TempoTec is among the brands that make some serious audiophile products but not as famous as it should be. What I like most about their products is the price to performance ratio. Previously TempoTec’s Sonata HD was possibly the first type C DAC dongle to widely popular among the type C dongles. Now there is lots of such type C DAC dongles available in the market but as usual, TempoTec recently has launched a better alternative of such type C DAC dongle with improved hardware and it is called TempoTec Sonata HD pro. I got mine a few days ago and would like to thank TempoTec for sending me a unit for this review.
Specifications of TempoTec Sonata HD Pro
- Model Number – Sonata HD Pro,
- DAC Chip – Cirrus Logic CS43131,
- Structure – Anodized Aluminum,
- Size – 8mm x 17mm x 47mm (D x W X H),
- OTG Plugs – Micro USB 2.0 female inbuild,
- Analog Output – 3.5 mm,
- Supported OTG Cables/Plug – Type C to Micro USB, Apple Lightning to Micro USB, USB a to USB C adapter,
- Cables Length – 10 cm,
- USB Protocol – UAC 2.0,
- MAX decoding – 32 bit/384kHz; DSD256 Native,
- SNR – 128 dB,
- DNR- 128 dB,
- Distortion THD+N – < 0.0002%,
- Frequency Response – 20Hz-40 kHz,
- Output Power Range – 2V with Autodetect gain mode,
- Output Impedance – < 1 ohms,
- Rated power – 45mA average,
- Compatibility – Windows, Mac OS, Android, IOS (I pad pro with Type C),
- Microphone Support – No,
- ASIO – Yes,
- Drivers – Yes,
- Weight – 10 grams.
What’s in the Box?
- TempoTec Sonata HD Pro DAC,
- USB A to Type C converter,
- Type C to Micro USB cable,
- Apple Lightning to Micro USB cable,
- High-Res Logo Sticker.
Tested Sources with TempoTec Sonata HD Pro
Windows 10 PC, Oneplus 6T, Realme C2, Macbook 13 inch, TempoTec V1, Hiby R3.
Tested Apps with TempoTec Sonata HD Pro
USB Audio Player Pro, Tidal Desktop, Audirvana plus, Hiby Music player, Foobar2000.
Tested Gears with TempoTec Sonata HD Pro
TFZ My Love 3, LZ Z04A, HE 150 Pro Earbud, Sennheiser HD6xx, Nature Sound NS3, O Bravo Cupid, Magaosi K3 HD and Shozy Form 1.1.
Product Link – Here
Purchase Link – India or International
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is a plug and play device and works across the device without any additional drivers. But if you want to use the ASIO feature you can use the specific driver for it. Keep in mind that it is the same driver required for their old Sonata HD type C DAC.
Driver Link – Here
As of now, TempoTec hasn’t published any further firmware for TempoTec Sonata HD Pro. As the USB drivers are the same, the internal USB receiver should be the same as the non-pro one and possibly firmware updates can be seen in the future.
Setup & File format Support
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro supports PCM up to 32 bit/384kHz and DSD256. To use the highest PCM and DSD decoding install the drivers and follow the setup instructions below.
First, install the Foobar2000 software then install the components like ASIO Support.
USB Audio Player Pro
The presentation is very nice. TempoTec Sonata HD Pro comes inside a small white paper box. Branding has been done on the front side of that box and the serial no along with TempoTec’s contact information has been printed on the backside of the box. Inside the paper box, there is a metal box containing the Sonata HD pro and all the accessories, secured with foam. So overall the presentation is subtle and secure enough to keep everything safe during shipping.
Design & Build Quality
Design and build quality are good. TempoTec Sonata HD pro is entirely made out of anodized aluminum. It feels very solid in the palm of your hand. Size is very small and slightly bigger than a matchbox and almost similar in size of a thumb drive. On the front side of the device, you can see Tempotec’s Branding and two tactile buttons. Though the device is made out of aluminum, the buttons are made out of hard plastic. The device is painted matt black in color but the buttons are transparent with a dark yellow tint.
The backside of the device doesn’t have much, it is covered by an aluminum plate and the word ‘DSD’ is printed on it reminds you, TempoTec Sonata HD Pro can decode DSD natively. On the top side, the analog 3.5 headphone out and bottom side micro USB port is present. Both the ports are good in quality and you don’t have to struggle while using.
Build and design is good still there are some tiny things I would love to see in future, hope next time they will do it.
- Use of Type C port instead of micro USB (without increasing the price),
- Two holes on any corner to attach a string loop (It will help the device not to fall or loose),
- Small LED, to notify the working status of the device ( better if the LED color changes itself according to the sampling rate),
- Another Play/Pause button.
Accessories sets are also well built. The accessory set is complete with that Apple Lightning to micro USB cable, and you can use Sonata HD pro with almost every device available out there. In their first batch of TempoTec Sonata HD pro, they have shipped some flat OTG cables but now soft braided cables are present, which I think is a better idea because of the flat cables are hard to use with portable devices. They also supplied a USB A to Type C adapter which I think is not required because you can use any micro USB A to micro USB cable to use Sonata HD Pro with your PC.
The output power of TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is very high. With the smart detection feature when you plug low impedance headphones it reduces its gain and with high impedance headphones, Sonata HD Pro reaches its max 2V output. After using it for some time, I can say if the impedance of your headphones at least 80 ohms, Sonata HD Pro activates its high gain mode. With high gain mode, it can run 300 ohms headphones without any problem.
On-device volume control is possibly the best feature you can expect from such small DACs. TempoTec Sonata HD pro supports 13 step volume control through the top + and – button. Sonata HD Pro also can remember the last volume so you don’t have to start from low every time. The volume control works separately with the source, which means you can reduce and increase volume both from your PC/Phone and from the Sonata HD Pro. The best practice is, keep your source’s volume at 100% and control it via the button on the device. Two annoying things which I have noticed that even with the lowest volume you still can hear the song playing and the volume steps are big so from one step to another step you may not find your suitable volume.
Noise, and Temperatures
With all my IEMs and headphones I have never faced any background noise with TempoTec Sonata HD Pro and after hours of usage no heating issue is there, it remains totally cool.
The input power draw of TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is low. If your source device is equipped with a 3500mha battery then with max output, Sonata HD Pro can decrease 1% of battery after 30 minutes of continuous playback.
Mic & In-Line Controls and Standby mode
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro doesn’t support mic input, so you can’t use it while receiving any calls on your Smartphone. It also doesn’t support line in controls.
Standby is a unique feature in this type C DAC dongles and Sonata HD Pro also have it. If nothing is connected on the 3.5 mm port the DAC remains inactive and saves battery life.
Here are some of my favorite tracks which I have used in this review.
- ‘I Miss You’ by Adele ( 16 bit 44.1 kHz),
- ‘Sweet Child’ by Simply Red ( 24 bit 96 kHz),
- ‘Your Latest Trick’ by Dire Straits (16 bit 44.1 kHz),
- ‘Running On Faith’ by Eric Clapton ( 16 bit 44.1 kHz),
- ‘Trust in Me’ by Etta James ( 16 bit 44.1 kHz),
- ‘You Know I’m No Good’ by Amy Winehouse (24 bit 96 kHz),
- ‘Victim of Love’ by Eagles ( 16 bit 44.1 kHz),
- ‘Instant Crush’ by Daft Punk ( 16 bit 44.1 kHz),
- ‘Family Man (Extended Vocal Remix)’ by Fleetwood MAC (24 bit 96 kHz),
- ‘Three O’Clock Blues’ by B.B. King (24 bit 192 kHz),
- ‘Don’t You’ by Amber Rubarth (DSD 5.6 MHz),
- ‘Looking For A Home’ by Keith Greeninger & Dayan Kai (DSD 2.8 MHz).
The entire lower frequency part in TempoTec Sonata HD pro is quite strong. If your IEM can produce a good amount of bass, then you won’t miss anything in the bass region with Sonata HD Pro. Bass is punchy and tight with lots of impacts. Both in terms of quality and quantity Sonata HD Pro is capable of please a bass lover. The blend of Mid and Sub-bass is just perfect and not overpowering at all.
For example the songs like ‘Instant Crush’ by Daft Punk and ‘Family Man (Extended Vocal Remix) by Fleetwood Mac where the entire lower frequency part is dominating and while listening to them with TempoTec Sonata HD Pro and Magaosi K3 HD, I am totally overwhelmed by its performance.
The Midrange has been presented in a natural and soothing way with Rich texture and timbre. Neither the midrange has been recessed nor forwarded that much. Both lower and upper midrange sounds like buttery smooth. No harshness is present in the upper midrange too. Male and female vocals are full of texture and sound very engaging. While listening to my favorite Jazz and blues tracks I am totally amazed by the combination of TempoTec Sonata HD Pro and OBravo Cupid. Songs like ‘Running on Faith’ by Eric Clapton and ‘Looking For A Home’ by Keith Greeninger & Dayan Kai sounding delicate and emotional.
With TempoTec Sonata HD Pro the entire higher frequency part is not extended too much. The treble part is moderate and polished. I have seen such moderate treble with almost all Cirrus Logic DACs thus very good for treble sensitive people. Sonata HD Pro’s Cirrus Logic CS43131 is better and improved than their old CX42XX chips; you can feel the improvements in the treble response too. Treble is airy, sparkling yet not harsh at all. In a song like ‘Victim of Love’ by Eagles is with Sonata HD Pro and TFZ My Love 3, the sound of cymbals sounding less harsh yet sparkling.
Soundstage, Imaging, and Instrument Separation
Soundstage production is not super wide. Depth is there but in terms of width and height is not so prominent. Surprisingly Imaging is very good. Every instrument playing from a different angle of the room can be identified easily with a moderate IEM. With well-mastered tracks, TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is capable of rendering outstanding clarity and details which really helps to monitor your favorite tracks.
Before comparing it with other portable DACs, one thing I would like to mention that is though I am comparing it with other devices below they do not truly belong to the same category of TempoTec Sonata HD Pro. For example, iBasso DC02 or TempoTec’s old Sonata HD is a type C dongle DAC where HD Pro is a mini portable DAC.
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro Vs iBasso DC02
iBasso’s DC01/DC02 is the answer for ultra-portable DAC where TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is a product for more dedicated or pro usage. Here are a few things for that reason I think Sonata HD Pro is a better buy than iBasso’s DC02.
- No cable attached to the DAC like iBasso DC02 so you can use TempoTec Sonata HD Pro with various sources like PC, Android, and IOS devices.
- No dedicated volume buttons in iBasso DC02.
- Less priced.
- Better Solid Build in TempoTec Sonata HD Pro.
- No Heating Issue in TempoTec Sonata HD Pro like iBasso DC02.
- TempoTec Sonata HD Pro consumes less battery power from your source device.
- Better midrange in TempoTec Sonata HD Pro.
- DC02’s higher frequency part is harsh sometimes, where Sonata HD Pro is smooth and polished,
- Better imaging in TempoTec Sonata HD Pro.
The only advantage iBasso DC02 has a 2.5mm balanced DC01 version that is available for balanced earphone users.
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro Vs TempoTec Sonata HD
The non-PRO Sonata HD is also a good type C dongle DAC but it doesn’t have such benefits as the Pro one. The Pro one is double the price but really justifies the price. It sounds better than non-pro and less noisy too. Better dynamics and better resolution with better build and open to use with any sources.
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro Vs Hidizs S8
TempoTec Sonata HD Pro and Hidizs S8 are the same devices only the outer shell is different. You may know that Hidizs rebrand items and sells as their in house product. Previously they sold the same TempoTec Sonata HD as their product with higher price tags. Now Hidizs went way ahead and selling the same hardware with a different outer shell as Hidizs S8 and double the price. In other forums, people have already opened and posted pictures side by side showing the same internals in both these devices. I don’t have S8 otherwise I could have opened the devices and post the pictures in this review.
There are only a few products available in the market which as a reviewer I can suggest even closing my eyes. I am sure that TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is something like that. It is not only very cheap, but it also sounds very nice. Works with almost every source you can imagine and without consuming too much power from your portable source you can enjoy true Hi-Res Music. TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is highly recommended by my side.
Graphic Designer by Profession, and Music is my hobby. Can’t recall when I had started digging the Audiophile rabbit hole, but this Website was created in 2019 to showcase my passion for music. I am not an Audiophile, I call myself a Music Enthusiasts and my goal is to pass that enthusiasm to my readers.
66 thoughts on “TempoTec Sonata HD Pro Review”
Hei thx u for review. But you must review and compare tempotec hd pro with meizu dac hifi pro. The same chip. I think meizu will be the winner in Sound Quality and technicality.
Yes sure, recently got the Meizu DAC but the unit was faulty so asked seller to send me a new one. As soon as I receive, i will do a review and compare.
I really doubt that. Mainly because all CS4131 based DACs sound the same. Implementation wise, at least for now, nobody has done any significant changes to produce a significant effect on SQ.
would you know which one has a better sound, sonata hd pro or meizu’s dac
Meizu’s dac is sonically a little better but don’t have physical volume control like Sonata HD Pro.
Plz compare with maizu pro dac.
Yes, but my unit is on the way and that Chinese Virus spoiled everything.
How about power consumption compared to Sonata HD cable? From my own experience, the “Cable” is kind of battery drainer. Thanks in advance for your answers.:)
The new Sonata HD Pro is more efficient than old Sonata cable. That means, it draw less power from phone and can output more power.
Thanks for your respond, sir. I have some more questions if u don’t mind.
With Sonata HD Pro, Should I buy Tempotec V1 to pair with? or V1A for the sake of “analog output”?
Is the AKM4377ECB DAC really worth it?
Alternatively, Is there any better choices in this price range?
I have both V1 and V1-A. The audio output of V1-A is decent but the problem is low output power. You can’t drive headphones from it, so it’s better to buy V1 + Sonata HD pro or any other portable player.
Does it fully support MQA?
Have u tried the latest firmware? http://www.tempotec.com.cn/download/SONATA%20HD%20PRO-A.zip
If possible, u may update the review based on it. Thanks!
Sure I will, I have sent the device for audition to a friend and now stuck due to county wide lock down.
May I please know from where did you get this link? Because this link isn’t redirecting neither downloading. Can you please confirm if this one is the v3.0 version? Because in thier driver downloads page I could see one driver named v3.0. Are these the same? Could you check and reply please?
I have checked the link and it’s working fine. The link i posted and the driver present in the TempoTec is same V188.8.131.52.
Audirect Atom Pro vs TempoTec Sonata HD which one is more better ?
Sorry for the late reply. TempoTec Sonata HD pro is a better deal and if MQA Playback is must for you then Atom Pro.
Can Sonata HD Pro be connected to integrated amplifier as standalone dac?
Yes, but sometimes the DAC remains in stand by as it can’t detect the load. To solve use a 4 pole 3.5 mm jack to RCA out.
I read somewhere that the Sonata HD Pro has a 3 pole 3.5mm connector (TRS), so how do I connect a 4 pole (TRRS) jack?
TRS is a single ended connection and TRRS is balanced. TRS 3.5 mm female jacks are compatible with 4 pin 3.5mm male plugs. The 4th pin is allocated for mic but in TRRS connection the 4 pin is allocated for L+. Sonata HD pro doesn’t have mic support, so instead their is a switch preset in the 3.5mm female which bypass to the ground. When using an IEM with mic with Sonata HD Pro the 4 th pin also connects to the ground. Now when using with external AMP sonata HD pro should go to the line out mode and deliver 2V output but if it can’t detect the load it remains in standby mode. So to trick the DAC a 4 pole (mic part not connected) 3.5 mm jack works.
Thanks a lot.
Does TempoTec Sonata HD Pro works with MacOS Catalina and does it support DSD256 files?
I don’t have DSD256 files to try but DSD128 worked fine and according to the website DSD256 should work too. MAC OS support is limited as no driver present for MAC.
if i use a 3.5mm impedance adapter with an iem would it activate the high gain mode?
Hi, I’m a beginner and just got this recently and it worked well at first, but it’s just a day ago that it stops working with apps other than USB Audio Player Pro. There’s no sound when playing in Spotify, Poweramp, Youtube (video gets really choppy) but USB Audio works perfectly fine. Do you have any idea about the issue?
It seems it is an issue with USB Audio Player pro. With exclusive access and running in background USB audio player pro blocks the internal audio processing. Try uninstalling USB Audio Player pro and then install again and close it from background process when not using.
Just received my HD Pro from Amazon. Sounds great. One thing — I did NOT get a micro-USB to Lightning adapter cable in the box, only the Micro to Type C cable, plus the standard USB adapter plug. No big deal since I use Apple’s Camera Kit adapter with my iPhone XR, but just wondering if both adapter cables should have been included. Thanks!
There are two HD pro bundle available, one for android another for IOS + Android. The IOS + Android bundle price 4/5$ extra and comes with a lightning to micro usb cable. But those cables are not MFi certified so after IOS version update it may not work, better use camera adapter kit.
Hello I’m unable to see sonata hd pro written in the device section of the sonata audio control panel on my laptop , but the dac seems to be working fine. Is it normal?
IF the drivers are installed properly, it can show Bravo HD device. But if the device working properly, no need to worry.
How about TempoTec Sonata HD Pro sound quality (bass, midrange soundstage) compared to BGVP T01?
I have reviewed both so please check the detailed review. Better Bass and Midrange in Sonata HD Pro where T01’s treble area is better.
Seems like it is available only on AliExpress for India.
Any idea if AliExpress is reliable,(I’ve never used it before), and if there are sites that deliver to India?
Yes Alliexpress is reliable. The link in the review is from direct TempoTec Store.
Yes, AliExpress is truly reliable and I’ve been a long time customer of it for many years. All of the items I ordered from it have reached my home without any issues. The one and only problem is the long shipping time, though it is normal for all the AliExpress orders with standard shipping.
I ordered the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro from another seller since the official seller wasn’t able to ship to my location at that time (I think India whole). So I bought from another seller and they were very friendly, and responded to my questions very quickly. I ordered it on last June and it got delivered on yesterday (30th July), around 10 days lesser than usual shipping time.
I bought this during a sale and so managed to buy it for about $50 (Australian), which I think makes this the cheapest external DAC in its class.
the Sonata HD Pro is tiny, ultra-portable, solidly constructed, nicely presented and packaged, and sounds at least as good as my internal Sound Blaster card.
The hype is real with this one.
Very nice review..
So the pacakage came with three types of cables? I’m a bit confused because on stores, I need to choose which cable I need to go it with..
Thanks. One option comes with two cables ( Type C to micro USB and micro USB to lightning) another option comes with only once cable (Type C to micro USB). The one cable option is 3/5 $ cheaper. Buy the 2 cable one only if you use iphone/ipad. Android users do not need micro USB to lightning cable.
So, you say that with TRS cable it may be the chance that Sonata Pro will go into stand by mode, right?
I already have a TRS cable, that’s why I’m asking, it is really necessary to by a TRRS. I intend to make a setup like laptop – sonata – Topping A30 amp to drive my sennheissers 6xx headphones
Yes, sometimes Sonata HD pro doesn’t recognize the load (External AMP) with TRS plugs. You can buy a 4 pin (not TRRS) 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm TRS adapter too.
What is 4 pin (not TRRS) 3,5 mm connector?
4 pin 3.5mm connectors are used in earphones with inline microphone. Inside the 3.5mm female jack, a switch is present. If the microphone pin is not connected with any mic then it acts as a ground connection.
Isn’t the 4 pin connector TRRS?
4 pin 3.5mm connectors can be used in balanced (TRRS) mode or in Single ended mode. If your headphone have a in-line microphone that 4 th pin would be mic pin if not you can just leave the pin when wiring.
As far as I know TRRS means Type, Ring, Ring, Sleeve and can be connected in various ways.
Nicely written !
So , which one do you think I shall go with –
Tempotec Sonata HD pro OR Zorloo Ztella Standard ?
I know theres ₹2000 price difference but is the Ztella worth the premium ?
My iem is Oppoty , btw ..
I think there is no point of buying Ztella standard one. Better go for Sonata HD Pro, it has on device volume control too. Output power almost same on both the devices.
I just got this and it work for a while and it stops working, i cant see it on my laptop when i plug it in, i tried on a pc and it says driver error. On android and ois not working as well.
Try with a different cable and make sure the headphone is connected when using with the phone or PC. If still not working you better ask seller for refund or replacement.
Thanks for the reply.
which one do you prefer with ibasso dc03? which one better in treble area (high & mid freq)
DC03 not released yet. High and Mids better in Zorloo Ztella.
Hello. Now that the ibasso dc03 is available, is it the better option? Right now i can get sonata pro hd for 32.6$ or the ibasso dc03 for 43.55$. I don’t know it those 11$ comes with some advantages. I’ve heard that dc03 has some channel phase problems. What do you think? Thank you!
The channel phase problem have been resolved by firmware update released on 10.12.2021.
Yes DC03 has advantage over Sonata HD pro. The treble part of DC03 is more extended and polished.
Is it plug n play with macbook pro? No driver required? Thanks
Yes no driver required in Macbooks.
Hey! thanks for the review. Could you please tell which is a better DAC over all, between DC03 and Sonata HD Pro, I shall be using it with a Fiio A3 Amp and Blon Bl03, Ath m50x and Dt990 pro. Source of music, Apple Lossless. (also Meizu Hifi DAC – but is it not available at the moment in India). or Would you suggest any other DAC, portability is not an issue.
Better wait for Ibasso DC05 or Shanling UA1 Pro.
I’ve wanted to order FIIO KA3. It is a bit costlier than TEMPOTEC – SONATA HD PRO but has good reviews. Let me know which one is best.
Sorry for late reply. Practically I avoid Fiio products, because of their poor sound quality and quality control. Fiio products are over hyped for their strong PR marketting.
Better go for Sonata HD pro or Shanling UA2.