The music source plays an important role in your modern Hi-Fi chain. It can be your Smartphone, PC, DAP, Network Streamer or a dedicated device like TempoTec V1. You may ask, what is the point of using a source device when my phone/DAP can do everything? The answer lies in some other questions, like how you listen to your music and do you care about the quality of your music you listening?
Desired functions of a source device
- Storing and carrying lots of offline music files,
- Receiving music data from streaming services,
- Presenting a user-friendly Interface to arrange/operate,
- Processing the digital data and sending to the DAC,
- Transmit or stream the data over Bluetooth.
Source Devices & their Limitations
Your Smartphone, DAP, Network Streamer (with built-in DAC), is a combination of Source and decoder (DAC) so most likely they are the best solution for everyone. But there are problems too; Audiophiles don’t rely on Smartphone due to their poor sound output, continuous popup notifications, and calls. Modern DAPs are equipped with a faster system processor and reasonable audio circuit for better music output than a Smartphone but you have to spend a lot of money to have a great overall DAP. A dedicated network streamer is not portable so forget about them.
A dedicated external portable or desktop DAC is much superior when it comes to sound but it can’t process or store the music files itself, it needs a source and you can use your Smartphone, PC, DAP, Network Streamer or a dedicated device like TempoTec V1 to process and feed data to the DAC. TempoTec V1 is a unique device that solves almost all the requirements of a perfect digital music source. So let’s see how V1 actually works with all kinds of devices and in almost every situation. BTW I would like to thank TempoTec for sending me this TempoTec V1 unit for review.
- Model – V1,
- Color –Black,
- Dimension – 80*45*12 mm (L*W*H),
- Weight – 80g,
- Shell material – Aluminum+ Plastic+ glass,
- Front Display Glass – 2.5D,
- Touch screen – 320×240 IPS (H*w),
- SD card Slot – 2 (400 GB tested in each),
- Physical buttons – 6 tactile buttons,
- Power indicator – Blue Led,
- OS – Hiby Touch OS,
- Ports – Type C USB 2.0(OTG enabled) for charging and Data in/out and 3.5 mm Coaxial,
- Battery – 1200mA,
- Charging time – 2.7 hours around (power off),
- Power Supply – DC 5V, 1Amp,
- Last time – 10-15 hours (Depending on playback),
- Bluetooth -4.0,
- Codec – Bidirectional AAC,atp-X, LDAC,
- Bluetooth Playback time – 20 hours around,
- File format supported – All kinds of music files including DSD256.
Product Page – Here
N.B – This is TempoTec V1, not V1-A. V1-A is a similar-looking device with a DAC chip inside which has a 3.5 mm analog out for headphones and TempoTec V1-A works like a standard portable music player.
- V1 device,
- Pre-applied screen protector,
- Micro USB to Type C braided short 12cm cable,
- USB A to Type C braided charging cable,
- User manuals
Presentation is simple; TempoTec V1 comes inside a small white box. The box is very small and not so protective but no damage has been done to the items inside due to cleverly placing the contents. The front of the box has a picture of the actual device with branding. Back of the box specifications, warnings and serial numbers have been printed clearly.
Inside the box; the device has been securely placed inside foam and other contents inside a separate paper box. The contents are, one 12cm Micro USB to Type C braided cable, one USB A to Type C braided charging cable and some manuals. The screen guard has been pre-applied on the device but sadly only one screen guard in the box. Surprisingly both the cables are beautifully braided and connectors are gold plated. Really pleased to see the quality of the accessories.
Though from the photos the device looks big, actually it is a very small device, i.e. 8 cm x 4.5 cm. Very comfortable even in my small palm. The design and shape are very ergonomic. As soon as you see the device you may think it is light weighted and fragile device but once you hold it, you can realize the weight of the device is quite heavy in contrast with its size.
The entire back body of the TempoTec V1 is made out of a single machined aluminum. The front side fully covered with a 2.5 D glass which gives smooth classy looks. Top, bottom and a small part of the back of the device is made out of plastic for the antenna of the Bluetooth. All the buttons are also made out of plastic.
The matt black finish on the body has been perfectly applied and no imperfection is there. On the left side of the device, both the Micro SD card slots are spring-loaded type. Below the card slots ‘Micro-SD’ has been written but not mentioned which one is Micro-SD 1 and which one is Micro-SD 2. Also, micro-SD card orientation is not printed too. Please note that the Micro-SD card slot near the volume – button is Micro-SD 1 and the card orientation is contact pads downwards.
Down of the device, both Type C port and 3.5 mm coaxial port is properly aligned and high in quality. Top of the device there is a blue colored power led which glows when the device is powering on and remains on until the device goes to standby. The led remain blue and don’t changes according to playback file bitrates.
The front glass is properly flushed with the chassis and TempoTec placed the Hi-Res sticker beneath this glass which is a clever idea. 6 tactile buttons are also tightly mounted and don’t produce any rattling sound while moving. Though there are some sharp edges in the device, overall the whole design and build are flawless.
All 6 buttons are the tactile type, once pressed you can feel medium resistance and a soft click sound. All 6 button operations are as follows.
- Top Round Power Button – Press and hold for 3 sec to turn the device on and again press and hold for 3 sec to turn it off. The single press to turn on/off the screen. When the screen is off or the device is in idle mode only the power button can wake the screen/device.
- Left side Two Buttons- Volume + and Volume -. Single-click to increase or decrease volume levels. These two buttons always work as volume buttons either the screen is on or off.
- Right side 3 buttons – First one from the top works for the previous track with a single press and while keep pressing it works to backward the playing track. The middle button works as a single press play or pause. A small round bump is there in the middle button which helps to identify the play pause button even when the device in the pocket. The last one works for the next track with a single press and while keep pressing woks as fast forward the playing track.
The 2” 320×240 IPS LCD screen is not super crisp but does its job properly. Still, it has enough brightness to work in direct sunlight. The viewing angles are surprisingly good. Albums arts and texts are crisp and the saturation level is fine. Black level is good but the whites are a bit grayish. I was not expecting that much but the screen is not a cheap one for sure. The touch response is very good, no lag at all. As the screen size is very small, sliding the different menu options is sometimes a tough job.
TempoTec V1 doesn’t have any DAC chip inside. As per the manufacturer website they have used exquisite Components, exclusive MCU, high precision crystal oscillator, and Low noise PLL noise filters. After using I can say that the internal processor is actually very fast and responsive. All operations work normally and no drastic delay is present when changing tracks or navigating menus. The output signal is also clean and no noticeable noise is there.
The battery performance of TempoTec V1 is surprisingly good. 1200mA lithium polymer battery charges itself fully around 2.7 hours with a standard 5v 1 amp charger. The charger is not included in the box so I have used my Smartphone standard charger and didn’t notice any heating issues while charging. Blue power led becomes Red while charging and again becomes blue when fully charged. Battery performance depends on how you use the device.
- Bluetooth playback – 20 to 23 hours (non-continuous),
- USB DAC with Battery – 25 to 30 hours (non-continuous),
- USB DAC without Battery – 15 to 18 hours (non-continuous),
TempoTec V1 only has two output ports, USB Type C and 3.5mm coaxial output. Both the ports are digital out and their functions as follows
- Type C – The type C port in TempoTec V1 can perform multiple tasks like charging the device, Data access, OTG file sharing, and digital audio out to external DAC. Supplied USB A to Type C cable works both charging and data sync while the short OTG cable works to feed the digital audio data from TempoTec V1 to external DACs.
- 3.5mm Coaxial – By default the output has been set to coaxial, the pin configuration of the coaxial port is different and clearly mentioned in the manual booklet. No such cable is supplied in the box so before buying any third party coaxial SPDIF cable makes sure it follows the pin configurations.
Hiby touch custom OS is one of the best OS for low powered digital audio players I have ever seen. It’s light, fast and feature-rich. I have used Hiby R3 DAP before so this UI in TempoTec V1 is very familiar to me. But for TempoTec V1 they have optimized the OS further. Let’s see the major elements of this OS.
Glowing TempoTec Logo appears when either the device is turning on or off.
After the welcome screen, TempoTec V1 reaches the home screen. The home screen has 8 icons (Browse, Category, Bluetooth, MSEB, Equalizer, etc). The home screen also shows the current volume level, time, coaxial/USB OTG/USB status, battery percentage, and mini-player when the song is playing in the background.
- Browse – Inside browse; Micro-SD 1, Micro-SD 2, USB storage options present. You can select the storage and access your files. Basically it the file manager of TempoTec V1.
- Category – Inside category, options like All, Albums, Artists, Genres, My favorites, Recent, Playlists are present. Inside the playlist option, you can create, save, load, and delete playlists.
- Bluetooth – Inside Bluetooth, first you have to turn on the Bluetooth toggle button then you can access other settings like device name, Hiby Link, Quality, Bluetooth volume adjust, search devices, paired devices, and available devices. To use Hiby Link you have to turn on the Hiby link toggle button and you can select Bluetooth codecs like Aptex or LDAC inside the Quality option. If you want to use TempoTec as Bluetooth data receiver doesn’t turn the Hiby Link option. If your phone supports aptex or LDAC tempoTec will automatically switch to the higher setting available.
- Hiby Link – Hiby Link is another useful feature in Hiby OS. By using Hiby Link you can control the V1 without even touching it.
- MSEB – MSEB is a unique equalizer from Hiby, after turning it on you can adjust values like overall temperature, Bass extension, Bass texture, note thickness, and many more to fine-tune your music.
- Equalizer – Once you turn on Equalizer, you can adjust the 10 band equalizer to tune your music.
- Play Setting – Options like Play mode (Play through list, loop, shuffle, loop list), Resume play from last, Gapless playback, DSD Output mode, Max volume, Fixed power-on Volume, Crossfade, Gain, Replay gain, Balance, Play through folder, and play through album are present.
- Settings – Inside, you can adjust Language, Update Database, Music database Scan ( Very Fast scanning), Lower power mode, Brightness, Color theme, Font size, Backlight time, USB mode, Button operation ( Enable and disables right side playback control buttons when screen is off), Time setting, idle timer, sleep timer, stand by, inline remote, Restore factory setting, and firmware update.
- About – In About, you can see the firmware version, the capacity of the storage, and the serial number of the device.
One thing is weird that some features are not designed for V1 but still present in the OS. Like when the ‘Audio’ option in USB mode are selected and as soon as you connect the device with your PC, a new screen appears saying V1 is working as USB DAC for your PC but as we know that as there is no DAC chip inside V1 so it can’t decode music from your PC. Some other options like inline remote, gain doesn’t work too.
The playback screen shows Album Art (You have to manually add Cover.Jpge file inside the music folders), play/pause button, next track button, previous track button, real-time music time slider (You can hold and side to fast forward/backward), favorite shortcut button, Play through list shortcut button, ‘+’ icon to add the playing track to the playlist and other options like view album, properties, and delete. To know the bitrates and bit depth of the current track you have to click on the properties option.
Hiby OS also supports some gestures like a swipe from bottom to get the brightness, volume, Bluetooth, gain, DAC and sleep timer shortcuts. Swipe from right to left in the payback screen to reach the home screen and Left to right swipe to reach the playback screen. Also in the setting menus swipe from left to right acts like the back button.
TempoTec V1 is a source device and its primary function is to carry music and feed digital signals to external DACs, so the sound doesn’t depend on V1. To understand the possibilities and usability of TempoTec V1 let me show you the ways where you can use it.
TempoTec V1 with External DACs
You can simply have to hook TempoTec V1 with your portable/Desktop DACS with supplied micro USB to type C or type C to type C cables. You don’t have to use your phone or PC to store and send digital data to your DAC. Pairing up a PC or Phone with a DAC is time-consuming; thanks to exclusive OTG drivers TempoTec V1 quickly recognizes the external DAC and becomes ready for playback.
TempoTec V1 with ultra-portable dongle DACs
TempoTec V1 with Bluetooth headphones
Turn on the Bluetooth on V1 and pair with your favorite Bluetooth headphone/earphone and enjoy music like you can see I have connected my Shanling MW100 with V1.
TempoTec V1 with Bluetooth speakers
Like Bluetooth headphones, you can play your Bluetooth speakers using V1, no need to worry about your disturbing phone calls and notifications from your phone while playing music.
TempoTec V1 as Bluetooth data receiver
As for V1 support by directional Bluetooth you can send your music from the Smartphone and listen to your headphones.
No one likes to download and store music nowadays. Streaming services like Tidal, Deezer are now the best solution for audiophiles to listen music anywhere without caring about the music quality. Now TemoTec V1 doesn’t have wifi, so it can’t stream music data from popular services. But there is a way to stream and listen to music using TempoTec V1.
First, connect your Smartphone and V1 over Bluetooth (LDAC for best bandwidth), V1 should be in Bluetooth receiver mode. Now open your streaming app and play your music, now you can enjoy music from your DAC which is hooked up with V1.
TemopoTec V1 is without any doubt a unique device and possibly the only device of its kind. Limitless possibilities inside a tiny match box size piece of hardware. Smooth user interface, superb battery life, two SD card slot, LDAC, Type C out, and coaxial out, what else you can expect from a digital transport device. Only missing thing is a leather case which TempoTec should release soon. So TemopoTec V1 is highly recommended from my side.