HiBy R5 Gen 2 Review

User Experience

The HiBy R5 features HiBy’s OS, based on Android 8.1. This version of Android is a bit dated, to be honest, but it’s nothing to worry about. I don’t personally expect any DAP to perform or feel like a smartphone. Sound is ultimately what matters.

Sound-wise, there is the HiByOS. It’s a custom Android rebuilt and in-house developed by HiBy, optimized for bit-perfect audio, and completely bypasses the Android’s limitations and SRC thanks to their Direct Transport Audio Architecture. Of course, this means that any app that you could go for would benefit from the integrated DACs to the full extent.

HiBy combined the SD425 with 2 gigabytes of RAM, which is just enough for a DAP. I haven’t had any stutters or freezes during my time with it. It is reasonably fluid and quick overall. Another cool thing is that you can see the sample rate on the right side of the notification bar which stays on top at all times. The LED light just below the power button lights up in one particular colour, depending on the sample rate, accordingly.

The streaming apps work like charm with bit-perfect playback. Again, the device is quite quick, including the booting time. I also found the battery life to be very very good. You can easily feel the maturity in design, software, and user experience of the new R5.

HiBy Music App

For playing songs in your archive, there’s the HiBy Music application. There aren’t any real flaws I faced in this app as it works perfectly. One thing I liked is the screen that contains your recently played songs. That way I can always return to the songs I play frequently. It’s also a very feature-packed application.

A nice feature is the WiFi music importing menu. When your PC or smartphone is connected to the same WiFi network, you can transfer your music files over the air once you copy the given URL onto your browser. I’m not quite sure if this is feasible for you since a wired transfer is quite faster. Yet it’s a very nice addition regardless.

Reaching out to your folders, artists and even genres is very easy from the main screen. The HiBy Link option is also available again from the app. It also supports searching and that is quite important for many people.

I loved the simplistic approach in the app with a nice layout and menu placements. A theme option could be nice to customize but it’s still very good and simple to the eye. To cut the story short, the HiBy Music app has everything you can need in a portable player.


There’s an MSEB menu inside the HiBy Music application which stands for “MageSound 8-Ball”. This menu works for altering the sound next to the basic 10-band equalizer and it’s a trademark from HiBy. Through that screen, you can adjust almost every aspect of sound you can imagine. And the most beautiful part is that they work.

What you can do is adjust the overall temperature of sound from cold to warm, bass extension from light to deep, bass texture, note thickness, vocals, sibilance, air, and so on… This is incredible to play with. With this feature, you can make every type of headphone work with this DAP.

But pure sound lovers like me probably won’t use the features and simply leave it all closed. In my case, I only use the EQ to some extent with my IEMs, and I think those DSP settings are not fully natural sounding but it’s great to have this much detail in terms of sound effects. So I congratulate the effort. The people who fancy these kinds of DSP features most likely will fall in love with the device.

Even though I don’t like playing around with DSP settings, this has to be mentioned as being another important aspect of HiBy players. Overall the software is excellent and you can use the HiBy Music app with your own devices from other brands as well. Give it a try.

Page 1 – Intro, Package, Design & Build
Page 3 – Sound Quality
Page 4 – Comparison & Conclusion
4/5 - (131 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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