S8 Review - Headfonics
HIDIZS S8 REVIEW
Michael | February 2, 2020
The Hidizs S8 is a DAC/Amp in a small dongle format design to be compatible with PCs, MACs, iOS, and Android devices. It is priced at $89.
Disclaimer: The Hidizs S8 sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at Hidizs for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Hidizs products we reviewed on Headfonics click here. Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
Hidizs has been pumping out some solid budget to middle-tier products, haven’t they? I enjoy a rebrand every now and then, but after a third one, I am not so sure anymore. However, this is a unique case where a DAC that I’ve heard twice before from this company has been used in a different way. I applaud them for that innovation attempt.
Packaging & Accessories
This DAC is tiny and I meant it…super tiny It much smaller than the DragonFly and also smaller than the older AudioEngine D3. Personally, this is the smallest non-pencil-shaped DAC that I’ve ever reviewed.
You ever use those Listerine breath freshener strips? This S8 is almost the exact same size as one of those! Its absurdly small, but in a good way. The box is small and basic, nothing to write home over. However, the inside holds some unexpected goodies.
Included is a USB Micro-B for usage via a PC, a Micro-C intended for usage with Android devices and also a Lightning-enabled adapter as well for iOS users. Hidizs got you covered regardless of how you want to use this S8.
The S8 itself is aluminum, very thin, but at least it doesn’t feel like trash. I consider it more than acceptable here because of the size, it could have easily been entirely plastic nonsense. So, I am thankful it isn’t abysmal quality and that they’ve opted for a very good build, all things considered.
The unit only has 2 buttons for volume. An off/on switch is absent, as are any other buttons. Beyond that, there is only a micro-B port and a 3.5mm output. Wiggling these ports resulted in no serious problems, so they are stable and well soldered from the looks of it.
The included 3 sets of cables are lovely and put out a custom vibe. I really enjoy them. Gods honest, I’ll be using them to replace the trashy cables that will come with all future products like this. These cables are keepers!
In all seriousness, these stock cables that come with it are of high quality and something I really didn’t expect, so thank Hidizs for even including them…because we are on a trek right now in Audiophile Land where companies sometimes don’t even provide power cables.
The Tempotec Sonata was basically a rebrand of the DH1000 from Hidizs and that kind of upset me, having a double review of it and only finding out after I received the product without specs that it was a near clone of the previous DH1000, with a new battery and some minor tweaks.
Right now, this will almost be the third time I’ve reviewed this product because the S8 uses the same DAC as the Sonata. Although, this time, there are huge differences in the physical appearance of both.
When plugged into the PC and used as a DAC through a Windows OS, the adapter display appears as “Sonata”. This is, at least for fidelity reasoning, a triple review of the same product. I’m not exactly happy about that, but at least there are other things to actually speak of, due to the DH1000 vs the Tempotec Sonata almost only having the difference of an exterior case variant between them.
I am not fond, at all, of the CS43131. In fact, I really dislike this entire family of chips. They are old and way too common now. I need to see sonic-fidelity innovation and how this chip can be used differently and with an audibly different outcome, as between this and the Sonata, I hear near 0% difference and attribute the potential difference to placebo.