ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Assessment — Headfonics

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At this time, we assessment the ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC which is a miniaturized dongle with a 60mW 4.4mm SE output particularly for Apple iPhone customers. It’s priced at $79.99.

Disclaimer: This can be a pattern that was despatched to us in alternate for our sincere opinion. Many because of ddHiFi for giving us this chance.

You possibly can examine earlier ddHiFi merchandise we’ve got beforehand featured on Headfonics here.

Word, that this text follows our newest scoring tips which you’ll be able to learn up on here.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC

ddHiFi has gained the hearts of many because of its modern and handy design. The TC44A is not any exception to this, because it’s designed to be user-friendly and there’s nothing to hate about it.

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Compact kind issue

Good energy output

Spectacular readability

ddHiFi has been making its identify within the audio world since 2017. Now we have seen numerous merchandise throughout its line. They’ve made a wide range of dongle DACs together with the not too long ago reviewed TC44C, adapters, IEMs such because the Janus2, and cable assemblies.

Truthfully, I’ve been eyeing ddHiFi DACs for fairly a while now, particularly the brand new fashions with no cable.  I discover these compact DACs to be failproof – geared up with both a vertical meeting or a T-shaped meeting, eradicating the purpose of failure of a cable between the lightning/USB-c male plug and the headphone jack.

ddHiFi has been producing quite a few related designed DACs with completely different chips, though solely providing them with 3.5mm single-ended outputs.

Their latest providing is the TC44A which is a miniaturized dongle DAC and headphone amplifier particularly for iPhone customers and geared up with a 4.4mm single-ended jack. Provided at an inexpensive value of $79.99, will this be a lovely product for cellular customers? Let’s discover out!

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review
Copyright ddHiFi 2022

Tech Highlights

Regardless of its small dimension, ddHiFi nonetheless manages to pack in a Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chip within the internals of this dongle.

The Cirrus Logic CS43131 is a one-chip answer with a 2-channel low-power DAC with a built-in amplifier. Alongside it, it makes use of low energy to function, solely needing a 2-volt DC energy supply to function.

The chip additionally permits the dongle to decode PCM streams as much as 32bit/384kHz and DSD256. This implies it could actually totally decode and play music in a lossless format, notably when utilizing Apple music in your iPhone.

Due to its new 4.4mm enter jack, it makes it simpler to make use of related IEMs utilized in DAPs or different methods utilizing 4.4mm on to cellular gadgets. It can also energy simply drive environment friendly IEMs with its energy of 60mW right into a 32Ω load.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review


If you consider ddHiFi, I’m positive you’ll know its signature blue shade and gold mixture. That is nonetheless true with the TC44A, it has the ddHiFi signature blue coloration and gold-plated headphone jack.

The shape issue jogs my memory of Lego blocks which can be used to stack with different elements. These are very compact, not needing a wire or cable to attach issues. Simply plug in your IEM then plug it into your cellular gadget and poof you’ll be able to already get pleasure from listening to music.

Except for the intelligent design, these are additionally very sturdy. The chassis is made out of CNC Aluminum Alloy Case, which may take a beating even when uncovered to every day use. The aluminum chassis additionally helps to maintain the load down, with its nearly negligible weight of 5.5g.

This can be a T-shaped OTG plug that permits a sturdy and secure connection always. Elimination of a cable in between makes it simple to apply it to the go as no module is seen dangling nor dangers disconnection.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review


The TC44A is a compact DAC, with a plug-and-play simple answer design in thoughts. This makes it no shock that the enter and output plugs are very easy.

The enter port is both lightning or a USB Sort-C whereas the output port is a 4.4mm jack. There is no such thing as a different management discovered within the DAC adapter. Sadly, the headphone jack neither helps a mic nor helps in-line management and regardless of being 4.4mm is single-ended solely and never balanced by design.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review

Packaging & Equipment

The ddHiFi TC44A is available in 2 inputs, lightning, and USB-C choices. The one I’ve here’s a lightning model, which might be seen ticked within the exterior packaging.

The packaging of the ddHiFi is fairly minimal. The adapter is enclosed in a small brown cardboard field. It feels eco-friendly, as it is extremely minimal and uncolored.

Brown paper confetti was additionally used to guard the merchandise inside. Except for the unit itself, there may be nothing to be seen apart from the guarantee card. General, regardless of the minimal packaging, it was sufficient to make sure the protection and sturdiness of the dongle throughout transport and storage.

Sound Impressions


The TC44A has a impartial and pure sound signature. It’s nicely prolonged in each low and highs, with a usually flat presentation and frequency vary. The decrease finish lacks heft, though it’s not essentially a deal breaker.

The midrange is on the forefront, offered with a clear and spacious soundstage. Vocals and devices are thick and current, taking the middle stage because the spotlight of this DAC adapter. 

The treble shouldn’t be notably rolled off, but it surely does take a step again relative to its extra ahead midrange response.


Even with delicate IEMs, the TC44A is clear and quiet sounding general. Specifically, it does shine within the midrange area. It has an added richness within the mids, highlighting devices and vocal projections.

Female and male vocals are impartial with a slight trace of warmness. Feminine vocals, it has an inviting impact, displaying distinctive richness, particularly with husky and whisper vocal methods. 

Acoustic devices, particularly guitars, are lush. Strums have weight and don’t get drowned out. I did discover the highs to be just a little boring, missing the crisp strums that had been anticipated on sure tracks.

Cymbal hits lack shimmer and weight. Particularly with busy tracks, it tends to mix into the background with a boring and skinny splash. Nevertheless, it does complement the general presentation.

Staging & Dynamics

The soundstage is impressively extensive. Regardless of its small kind issue, there’s a lot to unpack right here. Picture placement can be pretty correct, permitting for various devices and vocals to create true-to-life placements.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review



Not stunning however the TC44A is on the low energy facet. It’s designed to be an on-the-go setup, so ideally, an environment friendly IEM is prone to supply the perfect or most rational pairing.

I don’t often carry power-hungry IEMs so I used to be in a position to get away with a good efficiency from the TC44A. Even with no music on, delicate IEMs just like the Campfire Audio Solaris are pitch black, with no undesirable hissing or static sounds.

Different IEMs with 30Ω or much less had been additionally powered with ease with the ddHiFi TC44A, just like the 7Hz Everlasting.


Given this isn’t a high-powered DAC, I’d persist with low-impedance headphones and IEMs. The TC44A is fairly simple to pair, because of its usually flat response. It does add richness to the midrange, which will probably be good to push for extra midrange efficiency.

To start out, pairing it with the 7Hz Eternal enhanced Everlasting’s midrange area, offers each readability and soundstage to the monitor. It was simply powered, with a lot to spare.

Shifting over to the CA Solaris, which is a delicate monitor. I used to be impressed by how silent this pairing was. Different dongles confirmed some hiss when there was no music turned on. With the Solaris, I used to be already comfy with 1 notch of quantity ranges. This exhibits the TC44A simply drives most IEMs.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review
Copyright ddHiFi 2022

Choose Comparisons

ddHiFi TC35C



The TC35C can be a DAC adapter supplied by ddHiFi. Though related in kind issue, these dongles are two very various things by way of consumer expertise and internals.

TC44A has a Cirrus CS43131 DAC chip whereas the TC35C has a Realtek ALC55686 DAC chip. The completely different DAC chip permits for various capabilities. Though each help as much as 32-bit 384kHz PCM decoding, solely the TC44A has to help as much as DSD256 

One other distinction is its output. The TC35C has a 3.5mm single-ended and never a 4.4mm single-ended model. The TC35C permits in-line distant controls equivalent to enjoying and altering tracks whereas the TC44A doesn’t.

In addition they differ of their energy capabilities. The TC44A can provide 60mW of energy at 32Ω whereas solely 30mW at 32Ω might be provided by the TC35C.


The design of the 2 is fairly related. The TC35C appears like a smaller model of the TC44A, having the identical coloration and configuration.

Each dongle DACs are produced from CNC aluminum alloy circumstances, contemplating sturdiness. It will be simple to think about each taking a beating with on a regular basis use. In addition they share the identical configuration with a T-shaped OTG plug. The dearth of cable makes each of them really feel extra compact and simpler to hold round.

Each are very light-weight however the TC35C is lighter. Nevertheless, on this case, weight nearly doesn’t matter when evaluating 5g with 3g, these are negligible.


Regardless of wanting very related, these 2 are very completely different in sound. Maybe due to the completely different chipsets discovered inside.

General, the TC35C sounds soft-mannered compared to the TC44A which has far superior dynamics. The TC44A assaults are punchier and livelier and that holds throughout the frequency vary. The TC35C sounds mellow and gradual at instances, nothing thrilling sounding in any respect.

The midrange can be lusher sounding within the TC44A. Except for its extra ahead vocal vary, there may be a further sweetness in the way it shows its midrange, fascinating even. With regards to the separation between vocals and devices, the TC44A is extra able to expressing the gaps between them.

The imaging can be extra correct. The TC35C did have some difficulties in multi-layer vocals whereby it clumps sure layers collectively. The distinction is heard within the TC44A, with sufficient hole between layers.

Though, each give a clear frequency vary. Even with delicate IEMs, each DAC adapters didn’t have any hiss or noise when no music is performed.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review
Copyright ddHiFi 2022

ddHiFi TC35i (2022)



The TC35i is an providing from ddHiFi with the Apple C101 DAC chip, much like those within the inventory Apple Dongle. The TC44A alternatively has a Cirrus Logic CS43131 chip.

The distinction in chips provides completely different capabilities. The TC35i solely has a PCM Decoding Functionality of 24bit/48Hz whereas the TC44A has a 32bit/384kHz PCM decoding functionality, together with DSD help native as much as 256.

The headphone output mode on the TC35i is 3.5mm Single-Ended and never 4.4mm SE. Though the distinction in output doesn’t essentially differ in energy, on this case, it does. The TC35i solely provides 16mW at 30Ω hundreds whereas the TC44A provides 60mW at 32Ω hundreds.

Though, the TC35i provides mic and management help. It may be used to reply telephone calls and launch voice help and use according to voice messages and video. Sadly, the TC44A doesn’t supply these capabilities.


These two have related coloration schemes, though completely different in form. Not stunning because the similar firm makes it. The TC44A is square-shaped, with boxy corners whereas the T35i has an irregular form with smoothened corners.

Each are additionally produced from CNC aluminum alloy circumstances, making them light-weight and sturdy concurrently. These are robust to interrupt, even when utilizing them on the go.

With regards to its plug configurations, the TC35i provides a vertical socket, mimicking the forgotten headphone jack whereas the TC44A provides a T-shaped OTG plug. That is down to non-public desire, as each have execs and cons of their configurations.


Once more, these two dongle adapters are very completely different in efficiency. TC44A has a superior efficiency in comparison with the TC35i. Every thing TC35i does, the TC44A does higher.

Ranging from the general response, the TC44A offers off a smoother and cleaner general sound. Longer durations reveal extra of a finer and extra nice response.

Listening to the drums and bass guitar additionally provides higher dynamics, permitting the driving force to have a punchier assault. The TC35i feels sluggish, too well mannered to have liveliness in them.

Between the 2, TC44A does have a extra ahead vocal vary and an airier treble, permitting feminine vocals to have a velvety high quality. It does a greater job of expressing a pure and correct midrange area.

Each the imaging and soundstage are additionally higher with the TC44A. The soundstage is extra expansive which permits having a greater cohesive presentation. Between the 2, the TC35i has extra compressed imaging. At instances, busy tracks turn into robust to deal with with the TC35i whereas the TC44A handles it with ease. 

What each dongles do nicely are their clear frequency vary and low-noise flooring. Even with delicate IEMs, each didn’t have any hiss or noise when no music is performed.

ddHiFi TC44A Lightning DAC Review

Our Verdict

ddHiFi has gained the hearts of many because of its modern and handy design. The TC44A is not any exception to this, because it’s designed to be user-friendly and there’s nothing to hate about it.

The gadget itself is straightforward, it’s a plug-and-play gadget. No want for any setup and complex controls on the floor, nor batteries to cost. Every thing might be managed and powered by a cellular gadget.

This might not be the perfect of the perfect dongle on the market but it surely actually does its job. I carry one round simply in case I overlook my DAP, tucked into my IEM pouch as its footprint is small and basically weightless.

That is greatest for individuals who have a 4.4mm system of their chain and would really like the comfort of not altering cables to pay attention with their smartphone. With the worth tag of $79, it’s a great smartphone expertise improve, with an added comfort for 4.4mm cable customers.

ddHiFi TC44A Technical Specs

  • Plug – OTC Lightning Plug
  • DAC Chip – CS43131
  • PCM Decoding Functionality – 32bit/384kHz
  • Frequency Response – 20Hz-20kHz
  • DSD – helps as much as Native 256
  • Output Energy – 60mW twin channels (32W)
  • Dynamic vary – >120dB
  • THD+N – <-110dB
  • SNR – >120dB
  • Weight – 5g
  • Dimension (excl. The plug) – 5*21*12mm

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