Hidizs S9 Pro review featured

Hidizs S9 Pro Review | Balanced DAC & AMP

TESTED AT $112
WHERE TO BUY

The Hidizs S9 Pro is a $112 USB dongle-DAC. It has an ESS9038Q2M DAC chip plus a 3.5 single-ended and 2.5mm balanced output.

Hidizs official website: https://www.hidizs.net/

Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.

Pros
  • Output power
  • Clean, transparent audio
  • Large, airy soundstage
  • Highly detailed but still musical
Cons
  • IOS lightning cable must be bought separately
  • No onboard controls
  • Unit gets a bit warm

Hidizs S9 Pro

Specifications

– Hi-Res Audio Certified
– ESS9038Q2M DAC
– PCM: Up to 32bit768kHz
– Native DSD Supports Up to 512
– Single-ended 3.5mm + Balanced 2.5mm
– One-Piece High-Density CNC Aluminum Body
– Sampling Rate Indicator Light
– Powerful Drive Ability. 200mW BAL / 100mW SE
– Compatible with Windows/Android/Mac OS/iOS/iPad OS System

Packaging & Accessories

The Hidizs S9 Pro comes in a stylish black box with silver text. On the front is a glossy image of the DAC and on the back of the box is a list of specifications and features. Here’s what’s inside the box:

  • Hidizs S9 Pro DAC/amp
  • Type-C to type-C USB cable
  • USB-A adapter
  • 2x Hi-Res Audio stickers
  • User manual, warranty and VIP discount coupon
Hidizs S9 Pro body upright

Design

With its single-piece CNC-crafted aluminium chassis, the S9 Pro is pretty handsome as far as dongle-DACs go. It’s available in black or silver and both have the Hidizs logo that also acts as the sampling rate indicator light on the front. The LED indicator changes colour depending on the current playback bitrate.

The front and back sides of the DAC have glass covers which give the device a more premium look at the cost of being fingerprint magnets. There’s a small raised area at the top where the 3.5mm and 2.5mm headphone jacks are. At the opposite end is the USB Type-C data port.

Hidizs S9 Pro 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm single ended outputs

Internally, S9 Pro hosts an ESS9038Q2M DAC chip supporting bitrates up to 32-bit/768kHz and native DSD up to DSD512. Output power is a bit higher than some comparable products: 200mW from the 2.5mm balanced output and 100mW single-ended. This might explain why the S9 Pro’s body runs warm during use.

When it comes to functionality, the S9 Pro works pretty much like any other dongle-DAC, meaning it’s plug and play without the need for any additional setup or drivers.

S9 Pro with iPhone and ThieAudio Legacy 2 IEM

Sound

Gear used for testing includes:

What strikes me most about the S9 Pro is its transparency and clean tonality. This is a DAC that excels at instrument separation and resolution. It has a distinct high-fidelity vibe to it but what’s remarkable about that is the way it still comes across as being musical.

Often when you think of neutrality and faithful reproduction, you lump it together with sterility and dryness. But despite having such a strong technical performance, the S9 Pro is at heart organic and natural sounding. On top of that, it performs with a vigorous spirit that can be attributed to some degree to its output power.

S9 Pro isn’t a halfhearted or tentative DAC, but one that steps up to the plate with gloves on. Yet it’s not all about brute force. Rather, it’s a mixture of confidence and restraint. It’s the speed of musical notes and their tidy decay in the absence of any sharp edges or shortness – a desirable combination.

Listen to a track like Gogo Penguin’s “Strid” and the S9 Pro will eagerly display its sense of rhythm without showing any signs of smearing. The soundstage is very organized with nothing but a pure black background between instruments. Following up with Gojira’s “The Chant“, the electric guitars are loaded with bite and texture, while the decay and timbre of treble notes are precise and devoid of any infamous “Sabre glare”.

Select Pairings

ThieAudio Phantom: The Phantom is reasonably easy to drive although it does have a rather low sensitivity (93±3 dB). Using the 2.5mm balanced output, the S9 Pro powers this headphone with ease. Bass is tight and controlled, mids are warm and full-bodied and the treble is laid back but crisp. The instrument separation is excellent and the soundstage is wide and uncluttered.

Meze 99 Classics: Great imaging, good soundstage dimensions. This is a musical pairing but there’s still plenty of detail, good bass control and a forward, inviting midrange. Treble notes are crisp but smooth and electric guitars are loaded with texture.

DUNU Studio SA6: This is a devilishly good combo. It’s extremely musical, non-fatiguing yet detailed and highly accurate in terms of timbre. The bass decay sounds so natural, full-bodied and clean. The midrange is rich, smooth and highly resolving. Treble is precise, crisp and airy. Imaging is insanely good and the soundstage is rounded and holographic.

Hidizs S9 Pro USB type-C port

Conclusion

The Hidizs S9 Pro is a delightfully musical DAC that is also a strong technical performer. It mixes an analogue audio character with detail, speed and a wide, airy soundstage. Considering it has great audio quality, both single-ended and balanced outputs along with a muscular and powerful output, this has to be one of the best dongle DACs you can get around the $100 price point. Recommended.


Founder of Prime Audio
4.5 2 votes
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anonymous
anonymous
26 days ago

Does this a line out, I mean if the volume is turned to 100% then can this be considered as line out.

anonymous
anonymous
25 days ago
Reply to  David

thanks bro

ruff
ruff
1 month ago

how does the shanling ua2 compare to these?
Thanks a lot for the review.

ruff
ruff
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Thanks man….if possible please consider reviewing ua2 aswell…

I love your review on fiio fh3…how do they pair with s9 pro?

Last edited 1 month ago by ruff
ruff
ruff
1 month ago
Reply to  David

thanks a lot man! that really helped me out.

Abir
Abir
1 month ago

Would you suggest some iem for bassheads with warm tonality , good soundstage & imaging under usd 200$ ?

Abir
Abir
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Thanks for your suggestion
It means a lot…
But ikko oh 10 is not available in my country
Between bqeyz summer, Final E4000 and Fiio FH3 which one would you suggest ?

Abir
Abir
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Thanks man ☺️

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