Hidizs, one of the big names in the ChiFi audio industry is well known for their high quality budget DAC AMPS, Cables, In ear monitors. The Mermaid series of earphones got a very good reputation among the consumers and to that addition they also got a good reputation for some budget dac amps like the sonata series.
They now launched the S8 as their mid fi dongle dac with the dual CS dacs to give a nice competition to its competitors and in this review let’s check whether they really are catching up to the competitors.
This unit has been provided to me as a part of the review circle and a big thanks to Indranil Mitra for having me in this circle. The whole review is based on my observations with this product and I have not been influenced by the brand or the person to manipulate this review. The review also depends on the type of gear and the source used to test out the product.
DAC Chip CS43131
Supported sampling rate PCM up to 32bit 384kHz
DSD up to DSD256
Compatibility iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, iPad OS
Output options Single-ended stereo output on Jack 3.5mm (compatible with headphones with microphone)
Single-ended output power 2x 30mW @ 32Ω
Single-ended output frequency response 20Hz – 50kHz
Single-ended output THD+N 0.002% (1kHz)
Single-ended output SNR 120dB
Single-ended output channel separation 78dB @ 32Ω
Single-ended output impedance < 1Ω
Recommended headphone resistance range 8-150Ω
Physical buttons Volume +, Volume –
PACKAGE AND ACCESSORIES:
1 x S8 Hi Fi Decoding DAC Amp
1 x 2.0 USB to Micro Cable
1 x Micro to Lightning Cable
1 x Micro to Micro OTG Cable
1 x Micro to Type-C OTG Cable
1 x Silicone Case
1 x User Manual
DESIGN AND BUILD:
The design of the S8 is very minimalistic and small in size and literally they are the size of a pocket knife. The whole construction is made out of aluminium chassis and the front and back of the chassis is made out of glass. The top portion has the volume rockers embedded in a circular button style and in the bottom they possess the 3.5mm jack. In the top portion they possess the micro usb port for connecting the main hub to the various devices.
It would have been nicer if they included the type c port instead of the micro usb port since the USB C is universally used as of now but it’s fine since the brand also included the necessary cables in the package itself so no need of worrying about connecting to different platforms.
For some reason the volume buttons don’t work in iOS when the apple music is used but it’s not a deal breaker since I use the volume within the smartphone itself.
The Hidizs S8 is equipped with the dual CS43131 dac chip which is now widely used in most of the dacs in this price range where this thing started after the greatest hit of Tempotec Sonata HD Pro. The Hidizs S8 just takes the sound of the HD Pro up a notch by adding the dual dacs in them.
The Cirrus Logic dacs are always a pretty good package giving nice warm and dynamic sound but struggles when it comes to distortion and cleanliness.
The S8 is developed in the sense that it should combine that dynamism and the fun with that undistorted sound and that cleanliness. In this review let’s see whether the S8 really lives up to the expectation.
The power output of the S8 is rated at 32mv@32 Ohms and based on the spec sheet they are very low in power and in my testing the IEM ran sufficiently but the power hungry iem has issues in revealing its full potential. The whole sound output is via the 3.5mm end.
The overall sound signature of the S8 is more of a warm and balanced sound which pairs really well with the bright sound signature earphones. The tin t2 plus and the HZ Sound Heart Mirror does pair well with the S8 and overall they are even good for the balanced sounding iem too.
The S8 instantly shows the dynamic range with all the earphones that I have tested. The soundstage slightly got wider and the depth of the low end notes got slightly improved. The vocal positioning is done pleasantly which is rather not too forward or too laid back instead they are at a sweet spot.
The extensions on both the ends are done very well and the overall sound output is dynamic and fun. The tin t2 plus with bright and balanced dacs doesn’t have that warmth but after using this the whole sound signature appeared very pleasing and smooth.
The awesome aspect of the S8 is that they have one of the best low noise floors thus even when paired with the sensitive iem’s they don’t cause any hissing sound. The TFZ No:03 has a very prominent hissing sound when paired with any ordinary dacs but with the S8, the hissing is completely absent and overall gave a nice positive feedback.
The low end is tighter and provides a nice extension thus giving that nice depth effect overall. The rumble is slightly boosted up and the mid bass section now got slightly cleaner and detailed. These things are pretty appreciated when the bright and balanced sounding earphones are paired with it.
However the bass depth and the extensions are not upto my expectation and in that regards i would say get a DAP for that nice bass effect and the overall deep extensions. Considering the size of the package they sound really great and provide a nice low end overall.
The instruments are now clearer and made the presentation slightly wider. Now the instruments get enough air and the space can be easily appreciated. Both the male and the female vocals sound nice and smooth without any harshness. The female vocals however have that grainy effect in the top end but overall they are very pleasing and non fatiguing.
The detail retrieval is good and overall the separation and the clarity of the midrange got improved as per my observations. The midrange however sounds slightly lower in volume since the power of the S8 is not that high and you need to push the volume slightly higher to get that bloom effect in the midrange.
The high end is not affected at all here, when it comes to the extensions they are not affected but it does the clarity and separation very good. The cymbal crashes are very natural now and the decay of the cymbals are precise and doesn’t sound sharper thus making the listening experience very pleasing.
Overall I don’t find a big difference in the high end when it comes to the extension and the quantity but the tonality and the balancing part is nicely done in the S8, the instruments now sound more natural and not sibilant thus the presentation is very pleasing. This is acceptable since the power is required to make the headphones shine in the high end and the S8 doesn’t have that, but considering all other factors of the S8 the treble is well tuned and delivered nicely.
The S8 might not have that blooming and vibrant factor but they are dynamic and slightly expansive for sure.
PROS AND CONS:
- Warm and Dynamic Sound
- Powerful Enough for Most IEM’S
- Build and Design
- DSD Support
- Can’t drive power hungry Cans
- Not the best in terms of extension
S8, the latest offering from the Hidizs is a pretty good package from the brand. From the size to the sound they are just overall bang for the buck. The overall sound of the S8 is balanced with the warm background giving a versatile experience and they can be paired well with all kinds of sounding earphones. The power output may not be the strongest aspect of this earphone but when it comes to the sound they are very pleasing and dynamic.
The size is just perfect and the build is overall great with a nice aluminium build. The accessories that they provide with this are generous and of very good quality. At last the price is very reasonable!
The dynamism and the separation are the first aspect that you will observe instantly after listening via the HIDIZS S8 which is a pretty welcoming package in this price range. Even though they lack the vibrant and detailed sound, the dynamic energy and the very low noise floor gives this product a MAJOR GO! from my side.
This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C
I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.