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Comparison of the sound of the different Hiby R3 models

Comparison of the sound of the different Hiby R3 models

Hi everyone,

Today, I want to talk to you about the different sound signatures of the different Hiby R3 models.

Hiby is a company that specializes in audio hardware and headphones. They have created Digital Audio Players, Bluetooth receivers, and headphones. They have also created a modified Android version for their Hiby R5 and R6 players while also having developed the HibyOS operating system that powers the Hiby R3. They also use a range of DACs in their products that ultimately gives them their signature sound.

Two years ago, Hiby launched the Hiby R3 player on Kickstarter. This particular model used an ES9028Q2M DAC. It also offered a lot of great features for a price of just $189 at that time. Then, in the last months of the last year, Hiby launched the Hiby R3 Pro, changing the DAC to not one, but 2 Cirrus Logic CS43131. Finally, a few months ago, Hiby launched the new Hiby R3 Pro Saber which went back to using ESS DACs. This time, powered by two ES9218p DACs.

These players each have their advantages in the sound department, but none of them sounds the same. This is why I’ll be giving my thoughts on this.

Hiby R3

The original Hiby R3 is musical in the mids. The highs are not bright and the bass is not overwelmed. The sound is neither warm or bright, but rather neutral. This is why it seems like the mids have a better presentation.

Hiby R3 Pro

The Hiby R3 Pro changed the DAC to dual CS43131. Cirrus Logic DACs are warmer than those from ESS, which sounds more analytical and sometimes bright. Because of this, the bass and mids have a warmer tone, including making the vocals be warmer, The sound is also a bit more open due to the two DACs.

Hiby R3 Pro Saber

The Hiby R3 Pro Saber went back to the ESS DACs, particularly, the ES9218p. These DACs sound different depending on their implementation. On the Hiby R3 Pro Saber, the sound is more analytical, airy, and more open. The hights are bright but not to the point where they will cause hearing fatigue. I rather like the sound this way because it makes the highs be more detailed. The voices have a lot more air and are more forward and clearer than on the R3 Pro, which was warmer.

Below, you’ll find a video I recorded talking about these different models and their sound signature:

Which DAP is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

The Hidizs AP80 just got support for Sony’s LDAC bluetooth audio codec!

The Hidizs AP80 just got support for Sony’s LDAC bluetooth audio codec!

UPDATE 12/29/2018: Video here: https://moisescardona.me/hidizs-ap80-ldac-video

Hi everyone,

Today morning, it came to my attention that there was a new firmware update for the Hidizs AP80 Digital Audio player. I downloaded and installed it, and surprise! We have LDAC support now! This means that it can be used as an LDAC bluetooth receiver and should also work as a transmitted, altough I haven’t tested this mode yet.

To test the Hidizs AP80 LDAC functionality, I tried using my phone but for some reason it doesn’t work on either the HiBy R3 nor on the AP80. This may be a bug on the Samsung Android Pie beta software, or some sort of incompatibility in HiBy OS. Since this didn’t worked, I then proceeded to use my HiBy R3 as a transmitter and the Hidizs AP80 as as receiver. I logged in into Tidal in the R3 and tested the LDAC codec. It worked! Not only it worked, but the Sample Rate was also adjusted accordingly, meaning that standard 44.1Khz Tidal tracks will be transmitted and received at that very same sample rate. I also tested playing back one of a few Tidal albums that the R3 seems to decode in MQA and the sample rate again was adjusted to 88.2Khz

Here, you can see the HiBy R3 streaming a standard album and transmitting it via LDAC to the Hidizs AP80:

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Moises Cardona (@moisesmcardona) on

For my next test, I decided to plug in my R3 to my laptop and use Foobar2000 and Tidal in WASAPI mode. This makes the Hiby R3 a USB DAC -> Bluetooth transmitter. This also worked nicely:

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Moises Cardona (@moisesmcardona) on

Conclusion

I now have the perfect LDAC transmitter and receiver. There’s little delay, but the sound quality is better than using the standard SBC codec. Also it’s worth noting that when I used the HiBy R3 as a USB DAC and LDAC bluetooth transmitter in WASAPI mode, the sample rate was adjusted not only in the R3 but also in the Hidizs AP80, meaning if I’m using a sample rate of 44.1Khz in the PC, the same sample rate will be used in the Hiby R3 and Hidizs AP80. This is very convenient because there will be no downsampling performed. Also, the fact that the Hidizs AP80 also supports bidirectional USB, I could attach another DAC or Amp like the Hidizs DH1000 and enjoy high quality bluetooth sound.