ddHiFi TC44B USB DAC/Amplifier Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ddHiFi TC44B USB DAC/AMP Review

 

Introduction:

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.

The ddHiFi TC44B is a USB DAC/Amplifier dongle with 4.4mm TRRRS (Pentaconn) & 2.5mm TRRS balanced outputs for portable devices like Smartphone’s (Android and iOS), Tablets, Laptop’s or stationary devices like Desktop PC’s that features a 2x Cirrus Logic CS43131 Dual DAC configuration.

 

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank ddHiFi for providing me TC44B sample 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:

The actual price of the DD HiFi TC44B USB DAC/Amplifier dongle is US $ 89,99 that is available under the link below;

 

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The ddHiFi TC44B 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;

  • 1 x DD HiFi TC44B USB DAC/Amplifier Dongle
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB A Adaptor
  • 1 x Print Material

 

 

Design and Build Quality:

The ddHiFi TC44B DAC/Amplifier dongle has a pretty unique design in form of a symmetrical triangle with dimensions of 18.3×16.8x30mm that looks quite similar to a cheese with its yellow faceplates and two headphone output holes on the front. The main body has a metal chassis in grey color with a nice smooth surface area.

On the front of the main body is the CNC machined faceplate made of metal in yellow color that looks like brass material.

Here are 4.4mm TRRRS (Pentaconn) and 2.5mm TRRS Balanced outputs and a labeling in black color gives information about this output configuration.

At the rears side of the main body is the second metal faceplate.

Here is the fixed cable with a USB Type-C or Lightning male connector (depending on the selection).

The USB Type-C connector/Lightning male connector has a metal housing in the same color of the main body.

The fixed low profile cable is made of 60 silver plated OOC wires that’s has a length of about 85mm.

This cable features a transparent TPU coating that is shock and impact resistant.

The rear metal faceplate sports two fixing screws and has the ddHiFi branding, USB DAC and TC44B labeling on its surface.

The ddHiFi TC44B has a very robust build quality and is also very lightweight with only about 13g.

 

 

           

Some Technical Specifications:
  • DAC Configuration                 : Dual DAC 2x Cirrus Logic CS43131
  • THD+N                                   : ≤ -110dB
  • SNR                                        : 125dB
  • DNR                                       : 120dB
  • Output Power                         : 120mW @ 32 ohm
  • Digital Input Interface             : USB Type-C or Lighting
  • Outputs                                   : 4.4mm TRRRS & 2.5mm TRRS Balanced Out
  • Dimensions                            : 18.3×16.8x30mm (Main Body)
  • Cable Length                          : 80mm
  • Weight                                    : 13 grams

 

 

 

Hardware Features:

a) Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC (Digital to Analog Converter):

The ddHiFi TC44B comes with a Dual (2x) CS43131 DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) configuration of the company Cirrus Logic that features a build in amplifier. The CS43131 has a resolution of 32-bit per channel and supports sampling rates up to 384 kHz.

 

b) Supported Sampling Rates:

The ddHiFi TC44B is a DAC/Amplifier that supports Native DSD up to DSD256 and PCM sampling rates up to PCM 32Bit / 384kHz that is quite impressive.

 

c) Connectivity:

The ddHiFi TC44B utilizes a chipset that is compatible with most iOS & Android devices (depending on your connector selection). The TC44B supports also 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.

The plug-and-play supports only MAC and Windows 10 computers. For WinXP, Win7, and Win8 systems please download the driver from the link below;

 

d) Amplifier & Driving Power, Hissing:

The ddHiFi TC44B features a balanced circuit that adopts a dual DAC configuration with build in amplifiers, which do offer low distortion and high output power for improved dynamics and resolution.

The TC44B offers a driving power about 120mW @ 32ohm which is pretty high for such a portable USB DAC/Amplifier.

The TC44B shows a very clean output from both the 4.4mm TRRRS and 2.5mm TRRS with very low amount of hissing / background noise.

 

 

Equipments used for this review:
  • DAC’s             : ddHiFi TC44B, Ikko Zerda
  • USB Source   : Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Asus TUF Dell 5521 Laptop
  • IEM’s              : ddHiFi Janus, FiiO FH3, FiiO FA9

 

  

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Wav 24bit/88kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Elton John – Your Song (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • David Bowie – Black Star (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Unplugged Album (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlude (Live) (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • No Doubt – Hella Gut (Spotify)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Twerl – Lishu (Spotify)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Photek – The Hidden Camera (Spotify)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory (16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The ddHiFi TC44B shows a slightly warmer than neutral tonality with a slightly highlighted bass response that has a strong yet smooth character. The midrange is slightly forward oriented pretty musical and shows a nice sense of airiness and clarity, while the treble area is fairly linear, mildly bright and quite detailed for a product at this price range.

This review was written after a Burn-in period of 60 hours. I have paired the TC44B with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20Ultra and the Hidizs AP80 Pro. IEM’s that I have used for testing are the ddHiFi Janus, FiiO FA9 and FiiO FH3.

 

 

 

Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:

The bass of the ddHiFi TC44B sounds slightly pronounced and shows a smooth yet controlled response, both in the subbass and midbass regions. The depth of the subbass is on a good level, while the rumble and intensity is pretty noticeable while listen to it with the FiiO FH3 and FA9. The performance in this are is quite satisfying from electronic music up to faster genres like metal music.

The midbass region of the ddHiFi TC44B shows a pretty warm and musical character with its quite impactful and pronounced presentation. Instruments like cross drums are fairly accented, while snare drums are bassy and pretty fast. Other Instruments such like a contrabass or bass guitar do sound a bit fuller and warmer than in neutral.

The bass of the TC44B sounds in general controlled and moderately fast, without show any remarkable mixings and muddiness.

When it comes to the midrange of the ddHiFi TC44B, I can say that it sound fairly forward oriented and shows a mildly warm tonality with moderate sense of clarity and airiness. The lower midrange shows a good level of intensity and depth that gives male vocals a nice sense of musicality.

The upper midrange on the other is slightly bright, moderately emphasized and quite detailed for a product at this price level. The TC44B sounds pretty controlled with both the Janus and FiiO FH3, without to show remarkable negative situations like sibilance or harshness when I do listen female vocals or instruments like flutes, pianos or violins. The TC44B has presented female vocals with a nice sense of transparency and clarity.

The treble range of the ddHiFi TC44B has a pretty linear and smooth character that shows a mildly bright tonality. The treble range is not too warm or too bright, it shows a good level of control and sounds musical that I really enjoyed. The treble range of the TC44B offers a good sense of airiness and sparkle, while the clarity and detail retrieval that is produced by this DAC/Amplifier is on a quite good level for a device at this price range.

The ddHiFi TC44B offers a surprisingly good soundstage performance for DAC/Amplifier at this size and pricing. The stage shows a good sense of wideness while the depth is on an average level.

 

 

Comparison:

 

ddHiFi TC44B versus Ikko Zerda:

The Ikko Zerda has a slightly brighter overall tonality compared to the ddHiFi TC44B that has a warmer tonality and overall more musical presentation. The lower frequency region of the TC44B is more energetic and shows a better sense depth and intensity that is also one of the main reason for the warmer and more musical presentation.

The midrange of the Ikko Zerda has a brighter tonality and that gives a better sense of clarity and airiness in this area. The TC44B sounds more musical, while the Zerda has the slightly advantage in terms of technicality. ddHiFi TC44B is the winner in terms of male vocal performance, while the Ikko Zerda seems to have the upper hand for female voices.

The upper midrange and treble transitions of the TC44B are far more controlled and natural, compared to the Zerda that sounds brighter and unforgiving. The Ikko Zerda has the upper hand in terms of treble detail and extension, while the ddHiFi TC44B is more forgiving, musical in this area, which akes it more ideal for longer listening periods.

Both the Zerda and the TC44B are quite successful USB DAC/Amplifiers in term of separation and placement of instruments and vocals. The main difference is that the Zerda offers a slightly more airy atmosphere with better sense of soundstage wideness, while the TC44B has the slightly edge in terms of depth.

 

Conclusion:

The ddHiFi TC44B is a very robust device and one of the best sounding USB DAC/Amplifier adaptor solution on the market that offers both a 4.4mm and 2.5mm Balanced output that shows an extremely clear/silent background, which makes it ideal for extra sensitive IEM’s.

 

 

Pros and Cons:
  • + Musicality
  • + Smooth & Fatigue Free Treble Response
  • + Clean & Powerful 4.4mm & 2.5mm Balanced Outputs
  • + 256x Native DSD Support
  • + Solid Build Quality
  • + Price to Performance Ratio
  • – No MQA Support
  • – Couldn’t finned any Major Drawback

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

 

 

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