Review: Hiby R6 – Bliss

HiBy R6
Disclaimer: The HiBy R6 music player was sent us by Hiby Music and it doesn't have to be returned. The unit I received is the Stainless Steel version, which costs 529$ on Indiegogo. The MSRP will be higher: 649$ when they begin mass production.

While we are approaching the end of this year, I’m closing 2017 on Headfonia with a fresh digital audio player that could bring  a new breath to the market. I hope you guys will like this review, enjoy 2018.


The reason behind the demand for Android music players is self evident: streaming. There are so many streaming services around (and I heard some rumors about YouTube joining the pack), and more and more people simply are into streaming now.

Certainly, we saw some very good Android DAPs before the HiBy R6. Our hardcore audiophile readers should remember the İbasso DX100. Yes, that was an Android player but long before any streaming service was around. It’s maybe an obsolete item at this time, but it was a pioneer type of DAP, because it started the TOTL player niche all along, together with the Hifiman HM-801.

Sony released the ZX1 roughly 4 years ago, returning to high end digital audio player business with Android. And they released the ZX2 in 2015 (which I still have in my inventory). In the meantime, FiiO came up with their X7, an assertive DAP that can do it all. Pioneer released the XDP-100R (which is almost the same as the Onkyo DP-X1). İbasso was in a longtime silence before the launch of the DX200 (which we still haven’t received for a review). FiiO renewed the X7 and made a Mk2 version and they also included the OS with the X5 Mk3.

My favorites of those are the ZX2 and DX200. I think they’re the best Android players in terms of pure sound quality (the A&K DAPs don’t count in my book because they’re heavily customized). I wonder how far manufacturers can go in terms of merging the Android OS with high quality components and power distribution.

Seeing more Android DAP offerings is always a great thing. Since streaming is the perfect thing for a music lover, I would like to have even more options in the market.

Hiby R6

Hiby R6


So who are these guys? Let’s give some background information and continue with the device:

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 have partnerships with brands like Cayin, Shanling and Questyle. As far as I know they make the software of those devices or at least give software support to them.

HiBy Music’s mottos are “Make Music More Musical” & “Ease of Use is not Optional”

Also, their HiBy Music application for smartphones has more than 500K users around. I’ve never used it since I don’t listen to music from my phone, but it’s not hard to see they have a good reputation and know-how about audio processing and software integration.


All those DAPs I mentioned above have ups and downs. The ZX1 didn’t have a great sound in terms of naturalness. The ZX2 sounds great, but it has a slow processor so the UI experience is no way fluid and it has an ancient version of Android. The X7 had a serious hiss when the Wi-Fi was open (don’t know the Mk2). X5III doesn’t sound great to me, although being a very practical and easy to use DAP. Onkyo had the same Wi-Fi hiss problem, similar to X7 Mk1. DX200 is close to perfection in my opinion, as it sounds very very good and close to TOTL, but it also has some small dents when it comes to software and it’s not blazing fast. Yet, I think it’s one of the best sounding Android DAPs on the market.

The HiBy R6 on the other hand, is the new player in this market that aims to solve all these problems. Does it achieve that? No device is perfect of course, but I can say it performs really well in all aspects you expect of an Android DAP. I’ll surely mention those qualities as much as I can, so let’s get on with the “not sound” parts.


This is easily one of the most solid DAPs around. Stainless steel is extremely good to hold and to shoot a glance. Together with the compact structure, HiBy R6 feels like a tank. In fact, the chassis is from a mono block steel which is really impressive. There’s no point that feels uncomfortable or edgy, as the body has smooth transition on the corners, including the 2.5D glass.

But be aware of the weight of this SS version. It’s 275g, which puts it the heaviest Android DAP as far as I know. Aluminum version weighs 190 grams (similar to X5III), which is very nice and that one should be very comfortable to hold.

According to Joe from HiBy, there’s no difference other than looks and weight between the two different body versions. They just wanted to offer two chassis options for users. To me SS is incredibly solid and fancy!

HiBy R6


The design is very effective and cool as a whole, with very thin bezels on the sides and on the top. The bottom bezel is also quite thin, especially if you compare with other Android players. Also, there are 2 small bumps each on the top and the bottom. This is wise thinking from HiBy, to protect the headphone jacks and the USB Type C port. To me, this is not a “me too” device in terms of design, as it seems they really thought of every aspect for the user. And although it’s not extremely original or distinctive, it still is a beauty to look at.

Physical dimensions are very nice too. It’s shorter than almost all Android DAPs you can pick, narrower than nearly all of them except the X5 III. It’s similar to the X5 III in size, so that could be a reference for you. All the others are either longer, wider or thicker so this one stands out from the crowd for compactness.


Another praise goes to the screen. HiBy used a 4.2” LCD panel with an HD resolution. The colors are wonderful and you can look at the screen at any angle you want and you’ll still have a perfectly clear picture. The screen has similar specs to DX200’s screen so this is either better or at the same quality with all the Android DAPs you could find. Top stuff.

Side buttons serve you very well even though I don’t like having the volume buttons on the left. On the right you have the power button, which is nice having that on the side and not the top position which I totally hate. Besides the power button you have playback buttons to control the songs. Once you get used to them they’re very easy to reach and press, without checking with your eyes if it’s the correct one.

Click here for PAGE 2, for user experience and DSP features

3.9/5 - (200 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 December 28, 2017


    Can you recommend one between Cayin N5II vs Hiby R6?

    • Reply December 28, 2017


      I will experience the N5II soon, but I don’t have it at this moment to compare.

    • Reply March 28, 2018

      Darren Cotter

      Why did you use the discontinued FiiO X7 as a comparison?

      Wouldn’t it have been fairer to use the current X7ii against a DAP so new, it’s not even available in the UK via normal retailers?

      • Reply March 29, 2018



      • Reply March 29, 2018


        We can’t have everything at hand at all times. I’ve never tried the X7 mk2, so I just included the X7 so that people can have some idea.

  • Reply December 28, 2017

    John Lee

    #sigh – there will be no difference between balanced and SE unless it has been dramatically retuned between the two outputs. The only difference is output volume, you know this! But still repeat myths about balanced being magic.
    Ridiculous and misleading.
    Ask Hawaiibadboy!

    • Reply December 28, 2017


      You’re cracking me up dear John. Thank’s for making me laugh this early in the morning.

    • Reply December 28, 2017


      it all comes down to how well the implementation is in my opinion. There are some balanced outputs that sound better than single ended and some that sound worse. it is not about balanced being magical, it simply relies on the components used in the signal path of the output. some devices have much better balanced operation (think Sony WM1Z or ALO CDM) because they were made for that specific operation, single ended came second there.
      but yeah, this can lead to an endless discussion and has been the topic of heated conversations in the past, so let’s agree to disagree. You say nay, I say yay… 🙂

      • Reply January 2, 2018


        “some devices have much better balanced operation (think Sony WM1Z or ALO CDM) ”
        – I have the Sony and yes, there is a big, noticable difference between the BAL and SE outputs. I use the Campfire Lyra in balanced and have never wanted to go back to SE. I have not tried BAL with my Noble Encore.

        • Reply January 3, 2018


          Thank you for this comment. Cheers.

    • Reply December 28, 2017


      Have you listened to the device and compared SE – Balanced?

    • Reply December 28, 2017

      Joseph Yeung

      Hello John,

      Although I would love for Berkhan’s write up to be even more positive in every aspect (who wouldn’t in my position? ???? ), I do agree that there are differences in the implementation of SE and balanced in Berkhan’s unit that may lead to the heard differences. Although the design is said to be pretty much final, there is one final touch we can put in the output stages that can make the SE and balanced outputs more… identical. We’re talking some very minor change here that won’t affect the production schedule at all 🙂

      Best regards,
      Joseph Yeung
      HiBy Music Product Manager

      • Reply January 19, 2018



        Was this SE tweak implemented before units shipped?

        Also: any comment on the Tidal issue? Tidal is mostly my use case for this unit, and I’d be disappointed if it was worse than my ZX2, which was poor (sluggish, lots of stops/dropouts). My AK Kann works perfectly with Tidal, but is a bit dry sounding. I’m hoping this HiBy will be the best balance of SQ and features for me 🙂

        • Reply January 19, 2018


          If you have a 5ghz network, it’s not a problem.

  • Reply January 5, 2018


    Hello thanks for the review.

    In your opinion wich one would be best paired to a paire of Isine 20 :

    The Chord Mojo or the Hiby R6.

    Thank you.

    • Reply January 7, 2018


      You’re welcome.

      I don’t know to be honest. Never listened to the Audeze.

      Mojo has a narrower and congested sound stage, but it has great mids and treble. R6 has much wider stage IMO. But Mojo should be superior from Single Ended. R6 has a great balanced sound though.

      So in the end it depends if you prefer to stack with your smartphone go for Mojo. But if you like standalone DAP like me, I suggest the R6 (balanced out).

      • Reply January 8, 2018


        Thank you very much, I will go for the R6 with the balanced output !

    • Reply August 7, 2018


      For the iSine 20, sans Cipher, go for the device with adjustable EQ.

  • Reply January 5, 2018


    Would love to see some more comparisons, say with the Sony NW-ZX300, or even the WM1A!

    • Reply January 7, 2018


      WM1A is on a higher level so I didn’t include. ZX300? Not yet listened.

  • Reply January 7, 2018


    Hello, could you confirm if the SE jack could respond to button or mic?

    • Reply January 7, 2018


      Just tried it, and no, cable buttons don’t work.

  • Reply January 10, 2018



    You mentioned R6 lacks treble airness, which earphones you used to test?

    May you comment briefly more about R6’s output impedance and earphone impedance you used?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Reply January 11, 2018



      Oriolus MKII
      InEarz Nirvana
      CTM VS3
      FiiO F9 Pro

      were used mostly.

      The treble air is not much of a problem from the balanced output though.

  • Reply January 15, 2018

    Amin Mohamad

    Which one would be best paired to hiby R6: Fiio F9 pro or Nuforce HEM8 ?
    Thank You

    • Reply January 15, 2018


      The F9 Pro is indeed a very nice pair, especially when you take the balanced cable into account. So I recommend it.

      As for the NuForce, I’ve never listened to it.

  • Reply January 19, 2018


    Thank you for the thorough review! I think this player might be my replacement for my ZX2; I rarely use IEMs, and the ZX2 just can’t drive most headphones properly. I bought an AK Kann, which certainly has the driving power, but is a bit dry when matched with my Focal Clear’s (better with T1p, OK with LCDX). I tried the SP1000Cu, which was lush, but too laid back. I’m hoping this one has enough power to drive the Clear’s well.

    Thanks for the thorough review, and for calling out the Tidal issue. I hope this has been improved by now, or will be shortly. I listen to a lot of Tidal…

    • Reply January 19, 2018


      For sound quality alone, the R6 wouldn’t satisfy your needs because you’ve already tried top notch DAPs.

      It sure is quite powerful from balanced. But not sure if it’s more powerful than the SP1000cu.

  • Reply February 5, 2018

    Dilpal Singh

    How is the pairing with oriolus mk2 and flc8s. Both are low impedance iems. Do they behave badly with Hiby r6?

    • Reply February 5, 2018


      Oriolus MK2 sounds pretty good, I didn’t have any issues with it. Don’t know about the FLC. But as I stated in the review, in my case there wasn’t an issue with the output impedance.

      But then again, I fully recommend to use this DAP with the balanced output.

  • Reply February 18, 2018

    Norman James Roa

    How would these pair with the CA Vega??:)

    • Reply February 18, 2018

      Norman James Roa


      • Reply February 18, 2018


        No idea. If the Vega is open and a little bright sounding, than it would be a nice pair.

  • Reply October 3, 2018


    So one thing that wasn’t mentioned that I’m kinda interested in.. The Bluetooth option. Does it support the LDAC codex?

    • Reply October 4, 2018


      No, there’s no LDAC AFAIK.

  • Reply October 15, 2018

    Peter Mcdonnell

    Hi, I have just purchased the R6 and the problem I have is connecting to wifi unless I am literally a couple of feet from my router it just won’t connect, either 2.4 or 5g. Any suggestions, I have a very strong wifi signal and no problems with any other devices.

    • Reply October 16, 2018


      Hi. Sorry to hear your Wi-Fi issue. Have you tried with another router in another place?

  • Reply October 17, 2018



    Would you care to elaborate how the R6 is bassier than ZX2?
    I thought the ZX2 was a warm DAP while on the other hand I heard from a few that the R6 is just a tad on the warm side.

    • Reply October 22, 2018



      Both are warm DAPs, but the R6 has a little more bass quantity. It’s simple as that. But in my opinion the ZX2 is the better DAP in terms of overall sound quality.

      • Reply October 23, 2018


        Thanks for your answer.
        Yes, I can understand ZX2 being the better among the 2. I’d also easily imagine that one beating the most of today’s DAP out there when it comes to sheer musical performance.

        Is it safe to assume that the R6 lies somewhere in-between ZX2 and X5iii in terms of bass quantity?

  • Reply October 29, 2018

    Oleg K.

    Dear Berkhan,

    you wrote that “Also, some menus had Chinese language and there wasn’t any possibility to install apps other than downloading and running APK files. Joseph provided me the official firmware for international users with Play Store and after that everything has been flawless so far”
    Could you clarify – were you able to get a fully international version after installing the new firmware (without the chinese Hiby-logo during turning on the DAP, without the chinese language and pre-installed chinese applications)? or you just installed google play?
    Thanks in advance!

  • Reply December 28, 2018


    I have been enjoying my R6 for a few weeks. IMHO the balanced out is more than just higher volume… the SQ is improved. I bought three balanced cables for my headphones and IEM.

    No apparent problems with my single driver 17 ohm SE215s. No problems with WiFi or Tidal response.

    My only beef is the keyboard… the double duty keys at the top of the keyboard are hard to get right. 50% of the time I tap a letter and get a symbol or number. A numeric shift button (a-la iPhone) might be better.

  • Reply May 16, 2019


    maybe a stupid question but really need helps since new in audio thingy. just purchased R6 and I read about balanced output. what kind of IEM that I shall purchase to use this feature? thanks

    • Reply June 3, 2019


      It’s not about the IEM, it’s about the cable. You need to get a 2.5mm balanced cable.

  • Reply September 4, 2019


    Hello and thanks for the good review.

    I am looking for a good matching IEMs for this player and I have had some hard time finding the answer given the potential issues resulting of the higher output impedance.

    Do you have some recommendation IEMs you tried with it and give some good synergy? (i’ll use the balanced output). I have in mind some like these: TinHifi P1, Etymotic ER-4XR and Simgot Ek3, being aware some of them may change its designed tonality given R6’s relaitve high output impedance. If tonality issues happen, would you recommend the ifi-iematch?

    • Reply September 4, 2019


      I recommend you the ER-4XR out of those. The output impedance is not that of a problem to me, but you can get the IEMatch for improvement.

  • Reply September 6, 2019


    hi, I am looking to buy a DAP and maybe this one is it. but I got some questions. aside from music I would like to also use it as a media center. so watching movies from the sd, YouTubing and Netflix.

    My questions are the following:
    – how well does it play movies
    – does the movie go into landscape mode once you choose to watch it in fullscreen (kinda like Netflix, they don’t do landscape mode but when the film plays it goes to fullscreen mode)
    – is the android os updatable

    Could you please try this out for me as I am really wanting to buy this but still on the fence if it does not do the following concerning the movie aspect

    • Reply September 7, 2019


      I don’t recommend watching movies with this player. Go with your smartphone instead. The screen is quite small and it doesn’t have the best colors.

      • Reply September 8, 2019


        I dont mind the small screen. was just wondering about the questions I asked …

  • Reply July 19, 2021

    Egi Indra Wilantika

    Does westone 4r needs iematch for the r6?

    • Reply July 19, 2021

      Egi Indra Wilantika

      Or should i go for 2.5mm balanced cable?

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