DAC Chip: ESS ES9038Q2M (Single)
PCM 32bit – 768khz DSD512, SNR: -120dB, Power: 200mW 32Ω, Type-C Female, 2.5mm BAL & 3.5mm SE (Microphone: No), Aluminum/Glass Chassis
LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING
- Energetic neutral and natural airy smooth timbre, faithfully uncolored
- Refined dynamics with well matured vibrancy
- Reference grade coherence with pristine clarity and great transparency
- Slightly spaced out Mids with rich textures and definition, realistic Male/Female vocals
- Crisp smooth Treble with matured finesse, depth, extension, and textures
- Richly textured Mid-Bass with commanding vibe and smooth decay
- Deep, richly textured Sub-Bass with realistic decay
- Excellent details retrieval, Macro and Micro. Smoothly nuanced
- Realistic and crisp guitar, piano, cello, and bass guitar tones
- Lively sounding percussions (chimes, bells) and realistic drums and taps
- Wide soundstage with great depth and spacing.
- Reference grade imaging, razor sharp precision with holographic spatial staging
- Reference grade speed and transients handling, no hint of congestion
- Zero floor noises with black background
- Free of any coarseness or grainy edges overall
- Immensely powerful SE and BAL output with commanding drive
- Absolutely gorgeous sounding paired with literally anything.
- Drives Tin HiFi P1 Magnetic Planar at 50/100 Volume with ease.
- No hardware volume adjuster
- Sub-Bass seismic decay could be a little bit crisper
- Rare occasions may exhibit Treble sheen that can be perceived as peaky (on an already very resolving IEMs/Headphones)
Hidizs S9 Pro. The successor for the already great S9 is here. Hidizs intended for this S9 Pro to excel beyond S9 and they holistically succeeded in achieving it. The way they tuned and implemented ES9038Q2M for S9 Pro is the most refined example I have heard yet – considering I am very well versed with ES9038Q2M devices be it a DAP, Laptop DAC or other Dongles, S9 Pro took the crown. Credit must be given to Hidizs for such finesse in the way they tuned S9 Pro that it is so well balanced between technicality and musicality. This smoothness is a rarity among the typically bright natured ESS. S9 Pro very deftly picks up every detail without reservation, the better your IEMs/HPs resolves, the more details being presented. There’s beautiful balance of crispiness and airiness between layers which translates into soothing sonic pleasure. Bass presentation is as meaty as it gets with refined textures and tight control. It was a pain for me to identify and nit-pick for any weaknesses and all that I could muster is to say this S9 Pro can exhibit some Treble sheen on some recordings that would be regarded as shouty – and even that it would still not count as sibilant.
I just can’t resist myself from comparing this beautiful S9 Pro against my No.1 favorite, the Ovidius B1. And here’s what I found after almost 3 hours of A/B using all four of my favorite IEMs (Shure KSE1500, ER4SR, ER2XR and Heart Mirror):
- B1 have slightly more forward oriented presentation, S9 Pro a step back
- B1 slightly more rounded polished edged while S9 Pro crispy smooth edged
- B1 still a bit more brutally transparent while S9 Pro a bit more forgiving on the sources
Yes, it was painful for me to compare these two because they are both exceedingly stellar that even small differences usually meant they are just exhibiting their mild differences – not a question of which one is better over the other, it’s about which one appease to your taste better. Pick your poison! Hidizs S9 Pro effortlessly climbs into the top tier group without even blinking.
19 July 2021 Update:
#donglemadness Torture Test has been conducted on this S9 Pro, and it passed with flying colors. Driving FOSTEX T40RP MK3 91db Magnetic Planar (running on iPhone USB 2.0 via ddHiFi Adapter), just like the older sibling of S9, the S9 Pro actually performed the BEST in this condition. All the raw power within unleashed needing just 68/100 of volume. Fidelity level was nothing short of stellar with powerful, impactful and deeply extended Bass Responses, silky Smooth Treble with equally crisp decays, richly textured Mids that remained natural sounding. There was no hint of timbre/dynamics stress or instability observed. The output vibrant and highly engaging, full bodied. (In contrast to S9 which is warm neutral, S9 Pro is balanced neutral).
Best Pairing: Technical IEMs and HPs up to 250Ω or above 94db sensitivity.
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