To put it short: this is the most incredible unboxing experience ever. Up to know we have seen some great packaging from Astell & Kern, Hifiman, Effect Audio and many others, but HiBy just raised the bar and set it enormously high for the competition. This simply is incredible
As you can see in the many pictures, the HiBy R8 comes in a highly luxurious leather box with a full suede interior. In the box there are 3 levels:
- Level one which holds the R8 DAP
- Level two which holds the gorgeous leather case from Dignis and both supplied cables
But it doesn’t stop there. Under the leather box you will find a separately stored extra level, which you can put inside the leather box or on your desk. In here you can store more cables or/and some inears and tips, SD-cards or whatever.
This without doubt is the most luxurious box ever. At the same time it’s also quite huge. While you can carry it around it probably is more of the home, desktop kind of storage.
The player itself, even though rather large, is very pretty as well. It’s not as fancy as the Astell&Kern designs, but it’s simple and stylish with some smooth edges. The R8 measures 143*81*20 mm as for your reference. The black stainless steel version supports 4G LTE and WiFi and weighs 520g. The black aluminium alloy weighs 420g. For reference, the SP2000 weighs 410g.
The DAP lay-out is simple but it works very well, even with one hand. On the front you only have the gorgeous 5.5” touch screen and on the back a glass panel with the HiBy logo. On the left the Micro-SD slot (and possible sim slot) and on the right the controls. Top down: power – LED – back – pause – forward. The LED displays a different color based on the audio format of the fie in use. Blue = nothing playing or 48kHz and under. 64-192kHz shows green. >192kHz shows orange and all DSD shows white. Charging is red in a pulsating cycle (5 in quick charge, 1 in normal charge mode).
On the top you have the volume control and bottom you from left to right have: 4.4mm balanced headphone out, 3.5mm headphone out, USB-C out, 3.5mm Line Out and the 4.4mm balanced LO.
Clean, simple nice.
Accessories & Price
Accessory-wise you get:
- The beautiful transport storage box
- Dignis case
- USB-C cable
- USB-C to Coaxial cable
- The extra storage level
- Micro-SD slot opener
- Quick guide
- A Chinese letter which I can’t get to understand at all
The Dignis case with the metal inlay on the back does deserve a special mention as it’s very nice. After the Luxury & Precision and AK cases, these are the prettiest. Fun fact, the new Cayin N3 Pro sports the exact same case.
The HiBy R8 doesn’t come cheap, and it is priced at $1,899 USD. It’s still a lot cheaper compared to the AK and L&P TOTL DAPs, but it does put the R8 in direct competition with the Fiio M15 ($1,299 USD), the KANN CUBE ($1,499 USD), the Lotoo PAW 6000 ($1,200), the Cayin N6ii ($1,199 USD) and the iBasso DX220MAX ($1,888 USD) just to name a few popular models.
Next to being a DAP with single ended and balanced headphone and Line-Outs, the R8 can also be used as USB-DAC. I have to admit I didn’t get the DAC functionality working from the start. The R8 needs HiBy’s latest firmware (1.11G), and that one doesn’t come included in the package, isn’t available over OTA and it isn’t present yet in HiBy’s download section. Once HiBy sent it to me, it all worked flawlessly after a manual install. So do take note of this if you’re an early owner.
You can also use the DLNA function to stream music from your local NAS, and use the bi-directional Bluetooth 5.0 connection (UAT high quality Bluetooth codec) if you’re into that. If that’s not enough you can use the USB-C’s coaxial output (converter cable needed, but it is supplied) or you can use Airplay and even send songs to the R8 over Wi-Fi, using the HiBy app.
A very versatile unit, as it is supposed to be for a TOTL unit.
Firmware / User Interface / Usability / HiBy Software
The Firmware of the review sample, after OTG update is the 1.1G version. I then did a manual install of the 1.11G version for the DAC functionality. (see later) Turning the player on and off is easy and it all happens fast. With the latest fw update you cans also charge the unit when it’s powered off.
Working with the HiBy R8 is incredibly easy as it’s an Android experience. If you’ve ever worked with any Android based DAP or phone, then you will figure it out in minutes. It’s a matter of swiping (down,) and going to the setting. The HiBy music app is where you need to go to change any settings related to sound.
The hardware controls are also perfectly situated on the player and controlling the R8 with the huge and sharp touch-screen together with the controls is a pleasure. Of course the super powerful Snapdragon chips plays a big role here, but it’s delivering a flawless, smooth performance/usability. The only thing I can maybe complain about is the fact that the volume knob isn’t the easiest to turn, especially when the R8 is in it’s leather case.
As it’s Android, you can easily download your favorite apps such as Spotify, YouTube and Tidal or any music player or game for that matter. Of course the R8 come with the HiBy Music app preinstalled. I’m also perfectly fine using this, as it’s one of the best apps on the market.
I won’t go into detail on how the HiBy app works and what settings and options are available as this has been covered many times in our and other sites’ reviews already. There’s nothing really new to report here, but the usage is extensive and the options are plenty. My personal favorite is not the MSEB setting, but the fact that you can download the correct covers and lyrics when you’re connected to the internet. I absolutely love that and use it all the time when I’m using the HiBy music app, as I like singing along with my favorite tunes
Battery-wise the R8’s large battery supplies you with many hours of listening time. I haven’t been able to run the exact tests on play-time yet but it’s looking good. Of course it depends on the screen usage, streaming, etc. So far the R8’s battery hasn’t died on me yet and when I expected it to run out of juice I still had 31% left. Fully charging it takes 5h with a quick charger. We for sure will report back here in the long run, but as I said, it seems to be on par with the best on the market.
The elaborate part on sounds starts on page three. Click HERE or simply use the jumps below
Considering sp2000 and Sony flagships are $2,000 (aud ) more i guess it makes sense that it’s not as good.But still seems to offer good value for money and pretty much no competition when it comes to full android.
That’s the good summary
Nice review but your page is clottered of ads and banners making the reading experience less peasant.
Thanks. It’s a new media provider so we’re still fine tuning this. It does seem like the side ad for resolution 1024 and under is causing issues. Good thing is you can close the add of course. thanks for the feedback
The constant page refresh (to load even more ads?) makes it very annoying to read Headphonia. This used to one of my favorite sites (:
There shouldn’t be any page refreshes. The ads might reload but you should stay in the exact same position you were reading. What device/resolution is this happening with? Thanks
Thanks for your review. However I expected the 4g network feature as other webzine’s review, but your review seems to have removed it from the manufacturer even higher price ($1819 -> 1899). I’m a little disappointed with Hiby.
Our worldwide version didn’t have the 4G feature, so we can’t report about it
Any thoughts on how the HiBy R8 stacks up against the AK SE200? Right now I’m debating between the Cayin N6ii w/ E02, AK SE200 and HiBy R8 to pair up with a Solaris SE.
The SE200 hasn’t arrived yet and it’s going to Matty in Australia. So it will be hard comparing these two. But the Cayin N6ii/E02 and the R8 are both excellent.
Without a doubt, even if it is something old, I go for the Sony, a guarantee of quality. all these chinese daps are unstable and have a lot of bugs. I don’t understand how in these reviews they never talk about those problems
Not a single bug, crash or hang up was experienced so far….
Why no comparison to Sony 507?
Banner ad placement (too many) and auto-rotation of the side banners makes reading here unbearable.
Cause there are no Sony samples available
I don’t know why you hate the M15.
I have the SE100, P2mkii and Qp2r, and the M15 is better in musicality.
I have never said I hated the M15, to me it’s just could have been better. like the R8.
Do you think the R8 would pair well with an IEM that has thick mids like the Empire Ears Phantom?
Would you consider this an upgrade from DX220+AMP9 ?
currently using UM MEST / U18T.
Awesome review by the way =)
I have se180 sem1 and seems kinda lack bit of body using 64 audio nio.
Im thinking of changing to R6 2020 or R8 since it has smoother operational OS, but kinda mixed feelings if i just buy a sem2 for my se180.
I feel hiby r8 much more transportable kind of smaller and less weight.
Nobody sells a case for Se180 in here, and even with case i still feel se180 is too heavy for me and withouth a case it fckin scary to bring se180 to office and other place.
Does r8 plays good anisong, jpop, and kpop? I love bass punchier and bodler mid body.
Which one should i get? N6ii e02 / R6 2020 / R8 / sem2?