A Full Review Of The Hidiz XO Balanced DAC/Amp Dongle

There are a lot of small audio devices on the market that hook up to your smartphone or laptop audio jack. But which one is the best? In this review, we'll break down all the features of the Hide TO balanced DAC/amp and see if it's worth purchasing.

Now, the TO isn't precisely at the top of its class when it pertains to specifications, but it's close. The Hide S9 Pro still bests it in output power and its signal-to-noise ratio, but it's the more pricey device. And, for what its worth, I discover the TO to be much better to take a look at to include a more robust construction for daily bring. I do wish Hide would switch the 2.5 mm connection for the more typical 4.4 mm balanced Pentagon connection, nevertheless, as 2.5 mm is becoming progressively less typical (I have precisely two earphones that use it natively in a collection of more than 20 sets ranging from $10 to $1000).

It's immediately suitable with the gadgets mentioned above-- and if you do not have a Type-C, Hide has included a helpful C-to-A adapter in the box. My PC and Android phone both quickly acknowledged the TO and handed off all audio processing duties to it.

Let's start with that first 1. While yes, great video gaming motherboards can undoubtedly use excellent audio, it's just a recognized truth: if you want the greatest quality audio, you ought to have a gadget dedicated to that. Even the very best motherboards are balancing their audio parts with, well, everything a gaming computer can do. The TO has one task: to provide high quality audio and high quality audio just. It does one thing and does it well.


The Hide TO is a total audio system that comes prepared to attach to your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or video gaming PC. Within its tiny shell is a specialized audio processor called a DAC, or digital to analog converter, which is created to take the ones and nos output by your computer and turn them into sound that can be played through your headphones or gaming headset. It pairs this with an amplifier, so even if you're utilizing audiophile grade headphones or in-ear screens (high-fidelity earbuds), you'll have the ability to listen in self-confidence understanding that you're hearing them at their peak capacity-- within factor naturally.

The DAC then feeds that into two different channels for left and ideal audio. An independent crystal oscillator keeps ideal time within the audio processing, also lowering the likelihood of artifacts and distortion in your listening. This is then fed into a switch to either be combined for single-channel, 3.5 mm audio or to preserve its split from the well-balanced output.

You might not think it offered its pocketable design (seriously, it determines only 2.2 x 1.0 x 0.4 inches), however the Hide TO is all set to entirely change and upgrade the audio constructed into your device of option. It is a sound card by another name, though if you're like me, that brings to mind the old add-in PCI cards we utilized to use 20 years back. The TO uses a simple USB Type-C connection and you're off to the races.


The 2nd point requires us to delve into the internals. Off: the DAC chip. This is utilizing two ESS Sabre ES9219C DAC chips capable of 32-bit/384kHz audio. It uses assistance for all of your high-resolution audio formats, consisting of Flags, Was, and MP3s. It uses complete deciphering for Tidal's the greatest resolution Master Quality (MA) tracks. Furthermore, it even provides support for Direct Stream Digital approximately DSD256. Furthermore, it does all of this with vanishing low levels of harmonic distortion (118-119dB) and a really low noise flooring, even with delicate in-ear headphones.

In the world of individual audio, Hide has actually spent the last numerous years making waves. Today, were looking at the Hide TO Balanced DAC/Amp Dongle, an external audio processor capable of acting as a sound card for your PC or smartphone and totally changing its integrated audio and offering extra power for requiring headphones.

  • Current Cost: $89 (Hide).

Along with that is the amplifier Hide has integrated in. From its 3.5 mm port, it can output approximately 78mW of power. That's enough to drive most customer earphones and Items with ease. The TO likewise supports well-balanced output through its 2.5 mm jack, which increases the overall output power to 195mW. It's quite a bit for such a small device and should be sufficient for the majority of earphones this side of demanding planar magnetic and high impedance classics like the Beyer dynamic DT-990 Pro and Sennheiser 6XX.

Hide What Is It? (Style and Functions).

Another high point of the TO is its combination with the By Music app. This consists of a standard multi-band EQ, as well as His outstanding MEB audio tuning system that allows you to adjust the noise based on qualities you take pleasure in, such as bass texture or the forwardness of vocals.

If that seems like a great deal of audiophile, don't worry. All you truly require to understand is that this chip can produce exceptional audio and will deal with simply about anything you care to throw at it.

There are likewise 2 face buttons, an X and an O, which is also surrounded by an RGB ring. When tapped and the light is blue, Hide informs me that the high frequencies are reduced by 20-30%. This rebalancing to scale back the highs also makes the lows sound more prominent (though there's absolutely nothing actually altering about them within the tuning).

Now, you may be asking why you would choose a gadget like this over the built-in audio of your phone or PC. After all, lots of gaming PCs boast top quality audio chipsets and specialized shielding to prevent disturbance. There are 2 reasons: eliminating the audio completely from the PC or phone is generally a great concept and 2, the components in this gadget are created specifically for high quality audio and have actually improved abilities versus what a phone or computer can do by default.

Dongle Days are nothing brand-new and the TO is getting in a congested market that only gets busier with each passing day. In spite of the abundant competition, it handles to stand out from the pack. Its construction is solid with a heat dissipating aluminum chassis, but there are two RGB strips that run along each side.

The Hide TO is readily available in black, silver, or rose gold colors.

With that background out of the method, let's get into what all of this in fact amounts to in the listening impressions!

The product explained in this post was offered by the manufacturer for evaluation functions.

If you're listening to a song or playing a game where noises can be a bit sharp (like sniper rifles in Battlefield V), turning it on actually smoother out the listening experience without taking away too much information in the high end. Taking it up to the red filter is a bit too much for my taste but can be great if you have sibilant earphones or actually desire the warm qualities of the DAC to sound the most prominent.

Hide Nonperformance and Daily Listening Impressions.

The RGB ring changes color to let you understand what audio quality you're listening at.

Plugging in the TO for the very first time, I needed to go into the control board to by hand enable 32-bit/384kHz audio. I plugged in my RODE NTH-100 headphones and filled up some high-res audio tracks I keep downloaded to check Days and amps when I did.

While yes, excellent gaming motherboards can indeed provide perfect audio, it's simply a recognized reality: if you want the greatest quality audio, you should have a device devoted to that. The TO has one job: to provide high quality audio and high quality audio just. When the greater resolution audio of the ESS Sabre DAC is combined with the greater power output of the amp stage, you can audibly hear the noise improve compared to the built-in audio of your PC or smartphone.

Today, were looking at the Hide TO Balanced DAC/Amp Dongle, an external audio processor capable of acting as a sound card for your PC or smart device and entirely replacing its integrated audio and offering extra power for requiring earphones. There are two reasons: removing the audio completely from the PC or phone is practically always a great idea and 2, the parts in this gadget are developed particularly for high quality audio and have actually improved capabilities versus what a phone or computer can do by default.

The DAC and amp actually work hand in hand to provide the upgraded sound experience. When the higher resolution audio of the ESS Sabre DAC is paired with the greater power output of the amp phase, you can audibly hear the sound improve compared to the built-in audio of your PC or mobile ph1. This is where we get into whether its worth paying around $100 for.

At $99, it falls in the middle of the rate spectrum for devices like this, however offered its excellent develop quality, moderately high power output, balanced headphone support, and highly portable design, its strong recommendation for an all-in-one audio upgrade.

Now, a great DAC isn't going to color the noise too much if at all. That is likewise due to the included power of the amplifier but also how that amp phase is incorporated.

In using it throughout the day, the greatest thing I found myself wanting was some type of on-board control. Having a button dedicated just to RGB is novel but feels like a wasted chance for something more beneficial, like a gain control. While the RGB certainly looks cool, I just didn't find myself observing it after a while, specifically if I was using my PC or browsing my phone while listening.

Small components, like the texture of noises in games and music, or minute details like which sticks or brushes a percussionist uses, are more audible here. There appears to be somewhat more space in between sounds, which can add immersion and competitive advantage for gaming.

The other thing I observed was that the noise was more full when listening from my mobile ph1. This was less audible on my gaming PC, I believe due to the fact that the DAC chips are so comparable. There was a bit more heat than my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra was natively able to offer. For PC gaming, video games sound more bold, cinematic, and lifelike.

Final Words.

When it comes to audio, the first thing I noticed was the extra volume headroom compared to my motherboard-- and my motherboard is no slouch. I use the MSI MEG X670E ACE, a $700 gaming motherboard that boasts about its audio quality. It even uses a similar ESS Sabre ES9280AQ DAC chip, however the Hide TO uses significantly more power which equates to better noise.

Its worth keeping in mind here that if you're currently utilizing an excellent dongle DAC, the improvements will be more subtle than if you're using onboard audio. As soon as you've made the jump to a premium dongle/external sound card, you truly come into the world of functions, total power, sound floor and distortion, and the subtleties of the amp stage. There are definitely audible distinctions, but in that case, you'll requirement to look at the specs here and compare, along with note the sound observations I'm keeping in mind.

While a device like this won't be for everybody, it provides a great worth for the cash. What I discover particularly useful about it is that it's a one-stop service to improve your audio no matter where you may be listening. Given that it works natively on computer systems and mobile phones, you can move it from one device to another and have actually an updated listening experience on both, all without the requirement to set up special motorists. This is specifically excellent if you happen to utilize workplace or school computer systems where the audio quality isn't the very best.


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