Technical Performance – 2
Another important aspect of the Honey H1 is the output power. The power you get from this device is quite strong and with the UltraMan software installed, you get tremendous power from the 4.4mm BAL output. You can drive 300 Ω headphones with ease, as I did with the HD800S. Not to mention something like the HD660 S with its 150 Ω impedance, or other possible headphones that have similar figures.
I also tried it with several IEMs with different impedance levels. It’s perfectly usable and I didn’t hear any annoying hiss or something like that. Background performance is absolutely great. It’s just a bit difficult to set up the volume level because of the volume knob which I didn’t really like, but it also works great with IEMs. That makes this device a real deal. A perfect all in one solution with great versatility.
You can see that until this part, my impressions are very positive about the Honey H1. However, the synergy is critical to really enjoy this device’s sound. Bright sounding equipment matches it perfectly, whilst warm headphones/IEMs are not the best choices. If you pair it with the wrong gear, you might find it unsuccessful in terms of the overall sound.
Some good examples are;
- Etymotic ER2XR
- Thieaudio Legacy 4 (perfect match)
- M-Fidelity SA-50
- PEARS SH-3
- Sennheiser HD800 (S model is also great but I would go with the original for the H1)
- Shozy Black Hole
These are all bright-sounding gear maybe except the SH-3 which is a bit more resilient. Now you get the idea. I heavily recommend using the Honey H1 with bright, open, or flat sounding IEMs/headphones. Otherwise, you will have a mismatch and you’re not going to enjoy it in its best state.
Comparison to iFi Micro iDSD Signature
Since they are selling at the exact same price nowadays, you might wonder how the Honey H1 compares to the iDSD Signature. Actually, these two are not direct competitors. The iFi offering is more like a desktop device which you can carry with you if you want to do so. It also doesn’t have a direct 3.5mm output. Honey H1 on the other hand, is more portable with its USB Type C input and with a much smaller/lighter chassis. You can stack it with smartphones or various sources. iDSD has RCA output and other additional features. The Signature to me has a better volume knob in terms of product design.
Sound-wise iDSD Signature is more relaxed and easy-going compared to the attacking nature of the H1. The H1 also has a slightly narrower stage but it has the advantage when it comes to body and instrument timbre. The Signature is on the neutral side against the H1 with a hint of warmth. Honey H1 is full-bodied and very warm sounding when compared. So as a result, the iDSD Signature is more flexible when it comes to synergy, whilst the H1 needs the right match-up to really shine as I mentioned above.
So choose depending on your gear and user preferences. Both are great devices.
In my opinion, the Dethonray Honey H1 is one of the best portable DAC/Amplifiers in the market right now. The key part here is the synergy. Together with great output power, the sound quality is also exceptional. It’s almost like a Hugo1 in 2021 with a smaller form factor.
The device is by no means perfect. The volume knob has an impractical design, there are still some reported bugs with Apple devices and the gain setting does not affect the output power until you adjust the volume knob. However, it’s an excellent device besides those quirks and most importantly it sounds very good. As long as you have a good synergy, this device is an absolute joy to listen to.
When it first arrived I wasn’t going to recommend it with all the bugs that were present in the initial software. But now the 2.0 version fixed almost everything and the Dethonray Honey H1 is no doubt a formidable device that will hold its own in the DAC/Amp market. So, it enters into our Best DAC/Amp Combo Recommendations with its versatility, design, and sound quality above all.