TempoTec Serenade X Digital Desktop Player Review

TempoTec Audio

The TempoTec Serenade X “Full Balance Designed Integrated Network Streaming Music Player” is a fabulous all-in-one mid-fi player that successfully marries functionality and sound. A complete package and a true pleasure on all fronts using it. Plays even lossless via Apple AirPlay 2...


  • Proven standard sound
  • Forward looking; 4.4 mm balanced only
  • Balanced circuit with great headroom
  • Dedicated (auto detectable) line out
  • Plays lossless from Apple devices via AirPlay 2
  • Firmware upgrades in HiBy OS
  • Can be operated from smartphone with HiBy Link app
  • Powerful enough for 300 ohm headphones
  • Premium 4.4 mm to 3.5 mm adapter included
  • Compact design: small footprint on desk (< CD jewel case)
  • Well transportable


  • No micro-SD card slot
  • Not Roon ready

The TempoTec Serenade X was kindly provided by the manufacturer, and I thank them for that. You find more information on the TempoTec website.


TempoTec are a Chinese company that have come a long way recently. Previously best known for their budget DACs, they stepped into the limelight with their excellent V6 Digital Analog Player, a wonderfully tuned device at around a (very attractive) $329.

I became interested in the TempoTec Serenade X because I wanted to find out what it could do for us. After all, it is an unusually looking device. In short, it can do A LOT…it streams…per internet from the usual subscription services (Tidal, Qobuz etc.), per Bluetooth from your tablet/phone, per USB from the computer, external hard drive, or simply a USB stick…and per coax or Toslink (or USB) from your CD player. Did I forget anything?

The Serenade X excels through its functionality while having a decent however standardized, prefabricated sound through 2 standard SoCs.

TempoTec devices we have analyzed to date

Dongle DACs
TempoTec Sonata BHD (Jürgen Kraus)
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro (1) (Jürgen Kraus)
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro (2) (Baskingshark)
TempoTec Sonata HD II vs Tempotec Sonata E35 (Durwood)

Digital Analog Player
TempoTec V6 (Jürgen Kraus)

Specifications TempoTec Serenade X

DAC Chips/SoCs: 2 x ESS9219 (supports native DSD 256 and PCM 32 bit/768 kHz)
MQA: full decoder (x 16), renderer (x 8)
Inputs: USB-A / USB-C / Coaxial / Optical (SPDIF)
Outputs: RCA /4.4 mm adaptive balanced (4 VRMS)
Output Level: 285 mW @ 32 Ω 
THD+N: -112 dB
SNR: 130 dB
Output Impedance: ?Ω 
Sampling Rate:
Support: Wifi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2
Bluetooth Specification: BT 5.0 (support SBC,AAC,aptX,aptX HD,LDAC) 
Touch Screen: 3.2″
Volume Control: digital
Remote Control: HiByLink app
Dimensions: 12 x 10.5 x 4.5 cm 

Tested at: $265
Product Page/Purchase Link: TempoTec.net
Firmware Download: TempoTec website

Physical Things

In the package are the device, a screw-on Bluetooth antenna, the 12V power supply, a USB-A to USB-C cable, 1 HiBy 4.4 mm (female) to 3.5 mm (male) adapter, 1 GB USB-thumb drive, a microfibre cleaning cloth, and the usual paperwork.

The TempoTec Serenade X is an unusually shaped device and appears like the love child of a tablet computer and a RC Battery Charger.

The chassis is made of metal and the whole top is reflective glass. The latter contains a relatively small 3.2″ touch screen of intermediate resolution – which does the job for me. The build quality is fine. What may be confusing, initially, is that most functionality is handled by the touch screen, but some (for example volume) by a set of physical buttons.

The Serenade’s X footprint is rather small (12 x 10 x 4.5 cm) and all you need is a wall socket. This makes it attractive for small desks and even hotel rooms.

Tempotec Serenade X
In the box…
Tempotec Serenade X
Balanced only: HiBy 4.4. mm to 3.5 mm adapter included. And yes, it works and does not damage the balanced circuit.
Tempotec Serenade X
The 3.2″ cm touch screen is more than adequate. Displayed music available from bandcamp.


The Serenade X sports a dual ESS9219C chipset (“System on Chip” or “SoC”) for a fully balanced design. This means DAC and amp are on the same chip. This saves space however creates a somewhat prefabricated sound and amplification.

And since DAC and amp cannot be separated, it is not possible to create a digital output. All outputs are therefore analog.

All functionality is controlled by a FPGA digital management circuit. Volume is controlled digitally by hardware button and by the HiByLink mobile app.

Firmware can be downloaded from the TempoTec website and easily updated via a USB stick.


Top Panel

Contains all control functions via the touch screen and a button panel. Operation is intuitive.

TempoTec Serenade X
On top: 3.2″ touch screen and button panel.

Back Panel: I/O

All inputs are digital, the outputs are analog. You can connect CD players, daps, DACs, and computer via S/PDIF (coax, optical), USB-A and USB-C. On the receiving end you can connect 4.4 mm plugs (headphone or amp) for balanced operation, and RCA interconnects for single-ended amplifiers.

Serenade X-rear
The back panel offers digital inputs (S/PDIF: coax, optical | USB-A, USB-C). Outputs are balanced 4.4 mm and single ended RCA sockets.
Serenade X-rear
Serenade X with digital thumb drive source, feeding an external amplifier via analog RCA interconnects.

Functionality and Operation

The Tempotec Serenade X is an incredibly versatile device.

It does

  • play music through balanced headphone circuits and balanced or single ended external amplifier
  • play music from wireless sources: Tidal & Qobuz (Wifi), Apple AirPlay 2 (“Apple Music”) & Bluetooth (“Spotify”) etc. (from computer, phone)
  • play music from wired sources: coaxial & S/PDIF (CD player, DAC, dap), USB-A & USB-C (computer, dap, internal HiBy player)
  • feature the HiBy player that can be controlled from your phone via the free HiByLink app
  • let you tweak the sound with HiBy’s very smart MSEB parametric equalizer
  • let you update the Firmware through a set of files downloaded directly or through a computer from the TempoTec website.

It does not have

  • integrated Spotify (can be mitigated by streaming from phone/computer via Bluetooth)
  • Roon capabilities
  • digital outputs (cannot connect to an external DAC)
  • a microSD card slot (can be mitigated by a USB adapter)

Whilst this list is somewhat overwhelming, the menu is intuitive and self explanatory. I will explain the most important features and workarounds as follows.

Menu System

The touch screen displays a compact menu that lets you access and choose the various inputs including streaming services, wireless connectivities, settings, the HiBy music player, and the MSEB (which stands for “Mage Sound 8-ball”). MSEB is a parametric, very intuitive EQ.

TempoTec Serenade X
The main menu, part 1.
TempoTec Serenade X
The main menu, part 2.

Wireless Options

Apple AirPlay 2 vs. Bluetooth 5.0 vs. Wifi

The Serenade offers these three wireless input possibilities.

Wifi: does not allow for direct streaming, it just transfers data to a connected drive.

Bluetooth & Apple AirPlay 2: you can play music from your computer/phone via Bluetooth (all current codecs) or Apple AirPlay 2. Both work differently.

Bluetooth uses a direct connection whereas AirPlay 2 connects via the network. This allows for bigger data streams including images so that AirPlay 2 can play lossless, Bluetooth cannot. Apple users frolic.

TempoTec Serenade X
Apple AirPlay 2 transfers lossless music and visual data (album art) to the Serenade X.
TempoTec Serenade X
Listening to web radio via Bluetooth (also works for Spotify etc.). You see a generic Bluetooth image on the Serenade X’s screen.

Streaming Services

Tidal, Qobuz: you can connect to and control Tidal and Qobuz via Wifi through the Serenade’s interface.

Apple Music: streams lossless from your phone or Mac with Apple AirPlay 2. Album art shows on Serenade X’s screen.

Spotify: There is no Spotify option in the menu, which you can stream via Bluetooth from your phone or computer. The downside is “no cover art”, just a generic screen on the Serenade X’s display.

Wired Options

Toslink/optical: CD-players, DACs, and my old Questyle QP1R dap have optical line outs.

Coaxial: works with most DACs and CD players.

USB-A, USB-C: connect your thumb drive, SSD, or similar with your music library on it.

No micro-SD card slot? Not a problem. Use a USB memory-card reader.

TempoTec Serenade X
The onboard HiBy Music Player in action.
TempoTec Serenade X
Listening to web radio via USB connection. Works for any computer source. You see a generic DAC image on the Serenade X’s screen.

Integrated Option: The HiBy 3.0 Music Player with HiBy Link Remote

The Serenade X features a built-in HiBy music player which you also find in many digital analog players. It is sourced by an external drive. I use a 128 GB thumb drive. The free HiByLink app turns your phone into a remote (if your headphone cord is longer than your arms).

The HiBy music player is also on the TempoTec V6 and the Hidisz AP80 Pro-X (and many more). It is intuitive, offers lots of tweaks (for example an MSEB), and it sounds better than Apple’s Music player on my iPhone.

Serenade X
Control the Serenade X from your phone with the HiByLink app.

Sound and Amplification

Equipment used: MacBook Air |Apple AirPlay 2 | modified Sennheiser HD 600 and Final Sonorous IIheadphones.

As mentioned, the Serenade X features 2 standard SoCs, that is DAC and amp are on the same ESS chip. This creates a standard sound and output power as experienced, for example, in the Qudelix-5K, Hidizs XO, FiiO BTR5, a few Shanlings, and the Hidizs AP80 Pro-X dap. The amplification (see specs) is powerful enough to drive my 300 Ω  Sennheiser HD 600 with ease.

The audio engineer cannot manipulate the analog output stage and the amp, and only has the option to put fllters and/or components at the end of it, as done in the Questyle M15. I assume the latter was the case as the Serenade X sounds livelier and faster than other devices using these SoCs.

As with the peers, the sound is still off analyical-neutral into very slight colour, with good extension at both ends. What’s improved over the standard sound is better transparency and a more vivid, crisper presentation. The balanced circuit makes for an especially large headroom. I also find the resolution very good. There is no hint of stridency and the timbre is very good. I picked the finest details out of a transcribed Mozart oboe concerto.

So whilst audio snobs may role their eyes, the combination of balanced and AirPlay 2 make for a well-rounded, enjoyable listening experience.

Serenade X vs. Dongles and DAPS

After we have explored all input and out options, a compact functionality comparison with DAPs and phones with dongles is warranted.

Serenade X Dongle DAC + Phone Digital Analog Player (DAP)
Mains operated
S/PDIF input

Bluetooth in
DAC function
Apple AirPlay 2 (in)

RCA analog outputs

4.4 mm balanced line out
Battery operated

Digital output
Bluetooth out

Apple AirPlay 2 (out; iPhone only)

Battery operated

Digital output
Bluetooth in and out
DAC function

Dedicated 3.5 mm line out (some devices)
Some devices
Comparison between devices.

Concluding Remarks

I usually don’t give recommendations, but this is an easy one if the special funcionality and “balanced sound quality” fits your needs. I really enjoy using the Serenade X simply because of its versatility and have done so for hours and hours: it is a small, intelligent, and reasonably powerful all-in-one device.

Until next time…keep on listening!

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TempoTec V6 review

Jessica Wang

 "the sound treatment has been TempoTec's priority and that is something that is noticeable even on a quick listen. And I believe that this is the differentiating element compared to the competition." 


"The TempoTec presents with a quite detailed and open sounding signature. It made everything sound larger and far better than on other equipment. There is good separation and lairing and it for the most part is neutral but far from boring."


"The V6 is also silent as hell. I cannot hear any noise ongoing, even though some sensitive headphones. The grounding on this DAP is fantastic and I hear no hum, no static, nothing."


" A dedicated earbud, with surprisingly good sound, the mids came across as rich and with very good width. This adds to the soundstage nicely, which the V6 has with good abundance. "


"The V6 offers a clean, smooth and pretty balanced sound presentation with lots of power, thanks to the its good implementation of AKM’s Dual AK4493SE DAC Chip and a special designed audio circuit that comes with 2*OPA1612 + 4*OPA1688 Op-Amp’s."


"The TempoTec V6 is unbeatable in this price range with its design, specs, and audio performance. It’s one of those players that have a distinctive sound signature with unmistakable characteristics."




Share the video Reviews

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Sonata HD V : The perfect upgrade to Sonata HD PRO

The perfect upgrade to Sonata HD PRO
Pros: -Lush near flat versatile tonality
-Great effortless resolution
-Excellent layering and accurate imaging
-Weighty punchy dynamic
-realist dense enough timbre
-nuanced effortless texture
-good power output of SE
-MQA compatible
-jitter free stable connectivity
-great sturdy construction
-detachable cable=extra durability
-excellent sound value
Cons: -need exclusive or bit perfect mode to sound the best
-issue with UAPP (power output limitation)
-not the most sparkly or snappy sound
-attack sustain stole natural decay
-can get hot with Hiby app (doesnt get hot with my laptop)

TONALITY: 8.2/10

TEMPOTEC is a very experienced and specialized portable DAC-AMP company that have more than 10 years of experience and have begin as OEM DAC-AMP circuit furnisher for other chinese audio company like Hidizs for their (now old) Sonata DAC-AMP. Then they become an independant DAC-AMP brand and gain big recognition with their (still excellent) TEMPOTEC SONATA HD PRO dongle, which I praise obsessively at the time as the very best dongle sound value available on the market. At 40$, it use a cirrus CS43131 which was quite exotic 4 years ago and deliver reference grade crisp neutral clean sound with decent amping power of 60mw (high gain unlock).
Since then, I always have big respect for this company and follow their evolution with great interest, even if my 1 year break from audio reviews make me a bit late to review their new products line up, I will try to make up time by begining by the one that impress me the most for it’s incredible sound value: the Tempotec HD V.

Ok, this is a kind of bad strategy to keep suspense high, but yes, after 1 months of intense use, I just can’t get enough about the HD V and how it’s the perfect upgrade to my beloved HD PRO. Let’s see why in this review.



Now this is already a big evolution from the HD PRO, sure their no volume control but personally if their non Play-Pause buton too, i’m not a big fan of extra volume control option, especially when it doesn’t bypass source volume. So, this time we have thick solid metal that feel ultra sturdy with solidly implemented 3.5mm jack and USB-C that doesn’t seem possible to make looser, which happen with HD PRO due to cheap metal used. It’s very small, smooth in hands. Body side are mirror metal, so a bit prompt to micro-scratch and finger prints. On top of body their the Tempotec logo which offer different light color depending of music format rate. This is an interesting new feature, which i don’t personally care about though.


In term of boxing and accessories, nothing mind blowing here, surely to keep this super competitive price that low. Their a USB-C to micro USB cable of decent quality and micro-USB to USB-C adapter. But really do we need more? For those that need IOS cable, their a version selling at same price with it.


The HD V don’t use extra independant amplifier but those included in sabre ES9219 DAC SOC (system on chip) solution, each DAC deliver up to 2vrms of power output, making the HD V achieve as high as 145mw@32ohm load. Using dual DAC for left and right channel permit to achieve higher sound dynamic and crosstalk that will inflict on spatial openess.
With this amount of power for a single ended output, it make the HD V extremely versatile for anything under 150ohm, and the result will never be compressed in dynamic.
Simply put, the HD V can drive properly all my earphones, but will not drive properly my Hifiman Sundara even if it will be enjoyable and loud enough. You have about 4 times more power than your phone, and this in a ultra portable format. This more than enough amping power translate in effortless dynamic sound without roll off in low or high end, no current struggling distortion at high volume with low sensitivity IEM etc.
In all relativity, the amping quantity is sure there, but what about the quality? This is what blow my mind with these Dual DAC SOC…since it sound cleaner than same DAC using extra independant OPamp that tend to add warmth and THD in the chain. So, quality is sure there, it’s clean, with very black noise floor and non foggy sens of silence between sounds. Attack weight too is there, another sign of proper amping for me.


(IEM used: Final A8000, Hisenior T2U, Moondrop Kato, UM 3DT and BQEYZ Autumn)


TONALITY is very neutral here, yet energic in dynamism and rich in texture. We can say ”bright-lush” since it’s not cold, analytical or dry in the way it present music. It’s not airy, yet sure snappy. To me, we hit the sweet spot between tonal and timbral balance and technical performance, without forgiving the mix of both result in a musical experience and not a monitoring of cerebral sound engineer. Let say smooth W shape since presence jump at you of low, mids and highs without feeling like intruder, but dancers.

TIMBRE is not similar to something like ES9038q2m, unless higly filtered-tweaked in implementation. It’s more similar to ES9281C DAC, since it seem Sabre try to add a hint of color in timbre with these new generation models that begin with ES9218. Balance between texture and density is extremely well done, wich result in gently bright naturalness without any harshness or grain. Transparency is there too but I would never call timbre thin of this DAC, in that regard HD PRO is more problematic.

I would not call this dongle king of openess and soundstage, still I would not say it sound too closed or intimate neither. We are in a buble with the HD V, perhaps as big as a car if I can find an example. You feel cozy and secure in this space and your vision is great. Wideness, Tallness, deepness all seem on par, thus the spherical bubble. As well, again this overabuse term, but it’s holographic enough, it have tactile 3D sens of instrument and sound, even if not in a hall like spacious realm. I find important sens of some depth with music, and DAC-AMP can cancel this possibility sometime, this isn’t the case with HD V and i think we most thanks the clean rendering for that. For exemple, it add some deepness to the BQEYZ Autumn that is more about (impressive) wideness and tallness, but this is more evident with a near monitor IEM like Hisenior T2U, here due to already deep soundstage the whole experience gain way more soundstage size!


With it’s dual 32bit/384khz MQA compatible ES9219 DAC with a signal-to-noise (SNR) of 123db and THD+N of 105db, even if not class leading, the HD V is far from being bad specs wise, but how do it translate in real sound. An interesting measurement to have would have been the crosstalk, which translate in imaging capacity to some extend but it’s not available. While SNR is higher than HD III, it’s lower than HD PRO which is 128db, indeed, HD PRO is more transparent and crisp in resolution, but not as hefty in dynamic.
DYNAMIC RANGE is weighty and tight in attack, every note of instrument are well sculpted in their individual presence. Amplitude is diversify but not spiky or boosted in specific region.
RESOLUTION of HD V is excellent both in macro and micro definition, but it have slightly polished edge that can blur it’s sharpness in contour and relief, while keeping body of instrument full the presence isn’t the cleanest or more transparent. It’s far from being warm or foggy, but sound image is just a hint polished.
Attack sustain release is very fast, but have more sustain than release in the sens post impact will not have a long natural airy decay, so some percussions will cut a bit fast, this can stole some treble sparkle and brilliance too, so, this isn’t the type of dongle that add air to the top, even if far from being treble roll off it just feel softed to avoid attack spikyness.
Layering is excellent too, this help mid range articulation for exemple, piano and cello tend sometime to mix and get blurry with too warm DAC-AMP, it’s not the case here and have accuracte separation that enrich both immersivity and spatial articulation and precision.

BASS seem flat but lively and perhaps just a hint mid bass focused, without any unwanted boost that will warm the mids or overall clarity, it have good texture grip too, making electric bass line very snappy sometime. Overall, its quite flat yet not recessed, so it doesnt stole anything and tend to even improve too bassy earphones due to clean bass presentation and extra texture. It will not add nor stole rumble though.

MIDS are gently pushed in presence, it’s not dull or flat, its well define, centered and separated with good body density, natural timbre and superb resolution. Again, the layering impress here, but sens of openess and wideness in presence isn’t magnify.

TREBLE sound full, not thin, it doesn’t feel in your face or analytical yet when you dig in sound scape you can find plenty of sound info and nuance, fully restitue in image, not half done by emphasizing brilliance or snap. For some, it could lack a bit of air or analytical boost, while for other it will be perfectly balanced and natural in tonal and timbral cohesion.

TO BE NOTED: UAPP will interfer with proper amping power and this will affect both max volume loudness and dynamic weight and spatial openess. I now throw away UAPP and just use Hiby Music free app which permit proper exclusive mode that sound exact same as my laptop with Musicbee wasapi exclusive mode. As well, you need to install USB 2.0 driver for some music software, since my HD V doesnt get recognize by Fruity Loop otherwise. All drivers can be find here:



FINAL A8000 sound more balanced than ever with the HD V, smoother too and less spiky or prompt to sibilance. Bass is cleaner and rumble more tight. Their a trade off in air and silence feel here, making A8000 a bit less crisp and clean than with a THX amp for example. Mids sound a bit fuller and timbre too.

HISENIOR T2U is an excellent pairing since timbre can feel a bit thin0dry with some dongle like FIIO KA3 or Tempotec HD PRO, bass gain in roundness and weight. Again, tonal balance is a bit smoothed too. Sens of openess isn’t affect since this dual BA is very airy and open.

MOONDROP KATO was a very interesting pairing that tend to highlight it’s technical prowess and heal the abrasive part of it’s timbre. Level of details in layering was near overlwhelming sometime, and it even make me reconsider whole Kato perception I have. Sure, soundstage doesn’t gain extra wideness, but it gain a hint of deepness that magnify holographic spatiality in a closed way that never get muddy or messy. Very good pairing.



VS LG V30+ (ES9218 DAC-High gain unlock)

The V30 did proove to me that phone can be a decent DAP if using a well implemented hifi DAC chip like the ES9218P in this case, but it’s evident it’s inferior to dual ES9219 especially in crosstalk and SNR it seem, as well as power limitation.
First thing that hit is how more distant I feel from music with the V30, as well the tonality is notably brighter and less rounded, so timbre sound more artificial and distorted in texture.
Dynamic presentation lack amplitude diversity, sens of openess and attack weight being way higher with HD V. Noise floor too is notably more dirty with the V30. Bass feel weightless in impact, mids tend to lack presence extraction and treble is harsher, less snappy-sparkly.
Imaging is more open, holographic and well mixed in static positioning and moving sound layers where V30 sound overly static and like a flat wall of sound.

All in all, the sound upgrade is evident here and worthy of a 60$ investment even for a V30.

DAC=single CS43131
Power output=65mw@32ohm (bypass impedance gain adjustment)

Ok, these 2 while not polar opposite are a bit similar in the sens they are higly resolve and detailed with a rather neutral tonality. HD V biggest difference is in dynamic energy, making the instrument less lean in presence and more lively in amplitude and attack weight.
HD PRO is leaner, more delicate and transparent, colder and less hefty punchy in bass impact and rumble. This make the HD V feel a bit W shape in tonal balance so HD PRO is more neutral-dead-flat.
Strangely, spatiality seem wider perceive with HD PRO, while notably taller and hint deeper with HD V. HD PRO transparency seem higher but definition of individual instrument a bit more softed in edge and contour. As well, attack note weight of HD V is higher making piano sound better articulate and fuller rounded.
Timbre too is more dense and less organic-liquid, so more nuanced and natural in texture too. Listening to fabulous album ”Gurdjieff Chants, Hymns and Dances” from cellist Anja Lechner and pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos is way more enjoyable and immersive and holographic with the HD V than HD PRO which lack dynamic heft and mix cello and piano in same flat loudness level, this make piano note hard to perceive individually and cello lack in lead attack and resonance blossom.

Amping power is 30mw higher with the HD V too. Construction feel more sturdy and durable since volume botton isn’t a plus with HD PRO(fragile and hard to push) and body is made of light metal with micro-usb connector than can go loose after some time.

All in all, HD V is the logical upgrade over HD PRO since both tonaly and technically it’s superior as well as in amping power output. It’s MQA compatible which isn’t the case with HD PRO too. The sound have a more lively and weighty dynamic, timbre is fuller and more natural and micro definition is better sculpted, making the HD PRO seem a bit foggy and lean. This isn’t to say HD PRO is bad, I was again very impress by it’s performance, but HD V underline how flat is it’s sound dynamism too.

Both compared with SE output.

SE output of HD V=95mw@32ohm
SE of LINK 2 BAL=125mw@32ohm
(using the Final A8000 for reference IEM that can dig all details and imperfection of any audio source)

These aren’t similar at all, the XDUOO sound more open, warmish, holographic with more sub bass presence (surely due to extra power and/or independant amp not sure). This bass is a bit warmer yet cleaner-organic and less saturated thicken with texture or THD.

Don’t be fool though, HD V is no slouch and deliver higher level of details and sound info, the dynamic seem move varied in amplitude too, bass is tigher more punchy, overall resolution less analogish.

Wider spatial presentation of LINK2 make it more immersive, less intimate vision if we can say. But for rock and stuffs that need more bite, extra energy and texture of HD V is more appropriate.

Timbre wise, the LINK2 is smoother-lusher especially in mid range, vocal having a less energic yet more appealing presence.

Technically, and this will perhaps be polemical, but the HD V seem superior, with complex ****ed up track, amount of sounds layers are better separated and define, details doesnt get mix up or prompt to harmonic distortion and sub bass doesnt mix up neither, attack is sharper-snappier yet less resonant and spacious.

I’m surprise to come to this conclusion myself in fact. Will perhaps change my mind once i test balanced output of LINK2.

Anyway, here, with HD V we have another big winner in term of supreme sound value, while sound benefit is not as high with LINK2 BAL, it’s sure there for superior versatility both in musicality and power output. As well, construction fo both is very good, but LINK2 BAL have control button, another big plus, and seem even more sturdy in the sens it will not get side scratch like the HD V will surely do due to its mirror finish side.

Both are Keeper for me. But you’ll see, TEMPOTEC HD V will grow in hype and praise, perhaps as high as their best seller HD PRO in the past.

TONALITY: 8.2/10 8.8/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8.6/10 8.2/10
SOUND VALUE: 9/10 8.5/10


Single-ended output power: ≥ 180mW (at 16 ohms), ≥ 110mW (at 32 ohms), ≥ 6.6mW (at 600 ohms)

  • Balanced output power: ≥ 145mW (at 16 ohms), ≥ 240mW (at 32 ohms), ≥ 26.6mW (at 600 ohms)
  • Frequency response range: 20 Hz – 40 kHz (-0.04dB)
  • THD + N: 0.0003%
  • Signal to noise ratio: ≥ 118dB SNR

So, what hit me first is number of sound info I receive, which is notably higher with HD V, as well, attack timing is faster-sharper with better sustain-release.

Second thing is bass being less warm-sloppy, and dynamic having a more vivid amplitude and contrast balance.

After this, spatiality seem less wide and more compressed, yet, in busy complex music it will not go as messy as BEAM2. I would love to know Crosstalk measure of these both, but it seem unavailable. I might be wrong, but i would bet on HD V being higher, perhaps to dual DAC use because the ES9080Pro is suppose to be superior, we must note that it use dual OPamp and this is were my bet go, in term these OPamp might affect negatively crosstalk. But who know, since SNR is higher with HD V, it can be that too.

Anyway, resolution is higher and fuller with the HD V, transparency too, were BEAM2 feel a bit grainy-opaque-euphonic. Biggest issue might be extra bass warmth we get with BEAM2, which inflict on bass-mids separation, and slam is darker in definition too, making sub bass line veil the kick impact and presence.

Tonality enjoyment is always subjective, it can’t be measure as precisely as technical aspect of DAC and AMP, so, here, i do enjoy wider spatiality of BEAM2 more, but not it’s poorer resolution-definition and less precise attack. In term of price value, their not a single doubt HD V is miles ahead. If you take this with superior technicalities, it’s hard to justify BEAM2 buy.



I hope it’s evident I adore the TEMPOTEC HD V, and this is from somebody that have intensely high expectation for this dongle, since I still use and praise the old HD PRO. The fact Tempotec choose a different DAC company is very refreshing too, since it’s a more different flavor than upgrading to BHD or E44 which use dual CS43131 DAC instead of single one find in HD PRO.
At 60$, the HD V is extremely competitive both in performance and musicality, as well as quality built and versatility of connection. The fact you can change the cable promise longer durability too than dongle with built in cable.

If you search for a dongle with decent power output, lush yet technicaly impressive sound and MQA compatibility, the Tempotec HD V should be in your priority list. For more power and sens of openess and crispness, the E44 should be on your list too.

Highly recommended!


PS: I wanna thanks Tempotec for the review sample which they were glad to send me when I manifest my interest about this dongle. Even if i’m a big fanboi of Tempotec, I don’t love all their dongles and i’m in no way pay or affiliated to this company. As always, i’m 100% independant in my review impression.

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