Review: The Hidizs AP60 – Body

Hisidzs AP60 Sound

The Hidizs AP60 most of all is musical and the sound comes delivered with bigger body from bass to treble. Its sound stage isn’t small but it certainly isn’t the widest either and you do get a more concentrated sound. This isn’t the most airy or spacious sounding player and that of course contributes to the more concentrated perception as well. The detail level is OK – certainly for this price level – but if you’re used to any high end players then you’ll feel like you’re missing out on detail. It’s more or less the same story for what layering and depth is concerned: they are good – certainly for the price – but they’re not the very best which is very normal. In the end you get a bigger and bolder, musical sound that is delivered with impact but the finesse, clarity and precision are lacking a little compared to the higher up DAPs.

I can’t call the AP60 a neutrally tuned player, therefor it’s a bit warm and bass/body focused. The thickness of the sound seems to push the clarity and cleanness more to the back and that’s a bit of a shame. With clean, precise and lighter sounding earphones however, the AP60 becomes very enjoyable and it will have you singing along and tapping your feet in no time. I love using the AP60 especially when I’m listening to rock/metal and bass heavy pop music, in combination with a lighter IEM.

Lots of my CIEMs are very sensitive but the little AP60 is almost dead silent. I already called the Cayin N3 very silent and the AP60 performs even better in this area. It certainly is one of the most quiet DAPs in my collection.

Bass certainly is bigger than neutral and it comes delivered with good punch and body. It isn’t always the most tight bass though and you get more quantity (impact) over quality (precision and layering). Bass goes reasonably deep however and I’m pretty sure this is the kind of bass a lot of R&B and fans will like. For me personally there’s a bit too much bass but then again it does turn the bass shy inears into a lot more enjoyable units, so it has its advantages and disadvantages.

The mids come delivered with the same body and thickness as the bass does. Voices are perfectly placed and not upfront or in the back. The detail level/richness and layering of the AP60’s mids is the best (compared to bass and treble) but you still get the feeling quantity and musicality are more important than precision and clarity. The mids are very musical though. Treble is soft and easy to listen to. It isn’t the most detailed, clean or extended/layered treble but it does have enough energy to counter the bass and keep the music energetic and lively.

All in all the AP60 is about musicality where bass and mids are most important. The result is a warmer  sounding DAP that may not be ideal for all musical types but if you’re into bass, voluptuous mids and easy to listen to treble, then you’ll for sure love the Hidizs AP60.

Comparisons

The Cayin N3 probably is the Hidisz AP60’s biggest competitor at the moment and a lot of people have been asking to compare both. The Hidizs DAP is the smallest size wise and it also has that light plastic feel, yet in a lesser degree. I do prefer the AP60’s car paint finish over N3’s. User Interface wise both players are using more or less the same menu structure. Button-wise the AP60 also uses front panel touch sensitive buttons but it is missing the next previous and play/pause buttons the N3 has on the side. Sure you can set the volume buttons on the left to switch tracks when the screen is locked but that means you still have to unlock the player to change the sound level, and that’s something that I find a little annoying when using the AP60 in shuffle mode. Because of the theme used and the screen quality itself, I find the AP60 more pleasant to work with than the Cayin N3. The N3 goes for $149 which is almost double of the AP60. Sound wise the AP60 sounds thicker with bass that has more body/impact. It’s a warmer and smoother sounding player but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact I love using it with dance music/Metal and less bass heavy inears such as the Etymotic ER4-series. The N3 is more neutral sounding, delivers more detail and has a higher level of clarity with a more spacious presentation. Both are good players, but I personally find the N3 to score best on technicalities. But It should be better as well; looking at its price.

The Fiio X1.2 is another entry level high resolution DAP but it is heavier and feels more solid than the AP60. Usability wise Fiio opted for the scroll wheel which almost no one seems to like anymore. The AP60, even though it isn’t the perfect DAP to play with, is a whole lot more user friendly than the Fiio. The AP60 is the more modern one of both players offering better BlueTooth and connectivity options. Sound wise the Fiio is a little more noisy compared to the very silent AP60. I quite like the X1.2’s sound signature which is closer to the Cayin N3’s. The X1.2 to me has more detail, clarity and depth. The X1.2 is more spacious where the AP60 sounds more concentrated. I prefer the neutral and precise approach of the 99$ Fiio X1.2 but in all fairness the Hidizs AP60 certainly isn’t bad at all. The AP60 might have a little too much bass but the X1.2 has a bit too little.

Synergy

When I wasn’t using my Etymotic ER4-series IEMs with the AP60 on the go, I had the little DAP hooked up to my laptop in my office as a USB DAC/AMP or I used it in combination with the almighty Chord Mojo. The AP60 has more than enough juice to drive the above mentioned IEMs and the SoundWarrior SW-HP20 which I’ve been using at the office. These both actually are excellent sounding combinations with the AP60. Once the Hidizs AP60’s drivers were correctly installed on my laptop, using it with Roon and the Asio driver to get a bit perfect sound was a piece of cake. I haven’t tried using the AP60 as DAC for my phone or any other DAP though.

Connecting the AP60 to the Mojo is extremely easy, just link them up with a short OTG micro USB-cable and you’re good to go. If you’re looking for a small portable player that will serve as source for your Mojo, then the AP60 is THE player to get. It’s small, easy to work with and it has a clear menu structure.

Earphone synergy wise, I’ve tried all kinds of IEMs with the AP60, from the $5 KZ ATR to the +$4000 Obravo EAMT-1A and I have to say I prefer the lighter sounding IEMs with the AP60 as it gives that a bit extra body and bass. Bass heavier gear like the Westone W60 and the Radius W n°4 aren’t really recommended. The flat and neutral Etymotic ER4-series on the other hand sounds very good. I also quite enjoyed the Brainwavz B200 IEMs on it just to give you another example.

Conclusion (TL;DR)

PRO:

  • Great design and finish
  • Usability (menu & screen)
  • Fun & musical sound
  • Power to the bass
  • Very good transport
  • Versatile in use
  • Bass focused thicker sound

CON:

  • Bass focused thicker sound
  • Missing clarity and precision compared to some of the competitors
  • Line Out is missing
  • No volume control/Fast forward with the screen locked

The Hidizs AP60 is an entry level dap that is better in versatility/connectivity than it is in pure sound. Make it a transport however and you’ll have a great source with a very small footprint. If you’re in to bass however and you listen to a lot of dance music and R&B, you might be very pleasantly surprised with this DAP. This DAP can also be the perfect solution when you find your IEMs to be a little more on the thin sounding and bass shy side.

The Hidizs AP60 only goes for $89 so maybe we’re expecting too much of it. If you’re used to listening to higher end units, you’ll for sure miss the precision and clarity when using the headphone output. I’m convinced a lot of people love this DAP because of its sound signature but those who are looking for the opposite type of sound, might find more joy in the Fiio X1.2. On the other hand I can’t think of a cheaper and better handling source for your Mojo, the AP60 just screams “Transport”.

Full SPECS can be found on Page Four, HERE

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

8 Comments

  • Reply April 18, 2017

    Joe

    Besides the Chord Mojo what would another portable Dac/amp be used with this as a transport. I’m a student so the Mojo is out of my price range is there any good Dac/amp that it is worth getting over just spending more and getting a better Dap ($300 for a dap instead of $90 for the AP60 and $200 for and Dac/amp)?

  • Reply April 18, 2017

    Lieven

    Have you checked out my freshly updated amp/dac combo? 🙂

    • Reply April 18, 2017

      Joe

      Thanks for the quick response. Yes I have read the buyers guide, but the only one in my budget ($200) is the dragonfly red, and while I have read that it’s very nice, I didn’t know wether you had any other recommendations for Dac/amps and if I would be better off buying a more expensive DAP such as an A&K Junior instead of buying the ap60 and a Dac/amp to use along with it. Sorry if my questions are confusing but I am relatively new to the portable audio scene, I have only used my phone and iPods in the past, but would like to upgrade.

      • Reply April 19, 2017

        dale thorn

        The DragonFly Red is a HUGE upgrade for your phone. Since you’re new to this, give it a couple of years and then think about upgrading. Don’t forget that the noise floor is much lower at home than on the go, so home is where you’ll appreciate a better DAC eventually.

  • Reply May 11, 2017

    Igor

    Hello, friends.
    Can I control the output volume when connecting to Hidizs an external dac via USB?

  • Reply July 15, 2017

    Ahil Mohan

    Such a shame that a product would omit a feature as useful as basic remote control for apps such as Tidal/Spotify. Kind of defeats the purpose if you need to pull your phone out

  • Reply August 8, 2017

    Booker

    Thanks for the review Lieven. I’m looking for a source unit to pair with the Mojo, and I’m tossing up between the HP60 and the cayin N3.

    One question: can you apply EQ to the outgoing digital signal from the HP60? I find the mojo sounds great, but is slightly weaker on bass than I’d like, so a source transport that can increase the bass is what I’m really looking for.

  • Reply September 5, 2017

    Alex

    Hello.can only buy either the ap60 or the n3 I like my music smooth,at the moment I am using a sansa clip.like the sound of this but it is getting long in the tooth and would like to replace it.I use it with monk phones and listen to new age instrumental music is liquid mind. Does these players come with resume. Thanks

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