Tempotec Sonata E44 Sound Impression/Review
Tempotec is a company known for producing affordable and high quality dongle dac/amp. Compatibility is also not only limited to Android only but it also supports iOS, Windows and MacOS. Not to mention that some of the firmware is actually upgradable.
Today I have with me the Sonata E44 which sounds fairly impressive to my ears.
Specifications (Grabbed from Tempotec’s Aliexpress Store) DAC: Dual CS43131 SNR: 130dB
Output Level: 4Vrms Output Power: 175mw/32ohm
Frequency: 0-40Khz/+- 0.5dB
Decoding: PCM32bit 384Khz, DSD 256(Native), 128(DOP) Additional Feature: HW Volume Control Compatibility: Windows, MacOs, Android
Driver: Win7,8,10 & Asio Driver
Fairly standard packaging, a box containing the E44 itself, and also the addition of 4.4 Male to 3.5 Female adapter. Do take note that this adapter is meant to use with E44 only, i have not tested it on other dac/amp but theoretically, you shouldn’t as it will damage the dac/amp. I’m sure E44’s internal circuitry has been modified in order to support this.
IEM/Headphones Paired with E44
Unique Melody 2HT (4.4)
Audiosense AQ4 (4.4)
Sennheiser IE40 Pro (3.5)
Grado SR125X (3.5)
Dunu Titan S (4.4)
Effect Audio Axiom (4.4)
Tripowin Lea (3.5)
Coming from Xduoo’s Link2Bal, despite both sporting the same Dual Dac config with the exact same DAC Chip, they don’t sound the same at all. I will be sharing my sound impression of E44 in point form, so it is easier to read instead of going through long lines of words:
Tonality wise, E44 sounds rather neutral with a slight tilt on the cold range if you are coming from a warm sounding DAC/Amp
Attack speed is very good on E44, Snappy and fast. Very clean sounding overall
The note weight is not as thick as i preferred, however, this is what makes it speedy in my opinion
I find that the Bass, Mids and Trebles are not boosted and it rendered the music as it is, this is important as it will not add any sort of coloration to your IEMs/Headphones, however, there are also a certain group of people who prefers the coloration (musicality), i for one don’t fixate on a certain preference, i am all about good implementation and that alone will enable me to enjoy the musics
Listening to Kenshi Yonezu’s Lemon via UM’s 2HT, the whole song is very engaging, vocal does not present as intimate nor recessed, it has got good texture to it, certainly not thin sounding, the treble rendition on 2HT via E44 is what i like the most, the definition or details via this pairing is superb(to my ears), the definition of the details in the upper range is highlighted, yet it is not fatiguing to listen to it nor it sounded harsh
Listening to MJ’s Dirty Diana via the same pairing (2HT+E44), coupled with 2HT’s big soundstage, the listening experience is very engaging as well. Very clean and not harsh sounding at all
Listening to live recording (Toto’s Africa), it is very vivid, as if the artist is performing in front of you, this is via Grado’s SR125X paired with E44. Grado is a little sensitive to source in my opinion, pair it with the wrong source and it will sound very harsh, and with the right one, it will sing!
Track List used during the listening session
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Californication
Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven Unplugged
Teresa Teng - The Moon Represents my Heart
The Weeknd - Gasoline
Billie Eilish - Your Power
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Sinne Eeg - We’ve Just Begun
Hans Zimmer - Why So Serious
Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence
Toto - Africa (Live)
I do not have any power hungry IEM/Headphone to really test the driving power of E44.
One thing to note is that it can easily drive anything in my collection which I already listed out earlier. I do need to crank the volume up a few more steps when i am using it with Grado SR125x, still not a major issue for E44, still powering it without any hiccups
The physical volume button is very welcoming as you can control the volume on the dongle itself without messing with the window’s or the application’s volume control
The cable on the dongle is fixed to type-c only, if you want to use it with an iOS device, you may need to purchase a separate adapter. The only gripe I have with the fixed cable is that it might break after some time or due to some accidents, having a fixed cable also means it lacks some flexibility. Not a deal breaker, but more like personal preference
Front and back is made of glass, fingerprint magnet, the decision to include protection film for both front and back is a very welcoming gesture
Tempotec E44 is an easy recommendation from me for someone who’s looking for a clean and dynamic sounding portable dongle dac/amp. The price performance ratio on this is fairly high in my opinion, while it is not a DAP killer, it does offer a step up from someone who’s been using mobile phone as their source, or even some seasoned audiophile who’s considering portability with good sonic performance, this is the one for them.
E44 is not for someone who likes warm and musical sound because E44 is not warm and musical, rather dynamic and clean sounding, slightly cold tonality. This is not a pro nor cons but more of a personal preference
If you are interested in grabbing a unit, head over to tempotec’s store to order one for yourself! Tempotec E44
*Although I received this unit F.O.C from Tempotec, I am in no way influenced by Tempotec on my impressions nor do I gain any monetary benefit from Tempotec. All thoughts are of my own