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Hidizs SD2 - Odd Shape = Odd Sound? - Honest Audiophile Impressions

There are so many USB-C dongles to choose from, it seems like the options are endless. They all look similar, as a lot of them have the same internals; yet the prices are getting ridiculously high. The good news is, Hidizs has a solution for you. Let me tell you about the SD2.

The Hidizs SD2 will set you back $50 from your bank account, currently on sale for $40 at the time of this review.


Purchase:


Specs:


DAC Chip: ES9270

DSD: Native DSD64/128

PCM: Support up to 384kHz/32Bit

Sampling rate indicator: Red Color: PCM 44.1-48kHz Blue Color: PCM 88.2-384kHz & DSD

Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz

Distortion: 0.0015%

Signal-to-noise ratio: 118dB

Separation: 64dB

Output power: Up to 70mW+70mW SE 3.5mm

Dimensions:  34.5×20×10mm

Net weight: 6g

Shell material: Aluminum alloy + Resin

Type-C interface

Supported System: Android, Windows, Mac OS, iPad OS


Build/Design:


The Hidizs SD2 is not the usual design for a USB-C dongle. The lightweight, odd shape is made of aluminum alloy and resin. The top end has a USB-C connection and the other has a 3.5mm output.

Sadly, the USB-C connection doesn't have a step but instead is flat against the shell; this causes fit issues with phone cases. This is a major issue for me as I use a case with my phone all the time. Every phone case I tried, the SD2 didn't fit.


There is an LED light that displays the different sample rates; Red Color: PCM 44.1-48kHz Blue Color: PCM 88.2-384kHz & DSD


Microphone Compatible:


The Hidizs SD2 does work with microphones according to the manufacturer, but I didn't test that ability.


Source Pairing: The Hidizs SD2 isn't the most powerful USB-C adapter available with 70mW+70mW SE 3.5mm. There is no balanced output on the SD2. You can forget about using the SD2 to power headphones as it doesn't have the oomph to drive headphones properly. The SD2 is for IEMs only, and then it struggles with the more demanding planars. But it powered the majority of my gear with no problem; planars, you could tell, were a challenge for the SD2, but it got them to volume.


Sonic Impressions:


My Review Process:


My Terms & Definitions:


My Reference Music:


So, how does the Hidizs SD2 sound?


The Hidizs SD2 uses the Sabre ES9270 DAC chip, which isn't the most current or popular. However, the ES9270 is a competent chip that doesn't get the credit it deserves, in my honest opinion. The SD2 has a sonic presentation that I wasn't expecting. It isn't neutral or analytical but instead offers a fun, engaging presentation.


Bass:


The bass of the SD2 is more of a fun presentation than neutral. There is good body and weight to the bass. The texture of the bass was a pleasant surprise. It adds some punch and slam to the presentation while staying controlled. The tone and timbre of the bass are mostly natural.


Mids:


The mids of the SD2 are forward and energetic. There is a spotlight on the mid region that pushes them closer to the listener. Unfortunately, they can be aggressive and bright. The tone and timbre of the mids aren't as natural as the bass, especially in the upper mids where the elevation adds some unnatural metallic moments. The SD2 is sibilant-prone; if your IEM struggles with sibilance, the SD2 will bring it out even more.


Treble:


The treble of the SD2 is vivid and vibrant. It is very expressive in the treble and may cause discomfort for those sensitive to treble. There is a bit of hotness at times, especially in the lower treble regions. The tone and timbre are somewhat unnatural, with the elevation adding metallic moments. There is a vivid and vibrant presentation that can be overwhelming on IEMs that have elevated treble.


Technical Abilities:


The technical abilities of the Hidizs SD2 are adequate for the price tag. The soundstage capabilities of the SD2 are wider than expected. I was impressed by the width and depth of the presentation, making it easy to hear differences in venues and to read into the stage. Imaging is well done, considering the price. The SD2 does a good job of following the action from side to side without any gaps, stuttering, or jitters.

Layering is good as well; there is no crowding or fighting for position on the stage.

Detail retrieval is good; you won't be blown away by the amount, but you won't be disappointed either.

The resolution of the retrieved details is average for the price, a tad harsh and glaring in the uppers.

The tone and timbre are somewhat natural, with the bass being more natural than the mids and treble. The mids and treble are too forward and tend to have a slight metallic twinge to them.


Comparison:


Shanling UA1 Plus is a wired dongle that doesn't have issues connecting when a phone case is used. The UA1 Plus has a more neutral presentation and is not as forward and energetic in the upper frequencies. The UA1 Plus is more cohesive and balanced. The UA1 Plus and SD2 have similar detail retrieval, but the UA1 Plus is better at resolving details. They have similar staging size, depth, and layering.


Conclusion:


If you are looking for a unique USB-C adapter/dongle to add to your collection, the Hidizs SD2 would be an excellent addition. If you are looking for a small, portable USB-C dongle/adapter that offers a fun, engaging, and energetic presentation, then the Hidizs SD2 may be what you are searching for. However, if you use phone cases or are seeking a neutral, analytical presentation, the SD2 more than likely isn't what you are looking for. I like the Hidizs SD2 for what it offers because it is way different from the normal offerings. But it is quirky, flawed, and to be honest; I don't use the SD2 as other products are better.


I am Dave the Honest Audiophile. Thanks for reading, and I will catch you in the next one. Don't forget to enjoy the music and that honesty is the BEST policy!


I am not a professional sound engineer, producer, musician, or vocalist, etc. I have not done any scientific research, measurements, or in-depth testing of any kind; just my own listening, comparing and internet reading/research.  I have limited, real-life experience with recording, mixing and mastering gear.  I have been involved since my teenage years with various churches as an amateur sound booth technician.


Please take these thoughts, opinions and reasonings as just that, my honest audiophile thoughts, opinions and reasonings.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TalkDbs @TalkDbs


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