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  • New HiBy R5 Portable Audio Player
    Featuring 4.4mm Balanced Output, Android 8.1 Oreo and Snapdragon 425 Processor

    hiby r5 info (5).jpg
    hiby r5 info (4).jpg


    Make/Model: HiBy R5

    Operating System: Android 8.1

    SoC: Snapdragon 425

    No. of CPU Cores: 4

    CPU Max Frequency: 1.4GHz

    DAC: CS43198 x 2

    Input Method: Touchscreen

    WIFI: 5GHz/2.4GHz, supports IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n protocols

    Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.2

    USB: Type-C (USB2.0 data rate)

    Display Size: 4.0 inches

    Colors: 16 million colors

    Topology: IPS

    Resolution: 540*1080

    PPI: 300

    Touchscreen: Multitouch

    RAM: 2GB

    Internal Storage: 16GB

    External Storage: Up tp 512GB + via 1 micro SD card

    Buttons : 6 physical buttons

    Buttons Definitions: Power/Previous/Pause/Next/Volume Up/Volume Down

    Headphone Out: 3.5mm

    Balanced Headphone Out: 4.4mm

    Line Out: 3.5mm LO

    Balanced Out: 4.4mm LO

    Digital Out: SPDIF (USB out)

    USB: USB storage, USB DAC IN/OUT

    Colors: Black/Gray/Gold

    Dimensions: 107.7*61.2*15.6mm

    Headphone Impedance Range: 16~300Ω

    EQ Adjustments: 10 bands (±12dB)

    Channel Balance: L 10dB to R 10dB

    Gain Level: Low / High

    USB DAC: PCM/DoP/Native

    Power Supply: 9V/1.5A

    Battery: 3500mAh

    Charge Time: 2H

    Charge Protocol: QC3.0

    Firmware Update: Over-the-air update

    Text Size: Ajustable

    3rd Party Apps: Unrestricted access via Google Play and apk download

    hiby r5 info (1).jpg hiby r5 info (3).jpg hiby r5 info (2).jpg

Recent Reviews

  1. antdroid
    Written by antdroid
    Published Sep 24, 2019
    Pros - Great form factor
    Nice screen
    4.4mm balanced and USB-C Quick Charge support
    Google Play Store!
    Bypass Android Resampling
    Cons - No volume wheel
    No PEQ

    This is a quick review of the latest Digital Audio Player (DAP) by chinese brand Hiby. The R5 is the third player from the, originally, software company Hiby. They started making digital audio players with their R6 and R3 and more recently the R6 Pro. This latest R5 takes many of the lessons learned of the R6/R6 Pro, and shrinks it down into a more pocketable experience in the R5.

    I pre-ordered the Hiby R5 through Hiby's website and it finally arrived at the beginning of last week. I've since used this player quite often and have been rather happy with it so far! As some background, I have used several portable players in the past, starting with the old Walkman cassette decks, to Discmans and Panasonic CD players, to the Sony MiniDisc, to iPods, Creative Zens, and others down the line. Most recently, in terms of Android-based players, I've owned and extensively have used both the Pioneer XDP-300R and Astell & Kern A&Norma SR15. I've also had several weeks of use with the Fiio M6, M9 and M11 DAPs.

    So where to start? Let's take a look at it's basic features. The R5 has a very nice looking 4 inch screen, which covers most of the front surface, leaving a little bezel on the top, sides and a slightly larger bezel on the bottom. The rectangular candy bar style device, has rounded edges and all the ports are on the bottom.


    The player features USB-C data and charging port, which is a standard nowadays, despite my relatively new SR15 having microUSB (!!). The R5 also has a single-ended 3.5mm stereo jack and a 4.4mm balanced jack, which is different than what I've been accustomed to in portable players. Most players have had 2.5mm balanced jacks, but recently the 4.4mm trend that Sony started has caught on.

    The R5 features two Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC and can power up to 1W at 16Ohm using the balanced connection. I never found power to be an issue with IEMs I threw at it and it was able to play some of my normal headphones quite fine. The player also contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor which is a budget-tier phone CPU, but given the lack of significant multi-tasking and phone-needs for this type of device, it's plenty snappy for what this purpose is.

    The player also features 2GB of RAM which is a little less than I'd like, but I found it does a perfectly fine job. It's not as fast as the Fiio M11, or Pioneer XDP-300R, and nowhere near as my Galaxy S10 phone, but it does the job. There's a little bit of slow caching of album art using the Hiby music player in navigation screens, but I never had much issues with loading album art in Poweramp.


    That said, I did find some clicky sounds with using Poweramp, which is a third-party music player that I prefer. I found that increasing the buffer size helped remove this issue and haven't experienced it since a firmware upgrade.

    In general, I found the player to be quite slick, and love the way it's sized and feels. I do miss not having a volume wheel like my previous players had, but the volume buttons are nice, large, and round and easy to use.

    I find the Hiby R5 to be relatively neutral sounding, but with a splash of warmth. It also isn't quite as airy as say the M11 or XDP-300R, and nowhere near as mid-luscious as the SR15. It's just a nice balance of sound between all the players I had before, while still retaining the good detail retrieval I found on the SR15, and not the flabbiness of the M11 or the sterileness of the XDP-300R.

    I think in general, I find the bass to be well layered and detailed, with a good amount of punch and well controlled. The mids are relatively smooth and are as they should sound, while the treble is airy, but not overly bright, and I end up liking this player just the way it sounds.

    With an IEM like the qdc Anole VX, which is an aggressive detail monster, I was a little nervous on how it would sound given that it matches so well with the mid-centric SR15 and it's warm, detailed mid-range and tight, tight bass. It's lacking a little bit in the treble/air department, which works really well in an IEM like the VX.

    Luckily, the treble is tamed enough that I don't find the VX overly aggressive. This was great news to me since I am actually quite happy to say that the VX sounds just fine and dandy on the R5.


    A&K SR15
    The SR15 is my other "current" DAP and I love it to pieces. It's got a unique shape that ends up being amazingly ergonomic, and a great volume wheel and fun tilted screen that ends up being quite useful. The player has just flat out great mid-range and tight bass response that is definitely on the colored sound type of spectrum than the R5. That said, the R5 has just enough warmth to it that it's not sterile and I find that it's a good blend to have. I still really dig the SR15's overall sound though, as it is tuned so well to be a great musical experience and extremely enjoyable.

    The SR15 is a little laggy though, especially when you just turn it on, or have an app open while switching back to the main player. It's limited RAM and weaker CPU really shows it with some really random slowdowns. It's still faster than say the Fiio M6/M9, but it can be frustrating. The R5 is much, much faster and that's a great thing. I do miss the volume wheel though and that's a hardware feature I wish the R5 had.


    Pioneer XDP-300R
    The XDP-300R is quite sterile in my opinion, and it's a good reference DAP for that purpose. It's also very large and has a nice large screen and build that is amazing. The 300R is very fast despite being an older player, but does run an older Android 5.1 OS. The volume wheel is also on the 300R and not on the R5.

    Both run Google Play store which allows for installing any android app on the market, which is quite handy. The 300R is a tad brighter sounding, and it's bass is lacking the oomph you get with the R5. In terms of sound, I really prefer the R5 over it.

    Fiio M11
    The M11 is the largest of the bunch I am doing the comparisons to. It's also the fastest, by quite a bit , of the players. The build on it is excellent and it also has a nice volume wheel. Where it is lacking is not having the Google Play store, but it can have side-loaded apps like the SR15, and without restrictions unlike the SR15 has.

    The M11's sound has similar mids and maybe just a touch more bright treble that makes it sound more airy. The bass on the M11, however, really lacked detail, layering, and texture, and I found it was rather uncontrolled and a little flabby in comparison to the other three. The output of the headphone jacks were also audibly hissy, which does not make them a good match for BA-driven IEMs and especially the more sensitive ones from Campfire and Shure.

    At the end of the day, I am keeping the Hiby R5 as my choice DAP for now. It's the best size, performance, sound, and feature combination of the players I have used and I haven't had any major issues with it so far. I'm really digging it and it's price of $399 is just right.
  2. twister6
    Written by twister6
    Published Sep 19, 2019
    Pros - very compact design, fast OS and GUI, open Android w/Google Play store, natural neutral tonality, 3.5mm/4mm HO and LO, MQA (to be enabled soon).
    Cons - soundstage just above average (feels more intimate), included screen protectors.

    The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Manufacturer website: Hiby. Available for sale on MusicTeck.


    It probably sounds strange, but I feel bad for anybody who is in the market looking for a new DAP, especially if you are after more affordable mid-fi level audio players. When it comes to high end summit-fi flagship DAPs, the choices are more manageable, and entry level market is less busy with some turning their attention to small Bluetooth receivers instead. But mid-fi DAP market is starting to get flooded with feature-packed affordable DAPs.

    Some of these mid-fi DAPs packing too much under the hood, and some are getting too big in size. It’s a good strategy to capture attention of audio enthusiasts on a budget who are looking for the best price/performance ratio. But there are others in search of mid-fi DAPs as an alternative to their big and heavy flagship players they would rather keep at home, and instead get something more compact and still powerful enough on the go.

    And that’s exactly what Hiby delivered in their new R5 release - Mini-Me scaled down version of their flagship R6Pro DAP. I enjoyed spending the last few weeks with R5 and now would like to share with you about this latest release from Hiby.

    Unboxing and Accessories.

    R5 arrived in all black nice compact packaging box. The cover of the box had a soft foam inner lining to protect the DAP wedged inside of a foam tray cutout. Other accessories could be found at the bottom in two storage boxes. Overall, the packaging is very straight forward, nothing fancy.

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    Accessories included a tempered glass protector for the front and film protector for the back, push-pin tool to eject micro SD card tray, a premium usb-c charging and data cable, a clear transparent TPU case, and a manual. One film screen protector was already applied to a display, but I found it to be sticky and rubbery, and I removed it right away to improve touch sensitivity of the screen. The same material film protector was intended for the back, and I didn’t bother with it. The front tempered glass looked too small for the display, probably intentionally since the display screen has curved edges and tempered glass usually won’t stick to the edges.

    hiby-r5-04.jpg hiby-r5-05.jpg hiby-r5-06.jpg

    R5 TPU clear case is very good, similar to the one included with R6Pro. I like this kind of cases because they let you see the design details of the DAP without covering it up, and at the same time enhance the grip and protect from minor bumps. I don’t know if it will turn yellowish or discolored down the road, only time will tell. But so far R6Pro case is still clear. The only thing I don’t like about it the glass back of R5 sticking to the case, creating a visual “splatters”, but it’s really just a nitpicking.

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    After dealing with so many larger size DAPs, it feels good to hold a small compact player in my hand. With dimensions of 107.7 x 61.2 x 15.6 (mm) and weight of about 158g, it easily fits in a palm of my hand and allows touch screen navigation with just a thumb. It’s light, but has a little heft to it, and with a clear TPU case the grip feels secure.

    The front of R5 is filled with 4” touch screen, a good viewing angle thanks to IPS display, and a decent resolution for this size, 540x1080. The bezel around the display is thin. Left and right sides are smooth and rounded, the only metal (aluminum) sides of the DAP. The top, the bottom, and the back are all glass, more reasons to keep R5 in a case. The display itself is bright and has rich colors, very similar to R6 and R6Pro.


    The right side of the DAP has a power button at the top with a built-in LED, the same as R6/R6Pro where the light changes depending on the playback format or when charging. Below it you have hw playback buttons with a slightly larger Play/Pause in the middle and skip buttons on each side. The left side has volume up/down buttons and micro SD card tray. The TPU case has cutouts for all the buttons, so they are easy to access, except for flash memory which is covered. At the bottom in the middle you have USB-C port (for charging, data transfer, Digital Out/SPDIF, and DAC functionality), and symmetrically on each side a single ended 3.5mm HO/LO on the left and a balanced 4.4mm HO/LO on the right. Btw, balanced output is very powerful, supporting 564mW @ 32ohm load. Both SE and BAL ports could be switched between Low and High gain.

    hiby-r5-07.jpg hiby-r5-08.jpg hiby-r5-09.jpg hiby-r5-10.jpg hiby-r5-11.jpg hiby-r5-12.jpg hiby-r5-13.jpg hiby-r5-14.jpg

    Under the hood.

    In the heart of R5 you will find a dual Cirrus Logic MasterHiFi series CS43198 DAC. This is a relatively new DAC, released in 2017. I saw it being featured in a few other DAPs after its introduction, but surprisingly not as widespread as I would expect it to be. I think it’s getting a second wind with this R5 release and I’m aware of another DAP release around the corner using the same chipset.

    To keep it running fast, Hiby used the same Snapdragon 425 processor as R6Pro, even at the same max clock speed of 1.4GHz, and without surprises the AnTuTu 3D benchmark score of R5 is nearly the same as R6Pro. The internal storage is only 16GB, but with micro SD card you can expand it to 512GB, or perhaps higher in the future.

    It features a decent size 3500 mAh battery, with 18hrs (in SE) and 11hrs (in BAL) play time. The charging supports QC3.0 standard, including use of USB-C power supply of 9V/1.5A for a fast charging. Other notable features are Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX/HD, LDAC, and even the new high bandwidth UAT codec support. Two-way Bluetooth (Rx/Tx) is supported as well, so you can use R5 as a wireless BT DAC.

    Just like its big brother, expect a fully open Android 8.1 OS with Google Play store and Direct Transport Architecture with Android SRC (sample rate conversion) bypass to support all lossy and lossless formats (up to DSD256). With a dual channel WiFi and Google Play, you are not limited to internal storage playback, and can stream using any of the popular apps. And for internal playback, you can download any app you desire, or use already pre-installed HibyMusic which is a very capable audio player.

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    Sound analysis.

    I analyzed R5 sound with U18t while playing a variety of my favorite test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ariana Grande "Break up with your girlfriend", Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Robin Schultz “Oh child”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”. Prior to staring my sound analysis, I let R5 play in a loop for 4-5 days.

    R5 DAP has a more neutral natural tonality. The sound has good dynamics, with a decent vertical expansion of the peaks and a good layering and separation of sounds, though don't expect too much airiness between layers. It's not on the same level as some high-end flagships, but the performance is solid.

    Thanks to a black background, the transient response of notes on/off has a clean transition, and I was also very pleased to hear no hissing (or just a very minimum) with a number of sensitive low impedance IEMs. Considering its high output power, R5 was tuned to keep the hissing low even in high gain on 4.4mm BAL output.

    The soundstage has a little more intimacy because I hear the sound being more spacious in depth (more out of your head feeling) rather than width. Soundstage width is above average, just not as wide as in some other DAPs. But that doesn't stop R5 from having accurate imaging with a good precision in placement of instruments and vocals.

    3.5mm vs 4.4mm output.

    The change in the sound going from SE to BAL is not too drastic. Besides the obvious difference in power where I have to raise the volume up with 3.5mm to match the same level with 4.4mm, I do hear BAL (4.4mm) to have a little more transparency (3.5mm is a little warmer in comparison) and to be a touch wider in soundstage.



    Using 64 Audio U18t as my IEMs, I volume matched in each comparison and noted the following changes while testing each DAP pair. Please keep in mind, I’m describing the sound relative to U18t.

    R5 (4.4mm) vs FiiO M11 (4.4mm) - Didn't know what to expect in this comparison, considering these should be in the same price and performance category. To my HUGE surprise, they sound very close. From nearly the same soundstage expansion in both width and depth, to a very similar dynamics expansion and layering of the sounds. Even tonality is nearly the same. The only giveaway when doing A/B comparison was when I pause/idle, I can hear M11 slight hissing while R5 was nearly dead quiet. While M11 has a bigger display and dual micro SD (though with high capacity flash card, that's no longer relevant), R5 is smaller, lighter, more compact, hiss-free with sensitive IEMs, has Google Play (while M11 doesn't), and even cheaper in price, while sounding nearly the same.

    R5 (4.4mm) vs Cayin N5iiS (2.5mm) - Both have a similar soundstage expansion in depth, with N5iiS being just a touch wider. Also, have a similar technical performance, though I do hear N5iiS having some improvement in dynamics and layering of the sound, with a little more air between the layers. The overall tonality is very similar, especially in mids where it's nearly identical, but with bass N5iiS has a little more slam, especially in mid-bass. Also, N5iiS treble is just a little brighter, crisper. Overall, both are compact DAPs, but R5 has fully open Android and a much faster interface, while N5iiS has a more high-res fun tuning.

    R5 (4.4mm) vs Shanling M5s (2.5mm) - Starting with a soundstage, these are very similar, just with M5s having a touch more width, while depth is the same. Technical performance is also very similar when it comes to vertical dynamics of the sound expansion, along with layering and separation of the sounds. But the difference in tonality is quite noticeable. M5s has a warm tonality with a sound being more colored while in comparison R5 is more neutral and more transparent. Also, relative to using U18t in sound analysis, M5s has more bass slam, with both sub-bass and mid-bass being more elevated in comparison to a more neutral R5. Of course, in general, R5 is Android based with Google play and access to apps, while M5s is lacking all that.

    R5 (4.4mm) vs theBit Opus#1S (2.5mm) - Starting with a soundstage, these are very similar, though I do hear #1S having a touch more width, while depth is the same. Technical performance is also very close, I hear a similar vertical dynamics expansion, and a similar layering and separation of the sound. The tonality is where I hear some difference, but relatively to U18t, most of the difference is in mids/vocals where #1S sounds brighter and dryer, not as refined, while R5 has a richer, more natural tonality. I was curious about this comparison because both use a dual CS43198 DAC. While there are similarities in sound, I find R5 mids to be more refined and more natural. Plus, R5 is a fully open Android DAP with Google Play access.

    R5 (4.4mm) vs Hiby R6Pro (4.4mm) – Last, but not least, is R5 big brother - R6Pro. Starting with a soundstage, while R5 is above average in width and deepth, R6Pro soundstage stretches even wider when comparing their balanced outputs. Both have a similar quality imaging. In terms of a technical performance, R6Pro has an edge, as it should, with the sound being more dynamic and layered, but R5 is not too far behind. In tonality, I hear a difference with R6Pro having a little more impact in bass, slamming a little harder while both have a fast and articulate low end response. Mids sounds brighter and more revealing in R6Pro while R5 mids are smoother and a little more musical. Treble response is nearly the same. In terms of technical performance, R6Pro still has the upper flagship hand, but at nearly half the price, smaller, and lighter R5 has a very decent mid-fi level performance and also nearly dead quiet balanced output while R6Pro has some hissing with sensitive low impedance iems.

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    Pair up.

    In the following pair up testing I tried R5 with various IEMs and full size headphones, to analyze the synergy of this DAP with different monitors including low impedance and higher sensitivity, and more demanding higher impedance and harder to drive dynamic and planar magnetic headphones.

    Campfire Audio Andromeda - wide soundstage with a little more depth; balanced sound signature with a smoother natural tonality and excellent retrieval of details; good bass extension with a punchy mid-bass, more neutral lower mids with a good amount of body, detailed revealing upper mids/vocals, crisp well-defined treble without any harsh peaks. Just a slight "waterfall" hissing when idling or volume is very low.

    Campfire Audio Solaris - wide soundstage with a good balance between width and depth; balanced sound sig with a natural revealing tonality and excellent retrieval of details; deep sub-bass extension with a decent amount of rumble and authorative mid-bass punch, neutral lower mids with a good amount of body, natural revealing upper mids/vocals, crisp detailed and well defined treble without any harsh peaks. Just a slight "waterfall" hissing when idling or volume is very low.


    64 Audio U18t - above average soundstage width with more depth than width; slightly mid-forward signature with a natural revealing tonality; good low-end extension with a more neutral rumble and impact, neutral lower mids with a good amount of body, natural detailed upper mids/vocals, extended natural well defined and controlled treble. No hissing.

    64 Audio Fourte Noir - above average soundstage width with more depth than width; more v-shaped signature with warmer tonality; deep sub-bass rumble and harder hitting mid-bass punch, warmer thicker lower mids with more body, natural detailed upper mids, crisp airy treble. No hissing.

    ZEN Omega Edition (ZOE) - above average soundstage width with more depth than width; balanced signature with a warmer thicker tonality; laidback relaxed bass, thicker body lower mids, smooth organic clear upper mids, slightly rolled off treble but still with a good smooth definition. R5 was driving these 320ohm earbuds with ease, but a little more on a warner thicker side.

    Beyerdynamic T5p 2nd - didn't expect these full-size Tesla drivers to pair up that well with R5, but they did! Soundstage is wide (surprise!), almost on a holographic level; signature is nicely balanced and with a natural revealing tonality; bass extends with a deep sub-bass rumble and mid-bass punches through the mix with a good speed, overall bass is fast, deep, and articulate, lower mids are neutral with a nice amount of body, upper mids are natural, very detailed, treble is crisp and extended with a nice airy sparkle. I was pleasantly surprised with a synergy of this pair up.

    Audeze EL8C - wide soundstage with a little more depth than width; signature is more mid-forward and the sound is brighter, thinner, a little drier; bass is very neutral, not as much sub-bass, lower mids are lean and upper mids/vocals are on a brighter more revealing side, treble is very crisp and with extra sparkle and unfortunately with a few harsher lower treble peaks that give the sound a metallic sheen. This particular pair up with planar magnetic drivers wasn't good.

    Meze Empyrean - another big surprise how well R5 was able to drive Empyrean (only 40/100 volume in high gain). Soundstage was wide and expanded in every direction; signature is very balanced, more w-shaped with a balanced emphasis on lows/mids/highs, tonality is revealing and quite natural but a little more on a brighter side; bass extended low with a deep sub-bass rumble, mid-bass had a good solid punch, lower mids were neutral with a nice body, upper mids/vocals were natural but also quite revealing with a very good retrieval of details, treble was crisp, airy, and well controlled and well defined. While Empyrean sounded a little brighter here, the pair up was very enjoyable.


    Wired/Wireless Connection.

    If you want to use R5 with an external portable amp, you need to switch to LO in Audio settings for corresponding port. If you want to use R5 as a digital transport, just connect USB-C OTG cable and it works by default.

    While testing R5 LO w/FiiO E12A portable amp, I hear a clean transparent sound and some improvement in soundstage width. Very important here is that LO could be adjusted with a volume from R5 which is a big plus if you are connecting to external amp without volume control, like Oriolus BA300S portable 4.4mm balanced tube amp.


    While testing R5 USB-C w/iFi micro iDSD, the pair up was flawless, just connect and start using R5 as a transport to drive this external DAC/amp. I found this pair up to be very good, with a similar natural tonality as R5, but on top of that an improved dynamics and soundstage expansion.

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    For a Bluetooth wireless pair up, I used Sennheiser Momentum 2 Wireless headphones (HD1 M2 AEBT). The initial pair up was fast and later it paired up automatically every time headphones where turned on. R5 notification bar was showing battery status of headphones, I found the operating range to be about 40ft, and I was able to control volume, play/pause, and skip tracks from Momentum 2 headphones. The sound was very transparent, crystal clear, with a nice sub-bass rumble. Typically, Momentum 2 wireless sounds a little warmer, perhaps extra transparency here was due to aptX HD pair up which was enabled on R5.

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    With access to WiFi, you can run any streaming service, of course. I don’t have any premium accounts, at least not yet, so my testing is usually limited to a free Spotify account. Here the sound was on par with playing the same tracks from micro SD storage. And as I was typing this review, Hiby just made the announcement that later in September their R5 DAP will be officially MQA enabled, assuming with upcoming fw update.

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    I did start my review on a bit of a negative note because DAP market is saturated, and people are overwhelmed, based on what I hear from my readers. And while being “overwhelmed” with too many choices can drive some audio enthusiasts crazy, it can also push manufacturers to be more competitive, trying to come up with something different and more unique, to stand out from crowd in order to be noticed.

    While R5 certainly does sound good and has a very fast performance fueled by its Snapdragon processor, I think what makes it standout is a very compact pocket friendly size. On top of that, add the flexibility of both 3.5mm and 4.4mm Headphone and LO outputs. The Android benchmark performance is nearly identical to R6Pro, you have access to Google Play store and all the apps, you can use it with your aptX/HD and LDAC headphones or as BT wireless LDAC receiver, you can stream (MQA coming soon) or play from local storage (supporting up to 512GB uSD), you can use it as a digital transport or pair its LO with external amp and adjust the output from R5. Its audio performance will not outpace other flagships, but its design flexibility and the number of features is quite impressive on the go!
  3. Medikill
    Great DAP with its Catches
    Written by Medikill
    Published Sep 11, 2019
    Pros - Amp
    Neutral sound signature
    Decent UI
    No Hiss
    Good screen
    Open Android
    Bang:buck ratio
    Cons - Screen:Body ratio smaller than shown in renders
    No native EQ as advertised by Hiby
    Lags intermittently depending on task intensity
    I bought this with my money at full RRP. This review is no way influenced by HIby or any other party.
    Even though i am happy with my purchase, i need to highlight that Hiby has chosen to be deceptive in their marketing tactics (Screen size in renders and lack of native EQ) - they really didn't need to be, as i personally would've bought either way.

    I keep my reviews short, becasue i don't like reading, i like conciseness and to the pointness.

    Equipment used to test:
    • Empire Ears Legend X
    • Sony MDR Z7M2
    • A&K SR15
    • Macbook Pro 15 2018
    • Iphone lightning dongle + USB C dongle
    • IFI IDSD black label nano
    • Basic with decent freebies
    • The silicone case has an odd smell
    • The screen protector included is not tempered glass and is a mushy cheap silicone one
    • USB C cable appears to be decent
    • I had preordered mine, and didn't recieve the laughable 'premium pack' becasue of delay in shipment from Hiby HQ
    • Like a small brick
    • Great size and i really like the design
    • Hiby had been deceptive in their intial renders (images showing there was no chin, when there is one), but the screen is still great
    • Within the silicone case, the device feels secure and unlikely to slip and break
    • Android 8.1 works well, albeit at times laggy
    • No native EQ as again deceptively advertised by Hiby, there is however EQ in the Hiby music App
    • Lags on tidal often, but after a while, it settles and becomes smooth
    • UPDATE: Heat Issues completely resolved with firmware update! Only warms up ever so sightly.
    • Playstore crashes from time to time
    • Youtube app UPDATE runs smoothly
    • keyboard is finicky and can be difficult to type on due to lag
    • 3rd party EQ apps work well, but again... come on Hiby you should state on the specs it isn't a native EQ it's very misleading to customers
    • Occasional Wifi Dropouts
    Battery Life
    • So far i've been getting around 6 hrs of continuous use from the BAL output powering my LX, which is less than what's advertised, however i won't criticise based on this, as i'll give Hiby the benefit of the doubt that it may improve after a few more charge cycles.
    • UPDATE: After installing the latest firmware, battery life has improved significantly! i got 8 hrs out fo the last cycle. Very good.
    • Fast charging... Not even sure this works on the R5, doesn't bother me too much but i have tried my 87W macbook charger, 30W ipad charger, 45W Baseus charger and 60W macbook charger none of which trigger the fast charging...
    • The most important thing. The sound signature is very neutral. Which would have been awesome had their been a native EQ so one could adapt the signature to their liking. The bass is well controlled and the highs are not silibant. The mids are present and sound full. At times on the LX i did find the sound to be 'congested' and i'm guessing that's due to a combination of limited stage of both the R5 and the LX.
    • With the use of 3rd party EQing, the sound can be changed to whatever you like. This calibration is handled very well and their is no muddiness or artifact noises from altering the sound.
    • The Amp in this thing is very very good. There is a 'crackle' when turning on and off due to the amp circuit but other than that it can power my gear to ridiculous levels. There is no audible hiss either with LX. Well done on this Hiby.
    • SR15: The SR15 had a warmer signature. However, the stage is even smaller than that of the R5. It is not as clear and does not have as powerful of an Amp. They both use the same DAC chip but with slightly different, yet audible tunings. Given a choice between the 2, i would pick the R5, due to it's better UI, substantially better Amp and open Android.
    • Ifi nano BL: Not really a fair comparison. R5 blows it out of the water on every front.
    • I think Hiby has done a decent job with the R5. Good sound quality, exceptional Amp at a very reasonable price point. Had it not been for the minor flaws i would have rated this a 5/5.
      courierdriver, eldss and hqssui like this.
  4. IryxBRO
    HiBy R5 — feature-packed powerhouse
    Written by IryxBRO
    Published Sep 1, 2019
    Pros - great build, great screen, high quality audio, lots of features, fluent operations, long-lasting battery
    Cons - no

    It has been quite hot this season for different discroveries and revelations among HiRes DAPs, IEMs and other audio accessories. One of the main premieres was the HiBy R6Pro DAP with mighty power output, packed with lots of features and built on excellent HW base. Virtually, this model has eliminated the differences between high-quality smartphones and HiRes DAPs, combining the latest Android OS fluent operation with recent Direct Transport Architecture (DTA) protocol, fully functional Google Play services and excellent sound quality. But here comes the successor — HiBy R5 — slightly less sophisticated model, positioned below R6Pro flagship, but with the same philosophy, new features and revised hardware.


    Note: this unit was provided to me by HiBy in exchange for the honest opinion and review.

    HiBy R5 technical specifications:

    General HW&SW:
    • Operating System Android 8.1
    • SoC Snapdragon 425
    • No. of CPU Cores 4
    • CPU Max Frequency 1.4GHz
    • Display 4.0 inches, IPS
    • Resolution 540*1080
    • PPI 300
    • Touchscreen control
    • RAM 2GB
    • Internal Storage 16GB
    • External Storage Up tp 512GB + via 1 micro SD card
    • Firmware Update Over-the-air update
    • Text Size Ajustable
    • 3rd Party Apps Unrestricted access via Google Play and apk download
    • DAC CS43198 x 2
    • C43198 dual crystal oscillators (45.1584 + 49.152MHz)
    • Max output power: 1040mW+1040mW@16Ω / 564mW+564mW@32Ω
    • Headphone Impedance Range 16~300Ω
    • EQ Adjustments 10 bands (±12dB)
    • MSEB function
    • Channel Balance L 10dB to R 10dB
    • Gain Level Low / High
    • USB DAC PCM/DoP/Native
    • Headphone Out 3.5mm
    • Balanced Headphone Out 4.4mm
    • Line Out 3.5mm LO
    • Balanced Out 4.4mm LO
    • Digital Out SPDIF (USB out)
    • WIFI 5GHz/2.4GHz, supports IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n protocols
    • Two-way Bluetooth 4.2 (supports: apt-X, apt-X HD, LDAC, UAT)
    • USB TypeC (USB2.0 data rate)
    • USB USB storage, USB DAC IN/OUT
    • Buttons 6 physical buttons
    • Buttons Definitions Power/Previous/Pause/Next/Volume Up/Volume Down
    • Colors Black/Gray/Gold
    • Dimensions 107.7*61.2*15.6mm
    • Power Supply 9V/1.5A
    • Battery 3500mAh
    • Charge Time 2H
    • Charge Protocol QC3.0
    Most important features of this DAP:

    Dual Cirrus Logic’s CS43198: Cirrus Logic audio products with the MasterHIFI™ and SmartHIFI™ designed to meet the highest standard in high-fidelity audio playback. MasterHIFI and SmartHIFI products deliver the very best performance in sound clarity and pure, euphoric audio listening.

    Combines Headphone & Line Out functions: both 3.5mm and 4.4mm ports support headphone and line out functions. Thanks to battery space and efficiency optimizations, this palm-sized powerhouse outputs balanced power up to 1040mW+1040mW@16Ω and 564mW+564mW@32Ω, yet manages to last up to 11 hours balanced / 18 hours SE.

    DTA Architecture: Android sample rate conversion bypass. Its DTA Android global lossless output technology ensuring that sound output and reception would not be interfered with.

    UAT (Ultra Audio Transmission): the ultimate Bluetooth HiFi audio quality provided by audio codec developed by HiBy. Supporting an industry-highest sample rate of 192kHz and data bandwidth of 1.2Mbps.

    Two-way Bluetooth: HiBy R5 supports two-way Bluetooth, which can be used as a Bluetooth transmitter or receiver.


    Packaging, design and build quality:

    Traditionally for HiBy, R5 DAP comes in black matt box with embossed product name, logo and slogan. Back side of the box contains company address, regular precautions and sticker with the barcode.


    Inner box compartment consists of soft insert that holds R5 DAP at place and couple of additional cases with the accessories underneath it.

    Box contents:
    • HiBy R5 DAP (with preapplied screen and back panel protective film)
    • Memory card clip
    • USB type-C -> USB cable
    • Transparent silicone case
    • 1 extra screen protector
    • User manual
    • Couple of leaflets concerning warranty

    Silicone case is a great accessory to have right out of the box — no need to jump across the websites in a search of the protection for such beatiful and at the same time vulnerable device. This case is transparent, with precise openings for all the buttons and ports.


    HiBy R5 shell is made of rough aluminum with lots of glass panels. Front part is occupied by the glass cover of 4inch, almost boarderless, 2.5D screen.


    Similar in dimension 2.5D glass panel is applied to the back side of this DAP.


    Top and bottom edges are also covered with glass. Only the curved sides represents pure aluminum with no additional decore elements.


    As to the physical controls and ports: top edge if left totally blank while right side contains volume buttons and memory card slot, left side — power, plays/pause/ previous/next buttons and bottom edge gathered all ports (3.5mm / 4.4mm / USB type-C).


    Again, traditionally for HiBy, power button is combined with multicolor LED that indicates charging states and type / quality of currently playing audio. All buttons have comfortable feel, not too tight or too loose, with the obvious click. No rattling or free movement of buttons or other elements whatsoever.


    In overall, the design of R5 is kind of conservative but with interesting and attractive findings in descoration by glass panels. Build quality is excellent, there is absolutely nothing to complain about.


    The only thing that might have been improved is the screen protection film that is preapplied on the factory — its edges are getting peeled off the curved sided of the screen. As far as I know this is the headache for all manufacturers now if they have chosen to deal with 2.5D screen glass.



    Surely, this is one of the main recent trends and one of the best screens you would find among all current DAPs. HiBy didn’t hesitate to provide the best user experience in terms of vitrual controls in its Android-based player.


    Expect similar behavior of 4inch multitouch IPS as in any high-quality smartphone. There is vitrually not distance between screen glass and panel, all finger interactions with vitrual elements are precise. One OTA update for R5 has already been released that have raised touch layer sensitivity which made the intercations even more comfortable and snappy.


    Screen density of 300PPI is totally enough for this physical size to maintain the balance between very good picture detalization and size of the elements. HiBy R6Pro still holds the lead as the DAP with the best screen but R5 is a only a fraction behind: brightness level and contrast are almost equal while the sensitivity and sharpness of R6Pro screen is still slightly better.


    But the IPS panels, at least, seem to originate from the same vendor — color calibration and other parameters are very close to each other. Great screen, still rare for DAPs and that would not limit functionality of the device.

    OS and UI in operation:

    In general, Andoid OS and stock UI feel great on the chosen Snapdragon 425 platform. It’s working fast, with fluent system animations and good response. 2GB RAM might become a limitation in case if to load too many apps but the main idea of this device is to deliver best audio quality with stock HiBy Music app. Several other apps like Youtube, Tidal, etc won’t do much difference and would coexist perfectly.


    Just remember not to open to many tabs in browser as always. Some slight hiccups when scrolling through songs were found in HiBy Music app right after the initial track list was populated by the SD scan function. When the indexing was over — nothing like this was spotted again. Fluent and snappy.

    R5 back side of the case heats up while charging to about 38-39C. Less heat is generated when it is just decoding audio.

    Outputs and connectivity:

    One of the best thing about R5 is the amount of connectivity options leading to the different usage scenarios. First of all — they have combined 3.5mm SE / 4.4mm Balanced phone outputs with LO options.


    Although, couldn’t find the information of the impedance change when LO is selected on either of the two ports. Volume lock doesn’t occur either, it just jumps to the highest setting when you select LO mode with the further ability to control it. Next is the two-way Bluetooth that allows the reception or sending audio stream with the most sophisticated wireless protocols such as LDAC. Moreover, Bluetooth supports UAT codec as well — highest quality of Bluetooth audio (24bit/192kHz) currently available on the market and developed by HiBy.


    And finally, USB DAC / SPDIF out to use this player as external USB audio card or transport. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated ASIO driver yet listed in the download section of HiBy official support page (waiting for that to appear later) and the only option in Windows environment is to use WASAPI instead. Vitrually no audio lag in this scenario which leads to comfortable multimedia consumption.


    Another main concern about R5 in comparison to its flagship relative is whether it does have the same amount of interference caused by radio wave emitting devices and whether there is a similarly apparent noise floor on balanced output. And the answer for both questions — no. Haven’t noticed any interference even a smartphone is brought very close to R5. Neither have I noticed any noise — the background stays perfectly dark.


    FW upgrades:

    This is too easy part as this DAP supports OTA updates that are pushed by HiBy when available. Ocassional checks would notify about the new versions with the full changelog. The update would be executed automatically after pressing Update button. No reason to download, unpack, copy and place the files in the right folders — everything is automated here. The back door through recovery mode still exists when something went wrong with the main process but, hopefully, wouldn’t be necessary. For now there was one update that increased touchscreen sensitivity and provided some other minor fixes.

    Sound quality:

    Tested with AudioTechnica ATH-M50, Tanchjim Oxygen, Magaosi K6, Earnine EN2J, Moondrop Kanas Pro, Anew U1, HIFI BOY OSV3…


    Driving ability: most of the time the volume with IEMs of up to 32Ω was kept at 62% and low gain setting. This was enough to drive IEMs well and to have slightly more volume than necessary for comfortable listening.

    Lows and midbass:

    R5 has textured and perfectly outlined lows with enough presence and absence of the accent on this range. Bass is deep with fast decay. Lows are clear, naturally fill the space and perfectly separated from mids and treble. Bass remains fully perceptible at all volume levels. Midbass section feels powerful and have enough dynamics to deliver drums naturally. Sound stays neutral here — no evident influence from lower or higher ranges.


    Mids and vocals:

    Vocals as well as the instruments in mids are quite thick and dense. The perceptible resolution is impressive and seems to be slightly raised by the influence of treble. Very slight emotional bloom here and there on female vocals and upper mid range instruments. Although, no screaming notes and no hisses. Male and female voices sound naturally and equally exposed. Instrument separation is decent which also helps to define a larger stage. In overall, mids feel smooth, slightly warm and mellow with a slight emotional touch on higher portion.



    Treble is clear and crisp while seems to be slightly more exposed that lows. It produces a bit thin sound with no tendency to show the excessive amount of sibilances. It is less delicate than reproduced by R6Pro but giving the sound more transparency and brightness. The overall signature of R5 is slightly brighter and colder because of that (in comparison to R6Pro).



    R5 produces large imaginary stage in both — width and depth. Stage is very large when paired with good IEMs over balanced type of connection. Precise instument locations, defined contours, good layering between the ranges and distinct sound of all the instruments.

    Compared to HiBy R6Pro:


    R6Pro definitely has more reference-like neutral sound with a little accent on delivering and resolving lows. It sounds mellow and warm with high amount of harmonics in lower and mid ranges. Treble is very delicate and calm. HiBy R5 is less oriented towards lows, exposing and resolving treble more. This leads to more emotional, energetic and brighter sound signature. Although, R5 and R6Pro have similarly good texturing on bass and large soundstage.



    Despite being positioned by HiBy lower that their flagship R6Pro, R5 DAP, as a successor, have some new features and advantages, revised balanced output and keeps up with the same satisfying user experience quite well. Due to high driving potential, it earns similar award for being a powerhouse among most of the other DAPs and due to its hardware/software base — for being a full-feature pack. Moreover, free of radio interference and with showing perfectly black background. Only thing that left is too choose whether you want neutral reference sound of R6Pro or slightly brigher and emotional sound of R5… Either of two would be a great bargain.

    Hiby R5 at official store
      Light - Man and courierdriver like this.
    1. Pretardo
      Keep up the good work. I'm quite happy with my R6 Pro, but I love the orientation of the ports on the R5 and I'm interested in checking to see how much the radio interference has been addressed. What about the heat of the device?
      Pretardo, Sep 3, 2019
    2. abitdeef
      Nice review, linked to the R5 thread:)
      abitdeef, Sep 3, 2019
    3. paruchuribros
      Due to their quality control issues, and lack of support (for any issue with their product, you need to ship it to Asia with your expense), I would avoid any Hiby product. Owner of 3.5 mm headphone jack broken R3 owner.
      paruchuribros, Sep 25, 2019


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