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Using the KZ aptX HD Bluetooth Cable and the TRN BT20 with the Hidizs Mermaid MS1/MS4

Using the KZ aptX HD Bluetooth Cable and the TRN BT20 with the Hidizs Mermaid MS1/MS4

Hi everyone,

Today, I recorded a video showing the new KZ aptX HD Bluetooth Cable and the TRN BT20 Bluetooth adapter with the Hidizs Mermaid MS1/MS4.

The reason of doing this video is to show how the KZ cable fits the Hidizs MS1/MS4 as the KZ cables comes in different pin flavors. And as for the TRN BT20, I just wanted to show how they look with it attached.

It’s nice to have a variety of Bluetooth adapters to use with these new IEMs which have an incredible sound.

You can watch the video below:

You can get these Bluetooth items as well as the IEMs using the following links:

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I received the brand-new Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 In-Ear Monitors Absolute Kits.

Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories
Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver, while the Hidizs Mermaid MS4 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver and 3 Knowles Balanced Armatures.

Hidizs Mermaid MS4
Hidizs Mermaid MS4

My initial impressions are excellent. These IEMs do a lot to reproduce the music. I found that the MS1, with just the Dynamic Driver, produces a warm sound with great mids and smooth bass and treble. The MS4, on the other hand, improves the bass and treble while having great mids. Since the MS4 uses 3 balanced armatures for the mids and treble, they do a great job, and since the Dynamic Driver is focused on the bass, it also does a great job. The MS1, on the other hand, produces a warmer sound since the Dynamic Driver needs to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum.

The Hidizs Absolute Kits come with a choice of a 2.5mm or 4.4mm balanced cable, USB-C 2-pin cable and an aptX Bluetooth Cable using a CSR8645 chipset. They are also compatible with other 2-pin 0.78mm IEMs and you can also use other aftermarket cables due to their 2-pin connectors.

The IEMs can be driven easily since the MS1 only has an impedance of just 15Ω while the MS4 has an impedance of just 12Ω. However, you can use your favorite DAC like the Hidizs DH1000/Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus and use the balanced output to enjoy an even better sound. You can also use them with the 3.5mm cable with the Hidizs AP80.

Now, here’s my unboxing video I recorded yesterday where I unbox both kits, their cables and accessories:

I personally like the MS4 due to their more punchier bass and their extended treble. The MS1 have more forward vocals, so if you’re looking for that, the MS1 is for you, but if you want the treble and a bit more bass, go for the MS4.

Here’s the review video I also recorded with my thoughts on the IEMs and the cables:

Overall, Hidizs did a great job with these new In-Ear Monitors.

You can purchase these 2 Hidizs IEMs at Amazon using the following links:

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.

The Hidizs Sonata HD USB-C to 3.5mm DAC Cable

The Hidizs Sonata HD USB-C to 3.5mm DAC Cable

Hi everyone,

Today, I received the Hidizs Sonata HD USB-C to 3.5mm DAC Cable.

Hidizs Sonata HD 1
Hidizs Sonata HD Box

This is a cable (or dongle) that allows you to connect your 3.5mm headphones to your devices that have a USB-C connector, or to a USB-A connector by using a USB-C to USB-A adapter. It features a sample rate of up to 24-bit and 192khz, but you’ll need to update the firmware to be able to use it. We’ll see more about the firmware update process later. First, let’s proceed with the unboxing.

Opening the box reveals a carrying case:

Hidizs Sonata HD 2
Carrying Case inside the box

Taking it out we can clearly see the Hidizs logo in it:

Hidizs Sonata HD 3
Hidizs Sonata HD Carrying Case – Front

The back is just plain:

Hidizs Sonata HD 4

Hidizs Sonata HD Carrying Case – Back

Inside, we can see the Sonata HD Cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter:

Hidizs Sonata HD 5
The carrying case content

A closer look at the cable and adapter inside the carrying case:

Hidizs Sonata HD 6
A closer look at the contents inside the case

A closer look at the DAC We can see the Hidizs Logo at the USB-C connector side:

Hidizs Sonata HD 7
DAC – Front

We can also see the Hi-Res Audio logo on the other side at the USB-C connector:

Hidizs Sonata HD 8
Hi-Res logo on the back

Side by Side comparon with the Google and Apple DACs:

Hidizs Sonata HD 10
From left to right: Google DAC, Apple DAC, and the Hidizs Sonata HD DAC

Now, let’s see the USB-C to USB-A adapter closer:

Hidizs Sonata HD 9
USB-C to USB-A adapter

I connected the cable to the adapter and to my USB Hub which is connected to my desktop PC:

Hidizs Sonata HD 11
DAC connected to USB Hub

And I then attached my headphones:

Hidizs Sonata HD 12
DAC connected to the USB Hub and the headphones

The Firmware Update process

First, we need to go to https://www.hidizs.net/apps/help-center and download the Sonata HD Firmwares. We then need to extract the ZIP files:

The firmwares
  • Sonata HD A: Prioritizes the Call. When I tested this firmware, it allows simultaneous voice and music. This is the firmware you’ll want to use if you’re going to stream on YouTube, Twitch, etc.
  • Sonata HD C: Prioritizes the Audio. When I tested this firmware, it was similar to the Sonata HD A firmware but I could no longer use the microphone as soon as the system produced audio. This firmware has a sample rate of 24-bit/192khz
  • Sonata HD D: Pure Music. This firmware will also provide 24-bit/192khz but it will disable the adapter input function. You’ll still be able to use earphone inline remote control.

To update the firmware, you’ll want to launch the respective executable. You’ll be presented with the firmware flashing utility:

Hidizs Sonata HD Firmware Flashing Utility
The Hidizs Sonata HD firmware flashing utility

We should write in the Vendor ID: 22e1, and on the Product ID: e202. You can check these values by going to the Device Manager and selecting the Sonata HD Cable under the Sound, video and Game Controllers section:

Hidizs Sonata HD Firmware in the Device Manager
Sonata HD DAC in the Device Manager
Hidizs Sonata HD Hardware IDs
VID and PID of the Sonata HD Cable

We can press the Write EEPROM button on the firmware flashing utility and we’ll be shown with this message:

Hidizs Sonata HD Firmware Flashing Utility 2
Firmware Flashing message

We’ll simply disconnect the DAC, connect it again, and press OK. The firmware flashing will begin:

Hidizs Sonata HD Firmware Flashing Utility 3
Flashing the firmware

If it finishes successful, you’ll see a successful message:

Hidizs Sonata HD Firmware Flashing Utility 4
Write to EEPROM OK! Message

That’s it! We now need to unplug it and connect it again and then we can go to the sound settings and check that we can choose a sample rate of 24-bit/192khz:

Hidizs Sonata HD in the Sound Settings
Hidizs Sonata HD in the Sound Settings

We click on Sound Control Panel and double click on the Sonata HD:

Hidizs Sonata HD Sound Settings 1
Sonata HD in the Sound Settings

Now, we can go to the Advanced tab and select 24-bit/192khz:

Hidizs Sonata HD Sound Settings 2
24 bit and 192 Khz mode in the Sound Settings

We can also use Tidal’s WASAPI mode with this adapter. Just be sure to turn the volume very low. This DAC is very loud!!!

Tidal using the Hidizs Sonata HD Cable
TIDAL with the Sonata HD cable

Just select the Exclusive Mode button and that should be it. Now, you can enjoy your music!

Tidal using the Hidizs Sonata HD Cable 2
Tidal

Sound Impressions

Listening to this DAC the sound is detailed, but the vocals seems to be more forward. It has a good sound separation, and it is very loud, which is why I have my DAC at just 2%. My headphones (KZ ZS7) are high sensitivity, low impedance IEM’s, so they will sound loud at low volume levels. The Bass is great, and so is the treble. No complains here. I also own the Hidizs DH1000 and their AP80 player and they all sound excellent. The Hidizs DH1000 provides a more neutral sound and the AP80 just shines at all of the frequencies, altough the DH1000 is still a more neutral and extended treble option.

I hope you liked this post. Do you own the Sonata HD Cable? Let me know in the comments.

If you don’t yet have this dongle, you can get it on Amazon using the following link:

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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The Hidizs AP80 just got support for Sony’s LDAC bluetooth audio codec!

The Hidizs AP80 just got support for Sony’s LDAC bluetooth audio codec!

UPDATE 12/29/2018: Video here: https://moisescardona.me/hidizs-ap80-ldac-video

Hi everyone,

Today morning, it came to my attention that there was a new firmware update for the Hidizs AP80 Digital Audio player. I downloaded and installed it, and surprise! We have LDAC support now! This means that it can be used as an LDAC bluetooth receiver and should also work as a transmitted, altough I haven’t tested this mode yet.

To test the Hidizs AP80 LDAC functionality, I tried using my phone but for some reason it doesn’t work on either the HiBy R3 nor on the AP80. This may be a bug on the Samsung Android Pie beta software, or some sort of incompatibility in HiBy OS. Since this didn’t worked, I then proceeded to use my HiBy R3 as a transmitter and the Hidizs AP80 as as receiver. I logged in into Tidal in the R3 and tested the LDAC codec. It worked! Not only it worked, but the Sample Rate was also adjusted accordingly, meaning that standard 44.1Khz Tidal tracks will be transmitted and received at that very same sample rate. I also tested playing back one of a few Tidal albums that the R3 seems to decode in MQA and the sample rate again was adjusted to 88.2Khz

Here, you can see the HiBy R3 streaming a standard album and transmitting it via LDAC to the Hidizs AP80:

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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For my next test, I decided to plug in my R3 to my laptop and use Foobar2000 and Tidal in WASAPI mode. This makes the Hiby R3 a USB DAC -> Bluetooth transmitter. This also worked nicely:

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Conclusion

I now have the perfect LDAC transmitter and receiver. There’s little delay, but the sound quality is better than using the standard SBC codec. Also it’s worth noting that when I used the HiBy R3 as a USB DAC and LDAC bluetooth transmitter in WASAPI mode, the sample rate was adjusted not only in the R3 but also in the Hidizs AP80, meaning if I’m using a sample rate of 44.1Khz in the PC, the same sample rate will be used in the Hiby R3 and Hidizs AP80. This is very convenient because there will be no downsampling performed. Also, the fact that the Hidizs AP80 also supports bidirectional USB, I could attach another DAC or Amp like the Hidizs DH1000 and enjoy high quality bluetooth sound.

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: