Yesterday night, I went to eat at Las Margaritas Restaurant, located in Ocala, Florida, where you can eat a variety of Mexican food, like burritos, fajitas, etc. It is a nice place to go and eat in family, and enjoy the food. Here, today, I’m sharing the plate I ate at this great restaurant.
This is their menú:
Quickly after sitting down, I ordered Sprite to drink:
They gave us some chips with a sauce:
And then, when I was ready to order, I ordered the Burrito Campechano, which, according to their menu, is a burrito with grilled steak and ground Mexican saugage, some vegetables, and somes with Mexican rice, refried beans, guacamole and sour cream:
This is actually the second time I go to this restaurant and I really like their food. It tastes good and the overal environment is really nice. I highly recommend this restaurant.
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 Western Digital 10TB WD Elements External Hard Drive
Last week, I got a new Western Digital 10TB Essentials External Drive, which was on sale at $160 on Amazon:
The reason for getting this drive is that in today’s world, digital content is growing by a lot, and files are taking more space than ever. Video resolutions are growing and so are the quality of music, which takes a lot of space. Recent development on newer audio and video codecs may keep the audio file size small, but then, there’s those who store raw or compressed lossless media files, like FLACs or lossless H264/H265 videos.
I myself sometimes record my gameplay when I play Nintendo Switch games, and then I further encode this lossless recording to another HEVC using my NVidia GTX 1060 video card. This saves me between 2 to 5GB of file size. I’m also doing tests encoding my gameplay videos to the newer AV1 codec, that significantly reduces the video size while having a great quality at lower bitrates.
My 8TB drive will soon get full with so many content, encodings, data compression tests, server backups, and so on, hence my reason to add another drive (In reality, half of the disk is full). I found the $160 price very reasonable, considering my 8TB drive was also priced at $160 at Best Buy a few months ago.
When I purchased this drive on Amazon, it was actually not in stock, so I had to wait a few weeks, but it made it home. Here’s the drive box:
Here are the sides:
And the back:
Opening the box, we find the drive well protected:
In the side, we can see the Power Supply and USB 3.0 cable, along with the user manual:
Here’s the drive out of the box in its protected plastic pads:
Here, we can see the drive with the plastic wrap in place:
Here, we can see the drive USB 3.0 and power supply jack, and the power button:
Here are the photos with the wrap taken off:
Here’s the power supply in its bag:
And outside the bag:
The Power Supply has a barrel-type plug:
Next, we have the USB 3.0 cable:
Finally, we have the user manual:
And that concludes this photo session. Later, I’ll do a post shucking this drive and also share the benchmark to you.
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!
Nintendo Switch with the Tunai Square DAC connected
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.
Today, I’ll show you this simple photo where I have connected my HiBy R3 to the Hidizs AP80. By doing this, the Hidizs AP80 acts as a USB DAC (Digital Analog Converter) while the HiBy R3 acts as the source:
Today, I’ll show you the Hidizs EX-01 in-ear headphone:
We can see it has a frequency response of 20-20K. Also we can see that the driver size is 8mm.
I haven’t taken the wrapping of it, so here’s the pictures with the wrap taken off:
When I opened it, we can see some promotion material:
And then we can see the headphones itself:
When we take them out, this is how it looks:
How does it sounds? For me, it, focuses on bass and mid bass, therefore, the sound will be bassy, but not boomy enough to distort the audio. Treble is also there, but is not extended. The voices sounds a bit bassy too, but they are clear, which means Hidizs did a great job with the tuning to not distort it. Since the focus seems to be on bass, the mids and treble seems to be a bit recessed. Sound stage seems wide, but you’ll be hearing more bass than any other instruments. Even when these may have a bassy sound, it’s still clear and you can still enjoy your music.
If you’d like an In-Ear headphone focused on bass, these may be for you.
Hidizs also offers the EP-03 and the Seeds earphones which I do no have yet to compare.
Hidizs also makes DAPs (Digital Audio Players) and DACs (Digital-Analog Converters). I have the Hidizs DH1000 DAC which provides a very natural sound and an enjoyable sound, and the Hidizs AP80, which also sounds awesome.
Hidizs is known for making high quality audio devices.
Photos from Puerto Rico from the Sky (November 2018)
This weekend, I traveled to Puerto Rico. I enjoy the Island a lot and this time of the year is great because not only is this week Thanksgiving week, but we can also start feeling the Winter breeze. I’m enjoying the weather so far and I’ll be spending this week over here.
Here’s some pictures I took when we were going to land:
Hope you enjoyed the pics!