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HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Balanced Dongle DAC – Martha HIFI Sound

HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Balanced Dongle DAC – Martha HIFI Sound

HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Martha is a 89 USD Dongle DAC AMP from HIDIZS with a neat design, lots of angles and modern take on the dongle AMP, with two buttons, and with two headphone outputs, one in the 3.5mm SE format, and one in the 4.4mm Balanced Format. Today we will be reviewing it and comparing it to other entry-level HIFI DAC AMPs, including Shanling UA2 Plus (89 USD), HIDIZS XO (99 USD), and iFi Go Link (59 USD). 


When companies give their product names, they really ought to shorten things a bit, because this is getting ludicrous. We already had a HIDIZS S9. Then the S9 PRO, and now the S9 PRO Plus, which could have just been the Martha DAC AMP. This being said, they were all very successful products from the same line, and HIDIZS usually makes neat products, with good build quality, excellent design, and reliable construction, as I never heard anyone break one of those things. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases, and using the purchase links in my reviews helps me maintain this website and Youtube Channel.

I’d like to thank HIDIZS for providing the sample for this review, in exchange for my honest opinion. This review is a description of my personal experience.


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here – https://amzn.to/49ouMty

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here – https://amzn.to/3OzcXA1

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here – https://amzn.to/496MEt0


Build Quality/Aesthetics/Usage

Starting with the build, we have one of those super small, super light units that has an LED light behind the HIDIZS Logo, and which gets fairly hot and warm during usage. The two buttons on the front are used for playback navigation, forward and backward, at least on Windows. 

The unit is ridiculously loud with my windows machine, and it gets playing insanely loud with Sennheiser IE900 without breaking a sweat, being able to drive full sized headphones such as Ultrasone Signature Pure, Audeze MM-500, and HarmonicDyne Zeus Elite. This being said, the original HIDIZS S9 PRO actually has more power than the new Plus version, which was surprising, the control is a bit better, and while both can go loud, it is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between going loud and staying clean / controlled at the maximum loudness. 

We have support for Hi-Res files, including PCM up to 32 Bit / 768 kHz, and DSD up to DSD512. The DAC has 6 Filter options, and you cycle through those by pressing the two buttons on the DAC at the same time. There is a sample rate indicator, the LED light. The maximum driving power is high, and over the balanced output it has 180mW per channel for an impedance of 32 OHMs, and for the SE output, it has a power of 138mW per channel for a 32 OHM impedance. There is no delay when you’re using the HIDIZS Martha as a DAC for windows or Android. 

The background noise level is low, and you can use the HIDIZS S9 Pro Plus Martha with IEMs such as Soundz Avant, Letshuoer Cadenza 12, Moondrop Blessing 3, ThieAudio Hype2 very well. With IEMs, you will be saying between 10% and 25% of the maximum volume, and anything louder tends to compress the dynamic range, creating a bit of strain in the sound. 


Sound Quality

The sound and overall tuning of the HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Martha is clean, and although you have multiple filtering options, I can barely hear the differences between those filters, with good IEMs, so you should get a good idea of the sound from the get-go. S9 PRO Plus sounds detailed, clean, somewhat bright, with a strong bass, but also a really strong transient response, which makes electronic music, dubstep and EDM sound analytic and detailed, bright and detailed. The rule of HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus is that the louder you go, the more compressed the sound becomes, in dynamics, soundstage and the distortion increased with the volume. It stays clean and perfectly fun up to about 25% – 30% of its maximum volume. The sound of the Balanced output is significantly better than that of the SE port, and I recommend using balanced whenever possible. 

The bass is deep, rounded and clean, but in a natural rather than basshead quantity. The bass is fairly tight and punchy, there’s a good sense of depth and warmth, with most of the bass energy being between 50 Hz and 70 Hz, with no extra 100Hz volume, so no veiling or issues. With a tighter bass, you can use the S9 PRO Plus to give more control for IEMs that are loose or too bassy. 

The midrange is fairly linear and neutral, with voices being presented close to the listener, in an intimate space, but the background instruments having good room to breathe and play all around the listener. Transients are fairly hard, which creates that digital glare people mention when reviewing ESS DAC chips, it is like the sound is hard and hits very hard, it works very well for trance core, and electronic music, where it gives a super strong brightness, but is strong for acoustic music, pop, or metal. 

The treble is lively, bright and crisp, creating the feeling of resolution and detail really well. This is aided by the strong and punchy traisnets, which emphasize electronic instruments and synths, bands like Mindless Self Indulgence sounding really neat. This can make acoustic music harsh, and the brightness will pair really well with smooth and warm sounding earphones, and I would steer away from IEMs and Headphones which are already bright. This means that S9 PRO Plus would work well with HarmonicDyne Devil, FiiO FH11, and Soundz Avant, but would not work as well with HIDIZS MP145, Letshuoer Cadenza 12 or HIFIMAN Audivina



HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Martha vs Shanling UA2 Plus (89 USD vs 89 USD) – Both sources have good resolution and detail, but Ua2 Plus somehow manages to still be smaller and easier to transport, also being lower in volume at max volume but having a higher driving power, keeping control a bit better than S9 PRO Plus especially at high volumes. The signature is smoother for Ua2 Plus, which sounds more rounded, has a fuller bass, slower bass, and lower amounts of treble, while s9 PRO Plus is full time brighter, more airy, more analytical and has harder transients. 

HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Martha vs HIDIZS XO (89 USD vs 99 USD) – There are more sonic modes for the XO, but Martha is a DAC that has a brighter sound regardless of the setting, with more treble quantity, a more aggressive and tighter presentation, less bass and warmth, and more transient attack. XO is good if you need more warmth and bass, and it appeals to the gamer market, but offering a larger sound, more explosion impact, and a slower bass, being better for pairing with bright and V-Shaped IEMs, while S9 PRO Plus is literally made for IEMs with a smooth and lean sound. 

HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Martha vs ifi Go Link (89 USD vs 59 USD) – Both DACs are lightweight, portable and draw little power from the source, which is important if you’re on-the-go. The sound is quite different, and Go Link has very little driving power, while questionably S9 Pro Plus gets loud too fast, but falls out of control, having limited power, but a much higher volume. The presentation is exactly the opposite, and where Go Link is super smooth, lean and relaxed with almost too little treble, and a lot of warmth in the bass, S9 Pro Plus Martha sounds very bright, tight, forward with the voices and hard in the edges for textures and traisnets. Go Link is more intimate, presenting music closer to the listener, while S9 PRO Plus can be wider and more holographic, although lead voices will still be intimate with the listener. 


Value and Conclusion

Considering the meager pricing of the S9 PRO Plus and how many IEMs in the entry-level are smooth and could use a bit more high-end extension and sparkle, HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Martha is fully worth the price, it provides good detail and clarity for the money paid, and it can improve the listening experience for many music lovers out there. 

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a portable DAC AMP with multiple filters, but a bright, clean sound regardless of the filter, and with a tight bass, to turn your smooth and lean IEMs into a more energetic, more sparkly experience, HIDIZS S9 PRO Plus Martha is a fully recommended purchase today. 


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here – https://amzn.to/49ouMty

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here – https://amzn.to/3OzcXA1

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here – https://amzn.to/496MEt0

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Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  I recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music! The playlists are different for Spotify, Tidal and Youtube, and based on the songs I enjoy and are available on each!




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