DD HiFi Accessories Review
From former Oppo and Fiio experience comes DD HiFi, a new audio company with an unconventional focus on accessories. The company specialises in functional, no-frills design at reasonable prices. At present, they offer an array of cases, adapters and cables to compliment market favourite DAPs and IEMs. You can read more about DD HiFi and peruse their product catalogue here.
I would like to thank DD HiFi very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the following accessories for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the accessories free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
Portable HiFi Carrying Case
This is possibly the most appealing product from the DD HiFi accessory line-up, an all-in-one carrying solution for DAP, earphone and accessories. It has 2:1 dimensions and a slurry of internal pockets and straps to keep everything organised. Special mention goes to the dual-layer 1860D high-tensile strength Ballistic Nylon exterior and high-quality metal YKK zippers that ensures the valuables inside are well-protected. This offers some basic water resistance and drop protection.
Tasteful leather DD branding adorns the upper lid while a double-lane stitched handle makes the case easy to carry. The sides are slightly padded while the top and bottom have a hard internal skeleton. Internally, the case maximises its dimensions with two elastic pockets hugging the lid in addition to 5 micro-sd card holders. The larger bottom section has two elastic straps built in to hold a DAP with two velcro dividers to provide an extra snug and secure fit.
There is ample room for larger DAPs such as the iBasso DX200 in addition to a larger CIEM such as my Empire Ears Phantom’s with Effect Audio ARES II coiled around 4 fingers. Contrarily, the case will fit 5 sets of earphones, though as aforementioned, only two velcro dividers are provided. The case has a very tough construction that inspires confidence for the travelling audiophile in addition to a very practical and convenient layout. The elastic, as with the Q5 case, is quite tight but loosens with use. The high-quality construction and materials of this case in addition to its audio-specific features make it a bargain; especially when considering the exorbitant pricing of its competitors.
Fiio Q5/Q5S case
The Fiio Q5 is a beautiful device and a personal favourite design from Fiio. It represents quality machining and a sleek industrial design with an array of finishes and smart rubberized backing that prevents it from getting scratched and provides some grip when stacking. Nonetheless, my original Q5 unit has seen its share of drops, scuffs and scratches over its years of service and surely it would have benefitted from some protection. DD HiFi provides a Faux leather case to provide an extra layer of protection to your valuable investment, in addition to providing additional functionality.
Of note, Fiio does provide a first-party leather Q5 case, however, the DD model introduces additional functionality at a cheaper $16 USD. For the money, buyers will receive a protective solid-skeleton case with a snug micro-fibre interior, and fine grain faux leather exterior. It has flexible button covers on the left-hand side in addition to a front window for the Q5’s status LED and right-hand cut-out for the volume control, input button and source LED’s. The DD case has clearly been designed with audiophiles in mind, featuring an extra-large opening at the bottom to accommodate larger plugs, even those without case-friendly protrusion.
The rear also deserves special mention, featuring 4 elastic straps that can secure a smartphone or DAP into the stack. It’s a thoughtful addition that doesn’t detract much aesthetically while providing real functional benefit. However, the elastic is very tight, struggling to accommodate even my slim and compact Pixel 3 and those with wider phones, in particular, may find issues here. In addition, the rear panel extends slightly beyond the height of the Q5, reportedly matching the dimensions of the latest non-XL iPhone, though it does look peculiar when not stacked. Finally, a small inlet on the front of the case accommodates Hi-Res audio stickers or can be left blank for a quieter look.
As with their other accessories, the DD HiFi Q5 case is a high-quality item that offers simple but convenient functions, and it does so at an excellent price. With Fiio themselves lauding the price/performance ratio of their products, it seems counter-intuitive to over-spend on accessories. It is, therefore, applaudable that DD’s offering is so well-priced, representing an effective and functional way to protect your investments.
The M5 leather case resembles that made for the Q5, boasting a similar construction and quality. It fits the device snugly and offers pleasing tactility and drop protection. As the player is so compact, the case has broad square cutouts at the top and bottom. There is ample room for any USB-C cable at the bottom and both the power and headphone jack at the top are unobscured. The micro sd slot is, however, covered as is the volume rocker, though those attuned to the device will easily be able to manipulate the buttons from beneath the leather flap.
Speaking of which, the case secures the device via a magnetic flip-lock. It is thin, preventing the overall package from becoming too bulky, especially seeing as portability is a prime strength of the M5. There is a small cutout at the front for the ambient light sensor and stylised stitching that runs the perimeter of the front and rear faces. At the rear is a low-profile loop that enables a wrist or armband to be installed. The two included bands are constructed from a tough if not so forgiving nylon with adjustable Velcro strap. The magnetic flap doesn’t hold the player securely enough to run wrist-mounted, however, I experienced no issues with the armband.
During use, the case did not impede Bluetooth connectivity nor did the lack of micro sd access irk me, though this will vary on personal use cases. I did find, that due to the thick border that runs around the front of the case, it was hard to activate the swipe back gesture from the edge of the screen. Thinner fingered folk may have better luck than me. Otherwise, the case presents the same strengths as DD’s other models, being of high-quality construction, offering a snug fit and very reasonable pricing that doesn’t hamper the value offered by Fiio products.
The DD HiFi adapters are possibly their most coveted products and certainly their most unique. This is usually a component that is neglected in the audio chain, however, with enthusiasts investing into high-quality cables and conductors, it seems reasonable to ensure that every component in the conducting path is up to scratch. As opposed to the usual straight plug adapter, DD offers right-angle plugs with gold ribbon connectors offering a low-resistance conducting path.
The right-angle form factor also keeps the package compact, where with my straight balanced to TRS adapters, I was concerned about damaging the headphone jack or plug with the added length and leverage. In addition, the transparent acrylic housings are unobtrusive yet premium, especially with well finished brushed metal end caps and laser engraved branding. The level of finish is impressive, for certain a mass-produced product.
In listening, of course, these adapters did not transform the experience. However, I didn’t note any issues associated with them either, for instance, static when jostling the plug within the connector or noise when plugging and unplugging them from the source.
With the loss of the headphone jack, sleek hyper-portable, dongle-style and BT receiver sources have stormed onto the market in abundance. And yet, wired connectivity to smartphones, Android in particular, often feels neglected on such products; with few providing a similarly svelte type-C to type-C cable in the box. Moreover, finding a high-quality compact unit from third party is often just as difficult, with longer cables negating the utility of smaller DACs and short but stiff cables placing undue stress on each connector. The TC05 seeks to append this.
It may sound ridiculous to analyse cable quality in such detail, especially as cheap type-C cables are not hard to come by and, being digital, are functionally identical to expensive models. However, in terms of construction, it’s often clear where corners have been cut and often this can have real effects on the user experience. The TC05, at $10 USD is still modestly priced, yet its construction resembles that of market leaders costing much more. Chiefly, it features high-quality conductors insulated in foil wrap, and an excellent stainless steel jacket that is compliant enough not to strain the type-C connectors when stacking phone and DAC. The connectors feature sand-blasted aluminium housings with well-finished plastic strain-relief on both ends.
Perhaps most notably, the type-C plugs themselves are of excellent quality, using deep-draw extrusion to create a plug from a single piece of high-quality metal as opposed to the pressed kind with seams. This is a small detail, and often impossible to quantify in online renders, however, the higher quality extruded connectors are reserved only for premium cables and translate to much tighter tolerances, meaning no audio cut-outs if the cable is jostled, and greater longevity as the connectors is significantly less likely to deform over time. Simple but effective is the name of the game with these products and the TC05 satisfies all criteria for a high-quality cable worthy of a reliable portable audio setup.
So there we have it, DD’s products are cheap, effective and everything the company set out to achieve. Their HiFi case, in particular, is an excellent buy for travelling audiophiles while their DAP and DAC cases are affordable without compromising fit and finish. Furthermore, they offer some niche products such as compact interconnect cables that do enhance the user experience. This is a fascinating new company that isn’t so much looking to reinvent the wheel but rather streamline existing products and designs. I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to seeing more innovative products from DD HiFi.
These accessories can be purchased from DD HiFi. I am not affiliated with DD HiFi and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.
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