ddHiFi TC35B Review

ddHiFi TC35B Review

21 August 2021 0 By Petros Laskis

TC35B 2021 Aluminium version

Pros: – Great sound for the size
– Tiny form factor
– Feather weight
– Low power consumption
– Excellent build quality
– Lighting to 3.5mm also available
– Supports CTIA standard earphones
– 32bit/384kHz (PCM)
– Inexpensive but not cheap

Cons: – Low power output but this is something to be expected for the size

The TC35B was provided by ddHiFi free of charge but they never asked for a favorable review.
As always this is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
All links provided in this article are not affiliated in any way.
The selling price is $42 or €43 and you can buy it from here.
A lighting to 3.5mm version is also available.

Introduction

Although ddHiFi is a relatively new brand needs no introduction since it is well known among the headphone enthusiasts.
It was established in 2017 by Mr. Demond Ding, a former engineer and lead designer for FiiO and Oppo.
They started by building some very useful audio adapters and they have grown to include earphones and small dac/amps with the top model being the TC44B.
They have stripped their products from unnecessary cosmetics and fancy packing in order to offer good quality at an affordable price.

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TC35B 2021 Aluminium version

The TC35B is not a new product since it was first introduced back in July 2020.
As for July 2021 it has been updated featuring an all new aluminium alloy body so it has become even lighter but the metal luster is still great.

The TC35B is the tiniest USB type C to 3.5mm adapter without cable, measuring only 18.8×11.4×10.4mm and weighing a mere 3.6gr.

It’s a quite common issue for the cable on the little tail adapter to wear out as time goes on.
But the design of a pure adapter completely avoids this problem.
The all-metal shell can more effectively shield electromagnetic interference and further ensure the
lossless transmission of sound quality.

When the earphone is not plugged in, the TC35B won’t work, even if it’s connected to your phone or
computer.
It will detect and recognize automatically when the earphone is plugged in.

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A very useful feature of the TC35B is that it supports CTIA standard earphones.
When you plug in CTIA standard earphones with microphone and controls, you can answer phone calls and use the play/pause, volume and track selection controls.
(Volume control on Apple headphones is not supported).

The DAC chip inside is the humble Realtek ALC5686 that is also used in various PC motherboards to handle generic audio duties.
So how can it be for the TC35B to sound better than the average PC audio output?
Because as we all know it is the implementation that matters and believe us, the guys at ddHiFi know exactly what they are doing.
The ALC5686 used in the TC35B is optimized to offer the best possible sound quality for iem listening on the go.

The technical specifications

According to ddHiFi are:
Output Power: 30mW@32Ω
Drive Ability: 16~200Ω
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Support to: 32bit/384kHz (PCM)
THD+N: <-92dB
DNR: > 110dB
SNR: > 120dB

Sound impressions

It is important for someone to understand the intended use scenario of this little adapter in order not to expect miracles from it.
Since it is mainly addressed for listening on the go with easy to drive iems we have tested it accordingly.
We have used earphones like the iBasso IT01X, the Meze 12 Classics V2 and the brand new FiiO FD3.
With all these models the listening volume was more than sufficient and everything sounded certainly louder than the generic 3.5mm output.
Power consumption is minimal and is not going to severely affect the usual battery duration of the host device.

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The TC35B brings to the table an instant upgrade to the sound quality over most, non special, 3.5mm outputs of phones and computers.
Very enjoyable and well balanced without deviating from linearity, it is suitable for all kinds of music and is going to do justice to every entry level earphone.

Surprisingly clear and noise free for an entry level DAC, it features an extended and well controlled bass which is quite full bodied with some sufficient dynamic contrast.
Mids and highs sound open, spacious and well articulated without overall weight loss while resolution and detail retrieval are very satisfying.
The soundstage is wide enough and fairly extended with good positioning cues to sound without congestion.

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Of course this is not the most technically competent or powerful DAC out there but it was never meant to be so.
What matters is that for the intended use it offers surprisingly great sound, far better than most embedded analog outputs while it certainly fits in the smallest pockets.

TC35B vs Periodic Audio Rhodium ($49)

The TC35B features the same DAC chip as the Periodic Audio Rhodium which sports a different form factor with an embedded cable.

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Both dongles have almost the same technical specifications and they also sound quite identical although the Rhodium is a touch cleaner and more detailed – refined.
This must be attributed to the extra care taken with the power supply and the careful selection of the accompanying internal components.
The Rhodium is available in a USB type C only version while the TC35B is also offered in a lighting variant.

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If someone wishes for more power, DSD and MQA decoding plus an upgraded sound quality but with the same cable-less form factor then the ddHiFi TC35PRO Mountain ($99.99) fits the bill.

At the end

Very good and enjoyable sound, excellent build quality, minimal power consumption in the tiniest form factor for only $42, it should be in everyone’s pocket.
As long as you don’t need something very powerful and don’t aim for reference sound on the go, then go grab one.
You will be surprised to find out how useful this little fellow is, no matter what we never part from it.

Test playlist

Copyright – Laskis Petros 2021