Hidizs DH80 DAC/Amplifier Review
04.14.2021 | Michael | DH80 / DH80S Reviews

 

The Hidizs DH80 is a $139 amplifier output device that connects to the AP80 series, lending it much better audio quality and driving power. With all the DAC’s out there that can connect via USB to the portable DAP of your choice, it is nice to see Hidizs making their own little amplifier that is dedicated for usage with the AP80 system.

 

Design

The DH80 has a resting dock-like USB connector sticking up that you impart the AP80 DAPs into. The two stick together with included magnetic plate disks. However, the DH80S is an exterior semi-replicated AP80 but that is a pure amplifier in design and size, so it is more like stacking two AP80s on top of each other and using a normal USB C to C connector/cable between them.

The standard DH80 has no need for cables and directly plugs into the AP80’s USB C port. The buttons are firm and sturdy, I feel no excessive jiggle or poor craftsmanship here. Also, the power and gain toggles give a satisfying click.

Overall, the build is excellent, solid aluminum. I like how Hidizs thinks outside the box here with this design, I further enjoy that the build is actually that good as well.

 

DAC & Power

The ESS9281C is something I have not really experienced before, but I can safely say that I enjoy this DAC. What I am hearing is not at all clinical or metallic in tonality. It is a rather more warm and lush feeling than I had expected.

The vividness factor is excellent on this and a noticeable improvement over just using the AP80Pro by itself. More so, you get 210mW+210mW @32Ω in balanced mode. That is actually rather good vs the AP80 pro’s 190mW + 190mW@32Ω.

In this case, the added power is not so much the thing that really impressed me. My headphones are being properly fed with this DH80 and you can physically feel it. Swapping between just the AP80Pro and then the AP80Pro with the DH80 equates to a powerful, firm feeling to everything. The thickness and weight fact are significantly increased with the full combo unit in action.

 

Bass Response

Yes, you can EQ the bass on the source player and have it reflected in the DH80. Thankfully, one of the highlights of this DH80 is its low-end responsiveness to alteration and EQ’ing.

What I think is funny is that the stock AP80Pro by itself responds less well to its own bass boosting toggles than it does digitally outputted to the DH80. So yep, chalk that up to a win for me and those who enjoy musicality and prefer a bit of oomph down yonder.

This DH80 plays so well with bass that I have shelved my more expensive higher-end DAPs entirely. Sometimes, it is okay to sacrifice fidelity for musicality and fun-factor. True, the more expensive products sound cleaner and purer, but they lack the fun factor I am having with this DH80.

 

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