Dethonray Honey H1 Review




Ah yes, I received a Death Ray in the mail. Yes this blue and gold shiny object called the Dethonray Honey H1 is very reminiscent of a larger iFi Hip DAC from afar. I never did a full a review of the Hip DAC, but I did have it with me for a couple of weeks to try out. It had some issues with hissing noise, but otherwise was a nice, stylish portable DAC/Amp that seemed promising.

Unboxing/Features




Anyway, this Dethonray H1 is significantly more expensive and comes in at $700, which is well above the $150 Hip DAC that it sorta resembles in looks and features. It's a portable amp/dac that features both 4.4mm balanced output and 3.5mm single ended phone and line-output. There's a gold colored knob next to these outputs.

On the side, there's switches for high and low gain, and phone and line out. On the rear, there's two USB-C inputs. One for charging only and one for data/charging, though in my experience, I couldn't really tell which was which since they both, sometimes did data and sometimes not. I'll get to that later.

I had to do a little bit of math, but the Dethonray Honey H1 outputs up to 1.25 Watts of power for a 32 ohm load using high gain and 4.4mm balanced connection. This is probably plenty for most In-Ear Monitors, Ear Buds and Headphones, however I did have to get almost near the max to output to the Hifiman Arya planar magnetic headphone, which is a bit more power-hungry than other headphones out there. Please also note that I listen at lower than average at roughly 70-75 dB SPL, so people who are using more power hungry headphones may want to consider alternatives, but then again, those headphones probably aren't going on the road with you either.

Okay, before I start my sound review, I want to thank Linsoul for sending this review unit out to me. It's available to purchase on their website at http://www.Linsoul.com.



Sound Impressions

This isn't going to be a super long winded review, but I do want to say that the Honey H1 sounds quite pleasing to the ears. It has a warm sound that reminds me quite a bit of a Class A amp, or something like the Schiit Asgard 3 in terms of warmth and quality. I never felt like I was missing any sound, as the resolution seems to be good.

The DAC section is powered by AKM 4497 chips which unfortunately, as far as I can tell, can't be tuned with any of the typical AKM Velvet Sound filters. The 4.4mm amp output was my primary means of usage here. 

I used it as a DAC/Amp source for my Lotoo PAW 6000, acting as a digital transport, as well as powering it via my computer as a DAC/Amp desktop setup. More on this later.

I tried it with a few in-ears: Hidition Viento, Unique Melody MEST, and the Empire Ears Odin. Neither of these had any issues with hissing noise, or any weird hiccups. This is pretty important since I've found these portable dac/amps can be pretty hit or miss with ground noise. Not a problem here though!

With these IEMs, and especially the Viento and Odin, I found the bass section to be quite punchy and impactful with the H1 pairing. This low-end emphasis seems to go well with these more neutral reference monitors. I used all of these IEMs on Low Gain and used approximately 50-70% of the volume knob.

Like I mentioned earlier, I used this with the Hifiman Arya and found that I was putting it at 75% on high gain and it was just loud enough for my listening levels. Despite the limited headroom, the Arya sounded very punchy! I was surprised at how deep the bass went and how fun this amp made the Arya sound. This little thing packs a wallop.

As you can see, most of my impressions on this really begin and end at the low end. It stands out. There's definitely a bass and low-midrange focus here, and it provides a lusher sound than both my Topping A90 and my Lotoo PAW 6000, and the differences was pretty distinguishable to my ears. 



Some Quirks

There is this small little quirk with this thing. It has two USB-C inputs on the rear side for connecting to power and source. This player has a feature called DPPU -- Desktop Plus Powered Unit. For some reason, I never had issues connecting this directly from the Lotoo PAW 6000 DAP to it and using battery power, but when I tried to use the H1 with my PC, the connection using just a single cable was very hit or miss. 

Sometimes it connected, sometimes it did not. Sometimes it would play music and then disconnect. Sometimes the LED would light up and sometimes it would not, even if it was still connected. This was strange and kind of annoying.

Once you plug in BOTH cables, so it had separate power, it worked like a charm with no fuss and no random drops. I am not sure what to say here, but if you do get this, I recommend having two USB cables for your computer connection. Perhaps this is why it came with a digital toslink connector to connect to your laptop while the USB-C cable included is for power? Who knows.


Wrap-Up

My time with the Honey H1 has been actually very enjoyable and fun, despite the finagling with the power cables. The unit has a nice look and a warm and soothing sound to it that can power full-sized headphones and provides an impactful and lush sound to my gear.

The price is perhaps a bit steep for a portable unit, but at least it doesn't sound bad and it works well and can act as an all-in-one desktop unit if need be.

I do want to mention that I did add small foam feet to the bottom for desktop use to prevent it from sliding and scratching on a table.


Comments

  1. How does it compare to the A90?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The A90 is more edgier, faster transients and a little better in detail retrieval. I think the H1 is a more fun and enjoyable listen overall though, and much warmer and lush.

      Delete
  2. How does it compair to the paw6k in terms of detail retrieval and layering? They are kind of similar price points so I'm currious even if they are massively different sound sigs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say the PAW6K is a overall more resolving and more technically capable player. The H1 is a softer, warmer sound, kind of resminiscent of an underpowered Schiit Asgard 3.

      Delete
  3. That's a very bare bones review that really doesn't say much at all...

    ReplyDelete
  4. 700 dollars sounds pretty steep for only one DAC chip

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment