ddHiFi TC44B is a fully balanced DAC/Amp based on a dual CS43131 chip with USB-C and two headphones outputs. That pleasure costs $89.
Sound quality for the price
The ddHiFi is a company that makes mainly accessories like adapters and cases, but I was pleased to do a review about TC25B and now the TC44B, which are mobile DAC/Amps. They also made the ddHiFi Janus, the earphone with both MMCX and 2pin connectors, but I haven’t chance to test it (yet).
This time ddHifi doesn’t provide us the wooden box like with the TC25B. Instead, we’re getting a package made out of eco-paper. It looks great, and even being made out of paper, it is really solid. Inside the box, you’ll find only the TC44B and USB-C to USB-A adapter. It’s decorated with paper scraps that also delicately secure the DAC. I adore how consistent ddHiFi is with its packaging philosophy.
ddHifi TC44B has a trihedron shape and is entirely made of metal. The part that goes around and the shell of the USB-C connector is painted gray with powder method, but it’s very smooth to the touch. The rear and back pieces are made of brushed metal, in a golden color.
The whole device is about 13cm long. In my opinion, the cable could be a little shorter, but it’s well-made and surprisingly thin. The outer braid is a bit sticky at first touch, but with time it gets smoother.
Surprisingly, it’s very light – only 13g. Thanks to that, it won’t strain the USB-C in your phone.
If the ddHifi looks big for you – trust me, it isn’t significant. I think this trihedron shape is the best possibility to fulfill the DAC with all necessary electronics.
150mW of power has to eat, which’s visible in my phone’s shorter battery life. Using Xiaomi Mi9 and ddHifi TC44B made the SoT strike down from about 5hours to 3,5.
ddHifi TC44B definitely makes the wow effect on the listener’s face. It’s shockingly good for its price. The sound signature is pretty natural, but in spring coloristic – it all blooms like the fresh flowers, making it way more addictive. It matches all earphones that I’m listening to for testing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a more bassy IEM like CFA Vega 2020, a brighter one like Bqeyz Spring 2, or calmer and more neutral, like the FIR Audio VxV. None of them sounds bad with this little DAC.
The power on the output is also above satisfying level. It can even correctly drive my AKG K702, so I think only the mobile planars like Tin P1 need more than TC44B provides.
I’ll make multiple comparisons of the ddHifi to the EarMen Eagle because they’re similar in the basic assumptions. Well, those are small DACs, aren’t they?
The bass is slightly elevated, but it keeps its naturality. Slam is not as speedy as the Eagle’s one, but I think that’s pretty obvious, even after a few words at the beginning. The Eagle is more technical when the TC44B provides more musicality and delicately sweetens the bass. I can’t say it’s slow or soft, but for sure, TC44B provides a little rounded bass that can strike but usually stays in the background to keep all vocals at the front. The texture level is perfectly balanced. It doesn’t scratch your eardrums with it but also isn’t as smooth as silk. Thanks to that, the bass should please almost everyone – just take your favorite earphones, cable, and go on!
The midrange, as mentioned before, stays at the front for the whole time. When I’m listening to live records, I feel like I would be the microphone and the vocalist sings into my face. I know, I know, not everyone likes that, but it is awe-inspiring for me. It makes the sound more intimate, but kindly, without being offensive and aggressive for the listener. They’re also pretty smooth. It is almost the FiiO M15 level on some earphones, like the Moondrop SSP or CFA Vega 2020. When Craft Ears Four is in use, the vocal is crispier and more precise.
The treble is pretty linear, except for one frequency range. Around 5-6kHz, there’s a considerable boost that can hurt your ears. But that’s it, the only objectively lousy part of the whole DAC. The rest is lovely, the treble is natural, but it slightly moves to the more delicate presentation (except the part mentioned before), making the TC44B an excellent daily DAC.
Microdetails are another significant part. Each strike in the drum plates let us feel how it is shaking. The same applies to the rest of the instruments. The piano has an excellent black background around it, feeling like I would be sitting in the studio, in front of the musician.
The soundstage is, hmm, satisfying. It’s a nice contrast from the norm because it is more significant than usual. I would compare its depth to the iBasso DX160, but the width is similar to the EarMen Eagle. The imaging is lovely but very correct. There’s no fading through the other sounds, just pinpoints where the sound sources stay for the time. Separation is pleasant too.
ddHifi TC44B is a prominent, cheap, and balanced DAC/Amp for mobile use. For 89$, you can get the sound quality worth more, and it is still small and portable. It brings more fun to your earphones, provides a nice quantity of power, and looks gorgeous.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Philips Fidelio X2HR, Bqeyz Spring 2, Craft Ears Four, Hifiman HE400i 2020, AKG K702, Moondrop SSP, UM Mest, CFA Vega 2020, Fir Audio VxV, Unique Melody MEST, Campfire Audio Solaris LE
- Sources– FiiO BTR5, Dragonfly Cobalt, iFi iDSD Neo, Topping DX3 Pro, EarMen TR-Amp, EarMen Eagle, xDuoo XD-05 Plus.