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  1. Moonstar
    The Hidizs AP60II, tiny but talented
    Written by Moonstar
    Published Feb 5, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Small and compact Design,
    Good sound quality,
    Two Way Bluetooth Sound Transmission,
    Simple and nice UI
    Cons - Small amount of hiss
    The Hidizs AP60II, tiny but talented...


    Disclaimer:

    First of all, a big thanks to Hidizs for providing me a free sample of the Hidizs AP60II for this review. I am not affiliated with Hidizs beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.

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    1. About Hidizs:

    Hidizs was founded early in 2009 In order to produce some portable HiFi audio devices. In January 2014, Hidizs first portable HiFi audio player the AP100 was officially launch at CES, Les Vegas.

    Official website of the Company


    2. Price:

    Hidizs AP60II + EP3 IEM bundle is sold around 110,00 USD

    3. Introduction:

    After the success of AP60 first generation, Hidizs decided to launch the newest HiFi music player of the Hidizs family, the new AP60 II.


    4. Major Advantages over the first generation AP60:

    The Hidizs AP60II has some major advantages over the first model and here is a list of these new features.
    1. New aluminum alloy body and 2.5D glass panel
    2. New Hiby Link Smartphone intelligent control
    3. New easy-to-use hidden-type mechanical buttons
    4. New UI and hardware design
    5. New 2.0" IPS HD screen
    6. New clock function
    7. New production technique, better sound quality and more details.
    SPECS.jpg


    5. Package and Accessories:

    The device comes in a nice black card-box that gives you a nice first impression.

    The box contains the following contents;
    • Hidizs AP60II
    • Matt transparent plastic protective case/cover
    • Screen protectors
    • Back glass protectors
    • Micro USB cable
    • Warranty card & quick start guide
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    6. Design, Buttons and Build Quality:

    The first thing that I have notice about the Hidizs AP60II is the very small (almost tiny) and compact size. The main body (chassis) of the AP60II is made of aluminum and has a 2.5D glass back panel that looks and feels very nice.

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    On the front of the device are the 2.0’’ TFT screen and the navigation buttons.

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    2.0” TFT screen has a native resolution of 320x240pixel and is good enough for a device in this price category. The screen has enough brightness to be visible outdoors. The color reproduction is also above average.

    O the front of the device is the so called hidden-type mechanical navigation button with four way navigation ability.

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    The usability of the mechanical navigation buttons is easy and without any problems. I also have no problems in blind operation.

    The operations are done with the up/down and back/enter buttons. The left button is operating as back button in the menu section and for rewinding in the music menu.

    The right navigation button is operating as enter button in the menu section and as play/pause and fast-forward command in the music menu. The up/down buttons are operating to move up and down in the main and submenus. These are also operating as next (down) and previous (up) buttons.

    On the left side of the device are the power and volume up/down button. This volume button can be assigned as track changer when the screen is turned off. This feature is very useful when the device is in your pocket.

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    On the right side is the Micro SD card slot that supports up to 256 GB of storage files.

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    At the bottom are the 3.5mm headphone out and the Micro USB port that can be used for charging, storage expansion and digital out via OTG cable.

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    7. Specifications:

    Model : AP60II
    Screen : 2.0’’ TFT HD (320x240pixel)
    CPU : X1000
    Bluetooth : Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX lossless with support of Two-way transmission
    DAC : Asahi Kasei AK4452VN
    AMP : MAX97220A
    Frequency Response : 20Hz – 20.000Hz (-0.5dB)
    THD+N : 0.005%
    SNR : > 109dB
    DNR : > 105dB
    Channel Separation : 106dB
    Output : 3.5mm Single Ended
    Output Power : 35mW@32 Ohm
    Output Impedance : 0.1 Ohm
    Gain Settings : Low & Gain
    Expanded Memory : up to 256GB
    Battery : 1000mAH
    Battery Life : about 10-12 working hours
    USB Port : Micro USB 2.0
    Size : 75x42x14mm


    8. Hardware:


    The Hidizs AP60II shares some nice hardware specs for a budget friendly device. It has low output impedance of 0.1Ω and a good DAC chip under the hood with a quite powerful amplifier for such a tiny player. The mechanical buttons are also a nice upgrade over the first generation.

    The device has no on board storage but supports both Micro SD and OTG storage options.

    a) DAC Section:

    Inside the Hidizs AP60II is an AK4452VN DAC chip of the company Asahi Kasei Microdevices (in short AKM).

    The AK4452VN is a new generation of 32-bit DAC, with 8-channels that uses AKM’s Velvet Sound architecture that has been widely adopted by high-end audio companies. This technology realizes fine sound details with its low-distortion architecture in addition to 32-bit resolution digital filter processing.

    The digital input supports up to 768 kHz PCM and 11.2 MHz DSD (Direct Stream Digital), suitable for high-resolution audio source playback.

    AKM Asahi Kasei.jpg

    b) AMP Section and Drivability:

    The Hidizs AP60II has a MAX97220 amplifier of the company Maxim Integrated under the hood. The MAX97220 is a differential input DirectDrive® headphone amplifier. The power output of the AP60II is 35mW@32 Ohm according to official Hidizs specs. The max setting for the volume is 80.

    MAZ97220A.jpg

    You have to gain options these are Low and High. Low gain is loud enough for most IEM’s with an impedance of 32 Ohm. If you want a bit more juice, I would recommend using the device in High gain that drains additional battery. The high gain setting was able to drive my Audio-Technica ATH M50 to very loud levels at volume set to 60-65 (max volume is 80).

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    c) Connection:

    The Hidizs AP60II has no analog line out, but the USB port of the device has digital out capabilities. You can use the AP60II as USB DAC (up to 32bits/384KHz is supported), by connecting it to your PC via USB cable or you can use it as digital transport device by connecting it via OTG cable with a DAC, Smartphone or Tablet. The good thing is you don’t need to install any driver.

    The connection to my Chord Mojo and my Smartphone works flawlessly and makes the Hidizs AP60II to a small and inexpensive USB transport device.

    The OTG support gives the AP60II the extra ability to connect a USB mass storage like a USB Memory Stick to it and play the songs located in the storage device. The only thing you need to do is to select the Music browse menu and choose OTG.

    The Hidizs AP60II supports Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX lossless and has a Two-way transmission functionality. That means, I can connect my Smartphone, Tablet etc. with the AP60II via Bluetooth over the air and play my favorite song on online platforms like Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify etc. with it without the need of any third party application.

    The two way transmission gives also the ability to pair a wireless Bluetooth Headphone/IEM etc. with the AP60II that is a missing feature that is missing on many higher priced devices.


    d) Battery Life:

    The Hidizs AP60II has a 1000mAH Li-ion battery should last according to Hidizs specifications approx 10-12 Hours. I have tested the device in high gain (volume level 45) and low gain (volume level 60) with Bluetooth off and 16bit/44kHz Flac files and the result was a playback time of approx. 10-10.5 Hours. This is a quite good result for such small player.

    e) Hissing:

    The AP60II is not a dead silent device, but I found the hissing level quite tolerable for a device in this price level.

    9) Software and UI (User Interface):

    The Hidizs AP60II has quite simple but fast and useful software under the hood. The device powers up in only 10-11 seconds and the first music library update of my 128 GB PNY micro SD card (approx 100 GB is full) took about 35-40 seconds.

    The Hidizs AP60II supports also the Hiby Link Smartphone intelligent control, so that you can control the device over the smooth interface of your smartphone.

    The Firmware upgrade is an easy process. But before you start any update please be sure that that the device has at least %50 of juice. Download the update file with the “file extension .upt” to your PC and put it on your microSD card. The next step is to go to System Settings and Press OK with the Enter button and wait until the update process is done.

    The AP60II has a clock screen that shows us some quick information about the device like time, volume, battery state and the current playing song ID. The clock screen appears after every screen on action.

    The device has 4 main and lots of submenus.

    The Main Menus are Music Browse, Music Category, Music Setting and System Setting.
    The Music Browse menu allows you to access the available (external) storage options like TF card and OTG.

    Here you can choose any folder that stores music files and play the listed songs directly form this folder.

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    The Music Category is the menu where you can browse music through categories like Album, Artist, Genre, etc. or Recent played songs.

    Under the Menu Music setting you can find user definable options like Gain, EQ, Play mode, Gapless, Max Volume etc.

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    The Settings menu is where you can find options like language, Bluetooth, USB Mode (DAC or Mass Storage) Brightness settings and Key functions.

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    The Playing Now window is where you can find player skin. The Player menu shows the Album Art and information’s like the time bar, file name, song duration, battery etc.

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    10) Equipments used for this review:

    DAP&DAC’s : Hidizs AP60II, Chord Mojo, Shanling M1, Zishan Z2
    IEM’s : Audeze iSine20, Dunu Flacon-C, HiFi BOY OS V3, TFZ TEQUILA1,
    Earbuds : NiceHCK EBX, HiFi BOY Dream

    Headphones : Audio-Technica ATH50M

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    11) Albums & tracks used for this review:

    Casey Abrams – Robot Lovers (Tidal Hi-Fi via Bluetooth transmission)
    Emmanuel Pahud (Claude Debussy) – Syrinx (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    Melody Gardot – Who Will Comfort Me (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (DSF)
    Diana Krall - So Wonderful (DSF)
    Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – Up Close “Album” (DSF) – Binaural Recording
    Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi via Bluetooth transmission)
    Metallica - The Black Album (Flac 24bit/96Hz)
    Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
    Sebastian Ingrosso, Thommy Trash &John M. – Reload (Apple Musicl Hi-Fi via Bluetooth)
    Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (DSF)

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    12. Supported Audio Formats:

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    The Hidizs AP60II supports most of the lossless audio formats including DSD (64 & 128)

    Here is a full list of the supported formats:

    DSD (DSF and DIFF - 64/128), FLAC, ALAC, APE, WAV, AAC, OGG, MP3, WMA

    20180120_114328.jpg

    13. The Sound:

    I have burn-in the device for approx. 100 hours before I wrote this review. The gain setting was on high and volume level was 40-45.

    Please note that this is a low budget DAP and all my comments about the sound quality is in consideration of this price range.

    Tonality / Bass / Mid / Treble / Soundstage & Imagine:

    The Hidizs AP60II has a fairly balanced sound tuning, compared to many players in the same price range. The sound reproduction and tonality of the AP60II is warmer then in nature, with a small emphasis to the low and top end, towards the V Shaped sound signature.

    The bass response of the AP60II is quite good and it has relative nice texture for this price range. They are only some speed problems in some bass heavy tracks. The bass, especially the midbass has more weight then the sub bass area.

    The midrange is quite resolving and has nice texture and smoothness. Both male and female vocals sounding quite good.

    The upper midrange sounds a little bit flat but this tuning is avoiding some common problems like upper midrange harshness.

    The definition of the treble range is above average and there is a nice amount of refinement.

    The upper treble area is well presented and has better control then many other players with a relative higher price tag (for example the Ibasso DX50 or the Sony A15).

    The soundstage of the AP60II has a good sense of space and the separation is good for such a tiny player.

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    Comparison vs. Shanling M1:

    The Shanling M1 is a nice small device same as the Hidizs AP60II. The built quality of both devices is great. The Shanling M1 is a bit shorter in size, but is wider than the AP60II; the thickness is almost the same.

    The main difference is the navigation style. The M1 has a navigation wheel while the AP60II has this mechanical 4 way navigation button that is a bit easier to command than those of the Shanling.

    Both devices have a simple and fast UI and lots of connection option like a two way Bluetooth transmission with Hiby Link support and USB DAC functionality.

    The low end of the AP60II has the better presentation, with more response and better overall control. The M1’s low end is not as fast as those of the AP60II. There is also a control problem in bass heavy tracks that can cause sometimes to a muddy presentation.

    The midrange of the M1 is more upfront, while the AP60II sounds a bit more recessed but with more sense of space. The Vocal presentation of both devices is quite good but the Hidizs AP60II has the upper hand for instrument separation and upper mid definition. The overall resolution is nearly identical, maybe a tad better with the AP60II.

    The AP60II is the winner for the treble presentation (upper treble extension and brilliance). The M1’s treble range sound a bit rolled off and has some control and harshness problems especially with instrument like Cymbal, Piano or Violin.

    The soundstage of the both is above average, but the AP60II has more depth and better the better imaging.


    14. Conclusion:

    The Hidizs AP60II is a small player with great build and good sound quality that has lots of feature. This will make the AP60II to a nightmare for all competitors in the Budget-Fi market.


    15. Pos and Cons:

    + Small and compact Design
    + Good sound quality
    + Two Way Bluetooth Sound Transmission
    + Simple and nice UI

    - Small amount of hiss

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    This review was originally posted on "Moonstar Reviews" :
    https://moonstarreviews.net
  2. darmanastartes
    Lots of features in a small package
    Written by darmanastartes
    Published Feb 4, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - accurate and neutral sound, great build quality and design, intuitive UI, USB and Bluetooth DAC functionality, HibyLink, gapless playback
    Cons - Micro USB for charging/syncing, not-quite-perfect CUE support, and hiss while using sensitive IEMs
    Hidizs AP60II Review

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    Introduction/Disclaimer:
    I won a Hidizs AP60II late last year in a Facebook contest. I have been using it extensively for about a month. I am writing this review of my own volition and have had no contact with Hidizs other than to provide shipping details to them.

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    About Me:
    I listen mostly to heavy metal, hip hop, and electronic music, as well as movie and video game soundtracks. I value detail, clarity, and soundstage above other acoustic qualities, and generally prefer a V-shaped sound signature.

    The headphones currently in my possession include:
    Campfire Audio Polaris, Mee Audio Pinnacle P1, Mee Audio Pinnacle P2, VE Monk Espresso, E-MU Teak, KZ ATE, Mixcder X5, and Archeer AH07

    DSC07696.JPG

    Source files and other equipment used:

    I used 44.1kHz/16 Bits FLAC on a 128GB SD card for most of my listening. I have used the Hidizs AP60II as both a Bluetooth DAC and a USB DAC with a Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 smartphone running an Android Oreo custom rom to play Spotify HQ streaming. I have also used the Hidizs AP60II as a USB DAC with PCs running Windows 10 to play Spotify HQ streaming and both redbook and Hi-Res FLAC files.

    DSC07704.JPG

    Accessories/Build Quality:

    I requested my AP60II in silver. The unit I received came with a pre-installed screen protector, a USB-A to Micro-USB cable, a semi-transparent matte plastic case which covers the back and sides (not top and bottom) of the player, a quality assurance certificate, an extra screen protector, a screen protector for the glass on the back panel, a warranty card, a card with contact information for servicing, and a user manual in Chinese and English. The AP60II has an aluminum-alloy unibody construction with a 2.5D glass back panel. It feels very substantial in the hand despite its small size, and the fit and finish is exceptional.

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    Design/Functionality:

    The AP60II has four mechanical buttons on the front below the screen (back/menu, up/rw, down/ff and enter/play/pause). The power button and volume up/down buttons are located on the left side of the player. The player is very intuitive to use, and I did not need to read the user manual to master basic navigation. That said, it might have been preferable to set the rewind and fast-forward buttons as the left and right buttons respectively, like on older iPod models. The only aspect of player operation that is not immediately intuitive is the menu option interface, which is accessed by holding down the enter key. The menu interface gives access to the following options while in the now playing pane: delete current song, add to playlist, add to favorites, repeat all, gain control, straight/shuffle control, and repeat one. These options are navigated by using the up and down buttons. While browsing songs, the menu interface gives access to the following options: play, delete, add to favorites, and remove from favorites. The volume controls can be used while the screen is off, but the track navigation buttons cannot. There is an option to access track navigation by long pressing the volume keys while the screen is off.

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    The AP60II boots up in less than 10 seconds. UI is very quick and responsive. After inserting an SD card (the AP60II does not have onboard storage), the AP60II will automatically scan for music. This scan can be cancelled by hitting the back button. This process typically takes a minute or two for a library of several thousand songs. Music can be synced using the included Micro USB cable while the player is in OTG mode, or by removing the SD card and moving files to it from a computer with an SD card reader. Music can be accessed either through a folder view or a category view. In addition to the artist, album title, and song title, the now playing screen displays the file format, sample rate, and bit depth of the currently playing song. The AP60II did not always recognize the album title from CUE sheets, even when it read the artist and track titles correctly. Gapless playback has worked flawlessly in my experience. The AP60II is advertised as being able to play music from OTG devices, like a flash drive, but I did not test this functionality.

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    Because my smartphone lacks a dedicated DAC, I sometimes use the Hidizs AP60II as a Bluetooth DAC paired with my smartphone. Pairing the AP60II with my smartphone allows me to use the DAC/AMP section of the AP60II instead of my smartphone while still having access to the streaming capabilities of my smartphone. Unfortunately, the AP60II only supports apt-x in transmitter mode, and only supports the SBC protocol as a receiver. The AP60II is therefore useless for receiving lossless or hi-res music from local smartphone storage or Tidal. However, this limitation is shared by many more expensive DAPs, including the Cayin N3 and the Shanling M1 and M2S. I have heard that the Shanling M3S supports apt-x in receiver mode, and I will test for this functionality in an upcoming set of tour impressions, but the M3S is more than twice as expensive as the AP60II, so a comparison between the two players is not fair.

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    The AP60II also supports HibyLink functionality using the HibyMusic app, supporting both folder and category navigation. This allows the user to control playback from their linked smartphone.

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    It is possible to use the AP60II as a USB DAC as well, though given the abysmal state of USB OTG implementation in the Android world, I would hesitate to recommend the AP60II or any other DAP purely on the basis of this feature, at least to Android users. Even though the AP60II works as a USB DAC with my particular phone on my particular ROM, with my particular kernel and firmware, there is no guarantee that it would work if any of these items were different. In addition, the AP60II charges from my smartphone when connected as a USB DAC, draining the smartphone’s battery quickly.

    However, I had no issues using the AP60II as a USB DAC with my Windows PCs. The AP60II was immediately recognized by my PC and set as the default audio output. While in use as a USB DAC, the AP60II will display the sample rate and bit depth being used. The player bizarrely has a default output of 32kHz/32 Bits when connected to my PCs. Although the AP60II is only advertised as supporting a maximum bit depth of 24bits, when used as a USB DAC with a Windows PC it appears to support a maximum sampling rate of 192kHz/32 Bits. Options appear in Windows for up to 384kHz in both 32 Bits and 24 Bits but these do not output sound. Curiously enough, it does not appear to output at 16 Bits at all, with the lowest sampling rate option being 44.1kHz/24 Bits. This is a potential issue for bitperfect purists.

    The one design issue I want to raise is the use of Micro-USB in a 2017 product. DAP manufacturers seem to be several years behind the curve on this front. Cayin uses USB-C on the N3, which is not that much more expensive than the AP60II.

    The battery life is advertised as being 10-12 hours using a 1000mA battery. I have not kept careful track of my use time and charging habits, so I cannot say for sure whether this is accurate or not. My impression is the battery lasts at least 8 hours.

    Sound

    I generally subscribe to the philosophy that if a source device is coloring the sound, something is wrong with the source device, so I will not wax lyrically about how the AP60II made such and such song sound different than with other source devices. It delivers a sound that is true to the source, which is exactly what I want and expect. It has also been my experience that the primary benefit of high-end amplification is to increase the maximum volume music can be played at while still having the instrumentation resolve clearly, with my definition of “high-end” being well over $500. The AP60II, which retails at $130, is not at the level at which I expect this kind of noticeable improvement to resolution, but being a dedicated DAP, I did expect it to be able to drive higher impedance headphones better than the average smartphone. The highest output impedance headphone I currently own is the 50 ohm Mee Audio Pinnacle P1, which the AP60II was able to drive comfortably on high gain at a volume setting of 40/80. I also tested the AP60 with the 16.8 ohm Campfire Audio Polaris and the 16 ohm Mee Audio Pinnacle P2. Both of these more sensitive IEMs had noticeable hiss during the quieter parts of songs.

    Closing words

    The Hidizs AP60II represents a superb value at $100, with accurate and neutral sound, great build quality and design, intuitive UI, USB and Bluetooth DAC functionality, HibyLink, and gapless playback. My only major issues with the player were the use of Micro USB for charging/syncing, not-quite-perfect CUE support, and hiss while using sensitive IEMs.

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      endia, turkayguner, hqssui and 4 others like this.
    1. Dobrescu George
      Nice review!
      Dobrescu George, Feb 4, 2018
      nipunsdaddy likes this.
    2. shane55
      Nice review. Thanks especially regarding the USB DAC experiences.
      I experience zero hiss with mine, even with very sensitive IEM's. But maybe my ears aren't as sensitive as my IEM's... :wink:
      shane55, Feb 4, 2018