HiBy R5 Gen 2 Review

Today we review the HiBy R5 Gen 2 which is selling for $449 USD.


Disclaimer: I received the HiBy R5 Gen 2 directly from HiBy Music. We don’t have any commercial relationship with HiBy, and this review reflects my honest opinion.

About HiBy Music

HiBy Music specializes in the research, development, and sales of high-quality portable audio products. They have a professional R&D staff and they also have quite a good history in the portable audio field. They’re also pretty famous when it comes to building software to playback music on your phone and dedicated portable audio players.

When they released the original R6 DAP it was quite a big hit. But developing software and putting a complete music playback device are two different things. So of course the first R6 had some small dents like the output impedance, general software, UI stability, and overall sound quality.

After some time, they decided to release the Pro version of the R6 which was also reviewed on Headfonia. The Pro has a 4.4m BAL output, better output impedance, and sound quality upgrades. Lieven has been quite fond of it but around two years ago, HiBy Released the R6 2020 model. It was recommended by Yağız with a very positive review.

And then, there’s the High-End HiBy R8 which is one of Lieven’s favourite DAPs and it’s another recommendation from the Headfonia team. As you can see, HiBy has made up some ground and they mean business in the market.

The latest model that was unveiled before the R5 Gen 2 was the RS6, with an R2R Architecture with NOS/Oversampling modes. It’s a very good music player too and its warm/musical sound steals a lot of hearts.

About HiBy R5 Gen 2

So, this DAP is the second generation HiBy R5 with new features and design altogether. We already reviewed the original R5 and the R5 Saber before, but this one is a lot different to those two in many ways.

New DACs

The Gen 2 device now has Dual ES9219C DACs which natively support DSD256, PCM768kHz/32bit high-res formats, with SNR of 130dB and THD+N down below -112dB.

Class A Amplifier

The output stage now has a discrete design, with 270° conduction angles constructed of discrete componentry, including 8 high powered paired bipolar transistors. THD is down at 0.0006% at the amplified output, as HiBy claims.

This is a Class A discrete balanced amplification circuitry is capable of continuous high power output, with “plentiful energy reserves for all music genres”. All of these upgrades promise a noticeable improvement in sound quality but let’s stay with the device’s other feats now.

New Design, Screen and Battery

The new device also has a new design which was introduced with HiBy R6 2020, so now it looks a bit more serious and well settled in terms of a reliable audiophile DAP. It’s also more premium with the aluminium chassis. The only difference in design is the absence of the volume wheel.

HiBy also put a new 4500mAh battery and it provides a whopping 35 hours of playtime. However, this figure decreases to 10 hours if you utilize the Class-A amp mode.

The new R5 also has an upgraded screen with a bigger 720p IPS panel (4.7″). The previous generation had a much smaller screen size so it’s a good decision for improved user experience.

Other Features

It has the Snapdragon 425 SoC, SRC bypass including Apple Music, 2GB RAM, 16GB of storage, full Android app support with Android 8.1 OS, USB DAC feature, Hi-Res Bluetooth capability, and more. The device also sports 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced connections together.

Package Content

The R5 comes in a moderate looking box. The unboxing experience is simply good. When you remove the cover, you face the player sitting on top. As for accessories, the R5 Gen 2 comes out of the factory with front and back glass protectors installed. That is something to appreciate because it is not always easy to apply them yourself.

HiBy also did not forget to include a spare protector for the front glass, just in case. A USB-C charging cable is included. There’s also a blue coloured leather case. It’s similar to the case of the R6 2020 and RS6, but a bit less premium.

Design and Build Quality

The R5 shares the same language with its bigger brothers, the R6 and RS6. It has a subtle and elegant look overall. All sockets and jacks feel firm and tight. The aluminium construction feels durable and the button layout is easy to memorize.

We have 6 buttons in total. The layout of the right side is as follows; the power button, previous track, play/pause, and next track. The left side hosts the volume up/down buttons. The buttons feel stiff and there is no wobble at all. HiBy placed a colour-coded LED under the power button to let you know about the sample rate of the track that you’re playing. The screen looks very very vivid and sharp.

The album covers and videos look very nice for a DAP. Screen to body ratio is good and as a front & back glass device, it looks aesthetic. I don’t think you’re going to have trouble carrying it around as it is not a big player. It fits right into a Pelican 1020 case with enough space to store your favourite earphones.

Page 2 – User Experience & Software
Page 3 – Sound Quality
Page 4 – Comparison & Conclusion
4/5 - (130 votes)

A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.


  • Reply June 2, 2022


    I have the R5 II and agree it’s quite neutral with or without the Class A on. I put a Graham Slee voyager in the path and it warmed it really well. No loss of the clean sound, but a bit more tubey!

  • Reply June 2, 2022


    Nice review.
    Somehow, I prefer SR25 (or maybe SR25 MK II) than hibby R5 Gen 2. But there is one thing that bother me for a long time. Are SR25 and R5 Gen 2 heating a lot when you play it more than 30 minutes or an Hour?


    • Reply June 13, 2022


      I own hiby r5 ii for a week now, when switched to Class A amp, i dont feel any heat on the back of the DAP

    • Reply June 16, 2022


      Not really.

  • Reply June 29, 2022

    roland lickert

    I have the unit since 3 weeks and compair to my old DAP Cayin N5 MK2 it is a big improvment as the AMP A setting makes all the difference.So far I,m happy with the unit and for me its great value for the money you pay.Congratulation to HIBY for a job well done

  • Reply July 28, 2022


    In your honest opinion who makes the most reliable/durable/well built DAPs?:


    Not to mention Sony since they’re on a league of their own when it comes to quality control.

    • Reply July 28, 2022


      I wanted to say AK, Cayin :-D. I think all of these are good really, I use AK, Cayin, Fiio and HiBy the most.

  • Reply August 1, 2022


    Do you change your units quite often?

    I’m not the type of guy to change my devices, that why I ask about reliability since I’m planning to use my next DAP for at least 3 years before I make another purchase.

  • Reply October 12, 2022


    Hi, I’m a newbie and I’m currently using a Hiby R3 Pro Saber. I very much enjoy using the MSEB to tune up sound to suit my taste. Recently I have been thinking what should it be for my next step. With a limited budget, I find this R5 Gen 2 is very attractive to me because of the MSEB, the Class A amp and of course the price. With almost the same price, the other choice I have in mind is a second hand WM1A (1st gen). Since I read that you used a WM1A before, I’d like to know, in your opinion, which is a better choice between the two? Many thanks.

  • Reply December 21, 2022


    How does this compare, sound quality wise, to the iBasso DX170?

  • Reply October 20, 2023


    Two questions.
    Can the Hiby R5ii easily power something like a Sennheiser HD 598 via single ended class A?
    And can it power a sennheiser HD 650 via balanced class A?

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