We know Truthear with their solid iems for their prices such as Hexa and Zero x Crinacle but Truthear Shio Dac / Amplifier Review is something quite different and similar for the brand. Using the chip (CS43198) that MoonRiver 2 and Xduoo BAL feature too, let’s see if this one scores well too. If it will hit higher than its price tag; this is it. This means that they didn’t miss yet.
Thanks to Truthear for the double pack of Shio and Hola. Both will be examined without any bias.
Shio is the newest portable dac / amplifier in the market from Truthear Co. It was born after the fairly good Zero and Hexa, and it features a 3.5mm SE connector in addition to 4.4mm BAL connectors. Shio offers a 130 dB SNR and a 130dB Dynamic range. It goes without saying that these are outstanding figures when considering the price tag of less than one hundred dollars. The skin of the dongle is faux croc skin, and cable is improved. The following is an explanation of how I reviewed dongles. I choose a few different iems and investigate the affects the dongle has on those iems. In the absence of equipment that requires incoming signals to be refined and/or amplified, I feel that they have no practical application.
You will be missing a lot but here you go
Very high dynamics
Does prove benefit regarding inverse proportion
No internal battery
Automatic gain switch
Moondrop Quarks + Shio
Quarks is a hidden gem that most people don’t know about, and the latest DSP version helped it reach star levels in tuning if it wasn’t carefully listened to or AB’d. Shio is assisting the OG Quarks in filling with FUN. This is what makes it an excellent companion IEM for the Blues Brothers. However, we have to accept that it’s not a technically adept iem and -say- it can’t catch the fast vocal of the babbling track Rubber Biscuit and make the words slightly blurred even tough the Shio. I have no suspect about the record as I am listening 24bit 96kHz 4.6Mbps WAV. / Without Shio: The most apparent change is the soundstage. Its now only an inch wider than its DSP version. And second; the dynamics. The dynamic range of Shio being 130dB is truly making a difference. Third is Rubber Biscuit. Words in fast order are completely blurred like having melted into each others.
Tanchjim Zero + Shio
I have to say, I’m amazed! The Blues Brothers have a distinctive sound with their fast-paced and vibrant blues. And I can just picture some of the guys on the scene busting out some blues moves when the tunes are playing. However, I am sorry to report that the positioning is not excellent. / If there was no Shio: The soundfield is completely filled to the furthest extent in all dimensions. But it appears as though everything has a raw feel to it. The soul of the keyboard, trumpet, harmonia, and bass guitar have all been abandoned at this point. The keyboard is vital. Raw implies the absence of texture, and it appears that Shio is capable of restoring the songs’ every inch of detail into your ears.
Saltones Zero + Shio
Here we find a one year old budget king that already has a solid reputation but is still a little bit unfinished (over gleaming). Although it is not as personal as Tanchjim Zero, you are able to listen to the performance without having to cross your arms. There is a definite energy flowing throughout the venue. / Without Shio: Here is the real deal. You have one of the best things that can be bought for twenty dollars at the time. However, I am sorry to say that the instruments have a little artificial tone to them.
Tin Hifi C2 + Shio
One of the easiest to drive with Shio. However, sadly, you gotta get used to the slight metallic timbre on vocals and instruments. But they all have a lot of authority, and the layering and dynamics are great. Your ears are being filled with rock’n’roll-inspired blues music. Echoes of instruments and Dan’s tirelessly forward vocal are distinguishable as well. Rubber Biscuit is certainly better than Quarks. Dan’s fast paced blabbering isn’t so blurred. / Without Shio, the difference is like the difference between day and twilight, not night. Rubber Biscuit is performing certainly better than average. But C2 is clearly can’t keep up with Dan’s diction and stage a vocal show.
Truthear Hola + Shio
Unlike other combinations, it appears to be quite natural. You are listening. It’s not drawing you in. But Dan is very slightly subdued. However, trumpet and other energy creating instruments have no problem. Layering is at the C level, while textures are at the A level..It is obvious that it is scaling perfect with the source power. Don’t make me bring my dual v5i opamp class A amp 🙂 Rubber Biscuit is performing well over B level but I can’t paint it with flying colors. / Without Shio: This is loving power. But when fed with V30, Dan is clear and the background is calmly plucking its bass guitar. And the blown instrument is showing its metallic nature. Texturing is B+ now. Rubber Biscuit is meh to nice.
Truthear x Crin Zero + Shio
Dan’s high tempo speaking is understandable. And, when combined with the other tracks on this album, you’re immersed in a party night. But truth be told; its recessed mids (vocal and instruments) are apparent. Rubber Biscuit is pretty good in vocal tracking performance. Without Shio: The bass has more texture and weight. Dan is somehow recessed. Other instruments have energy and presence, but they don’t sound three-dimensional. And finally, the Rubber Biscuit have well grades. But I had seen better
Truthear Hexa + Shio
Another coloring here! It functions better than an iem that costs less than $100. The already freakish technicalities are taken to a whole new level by the thrust of dual CS43198 and every square inch of the concert space is packed with music. The layers and textures added to the words help to make up for the lack of rigidity in the words themselves. / If you don’t have Shio, your head may begin to wobble. Additionally, the layers and textures are excellent. This band can only function with three instruments and a vocalist, yet they can play quite fast without any congestion. It would appear that Shio is only synchronized with iems that are already on a lower level.
Kiwi Ears Cadenza + Shio
The least capricious of the bunch. But not even Shio’s strength is enough to coax the vocals out of their hiding place with Cadenza. I wanted words to be forward and clearly expressed in a fast-paced blues setting. But taking into account the other factors, this configuration suggests that you should cross your arms and sit down in your seats. AND take pleasure in the incredibly distinguishable bass, midrange, and treble tones of the instruments / Without Shio: we definitely have a “problem” here. Now that it is a legend with many necessities. It has no trouble keeping up with the quick pace, but the vocals are a little sluggish so far. I made the decision to get ready and add the babbling song to it, it has performed well enough to be in the top 3 so far (3rd actually, behind Hola and Tanchjim Zero). Let’s stop here and give it a rest. It is absolutely essential that it shows its full potential when compared to its identically named TOTL iem.
Final Audio e3k + Shio
Final Audio e3k is the most boomy of these reviews, but the vocal line is still clear. Whether or not you think it’s boomy depends on what you’ve heard before and how much you listen to it. Relistening “magically” dissolves it. The soundstage is wide. Trebles and metallic instruments have a forced organic feel on them. But the Shio facelift isn’t enough to make it a star of the show. Every technical aspect is rated B or B-. Rubber Biscuit is fail 🙁 Without Shio: Things are all fine and the overall performance is like a B-. The veil around you and the members is apparent. This is cutting its fun factor down and dynamics get a big hit..Leaving the mega toughness to drive e3k for V30, it is still managing well, if not perfect. Rubber Biscuit is another example.
Letshuoer S12 + Shio
Even when compressed inside an iem shell, a planar cannot change its nature; it constantly requires power. I am currently experiencing the most incredible and jaw-dropping performance up to this point. Layering is successful, and there is no need to mention that Shio and S12’s combination of texturing earns an A+. Every man is positioned in such a way that they are not in close proximity to the other men, and the instruments are clearly separated from one another with the necessary empty space (and Dan high pitches and ragged vocals’ echoes in the stage). / If there was no Shio: First, the slight brightness that had existed had vanished, making way for a more serious performance. Additionally, energy is also reduced. The replay is not very satisfying due to the decrease in overtones. The unfortunate reality must be faced. Shio shouldn’t get between S12 and V30 in the first place 🙂
AKG K240 600oHm + Shio
Assume you are so oblivious to physics or lack common sense that you are willing to pair a 600-ohm beast with your smartphone, even if it is a V30, just to show off: You will hear 2D music and have an idea of what’s going on. Or know the tracks like the palm of your hand and amplify every tune in your head reaching the point of having it fully powered..You know what they say? Imagination is so powerful, yeah.
But only powerful when Truthear Shio comes into play. Everything is vivid and semi loud at 100/100 gain of Neutron. Layering is barely noticeable. Textures are more apparent. The soundstage is wide as the earcups allow. Harmonics are almost nonexistent. But slight touches of the keyboard is here. However, it still lacks the ultimate clarity…Genius! You are pouring a drop (maybe 5) of mW in this v12 engine. These alone are like a miracle. But just to maintain the dignity of K240, I am halting the process. But was a nice torture method with Sultans of Swing – Alchemy Live 1-bit 5.6 MHz 11.3 Mbps DPCM128
Noble Audio Kadence + Shio
The easiest to drive among all! This means the highest impedance, and Shio automatically switches to H gain mode. And speaking of the general playback; I am left speechless even with its stock cable. Dan is pinned to his place and tiniest of details can be heard along with the melody. This is a TOTL yeah, but not an analytical iem in the end. And it’s the ease with which Shio reveals everything that distinguishes it. Rubber Biscuit is at totally perfect condition. Every line flows like a stream of water while maintaining clarity and body. Without Shio: It’s still possible to have a fantastic experience, but an analytical component is added to the mix. If you pay attention, you can start to judge the surface rigidity of the cymbal or the surface tension of the drum. But it’s full with FUN if you don’t care and witness the quality of a TOTL iem (and the reason of their prices ((R&D and exquisite material usage is insane))
Truthear Shio Dac / Amplifier Review
I don’t have a word to speak. Dongle’s real time changes spoke instead. But it is razor sharp that we have a winner dongle under $100 and all above were based on a lousy V30. Go imagine cx300 or recent android devices with excellent USB-C ports and less electromagnetic noise. The review will be upgraded with a comparison with an other famous CS43198 dongle. Stay tuned.