neutron to about 25 to 35% in order to listen to my music. After flashing to firmware D, 5% is more than I can take before it get uncomfortably loud. At 10%, my headphones turn into speakers!

    So the person doing the review on stock firmware is seriously missing out. Maybe he may measure more distortion on D because the boost is some software tricks, but we would never know unless someone have a go again with measuring it.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    Lifted Andreas and archdawg like this.
  13. Ymer
    Has anyone had any success with the Sonata II and the P20 Pro? I really like the phone but the included dongle is really bad. :frowning2:
  14. billbishere
    They have released the new versions of this device.
  15. Ski22
    Can this be used with an Iphone by getting a usb C to lightning converter plu/cable?
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