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NagoTheBeast t1_j65c39t wrote



disco_g OP t1_j65dz6v wrote

Hmm I hadn't considered that this might be contentious. The difference in sound, while not huge, is IMO enough to be well out of the "subjective" category. Is it going to be worth $100+ to everybody? No, but to me it's a significant upgrade.


guesswhochickenpoo t1_j65mlkm wrote

I think part of it is that people assume there are some variables that can skew the results (like volume being unmatched, it being hard to A/B test without cognitive bias, etc) and that at the end of the days it's anecdotal. I'm not saying there isn't a difference or that you're experiencing placebo but, for me personally anyway, it's much more logical and reliable to take this with a grain of salt and rely on objective measurements in a controlled environment instead. Ideally we'd be able to see a measurable difference in frequency response on a professional measurement rig with as many variables removed as possible. I've yet to see that, but maybe I'm just not aware of that being done.


disco_g OP t1_j65ovxb wrote

Yeah that's all fine (and standard) but what I'm saying is the difference is enough that it is clearly noticeable, so not in the zone of audiophile wishful thinking. Again I only bought this because the Apple dongle clearly sounded worse than my desktop setup (MOTU ULmk5 into SSL SiX).

Also there's a lot more to audio than frequency response and THD, such as frequency dependent distortion and ringing after transients. I'm sure if I measured just the FR of both these devices they'll be +/- 1dB 20-20.


dimesian t1_j6613jx wrote

I have several portable DAC/amps and dongles they each sound different. I don't doubt that some people don't discern a difference but that may be because they are unable to, not because there isn't one. I suspect that some of the differences won't be reflected in frequency response but they may be measurable in some other way. I get why some people rely on measurements but, those can also serve as a form of placebo, if it measures well by a certain standard they feel confident about buying it. I wouldn't recommend someone choose their first DAC/amp based on how people describe a particular device's sound though.


entivoo t1_j67msor wrote

Agreed, I also think that there are things that we've yet to measure and prove scientifically regarding how music sounds on different gears. Frequency response are one of those that we could already measure and have a standard measurement for but that doesn't mean that it is the only aspect that determines how music sounds on different gears.

We could only be scratching the surface on how to measure sound that is coming out from the audio gears that we use nowadays, but some people are just so certain that the frequency response graph is the only measurement that matters to determine how something sound.

I honestly think that is quite narrow minded of them.

Before gravity was researched and measured by Newton scientifically, does it mean gravity doesn't exist?

I hope in the future there will be someone dedicated enough to research this subject and discover what has yet to be measured now with the current knowledge we have.


blargh4 t1_j67vpbk wrote

People have been researching the audibility of various distortions of audio signals since at least the 50s, we have a pretty dang good idea of what is audible and what is not when measured in controlled conditions in terms of absolute volume, harmonic distortion, intermodulation, phase shift, crosstalk, etc. But most importantly, we know beyond reasonable doubt that human senses are very sensitive to bias, and the humble $9 Apple dongle is unlikely to fare well in a sighted a/b test.


KruelKris t1_j68c4ek wrote

I have been astonished before at how clear and easily identified differences disappear once volume matched and blind tested.


Rogue-Architect t1_j66562t wrote

My question would be, are the measurement devices we currently use able to properly display those differences? Mind you, these are the same smoothed FR graphs that don’t show (or we can’t interpret) slam, detail retrieval, sound stage, etc. from. to be clear, I am not even saying there is a difference, but I am saying that it wouldn’t be inconceivable that the change is more fine grained than our current graphs are able to show. They are clearly limited in this regard. My advice is and always will be listen for yourself and do you best to do the cleanest a/b comparison you can. That way, even if it is placebo, who cares because it is better for your experience.


Clickbaitllama t1_j6658a6 wrote

No diffrence of sound can bring anything out of the “subjective” category. Enjoyment doesn’t have any objectivity.


disco_g OP t1_j666fk0 wrote

To be clear, I meant that the two devices sound objectively different from each other. Which one is preferred is naturally subjective.


Summer__1999 t1_j679j5d wrote

How are you able to claim that they're objectively different? Listening by ears? It's is not an objective way to do that because your ears (brain) is easily influenced by many factors.

That said, if you enjoy it, that's what matters the most. Even if it's just placebo, if money can buy happiness, I see it as an absolute win.

But , until you can come up with some convincing and reproducible way of proving one is indeed better than the other, please just enjoy it. Don't come claiming that how something is much better than the others just "by your ears", because these "info" might be misleading to people and probably lead to disappointment and money down the drain.


disco_g OP t1_j67a0yw wrote

So are your fucking eyeballs, yet you can tell the difference between red and orange. Done with you dunces.


lackofself2000 t1_j67aqk9 wrote

The difference between colors of light is the length of the wave of Electromagnetic radiation hitting your eye. Something that can be quite literally measured.


Summer__1999 t1_j67aa0t wrote

Same with your eyes, ever heard of optical illusion?


disco_g OP t1_j67ahp6 wrote

You way off track. I'm sorry but people can actually hear objective differences in sound. We can be tricked, but more often we are right. Especially those of us who are trained to critically listen to sound, which as a recordist, I am.


Summer__1999 t1_j67ar3n wrote

I'm not saying that there is absolutely no difference, I can't say for sure. I'm saying that your "trust me bro" approach isn't convincing enough to claim that as "objective", because that's not what "objective" means


disco_g OP t1_j67azdi wrote

Please do not trust me bro. I should not have trusted the people who said the Apple dongle was the last word in headphone amp fidelity, and you should not trust me.


Summer__1999 t1_j67cvwk wrote

I (clearly?) am not trusting you, but others, especially newcomers, might, because of how you pass off your "info" as facts.

Also, just because you're xxx professional of some sort, does not make your ears the "objective" tool. Please don't think that you're that much superior than us just because you work with audio.


disco_g OP t1_j67d3rh wrote

Lol ya got nothing. You are effectively arguing that the Apple dongle is the last word in headphone amp fidelity, and that people can’t hear differences in sound. Look at you.


Summer__1999 t1_j67ewp0 wrote

>You are effectively arguing that the Apple dongle is the last word in headphone amp fidelity

Uhm no? Have you not read what I typed?

>I'm not saying that there is absolutely
no difference, I can't say for sure. I'm saying that your "trust me
bro" approach isn't convincing enough to claim that as "objective",
because that's what "objective" means

Anyways, what I'm saying is, you claimed that there's objective differences, but you only listened through you own ears, and you didn't describe how different they are apart from some vague terms like "more detail and clarity" in ONE comment. Also, in the other comment you made, you said that "Every single aspect of how an audio device sounds can be measured", well, instead of throwing around buzzwords and arguing your ass off with random internet strangers like me, how about you provide said measurements and how those measurements corresponds to your experience? Educate us.


this_isntmy_bestwork t1_j65vyrn wrote

Honestly I think it all comes down to volume matching which is hard to do on a dongle but I'm sure the larger one puts out higher watts then the apple dongle does


disco_g OP t1_j65wrw8 wrote

Yeah it's impossible to match exactly, it's like between 2-3 clicks difference. Even so there's more than that going on here, it's obvious enough.


disco_g OP t1_j65bgvk wrote

Hi there, long time audio nerd here.

I'm just getting into IEMs so I've been watching a lot of product videos and trying out new stuff. One thing I noticed is that a lot of the talking heads in the IEM world blather on and on about all the minute differences in sets but then go on to say that using the Apple dongle is just fine. So that's how I started out, but I instantly noticed a difference between listening on my desktop setup and with the Apple dongle.

So today I got this DDHiFi unit and instantly it was a very noticeable upgrade to the Apple dongle and put the detail and clarity on par with my other systems.

Yes the Apple dongle is great for what it is and fine for a budget setup. Yes it has no right sounding as good as it does for being so small and cheap. But the difference between that and a better dongle DAC is far from snake oil, even on mid price IEMs.

rant over


Tanachip t1_j65f0gi wrote

That's great that you noticed a difference because I cannot tell a difference between the Apple Dongle and the Topping DX3 Pro+ and FiiO KA3, all three of which I own.


loli_popping t1_j65flr9 wrote

Theres measurable differences between them. ASR has a SINAD chart for dacs but I'm pretty sure people can't hear the difference.


disco_g OP t1_j65gvuj wrote

I'm not sure there's much difference in the DAC part but in the amp there sure is.


ThelceWarrior t1_j65opi3 wrote

erm what IEMs are you using exactly where the US Apple dongle is not enough, if I may ask?

Like for real even my EU one is plenty enough.


disco_g OP t1_j65pzyy wrote

So far I have Hook X and Elixir. Nothing crazy and both low impedance. It's not that it's not loud enough.


Mysterious-Evening-7 t1_j67bayg wrote

My EU Apple lightning dongle doesn’t power my Ety ER4SR to high volumes in classical recordings (i.e. not normalised/compressed by loudness wars) in any but the louder sections. It has a sensitivity of 97 dB (45 Ohm impedance). I’d love to have that dongle without the EU constraints.


blorg t1_j67lo4e wrote

The ER4SR is particularly low sensitivity, I think this is because Etymotic use a resistor to tune the BA in them. There are a handful of IEMs like this, Final E5000 and Symphonium Helios are two other examples, they are even lower sensitivity. These are really outliers though, the vast, vast majority of IEMs are easy to drive.


Mysterious-Evening-7 t1_j67r1tq wrote

I also have the E5000, but never tried them with a proper amp. Always thought these were just boring, treble hating stuff


blorg t1_j67shai wrote

I find them dark and veiled as well. They do need a certain amount of power but they are still dark and veiled whatever you run them off, that doesn't change.


disco_g OP t1_j65glpa wrote

That's interesting, maybe I have a bad Apple dongle? I didn't think it sounded particularly bad on its own but when switching around the difference is pretty clear. It's like the high end is relatively slushy and undefined. I'll have to pick up another one of these days.


dongas420 t1_j679zpl wrote

I've had one go bad and screw up the sound before. There's no ESD protection apart from the plastic casing, so the DAC can potentially accumulate damage in an audible way. The difference between it and the replacement I got was night and day.


Karoleq00 t1_j660e5h wrote

I drived my dt990 250oohm for months with qudelix5k, and then I got fiio k7 (a proper desktop amp/dac combo) and the difference is stunning, it's not massive its just better suited for the headphones really, Idk they got mellowed and more lively with k7. As always it's subjective but i feel like more power is not necessarily better but the guts you are paying for are actually better. And yes testing them back to back with my laptop and q5k they sound harsher compared to fiio so I can actually enjoy them now.

Sound is so subjective man, one's will say it's awesome and other will shit all over your purchase, you like it that's great money well spent you don't like that return it or stop shitting on someone else's choice, some people have problem with that.

That being said, my kinera Idun 2.0 that i absolutely adore sounds the same with Apple dac as well q5k and fiio k7, no joke i can't hear a note of difference between any of them balanced or se. Some iems or headphones react differently to sources so that might be it.

Either way have fun in the hobby. Just don't spend money on stupid shit like another dongle, the one you have is great haha


disco_g OP t1_j662lu7 wrote

I will for sure not get another dongle DAC. I didn't want to have to buy this one but I'm glad I did. Not sure I will buy any more IEMs either, at least for now. What I have is good for on-the-go fun but I think only headphones will get me what I want in my home studio. I have an order in for Ollo S5X and hopefully that will do it so I'm not tempted to spring for Audeze MM-500.


koszorr t1_j65i3jn wrote

I might try and write up a comparison as soon as my moonriver 2 gets in. I got one used for $130 and I think that was a pretty good deal. Wanted something slim and without an internal battery (less to worry about recharging)

Been using the apple dongle with the b2 dusk


psh99527 t1_j67lqf0 wrote

I've worked in live sound reinforcement and mixing for 5+ years. Most of the people on this sub have never actually done any professional audio work, or know how to listen critically (i.e mix, master, record).

I'm convinced a large portion of the users here listen more with their eyes reading FR graphs than their actual ears. Look at the comments on the recent HD 660S v2 posts... The headphones haven't even come out yet and people already think they have a good idea of what it sounds like just by looking at a FR graph.

I believe you when you say that there is a difference in the two dongles. I also would wager that a large portion of users actually cannot tell the difference between most DACs and amps simply because... their hearing is not good enough.


roenthomas t1_j66yp9g wrote

I think people are missing that the USB-C Apple dongle tested well, the lightning one was just ok.


blorg t1_j67lf5h wrote

I think they are both the same, they have the same DAC and same internals. Ken Rockwell measured the lightning version and he got identical measurements on THD (0.0011%) as ASR got with the USB-C version (also 0.0011%).

Lightning version also doesn't have the volume issue the USB one has on Android, although this is a function of what you are plugging it into rather than the dongle.

Do you other have test/measurements that directly compared them?


Marathalayan t1_j67tguf wrote

Apple dongle measures accurate as any other dac should be. So if you are hearing differences, probably your other dac isn’t measuring accurately and hence they sound different. And difference can be a an improvement or downgrade depending on how you see that.


TheGildedNoob t1_j67ywlu wrote

This is why people (myself included) still like tubes. They add distortion, but in a way that is pleasant to a lot of people.


G_pea_eS t1_j69bcn8 wrote

> So today I got this DDHiFi unit and instantly it was a very noticeable upgrade to the Apple dongle and put the detail and clarity on par with my other systems.

Please post your test results! That is interesting!


coolylame t1_j66k3ic wrote

You just triggered most of this sub lmao.


Thugglebum t1_j680k69 wrote

Looks like he's only triggered himself from what I've just read.


Nightmaresiege t1_j66i1u6 wrote

I have both of these devices, the only reason I bought the TC44C is because it provides more power in a still very small form factor. It does this by not having features other similar devices have. The benefit is I can have decent power without having to lug around a desktop DAC/Amp if I'm moving about or traveling. I also like that it doesn't have a battery.

EDIT: These do not sound different... the TC44C is just louder.


disco_g OP t1_j67bnix wrote

Mine sound different, not just louder.


Icy_Vegetable1933 t1_j67bv9h wrote



disco_g OP t1_j67c08h wrote

Are you saying that the Apple dongle is the ultimate headphone amplifier and can not be surpassed in fidelity?


Icy_Vegetable1933 t1_j67c625 wrote

I'm sure your new dongle certainly gets louder


disco_g OP t1_j67cdk9 wrote

Yeah, not so smart when you think about it that way are you?

It does get louder, but when comparing I adjust it to be as close as I can get it. It is also clearer and has less smearing of details at all listening volumes.


Vareona t1_j68n7f4 wrote

That's the problem. You're using your brain to measure things. Human brains are prone to bias and mistakes, because you want to justify your purchase decision. Again, we're not arguing that you think they could sound different. They certainly could, but it doesn't mean the one 100 bucks more expensive is "better". If there is a difference then there's distortion. You certainly could like one more than the other, doesn't mean the one you like is objectively better.

Don't talk about being smart when you're using completely subjective methods to support your argument.


D00M98 t1_j65q5d4 wrote

I agree with you. There are so many misconception and just flat out wrong info, floating around on this forum.

Audiosciencereview measured Apple dongle and found that it has good SNR and THD. SNR and THD can be measured. But there are other even more critical factors, like how the device sounds.

People claim DAC and Amp are (or should be) transparent. So that every DAC and Amp should sound the same. Apple dongle is as good as any other DAC/Amp.

Look, Apple dongle is $9. If someone needs a dongle for their phone, just get it. But don't BS that this dongle is a great replacement for $100 entry level desktop DAC/Amp.

Every DAC and Amp I have tried sound different. Most are so close that I cannot say which is better or worse, just different. Apple dongle is no comparison vs >$30 dongles and also desktop DAC/Amp. Thin, lacks dynamics, less punchy, muted treble, less open/airy. And it lacks power. It is measured to have 31 mW at 32 ohms and 3.6 mW at 300 ohm. Not sufficient for some headphones, like Hifiman's Sundara. Not enough volume even at 100% volume; and sound is compressed (because it is clipping).


disco_g OP t1_j65sbr8 wrote

Every single aspect of how an audio device sounds can be measured, it's just that not all those aspects are measured or published. They are instead oversimplified into marketing statistics that are easier to understand (and hide inconsistencies).

For example, I was using a very nice sounding audio recorder (Sound Devices MixPre 10II) to measure the performance of a mic preamp I had built, using a loopback with REW. It showed unexpected distortion in the sub bass. I measured again with the mic pre out of the loop and the rise in distortion was still there. I sent my graphs to Sound Devices asking if my recorder was broken, but they confirmed my results. The device was in spec (and sounds "good"), but it has significantly more distortion in the sub bass than most modern audio interfaces. So while it has excellent THD spec, that is not telling the whole story.


hyde0000 t1_j65zlg9 wrote

Yeah I don't know that much about dac but say headphone for example. People look at response graphs which shows how much amplitude at this frequency.

So it's like saying Honda driving at 40 miles/hour measures the same as Porsche driving at 40 miles/hour, and the same when both car are driving at 60 miles/hour. Therefore Honda and Porsche performs the same lol.

And as you said the response graph people read are the oversimplified version of a very complex matter that needs much more other measurements to compare. Like how fast does it react to change in load, how well does it handle complex signals.... Etc.

But yeah I'd imagine dac is probably similar in that regard.


blorg t1_j67nmwq wrote

I don't think many people are saying the Apple dongle is all you need for hard to drive planars. You do need something that has enough power. But IEMs need nowhere near as much power as a low sensitivity over-ear planar and 31mW @32Ω is actually plenty for almost any IEM.


Leach_ t1_j66cg4y wrote

You mean the audiosciencereview that reviews multiple 100$ cables?


PsychwardSlippers t1_j66s2n6 wrote

I notice a difference between my amps, but I often times come to the conclusion that one is not "better" than the other. the differences are so subtle if I didn't listen to either for a few days, I likely wouldn't be able to tell which is which in a blind test. my thoughts are to buy something well made with the power and features you want and don't worry about headphone/amp pairings.


blutfink t1_j66i5cl wrote

One of them can’t take phone calls.


bagelbites29 t1_j6752sx wrote

How did we let the “moondrop chus are the exact same if not better than UM Mest II” crowd take over this sub.


disco_g OP t1_j67btcp wrote

I don't get it. I don't think they understand what they're saying, but people in here are basically arguing that the Apple dongle is the end of the road and the final word in headphone amp fidelity.


abhikkp t1_j66i4hd wrote

Currently, I have the Apple Dongle, ddHiFi TC44C, and the Cayin RU6 on me as my daily drivers! I absolutely love the TC44C but it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

To me, audio is all about synergy. The TC44C is an extremely bassy unit compared to the Apple Dongle, with the latter being much more neutral. Thus, I don't think the TC44C is a great fit with my Symphonium Audio Meteor, which is itself a very bassy IEM. However, the TC44C sounds fantastic with my 64 Audio Nios with Fir Modules -- it adds in all of the bass that's lost when module swapping while still keeping the high-end details. Moreover, I also don't think it beats the RU6, as the RU6 has a larger sound stage and a more refined bass response.

All that said, where the Apple Dongle has both beat is in synergy with the iPhone. Going on walks with the TC44Cs or the RU6 is an absolute pain as audio constantly cuts out and the phone battery drains *fast*. In contrast, the Apple Dongle never skips a beat in addition to being extremely efficient, so it's perfect when I'm on the go. If I'm sitting down at a coffee shop, though, I will always choose to play music off of my laptop using the TC44C or the Cayin depending on which sound signature I'm in the mood for though (or if I just want to work, in which case the TC44C is far superior to the RU6 as the latter constantly clips).

tl;dr -- Frankly, I think these devices have completely different use cases. I agree that the TC44C DOES sound better than the Apple Dongle, but I think that comes down to one's preferred sound signature more than anything else.


blorg t1_j67pnq6 wrote

> The TC44C is an extremely bassy unit

It measures completely flat in terms of frequency response. That particular reviewer, he's just measuring with a sound card, and the slight roll off in the bass (and the larger roll off the other end) is very likely the input on that rather than the TC44C but it's enough to show it's NOT "extremely bassy".

ASR measured the TC44B which as far as I can make out is basically the same dongle in a different form factor, and with 2.5+4.4 rather than 3.5+4.4. Both use the same dual CS43131 chips. He doesn't have a linearity measurement, but he said he doesn't include these in reviews any more if the device is perfectly linear, as most are. So presumably this was for him as well.

I have the TC44B myself, and if I measure it, it is totally linear. It sounds linear as well, it is not "bassy". It's totally flat.

I can entertain at least some debate over the sound differences between these things. But specific stuff like this, where there is a specific significant tonal difference alleged, like it's "extremely bassy" - that can be measured. And it's not, it's just not.

One thing to bear in mind though with Symphonium is they are extremely low impedance, extremely low sensitivity and extremely source picky, possibly due to a combination of the low impedance and the way they implement their crossovers. They are very atypical on this point. I have the Helios (8.5Ω), and it actually doesn't sound good on the TC44B, it gets distortion and clicks and pops. It had some extremely weird almost "digital" behaviour, where it would cut out at an exact frequency and volume level, I don't think it's still doing this but when it was, it was something like a 47Hz tone, specifically, at a specific volume, it would just cut out entirely. 46Hz fine, 48Hz fine, and change the volume by one click and it was fine too. Really weird behaviour. But this is literally the only IEM I have, out of maybe 100, that is picky like this, and the TC44B isn't the only source it's problematic on, it's problematic on other sources as well, it's more the exception that I have like one dongle (E1DA 9038S) it's decent on. it's really more an issue with the way Symphonium make their IEMs than the dongle I think. So just I wouldn't use a Symphonium IEM as an example here, I could imagine the Meteor does something weird with the TC44C too, but I'd say that's on the IEM not the dongle. The Helios is the ONLY IEM I have that I hear major differences between sources, and it's because the IEM is weird.


wankthisway t1_j67qib4 wrote

I'm betting what happens is plain old volume mismatching. Even a slight bump in loudness can make something feel "more detailed" or "bassier."


abhikkp t1_j68wsmz wrote

That’s all good to know! That said, I absolutely can hear a difference between the Apple Dongle and and the TC44C on my Nios as well in terms of bass response. 64 Audio Units are built to not be source picky, and I’ve found that’s generally true in most instances. For example, there is very little difference between the sound out of my Ferrum Erco and the Apple Dongle for my Nios. However there’s definitely an audible mid-bass boost at comparable volume levels between the TC44C and the Apple Dongle. Ditto when using my Burson Playmate 2 with OpAmp upgrades.

For detail retrieval, however, I do agree that I can’t hear any extra details between these sources, though some (like the Erco) provide better imaging capabilities than the others, which does make perceived detail better. Anyways, I’d encourage everyone reading to try out these sources and IEMs themselves before coming to conclusions…looks like you have the cousins of both of my devices, but I don’t think that’s a proper substitute for in-person A/B testing with the exact same ones.


blorg t1_j696zd2 wrote

There are two possibilities here, either this is in your head, or you have a faulty unit.

Here's some measurements of my ddHifi TC44B vs the Moondrop MoonRiver 2, using an IEM. I used the 64 Audio Tia Trio, which is the closest I have to your Nio. It also has the Linear Impedance Design to sound the same, and it also similar very low impedance (5.5Ω Trio, 6Ω Nio).

There are actually two lines on that graph, although you might have to look very closely to see that. There is NO variance in the frequency response.

Like I said, I have something of an open mind on discussion on stuff sounding different. There are various ways things could possibly sound different. But this dongle is not "extremely bassy". It is entirely flat and does not change the tonal characteristics of the headphone at all, in any way.


abhikkp t1_j6989e9 wrote

I appreciate all of your graphs! Lots to ponder and think on. I will note, it’s not just my head as I’ve had several friends and family A/B my units as well and they’ve also noticed a difference — without any priming. Also, again, the device you’re measuring is different from my own…there’s a possibility that the implementation of the 44C’s identical chipset is very different from the 44B.

Moreover, at a certain point, I think these graphs fail to capture audible differences between different amps. I am a scientist by trade, so I do appreciate the seeming objectivity that these graphs provide and I’m also wary that I’m susceptible to placebo effect. However, from my own experience with the hobby thus far, I think there’s no substitute for trying devices out yourself!

As an aside, do you happen to have measurements of the Cayin RU6 on hand? I’m curious if that measures any differently as it’s R2R and not delta sigma!


blorg t1_j69d6ie wrote

There are other measurements, like I linked in the first post, showing the TC44C is entirely linear and has no bass boost. I'm just doing this measurement again with an actual IEM in there (from the same company and of similar impedance to yours) in case it could be something like the effect of output impedance on the impedance curve of the headphone- although in this case the output impedance of the dongles is both extremely low, and 64 Audio as you say yourself has their LID technology with very flat impedance curves.

I'm open to there being certain differences, or interactions... like I said I have issues with the Helios on the TC44B, although I'd blame the Helios for that.

I just object to people characterizing stuff like a DAC/amp that measures entirely flat in frequency response as being "extremely bassy". It's just not. "Extremely bassy" is frequency response and it's measurable, and it's not there. Maybe there is something else that doesn't come up... but a tonal difference like that will be there in the frequency response.

One thing that sometimes can happen to cause this, is if you have some setting that is different between the two devices, like you have a bass boost APO attached to the TC44C, but not to the other devices. That is exactly the sort of thing that could cause this.

I don't have the Cayin RU6. Wolf/L7, Archimago and SBAF have measurements though. It doesn't measure well objectively. Archimago liked it though, or at least appreciated it wasn't trying to be high fidelity but was a device "with character" aiming for a certain type of sound. The others, not so much.


abhikkp t1_j69eyjx wrote

Very much appreciate how cordial this interaction has been :)

I will read through all of this! On your note about APO -- I don't use any onboard software EQ.

Finally, I have used my IEMs with the iFi Gryphon as well, which has a Burr-Brown chip and is supposed to be "warmer" than other devices but I found literally no difference between the Gryphon and the Apple Dongle in sound quality or frequency response. And even the Gryphon sounds less bassy than my TC44C unless I enable Gryphon's bass boost. Maybe it's just the interaction between my TC44C and my IEMs but that's what I've found in my daily use case.

Nonetheless, clearly, you have a ton of personal experience in the hobby, so I will absolutely respect your expertise and opinion on this matter. I just think my anecdotal experience is also worth sharing!


blorg t1_j69n06x wrote

It's not that you'd be deliberately using some sort of software EQ. Rather that some audio "enhancement" (and a bass boost is one of the stock Windows enhancements) got attached to the TC44C but didn't get attached to the others.

If you literally don't hear any tonal difference across a wide range of other different devices, but hear a really distinct one on the TC44C- this really indicates that there is something messing with the sound on that one. Particularly as no other subjective review of the TC44C seems to find it "extremely bassy", they use words like neutral, flat, clean, accurate, transparent, the most I found was one review in the other direction, going with mostly neutral but "slightly bright".

You could measure it yourself, download REW and just do a tone sweep with it and record it, do the same with another DAC to make sure any variance isn't the recording device. If you do do this, don't use exclusive mode, this will ensure it goes through whatever you normally have going on. You'll either see this dramatic difference in the measurement, or you won't.

If you do- it confirms you were hearing something real. I'd suspect if it is there, it's a configuration issue. It's also possible it will measure entirely flat. Either way it's another data point, you can interpret it as you like. If I had ONE thing that sounded radically different than everything else, that sounded the same- I'd wonder why.


1974903 t1_j68crak wrote

I was never gonna presume this to be true, but I have to say probably I agree. I had the TC44C and the iBasso DC06 for comparing for a while and I do think I there was a perceivable difference between the two. Is it anything noteworthy? No, not really but they did not sound exactly the same to me, for what it‘s worth.


Akella333 t1_j68s163 wrote

I have my KA3 and did some side by side testing with the apple dongle, I didint really feel that there was much sound quality difference when testing them side by side on the 3.5mm jack, but using KA3 through the 4.4mm balanced there definitely is an improvement.

Specifically on Led Zeppelin's black dog (celebration day), at around 30 seconds going forward, the apple dongle has no weight or punch when the low guitar and drums start hitting. On the KA3 balanced however I definitely feel actual tactile rumble and depth.


David_1276 t1_j66etrj wrote

I love my Apple type-c dongle, and although it can only really be used with UAPP or something similar on my device due to the volume limitation when using it in conjunction with the phone's internal DAC (which essentially means no YouTube), the amount of value it packs into such a small package, from APPLE no less, is incredible. I bought an iBasso DC03 Pro recently for use with my Shure Aonic 4s, and whilst it does sound a bit deeper and the sound stage is wider, I wouldn't honestly consider it that necessary especially with cheaper IEMs.


Regular-Mousse7841 t1_j682ovn wrote

Every dongle thingy i've tried from both ends of the spectrum didn't sound any different than the apple dongle.


No_Analysis6187 t1_j6a728g wrote

Tbf, You have to be some kind of special if you can't hear the difference between them.


DCharlo t1_j67owmf wrote

how come u didn't go for a fiio btr3k or btr5 2021?? I assume that would be similar if not better for a similar price


minnesotajersey t1_j6nf04x wrote

Audio devices that sound different are either wrong or right. They are either adhering to straight wire with gain, or deviating.

Find a setup that give you straight wire with gain, and anything that sounds different is “wrong”.


Vareona t1_j68lr5y wrote

The difference is in your wallet and pocket bulge.


G_pea_eS t1_j69b2i4 wrote

Nice $100 placebo machine, glad it sounds better (to you)!


Haydostrk t1_j67kj7k wrote

They are different but they are both DACs lol.


Altruistic_Ad5493 t1_j66c7xm wrote

DACoid detected, opinion rejected


disco_g OP t1_j66cd3k wrote

Haha, I promise I'm not. I assume it's the amplifier that's making the bigger difference, not the DAC.


BobbyDiugh69 t1_j67g4mv wrote

Chord Hugo 2 probably sounds worse than the Apple Dongle. Apple = 🐐