Hidizs XO MQA DAC/AMP Review
Hidizs XO MQA DAC/Amplifier Dongle Review
Hidizs Technology Co. Ltd. was founded in 2009 and offers a wide variety of portable audiophile equipments such like Digital Audio Players (DAP), Digital to Analogue Converters (DAC), Amplifiers and In-Ear Monitors.
The XO is the latest USB DAC/Amplifier of the company in form of a dongle that is equipped with 2x ESS SABRE ES9219C DAC Chips, Independent Crystal Oscillators and both 3.5mm SE & 2.5mm Balanced outputs. The device comes also with some interesting features such like MQA rendering with up to 16X unfold and Native DSD support up to DSD256. Another unique highlight of the Hidizs XO are the patented RGB LED light interfaces located on both sides of the device that light up in up to 15 different lighting patterns.
I would like to thank Hidizs for providing the XO USB DAC/ Amplifier Dongle as review sample for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Hidizs beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The official price for the Hidizs XO USB DAC/Amplifier Dongle is 99.00US$, while it will be available for 89.00US$ during the pre-sale period. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package & Accessories:
The Hidizs XO USB DAC/Amplifier dongle came inside a very small box made from plastic material in black color that has the Hidizs branding on the top. This box was located inside a cardboard with the illustration of the device and some product related brandings on the top and some information’s at the bottom.
Inside the box of the Hidizs XO are the following items;
- 1x Hidizs XO USB DAC/Amplifier Dongle
- 1x USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable
- 1x USB Type-C to USB Type-A adaptor
- 1x User Manual
- 1x Warranty Card
Design & Build Quality:
The Hidizs XO is a great looking portable USB DAC/Amplifier in form of a dongle that has a rectangular shape. The device is has a high-density aluminum alloy shell, which is integrally formed with a typical 5-axis CNC high process, which has dimensions of approx 55 x 24.5 x 9.35mm (exclusive cable) and weights around 11 grams.
The Hidizs XO is available in three different color variants that are Black, Rose Gold and Silver same like my review unit.
On the front surface of the housing are the Hidizs brand logo and two buttons in form of an X and O, which reflects the model name of the device. The O button that gives you access to the digital filters is surrounded by a RGB light. This RGB light gives you information about the actual sampling rates and the MQA decoding.
The X button on the other hand is dedicated to select the RGB light pattern on the sides. You can select between up to 15 different lighting effects that do look gorgeous when activated.
Both the left and the right surface of the XO USB DAC/Amplifier dongle features micron-level complex and meticulous processed metal covers with ultra small Hidizs initials in form of the letter “H” that has been engraved in to the metal plates.
Behind this metal covers are small built-in RGB LED light tubes that give different light effects in form of staggers, scattered on the countless “H” letters that looks pretty impressive.
On the top of the device is the USB Type-C digital interface.
The bottom surface of the XO USB DAC/Amplifier features both the 3.5mm Single-Ended and 2.5mm Balanced analog outputs.
At the rear side are some product related brandings and a Hi-Res Audio logo.
The overall build quality of the Hizids XO is top notch like all there products I have reviewed before.
The Hizids XO is an ultra portable USB DAC/Amplifier in form of a dongle that is equipped with some interesting hardware components and features that I will now explain for you.
DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) & Independent Crystal Oscillator:
The Hidizs XO is equipped with independent crystal oscillator and 2x ES9219C DAC Chips of the company ESS Technologies. The ES9219C DAC chip supports high-resolution audio decoding up to 32-Bit/384kHz PCM and native DSD supports up to DSD256. The decoding is done with a SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) of about 118dB (SE)/119dB (BAL) and a THD-N (Total Harmonic Distortion) that is approx 0.0015% (SE)/0.0005 (BAL).
Amplifier & Driving Power, Hissing:
The Hizids XO is a pretty small but pretty powerful DAC/Amplifier dongle solution that offers both 3.5mm Single Ended (SE) and 2.5mm Balanced (BAL) outputs.
The 3.5mm SE output offers up to 78mW @ 32ohm per channel, while the 2.5mm Balanced output is even more powerful with up to 195mW @ 32ohm per channel. Another highlight of the analog interfaces is the pretty clean output that shows minimal background noise.
The XO works with Earphones & Headphones with an impedance between 8-300Ω.
MQA (Master Quality Audio) Decoding:
Another important highlight of the Hidizs XO is MQA decoding. MQA is an award-winning British technology that delivers the sound of the original master recording. The master MQA file is fully authenticated and is small enough to stream or download. The Hidizs XO offers up to 16x MQA unfold. In order to hear the potential of Master Quality Audio files, the source device should be loaded with MQA supported software such as UAPP, Tidal, etc.
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.
The plug-and-play function is only supported with iOS, Android OS, MAC and Windows 10/11 computers. PC’s with an OS (Operating System) below Windows 10 have to install drivers manually that you can download under the link below;
Equipments used for this review:
- DAC’s : Hidizs XO, IKKO ITM03
- USB Source : Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy TAB S8 Ultra
- IEM’s : Hidizs MD4, Moondrop Stellaris, FiiO FH7S
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- 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)
- 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)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- 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. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk (feat. Panda Bear) – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Photek – The Hidden Camera (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Abel Korzeniowski – Dance For Me Wallis (Deezer HiFi)
- 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)
- Alboran Trio – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- 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)
- Metallica – Master of Puppets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Muse – Hysteria (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Rush – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Hidizs XO is a fairly neutral and balanced sounding USB DAC/Amplifier dongle with a moderately warm tonality, which offers a good level of transparency and detail retrieval for its price. It sounds in general fairly musical and doesn’t show any audible digital or unnatural presentation with all sources and earphones I have listen to it.
This review was written after a burn-in period of around 60 hours. Selected sources are the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and TAB S8 Ultra. My sound impression below are mainly based on IEM’s like the Hidizs MD4, Moondrop Stellaris and FiiO FH7S.
Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:
The Hizids XO stands out with is pretty natural and clean overall presentation that offers a decent level of resolution thanks to its well-implemented ESS SABRE ES9219C DAC chip.
The device offers a fairy linear, clean and controlled bass response with low amount of coloration that adds the general presentation some sense of musicality. The subbass region of is produced with a good efficient level of depth and extension that was especially audible when paired with the Hizids MD (Bass Mode) and FiiO FH7S, while listen to songs like Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” or Massive Attack’s “Angle”.
The midbass region shows a tad more coloration compared to the subbass area, while it still sounds pretty clean controlled. The impact, fullness and bottom while listen to instruments such like violins, toms or kick drums. The speed, layering and extension of the lower frequency region fulfill my expectation from an ultra portable DAC/Amplifier dongle at this price level.
The midrange of the Hidizs XO has a tad warmer than neutral tonality and a pretty natural timbre. The grade of clarity and resolution is decent for such an ultra portable DAC/Amplifier dongle. Both male and female vocals are reproduced in a pretty emotional and realistic manner, especially when paired with IEM’s like the Hidisz MD4 (in Balance Mode).
Male vocals such like Dave Gahan, Eric Clapton or David Bowie are presented with an adequate grade of body and depth, while female voices such like Edith Piaf, Adel or Sertap Erener do sound lively and transparent with all IEM’s I have paired the device. Instruments on the other hand such like kick drums and hi-hats are reproduced with a good level of attack, while electric and bass guitars are shown with an adequate grade of presence produced in the upper midrange register.
The treble range of the Hidizs XO is produced in a fairly natural and controlled manner. Both the presence and the brilliance are shown with an efficient level of emphasis and resolution, while the grade of extension meets my expectations from an ultra portable DAC/Amplifier dongle, especially with respects of its price. The upper treble range of the Hidizs XO creates relative good conditions for an airy and open presentation with a decent sense presence, which was audible while listen to instruments such like drums, pianos or violins.
The Hidizs XO shows a fairly expansive soundstage atmosphere with adequate sense of airiness, which is suitable for relative precise positioning and separation of instruments and vocals. The wideness and height of the stage is quite good for an ultra portable DAC/Amplifier dongle, while the depth of the stage is on a moderate level that was audible in Yosi Horikawa’s “Bubbles”.
Hidizs XO versus IKKO ITM03:
The Hidizs XO is the device with an overall warmer tonality and more musical presentation, compared to the IKKO ITM03. The subbass region of the XO shows slightly more depth and rumble, while both dongles are pretty equal in terms of clarity and authority in this area. The midbass area of the Hidizs XO sounds a bit fuller, impactful and musical when I do listen to strings and percussions.
Both the Hidizs XO and the IKKO ITM03 do offer a pretty airy and transparent midrange atmosphere, while the XO shows a slightly warmer and fuller presentation. The lower midrange of the ITM03 has less depth and body compared to the XO when I do listen to strings, pianos or male vocals. The upper midrange of the IKKO ITM03 is a slightly more highlighted and detailed compared to the Hizids XO, while it sounds a bit sharp/shouty and dry when I listen to violins and cellos or to female voices like Edith Piaf or Adel.
The treble range of both USB DAC/AMP dongles is pretty successful in terms of separation, presence and resolution, while the Hidizs XO shows a higher sense of controlled in favor of extension. The XO offers a smoother and more natural treble response compared to the ITM03, which sound a bit bright and sharp when I listen to soprano voices or to instruments such like an electro guitar, hi-hat or pianos.
The IKKO ITM03 has the slightly edge when it comes to the soundstage wideness, while the depth of the stage is pretty equal on both devices.
The Hidizs XO is a decent sounding ultra portable MQA capable DAC/Amplifier dongle with a pretty balanced and natural presentation, thanks to its well-implemented hardware (ES9219C DAC Chips, Independent Crystal Oscillators, etc.) configuration. Moreover, it’s also a visually gorgeous looking product with its solid aluminum housing, stylish physical buttons and the pretty unique patented RGB LED light interface, which is an eye-catching highlight of the device. The end result is a solid product especially with respect to its pretty reasonable price.
Pros & Cons:
- + Pretty Balanced & Natural Overall Presentation
- + Quite Clean / Noise – Free Background
- + Gorgeous Design
- + Eye-Catching RGB LED light interface
- + MQA 16X & Native DSD256 support
- – I would wish a 4.4mm Balanced output instead of the relative outdated 2.5mm standard
- – Gets a bit warm if you do use it with high Impedance Headphones (just after longer listening periods)
Thank you for the Read!