In this review, we take a look at the ddHiFi Janus E2020A, the first IEM from the brand, available for $199.
Disclaimer: the ddHifi Janus was sent to us, free of charge, by the brand in exchange for our honest opinion. You can find them on their Aliexpress, or your nearest dealer, it’s up to you.
Established in 2017, ddHifi is a new brand of adapters, DAC, and more recently, earphones. Led by Demond Ding, a former member of FiiO and Oppo, the brand has gained some fame recently, and I was pretty curious to try their products.
The company goals?
“To use concise and brief design language to make user-friendly accessory products, abandon any decorative design that is irrelevant to practical usage and pay more attention to product material and craftsmanship details with cost-controlled”
Or in simple terms: good products, at an affordable price. Which is equal to chi-fi if you want to short it even more. And today, after checking-up their small USB DAC-dongle, I’m here to try their first IEM, the E2020A or Janus.
You know what? Let’s agree on ddHiFi Janus.
The ddHiFi Series
Usually, this is where we sum up the brand catalogue, and show where the item we are about review ends up. But, since the Janus is the first IEM for the brand, I’ll just link you up to the DAC and dongle we previously tried out:
The TC25i and TC28i are two dongles specially designed for iOS users. If the latter works as an adapter to convert your Lightning port to an USB-C port, the TC25i is a full-fledged DAC/AMP, in the smallest size you can get. Also, the TC25i gets a 2.5mm port, and that’s pretty cool.
The TC35i and TC35B are two of the tiniest USB-DAC you can get for iOS and Android. It’s super short, super well-built and comes handy in lots of situation when you just want to enjoy your music on the go. I use both daily and it’s pretty awesome.
The TC44b or Cheese is a higher-tier USB-DAC, priced just below the $100 bar and offering a real dual-DAC chipset. It’s small, well-built, supports both 2.5mm and 4.4mm outputs and Lieven seemed to like it.
Design & Build Quality
Last year, we saw an important shift in the making of most IEM. Manufacturers either went for CNC-Milled metallic shells, like the FiiO FH5, FH7 and FH3, or switched to 3D-Printed cases, thanks to lower build cost and precise controllers. But, to my surprise, ddHiFi chose the third option for the Janus: classic acrylic molded shells.
Thankfully, like their adapters and DAC, the Janus looks and feels much better than I’d expected. The translucent acrylic shell is merged with a steel nozzle, topped by aluminium caps on both sides. All of that makes for one of the cleanest design I’ve seen in an IEM for a long time. Driver’s aside, there’s literally nothing more inside the E2020A, the brand introducing its own F(lexible)PCB to connect the plugs, to that same driver.
The shells are smaller than multi-BA IEM, which is a given, and you won’t find the classic marble/shiny/custom faceplate you usually get with 3D-Printed models. That said, it’s still a solid piece of work and I think Demond and his team made a great job here.
The ddHiFi Janus build quality is top-notch, like every model of the brand so far.
As stated previously, it’s a minimalistic design, with no cables, one single driver, and a super cool FPCB that interconnects the woofer to each plug. Because yes, the E2020A features two inputs: MMCX and 2-Pins. A strange but clever feature that allows you to enjoy your old and new cables, as I did during this review.
The MMCX/2-Pin port fits perfectly, there is no gap wherever your hand can touch, no bubbles and the extra-thickness of the shell gives a good level of confidence. Add an aluminium front cavity, color-marked stem on the 2-Pin socket for L/R identification, a sweet golden-toned MMXC port and, I think we are good.
Bonus point for the default cable, named Forest or BC120A, which gave the same premium-feeling with a light-weight structure and soft-touch sheath.
So far, so good. Let’s keep digging and see what’s inside the box.
Inside the box
The ddHiFi Janus comes in a small paper-brown box, like most products of the brand.
Inside the box you get :
- the ddHiFi Janus E2020A
- a BC120A Forest, octo-core OCC MMCX 2.5mm TRRS cable
- a storage case wide enough for your IEM and a dongle
- silicon tips + cable strap
Not the best bundle out there, but definitely not the worst, especially considering the quality of the provided accessories.
Obviously, as an accessory focused brand, ddHiFi offers almost everything you might ever need to complete your build.
Out of the box, the Janus comes with a 2.5 mm TRRS plug that should fit most DAC and DAP, especially if you’re an Astell&Kern user. But, if you’ve already embraced the 4.4mm world, they offer a few options like a 2.5mm to 4.4mm adapter or even a direct 4.4mm cable.
Same goes for the source. If you just want to connect your IEM to your phone and don’t want to carry a DAC/AMP, they have tiny adapters/dongle like the TC25i and TC25B directly embedding 2.5 mm TRRS plugs (even if they aren’t real balanced DAC).
Last but not least, since the Janus offers two types of plugs, you can either go for MMCX or 2-Pin after-market cables. And that’s super nice.
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