Today we check out the Hiby R5 for the first time before the full review.
Disclaimer: This post is part of our Picture Sunday series, you can find all of the previous ones here.
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 to the market. 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.
Their smaller 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.
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, Hi-Res Bluetooth capability and more. The new device also supports 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”, 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 headphones with no further down-sampling, says Hiby. This technology was firstly announced with their W5 Bluetooth DAC/Amp.
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. This one is no exception. With its beautiful screen, rounded corners, intuitive buttons and compact structure, it’s a fabulous device to use. Hiby Music are now not only in the software game of DAPs, but they’re also widely recognized for these features among the audiophile community.
The streaming apps work like charm, including the master recordings from Tidal. The device is quite fast, including the booting time. I did not face a bug or another problem with the UI or software yet. I also found the battery life to be very good. For this type of a small device, the 3500 mAh battery is a nice and generous choice. You can easily feel the maturement in design, software and user experience.
Sound-wise of course I need to give it more time and effort to fully understand the presentation. But for now I can say it’s a clean sounding device with good speed, dynamics and sound-stage. I found the separation part pretty successful with good overall tonal accuracy. However I think it plays wide but not deep in terms of staging, and I feel the treble part is not too refined. Yet, this device costs 400 $ right now with pre-order, so I don’t think it would be fair to expect a Hi-End performance.
All in all the Hiby R5 is a great compact solution from Hiby. Make sure not to miss out the full review on Headfonia in the upcoming weeks.