Couple of days ago, together with Black Friday discounts for the entire lineup, Hidizs has announced their new product — H2. My sample unit has landed about a week ago and here is my presentation and in-depth write up of this device.
So, what is Hidizs H2? It is a small DAC unit that is positioned by Hidizs as Bluetooth receiver. Although, its functionality goes beyond that definition. Along with acting as a Bluetooth DAC, it allows USB connection as well. I have already been dealing with other Bluetooth standalone receivers from HiBy (W5) and Colorfly (BT-C1), Bluetooth cables for IEMs (Hidizs H1) and tabletop DAC|amps with Bluetooth audio reception (Audinst HUD-DX1 Blue24) but neither one of those was similarly capable in terms of HD audio codecs support or didn’t have USB DAC function. Of course, H2 is not free of some limitations which would be described here later. For now, my point of what makes Hidizs H2 almost unique is that it combines the support of all known Bluetooth HD audio codec and USB DAC function.
Hidizs H2 specs:
As we can see from the specs published by Hidizs, the supported HD Bluetooth codecs cover Qualcomm aptX HD, Sony LDAC and even 192kHz, 1.2Mbps HiBy UAT. Of course, less sophisticated regular codecs such as aptX, SBC, AAC are also supported.
From the standpoint of HW architecture H2 is based on 24bit|192kHz Qualcomm CSR8675 SoC which incorporates Bluetooth 5.0, TrueWireless, WirelessBroadcast and active noise cancelling cVc technologies (yes, H2 does have a mic onboard and allows regular calls with noise cancelling). Amplification is done on behalf of MAX97220 differential amplifier chip. Although, despite theoretical datasheet power output stated as 125mW @ 32Ω, H2 is only producing 8mW|channel with the same impedance. This is the only arguable specification of this device. Nevertheless, as derived from further tests, it still drives 32Ω to an appropriate level and the rest of the specs remain quite impressive.
Packaging and design:
Hidizs H2 comes in a small black matt box standardized across most of the product produced by Hidizs. Box contains silver imprints of specs, manufacturer info and logo together with glossy device outlines.
As a matter of fact, this box could have been much smaller in size since H2 is pretty tiny device and consumes just a fraction of the space inside. It is stored in the special top level insert while all accessories are located in another compartment beneath. Accessories include:
- USB type-C -> USB type-C (host|slave) cable
- USB A -> USB type-C cable
- plastic case|clip
- leaflets, warranty card
H2 housing is made of solid piece of resin (German Makrolon) with front and back glass panels. Such choice of material not only looks great and resembles overall Hidizs design principles, but also stays transparent for the radio waves ensuring the best reception quality.
The design looks clean, simple and attractive at the same time. Personally, I admire the approach of placing logos and text behind glass panels — it makes it shine and protects from any damage. Unfortunately, scratches on the panels are inevitable in future due to the absence of protective film. At the same time there are factory protection films from the box but those are used for transportation purposes. The best way, probably, would be cutting off special peel off projections from this film and leave the rest on the device.
Since H2 has NFC module for easy pairing, it contains NFC logo under the front glass panel. Right edge contains power button and 3-color LED, left — volume up and down button. Mic opening and 3.5mm audio output is located on the top edge while USB type-C port is on the bottom. Buttons are not rattling and have a good actuation feel.
Plastic case|clip is a great accessory which is familiar from Hidizs S9 DAC|amp. It is made of transparent plastic with rough surface finish, securely holds H2, allows easy access to all buttons and doesn’t cover mic opening. Clip spring tension is more than enough to be confident that H2 would not get lost during a workout.
Preparing H2 for use:
Very straight forward: H2 requires ~1.5H to reach the full charge and indicates the process with flashing red LED. There are 2 scenarios after that: either to connect H2 to a smartphone or PC with a cable or to pair it with any device over Bluetooth. Second scenario can be achieved by a regular pairing process or by using NFC of H2 for faster identification and connection. Long press Power button to enter pairing mode. H2 would quickly flash blue LED to indicate that the process has started (and would go into slow flashing mode when paired).
When paired with a smartphone, it is better to use HiBy Blue from the corresponding app market in order to monitor connection quality, codec in use, battery state, use the additional EQ and to be able to upgrade the firmware. Most of the functions of this app are not required if H2 would be used with HiBy Music app over Bluetooth or USB. EQ and audio codec would be pushed by this app instead of HiBy Blue.
By the way, H2 has multipoint function and allows 2 device to be connected over Bluetooth simultaneously.
H2 in use:
There are different stated of LED that indicate device operation:
- Charging — flashing Red
- Pairing — fast flashing Blue
- Up to 48kHz — slow flashing Green
- 88..2 up to 192kHz — slow flashing Blue
- Power button
- Short press — play|pause
- Long press — on|off
- Very long press in OFF mode — pairing
- Volume up|down
- Short press — volume up|down
- Long press — next|previous track
There are integrated voice prompts for standard functions such as power on|off, connection state and pairing.
Switching between LDAC, aptHD and other audio codecs is done from a smartphone under the Developer options menu. Initially, H2 would be pushed with the best possible supported codec from a smartphone. In my case it was LDAC (Xiaomi Redmi Note 8Pro). Although, in order to switch to the supreme HiBy UAT we would have to run either HiBy Music or HiBy Blue (if other music app is used). The connection distance free of any hiccups for LDAC and UAT can reach up to 10 meters at open space. Even one thin concrete wall is not a severe obstacle but the distance gets limited to 2-3 meters from a wall at one side.
When using cable connection with a smartphone — USB DAC gets recognized and everything works correctly. Bit-perfect mode is allowed be HiBy Music app. The only concern is that the cable has host and slave sides and should be connected in a correct way. Microphone with noise cancelling function works great, allowing to accept and answer the calls. No complaints from the other party in terms of voice quality.
H2 runs flawless in Windows 7,8 and 10 environment as well. The device is getting recognized by the system as Hidizs H2 USB sound card with integrated mic. No driver is needed. Furthermore, there is no driver available from Hidizs till now. The maximum audio quality listed in device properties is 16bit/48kHz what makes me wonder about the possible release of special monopoly mode driver later by Hidizs. Current native Windows driver does not occupy H2 and allows all sounds with no lag in videos. Which is good.
The difference in device operation time from a single charge in Bluetooth or cable mode is hard to tell since H2 starts charging when connected to USB port of any device. Therefore, it would drain source battery before running out of charge. Stated battery life in Bluetooth mode is close real time figures. I’ve got 6,5H battery life of playing audio with LDAC codec.
One good function that should be mentioned is the ability of H2 to play music and take charge at the same time. This allows to stay connected even if the battery has drained. Or to use H2 as Bluetooth receiver in home setup.
I would not get too deep in this section since my perception of Hidizs H2 purpose is very subjective. The main scenario for me is integrating Hidizs H2 into home stack as a Bluetooth receiver, allowing LDAC and UAT decoding and passing the signal to external amp or active speakers. Such scenario is not that demanding in terms of output power.
Of course, the initial tests were done using IEMs (Hidizs Seeds, 25Ω) and full-sized AudioTechnica (ATH-M50, 38Ω). Surprisingly, in both cases the audio quality does not disappoint and both models are driven adequately. IEMs with such impedance even have some room to increase the volume further, while full-sized IEMs are just on the edge of H2 potential. This also leads to properly driven IEMs showing better overall dynamics, integrity of lows and midbass, separation of each instrument and more perceptible resolution. ATH-M50 sounds more dirty and tends to leave out some details by mixing instruments together at higher volume levels. But this is expected behavior with such output figures.
In overall, when paired with low impedance | high sensitivity IEMs, H2 sounds clean, while tending to warm sound in signature. It shows moderate amount of details across the entire range, good midbass dynamics and power, pretty thick mids and has no irritating peaks on highs or upper mids. Cable connection delivers better extension and clarity at both ends (especially on higher frequencies). As always. I should mention here that the audio lag in Bluetooth is more apparent which should be considered when watching videos. It is acceptable but close to the point of getting a desynchronized with the video stream.
To summarize: H2 should not be regarded as a potential competitor for such products as Hidizs S8, S9 portable DAC|AMPs and AP80 DAP lineup — it is not capable to deliver the same level of audio quality due to a limited power output. On the other hand, it sounds more balanced, clean and impressive that a regular smartphone or PC with the appropriate IEMs or in active home setup.
Hidizs H2 perfectly does the job of HiRes Audio Bluetooth receiver in active home setup by supporting the most sophisticated audio codecs, multipoint connection and simultaneous charge. While in the portable usage scenario the user should be aware of its limited driving ability. Other than that, Hidizs H2 is a good performer with rare combination of Bluetooth receiver and USB DAC functions. Moreover, its implementation and user experience is flawless. Therefore, it is recommended to consider if its main features and virtues fit the desired setup.
Hidizs H2 official store: LINK
10%OFF for any order at Hidizs store: link
Official Hidizs Amazon store: LINK
Thank you for reading.
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