Thanos sacrificed Gamora for Soul stone, we sacrificed Headphone jack for the sake of slim flagship smart phones with type C port. Now what’s next? The obvious answer is wireless audio. So throw away all your existing IEMs, headphones or get an inexpensive and average sounding USB C to 3.5mm DAC+AMP. Now a newbie may ask what the heck a DAC,AMP is? So in short a DAC is responsible for converting your digital music data into analog signal and an AMP boost that analog signal so that your headphone, earphone can run.
A DAC,AMP combo can be priced 1$ or even more than 1000$ and you may surprised to know that those free type C to 3.5mm dongles provided by Oneplus, Huawei, Apple (lightning to 3.5 mm- not free any more) are actually cheap USB DAC+ AMPs. Now someone can spend thousands of dollars for a portable great sounding DAC,AMP combo to enjoy his music on the go, but most of casual users may end up with using such free cheap horrible sounding type C to 3.mm adapters. Following this trend of type C audio, few really good & inexpensive after market DAC dongles are also available right now, today for review I got DD Electronics TC 35 and after using it one thing I can say it’s one of the best among such type C dongle DACs.
- Model Number – TC35,
- Structure – Aluminum,
- OTG Plugs – Type C USB 2.0,
- Analog Output – 3.5 mm (CTIA Compatible),
- Cable – 105 Core 7N Single crystal Silver plated OCC Litz cable,
- USB Protocol – UAC1.0/ 2.0/ 3.0,
- DAC Chip – Cirrus logic CS42L42 ,
- MAX Decoding – 192 KHZ/24 bit,
- SNR – 114 dB with -98dB distortion,
- Compatibility – Windows, Mac OS, Android, IOS (I pad pro with Type C).
MAX Decoding – 192 KHZ/24 bit,
SNR – 114 dB with -98dB distortion,
Compatibility – Windows, Mac OS, Android, IOS (I pad pro with Type C).
What’s in the Box
TC35 Type C DAC dongle,
USB A (3.0) to type C converter, Warranty card.
Window Driver – Here
Apple OS doesn’t need a driver. Windows 10 users first need to disable driver signature before installing this driver. If you use FiiO Player or FiiO Music APP you need to first find the USB output in the settings of APP and then turn this function off.
Tested Sources – Windows 10 PC, Poco F1, Oneplus 6T.
Tested Gears – Anew U1, LZ Z04A, Fiio Fh5, HE 150 Pro Earbud, Audio Technica M50x, Sennheiser HD58X.
Tested Apps – Foobar (PC), Fiio music App, Hiby music App (Android).
Buying Link – Here
Presentation, Design & Build Quality
Presentation is simple; TC 35 comes in a small brown recycled paper box. Inside that outer box the device is placed in a slim plastic box with a USB type A to C converter. Design and build quality is very good. Silver color plugs and matched Silver plated OCC Litz cable complementing each other very well. 7N SCP Litz cable is strong and carefully woven; the connectors are wrapped in a thick aluminum shell to avoid any radio frequency interference. So over all presentation, design and build quality is exceptional for offered price.
Output power and Noise
Output power of TC 35 is not mentioned anywhere by the manufacturer. After my detailed test I can say it should be around 100 mw at 32Ω which is enough for most of headphones and very good for such a small device. Surprisingly even with sensitive IEMs no background noise is there.
Judging the sound of a DAC + AMP is quite tough; the overall sound largely depends on the IEM/Headphone or Earbud you paring with your DAC. For this review I am using few of my favorite and frequently used IEMS and headphones so that I can easily evaluate the actual sonic characteristics of TC 35. Sonically DD Electronics TC 35 is almost neutral with a little lean towards high frequency.
Lower frequency part in TC 35 is not overpowered, bass is punchy and quick. The harmony between sub-bass and mid bass is totally mind-blowing. Bass is fast, accurate and the decay is just perfect. Both in terms of quantity and quality, TC 35 is capable of rendering good amount of energy in tracks.
It’s hard to believe that a 100$ DAC (Fiio Q1 mk2) sounding dull and muddy in comparison with a 20$ DAC but it’s true, the possible reason is missing details and texture in the Midrange but TC 35 is exceptionally good when delivering such detailed and textured Mids. Midrange is natural and transparent, Upper mid range is well extended and no harshness is there. Male and female vocals are crisp and full of energy.
Higher frequency part is well extended but no such harshness is there. Treble part is airy and non fatigue for long listening sessions. With dynamic driver IEMs/Headphones treble is sparkling but with B.A driver IEMs treble is a bit dry.
Soundstage/ Instrument Separation
Added soundstage is also very good. Depth is not that much but relatively wide. Instrument separation is good and can handle complex tracks too. Frankly speaking for just 20$, TC 35 is performing way higher than its price.
Venture Electronics Odyssey
Odyssey is available for only 10 $ from VE clan store but the primary drawback of it is, lack of 24 bit decoding. Odyssey is limited to only 16 bit decoding and No ASIO support is there. It’s powerful than TC35 but sound wise inferior. Odyssey feels congested and the lack of micro details can easily noticeable. Where Odyssey is bassy, TC 35 is almost neutral.
Tempotec Sonata HD/ Hidizs Sonata HD II
Tempotec Sonata Hd is around 30$ and at least a decent sounding DAC for its price but TC 35 is still
better. The main advantage TC 35 has is its extended higher frequency part and low noise floor. Even with sensitive IEMS no noticeable noise is present in TC 35 and that airy treble area is just beautiful which is missing in Sonata HD.
DD Electronics TC 35 is an audio gear that exceeds its value by its performance. From design to build no one can complaint about anything. Sonically it’s hard to believe that TC35 sound better than some 100 $ DACS. Whatever you pair, it sounds just too good. So a big thumbs up from me, great job DD Electronics.