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Fixing the Orange LED of the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Fixing the Orange LED of the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Hi everyone,

I have found a solution for when my Tempotec iDSD Plus gets the Orange LED.

The solution is fairly easy. I believe that something may not be making good contact with the printed circuit board and may be preventing the DAC from working. However, slightly pushing around the SmartAction SA2000 chip, it seems to make the LED change back to green and allow the unit to work.

You can see the video below where you can see the fix in action:

To put it back in the case, I put a small piece of paper to make a bit of pressure around the SA2000 chip and so far, I haven’t yet had the orange LED issue again.

I hope that it keeps working fine, because I really enjoy the sound this DAC produces.

A week with the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

A week with the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Hi everyone,

It’s been actually more than a week with my new Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus, and my experience with this new unit has been very positive.

First of all, I haven’t faced the Blue LED problem again. As I wrote in my teardown article, they changed some components inside that may prevent this problem from happening again, but it also seems to have introduced a problem where the unit main LED turns orange. This happens rarely, and the unit works once the LED turns green again.

The second thing is that the charging speed is back to normal as well. My previous unit was having a slow charge rate of just 0.06A. Here, you can see it’s drawing a full amp, as I also have the unit turned on:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus charging
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus charging

Once the unit finishes charging, the LED turns off, as expected:

Fully charged Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus
Fully charged Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

The device not only is working great in my Windows PC, with Tidal and Foobar, both using WASAPI for a bit-perfect playback experience, but it’s also working great with my Hiby R3:

The Hiby R3 also has an excellent sound, but I use my Tempotec Sonata iDSD as the sound is more open to my ears, and sounds more natural too.

It’s been several days with the DAC, and I’m really pleased with it. I’m listening to Tidal Masters, which are actually MQA-encoded music files and they sound excellent with this DAC, as a sample rate of either 24-bit/88.2Khz or 24-bit/96Khz, depending on the track being used:

Hiby R3 streaming Tidal Masters to the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus
Hiby R3 connected to the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

I hope this DAC work fine for a lifetime, as it’s the most enjoyable sound I’ve ever heard.

The USB cable I’m using with the DAC is the UGREEN USB to 2x Micro USB (Y) Cable, which allows me to listen to music and keep my unit charged at the same time.

New Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown

New Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown

Hi everyone,

Today, I decided to do a Teardown of the new Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus unit I received to compare the internal components to my previous Tempotec/Hidizs DAC. The unit is identical from the outside, so I did the same teardown process I did before for this new unit.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 1
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 1

The best way to open it is to use a sharp object to very careful try to detach the glass. To my surprise, this new unit wasn’t glued entirely. It felt as if the glass was just placed on it, with some simple glued tape behind.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 2
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 2

What I can see from it is a thin tape that covers that metal shield which was holding the glass. Now that the glass is removed, I can remove the 4 screws holding the metal plate to the DAC:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 3
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 3

It’s pretty much identical to the previous Tempotec iDSD Plus unit, except that a quick look reveals that there’s no capacitor at the C46 mark.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 4
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 4

In the above picture, you can see that the old unit (the unit below) has a capacitor in the C46 mark. Let’s tale a closer look:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 8
C46 capacitor missing in the new unit

It’s missing in the new unit, as can be seen in the photo above.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 9
C46 capacitor in the previous unit

And above you can see it in the previous unit.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 5
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 5

Taking a look at the actual DAC printed circuit board, it also look pretty much identical. I didn’t noticed any difference at first sight, but it does has an IC changed.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 7
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 6

The D4 diode was changed. Above you can see the diode from the new unit, which seems to have been replaced by hand, as it’s not placed straight there. Below, you can see the IC used in the previous unit:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 6
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 7

You can see that one is straight.

It seems that these 2 changes have fixed the Blue LED problem for the new units, and that’s great! They didn’t did a new board revision, and instead they just switched the D4 IC and removed the C46 capacitor. Both boards have the same V1.1 revision written in it.

The battery is the same. Ironically, they also have the same dates. I wonder if Tempotec had to fix old units by hand, sealing it, and selling them as new, or if these are returned units which have been refurbished. Either case, the new Tempotec iDSD Plus works fine, charges fine, and has an excellent sound.

I did, however, noticed that the new unit sometimes have both Green and Red LED turned on simultaneously, making it seem to be orange. The unit doesn’t work at all when this happens.

Tempotec iDSD Plus Orange LED
Tempotec iDSD Plus Orange LED

It seems to work again after I charge the unit a bit. It makes me wonder if it may have to do with the battery voltage when it gets low. While this has been happening rarely, it may represent another underlying problem with this DAC.

I’ll, of course, keep using this DAC because it produces an awesome sound that I really like, and I’ll soon be receiving the newest Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 In-Ear Monitors which I’d love to use with this DAC.

UPDATE 3/25/2019: Added closer pictures of the C46 capacitor.

The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I received the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 1
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Box

This is a DAC and AMP all in one device. It has Dual ES9018K2M, Dual ES9601K amplifiers, as well as a Balanced 2.5mm headphone jack as well as the regular 3.5mm jack.

The device is very similar to the Hidizs DH1000. In fact, it is a rebranded Tempotec product. Today, I’ll take a look at a newer Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus revision.

The Tempotec unit I received should have some problems that the Hidizs DH1000 had. In particular, this unit should have the Blue LED problem fixed, where it would be permanently turned on at some point of the Hidizs DH1000 lifetime. I’ll also be comparing this version to the Hidizs DAC.

As seen in the picture above, the box look very similar. Let’s take the wrapping off:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 2
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Box without the wrap

Now, it’s time to open the box:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 3
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus inside the box

We find the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus inside the box. It is the first thing we see. Below the box, we find some more items:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 4
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus cables

We find a USB-A to Micro USB, a Micro USB to Micro USB OTG cable, and a USB-C to Micro USB cable. We also have the manual and other stuff.

Let’s take a look at the Sonata iDSD Plus:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 5
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

It came well protected. The bag keeps the iDSD free from scratches, since it uses glass on both sides.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 6
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Not a single scratch in the bag. That’s great. Now, let’s take out our Sonata iDSD Plus:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 7
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Front

This is the front. While we can’t see the charging LED, it is in the bottom left corner. It is blue, just like the Hidizs DH1000, and will turn on while charging. Also, on the upper left, we can see the volume buttons. We’ll see them later in details.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 8
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Back

The back has the Tempotec branding, just like the Hidizs DH1000 also had the Hidizs branding.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 9
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus USB ports

The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus has 3 USB ports. The USB-A is the so called “Private” port. This allows you to connect your compatible DAPs like the Hidizs AP80 and HiBy R3 when the USB mode is set to “Dock”. It also should work on Android and iOS devices when using the HibyMusic app.

The other ports are Micro USB. The middle port is for data transmission while the right port is for charging. The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus charges at 5V/1A, usually drawing 800 mA but it can draw 940 mA if it is also turned on while listening to music and it is charging.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 10
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus audio jacks and power button

On the other side, we can see the standard 3.5mm audio jack on the left, the 2.5mm balanced jack in the middle, and the power button on the right. Between the power button and 2.5mm audio jack, we see the power LED, which will be green if it’s turned on, and will turn red when the battery is low.

Next, we’ll take a look at the cables:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 11
USB-A to Micro USB cable

Above, we have the USB-A to Micro USB cable. This is the cable that you’ll be using to use the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus in your computer, unless yours have a USB-C port, in which case you can use the included USB-C to Micro USB cable:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 14
The USB-C to Micro USB cable

The USB-C to Micro USB cable also works with compatible Android devices. It works really well in my Samsung Galaxy S9+.

If your device has a Micro USB port, you’ll probably need this OTG cable, which is also included:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 13
The Micro USB to Micro USB OTG cable

However, not all Micro USB phones support the OTG connection, so please be sure to check if your phone is compatible with USB Audio Class 2 audio devices.

The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus manual comes in 2 languages:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 15
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus manual in Chinese

In Chinese.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 16
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus manual in English

And in English.

It also came with the Hi-Res Audio stickers:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 17
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Hi-Res stickers

Here’s how it looks when it has both USB ports plugged in:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 18
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus with both Micro USB ports plugged

Comparison with the Hidizs DH1000

Let’s compare the device with the Hidizs DH1000. Please note that due to hardware problems, I tried to repair the Hidizs DH1000, and while it works, I have it covered differently than how it used to look.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 19
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus with the Hidizs DH1000 side by side (1)

We can see they look similar.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus 20
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus with the Hidizs DH1000 side by side (2)

The back also look similar. However, here is where we’ll see the main difference:

The Hidizs DH1000 has the volume buttons marked with paint, while the Tempotec iDSD Plus has the actual marks deep in the buttons.

Finally, both the USB ports and audio jacks look the same:

Sound

Tempotec iDSD Plus in Windows Sound Settings
Tempotec iDSD Plus in Windows Sound Settings

The device is detected on Windows a USB HD AUDIO as soon as it is plugged in.

The sound quality of the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus is the same as the Hidizs DH1000. I seem to find it more pleasant, but I tried switching between the Hidizs and Tempotec to see if I could find any difference. I may prefer the Tempotec sound, but the Hidizs one sounds quite similar, if not, identical. They both use the same ES9018K2M chips and ES9601K amplifiers. Theoretically, even the printed circuit board should be the same, or almost identical, except for the charging circuit, where it should be different to prevent possible charging issues.

I’m using the KZ ZS7 IEMs with a 2.5mm balanced cable. The bass feels powerful. This is especially true when listening to Twenty One Pilots “Trench” album. The mids are balanced, vocals are very well presented, and the treble, that’s the part where this DAC shines. The frequency response, I would say, is neutral. Other DACs would prefer to focus on providing forward vocals, and other instruments would sound recessed, but this is not the case with this DAC. Instrument separation is also pretty good. The sound feels open and wide, and the overal sound presentation is just as good and even relaxing. I can confortably listen to music in Tidal and enjoy every note in the song.

For around $130, this DAC does not dissapoint. The Hidizs DH1000 was my favorite, but now I have this Tempotec which will be with me at all times, and I’ll be attaching it to my HiBy R3 and Hidizs AP80 DAPs. Really, I haven’t found a DAC that outperforms this one.

Hidizs DH1000

Hidizs DH1000

The Hidizs DH1000 is a DAC/Amp that uses a balanced circuit, featuring Dual ESS ES9018K2M and Dual ESS amps, it provides balanced audio as each DAC decodes each channel. You also benefit from the Balanced 2.5mm audio jack to get the best, balanced audio quality, or you can use your current 3.5mm headphones or cables with it.

The Hidizs DH1000 supports a sample rate of up to 24-bit/192khz.

The Good:

  • Awesome, balanced sound.
  • Excellent channel separation.
  • Extended trebles.
  • Compatible with USB Audio Class 2 devices like Android and PC.
  • Zero delays.
  • ASIO Driver is available.
  • 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm audio jacks

The bad:

  • Some units suffer from the Blue LED being on at all time, even when not charging the unit.

Unboxing:

Photos:

Got my 3.7v Li-Ion battery and LiPo Charger!

Got my 3.7v Li-Ion battery and LiPo Charger!

Hi everyone,

Hope everyone had an excellent New Year’s Eve! Yesterday, while being New Year’s Eve, I also got a package with 2 items I ordered the past week. They were a 3.7v 2000mAh Li-Ion battery and a basic 500mA LiPo Charger from Sparkfun

Together, with these 2 items, I’m able to charge my Hidizs DH1000 3.8v battery and use the 3.7v as a spare while that charge happens. The problem with my Hidizs DH1000 is that it charges extremely slow, at a painful slow speed of between 60 to 80mA, which is very slow for its 2000mAh battery. With the SparkFun basic LiPo charger, I can charge it at up to 500mA, reducing the amount of hours needed to use my currently favorite DAC/Amp.

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Photos of the Hidizs DH1000 DAC/AMP Circuit Board (Teardown)

Photos of the Hidizs DH1000 DAC/AMP Circuit Board (Teardown)

Hi everyone,

Today, I’d like to show you some pictures of the Hidizs DH1000 Circuit Board.

We need to take out the top and bottom glass first. You can remove the top glass if you want to see the main chips, and you can remove the bottom glass to take a look at the battery. Please note that the glasses are completely glued, not just the borders, so you’ll need something that you can use to carefully remove the glue behind:

Once the glass is removed, there’s a metal shield protecting the circuit board. Removing it is as easy as taking off the 4 screws it has. Note that the surface is full of glue:

Once removed, the beauty of the circuit board awaits:

The main chip is a Hiby Music HBD150A:

The second chip is a SmartAction SA2000 chip. From there, it goes to the dual ESS ES9018K2M DAC’s (Digital Analog Converters):

Here’s a closer look to the dual ES9018K2M decoder chips as well as the dual amp chips:

On the other side, there’s the battery. It can be detached but it seems to be glued, so it needs to be carefully removed:

Here I have the unit connected to my PC using both USB’s and a headphone connected:

And here’s the battery side:

It’s difficult to know if the unit is charging or not, because my unit has a fault in which the LED is always turned on, and the charging is extremely slow. Also, for now, the only way to power it is to disconnect the battery, press and keep pressed the power button, then quicly connect the Power USB cable without having the data cable connected. This will make the unit turn on. Once it’s on, the battery can be connected and once it is connected, the data cable can be connected. Otherwise, the unit will turn off almost immediately, maybe because it doesn’t have enough power to be kept on, which is why the battery needs to be connected.

I wonder if Hidizs will release an updated version (maybe a Hidizs DH2000?) which fixes this battery defect which some users have been facing. It’s just a matter of time to see what amplifier they do next, as this one sounds very good and I enjoy the sound. It’s unfortunate that it has such a battery problem. Anyway, I’ll keep using this product, again, because I enjoy the sound 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the photos and if you did, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

Nintendo Switch with the Tunai Square DAC connected

Nintendo Switch with the Tunai Square DAC connected

Hi everyone,

Today, I’d like to show you my Nintendo Switch connected to the Tunai Square Bluetooth DAC in USB Wired mode. This DAC came bundled with my Tunai Wand which I backed in Kickstarter.

The DAC is a USB Audio Class 1.0 device, meaning it is compatible with the Nintendo Switch in Wired mode. Just connect it and you’re ready to go! Just a word of caution: Lower the Switch volume! This DAC produces very loud sound, so lower the Switch volume. The DAC volume buttons doesn’t work, so you’ll have to use the Switch volume control. Other than that, it works awesome.

 
 
 
 
 
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You can purchase the Tunai Square on Amazon at the following link:

Unboxing the Google USB-C to 3.5mm Headset adapter

Unboxing the Google USB-C to 3.5mm Headset adapter

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll be sharing with you my unboxing video of the Google USB-C to 3.5mm Headset adapter.

This is a USB-C adapter that allows you to use headphones, earbuds, IEM’s and headsets with compatible devices like Android phones supporting USB Audio devices or with a PC, in which this dongle is detected as “Headset Adapter”. It features an integrated DAC (Digital-Analog Converter) although it is unknown which DAC it uses.

The reason I got this adapter is to use my headphones with integrated mic with my PC. It has a maximum sample rate of 24-bit / 48Khz and it even let me use the headset buttons to change volume and to play/pause music with my favorite music player!

Here’s the unboxing video. I hope you all enjoy it:

Hidizs DH1000 using a USB Meter to simulate a Y cable

Hidizs DH1000 using a USB Meter to simulate a Y cable

Hi everyone,

As you may have seen from my previous posts, I’ve been developing GUI’s for FLAC and Opus, which are 2 great audio formats. This, of course, means I listen to music, and to enjoy them, I use my Hidizs DH1000 USB DAC/Amp. The sound it produces is awesome, but I’ve been having issues lately due to it charging very slow.

Because the unit charges very slow, at just 0.09A according to my meter, I needed to figure out a way I can keep using my DH1000 without sending the unit back to China for replacement. Of course, this is easy, because the unit features 2 USB, you can just connect 2 MicroUSB cables and have the problem solved. This would send power to the unit while you enjoy music, but what if you only have one USB socket available? Yes, you can use a USB hub, but I don’t think it’s recommended to use one because it would have a Hub in the middle and not a direct connection to the DAC, and also you’ll have several cables around.

To do a simple test, I purchased the PortaPow USB Meter which features 2 USB-A ports. One is for charging only and the other allows data transfer and charge, so the connection I’m using is the data port to the DH1000 data port and the No Data + SmartCharge port to the DH1000 microUSB charge port:

Using the PortaPow to provide Data and Charging to the Hidizs DH1000

With the meter, I could see that the unit is working and it is also drawing power from the USB port, which is what I initially wanted.

I also tested this with my Hiby R3 as you can see below:

Using the PortaPow with the Hiby R3

The Voltage seems to be below 5V, but it’s working fine. The downside is that the R3 battery drains faster, but for short-term music listening, this is fine.

My next step is to find a good USB-A to Micro USB Y Cable that provides charging and data to keep using my DH1000 for as long as possible.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful. I know there’s some of you that have the DH1000 Blue Light issue, and that’s why I also have the rubber band that came with my unit in the DH1000, because I also have that issue. But hey, at least the DH1000 is still working great!

See ya in my next post!