Flagship Portable High-Fidelity Bluetooth AmpufflerprR5N

Pros: Size.
- Price.
- Remarkable sound for its price.
- Quality of construction.
- Possibility of installing different firmwares, depending on the use.
- Does not heat up.
- Very low output impedance.
- ASIO drivers.
Cons: It only has a USB Type C connector.
- On the PC, the volume jumps are large.
- On the PC, the operation is a little more rough, compared to the HD Pro version.
- It does not decode DSD.
- Not compatible with iPhone.
Introduction

Lately, USB Dongles are having quite a bit of acceptance among portable audio fans. Sometimes, to improve the sound of our mobiles, gaining more power, or to be used in portable or desktop PCs, even in tablets. In this occasion, I'm going to review a product of the already, classic, Tempotec brand, that has so many good products in its catalogue, like the DAC Serenade iDSD, the DAP Variations V1-A and the DAC/APM Sonata iDSD Plus. This is the Sonata HD. The Sonata HD is a classic dongle, formed with a USB Type C connector + cable + 3.5mm headphone output, all assembled, without the possibility of being divided. As a DAC it uses the CS42L42 chip and its maximum resolution reaches 192 kHz, with no possibility of DSD playback.

Tempotec Sonata HD 01_resize.jpgTempotec Sonata HD 02_resize.jpg

Disclaimer

I want to thank Tempotec, for offering me this device, in exchange for my humble opinion of it.

Specifications

Specs Sonata HD.png
Packaging, Content, Construction and Design


The dongle comes in a small black cardboard box, size 94x66x21mm. On the upper side, in silver letters, it only appears, the brand, above and the model, below. On the back side there is more information, in particular the company's address and similar data. The box is sealed at both openings by two transparent stickers. Once the packaging has been removed, a metal box with the model name and brand logo appears on its lid. After opening it, you can see the dongle, inserted in a foam mold, a USB adapter and a Hi-Res AUDIO sticker. The device has a total length of 110mm. On the USB connector, the brand name appears in white letters and, on the cylinder, where the audio output is located, the model name. The female connector is gold, 3.5mm. The covers of both connectors are metallic, black. The cable is composed of a four-wire braid, whose flexibility is very adequate. A USB female C-type to USB male A-type adapter for connecting the dongle to the PC is included in the package. The construction is solid, looks durable, the connectors have quality finishes and the cable looks well protected on both connections. I just think the cable could be a bit thicker, as it seems to be the current trend.

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Connectivity

Connectivity is only with an Android phone or PC. Depending on the use you want to give this model, when connected to the mobile, you can use a firmware or other. Instructions for upgrading the firmware can be found here:

http://www.tempotec.com.cn/en/2-Product/Sonata/SonataHD/firmware.htm

The three types of firmware are:
Version A: Call Priority

Playback 16 / 24bit 48khz;

Both music and calls are played by the Sonata HD Please note that a headset with a microphone can be connected to the device.

Version C: Sound Quality Priority

Playback 16 / 24bit 44.1 48 88.2 96 176.4 192khz
It plays music and calls.

Version D: Pure sound

Playback 16 / 24bit 44.1 48 88.2 96 176.4 192khz
In this mode, the device can only be used for music.

For the next revision, version D has been used.

For connection to the PC, the ASIO drivers must be used, which can be downloaded from the following address:

http://www.tempotec.com.cn/download/SONATA_HD_DRIVER.zip

The current version is V3.3.136.1

After the installation of these drivers, the PC recognizes the device without problems and can be used with the Foobar2000.

Measures

Voltage
Power
No Load
1.004V​
32 Ω
0.996V​
31mW​
100 Ω
1.001V​
10.02mW​
320 Ω
1.111V​
3.86mW​

From these measurements, it can be extracted, which has a power of 31mW to 32Ω and an output impedance lower than 1Ω.

The frequency response is completely flat, from 20Hz to 20kHz.

Sonata HD.png
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Sound

The sound of the device has a profile where the treble has a tendency to be more crisp and bright than the other ranges. Both the high mids and the high zone are more easily distinguished than the rest of the frequencies, standing out for that greater sparkle.

The Sonata HD, has a somewhat hard sound and its dynamics is not very large, offering more narrow, but also a vivid sound and somewhat uncontrolled. The low zone is powerful, follows the line of explicit and direct sound, but it has a point of color, it is not too deep and it does not extend abyssally. The definition is quite acceptable, but it is not a soft low zone, but rather a cheerful and marked one, following the sound that characterizes this dongle. The voices move away from the abrupt profile of the low zone and offer the most pleasant version of the whole frequency range. Its projection is moderately high and it enjoys a good situation, within the scene. The instrumentation takes advantage of the immediacy and vividness of the sound, something that can be appreciated in fast and not too dense genres. But when the passages are more descriptive and full, you can appreciate that lack of dynamics and smoothness, bringing out that more direct and raw sound.

The high zone is the paradigm of the HD Sonata sound. Starting with the high mid-range, it is the point on which the sound turns, showing that immediacy, brilliance, emphasis, sparkle, clarity and strength. This very explicit sound also has an influence on the production of a good dose of fun. Although, also, it causes the appearance, something earlier, of fatigue, due to the force of its so direct sound.

The scene is not very wide, nor does it enjoy great depth. But, really, it offers a much better recreation than DAPS of equal, even superior, price. The same goes for its level of detail: it's simply good, based on a remarkable clarity and pleasant sense of separation, but without too many nuances, offering a fairly clean and compact sound.

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Conclusion

The Sonata HD is a device capable of improving the sound offered by low-end, even mid-range mobiles by providing up to 1V output. In addition, it can be the ideal complement for PCs, laptops, etc., as an enhancement to the typical sound card. For its affordable price and good sound, the Sonata HD, becomes a very desirable device for any fan.

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Headphones Used During Analysis

  • Ikko OH10
  • Soundmagic HP150
  • Dunu DM-480
  • NS Audio NS5 MKII Extra Bass
  • Magaosi V3
  • Shozy Neo BG
  • OurArt QJ21
  • Smabat M1
  • BGVP ArtMagic DH3
  • TFZ My Love III

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Ratings

  • Construction and Design: 80
  • Accessories: 60
  • Connectivity: 70
  • Sound: 75
  • Quality/Price: 85
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