I think the majority of us have been introduced DD HiFi as of late. They’ve quickly risen to prominence with their focus on filling niches in the accessory market. This was exemplified by their balanced adapters and range of feature-packed yet value-orientated cases. Well, DD is back with another round of products, this time 4.4mm adapters and faux leather cases for the Fiio BTR5 and M11. The adapters assume a new design, with industrial stainless-steel enclosure while the cases uphold the same level of quality as their former products. You can read more about their new products and purchase a set for yourself on DD HiFi’s Aliexpress store here.
I would like to thank DD HiFi very much for providing me with their latest set of accessories for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the adapters and cases free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
DJ44B & DJ44C Adapters –
The DJ adapters convert any 4.4mm earphone or headphone to either 2.5mm balanced or 3.5mm unbalanced. Both have identical dimensions and a similarly stunning revised aluminium build. Bronze faceplates adorned with the outline of the 4.4mm connector alongside year or build and model number provides visual intrigue.
At a more fundamental level, the connectors provide a right-angled conversion which is more pocketable and occupies less volume overall than a straight plug. The plugs have a small protrusion for the conducting path below the 4.4mm orifice. With gold plated terminals and 12-core 6N OCC internal wiring and the adapters provided perfectly reliable connection during my testing in addition to a complete absence of sonic abnormalities.
A small T screw can be observed on the plugs of both units which permits some level of user repairability. However, that seems unlikely to occur given the rock-solid build quality of the adapters. At $30 USD per unit, these adapters are no longer as economical as their predecessors, however, they represent an immediate step up in build quality. 4.4mm is also a less standardized form factor and understandably part cost is higher for small-batch items.
DD C-B5 Fiio BTR5 Case –
The BTR5 has achieved a fair amount of notoriety as one of the few balanced Bluetooth receivers. I think buyers will also be quite enamoured with DD’s BTR5 case which introduces stylistic elements in the form of a red strip that runs the perimeter. The case also introduces a carrying loop and offers a window to view the glass faceplate and status LED of the receiver. The fit is snug with precise button imprints on the side that correspond to the shape of those on the device itself, permitting easy manipulation.
As the top is left open and the bottom cut out is enlarged, the case doesn’t impede use with cables sporting larger connectors. Given the slightly thicker leather employed here, the case also provides a good level of drop protection and the raised lip around the tempered glass faceplate will surely aid scratch resistance too. I personally find the stitching a tasteful stylistic addition while the colour scheme will be up to personal taste. A clean black option would likely be popular too.
DD C-M11 Fiio M11/Pro Case –
The M11 case is intriguing as it introduces a new type of leather, Napa imported from California, USA. It has a distinctly smoother grain and is considerably softer in the hand, delivering a luxurious impression. I still wouldn’t compare this to Dignis’ hand-finished cases in either feel or aesthetic, however, they are a clear step up over OEM cases. Aesthetically, the case is also a masterwork and I am a huge fan of this design. For the pro model, the Pro moniker is subtly imprinted on the front face.
This case is thinner than DD’s other models, reducing the impact on form factor. It also doesn’t impede swiping at the screen’s extremities as the bezel is very thin and the case leaves a slight gap between the case and digitizer. Most impressively, the case offers full enclosure with a hidden magnetic flap that holds the right side of the device snugly in but tucks underneath the case to permit a seamless look. The case feels very OEM and matches Fiio’s DAP perfectly.
The orifice cut-outs are also accurate, meticulously tracing the bevelled power button on the top, leaving ample space around the outputs at the bottom and above and below the scroll wheel to permit comfortable scrolling. The rear is hollowed out to enable heat dissipation and showcase the illuminated logo and Hi-Res certification. The case is slightly pricier at $40 USD, however, this pricing seems very reasonable to me for a genuine leather case built to such tolerances and consideration of the intended device. The case is available in 3 colours for the Pro, however, only green for the regular M11.
Christmas IEMs –
This is a special aside as these IEMs are not available for purchase but were graciously sent to reviewers over the holiday period. They may indicate that DD HiFi intends on expanding their product line to IEMs in future. Certainly, the design of these IEMs is a curiosity. They have a stainless steel housing with a huge back vent. The cable exits the MMCX connectors at a 30-degree angle permitting both over-ear and cable down wear. Meanwhile, the Y-split uses a 4-pin connector that makes it modular with DD including a 2.5mm and 4.4mm lower segment. To test the sound, I booted up Ariana’s Santa Tell Me which revealed a very bright sound with highly attenuated bass. It greatly emphasizes percussion while lows are recessed, diffuse and quickly decaying. The level of openness is immense, being basically sealing earbuds. Though the earphones themselves are surely curious in terms of tuning, the cable concept is quite intriguing and it will surely be interesting to see what DD makes of it in future.
As with DD HiFi’s original release, their follow-up products impress in terms of both enginuity and value. They’re making some products that are not so easy to come by and certainly wouldn’t be prioritised in terms of quality by big brands seeking to make a profit. DD HiFi’s accessories grant the audiophile peace of mind that every link in their audio chain is doing their system justice; small products such as their 4.4mm adapters certainly don’t deserve the level of thought and quality that went into them, but we live in a fortunate world. Meanwhile, their cases are as well-built as ever, their M11 case, in particular, representing a big step up even over their former successes. Unlike many, I simply have no idea where DD HiFi will take things next, I just know that I’m enthusiastic about whatever direction they take. More coming soon!