Today we take the HiBy RS6 under our microscope. It is selling for $1,399 USD.
Disclaimer: I received the HiBy RS6 directly from HiBy Music. We don’t have any commercial relation 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 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, better output impedance, and sound quality upgrades. Lieven has been quite fond of it but last year, 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 favorite DAPs already 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.
Their smaller yet very sexy R3 Pro DAP has also reached good popularity with its great form factor and eye-catching, thoughtful design. Not to mention the luxury to have streaming services on such a small device. The R3 Pro version was certainly an improvement as well. Although I don’t really like the fast product cycles in terms of DAPs, I think HiBy is making progress in every model they release. That’s what counts at the end of the day.
About HiBy RS6
The RS6 is a fully packed, upper-range Android DAP from HiBy. Once again we have a fast processor in Snapdragon 660 SoC, DTA Architecture, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, full Android app support with Android 9 OS, USB DAC feature, Hi-Res Bluetooth capability, and more. The device also sports a 4.4mm balanced connection just like the other releases. It’s good to see the 4.4mm appearing everywhere in the market nowadays.
On the other hand, we have new developments under the hood. The new RS6 utilizes what HiBy calls a “Darwin” Architecture with an R2R circuit design. You can see the diagram just below. The RS6 also has a 256-tap adjustable FIR filter. Another feature is the option to switch between NOS/Oversampling modes. The RS6 even has IEM-specific tuning options in the menu with presets.
Here’s what HiBy says about their new technology:
“The Darwin architecture is HiBy’s in-house developed all-new hi-res digital signal processing architecture. In a breakthrough evolution of traditional R2R architecture, the system includes resistor ladder linearity compensation, and for the first time includes advanced functions such as linear FIR filter, nonlinear harmonics control, switchable oversampling / NOS, and DSD bypass on portable equipment. The end-to-end flexible architecture is fully configurable, creating endless possibilities for future upgrades and endless evolution.”
For more information about HiBy’s Darwin architecture and the overall audio processing of the device, just click here.
So in typical HiBy fashion, the device is full of features with every possible usage scenario covered. However, the single most important factor is the sound quality. R2R designs usually sound very musical, so we’ll see that after we look at the overall user experience. Before getting into that, one more thing: The new RS6 now has an all copper chassis versus the aluminium one of the R6 2020.
If you’d like to have some information about resistor ladder circuit design, you can check it out here.
The RS6 comes in a luxurious box. The unboxing experience is simply great. When you remove the cover, you face a black box with very elegant golden accents. Upon opening it, you’ll see the player on the right and a compartment that has a golden “RS” logo on the left. As for accessories, the RS6 comes out of the factory with front and back glass protectors installed. That is something to appreciate because it is always easy to apply them yourself.
HiBy also did not forget to include a spare protector for the front glass, just in case. The left compartment has two neatly packed cables. A gold plated USB-C to USB-A cable to charge the device and a USB-C Coaxial Cable. It is nice of HiBy to include this cable as it is a rare one. The RS6 comes with a great elegant leather case. It’s similar to the case of the R6 2020 but it looks even more luxurious to me. Nicely done.
Design and Build Quality
The RS6 shares the same language with its big brother, the flagship R8. They both look very elegant and professional. The RS6 is smaller and lighter in comparison. It weighs about 315 grams. It looks gorgeous in rose gold colour and feels very rigid in hand. All sockets and jacks feel firm and tight.
The copper construction feels durable and the button layout is easy to memorize. We have 4 buttons in total, from top to bottom layout is as follows; the power button, previous track, play/pause, next track. 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. It has a pixel density of 443 PPI, which is really high for a Hi-Fi player.
The album covers and videos look astounding for a DAP. Screen to body ratio is brilliant and as a front & back glass device, it looks very aesthetic. I don’t think you’re going to have trouble carrying it around as it is not a big player. In fact, it fits right into a Pelican 1020 case with enough space to store your favourite earphones.