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HIDIZS S8 Pro Robin Full Review

Introduction

The HIDIZS S8 Pro is a portable dongle DAC/amp that promises exceptional sound quality and features at an affordable price point. As the successor to the popular HIDIZS S8, the S8 Pro aims to build upon its predecessor’s strengths while introducing notable improvements. In this review, we’ll scrutinize the design, build quality, technical capabilities, sound performance, app integration, and unique features of the HIDIZS S8 Pro, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses to determine whether it’s worth your 65 dollars.

Disclaimer: This review reflects my honest opinions only. I haven’t received any compensation to influence my thoughts. All ratings consider the product’s price point. Hidizs S8 Pro is kindly provided by hidizs for the review purpose only. They don’t have any control of any aspect of the review.

HIDIZS S8 Pro

Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP (Image via hidizs.net)
Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP (Image via hidizs.net)

Specifications

  • Dual 32-bit High-performance DAC Balanced Architecture – CS43131×2
  • PCM Supports Up to 32bit/384kHz
  • Native DSD 64/128/256
  • 4.4mm Balanced & 3.5mm Single-ended Output
  • CNC Aluminum Alloy Integrated Molding
  • Practical Function Buttons (volume +-/filter switching)
  • Sampling Rate Indicator
  • 80mW+80mW@32Ω 3.5mm SE / 160mW+160Mw@32Ω 4.4mm BAL
  • Compatible with All platforms: Windows/Mac OS/iPad OS/Android/iOS/Harmony OS
  • Hi-Res Audio Certification
  • Dimensions:58×23×11mm
  • DSD: Native DSD64/128/256
  • PCM: Support up to 32Bit/384kHz
  • Output option: Compatible with single-ended 3.5mm and balanced 4.4mm earphones
  • Sampling rate indicator: Support
  • Shell material: CNC integrated aluminum alloy
  • Function buttons: 3
  • Switching filter: Support
  • Transmission interface: Type-C interface interchangeable cable design
  • Net weight: About 17g

Individual ratings

Build Quality

The S8 Pro boasts a sleek and premium glass sandwich design with an aluminum alloy chassis. The attention to detail and solid construction exude a high-quality feel, though the glass panels can be fingerprint magnets.

0/5
Technology

With dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chips, the S8 Pro can decode high-resolution audio formats up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256, ensuring future-proof performance. Its low distortion and high dynamic range ratings are impressive.

0/5
Sound Quality

The S8 Pro delivers an engaging and immersive listening experience with a neutral to mildly W-shaped sound signature. It offers tight, impactful bass, clear and articulate midrange, and well-defined highs with excellent detail retrieval and channel separation.

0/5
Power Output

While not the most powerful dongle on the market, the balanced 4.4mm output can provide up to 160mW of power, making it capable of driving a wide range of headphones and IEMs, including some moderately power-hungry models.

0/5
App Integration And Usage

The S8 Pro works seamlessly with popular music apps like UAPP, PowerAMP, Spotify, and HiBy Music on Android and Windows platforms, although there is no dedicated app from HIDIZS.

0/5
Unique Features

The hardware-based volume control, play/pause button, and the inclusion of both 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced outputs are standout features. The 6 digital filters offer customization options.

0/5

Overall Rating

0/5.0

Bottom Line

The Hidizs S8 Pro is an outstanding budget dongle DAC that offers exceptional value for its price point. Its combination of premium build quality, impressive technical capabilities, and engaging sound performance make it a highly recommended choice for anyone seeking to elevate their portable audio experience without breaking the bank.

Value Proposition

The price of the S8 Pro is really good considering it has a dual Cirrus logic DAC and ample amount of power to drive even full-sized headphones, which is a pretty good deal for the price of 65 dollars.

Pros

  • No heating issues. stays cool for hours of use.
  • No driver is required for the use of S8 Pro in Windows.
  • amazing channel separation. left and right is distinct and clear.
  • Premium build quality with a sleek and compact aluminum alloy chassis and glass sandwich design.
  • Impressive decoding capabilities for high-resolution audio formats
  • neutral to mild W and dynamic sound signature with excellent detail retrieval
  • excellent channel separation
  • Hardware-based volume control and play pause.
  • Both 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced outputs
  • capable of driving a wide range of headphones and IEMs
  • affordable price for its feature set

Cons

  • the indicator light is limited. as there is no different color assigned for flac 96Khz, which is a true hiRes. From low res mp3, flac or 96KHz flac all has the same green color.
  • fingerprint magnet. always needs to be cleaned to look good.

Best Buy Link

The links provided herein are not affiliate links. I have no financial incentive or external influence to endorse any particular product. This review is based solely on my personal, unbiased experience with the product in question. The opinions and assessments expressed are entirely my own.

Hidizs.net: https://www.hidizs.net/products/hidizs-s8-pro-robin-hifi-balanced-dongle-dac

Official website 5% discount code: HMC5OFF

Sales price: ($69 ); with the 5% discount code applied, it will be $65.55.
Special price: ($65) - limited to 100 units; with the 5% discount code applied, it will be $61.75.

1. Packaging

Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP (Image via hidizs.net)
Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP (Image via hidizs.net)
  • Hidizs s8 pro
  • Type-C to Type-C Cable×1
  • Type-C to USB-A adapter×1
  • Type-C to Lightning Adapter×1
  • User manual×1
  • Warranty card×1

2. Design And Build Quality

The Hidizs S8 Pro boasts a sleek and compact glass sandwich design, housed in a beautifully carved rectangular aluminum alloy chassis with a brushed matte finish on the sides. Both the front and back are covered in glass, and the sides have a beautiful wing-like design. Its solid construction and attention to detail are immediately apparent, exuding a sense of premium quality that belies its budget-friendly price tag. Measuring just a few inches in length, the S8 Pro is highly portable and can easily slip into a pocket or bag, making it an ideal companion for on-the-go listening.

One of the standout design elements is the inclusion of wing-like protection on the chassis, which not only serves as protection for the volume buttons but also looks sleek. The sample rate indicator is in the front glass panel. Which looks really good as the whole Hidiz's logo glows when listening to the music.

But I do have a complaint here to make. A small nitpick, but still. From mp3 to FLAC, all have the same green color. There is no color distinction for the mp3 or flac or hires flac. I really would have loved this even more when I could just see it in a glance what I am listening to is regular FLAC, or 96 Khz Hi-Res flac.

Here are the list of colors and what they mean:

  • Yellow: DSD 64/128
  • Purple: DSD 256
  • Blue: PCM 176.4/192(kHz)
  • Red: PCM 352.8/384(kHz)
  • White: PCM 705.6/768(kHz)
  • Green: PCM 44.1/48/88.2/96(kHz)

My next complaint is the glass sandwich design. I really loved how it looked, but only after cleaning it. Its a fingerprint magnet. I would really enjoy it if it had frosted glass panels instead of the regular ones.

The volume control and the play pause buttons, located on the side of the device, provide a tactile and satisfying click with each press, allowing for precise volume adjustments. Furthermore, the S8 Pro features a detachable USB-C cable, enhancing durability and offering the flexibility to use custom cables if desired.

3. Technology and Decoding Capabilities

Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP
Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP

At the heart of the S8 Pro lies a powerful dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chip configuration capable of decoding high-resolution audio formats up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and DSD256. This impressive decoding capability ensures that the S8 Pro can handle even the most demanding audio files, making it a future-proof investment for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike.

Complementing the capable DAC chips is a low distortion rating of 0.0005%/0.0006% and a dynamic range of 125dB/128dB, ensuring that the S8 Pro delivers a clean and faithful reproduction of your music. Additionally, the balanced 4.4mm output can provide up to 160mW of power, making it capable of driving a wide range of headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs) with ease.

4. Sound Quality

Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP
Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP

Tonality

The Hidizs S8 Pro excels at delivering an engaging and immersive listening experience. Its sound signature can be described as neutral with a subtle boost in presence and intensity, infusing the music with a sense of dynamism and vibrancy. In simple words, it is neutral to mildly W-shaped. The bass, treble, and vocals are boosted mildly but noticeably. The tonality is very good.

Bass, Midrange, and Treble

The bass response is where the S8 Pro truly shines. It is tight, well-controlled, and extends deep, providing a solid foundation for the rest of the frequency range. The bass is fast and impactful.

The mid-range is clear and articulate, allowing vocals and instrumental details to shine through with exceptional clarity and nuance. The male vocals sound natural. But the star of the show was the female vocals, they sounded lush, elegant, and more importantly, they sounded correct. And the textures of different instruments are rendered with impressive competence and are highly detailed.

The highs are extended and well-defined, adding a sense of air and brilliance to the overall presentation without ever becoming harsh or fatiguing. If its a busy track, like too many instruments playing in the background. The sheer detail that this DAC produces is impressive and sometimes overwhelming.

Technicalities

The channel separation is another area where S8 Pro gets a perfect score. The left and right channels are separated superbly. It has such a distinct separation quality that I find it really impressive for the price. The dual DAC seems to be working really well.

The soundstage size and depth is average. But considering the price, it is acceptable.

The imaging also suffers from the lackluster soundstage but the instrument detailing is amazing.

I would not recommend this to gamers. But for music lovers, it is genuinely good. For detail lovers, it will be fantastic.

5. App Integration And Usage

There is no dedicated app from the Hidizs. But the popular apps like UAPP, PowerAMP, Spotify and HiBy music all works perfectly fine, with all functions working properly. But keep in mind that the only one which gives more volume steps, i.e. the volume range, is the UAPP. All others will start to sound louder by around 40 to 60 percent. I only tested S8 Pro on android and windows, so can't comment on the iOS side of things.

6. Unique Features

Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP
Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP

One of the standout features of the S8 Pro is its hardware-based volume control. Unlike many dongles that rely on software volume adjustments, the S8 Pro's volume buttons directly control the output level, ensuring precise and responsive volume changes without any potential software latency or interference. Along with the play-pause button. You can even use the play pause button to skip track. Just double-press the button to skip tracks.

Additionally, the inclusion of both a 3.5mm single-ended and a 4.4mm balanced output is a welcome touch, catering to a wide range of headphones and IEMs and allowing users to take advantage of the potential benefits of balanced audio output.

Furthermore, the inclusion of 6 Digital Filters is not something you could find in this price range.

Filters with the color codes:

  1. High Pass Filter: Red
  2. NOS Filter: Green (Best One in my testing. I used this throughout the testing, as this gave me the best volume range and neutral sound)
  3. Deem Phasis Filter: Blue
  4. Fast and Slow Filter: Yellow
  5. Low-Latency and phase compensated filter: Purple
  6. Wide band Flatness Mode: White

How to change the filters. Just hold both volume buttons simultaneously, and you will see the Hidizs logo flashing with different colors, then stop and show the green color. But don't be fooled by this; you already have selected the appropriate filter; green is the default color that they always show. Like, If you select the deem phasis, you will see the logo flashing blue and then stop at green.

The 6 Filters here gives different flavours of sound. Like the deem phasis, filter gives a warm tonality to the DAC, and the fast and slow filter has a bright sound signature. But I loved the NOS filter. This filter gives a neutral sound with the best volume range. This kind of filter switching feature is not something that is readily available in this price range. This is a nice addition to an already capable DAC.

8. Power Output and Drivability

With its balanced 4.4mm output capable of delivering up to 160 mW of power, the Hidizs S8 Pro can comfortably drive a wide range of headphones and IEMs, including moderately power-hungry models. While it may not be the most powerful dongle on the market, its output is more than sufficient for most portable audio needs.

During testing, the S8 Pro effortlessly powered various IEMs and headphones, including planar magnetic models like the KEFINE Klanar and the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro (250Ω). Even with higher impedance headphones, the S8 Pro maintained excellent control and dynamics, delivering a satisfying and engaging listening experience.

Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP
Image of HIDIZS S8 Pro DAC And AMP

9. FAQs

Q. Who should buy these?

Audiophiles and music enthusiasts on a budget are looking for an affordable way to improve their portable audio experience.
Users seeking a compact and portable dongle DAC with both single-ended and balanced outputs
Individuals who appreciate a neutral to mild W and dynamic sound signature with excellent detail retrieval
Anyone in need of a capable and future-proof dongle DAC that can handle high-resolution audio formats

Q. Who should avoid these?

Users who require extensive customization options or advanced audio processing features
Those seeking the absolute highest power output for driving extremely demanding headphones
Individuals who prioritize a warmer or more colored sound signature over neutrality

Q. Can the S8 Pro drive high-impedance headphones?

While not the most powerful dongle on the market, the S8 Pro's balanced 4.4mm output can deliver up to 160 mW of power, making it capable of driving most moderately power-hungry headphones, including some high-impedance models.

Q. Does the S8 Pro support MQA decoding?

No, S8 Pro does not support native MQA decoding. But you can always rely on the software decoding of MQA of the source. So it can play MQA without decoding it natively.

Conclusion

The S8 Pro is a remarkable achievement in the budget dongle DAC market. Its combination of premium build quality, impressive technical capabilities, and engaging sound performance makes it a compelling choice for anyone seeking to elevate their portable audio experience without breaking the bank.

While it may not be the most feature-packed or powerful dongle on the market, the S8 Pro's strengths lie in its ability to deliver exceptional value for its price point. Whether you're an audiophile on a budget or simply looking for an affordable way to enhance your music listening, the S8 Pro is a solid investment for 65 dollars that punches well above its weight class.

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