ddHiFi TC44C USB DAC/AMP Review
ddHiFi TC44C USB 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.
The TC44C is ddHiFi’s flagship USB DAC/Amplifier that features a fully balanced designed with Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC Dual DAC architecture. It is equipped with both 3.5mm Single Ended & 4.4mm Balanced analog outputs. Moreover the device supports Native DSD up to DSD256 and offers an output power of 120mW @ 32Ω over the 4.4mm Balanced out.
I would like to thank ddHiFi for providing me TC44C USB DAC/Amplifier 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 ddHiFi TC44C USB DAC/Amplifier is available with two different low profile cable options. The TC44C that includes a TC05 USB Type-C cable is available for 119,99 US$, while the second option comes with both the TC05 USB Type-C and MFi06S Lightning cables that is sold for 139,99 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package and Accessories:
The ddHiFi TC44A 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 TC44C USB DAC/Amplifier
- 1 x Leather Case
- 1 x USB Type-C to USB Type-C Cable
The box includes a free genuine leather case with hands stitching that is limited to 600 pieces that looks pretty stylish.
Design and Build Quality:
The ddHiFi TC44C is a pretty small and lightweight USB DAC/Amplifier with a pretty minimalistic industrial design. It has dimensions of 40.8x22x12.5mm and weights only approx. 12.9grams, which makes it ideal for the use on the go.
There are no assembly gaps around the headphone sockets in order to avoid electromagnetic interferences.
On the front of the device are both the 3.5mm Single Ended & 4.4mm Balanced (TRRRS Pentaconn) outputs.
The 4.4mm Balanced output has a LED Indicator around it, which gives information about the actual codec. Green is for Native DSD, while Blue is for PCM decoding conversations.
At the rear side of the device is a nice looking CNC machined faceplate in gold color that looks like made from brass material.
This faceplate features the USB Type-C digital input and company/product related brandings.
The TC05 USB Type-C to Type-C cable that also sold separately, which is an upgrade cable of the company.
This upgrade cable utilities four strands of separately insulated wires as the conductor. The conductor is made of high purity silver-plated OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) copper material with a double protection structure, which uses Teflon for the inner insulation and TPU for the outer insulation.
The both the TC44C USB DAC/AMP and the TC05 upgrade USB Type-C cable do reflect a decent build quality like all other ddHiFi product I have used before.
Some Technical Specifications:
- DAC Configuration : Dual DAC Cirrus Logic CS43131
- SNR : >125dB
- THD+N : ≤ -110dB
- Dynamic Range : >120dB
- PCM Decoding : up to 32-Bit/384kHz
- DSD Decoding : Native DSD64/DSD/128/DSD256
- Output Power : 120mW @ 32 ohm (4.4mm Balanced)
- Digital Input Interface : USB Type-C or Lighting
- Outputs : 3.5mm Single Ended & 4.4mm Balanced
- Dimensions : 40.8x22x12.5mm
- Weight : approx. 12.9 grams
A) Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC & Supported Sampling Rates
The ddHiFi TC44C features a Dual DAC architecture equipped with 2x CS43131 DAC Chips (Digital to Analog Converter) of the company Cirrus Logic. The CS43131 is able to decode Hi-Res audio signals supporting 32-Bit/384kHz PCM and native DSD256. Moreover, it offers a decent audio signal decoding performance with -125dB SNR and ≤-110dB THD+N Distortion ratings.
The ddHiFi TC44C utilizes a chipset that is compatible with most iOS & Android devices (depending on your connector selection). The TC44C 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;
- Windows Driver: https://www.ddhifi.com//filedownload/274044
C) Amplifier & Driving Power, Hissing:
The ddHiFi TC44C 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 circuit design of TC44C simplifies the internal wiring by separating the 4.4mm socket with multiple connection pins from the mainboard. For this, all the internal connections are done using high-purity OCC Copper wires. The soldering here is done using lead-free soldering tin with 3% silver.
The result is a very clean output from both the 3.5mm Single Ended & 4.4mm TRRRS outputs that do offer a dark and pretty hiss-free listening experience.
The TC44C offers a driving power about 120mW @ 32ohm over the 4.4mm Balanced output, which is pretty high for such a miniaturized USB DAC/Amplifier.
D) List of Remarkable Features:
- Fully Balanced design with Dual DAC architecture
- Cirrus Logic 2xCS43131 DAC chip
- Internal Connections via OCC Copper wires
- Both Balanced & Single-Ended Headphone Port
- Concealed Multi-Colour LED Indicator in 4.4mm Output
- High-quality OCC Copper USB connector cable
- Specially designed Leather case for TC44C
Equipment’s used for this review:
- DAC’s : ddHiFi TC44C, Lotoo PAW S1
- USB Source : Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, Asus TUF Dell 5521
- IEM’s : ddHiFi Janus 2, FiiO FD7, Moondrop Variations, Kinera URD
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (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)
- Daft Punk – Contact (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Photek – The Hiden Camera (Spotify)
- Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush – YYZ (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Rush – 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)
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- 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)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
- 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)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- 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)
- B.B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
The ddHiFi TC44C is a source with a pretty transparent and smooth overall presentation, which shows a mildly arm tonality. When it comes to the frequency response I can say that the lows are shown with good level of depth and authority, the midrange has a pretty rich, clean and detailed character, while the treble range is nicely highlighted, control and is reproduced with a good grade of airiness and extension.
This review has been written after a burn-in period of approx. 50 hours. I have paired the TC44C with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10Plus and Asus TUF Dell 5521 Laptop. My sound experiences below are based on testing’s with the ddHiFi Janus 2, FiiO FD7, Moondrop Variatons, Kinera URD.
Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:
The ddHiFi TC44C offers a good level of subbass depth and extension that is not overdone when I listen to the FiiO FD7 and Kinera URD. Songs like Lorde’s “Royals” or Massive Attack’s “Angel” are shown with a decent sense of depth and rumble, while the level of authority is quite decent for a USB DAC/Amplifier at this compact size.
The midbass region of the TC44C has an efficient grade of body and intensity, while it is shown with a pretty smooth and warmish tonality. The resolution and control of this area is great, and I didn’t noticed any remarkable negative situations like a midbass hump or muddiness that overflows to other frequency areas.
The bass of the ddHiFi TC44C stands out with its technicality as well as fun factor. It offers in general a very good speed, separation, emphasis, and resolution in this area with almost any earphone I have listen to it, without to show critical shortcomings.
The ddHiFi TC44C shows a close to neutral midrange presentation with nice hint of coloration, while the level of clarity and airiness is above average. The resolution in this area is on a decent level for a product at this price range, specifically while listen to male and female vocals.
The TC44C offers a transparent and detailed male vocal presentation thanks to its well-tuned lower midrange depth, intensity and extension, which was quite audible when I do listen to it with the IEM’s like the FiiO FD7 or Moondrop Variations.
The upper midrange of the ddHiFi TC44C shows a pretty good intensity, resolution and extension, while the tonality is fairly neutral and smooth in this area. When it comes to female voices, I can say that the TC44C offers in general a small amount of coloration that is not overdone. Female vocals like Sarah McLachlan, Dionne Warwick or Aretha Franklin are reproduced in a pretty emotional intimate manner. There are no negative situations such as sibilance and or harshness due to the well-adjusted upper midrange tuning. I really enjoyed the female vocal presentation especially when paired with the Kinera URD and FiiO FD7.
When it comes to the treble range of the ddHiFi TC44C, I can say that it shows a mildly bright tonality along with an airy and smooth character. It offers an above average performance when it comes to the extension, resolution and sharpness in this area.
The lower treble region is shown with a good sense of control and extension when I listen to kicks drums or cymbals, which did sound pretty distinct and countable with IEM’s like the Moondrop Variations and ddHiFi Janus 2. The treble range of the TC44C doesn’t show any critical negative conditions like over sharpness or mixings, when instruments do play with high level of distortion.
The ddHiFi TC44C shows a decent performance in terms of separation and placement of instruments & vocals. It offers also an airy and spacious atmosphere, along with an above average sense of depth and wideness.
ddHiFi TC44C versus Lotoo PAW S1:
The Lotoo PAW S1 shows a slightly warmer tonality and smoother overall presentation compared to the ddHiFi TC44C. Both the PAW S1 and the TC44C are pretty similar in terms of subbass depth, while TC44C has a slightly advantage when it come to the clarity and authority in this area. The midbass area of the PAW S1 shows a slightly warmer tonality and fuller presentation compared to the TC44C, which has the upper hand in terms of tightness, resolution and control.
The both DAC/Amplifiers do offer a pretty musical and lush midrange character, while the PAW S1 is the device with the warmer tonality. The lower midrange of the Lotoo PAW S1 is lightly more highlighted, which gives it a slightly advantage when I do listen to male vocals or instruments like an acoustic guitar and viola. When it comes to the upper midrange, I can say that the ddHiFi TC44C shows a better level of liveliness, resolution and extension when I do listen to female voices and instruments such like a side flute, piano or violin, while the difference is minimal but audible.
The treble range of both devices shows a smooth and controlled tuning, however the ddHiFi TC44C sounds a bit more accented and dynamic in this area. The lower treble region of the TC44C shows a slightly better sense of presence, clarity and definition. The upper treble region of the Lotoo PAW S1 is able to produce a decent sense of airiness and sparkle, while the ddHiFi TC44C offer s better grade of resolution and extension that is especially audible in around the 7-8 kHz region.
Both the Lotoo PAW S1 and the ddHiFi TC44C do have a decent soundstage atmosphere for their price level and do offers a fairly accurate placement and separation of instruments and vocals. The soundstage of the TC44C is slightly more airy and wider, while both are pretty equal when it comes to the depth of the stage.
The TC44B is another pretty powerful miniaturized USB DAC/Amplifier from ddHiFi that comes with some interesting features. It has a fully balanced Dual CS43131 DAC’s architecture, both 3.5mm Single Ended & 4.4mm Balanced outputs, High-quality OCC Copper USB connectors, Native DSD Support up to DSD256 and a nice looking sleek design. However, the best part is the general sound performance, which has satisfy me with its fast and controlled bass response, transparent and musical midrange presentation and a treble tuning that shows a decent sense of authority, clarity and definition for such an ultra-small device.
Pros and Cons:
- + Overall Sound Performance
- + Clean Background
- + 3.5mm SE & 4.4mm Balanced Output
- + 256x Native DSD Support
- + Ultra Small & Stylish Design
- + Comes with the TC05 USB Type-C Upgrade Cable
- – No Hardware Buttons for Volume adjustment
- – No MQA Support that the TC35 Pro Series had
- – Apple Owners have to pay more (but they do get the TC05 Upgrade Cable too)
Thnk you for the Read!