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ddHIFI TC44PRO USB-C 4.4mm Dongle DAC – Warm Sound Presents Drums and Bass

ddHIFI TC44PRO USB-C 4.4mm Dongle DAC – Warm Sound Presents Drums and Bass

ddHIFI TC44PRO is a $71 USD Dongle DAC AMP designed around a pair of Dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DACs, and with a 4.4mm Headphone output, designed to pair with your smartphone and provide a convenient sound solution. Today we will focus on reviewing the TC 44 PRO, and compare it to other entry-level DACs including Shanling UA4 (99 USD), HIDIZS XO (99 USD), and FiiO BTR15 (119 USD). 



DD Hifi is a company focused on creating entry-level products, with a solid background in engineering and design, being usually the most recommended producer for accessories, mini DACs, affordable cables, and recently IEMs, such as Janus 3 . 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. Aune Audio has provided the sample for this review, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

PROs – Exceptionally strong dynamics, Good detail, intimate soundstage that does deep, warm, thick bass, lots of sub bass, rich overall tuning and signature, can present emotion for female voices, punchy and vibrant signature for male voices. Most of the time the drums are presented before all the other instruments, the tuning works really well for EDM, Pop, Dance, and Metal music, basically new and commercial music. 

Cons – Design and size comes at the cost of placing the mechanical stress of using it on the Type-C port of your smartphone, the audio jack comes towards the top of the phone while using it, which is further uncomfortable while consuming media content, It gets warm during usage. 


Product Link

You can get one here – https://amzn.to/3UpXiqa


Build Quality/Aesthetics

The best part with TC44PRO is that it is small, although this could be both a pro and a con. It is a very light DAC that connects directly to the Type-C port of your smartphone, and which weighs less than 9 grams, having a size of 30 mm x 18 mm x 12.5 mm. The downside comes from the fact it is based on a 4.4mm connector which is typically quite tight, sturdy and tight, so you have to insert the headphones / IEMs before inserting the TC44PRO in your smartphone, otherwise you risk forcing the Type-C port and breaking it. 

In fact, compared to those DACs that use a little cable to connect to your phone, the type like TC44 PRO which plugs directly in the type-c port will place a lot of stress on that connector, and I see that as a potential issue, although I had so many of you ask me for something smaller and smaller, so here it is. We have PCM decoding up to 32 Bit / 384 kHz, and DSD up to Native DSD256. The maximum output power is high, up to 120 mW for a 32 OHM impedance, and we have just one 4.4mm Balanced output. 

As this is the third generation of the ddHIFI TC44 series, we have big improvements in the sound department, although the shape is generally what you’d expect, we do have the extra Lanyard Hole to attach the TC44PRO to a keychain and generally avoid losing it. The chassis is made of 1800D Carbon Fibre panel, and it is made well, no loose edges, no glue that is sticking out, plus there is a little LED light next to the Lanyard hole to allow you to know whether it is working. There are options for both a Type-C and Lightning version, but as I am using an Android S23 Ultra, I went with the Type-C for today’s review. 

For this review I’ve been using a collection of IEMs and Headphones, including Kefine Klanar, Simgot EM6L, Soundz Avant, Spirit Torino Twin Pulse Beryllium, Sennheiser Ie900, Campfire Bonneville, ddHIFI Janus3, and FIR Audio e12 electron. Like with most dongles, the maximum power at 32 OHMs will be lower at higher and at lower impedances, but happily TC44 PRO does not suffer from strong background noise, and it is generally fit for most IEMs and easy to drive headphones, having enough volume and control for both. With Sennheiser Ie900 I reach almost the maximum volume. 



As far as I could test with a smartphone, there is no noticeable delay when using the TC44 PRO. It is detected by Hiby Music, and generally works as well with all apps including Youtube and Tidal. Everything works perfectly, sync tests indicate a less than a frame of delay, so zero delay. There is no separate volume for the dongle and the smartphone has its volume, that is all. TC44PRO gets quite warm during usage, it draws quite a bit of power from my smartphone, to feet the driving power it has, but it is not hot to the touch, just quite warm. 


Sound Quality

Overall Signature – Most DD Hifi dongles and DAC/AMPs come with a very similar tuning and signature, the new TC44 PRO following it faithfully, as it has a warm, smooth, bassy sound with a relaxed and smooth treble but a really strong texture and detail, sounding impressive and engaging, rich, without being harsh and fatiguing. 

Bass – The low-end and sub-low end is strong with the TC44PRO, and this is important if you’re in the entry-level, where most IEMs can’t really push a strong 20 Hz punch on their own, a DAC/AMP that emphasizes it will help enrichen the sub-low extension and depth, punch and quantity of the sub bass. We have a warm and full bass which extends all the way to the mid bass and even the upper bass, the whole sound being quite full and warm. This also means that the bass has strong textures, it is never smooth, always having high resolution, so if a song tends to be on the too much side of things, distortion will easily be audible. With songs that inherently have no distortion there will be none with the TC44PRO, but if the song reaches a clipping point, TC44PRO will reveal that and make it audible too. 

Midrange – Even the midrange is affected by the bass bloom, and it is warm, thick, pleasing and full sounding, but manages to deliver an emotional and sharp female voice representation, without going over the top in the upper midrange / lower treble. The midrange is dominated by depth, as the sub-bass extension is strong, with most background instruments being pushed far in the back, while foreground instruments are strongly brought ahead and in your face, although bass notes, bass guitars and drums almost always take the first place in music, even in front of the voices and lead guitars. Complex orchestral pieces, even modern ones like Apashe – Renaissance 2.0 will sound bountiful and joyful from the TC44C. 

Dynamics / PRaT / Textures – There’s a good sense of texturization from the TC44PRO, it has a strong texture, clean dynamics, with a strong difference between the loud parts and the quiet parts in songs. I am starting to feel often that my description of the dynamic range gets misinterpreted, as for example if you listen a lot of EDM and rock / metal, a compressed dynamic is preferable, it brings the background details and reveals finer sounds more, while for jazz and classical, a compressed dynamic range will cut on the emotion, each music style works best with a certain tuning. Having a compressed dynamic is not necessarily a negative, nor is having a high dynamic range in music if you mainly listen to loud metal.  

Soundstage – The stage is generally deep, intimate in the width, but there’s a good sense of separation and each instrument is presented as part of a complex arrangement rather than an independent entity playing on its own. 

Volume Control – We have strong volume control, and the sound stays the same across all volumes without strong variation, so there’s no preference to turn it loud or quiet. Since the dynamic range is high, you will have an easier time hearing quieter details and special effects if you push the volume very loud, although this does imply that the loud parts will be even louder. The signature stays consistent across all volumes, bass keeps the same presence and strength and so does the treble. 

Treble – With most dongle DACs, the company has to balance between having a sharp and detailed treble, or having a a smooth and laid back treble, but risk having too little detail. TC44PRO is halfway in between the two, the treble exists and it is pretty sharp, but it avoids being overbearing or harsh, so generally the tuning is pleasing to the ear. 




DD HiFi TC44PRO vs Shanling UA4 (71 USD vs 99 USD)

Build – Ua4 is the closest dongle DAC in today’s comparison list in shape and design to TC44PRO, but it comes with that little cable tail that connects it to the phone. For a slightly higher price, it does come with a little display, and has multiple gain modes, internal volume, and a higher theoretical maximum file resolution decoding ability. I am saying theoretical here, because I have no files that high in my collection, nor does Tidal and other convenient streaming services provide files you’d easily find in DSD512 or PCM 768 kHz / 32 Bit. Both DAC/AMPs have a balanced 4.4mm headphone output, and a single ended 3.5mm headphone output. The driving power of the UA4 is higher, but it also draws more power from the smartphone. Ua4 has playback buttons which can be used to set the volume, while TC44PRO has no buttons. 

Sound – Sonically, the two are similar, both dongle DACs have a good resolution, although despite being warm, UA4 sounds wider and more holographic, while TC44PRO sounds deeper with more substance and body to each instrument. The texture is smoother on TC44C, while Ua4 brings forward the voices and lead guitars more, TC44PRO always brings forward the drums and bass guitars. 


DD HiFi TC44PRO vs FiiO BTR15 (71 USD vs 119 USD)

Build – You will notice that FiiO BTR15 is not just a DAC/AMP, but a Bluetooth receiver, so it has the potential of placing absolutely zero stress on the Type-C connector of your smartphone, and it has an internal battery too. TC44PRO is smaller though, so if size is a concern, it is more comparable to a small coin, while BTR15 resembles a modern car key in size and weight. Both have good compatibility with smartphones, but you would avoid using Bluetooth if you wanted a cleaner, more detailed sound, and to avoid delay, if watching movies or playing games. Both have zero delay if used by wire as USB DACs.  

Sound – The sound of TC44PRO is more colored, warmer, thicker, deeper and with more sub-bass, which creates the feeling of depth in music better, although BTR15 is more intimate in general. Both have a good resolution and detail, but TC44 PRO has a relaxed, laid back and smoother sound, while BTR15 has a more standard, more natural sound. TC44PRO pairs better with brash, harsh, bright and sharp sounding IEMs where it can tone them down, while BTR15 pairs better with warm, deep, smooth and bassy sounding IEMs. 


DD HiFi TC44PRO vs HIDIZS XO (71 USD vs 99 USD)

Build – XO has more buttons and will connect to your phone with a cable, and it also has multiple sonic modes. This being said, they draw about the same power from the source, both have both a balanced and a single ended 3.5mm Headphone Jack. The maximum driving power of XO is quite a bit lower, and this is also audible in the sound part.  

Sound – ddHIFI delivers a warmer bass, better sub-bass extension, more body and substance to music, while XO sounds less dynamic and less detailed, brighter and more pumped up, a bit more forced. There is a good sense of depth with TC44PRO, while XO presents a wider sound, more space between instruments, but in a shallower soundstage which doesn’t have a lot of depth. The detail and resolution is higher with TC44PRO, although they are very close to each other. 


Value and Conclusion

ddHIFI manages to provide a good value with the TC44PRO, as this is an affordable dongle DAC with the only inherent disadvantage being that it consumes a lot of power to play its music, but you have to sacrifice something to get a strong sound, and it does deliver good dynamics, strong detail and resolution, and a pretty enjoyable, warm and punchy / rich sound. 

At the end of the day, if you’re always searching for the smallest, most portable and most ergonomic device, if you’re generally careful with your devices and need a strong, rich sounding dongle DAC with a warm sound, and good sub bass, ddHIFI TC44PRO is an excellent choice and a full recommended purchase today on Audiophile-Heaven. 


Product Link

You can get one here – https://amzn.to/3UpXiqa

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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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