It has been a while since I have checked out a DAC dongle, and have been excited to hear what I can find in 2022. DDHiFi has a ton of different dongles and adapters in their library, but the TC44C seems to be one of their more interesting options. This type C dongle is a dual-channel DAC/amp that costs $119. Can it compare to the best dongles on the market today?
What You Get
Like most products from DD HiFi, the TC44C comes in a small brown box with no other accessories. This is another DAC that only includes a dual-ended USB type C cable, with no extra cable for lightning. iPhone users who want to potentially use this DAC will need to seek out the lightning version of this product.
Many simple DAC dongles like the TC44C sport a similar sleek aluminum design. You’ll see what is unique about this one is the layer of leather wrapped around the chassis. It’s a nice aesthetic that assures a solid level of craftsmanship throughout the entirety of its build. This is also yet another dongle that has a detachable cable that will always be USB-C, so it should be able to support many different cables aside from the one you get in the box. For headphone jacks, you have two inputs that are 3.5mm and 4.4mm, where the latter gets a cool LED light inside its socket that indicates whether you are using PCM or DSD.
In terms of decoding, the TC44C utilizes dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chips.
- PCM decoding capability: Up to 32bit/384kHz
- DSD decoding capability: Native DSD64/DSD128/DSD256
Most of my listening experience with the TC44C was through its 4.4mm balanced headphone jack. I usually try to use this termination whenever it is available to me, as I feel this is where the sound profile of the DAC can really stretch its legs. From what I can tell testing the TC44C with different IEMs, the timbre receives its most immediate upgrade in the form of its impact. Frequencies in both the lows and mids especially have a harder edge to them, with more details pushing forward to the front end of the sound spectrum. A greater depth in the imaging helps notably with these improvements, giving the soundstage even more space and dimension for the frequency response to showcase its fidelity.
I tested the Kinera Skuld, and Earsonics Grace Platinum with the TC44C, and they all appeared a bit bigger and meatier than they did before, while never letting the frequencies resonate too far as to bleed into each other. What was most surprising to me was how much juice this tiny DAC adapter can put out. Using a Samsung Galaxy phone, you only need to raise the volume a few notches before the music reaches a massive gain. You have a huge amount of headroom, so it wouldn’t hurt to try this DAC with higher impedance IEMs like the TinHiFi P2 Plus.
For a simple DAC adapter at this price, the TC44C delivers the goods in its sonic output in terms of accuracy and transparency. It’s a simple device that is good on hand whether you are an Android or iPhone user. DDHiFi makes a ton of accessories like this, but none of them reach the level that the TC44C can easily achieve. I would rank it next to some of the better dongles available today.
The DDHiFi TC44C is available at Audio46.