The Hidizs sonata is a very small USB-C AMP/DAC or “Dongledac”
Some impressions after a year of use:
- Sounds a lot better than a regular headphone jack
- puts out a decent amount of power for portable headphones (60 mW @ 32 Ohms)
- small and lightweight
- decent metal build quality
- Good price
- Supports headphone controls
- durable enough
- the wire seems a little flimsy
- Firmware update process is a little janky
- Doesn’t output quite enough power for some full-sized headphones like the Hifiman Sundara. It will drive them to a decent volume but you need to max it out.
- Volume control doesn’t have much granularity on three of the four firmware versions available.
- Not the best experience on Windows 10.
Note on firmware:
There are four different firmware versions available for the Sonata.
- A. for Call Priority
- C. Music priority
- D. Pure Music
- Sonata HD DAC Cable 2.0 (I’m going to refer to this as A-2)
I’m not the most familiar with the differences between the first three apart from support for higher quality sample rates on D, but A-2 is the one I would recommend if you’ll primarily be using it for windows 10.
This is because the A-2 firmware has 1:1 volume control with windows.
With A, C, and D, each “step” of the Sonata’s volume control equates to several steps in windows, this means that it’s harder to get the volume “just right”. But on A-2, each volume step in windows equals one step in volume on the Sonata.
The only caveat is that this firmware seems to be based on the original “A” firmware so it doesn’t have support for the higher quality sound that C and D have.
All that said though, I think it’s a great little device for the money and a good upgrade if you’re currently using the built-in headphone jack on a laptop or phone.