HiBy R5 Gen 2 Review

vs. Astell & Kern SR25

The SR25 is a great little DAP which has a great design and compact chassis for everyday use. The design of the R5 Gen 2, while being nice, can’t pass the authenticity of the SR25. So I vote for the SR25 on sole design features.

Software is quite sluggish in the SR25. Yes, the R5 Gen 2 doesn’t have the same CPU and RAM as its bigger brothers, but it’s still much faster than the A&K offering thanks to its open Android OS and smooth operation.

For sound, the R5 sounds more technical whilst the SR25 sounds musical. The AK has a more refined sound with better layering in its imaging and staging. The R5 has a more neutral sound but it’s quicker in the bass and has more quickness and attack on the whole spectrum. The SR25 goes well with many IEMs, but the R5 Gen 2 requires good synergy since it’s highly technical and reference-like.

But the R5 is considerably cheaper with better UI operation with a bigger screen, and its Class A amp is simply stronger, especially for full-size headphones. The AK has my kind of sound with refined mids and treble with good warmth and fullness, whilst the R5 sounds like you’re in a studio, reviewing a recording you just taped.


I feel like HiBy can start to use this Class-A amp design with its other models even the higher end ones. For just 449$ it does a very good job in terms of dynamism, clarity, timing and attack. When I started to listen to it for the first time with the amp closed, I told myself; ”so it’s just another R5”, but that turned out not to be the case when I switched on the amp.

I appreciate HiBy’s effort in their new Class-A design. I’m sure they can build upon this and improve it even further. Sure, the battery life wouldn’t be spectacular regardless, but this new amplification has great potential.

Since it sounds much better than the R5 Saber in Class A mode, the new R5 Gen 2 makes its way to our Best DAP Recommendations list, removing the R5 Saber.


Page 2 – User Experience & Software
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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