Yesterday, I received some Pocket/Mini CD-R I purchased on eBay, which were being sold for cheap due to them not being branded or not having their specs listed.
The seller was selling 3 packs of 100 unbranded silver surface Mini CD-R, and since the price was lower compared to other branded media, I decided to buy all 3.
The discs were wrapped with no spindle.
The discs have a silver surface:
Here we can see a single CD-R:
They have the usual light green color on the data side.
The disc loaded fine on my LiteOn iHAS524 drive. I launched ImgBurn which says that the discs are made by Ritek. Their media ID is 97m15s17f:
They also have a capacity of 210MB or 24 minutes and a maximum write speed of 24x.
This is the first Mini CD I use with this LiteOn drive, which has the unique LabelTag feature to add labels to the data side. The software detected the disc and a label can be created:
I burned some of these CD-R with Nero Express, which allows the creation of the label on the same run. I also burned them at its maximum speed of 24x without any failure.
I ran a Disc Quality test using Nero DiscSpeed. Below you can see the results of those tests. I limited the test to the first session of it, as the second one is the label produced with the above software and contains unreadable data. This makes the test fail. By limiting it to the first session, we can get the actual data track quality.
The first test gave us a maximum of 14 C1 errors with a total of 58. The average was 0.11. There were no C2 errors reported. The Quality Score was 98%.
This test was perfect! No C1 or C2 errors were reported, making the Quality Score be 100%.
This disc had a maximum of 9 for the C1 Errors with a total of 13. The average was 0.07. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 99%.
This final disc I burned had a maximum of 13 C1 errors with a total of 27. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 98%.
These blank CD-R media seems to be good to write small amounts of data. This could be an MP3 album, some photos, or software you’d like to archive. The burns seem to be of good quality and the 24x burning speed is adequate. This sure was a great find on eBay!
The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories
Yesterday, I received the brand-new Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 In-Ear Monitors Absolute Kits.
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.
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:
Yesterday, I received the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus:
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:
Now, it’s time to open 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:
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:
It came well protected. The bag keeps the iDSD free from scratches, since it uses glass on both sides.
Not a single scratch in the bag. That’s great. Now, let’s take out our Sonata iDSD Plus:
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.
The back has the Tempotec branding, just like the Hidizs DH1000 also had the Hidizs branding.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
And in English.
It also came with the Hi-Res Audio stickers:
Here’s how it looks when it has both USB ports plugged in:
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.
We can see they look similar.
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:
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 UGREEN 2.5-inch HDD and SSD to USB-C 3.1 Enclosure Unboxing and Testing Video
The HyperDrive 2018 iPad Pro Edition is a USB-C Hub designed mainly for the 2018 iPad Pro, but it is also compatible with other USB-C devices. It has a USB-A 3.0 port, SD and MicroSD Card Reader, 3.5mm TRRS connector, compatible with headsets including inline buttons, USB-C Charging passthrough, and an HDMI output.
Because I backed it on Kickstarter, it was nice to have received it in a Kickstarted-branded case.
Immediately after opening it, we can see the HyperDrive along with another grip, USB-C extender cable, a screwdriver and some additional screws.
The HyperDrive features a grip that is removable, to make it compatible with other devices. It is attached using screws, so it makes sense to include the screwdriver. Also, since the screws are small, it comes with additional screws in case we lose the originals.
Let’s take a closer look at the HyperDrive:
The HyperDrive Front does not have any branding in it. That’s on the back. It looks beautiful in the Space Grey color, which I chose when the project survey was sent so that we could choose our HyperDrive color.
As I stated above, here we can see the HyperDrive branding and other regulation logos. We can see the USB-C port better since the grip didn’t allowed us to see it in the previous image.
On one of the sides of the HyperDrive, there’s nothing. However, that changes in the other side, where we can see the HDMI connector:
We can plug our HDMI cable into it to duplicate or extend our screen (If we are using the HyperDrive in the PC). Now, let’s take a look at the other connectors
From Left to Right, we can see an LED, followed by the passthrough USB-C charging port, which we would use to charge our devices. We then have the SD Card slot on the top and the MicroSD Card slot on the bottom, followed by the USB-A 3.0 port and a 3.5mm TRRS jack. This is compatible with headsets and is also compatible with in-line controls.
The USB-C port is pretty standard, and is centered in this Hub.
This is the other Grip that came with my HyperDrive:
Altough we cannot see it in the above picture, it says that it is for use with covers. The grip that initially came with it was for use WITHOUT screen protectors. I myself don’t have any use for these grips, so I removed it from my HyperDrive.
The HyperDrive came with a USB-C extender cable and grip that you can use if you’d like to connect your HyperDrive without it having direct contact with your devices.
This way, we can simply attach the USB-C cable to our devices and the HyperDrive will fit perfectly, because when we use it without any grip or the extender, our HyperDrive will have a little gap in between.
To remove the grip from the HyperDrive, we’ll use the included screwdriver.
Be sure to keep the screws in a safe place! They are so tiny that they may get lost.
In the above picture, I have attached the USB-C Extension cable to my HyperDrive so that you can see how it look.
I have removed the grip in the above photo. The reason is so that I can use it directly connected to my laptop. I do not have the iPad and my main reason to get this is to use it in my Windows machines and other devices:
I attached the HyperDrive to my Lenovo Y720 laptop I purchased as my birthday gift. This laptop has a USB-C connector and you can see that the HyperDrive fits into it. You can also see there’s a bit of a gap, as I explained above. We could have solved this by using the extender USB-C cable, but I prefer to just have the HyperDrive in direct contact with it.
I attached my KZ ZS7 IEM to the HyperDrive. The PC does not detect the USB Audio if there’s no headphone connected to it. Once we connect them, the laptop recognizes the audio adapter as USB PnP Audio Device.
The volume is very loud!! I always turn it down before playing back anything, and having it at just 1 or 2% was just enough.
As seen in the above image, I have the audio at just 2%. Let’s take a look at the device settings itself:
We can see the HyperDrive audio listed as USB PnP Audio Device above. We’ll double click it and then go to the Advanced tab to see the device bit deph and sample rate:
The DAC (Digital-Analog Converter) used in the HyperDrive only has a bit depth of 16-bit and a sample rate of 48 Khz. This is enough for some, but audiophiles would have preferred it to have a depth of 24 or 32 bits and a sample rate way above the 48 Khz. However, we must remember that Audio CD has a depth of 16 bit and a sample rate of 44.1Khz. Since the HyperDrive supports 48Khz, that means that Windows needs to resample the audio to 48Khz. Still, the audio quality is good.
I’m using Tidal to stream CD-Quality tracks and I’m not noticing any quality degradation. In fact, it sounds excellent, altough I do need to turn down the volume further down. Also, there’s a little background noise, but it’s barely noticeable when there’s audio playing.
So, the HyperDrive does a great job handing audio. It even works in my Nintendo Switch!
What does the HyperDrive looks like with its ports being used? It looks like this:
It’s been less than a day using this USB-C Hub, and so far it is handling everything great. I have experienced some problems, but it’s most likely problems related to the operating system rather than the HyperDrive. My laptop sometimes would not detect the HyperDrive or would not show any image in my external monitor, but now it’s all working fine. Also, it’s worth noting that the HyperDrive heats a little. You’ll not get burned while touching it, but I would also not have my hand at it. Even with it being warm, I wouldn’t say it overheats. It’s also working fine and haven’t experienced any disconnection issues with it.
The Kickstarter experience with this project was great. It is usual of the start of the year to get some delays due to China celebrating the Chinese New Year holiday, but this was a project where the holiday didn’t affected them so much. We are just starting March, and today I received it. Delivery was quick and they sent the tracking number very fast. It was also working at the moment they sent it to me.
I’ll definitely consider backing another of their projects, supporting them while having another gadget to play with.
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:
Taking it out we can clearly see the Hidizs logo in it:
The back is just plain:
Inside, we can see the Sonata HD Cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter:
A closer look at the cable and adapter inside the carrying case:
A closer look at the DAC We can see the Hidizs Logo at the USB-C connector side:
We can also see the Hi-Res Audio logo on the other side at the USB-C connector:
Side by Side comparon with the Google and Apple DACs:
Now, let’s see the USB-C to USB-A adapter closer:
I connected the cable to the adapter and to my USB Hub which is connected to my desktop PC:
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:
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:
We can press the Write EEPROM button on the firmware flashing utility and we’ll be shown with this message:
We’ll simply disconnect the DAC, connect it again, and press OK. The firmware flashing will begin:
If it finishes successful, you’ll see a successful 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:
We click on Sound Control Panel and double click on the Sonata HD:
Now, we can go to the Advanced tab and select 24-bit/192khz:
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!!!
Just select the Exclusive Mode button and that should be it. Now, you can enjoy your music!
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:
The UGREEN 2.5-inch HDD and SSD to USB-C 3.1 Enclosure
Today, I’m going to show you the UGREEN 2.5-inch Hard Disk Drive and Solid State Disk to USB-C 3.1 Enclosure.
This is, as the name states, a Hard Disk Drive enclosure for 2.5 inch drives. It also works with Solid State Disks. What’s different from this enclosure to others is that this uses a USB-C connector rather than the USB 3.0 Micro or USB-A connector that most enclosures have. This is an advantage if you have other USB-C devices or have USB-C cables laying around.
The box is pretty simple, showing an image of the enclosure itself. It is, however, a little bit bigger than I expected it to be. I’m just used to work with the internal drive directly. I also didn’t have any other enclosure, and I just connected the drives to my laptop using a 9.5mm Hard Disk Drive to Optical Bay adapter. This had a plus, since the connection was directly a SATA connector. This also means I didn’t had any enclosure to use in my desktop machines and nowadays, most professional laptops aren’t comming with the optical bay.
In the back of the box, we can see the specs of this enclosure. It also says it’s compatible with either 2.5″ Hard disk drives and 2.5″ Solid State Disks.
This is the enclosure. It looks very nice. It seems to be made of plastic.
We slide the back to reveal the hard disk location. We insert it and slide the back again to seal the unit.
You can see it has a USB-C connector, and compared to other connectors, it is pretty small.
I did an experiment with this enclosure, connecting it to my HiBy R3 Digital Audio Player, and it worked!
I’m using a Seagate 500GB hard disk, and it works very nice, altough the Hiby R3 battery will drain faster as it is powering the disk and the enclosure.
I made an unboxing video and I’ll be editing it shortly and I’ll upload it to YouTube. I hope you enjoyed the pictures I shared here!
Today, I’d like to show you the Cave UC3 3D Surround Earbuds, which I got as part of their Kickstarter campaign.
These are a USB-C or Apple Lightning Earbuds, depending on the version you get, and is compatible with USB-C devices that support USB Audio and of course, Apple devices if you chose the Lightning version. It has an in-line control and microphone. The in-line control allows you to change the audio sound profile, enabling their virtual surround function.
Let’s get started with the photos!
Here’s the box:
You can see the details of it in the back.
Now, unwraping it:
Let’s open it!
You can see the Cave UC3 earbuds. They look well built. The cable continues on the back:
Finally, here’s the earbuds taken out of the box:
Now, some notes:
When I connected these earbuds to my Windows laptop via it’s USB-C port, it worked, but the volume doesn’t work. If it’s between 1 to 99%, the volume will be very low. When it’s at 100%, it will be very loud. There’s no way to control this except from the music app itself. This is unconvenient.
When I used this with my Hiby R3, it worked. However, it only worked with 16-bit/48Khz audio. This is because the earbuds doesn’t have a 16-bit/44Khz mode. My best guess is that the Hiby R3 changes the USB mode to match the audio bit depth and sample rate. When I played back 44Khz FLAC files, It was showing a playback error. When I played back Opus files, it worked, but Opus files are 48Khz, which is why I think it worked.
They worked great with my smartphone. However, they note that the microphone may not work with all smartphones. Keep this in mind.
In conclusion, I’ll keep these safely stored. They will not be my daily use earbuds, but rather I’ll use it for emergency purposes shall my in-ear earbud give me problems.
In this post, I’d like to talk about the Hidizs DH1000 which is a Digital to Analog converter and an Amp for headphones.
This device is a USB digital to analog converter (DAC) that can improve the sound quality of the music thanks to its advanced dual ES9018K2M DAC chips as well as its dual Amp chips. It features a balanced 2.5mm headphone jack as well as the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and works with any device that supports USB Audio, be it a PC, Mac, Android, or a music player that supports USB DACs.
The device features dual USB ports for simultaneous music playing and charging. It has to be noted that this is not only for music but for anything audio-related since it is detected as USB Audio Class 2.0 device in Windows as well as an audio output in Android. For iOS devices, you must use the Hiby music app.
The other device shown alongside the Hidizs DH1000 is the new Hiby R3 player, which I’ll show you in another post.
How’s the sound quality?
Way better than using the headphones plugged into my phone or other audio devices. For me, everything sounds very detailed and impressive. You can head the vocals very clearly, be it a male or a female singer. The treble also sounds very nice, and the bass is perfect. Of course, everyone will have different opinions on audio quality, but for me, this sounds very authentic and provides an awesome sound.
One thing that I also like about this DAC is that the volume buttons are independent of the source device. This means you can change the Hidizs DH1000 volume and it will not change the volume of the device it is connected. I usually just set the device to output audio at 100% and then control the volume in the DH1000 DAC.
Where did I heard about this product?
Kickstarter. I always browse the “Technology” category in Kickstarted and almost every month I find something I like. That’s where I found this DAC there:
Some time ago, I purchased the JET-5608AK SODIMM to DIMM Adapter. What this does is convert a SODIMM RAM module into a DIMM module. SODIMM is the RAM used on laptops, while DIMMs are the RAM used in Desktop computers.
The product came in a very simple box:
And opening it shows just the SODIMM to DIMM adapter very well protected:
The front of the device can be seen at the start of this posts but here it is again:
And the back of it:
I’m going to use this with an 8GB Samsung SODIMM DDR4 module from my laptop:
This is the front of it with the RAM inserted:
And the back:
Inserting the module in the machine:
I’m going to use this module with an ASUS B350M-A motherboard and an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 CPU. I currently have 32GB of RAM in it. Using this would raise it to 40GB as I’m using an 8GB Samsung DDR4 SODIMM module:
But because some machines have compatibility issues, I’m placing the RAM alone:
It didn’t work.
That’s right. This module is NOT compatible with this motherboard or CPU, it seems. Even when placed alone or with the other RAM modules, the machine refused to boot. This could very well be the BIOS or can be the CPU itself not supporting SODIMM modules. After all, this CPU was released before the mobile AMD Ryzen CPUs were released.