HiBy R5 (Gen 2)

General Information

A-class class-A amplification​

Employing flagship grade class-A amplification in this mid-tier android DAP, the R5 utilizes Class A discrete balanced amplification circuitry, capable of continuous high power output, with plentiful energy reserves for all music genres. Converting power with ease for the most dynamic compositions, the sound is clear and full.


Discrete output stage​

With 4 independent channels of push-pull amplification with 270° conduction angles constructed of discrete componentry, including 8 high powered paired bipolar transistors, the R5 provides excellent current output power and control over variable loads. Enable Class A headamp mode for class-beating audio performance! THD is down at 0.0006% at the amplified output for unparalleled realism.


Looong playtime and great sound​

With 4500mAh battery yielding over 35 hours of play time* (*in economy mode), go for days without worrying about a recharge! 10 hours play time available even in Class-A amplification mode for maximal enjoyment of class-breaking dynamic control and sound quality.


The ever-reliable HiBy OS​

The HiBy OS is an in-house developed system architecture developed by HiBy targeting professional HiFi audio equipment. Optimized / novel components include system core, decoding system, audio DSP algorithms, media library management, external drivers / plugins etc. optimizing the player for lossless hi-res audio from the ground up. HiBy OS is synonymous with audio quality, flexibility and reliability.


Systemwide SRC bypass including Apple Music hi-res support​

Fully open android compatible with virtually all 3rd party apps, bypassing sample rate conversion systemwide, allowing you to enjoy lossless music from any supporting app, including Apple Music!


HiByLink remote link for easy control of player from smartphone​

HiByLink is a convenient remote control function allowing any smartphone with HiByMusic installed to remotely control playback, volume control and playlist management on the R5 through WiFi or Bluetooth!


Connect to every headphone imaginable!​

2.5mm / 3.5mm / 4.4mm headphone ports all here, all switchable to line out!


MQA to the max!​

Supporting 16x MQA unfolding, enabling master quality sound directly from your device.

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is an award-winning audio technology that enables music fans to stream the original master recording into their home in the highest possible quality. The MQA file is fully authenticated, backward compatible, and small enough to stream, so you can play MQA on any compatible device. Wherever there is audio, MQA delivers the best sound.


Unwired unlimited​

Two-way Bluetooth supporting all Bluetooth audio codecs including UAT, LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, AAC, SBC. 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual band WiFi for stable connection to your online music library at all times. Supports DLNA / WiFi music transfer.

UAT (Ultra Audio Transmission) is HiBy’s in-house developed all-new Bluetooth audio transmission codec. Supporting an industry-highest 192kHz transmission sample rate and up to 1.2Mbps Bluetooth bandwidth, this also can optimize its transmission characteristics according to different music genres, for the highest of audio fidelity from wireless!


Leather protective case included​

Made with high-quality PU leather, the HiBy-designed case protects your R5 from scratches and drops.


Latest reviews


Reviewer at nymzreviews
Hiby R5 Gen 2: Entry level benchmark
Pros: Class A mode sounds delicious
Outstanding battery on eco mode (30h)
Google Store
Amazing price to performance
Power on class A
Cons: Android 8
Slow when compared to modern phones
Buttons are okayish and no volume wheel
Gets warm and batery takes a hit on Class A mode
Eco mode sound is just fine
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Disclaimer: This unit was purchased by me through Linsoul with a discount in exchange for a written review. No incentives of any kind were given and the review you are about to read are my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks once again to Linsoul for the continuous support.

Price: $450
Purchase link and info: Linsoul
Operating system: Android 8.1
Hardware: Snapdragon 425, ES9219C x2 DACs, WiFi up to 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 2.0, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage and up to 2TB through SD cards, 4500mAh battery
Display: 4.7’ IPS , 720*1280

Included in the box:
  • Hiby R5 Gen 2
  • USB-C to USB-A cable;
  • 2 screen protectors;
  • A blue leather case;
  • User manual and warranty papers.
IEMs used:
  • Softears RSV
  • MiM Dark Magician
  • LETSHUOER x HBB Kinda Lava
  • Tripowin x HBB Olina
  • Sennheiser IE600
Other sources used:
  • Singxer SA-1,
  • Cayin RU-6,
  • Qudelix 5k
  • Xduoo XD-05 Plus w/ Burson V5i opamps
  • iFi xDSD Gryphon
Test playlist with some of the songs used: Tidal

Form factor, connectivities and interface


Last year I had the chance to own a Hiby R5 Saber for a short period of time but oh boy was I impressed. At that price, and still to this day I find it one of the best entry level digital audio players (DAPs) that you can get if your intention is to get a nice packed battery, clean sound and a lot of power.

Walking the footsteps of its older brother, the Hiby R5 Gen 2 (R5) has a couple changes to be noticed, namely the form factor. It now has a bigger body (123*71.3*15.5mm), screen and battery, together with a new amplification circuit that we will delve into later.

On the top for the chassi you will find nothing but tempered glass, as the buttons stay on the side panels. To the left you have your volume up and down rockers as well as the SD card slot. On the right side you have four buttons: power button, previous track, play/pause and next track.
As you can see, it’s simple and effective, but I’d like to nitpick the button quality: when using the included protective leather case, I had this problem where sometimes it was hard to find the right button to press or they pressed out by themselves when the Hiby was in my pocket. And yes, you can easily figure out I’m a volume wheel fanboy!


One of the things I love the most about the R5 is that it covers any connectivity needed on the go. Labeled across the glass, you will find Hiby R5 Gen2 inputs and outputs at the bottom of the player and it contains nothing less than two balanced outputs (2.5mm and 4.4mm), a single ended output (3.5mm) that also works as a lineout and the USB-C port that lets you connect any dongle to it or, using it the other way around, lets it act as a USB DAC/Amp if you connect it to another digital source such as a computer. Again, lots of choices!

Using the R5 Gen2 as a USB-C DAC/AMP combo for desktop usage is a breeze after installing a small and quick driver on your computer. I’ve only used this method a couple of times and it worked flawlessly, but you have to keep in mind there will always be some delay in the DAP world when compared to pure DAC/AMP combos, but nothing troublesome and you will only notice it in some videos or movies.

What I really used the Hiby R5 Gen the most was purely as a source. Both headphone outs and lineouts worked flawlessly and were easy to set up even for the go, when attached to other amps or dongles. I will disclose that over 95% of my time with the Hiby R5 Gen2 was using it as a music player, on local FLAC files and this is where this review will mainly focus.

Gliding down into the interface territory, there’s not much else to say other than it’s your typical Android 8 player - It won’t be lightning fast when you compare it to your average phone or tablet but does the job right. If your use case is mainly like mine, which means using FLAC files and Tidal, you won’t even notice the interface speed - just pick your album, put it in your pocket.

Now, this leaves us with the final use case, adopted by myself a good dozen of the times, which is the Bluetooth pairing with your phone. In this scenario you can either control the DAP through Hiby Link or, my favorite, use it as a Bluetooth amplifier and run streaming services on it in places where you can’t connect it to a wi-fi network. Trust me, very useful during commutes where you can just jam to something you haven’t downloaded into local files yet.

Now we know how the swiss knife works but how does it sound?

Sound and different amplifications


Right off the bat you will be faced with two amplifying modes: the regular delta sigma (economy mode) and the festival headliner, Class A amplification. I won’t be covering the technical differences between the two given there’s a lot of articles written by much more capable people than me all over the internet.

Mode selection or not, there’s common factors to both: It has a dead-silent background even on my Zen Pro with High Gain turned on for testing. Speaking of gain modes, the R5 has three so you can better tune the volume for your needs.

In my opinion, the economy mode resembles the typical ESS implementation you can find commonly in the market, leaning towards the neutral bright side of the spectrum. It’s the usual very technical and clean, sometimes dry sound that has become an industry standard and very reminiscent of its predecessor, the Hiby R5 Saber.

This mode will also come out as the most sparkly and detailed of the two, but let’s face it, it is called economy for a reason, right? The economy mode pumps up a stunning 30 hours of playtime which I can attest for by not charging it during most of my holidays. Second to the sound, I would say this is the biggest quality of the R5 Gen 2.

Outputting “only” 10 hours of playback, comes in the Class A mode. This is due to its nature of amplifying the sound. Keep the battery time in mind but also the fact that it gets VERY warm, are the only two negatives I can think of in this mode, so let’s get into the positives.

The Class A sounds amazing. The moment you press it (it changes after a quarter of a second sound drop, useful to A/B after volume adjustment) the party starts.

Everything gets a touch of smoothness that is converted into musicality, leaving no doubts of the greatness Hiby has built inside such a small device. The neutral-bright sound of the ESS chip swifts into a neutral warm type of sound, more refined and with a bigger stage. Female vocalists like Agnes Obel just take you on a bigger journey.

I have concluded that this mode worked the best with all of my IEMs, but as expected, it paired the best with the brighter ones. This doesn’t mean it turns dark like the Cayin RU-6 R2R dongle, but instead just warmer with a neutral treble, turning every jazz note into a jam session - and who doesn’t like that?

Again, the economy mode may give a sense of a hair more of details due to its treble boost, but the order in this mode is by far musicality. Once I tasted it, I have to admit I almost never went back to economy mode other than for testing purposes and battery stress, but that also means you have options: you have two sound signatures on a single device.

Despite the Class A mode sounding better to my ears and giving the form factor of the Hiby, you can’t expect a day and night difference. It’s on the more subtle side but undoubtedly present.



Cayin N3 Pro

Android vs non-android. Utility vs speed. Tubes vs Class A.

The Cayin N3 Pro is a non-android based DAP, which gives it advantages and disadvantages vs the R5, as obvious as the interface speed or the boot up speed. Being the connections partially the same (difference resumes on the N3 Pro not having a 2.5mm connect but having an extra balanced line out) and sharing the same price bracket, let’s just focus on sound here.

The solid state on the Cayin N3 Pro sounds better to my ears than the economy mode of the R5 and it’s much more powerful (800mW vs 320mW @ 32 ohms). It is more neutral and technical, namely the stage size. The AKM implementation of the Cayin is still one of the best I have heard to this day. The R5 will fit darker iems better if it is your intention to give it a small bump in the upper region.

Now, the caveat comes when we compare their “special” modes and this is where the tables completely turn. The Hiby R5 Gen2 now has more power than the Cayin (475mW vs 130mW @ 32 ohms) and brightens up one of my biggest complaints on the N3 Pro: you can only use tubes on 3.5mm headphone output while with the R5 you can use Class A in any jack.
Now, regarding preferences, the R5 Gen2 is a clear winner when we compare it vs the N3 Pro tube modes: it’s less warm and bloated, giving a sense of just musicality where the N3 sometimes feels extremely warm. Regarding technical differences, they aren’t much different and I will say the R5 comes out ahead on details and stage, but nothing to call home about.

The last words go into the ease of usage. The Hiby is much easier to carry around, connect transducers to and has more utility due to Android where the Cayin is faster and gets less warm in tubes than R5 does on class A. The battery of the Cayin is around 9 hours which goes close to the 10 hours of replay time in the Hiby’s Class A mode, but once you switch to economy mode, it’s a bloodbath, as the R5 outputs an outstanding 30 hours.

Cayin N3 Pro’s speed helps it being fast to transfer songs into it but the Hiby R5 Gen 2 comes out ahead in the charging time thanks to its quick charge 3.0, taking almost half.

The verdict

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I have no doubts about the crazy price to performance ratio Hiby R5 Gen2 brings to the table in the budget segment of the DAP market - and yes, this is “budget” for a DAP. It might not be for you as it is not for me, but DAP prices have always been high and it just seems to be getting wilder by the day.

There is also the ethereal question regarding how much price to performance you can get on the go if you get a portable dac amplifier or even a dongle, and everyone knows it. It will always fall under the use case scenario for each individual - some prefer to use their smartphone, some prefer to have a separate device to play music and don’t drain the phone’s battery. In my case, I do prefer DAPs but both types of portability have their own benefits, in different places at different times.

As far as DAPs go, and after carrying the Hiby R5 Gen2 for months while playing my favorite tracks to save me from the commute boredom, I have no other option but to highly recommend this DAP if you are looking for one at this price range. For those that got the early bird promotion or found it on sale, you made an amazing deal.

Thanks for reading!
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New Head-Fier
not so good as you can think
Pros: not really.
Cons: A lot. Mostly caused by a not mature software and a dry sound
Coming from a Fiio X5iii with a pleasant sound and sluggish poor functioning software and 2 SD slots, now, with the R5ii I have a dry not emotional sound with a sluggish and poor software not mature (for instance no functions for car use) or with poor management of functions like the line out function that in my case is NOT automatic; with bugs in the use of Bluetooth commands especially if you try a different player instead of the Hiby one, BT Pairing should be automatic but does not sound before you do an on/off of the BT ... so after that is the BT paired! The hiby player is not really good or functional especially if you think to bring it everyday with you walking ...good luck to practically manage play pause and volume with the lateral buttons in your pocket..forget it....especially if you use the cover, at that point is impossible. Basically you must keep it out of the pocket for everything you want to do all the time.
I installed on it the ONKYO player and the quality sound is much better. Poweramp unfortunately has problems in BT when you put in pause once you play again start the hyby player..even if not opened.
This is an 8.1 just in case you think to use Wavelet.. so no way. The 3.5mm out not really a good sound better to avoid. In balance with class A just a bit better but just because has this dry sound with painful forward mid and high the only way to have something decent is to use the MSEB to have something warmer and with a more balanced sound or equalize.. ...Screen not bright at all in exterior, and the glass on the top look like plastic. If you want to connect to an external dac with a simple office setup for instance a common K5pro +e30 you need a special coaxial cable not in the box (you have to buy the R6 to have it) that is almost impossible to find e in Europe and eventually the only way is to buy in China the Cayin's one.... Since I have the R5ii I forget to enjoy the music because all this nerving stuff. Probably with future updates will be better but this is the same story like fiio ...we are the tester and possibly after 2 years of updates you have something decently working.
The beauty of Audio 🤷‍♂️

Wow, 5 posts in 3.5 years! That must be a record 😉
The poor R5 does get much love 🤣 I think it's over shadowed by the more popular R6, who knows 🤷🏻
I actually tried both the R5 2 and the R6 3 and I do prefer the R5. Yes the R6 is more up to date with the OS and the CPU, but I did not like the wheel on top and I did not hear much of a difference on the CLASS A with the R6.


Headphoneus Supremus
HiBy R5 Gen 2; More Goodness in the R5 line
Pros: Amazing battery life. Smoother android app access than original R5. 2.5 and 4.4 balanced jacks.
Class A improves rhythm section nicely (better defined bass and drums).
Cons: Amazon HD not working with side fast forward, rewind, and pause with latest firmware. Amazon HD can still be glitchy. Gets fairly warm with class A usage.
By now you have seen any number of reviews of the R5 Gen 2. There are lots of pictures of the units, charts of the power output, explanations of Class A amplification, etc. So this review will get into items that aren't really discussed in those reviews.

To start off, it is worth asking: Why even purchase a dedicated DAP nowadays? There are tons of dongles now that work with both Android and IOS phones. Music apps with the dongles can provide redbook HD and hi res. Many can output DSD signals natively.

The reason is partially related to the convenience of having a single unit to work with. Why carry two devices to listen to music? The other reason is in the category of "Duh". The dedicated devices have more power. HiBy has never been a power shy brand and the new R5 has plenty of power on reserve, especially in class A mode.

Now I listen to my R5 mainly in my car, which is old school and still has a 3.5mm audio jack. Fortunately my 8 year old Jaguar (a depreciation monster if there ever was one) has a Meridian sound system which is basically Harman neutral and sounds terrific with good sources. I leave the EQ off (both on the DAP and the car), and use the regular circuitry not the class A. Class A is immaterial in this use case. And....it sounds great. At first I thought the ESS chipset would bug me, but in fact the treble glare that people complain about really isn't there on this machine.

And yes, the unit sounds good with regular amplification and super good with Class A. None of my IEMs (all three of them) are particularly power hungry. All are fairly neutral. The only power monster is perhaps my latest splurge, the LetShuoer S12 planar. And they sound very natural, especially when Class A is engaged. The LZ A7 (I use the black filters the most, which are the most reference style) sound terrific also. And of course my trusty FLC8D sound good with this unit also.

So I am a bit of a digital nerd, and did try the unit directly attached to the iphone. As promised, direct attachment does not work. HiBy leaves that to dongles. You can use the Apple CCK (camera connecting kit), but that requires an additional battery and lots of wires. Also, the unit reports on 24 bit 88khz with the iphone even with DSD. Is that an error? Who knows, but it did sound good. But if you want the DSD lights to come on its dongle time.

I did not test the unit with my notebook, but I have no reason to doubt it works well. Nor did I test the bluetooth outputs. Frankly, I don't see the point of sending a hi res signal over bluetooth. LDAC and HiBy's proprietary codecs get close to bit perfect but don't reach that and its not of interest to me. I have a pair of Sony noise cancelling headphones with LDAC, but realistically I use that pair for airplane movie listening (and typically use a 3.5 jack).

How does the unit sound compared to other units? My Cayin N5II has a slightly laid back sound compared to the R5, and I find both enjoyable. My original R5 (the first one, not the Saber) has a slightly warm sound, and over time I came to appreciate the neutral sound of the R5 Gen 2.

Yes, this is the most refined unit I have owned. But realistically I find that I get used to almost every unit after about 15 minutes of listening, so a unit has to be really harsh before I complain I borrowed a Lootoo (spelling?) once that I though was harsh, but that is the exception rather than the rule. But the Class A punch is noticeable, and does add a nice dimension. And no, using Class A in the car adds nothing so one is better off using the regular power sipping mode.

The unit is quite large but can be pocketed. I presume the space is largely occupied by the battery. Which makes sense as I had to ship both the Cayin and the original R5 to China for battery replacements. Which is an $80 fix; of which $20 is parts and $60 is shipping.

What would make me give this unit a perfect rating? I would add native iphone compatibility. Why not be the ultimate phone dongle? I would also kick up support for Amazon HD a notch.

I listened a bit to Tidal (my two month trial is ending soon but I put it to good use) and Apple music. Both sounded good. MQA in my mind does sound good,. Like many on Head-Fi I do object to all the hype about folding (I fold my origami tighter than you and blah blah blah) and what have you. Don't get me wrong, MQA is a very good, mildly lossy algorithm. But with bandwidth and memory card storage getting cheaper all the time I do wonder what the point is. Oh, yes, MQA is from the same Meridan company that makes the stereo in my car. Not that this particulalry matters....

To Tidal's credit, they have some unique hi res titles. I found a number of jazz albums in "Master" quality that otherwise are only out in Redbook, and quite a few rock titles too. Some highlights were Little Feat's Waiting for Columbus, Procol Harum Grand Hotel, Miles Davis Milestones (stereo version), Return to Forever Romantic Warrior, Jackson Browne first album (Saturate Before Using), and Mahavishnu Orchestra Apocalypse.

Note: As a repeat customer, and to entice a review, HiBy provided a discount on the purchase of the unit (but no discount on the accessories). I purchased a red case at full retail but it turns out the Blue case it came with is just fine.

I'm not too sure how many more dedicated DAP units are in my future. But this one is a keeper.
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I have only played with MSEB, formerly something like Mage Software 8 Ball. Our very own Joe Bloggs created it. I leave all EQ off, but you should read some other reviews of HiBy DAP units (some R5 reviews and certainly R6 family reviews get into this) to get a sense of MSEB. MSEB gets into the things that matter; like cold / warm, extra bass definition and extension, etc.

For PEQ, I do think UAPP has that and maybe the R5 has it natively. I do think UAPP has a place. I barely use its capabilities but it can do a lot. That has its own thread. The cost is modest (thinking $7).

I am weird. I buy IEMs and DAPs that can sound good together with no EQ.
Thanks mate 😊, I have both Nuetron and UAPP and they do have great EQ. I was just looking to see if a system wide PEQ is available for other apps like Apple music. Anyway thanks for the response mate.
MSEB is system wide. I would read some other reviews or the online manual. I just don't EQ, is not in my vocabulary.



New Head-Fier
How does this thing do Class A or is it fake class A? How does the sound of this compare to a desktop unit like a Singxer?