>>I am brazilian and I speak portuguese, so forgive my english, I’ll use translator tools to help<<


TRUTHEAR launching its first DAC/AMP dongle, the Truthear SHIO. The product has a 3.5mm output and a balanced 4.4mm output.

The Truthear SHIO was sent by SHENZHENAUDIO, one of the main distributors of Truthear products, as well as several other brands and audio products. So, I’m going to put the product links and those who are interested in know about Truthear SHIO, just check the links below (they are not affiliates).

Previous reviews: HEXA

Price: $69.99 USD
Colors: Black
Cabe: USB-C



– DAC Chip: Cirrus Logic CS43198 *2x
– Sampling Rate (Maximum):PCM 44.1kHz – 768kHz | DSD64 – DSD256
– Interface: Type-C input
3.5mm single-ended output
4.4mm balanced output
– THD+N (@1kHz) (A-WT):
3.5mm SE: <0.00025%
4.4mm BAL: <0.0002%
– Output:
3.5mm SE: 1.4Vrms(Low Gain), 2Vrms (High Gain)
4.4mm BAL: 2Vrms(Low Gain), 4Vrms (High Gain)
– Output Power:
150mW x2 @32Ω
55mW x2 @300Ω
– SNR: 130dB (A-WT)
– Dynamic Range: 130dB (A-WT)
– Frequency Response: 20-20kHz (±0.1dB)
– Background Noise: <1.6uVrms (A-WT)


– Tin HiFi P1
– Truthear HOLA
– MotoZ3 Play
– Dell Inspiron (W10)


Always starting with design of the product. The body is made of aluminum and coated with a layer of synthetic leather. It has only one volume button on the right side, which, by the way, isn’t make noise when rocking the product, that is, without gaps. Above the volume button, is where the indicator LED is located (very small hole on the side). The product is very compact, I believe that of the dongles with a 4.4mm output, this is the thinnest I have ever tested. The SHIO is very lightweight, practically the weight of a dongle only with a 3.5mm output, great for anyone who cares about the issue of weight and size “hanging” on the smartphone’s USB-C port.

The dongle supports files from PCM 16bit/44.1kHz to 32bit/768kHz, and from DSD64 to DSD256. The product doesn’t play MQA. As I always say, for me these “higher” files are not very important, since I only use FLAC 16bits/44.1/48kHz and common streamings (Spotify)… But I agree that the more capacity the product has, the better, as it will contemplate the people who make use of these files.

The RGB LED makes the following indication: Yellow (PCM at High Gain), Red (PCM at Low Gain), Purple (DSD at High Gain), Blue (DSD at Low Gain). According to the company, for the dongle to go into high gain mode, you have to press the volume button to switch, however, I couldn’t get the dongle to go into another mode. It’s here in the manual: “Press – and + For Switching The Gain Mode”.

Cable. Not much to say, it only comes with a USB-C to USB-C type cable, but I like what’s been put in here. It has a “core” in Paracord, very similar to what I found in the Questyle M15. True, the SHIO cable is smaller and more malleable than the M15. I even prefer this type of cable to be shorter, so as not to be “hanging” on the USB-C port of the smartphone, so the shorter the better (for me).

One of the negative points of SHIO is that it doesn’t come with a USB-A adapter to connect the dongle to the computer. It also doesn’t come with a USB-A cable or Lightning cable/adapter (iPhone). According to the company, the product is enabled to run on Android, Windows, and iOS systems, however, to use it on Apple products, the user will have to purchase a cable separately with the respective company connection.

Battery consumption on the 3.5mm output. Using the Truthear HOLA, the battery consumption was 8%. The smartphone I used has a 3.000mAh battery. The test was performed during 1h of playback with the screen off and WiFi off (airplane mode). The volume was set at level 10 out of 15 available by Android.

Battery consumption at 4.4mm output. Using the Tin HiiFi P1, the battery consumption was 9%. The test was carried out along the same lines as the previous one, the only difference being the volume at level 13 of the 15 available on Android. Remember that this is a simple test just to get a base, they are not extremely accurate numbers.

Heating. During the time that I evaluate the battery consumption, I am also evaluating the surface of the product in order to know if it is heating up disproportionately. Like every device like this, the minimum will always be a little heating, and that’s all that appeared here, something very subtle, with no signs of excessive heating. What’s interesting is that the dongle is covered by this synthetic leather part, and I think that also helped make the product feel less heated.

At the time thar I write this review, the company has released a firmware update for the dongle. I tried to update but I confess I couldn’t, I found disconnected information in the installation guide, that is, what was indicated in the tutorial wasn’t what was appearing here for me during the installation. So I decided not to go ahead with the upgrade. Here also comes the question of the lack of USB-A adapter, if I didn’t have a corresponding cable with the connections here, I would certainly be unable to perform the update, which in my case was just a try. Drivers or firmware download files can be found on the Truthear website:

I always prefer to do this type of evaluation using the computer, not the smartphone, because it’s easier for me to test, although the battery consumption part I do on the smartphone. The dongle was immediately recognized when I plugged it into my notebook (Windows10), I didn’t need to install a driver. The volume control via dongle knob always advance by 2 steps, i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc.


It must be remembered that this analysis is subjective, based on my experience with the product and also on the synergy with the other equipment I used here. I also already inform you that the more objectivist part of the hobby is not really my beach, so it may be that some information can be limited, I don’t have much knowledge about the technical side of this type of product.

The audio quality of Truthear SHIO I found very good. According to the company, the DAC chip used in the dongle was the Cirrus Logic CS CS43198. The chip has been implemented in duplicate to make the balanced system of the 4.4mm output. The sound of the SHIO is the standard of 99.99% of the current dongles on the market, that is, a clean and precise sound. The performance for me was as desired, transparent and free from coloration in the sound. I didn’t notice any noise, distortion or strange sound during the time I was testing the product. Really a very good product in terms of cost/benefit.

With the Truthear Hola on the 3.5mm output, the IEM played with plenty, it’s an IEM that doesn’t need a lot of power to be pushed. So, just like Hola, earphones that don’t need a lot of amplification to play properly, SHIO will be more than ideal for these cases. I always let the Hola at 40% volume on the Windows10 volume scale.

With the Tin HiFi P1 (OG) in the balanced 4.4mm output, we know that it’s an IEM that does have a greater need for amplification for the sound improve. In my opinion, SHIO managed to push the P1 satisfactorily, I didn’t feel the earphones had anemic sound or lacked bass, on the contrary, the sound for me played the same as the other sources where I placed the P1 and they played the IEM correctly (in my opinion).

In terms of volume, for me around 50% is already good, but it’s possible to increase more without feeling uncomfortable. I even did the maximum volume test and SHIO managed to reach the maximum without making the P1 enter into distortion (clipping). As the sound was very loud, it’s possible that there is a micro distortion in the background at maximum volume, but for everything I heard, it didn’t present such a characteristic. There are other dac/amps that even before the maximum volume the sound is already starting to distort.

I did a quick comparison of the SHIO with the Questyle M15, I made a few successive changes between one dongle and another to try to catch some difference… I must say that both were basically the same thing in terms of sound, the M15 in some moments seemed to me to be more transparent and defined, but look, I won’t deny that it was such a small thing that it’s possible that there was a placebo effect here. Now, the M15 still had the High Gain feature left to be activated, and I didn’t activate, so probably if I did, the sound would change more noticeably, and then maybe I could try to report some more difference.

Furthermore, SHIO reminded me a lot of Hiby FC4, and I understand that SHIO is the dongle that competes directly with FC4. The FC4 is more expensive than the SHIO, but it is always on sale, but the SHIO already has a much lower price, and with a discount it can be even more interesting. Currently – among the most well-known brands – SHIO is the cheapest dongle on the market to have 4.4mm & 3.5mm outputs (considering the official price). They may have others that are even cheaper, but you have to see if it’s not because of some discount.

The final criticism is that it was really a pity I couldn’t activate the gain mode on this dongle, I really appreciate it when dac/amps have a few extra features to offer. For the rest, I have nothing more to add, I found the dongle very good.

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