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TempoTec Sonata HD II Headphone Amp Review

TempoTec Sonata HD II Headphone Amp Review

 

Author:Andy.EF

DAC Chip: ESS Sabre ES9270 (Single)
PCM 32bit – 384khz, SNR: -116dB, Power: 70 mW 32Ω 2 Vrms Adaptable , USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: YES), 6g, Aluminum Chassis, SPC Cable

Listening Equipment: Etymotic ER4SR, HZSOUND Heart Mirror, TIN HiFi P1. Source: USB 3.2 Samsung S20 (Deezer)

LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING

PROS

  • Sparkly clean and clear neutral timbre
  • Crisp natural tonality
  • Balanced energetic dynamics, vibrant
  • Fast Mid-Bass vibe with rich textured body, fast decays
  • Intimate Mids with good textured and smoothness
  • Audible Sub-Bass with mild seismic feedback
  • Crisp nuanced and smooth details retrieval, transparent
  • Natural toned guitars, cello, percussions, and piano
  • Good driving power, 75/100 volume to drive Tin HiFi P1 to proper listening levels
  • Very conservative on battery drain

CONS

  • Narrow soundstage with clustered in placement
  • Spatial imaging heavily focused on Left/Right and Top
  • Poor speed handling that resulted in congestion and compression
  • Treble extensions audibly rolled off
  • Grainy treble edges
  • No hardware volume adjuster

VERDICT

TempoTec Sonata HD II. Honestly, I am disappointed with what I am hearing. One big element that broke this for me is how oddly spaced the soundstage is with too much emphasis on Left/Right spatial staging. For example, while listening to Morrissey, I swear I heard Morrisey singing standing on my head while the instruments are left and right focused. Sometimes I heard him singing behind my back!

On top of that the speed was underwhelming with audible compression and congestion on complex passages which I believe due to things being spaced too close together. And not forgetting the sporadic coarseness in Treble edges

I tried hard to be merciful on this one but unfortunately the results were consistent across three IEMs I used it on. With the ER4SR, Tin HiFi P1 and even the usually forgiving HZSOUND Heart Mirror, the pattern was consistent.

However, I will not deny that this Sonata HD II does exhibited great clarity and fast punchy bass performance. But I it is hard to enjoy it to the fullest due to the Cons as stated above.

OVERALL RATING: 50/100
Best Pairing: Low impedance IEMs/Headphones not exceeding 100Ω

 

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