General Information

Hiby's first Dongle DAC, featuring an ES9281PRO Chip, supports MQA, HiBy Music app, HiRes certified, 70mW high power / low battery consumption, RGB indicator light, DSD128, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port, all metal body, leather case

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darmanastartes

500+ Head-Fier
Fuel Efficient
Pros: relatively powerful and efficient in terms of power consumption, compact, good build quality, hardware volume and playback controls
Cons: still uses more power than Apple dongle
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The Hiby FC3 is a compact digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and amplifier combination unit which connects to the transport device via USB-C. The Hiby FC3 was provided to me for review by HiFiGo, where it is available for purchase starting at $69.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
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The Hiby FC3 comes in a square black box with few exterior markings beyond Hiby’s corporate contact information. In its base configuration, the FC3 includes a 9" USB-A to USB-C cable, a 5" USB-C to USB-C cable, and a Hiby-branded protective leather wrap for the FC3. The USB cables both have Hiby branding. The wrap has a cutout for the FC3’s sample rate indicator light and embossed +/- indicators for the volume controls. The stitching and material quality of this wrap are rudimentary and I do not feel it matches the aesthetics of the device or cables well. The package also contains a warranty card, a quality control pass chit, an instruction manual in English and Mandarin Chinese. HiFiGo included a USB-C to Lightning adapter with my review unit, which appears to be a $19 add-on to the FC3. This adapter is much nicer-looking than the base cables, with anodized grey metal hardware and a braided silver-plated interconnect.

AESTHETICS AND BUILD QUALITY:
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The Hiby FC3 is compact, sleek, and attractive. There is a circular sample rate indicator light on the front face of the FC3. There are combined hardware volume and playback controls on the side of the device. “HIBY FC3” is printed in reflective text inside an anodized inlay on the back of the device. This inlay is a slightly darker shade of grey than the rest of the brushed aluminum housing. There is a faint seam between the two halves of the housing shell. The 3.5mm jack and female USB-C port fit their respective connectors snugly.

POWER DELIVERY:
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The Hiby FC3 is powerful enough for just about any in-ear monitor. With the FC3’s hardware volume maxed out, I reach my typical listening volume with my phone’s system volume set to 60–65% with the hardish-to-drive Moondrop S8. On Windows, I reach the same volume at a system volume setting of 40/100. The FC3’s hardware volume controls work independently of the transport volume controls on both Android and Windows. Long-pressing the volume-down key skips to the next track, while long-pressing the volume-up key rewinds to the previous track. Interestingly, the FC3’s long-press hardware playback controls work even if the FC3 is not selected as the current sound device in Windows.

POWER CONSUMPTION AND HEAT MANAGEMENT:
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The following power consumption measurements were taken while the Hiby FC3 was in use:
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^Android
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^PC

The Hiby FC3’s power consumption compares very favorably to the larger but similarly laid out xDuoo Link, and comes in just under the Meizu HiFi Pro:
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^xDuoo Link
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^Meizu HiFi Pro
The power draw is higher than that of the gold standard for USB-C audio devices, the Apple dongle:
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The Hiby FC3 does have a standby mode that kicks in when the device is plugged in without a connected headphone:

Hiby FC3 Android Standby.jpg

^Android
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^PC

In short, if you feel comfortable with the Meizu HiFi Pro’s battery consumption, you will also be comfortable with the FC3’s.
The Hiby FC3 has excellent heat management and can be left connected to a powered transport device for days on end without having to worry about it overheating.

SOUND:
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I have no complaints when it comes to the sound quality of the Hiby FC3. In a volume-matched(.2 dB), sighted, non-instantaneous switching comparison of the FC3 and the E1DA 9038D, I was hard-pressed to distinguish one from the other in terms of sound.

A Note on Hiby Blue:
I did install the Hiby Blue app on my phone to see if it offered any additional functionality with the Hiby FC3. Although Hiby Blue does add limited equalization options with the Hidizs H2 Bluetooth receiver (review forthcoming), it does not add any options for use with the FC3. With the FC3, I recommend sticking to Wavelet if you need equalization.

CLOSING WORDS:
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While not as powerful as some of the other USB-C dongles I have reviewed recently, the Hiby FC3 offers much better power efficiency than these higher output options. With the Meizu HiFi Pro hard to find these days, I am happy to recommend the Hiby FC3 in its place if you need more output than the Apple dongle is capable of on stock Android.
The Hiby FC3 can be purchased below:
Hiby FC3 Portable MQA USB DAC Headphone Amplifier — HiFiGo
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searchingtom
I still don't know how I feel about the ESS DAC chips. I know I love the AKM 4499. Hard for me to compare.

kkugel

100+ Head-Fier
The bang for buck master
Pros: Transparent sound
Enough power to drive planars
Robust build
MQA!
Amazing value for the price
Hardware volume buttons
Small
Cons: Makes me regret buying my Topping DX7s
So I just got my FC3 this week and wanted to do the promised review.
I'm listening with DCA Aeon 2 Open, Fiio FD5 IEMs, Focal Elears. Music source: Tidal, Qobuz and DSD Downloads over Audirvana.

Disclaimer: I try to do honest reviews with accurate rating, that's why price has no influence on the rating and I dare to directly compare to a $330 desktop DAC.

Here's my playlist I used for testing, IMO flawlessly mastered songs: https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/0cf71532-cd71-446d-a36a-c3fd70610ff3

I compared this dongle to my LG V30 internal ESS DAC and Topping DX7s, Apple 3.5mm dongle. I've heard Bursons Conductor X3, Chords Hugo 2 and Dave in the past.

Packaging:
The FC3 comes in a nice, semi-transparent box, accompanied by a small faux-leather case and one USB C to USB C cable and one USB C to USB A cable. I wish the foam insert had a small latch to take out, I spend 5 minutes trying to get it out of the box, otherwise the packaging felt premium.

Technicals:
Honestly, I can't differentiate between the DX7s and the FC3 on any of my gear. I used Joseph Haydn: String Quartet In D, Op. 76, No. 5 - Finale - Presto Engegård Quartet in DSD 128 and FLAC 24/384 and it sounded EXACTLY the same. Transients, Frequency Response, tiny details. The only time the FC3 actually sounded better was using an MQA version of the song, as the DX7s doesn't render MQA. Soundstage is rendered just as good. Busy sections sound very dynamic and less compressed than usual on my Aeons.

Background is pitch black, no hissing, even on sensitive IEMs.

Compared to the Apple 3.5mm dongle, there are worlds in between. The apple dongle lacks power, dynamics, sounds flat and boring in comparison. No sparkle there. FC3 may cost 7 times as much with $69 but is for sure worth it.

Bass:
Compared to my phones internal DAC (which should have enough power) the bass sounds fuller, more textured and just better. Seems like my phone does NOT have enough power to drive my planars. No difference on DX7s, just joy to listen, nice slam, full body.

Mids:
Instruments have a natural timbre, everything sounds very lifelike, dynamics, voices are emotional and accurate.

Treble:
Detailed, sparkly, nothing more to wish for here. I wish I could compare it directly to some of Chords high-end stuff!

TLDR;

This is one of the best dongles available, buy it and be happy. Why did I spend $330 on my DX7s again?
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touri
Hi, I agree, the FC3 is somehow a game changer. I did not use my AK70 MK2 DAP much since lockdown and working from home. I ordered the Hiby just because I was curious and what should I say. I sold my AK last week because there is not such a big difference at least not such a difference that I would rate the AK as ‚better‘. However, the difference to listen with a Hifiman Ananda or a Focal Elear dirctly connected to an iPhone or over the FC3 connected to the iPhone is huge!
I am a big fan!
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Fawzay
Fawzay
Almost going to buy the Hiby FC3 but the Questyle M12 wins over me, both are very good product but M12 takes the cake.
OspreyAndy
OspreyAndy
I have actually sold of my desktop rig of Topping D10s and A50s simply because a tiny JCAlly JM20 dongle that cost $15 actually gave me similar performance with variances that I would consider as trivial. For example the duo of Topping were indeed offered more coherent micro details, but the JM20 was no slacker either and easily dovetailed that with slightly less finesse. To me it is clear I don't need a full sized dedicated rig if that tiny thing can perform as good - on a condition I stayed 150 Ohm and below. The true power of D10s/A50s are when used to drive power hungry planars or the likes of 250 Ohm AKGs or DTs. Now I am convinced enough with USB dongle prowess and getting myself this FC3 as well :)

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