HUD 100 Mk2 is a very interesting DAC. It does not have an upper tier DAC chip but is much better at revealing details than the more expensive and fancy Hip DAC. The Radsone device delivers better notes energy and is much more transparent especially with treble region and the extension too feel much more resolving. Some might find it to be slightly on the less juicy side but it helps with better transparency.
Unlike the Hip DAC the 100 MK2 doesn’t have any biases towards the lower end and delivers true to the nature notes. The good thing is it does so without losing sub-bass extension which is very deep but doesn’t have the added volume. The mid bass is slightly more emphasized but it barely has any impact on the earphones true character. The upper bass is nicely detailed and is clear of any type of ambitious advances. When used with flat sounding earphones things get dry and more analytical but when paired with juicier earphones it delivers very good amount of details and clarity. The decay speed is slightly on the faster side which robs it off of a bit of precipitation. The good thing is it doesn’t take way the texture.
The HUD100 MK2 stays true to its nature and delivers a very transparent and clear mid range. There is no emphasis of any type but the vocals do sound exceptionally clear and natural. Notes have excellent decay and very good agility along with nice body. It has better precision and accuracy than the Hip DAC. It has an attacking and slightly aggressive notes presentation but is fairly clear of any kind of sibilance or harshness with both vocals and upper treble region. The slightly leaner but accurate notes give excellent clarity to background instruments. Micro details are as good as the TR-Amp. Vocals have very good amount of texture and tonality along with plenty of details and clarity. Both male and female vocals are accurate and precise. The upper mid region has no anomalies to worry about while delivering excellent clarity and details.
Hud 100 Mk2’s treble is slightly on the drier side. It delivers without exaggerating the notes while maintaining good amount relevance and clarity. It can be called musical but a bit of dryness takes some of the smoothness away. The presentation is very neutral and doesn’t have any coloration and pairs excellently with wide variety of headphones and earphones without any problem.
The HUD100 MK2 delivers excellent directional cues. Notes have good sharpness and clarity. The treble extension is nothing to complain about and the bigger than average stage size gives it nice resolution and imaging.
I prefer the HUD100 Mk2’s treble over the dull and pale sounding Hip DAC.
STAGE AND IMAGING:-
The HUD-100 mk2 delivers a very cohesive imaging with a nicely rounded stage. It has very good depth, height and width. All the parts of the spectrum have the right amount of stage presence. Imaging too is excellent and has a good presence out of the head, the lower end along with the vocal region are placed inside the head while most of the instruments are placed outside the head giving a nice hollow graphic projection. The 100 Mk2 delivers an evenly spread stage with very good density and distribution. It doesn’t feel clumsy or congested. Layering is top class with fantastic background and foreground separation.
VS Hip DAC:-
Hip DAC is bigger and slightly more expensive. It has balanced out and does have a bass boost under its sleeves. The biggest thing is the Hip DAC has its own battery while the HUD sips power from the mobile device.
Sound wise the Hip DAC is slightly more organic, a bit smoother and slower. The HUD has much better notes agility and background details. The Hip DAC has bigger bass volume which can be sluggish with fast paced songs, the mids are a bit more textured and throaty but the HUD delivers a lot more finer details. The biggest problem is with the Hip DAC’s treble which is dull and dark. The extension is good but it loses spark and energy as it goes higher which take fair bit of engagement away which might suit those who don’t like sparkly and lively highs. But for me, it is a turn off. The HUD does much better with inferior DAC Chip and smaller size. Stage size too is more rounded with the HUD.
If power and smoothness is the need of the hour then the Hip DAC is good, if not, HUD 100 MK2 shows why it is nearly as pricy as the bigger, more powerful, balanced DAC.
1. Its small.
2. Has removable cable, you don’t need to worry about damaging the USB cable.
3. It has enough power for most of the earphones and headphones.
4. The sound quality is excellent. Has an unbiased tuning. It just resolves a lot more details than its size suggests.
5. It can be clipped on the back of the mobile phone and doesn’t need to be charged separately.
1. I would have liked a balanced out, enabling the mobile phone to deliver balanced sound.
2. Lack of microphone support is slightly bothering..
If you are in the market looking of a USB DAC for your mobile phone, the Radsone EarStudio HUD100 MK2 should top your chart, much more recommendable than the cheaper dongles and even the Hip DAC.