ddHiFi TC35 Pro Tetris / Eye / Mountain Review
ddHiFi TC35 Pro Tetris / Eye / Mountain DAC/AMP Review
ddHiFi (DD Electronics Technology Co.Ltd.) is a relative young company located in China that is specialized in the producing of Portable Audio Accessories like Protective/Storage Case’s for DAP’s, DAC’s, etc. and Adaptors DAP’s, DAC’s and Smartphone’s.
TC35 Pro is a product Series of the company that features 3 different DAC/Amplifiers for the use in different scenarios, which are the Tetris (article name T), Eye and Mountain (article name M). All 3 products are equipped with the new ESS ES9281AC DAC Chipset; do come with a 3.5mm Single Ended output and support MQA rendering and has Native DSD support up to DSD512.
- ddHiFi Offical Webiste: https://www.ddhifi.com/
I would like to thank ddHiFi for providing me the TC35 Pro samples for review purposes. I am not affiliated with ddHiFi beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
All three products do have the same price that is actually US $ 94,99 and are available with USB-Type-C or Lightning Male connectors.
Please note that the TC35 Pro Tetris variant doesn’t comes with any type of cable in the package. So, if you don’t have any Type-C or Lightning cable, it’s suggested to buy the bundle according to your usage.
More information’s can be found under the links below;
Package and Accessories:
All three variant of the ddHiFi TC35 Pro do came in a small box made of recycled cardboard paper that we know from other ddHiFi products. On the top of the box are some brandings and product details.
Inside the box are the following items;
- 1 x ddHiFi TC35 Pro USB DAC/Amplifier Adaptor
- 1 x Print Material
Design and Build Quality:
Each adaptor has a unique design and shape that offers a different style of usability. All devices do have a main body with a metal chassis that looks and feels very robust and that shows a premium appearance in its own way.
TC35 Pro Eye:
The TC35 Pro Eye shows a combination of three parts, which are the main body, the low profile cable and the USB Type-C or Lightning male adaptor (depending of your purchase). The dimensions of the Eye are about 28x22x8mm and weights only approx 5.6grams that makes it to a very compact dongle and lightweight dongle.
The arc edge body shape, that looks like an Eye on which is the reason for such a naming. Here is the 3.5mm Single Ended headphone output that offers a tight and secure connection.
On the top of the main body are the ddHiFi brand and the MQA logo.
At the rear side is the fixed cable with a USB Type-C or Lightning male connector (depending on the selection) and an LED status indicator that is near the strain relief that lights up in different colors depending of the codec that is in use. The fixed low profile cable is made of Silver Plated OCC wire material that features a pretty soft transparent TPU coating that is shock and impact resistant.
The USB Type-C connector/Lightning male connector has a metal housing in the same color of the main body.
TC35 Pro Mountain:
The TC35 Pro Mountain shares the same internals and specifications with the Eye, while it has a different design and shape in form of a T, which looks also like a Mountain with its interesting form. The Mountain has dimensions of 30×14.8x7mm and weights about 5.8grams.
On the rear surface of the adaptor is the metal surface in Gold/Brass color with TC35 Pro Type-C/Lightning 3.5mm labels near the bottom.
At the bottom side of the DAC/Amplifier adaptor is the USB Type-C or Lightning male connector that is directly integrated to the main body, which differentiates it from the Eye and Tetris that do need an external cable (Tetris) or do have a Low Profile Cable with a connector on the top (Eye).
On the top of the adaptor are the ddHiFi brand logo and the LED status indictor which is located near the MQA logo.
The 3.5mm Single Ended output is on the right side of the TC35 Pro Mountain.
TC35 Pro Tetris:
The Tetris variant of the TC35 Pro is the most interesting model in terms of design compared to the other two adaptors. It looks pretty similar to a Tetris block with its 90°angled design and shows dimensions of about 28x28x8mm and is a bit weightier compared to the other variants with 8grams due to the use of 6063 aviation grade aluminum alloy material.
TC35 Pro Tetris variant doesn’t come with any type of cable in the package to connect it to your source. So, if you don’t have any Type-C or Lightning cable, it’s suggested to buy the bundle TC05 USB Type-C OTG cable or the MFi06S Lighting cable depending of the port of your source.
On the top of the USB DAC/Amplifier adaptor is the ddHiFi Brand logo and the LED status indicator, which is located near the MQA logo.
At the right side of the TC35 Pro Tetris is the 3.5mm Single Ended Analog output which is on the top of a metal surface in Gold/Brass color.
On the other side is the USB Type-C Digital input that offers a pretty tight connection.
DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) Chip:
Each ddHiFi TC35 Pro adaptor utilizes an all-new ES9281AC DAC chipset of the company ESS Technologies (SABER). It makes high-resolution audio decoding a bliss providing support for up to 32-Bit/768kHz PCM and native DSD512 support. The decoding is done with a SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) of about -118dB and THD-N (Total Harmonic Distortion) that is approx 0.0004%.
- Source: ESS Technologie ES9281AC
Amplifier & Driving Power, Hissing:
The ddHiFi TC35 Pro DAC/Amplifier adaptors are small but relative powerful solutions that do share the same amplifier output specifications.
Each TC35 Pro (Mountain, Tetris and Eye) DAC/Amplifier adaptor offers a driving power of about 30mW @ 16Ω, ≥ 62mW @ 32Ω and ≥7mW @ 600Ω that is not ultra high but pretty good compared to most Smartphone’s, Tablet’s or Laptop PC’s on the market.
What also really stands out of all TC35 Pro adaptors is the very clean output with impressively low amount of background noise.
Android users with USB Audio Player Pro installed on their device should note that the device will show up a pop-up screen for permission whenever you connect your TC35 Pro on it. I recommend you to skip the permission, otherwise it will cause to a pop-up noise.
Automatic Headphone Impedance Detection:
All three TC35 Pro USB DAC/Amplifier Adaptors do feature an Automatic Headphone Impedance Detection. This helps the device to detect the impedance of the connected headphone and lets the TC35 Pro switch between Low and High Gain modes. When high-impedance is detected, TC35 Pro will automatically switch to High Gain mode.
Please note that it is recommended to connect the TC35 Pro to the earphone first and then connect it to the source device.
Sampling Rates & MQA Decoding:
All ddHiFi TC35 Pro DAC/Amplifier adaptors do support Native DSD up to DSD512 and PCM sampling rates up to PCM 32 Bit/ 768kHz that are some impressive specs.
Moreover, each adaptor supports the latest MQA decoding to experience Master Quality Audio files. The source device should be loaded with MQA supported software such as UAPP, Tidal, etc.
All three adaptors do have a multi-color RGB indicator light that lights up in different colors according to the active file bit rate. In addition to indicating the active bit rate, it also flashes Blue, Green, and Red alternatively after being inserted into the source device, but it only works when the earphone is also plugged into the device.
All ddHiFi TC35 Pro adaptors do utilize a chipset that is compatible with most iOS & Android devices (depending on your connector selection). They do all support a plug-and-play function with Windows PC’s and MAC’s via the supplied USB Type-C to USB-A converter, which allows it to work as a USB Soundcard.
Equipments used for this review:
- DAC’s : ddHiFi TC35 Pro (Tetris, Mountain, Eye). IKKO Zerda ITM03
- USB Source : Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, Apple iPad Air2
- IEM’s : ddHiFi Janus, FiiO FD5, Campfire Audio Satsuma
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama “Party Favor Remix” (Deezer HiFi)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Deezer HiFi)
- Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
- Jo Blankenburg – The Magelan Matrix (Spotify)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
All three ddHiFi TC35 Pro variants do show the same sonic sound signature/presentation with very low/minor differences, the reason could be the use of different type of cables/cable materials (Tetris & Eye). However, since the differences are very minimal I will only use the definition TC35 Pro in my sound impressions.
The TC35 Pro offers a very clean and balanced sound presentation with a tad warmer than neutral tonality. The bass has a fast response sounds, accurate and pretty detailed; the midrange on the other hand is transparent and airy, while the treble region offers a good sense of extension, sparkle and definition.
This review was written after a Burn-in period of 50 hours for each model. I have paired them mainly with the Samsung Note 10Plus and with the Apple iPad Air2 (Tetris only). The Tetris variant was used with the TC05 USB Type-C OTG cable (Note 10Plus) and with the MFi06S Lightning Cable (iPad Air2).IEM’s that I have used for testing are the ddHiFi Janus, FiiO FD5 and Campfire Audio Satsuma.
Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:
The ddHiFi TC35 Pro shows pretty dynamic and full bodied bass presentation with good level of resolution and control. The subbass region is reproduced with a fairly good amount of depth and rumble especially when I do listen to it with the FiiO FD5. From electronic music to fast genres like metal music, the existing subbass depth and rumble is satisfying.
The midbass region of the ddHiFi TC35 Pro Series DAC/Amplifiers is impactful, tight and controlled, while the general tonality in this area is fairly soft and musical. Instruments like cross drums are accented, while snare drums are bassy and fairly fast.
The bass of the ddHiFi TC35 Pro adaptors is in general fast and pretty controlled, without show any unnecessary mixings and situations like muddiness. The performance from songs of electronic music up to fast metal tracks is quite satisfying.
The midrange sounds musical, smooth and has a mildly warm tonality, while the clarity and resolution is pretty good for a product at this price range. Both male and female vocals are reproduced with a good sense of liveliness and transparency.
The lower midrange has moderate level of depth and body when I do listen to male vocals or instruments like violas or acoustic guitars. The upper midrange other hand sounds nicely pronounced and controlled, especially when I do listen to the female vocals or instruments like violins or flutes with the ddHiFi Janus and Campfire Audio Satsuma.
The upper midrange transitions from the upper midrange region towards the lower treble area did sound fairly controlled and smooth, especially with the Campfire Audio Satsuma, without to have any audible sibilance or harshness.
The treble range of the ddHiFi TC35 Pro DAC/AMP adaptors does have a lightly warm and pretty smooth tonality, with adequate level of extension and resolution. The lower treble area is shown with a good sense of clarity and definition with both the ddHiFi Janus and the FiiO FD5. The upper treble region of the other hands is produced with a fairly good level of airiness and sparkle.
The TC35 Pro series offers a quite efficient soundstage performance for a fairly precise placement of instruments and vocals. The stage has a pretty airy and spacious atmosphere with moderate sense of depth and wideness.
ddHiFi TC35 Pro versus IKKO Zerda ITM03:
The ddHiFi TC35 Pro Series do show a slightly warmer and fuller and more musical tonality compared to the IKKO Zerda ITM03 DAC/Amplifier. Both the subbass and midbass region of the TC35 Pro shows in general more body and a slightly better sense of layering.
The TC35 Pro has the upper hand in terms of subbass depth and rumble, while both DAC/Amplifiers do offers a similar performance when it comes to the resolution and control in this area. The IKKO Zerda ITM03 has slightly less body midbass impact and intensity compared to the ddHiFi TC35 Pro. However both are quite equal when it comes to the control and clarity in this region.
The TC35 Pro Series shows a warmer tonality and fuller, more musical midrange presentation in direct comparison to the IKKO Zerda ITM03, which shows a brighter tonality more sterile presentation. The lower midrange of the TC35 Pro Series has more depth and body, while the upper midrange of both DAC/Amplifiers is pronounced, clear and fairly detailed for its price range.
The treble range of the IKKO Zerda ITM03 is a bit more highlighted and energetic compared to ddHiFi TC35 Pro adapters. However, the TC35 Pro adapters do offer a better sense of control especially when paired with IEM’s like the FiiO FD5 and ddHiFi Janus.
The ddHiFi TC35 Pro has the upper hand when it comes to the depth of the stage, while both are pretty equal in performance when it comes to the wideness and airiness of the stage.
ddHifi offers the new TC35 Pro DAC/Amplifier Series, which is a Trio with different designs that do have the same grate sound performance and solid build quality that we know from previous products. These products are developed for different usage habits/styles that you can chose for your liking, which makes them in my opinion ton an excellent offer.
Pros and Cons:
- + Clarity, Dynamism, Tonality
- + Offers Good Synergy with almost any IEM
- + Very Clean Background (Hiss/Noise)
- + Fancy look and Solid Build Quality
- + You can chose between three different designs
- + MQA & Native DSD512 support
- – Not ideal for high impedance headphones
- – No cable included if you get the Tetris Variant
- – Gets a bit warm at higher volume levels (after longer listening periods)
Thank you for the Read!