Today we have a budgetary and fairly simple Sonata HD II DAC on our review. The developers decided to abandon the CS42L42 codec, added support for DSD and improved some other indicators. The first version has been discontinued, almost three years have passed since the first version was released. The design of the device has practically not changed at all, it is the same very light and small adapter.
- DAC: ES9270
- Headphone amplifier: built into the DAC itself
- Output power: 70 mW / 32 ohms
- PCM: 384 kHz / 32 bit, DSD: DSD 128 (DoP)
- DSD support: yes
- Volume control: no
- Dimensions: 113mm/10mm/10mm
- Body: aluminum
- OS support: iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS, Linux
- Output: 3.5mm
- Input: USB Type-C
- SNR: 116dB
- Headset support: yes
- Price: about $30
The packaging is made of soft and not very durable cardboard. All basic information is displayed in Chinese. On the back are the contact details of the company (WeChat, Email, official website). The familiar metal case hides under the thin part. The case does an excellent job with its duty, it protects all contents. Everything under the lid is rather primitive, an insert with recesses made of ordinary foam rubber.
- Sonata HD Ⅱ
- Adapter(female type-c to maleUSB-A)
- Hi-Res logo sticker
Previously, the package included a long and ugly plastic adapter. Compatibility with Windows 10 is full here, in the settings you can set the maximum resolution. TempoTec Sonata HD II is defined on PC as “TT USB Audio”. There is headset support, the microphone will work, the buttons on the headphone control unit will be active. Everything is out of the box, no firmware needed.
Construction weight: 4 grams. Dimensions: 113 mm/10 mm/10 mm. Very handy and small DAC, a great solution for the summer. The trouser pocket will certainly not be pulled back. On one side we see a standard metal block with TempoTec applied. Heating during use is noticeable, the case heats up to a warm state. Next comes a 4-core silicon-braided wire. Distance from Type-C block to connector: 6 centimeters. There is a complaint about the quality of the braid, in some places there are burrs.
On the other end is a standard 3.5mm TRRS jack. This time, the entire metal part is pressed in. Previously, it could be disassembled by unscrewing the thread. The assembly is good, you can only find fault with the silicone sheath of the cable. There is no volume control here, there are no indicators and switches.
If you are on a tight budget, have some cheap smartphone with a Type-C connector, your main headphones paired with such a smartphone sound too quiet – take a closer look at TempoTec Sonata HD II. In terms of sound, TempoTec Sonata HD II is quite good, but it will not be able to compete with the players of the major league (for exampleTempoTec E35). It has a more musical and smoother presentation. The HF are muffled, the cymbals fade into the background. We would not say that everything is bad with high frequencies, they are only slightly squeezed. The mids are not the most detailed, rather colored and musical, with a voluminous and dense presentation. The bass is slightly accented. The overall presentation, due to not the best detailing, is comfortable and soft. The virtual stage is average, you can try to stretch the stage with expensive IEM headphones.
As you can see, from now on, the ES9270 codec is responsible for sound processing. Now support for DSD 128. They are similar in power: 70mW / 32 ohm versus 60mW / 32 ohm. Support for increased resolution in PCM is also announced – 32bit / 384 kHz. According to the manufacturer, firmware version 1 will not work here. The SA9302 chip is supposedly responsible for USB. You will not hear much of a difference in sound, approximately one level. If the budget allows, we recommend purchasing the Sonata E35, as it wins in all respects: the quality of the low frequencies, lively and deep low frequencies with a well-developed sub-bass, excellent resolution at medium and high, a chic and detailed three-dimensional scene.
TempoTec Sonata HD II could not jump over its head. This is an entry-level budget device, albeit with improved features. The overall sound quality hasn’t really changed, it has remained at the same level. Everything depends on the price tag ($29 on Aliexpress), if you are ready to pay extra, it is better to pay and take TempoTec Sonata E35. However, this DAC will let you know the difference between the sound of your smartphone and something more. If you do not want to pay more, you can try to start with the TempoTec Sonata HD II.