After its first look and impressions, today we take the HiBy R5 under our microscope with its full review.
Disclaimer: I received the HiBy R5 directly from HiBy Music. We don’t have any relation with HiBy, and this review reflects my honest opinion. The MSRP of the HiBy R5 is 399$.
About HiBy Music
HiBy music specializes in research, development and sales of high quality portable audio products. They have 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 on 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 and 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, a better output impedance and sound quality upgrades. Lieven has been quite fond of it and it’s still in our Best Portable Players List.
Their smaller yet very sexy R3 DAP has also reached to a good popularity with its great form factor and eye catching, thoughtful design. Not to mention the luxury to have streaming services in such a small device.
Do note that we will soon receive the HiBy R3 Pro version. So if you’re interested in that model, make sure you check Headfonia every once in a while.
About HiBy R5
The R5 is a fully packed, compact Android DAP with lots of features just like the previous models above. Once again we have a fast processor (for a DAP), DTA Architecture, Dual DACs, full Android app support, USB DAC feature, Hi-Res Bluetooth capability and more. The new device also sports a 4.4mm balanced connection just like the R6 Pro. It’s good to see the 4.4mm appearing everywhere in the market nowadays.
With this player HiBy also uses what they call a “Ultra Audio Transmission” codec, shortened as UAT, which allows to transfer higher sample rates through Bluetooth. HiBy claims that this codec “might set the new wireless audio standards for the entire industry“, and it is “superior to all previous standards“. With UAT, 192KHz files would be streamed directly from the source to the headphones with no further down-sampling, says HiBy.
This technology was firstly announced with their W5 Bluetooth DAC/Amp. The W3 model is around the corner too and expect it to be reviewed here.
Design and Build Quality
HiBy once again follows a sleek design language with the R5. We all know that HiBy DAPs ooze “sexiness”, and this one is no different. The rounded edges, all glass back, convenient button placement in a nice, compact package is all you need in this kind of a player.
To me the device looks really cool when the screen is off. My sample is all black so it’s quite integrated and slick. With the addition of this model, HiBy now has a very consistent and elegant design language from R6 series to the R3 series. This is a very nice portfolio, appealing to different budget levels.
The build quality is quite good and there isn’t a bad surprise after HiBy’s already successful DAPs in this regard. However I found the backside somewhat weak. When I tap onto it with my fingers, the sound feedback is not very ideal to me. I suggest there’s nothing else on the other side since it feels “empty” when I tap. Otherwise I didn’t find any liability in terms of long-term usage.
I personally experienced the R6 and R3 DAPs before this R5 model. All of the HiBy players left good impressions on me in terms of design and usability. With its beautiful screen and compact structure, it’s a fabulous device to use. The HiBy Music brand now has established itself not only as a software company, but also as a great DAP manufacturer among the audiophile community.