500+ Head-Fier
Value Proposition
Pros: Build quality and design
– Hiby OS is rather feature-rich
– Balanced output has good amount of power and no noticeable hiss
– Good staging and mostly neutral presentation
– Generally good value
Cons: Average battery life
– Finicky touch response
– MSEB implementation isn’t the best
– Somewhat dry tonality
– Stock silicone case is horrible

Hidizs have been around the block for a while now, mostly focusing on portable DAC/Amps, dongles, and the occasional DAP/IEM. The AP80 Pro is their update to the original AP80, and it brings in a dual-DAC architecture and a balanced output. The rest of the device is rather intriguing too with DAC support, MQA decoding capabilities, and sporting Hiby OS which has a lot of bells and whistles to tweak the sound.

Without further ado, let’s see if the Hidizs AP80 Pro can justify its $170 price tag.

This review was originally published at Audioreviews.
Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Hidizs was kind enough to send me the AP80 Pro for evaluation.

Firmware version: 1.5

IEMs/Headphones used: Final FI-BA-SS/E5000/Sonorous III, Dunu Zen, Campfire Audio Holocene, Meze 12 Classics V2, Etymotic ER2XR

Price, while reviewed: $170. Can be bought from Hidizs website (please note: this is an affiliate link, proceedings will go to a charity of choice)


The packaging is fairly minimal but you get all that you need to get started: a type-C charging cable, an OTG cable, and a horrible looking silicone case. The case does its job but makes the entire device look ugly which is a shame given the great design. Nothing is left out, but nothing stands out either in terms of supplied accessories.


The Hidizs AP80 Pro was quite a bit smaller than I assumed it to be. It fits right in the palm of your hand though the sharp edges can feel uncomfortable. The design is a popular one: aluminium frame sandwiched by two sheets of glass. The screen protectors are pre-applied and that’s a good thing.


The scroll wheel is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s rather sturdy (doesn’t wobble as much as many others) and has defined clicks. However, the clicks feel mushy and the movement has a scratchiness to it. I am nitpicking but hey – I am a bit too particular about rotating knobs.


The playback buttons have good feedback, however, and I love that Hidizs put all the ports at the bottom of the device (unlike many flagship DAPs out there). On the left side you’ll find the microSD card slot (up to 512GB+, absolutely necessary since the Hidizs AP80 Pro lacks in-built storage). The top is bereft of anything.


Overall, the Hidizs AP80 Pro has a good build and the design is rather unique indeed. I do wish the scroll wheel was better (despite using ALPS potentiometer).


The display is a 2.45″ Samsung IPS panel (480*360) with capacitive touch layer underneath. Since the display isn’t laminated, it shows a loss of contrast when viewing from an angle (and not the best under direct sunlight). Display brightness is quite good though, and the pixel density is good enough to hide pixellation from working distance.

Hiby OS is what Hidizs is using here, and it’s a pretty solid DAP OS. It takes ~10 seconds to boot, and then you go straight into a “launcher” of sorts. Here, you can access the actual music player, or use the FM Radio/Pedometer/BT DAC/eBook reader (why?)/System Settings/About menus. It’s a pretty straightforward launcher though I wish there was a faster way to get back to the launcher screen from within the music player app (right now you have to exit the app and then only you can get to the launcher screen).

I think the most impressive/noteworthy part of the Hiby OS is its MSEB feature. It’s a sort of DSP/Parmetric EQ combo that allows you to fine tune aspects of the output such as warmth/brightness/bass rumble/male vocal thickness and so on. It’s fun to play with if you’re into tweaking the sound of your DAP, and can help in fixing some tonality issues in many IEMs.

However, the implementation here on the AP80 Pro isn’t as good as the one found on Hiby R6 2020, or even the Hiby R3 Pro Saber. Both of those had a more convincing tweak to the sound whereas on the AP80 Pro it feels like you’re just using a multi-band EQ and never really have the same control on shaping the sound.


Sliding up from the bottom of the screen brings a menu that’s not unlike iOS’ Control Center. Here you can adjust the volume/brightness, control playback, and switch Bluetooth on/off, select gain level (low/high), switch between DAC or Storage mode when connected to USB, and finally switch between line-out/headphone output mode. Use the last one with caution though since it just maxes out the volume to reach the nominal 2Vrms output level (it’s not a true line out where there is only voltage gain).

Speaking about the performance of the DAP, it’s pretty good and much better than a certain Fiio M6. However, you won’t get even low-end smartphone level of smoothness. There will be missed swipes and taps and the entire UI runs at 30fps or lower so things won’t be very smooth. It’s absolutely usable though and a far cry from non-touch DAPs like Questyle QP1R in terms of usability.


Battery life was about average especially from the balanced out. You get between 8-10 hours of playback based on the device/volume level used mostly due to the 800mAh battery used. This is far from the battery life you get from some competing DAPs, namely Sony NW-A55 (~35 hours) or the Cowon Plenue D (~90 hours, it’s not a typo). In AP80 Pro’s defense – those don’t have quite as much output power or balanced circuitry as the Hidizs DAP. However, we are considering raw battery life only, so it’s an area where Hidizs can do better. The battery charging speed is fairly good though and should top the DAP up within an hour and half.


The Hidizs AP80 Pro is not a powerhouse and won’t run the Sennheiser HD600 and the likes well. There’s a noticeable lack of bass extension and slam with the HD650, for example. Final Sonorous III fared much better though the bass wasn’t as well-controlled on the AP80 Pro as it is on desktop sources.

As for IEMs, even with the sensitive Final FI-BA-SS I couldn’t notice any hiss and the sound was fairly dynamic. Dunu Zen had a good pairing though the upper-mid glare was more noticeable here. Best pairing was with the Meze 12 Classics V2 and the Campfire Holocene.



Hidizs decided to use the tried and tested Sabre ES9218P DAC chips in dual-DAC configuration, and are using the built-in amp circuit of these DACs. This isn’t a bad thing really since it allows you to get reasonably good amp performance in a small package. I couldn’t find the output impedance figures anywhere though, bummer. Full specs are here.



The Hidizs AP80 Pro has a slightly colored tonal profile, with a bit more focus in the bass region and some emphasis in the upper-midrange (a common tonal trait of these ESS chips). There is some dryness in the midrange that makes male vocals sound a bit distant and coarse. This can be somewhat mitigated by the MSEB tweaks but I prefer not to use DSP/EQ too much myself. The bass and treble could be a bit more resolving given the competition.

The best part about the AP80 Pro’s sound signature has to be its soundstage which is quite wide and never feels closed-in even with IEMs that can feel narrow on some DAPs. Imaging isn’t as accurate as higher-tier DAPs but for the price I don’t expect much better. Separation is also very good provided you have a resolving enough IEM.

Speaking about amp performance, the balanced output was powerful enough to drive the Final E5000 quite loudly, but the E5000 didn’t have quite the bass control that you can get on something like Questyle QP1R/Apogee Groove. Also the balanced output won’t run pesky planars, though some low-end planars like Hifiman HE-400se sounded alright.

Still, for these headphones I’d recommend a desk amp. The balanced output also has better channel separation. I’d personally recommend using the balanced output on the AP80 Pro since it’s noticeably better than the single-ended output.

All in all, the Hidizs AP80 Pro is a good performer for the price bracket. It has good staging and separation capabilities but doesn’t stand out in the other performance criterion. The amp section is fairly powerful from the balanced out but won’t run high impedance headphones that well so it’s mostly for moderately sensitive IEMs and headphones.



vs Hiby R3 Pro Saber ($210): At $40 extra, the Hiby R3 Pro Saber gives you WiFI capabilities (supports Tidal playback) and a more powerful balanced out. It also noticeably increases the battery life. You do lose out on the superior industrial design of the AP80 Pro and the Hidizs DAP has a better display.

That’s all on paper though. In terms of absolute sound quality, I can’t really notice much difference between them. The Hiby R3 Pro Saber has a bit more sterile tone (not a good thing in my book) but counterbalances that with better MSEB implementation (also the OS is more feature-rich on the Hiby R3 Pro Saber). The extra output power is handy if you want to push some higher impedance headphones but with most IEMs this extra power didn’t really matter.

In terms of specs, the $40 extra for the R3 Pro Saber is well worth it. However, if you’re after absolute sound quality and not the extra bit of power and can live without Tidal playback, the Hidizs AP80 Pro will give similar performance at a lower cost.

vs Sony NW-A55 ($200): I’ll say it outright – the Sony NW-A55 is my most favorite DAP around the $200 price bracket. It’s got a great industrial design, the display is fabulous, the UI is snappy, and the sound signature is gorgeous (as Gordon Ramsey would say). The best part about them are the modded firmware by a certain MrWalkman and they bring different tuning to the stock signature.

The Sony DAP is hard to find (it’s biggest con), lacks balanced output, and doesn’t have a lot of output power. Oh, it also uses the forsaken WMPort so you gotta carry that cable around. Battery life is exceptional though at ~35-40 hours of playback. Standby times are also excellent as I rarely turn it off and still have enough juice left for on the go use.

As for sound, the Sony NW-A55 reigns supreme in midrange rendition. The mids on the Sony DAP is unlike anything you’ll hear in this range and has a analogue-ish feel to it. The bass and treble is about similar on both DAPs, though I felt the bass to have slightly better texture on the A55. Staging and separation is where the AP80 Pro pulled ahead. Also, Sony NW-A55 doesn’t have anything like MSEB (though it has Sony’s own proprietary DSP based tricks).

Between these two, I’ll personally pick the Sony NW-A55. If you need a balanced out and more bells and whistles – the Hidizs AP80 Pro may be a better fit for your use-case.



Looking at the rest of the <$200 DAP market, the Hidizs AP80 Pro seems like a good value proposition. I don’t see a major weakness here. The issues I have are not really deal-breakers and competing DAPs have similar/worse problems. The display is good, the UI has quite a lot of features, and the design is a standout.

The middling battery life and the finicky touch response are the only sore points. Among its competitors, I do have a soft spot for the Sony NW-A55, but if you want better staging and separation over a more refined midrange tonality – the Hidizs AP80 Pro will serve you better than most other DAPs in this range.

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  • Like
Reactions: Luke and Abir
Some of them support Tidal and you can use them on your PC. On phone, I don't see the point because it's a DAP and usually people don't use phones with DAP.
  • Like
Reactions: Abir
I have very limited collection of Flac files...& currently my main music source is Tidal from phone...I just need something under 200$ which will enhance my audio experience.. whether it be a dac amp/dap i don't care
@Abir you should use a bluetooth receiver like the radsone es100. I have been using it for 3 years exactly in that way.


Headphoneus Supremus
China in your Hand Hidizs AP80 Pro
Pros: Stylish, small, feature packed, sound quality (as evidenced) is good
Cons: No Wi-Fi No app support



Trevor Stephens

Fun size & feature packed​

A Facebook find – John Beagley -I bought the complete collection on Bandcamp

With kind thanks from Yihua of Aoshida hi-fi, the AP80 Pro has a retail price of $169.99. In typical Chinese style, it represents a price level that seems way below it’s true worth. Far be it from me to give the game away so early on into my review, but I’m hoping you get the gist of what this is all about.

See what I mean? USBC – for charging or Dac- Standard and balanced outputs AND fixed line out

A tiny piece on what gets onto here and what doesn’t make it​

I don’t like to whinge. I especially don’t wish to waste my time moaning about audio products that don’t reach or exceed my expectations. My time is precious, and I, like your good selves, am holding down a demanding full time job. If I am sent a product that I don’t like, it simply doesn’t get on to these pages. Whilst I may not rave about every product I have reviewed here, there is always something engaging enough for me to warrant the many hours it takes to get the message out there. As always, the devil is in the details, read and research properly and you will find what you desire. I do not read any reviews on products that I am due to receive. This is the way in which I can keep my writing fresh, free from plagiarism, my own views and my own style. I trust that you respect this and take this as the reason as to why each review seems to have so much positivity in it. In a world full of so much bad news, my small part will try and take you
away from that; for a little while at least.

Now; back to business

Can you see it? The USBC cable is terminated in purple in harmony with the volume knob

About the AP80 Pro​

The question is not what the AP80 Pro does; it’s easier to mention what it doesn’t do! The Pro has no Wi-Fi and no app support. It doesn’t have a massive amp for your HiFiMan HE-6 or your Abyss or whatever crazy big headphone you’ve got. If you’re looking for this, thank you very much for your time so far, and I understand if you want to leave and seek elsewhere. I hope to see you soon. If I still have you with me, let us both take a look at what this thing can do.

I find the screen to be as vivid as my smartphone and just as easy to navigate

You have balanced cables for your posh earphones and need something to try them out on without breaking the bank. Box ticked. The AP80 Pro has a 2.5 balanced and 3.5 jack. A note of caution. Do not try a 3.5 to 2.5 adapter, even if there is one out there. It might damage the amp in the AP80 in just the same way as it would affect any balanced connection. If you want to try a balanced output, get yourself a balanced cable. There are no shortcuts to this. And a balanced cable can be got for $20-$30 (or £). That will look much nicer than an adapter spoiling your new DAP. The AP80 has bidirectional Bluetooth. It can receive a Bluetooth signal, for example, from your smartphone, and it’ll handle LDAC with ease. There is an app you can download and it’ll allow you to control the features of the AP80 on your smartphone, which has a bigger screen than the AP80 so therefore should be easier to navigate. It doesn’t stop there. Bluetooth can be pushed from the Hidizs to a Bluetooth headphone or speaker.

Most As supplied inc OTG cable and silicon case

Other inputs include a DAC facility which has DSD support for 64/128 formats. OTG is supported, so you can strap this to your phone for a wired connection, for example, and output Bluetooth to your wireless earphones. The AP80 has no internal memory but supports a micro SD card of 512 Gb and probably beyond. I can’t yet evidence that capacity but have had no problems with the 128 Gb I’ve been using. The UI on the Hidizs is fast and has plenty of features. There are many clunky operating systems out there for some otherwise good digital players; Hidizs are renowned for a high quality UI and licence this out to other manufacturers.

Another Facebook find – those Groups are treasure troves

In short, they know what they’re doing, and it shows here. The touchscreen and the Samsung display are responsive and sharp. There are side buttons for next, pause and back, and a volume knob that’s both precise and discrete. Within the settings all can be switched off for on the move purposes. In practice, I didn’t find any problems with the AP80 whilst out running and in unlocked mode. I can’t see myself needing to use the app.

The loveliness of the unboxing – never gets old does that

Sound quality​

What, if any, qualities or personality does this little gem bring to the table? Compared to the AK380, or the Fiio M11, is there any discernible difference? I will put some audio clips on and clearly label which ones are from which DAP, then you’ll be able to make that decision yourselves. Bear in mind that the Fiio M11 retails for £449 and the Astell & Kern AK380 is a former flagship DAP. That will set you back £1649…..

Ok, have you had a listen? Good. Now all you need to know is what this will sound good with. Plug in all types of earphones, and some full size headphones will work outstandingly well with the AP80 Pro. I’d suggest you’d be looking at anything with an impedance of 50 Ohms or less would be a good match. For full sized headphones, there is a gain setting within the GUI which needs switching to High Mode. Full sized bluetooth headphones have their own Dac and Amp so are not an issue. I happen to have the Ananda BT which is about as good as it gets with wireless headphones. Of course one must realise that by using bluetooth outputs we are essentially limiting the AP8 Pro to 50% of it’s capabilities, because then it simply becomes a source rather than using it’s analog outputs. The Dac and amp become switched off as those duties are being taken up by the bluetooth headphones.

Andrew Taylor, courtesy of Bandcamp download


The need for a fast, good looking, feature packed DAP that can communicate with your smartphone and your bluetooth devices and hi-fi is never more important than now. If you want something disconnected from that world, don’t worry; chuck your files onto an sd card and listen in the traditional way. It’s got a clean looking, fast GUI and it hasn’t fallen over on me yet. The AP80 Pro doesn’t have WiFi and apps, which has undoubtedly kept the price level temptingly low. Your smartphone has all that, as has your laptop. So this does the next best thing and uses bluetooth with great efficiency. There is an app to control this from your smartphone when out and about. I can’t see the need indoors with a screen that is this good. My opinion on the sound is that it is difficult to fault at this level; I’m glad they didn’t try and cater for bigger headphones with a bigger amp section, because that would have pushed both the price and the size of the device up into another tier. And who, fellow bargain hunters, would want that to happen?

Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
Love Me Now - HIDIZS AP80 PRO Ultra Portable Music Player
Pros: + Build Quality
+ Ergonomics
+ Value
+ Sonic Presentation
Cons: - Not a very interesting package
- Battery life is just ok at 9 hours
- Not the highest driving power
Love Me Now - HIDIZS AP80 PRO Ultra Portable Music Player


HIDIZS AP80PRO is an ultraportable DAP priced at 170 USD, and mainly designed for IEMs, but capable of also driving some easier headphones. It will get compared to Shanling M2s, FiiO M3PRO, and Hiby R3 PRO. It will also get paired with FiiO FA9, iBasso AM05, and MAS Audio X5h.


Hidizs started with a small time company running Kickstarter campaigns and is now a full-fledged top level brand with multiple products, slowly becoming the new FiiO with a beautiful interaction with their customers, a really good price / performance ratio for their products, and Hiby's Full support for their software, growing to be even more loved than their competitors in the Chifi Audio market. They will totally solve your issues, they have a ton if new products coming along every day, and they aren't going anywhere any time soon, so purchasing from them is a totally safe and fun experience.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with HIDIZS. I'd like to thank HIDIZS for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with HIDIZS AP 80 PRO. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in HIDIZS AP 80 PRO find their next music companion.


First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:




The package of the AP80 PRO does not disappoint, and it comes with a silicone case, and a cable for charging. This won't be enough for everyone, but it is perfect if you aren't too picky, and if you need a practical DAP.

Some small-time Chinese DAP makers include bonus microSD cards with their products, and plastic cases, but so far AP80 PRO has a 10/10 rating for their package, considering the price point.

Technical Specifications

DAC - 2x Saber ESS9218P
Bluetooth - 4.2 with Apt-X, LDAC and Hiby Link
Screen - 2.45 ", touch
Outputs - 3.5mm stereo, 2.5mm balance, USB-C
Output power, unbalanced / balanced, per channel - 70 mW @ 32 ohms / 190 mW @ 32 ohms
Frequency response - 20 - 90,000 Hz
Battery - up to 9 hours of operation from balanced output
Body material - aluminum, glass
Dimensions - 61 * 56 * 13.8mm
Weight - 68g

Video Review

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality

The overall build quality of AP80PRO is really nice, it is a solidly built DAP, with a metallic case, glass at the front, and with a glass screen protector applied from the factory. The glass screen protector is not applied perfectly, and you can see that in the photos in my review, as the edges are not glued perfectly.


The software of AP80PRO is basically designed by Hiby, so it comes with all the ups and downs of having it. The ups are excellent support for music playing, beautiful GUI, and good overall support for everything, even EQ and MSEB. The downside is that updates to that firmware are rare, and if something doesn't work from the start, you aren't likely to see support for it after the initial release, with a few exceptions.

The DAP is much better than previous versions, having the edges chamfered, and having a volume wheel that takes some pressure to rotate. The feature list is rich, and it includes MSEB, the best EQ out there, a dual DAC, ES9218, DSD support up to DSD256, Hi Res, an excellent battery life, and Bluetooth with both receiver and sender BT.


The battery life is better than most flagship DAPs, at around 9 hours, but there are Sony and Cowon DAPs that are a bit better, while Lotoo Paw 6000 is a good example of a flagship DAP that has excellent battery life. Still, 9 hours is considered excellent for a DAP.

The Bluetooth can go both ways, so you can use it as a receiver, or connect a BT Headphone to it. It lowers the battery life a bit, and the quality isn't as good as the wired connection, but this shows that it has excellent resolution. The resolution's enough to reveal the differences between BT and wired.


The overall GUI and usage experience is refined, compared to AP80, and I feel like using a high-end ultraportable DAP, not like an entry-level experimental one. HIFIMAN is quite good with the sound of their DAPs but their Megamini felt really old-school in GUI and overall usage. AP80PRO even outdoes Shanling M2s in terms of overall usage and reliability.

Sound Quality

AP80PRO is the same as the original AP80 when it comes to the overall tuning, if you don't enable any EQ at all. The sound is nicely extended, colorful, vivid, detailed, wide and clear. The sonic character is a bit dry, which means excellent texture and detail retrieval, but it can be harsh or grainy at times.


The bass is a bit dry and quick, the speed is fast, so it works nicely for metal, rock, and quick music. With EDM or Jazz, the bass may be a bit too short or lack in quantity, but you can happily engage MSEB and change the ratio and even character of the bass a bit if you desire to. The power of the AP80 PRO is really good, and it can totally induce sub-lows and rattle your brains with the right headphones or IEMs, so if you have an IMR R2 Aten or IMR Opus Mia, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Detail in the bass is good.

The bass is considerably better from the balanced output, with better control and more punch. In fact, everything is better, and this time around I do mention it because on Balanced it easily outdoes Megamini, and other previous favorites of mine when it comes to ultraportables.

The midrange is colorful, vivid, and neutral. It favors both male and female voices equally, and it favors both happy and sad songs equally. In general, the detail and dynamics stand out nicely, and even for simpler songs, they sound closer to live than to a recorded interpretation. On balance, it has a better overall dynamic and more punch, but also more separation between instruments.

The treble is smooth in texture, and doesn't impose itself in the mix, but the air extension is good, and the imaging is excellent. I'm trying to say that despite a treble that's fairly laid back, it has good extension for it, so the soundstage ends up being large and satisfying. The soundstage favors width over depth, and it has an oval presentation as it goes wider away from the listener, but doesn't go far in the front or the back.


Given the price and overall design of AP80 PRO, the main competitors for it are Shanling M2S, FiiO M3PRO, and Hiby R3 PRO. There are so many DAPs that have pro at the end that it is slowly starting to lose its meaning. At any rate, in this particular case, FiiO, Hiby and HIDIZS do all have an original version of their DAPs, and the PRO version is considerably better for all of them, so it works ok.


There are many more alternatives out there, like using a FiiO BTR5, or Quedelix 5K, or HIFIMAN Megamini, but the comparisons above are the most relevant at the moment of making this review.

HIDIZS AP80 PRO vs Hiby R3 PRO (170 USD vs 200 USD) - R3 PRO is slightly more sleek in ergonomics / design. I prefer holding it in my hand, feels more precise and the display is a bit larger so I can navigate it a bit better. The overall firmware is a bit smoother on R3 PRO, things work a bit better, and the DAP feels more finished. The sound is similar between the two, especially since you have MSEB available on both. It feels like AP80PRO puts on more punch and a bit more detail, especially over balanced.

HIDIZS AP80 PRO vs FiiO M3 PRO (170 USD vs 80 USD) - M3 PRO is a less expensive DAP, but still an interesting alternative. With a far more limited usage scenario, the main reason I included it in this comparison is because it has slightly better ergonomics, and because it still has a pretty detailed sound. AP80PRO has more dynamic, better punch and more driving power, along with more control, especially over the balanced output.

HIDIZS AP80 PRO vs Shanling M2s (170 USD vs 200 USD) - Shanling's M2S is old and a bit tired now, but it still was one of the first DAPs I ever seen with a Type-C connector, and even to date is loved by the ones who purchased it. The firmware is quicker on AP80PRO, the sound is more lively, more detailed, but it is warmer and more musical on M2s. Overall, if you want to indulge in using MSEB, AP80PRO is a good upgrade from M2S, but even if you don't, over balanced, it is a solid improvement.


For the pairing part of this review, I went with FiiO FA9, the latest high-quality IEM from FiiO, iBasso AM05, and MAS Audio X5h. All of those are top-notch IEMs and Headphones, but the pairing list can go forever for AP80PRO.


You could pair it with FiiO F9PRO, or a Beyerdynamic Xelento, it would still work nicely. It doesn't have a lot of hiss, so Campfire Atlas would work, and if you're using the balanced connector, it can drive any IEM under the sun, including Final Audio E5000.

HIDIZS AP80 PRO + FiiO FA9 (170 USD + 500 USD) - FiiO FA9 is a great example of an IEM that doesn't really need MSEB or anything to sound good. In fact, there's no hiss, but the pairing has nice detail, a wide soundstage, and good layering. As a benefit, it is really convenient to have such a portable pairing and to be able to use the two together with zero hassle.

HIDIZS AP80 PRO + iBasso AM05 (170 USD + 300 USD) - AM05 needs a bit of MSEB magic if you want to make it more punchy and to give it more bass. By default, it takes all of the advantages of the BA tech, but has a tight bass that won't satisfy everyone, so I always considered DAPs with EQ a bonus when pairing AM05. If you prefer its original ethereal presentation, then AP80PRO can happily drive it well and provide a nice amount of impact, depth, and even punch.

HIDIZS AP80 PRO + MAS X5h (170 USD + 400 USD) - MAS X5h is an easy to drive headphone, but one that's a bit hard to control, as it is quite bassy. With MSEB you can make it clearer, give it better resolution (by increasing the treble, you will hear more detail), and you can make it tighter / quicker, also using MSEB, making AP80 PRO a good way to squeeze its entire potential.

Value and Conclusion

The value of AP80PRO is pretty much excellent, and it is a great example of a tiny device that can do it all. There's nothing it can't do really, and the only reasons you may want to go for a competitor is the ergonomics / shape and design, since feature-wise and sound-wise it is a top grade one.


Starting with the package, you don't get a lot, but you do get a cable, and a silicone case, both of which are handy and sweet.


We also notice a beautiful design once we open it, and especially those who prefer an edgy design, and want something different from FiiO M6, will love AP80PRO. With a good battery life, bluetooth receiver abilities, and even a good DAC chip, AP80 PRO is good in terms of usage and build.


The default sound can be a bit dry, especially the bass, which means good detail, but also a sound that's not exactly smooth. We have MSEB, the best EQ out there, to combat it though, so it should be all fine.


At the end of today's review, AP80 PRO is one of the best DAPs ever released for us music lovers. It has a nice ergonomic design, good battery life, and a lively, detailed sound with a lot of punch and dynamics. Especially if you use it on balanced, it is totally worth getting, if you need a one DAP to do it all.

--- Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!---

Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature. PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

Youtube Playlist


Tidal Playlist

I hope my review is helpful to you!

Avraam Bushin

New Head-Fier
Hidizs Ap80 Pro.
Pros: Design, sound, size, convenience, hardware and software, balanced headphone output.
Cons: Lack of emotion in the sound, glass back panel (fragile), some interface elements are very small, disgusting silicone case included
The compact AP80 Pro is an improved version of the AP80. This device is a versatile compact player based on two DACs and firmware from Hiby.

DAC: 2x Saber ESS9218P
Bluetooth: 4.2 with Apt-X, LDAC and Hiby Link
Screen: 2.45 ", touch
Outputs: 3.5mm stereo, 2.5mm balance, USB-C
Output power, unbalanced / balanced, per channel: 70 mW @ 32 ohms / 190 mW @ 32 ohms
Frequency response: 20 - 90,000 Hz
Battery: up to 9 hours of operation from balanced output, up to 13 seconds of normal
Body material: aluminum, glass
Dimensions: 61 * 56 * 13.8mm
Weight: 68g

Inside the black box is the player itself, a soft case, two cables (micro-usb + usb), documents.

The player is square. The front part is occupied by the screen, the back is covered with glass with the manufacturer's logo. On the left side there are controls: a volume wheel, three playback control buttons. On the right side there is a micro-sd card slot. Below are two headphone and type-c inputs.

Hidizs will pay great attention to the design of their products. This is especially noticeable in this case. Player control and ergonomics are great. The AP80 Pro is very pleasant to hold in your hand. It is a beautiful and functional device. A very bright and juicy screen with touch control allows you to very quickly navigate through the media library, select the desired songs and create playlists.
The main feature of the updated player is a dual DAC Dual ES9218P, which allowed the use of balanced connection. The sound of the player can be described as bright and detailed. It has the Hidizs signature - a fairly neutral and dry sound with a rise in the high frequencies. The player is capable of opening any headphones, but nevertheless, you should understand that such a small device with a battery of only 800 mAh not capable of delivering any sufficient power for tight full sizes and earbuds. A big advantage for most users is the built-in equalizer that allows you to customize the sound.

The player is perfect for the undemanding music lover of any age and gender. Its main advantages can be considered compactness and impeccable appearance, as well as versatility and detailed, adult sound (especially through a balanced connection) that can be adjusted for yourself.

The device is provided for review by and the Soundcheck39 team.
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New Head-Fier
Hidizs ap80pro
Pros: small size, decent power, balanced output, good screen and sound, type C
Cons: uncomfortable volume control wheel
Hidizs ap80pro


DAC 2x Sabre ESS9218P
Bluetooth4.2 with Apt-X, LDAC and Hiby Link
2.45" touch screen
Outputs 3.5 mm stereo, 2.5 mm balance, USB-C
Output power not balance/ balance, per channel 70mw @ 32 Ohms / 190mw @ 32 Ohms Frequency range 20-90,000 Hz
Support for memory card microsdhc up to 512 GB
Support for FLAC, APE, WMA, WAV, ALAC, AAC, OGG, MP3, AIFF, DSF, DIFF, DSD 64/128/256 audio formats
Battery up to 9 hours of operation with balanced output, up to 13 with normal
Housing material Aluminum
Size: 61*56*13.8 mm
Weight 68 g
Optional FM radio, USB DAC, pedometer, clock mode.

Here we will see a silicone case
Type C wire to Micro usb
Type C wire to Usb
Spare protective film for the screen
Various documentation

The device is very compact.
It is made in the form of a parallelepiped with beveled corners.
At the lower end, there is a balanced 2.5 output, a type c connector, and a 3.5 output.
On the right side of all controls:
Volume control wheel, quite small and not very convenient,
Buttons for switching tracks and pause / play.
The screen is quite high-quality for devices of this class, there is an inversion of colors at the corners, the colors themselves are quite bright and saturated.

The player works quite quickly, and the screen responds well.

Output 3.5, what can be said about this important aspect.
The attacks seemed bad.
The low frequencies are inflated, booming and uncircumcised, and there are problems with control.
The midrange frequencies are recessed due to the V-shape of the sound setting.
High frequencies are accentuated, and they are not high-quality, there is sand, and they have a small length.
However, everything fell into place when I connected to the balance output, the player came to life, there was a whiplash and transparency, drive and engagement.

Conclusion: the player is perfect as a portable device, on the road, when playing sports.
It has enough power reserve for this size.
A nice screen and quite driving and detailed sound.
It is recommended to listen from the balanced output.
I thank the Hifigo store for the opportunity to get acquainted with this device. Link
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500+ Head-Fier
Hidizs AP80Pro — the ultimate upgrade
Pros: Great sound, good and snappy UI, more power, balanaced output
Cons: Perometer function is not reliable
For the last few years I’ve been observing how Hidizs has developed from a small domestic single-product company to the international and respected portable HiFi gear brand. My experience covers each single piece of their audio technology: AP100, AP200, AP60, AP60Pro, AP80 DAPs, all IEMs, cable DAC converters, stand alone DAC, etc. Can’t state that all of those had flawless performance but none has fallen short of expectations in terms of audio quality. Still love my old AP100 and still use AP80 as the most convenient one. Furthermore, Hidizs was the first to utilize HiBy OS with its excellent HiBy link option which has become a golden standard for various current DAPs from other brands.


Today I woud like to review their latest incarnation of very popular AP80 DAP — AP80Pro. There were couple of revisions of AP80 in the past, mostly dedicated to physical user experience, but AP80Pro is a huge leap of completely different nature — Pro version brings balanced circuit with the additional 2.5mm audio output and more power to drive higher loads…


Hidizs AP80Pro technical data:
  • CPU: Ingenic X1000
  • DAC: Dual ES9218P
  • Decoding: DSD64/128/256, PCM 384kHz/32Bit
  • Output: Single-ended 3.5mm / Balanced 2.5mm
    • Single-ended Output: 70mW + 70mW @ 32Ω
      • Frequency Response: 20-90kHz
      • Total Harmonic Distortion+Noise: 0.0015% (1kHz)
      • Dynamic Range: 115dB
      • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 119dB
      • Channel Separation: 70dB (1kHz, A-weight, Rated Output)
    • Balanced Headphone Output: 190mW + 190mW @ 32Ω
      • Frequency Response: 20-90kHz
      • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise: 0.0015% (1kHz)
      • Dynamic Range: 116dB
      • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 120dB
      • Channel Separation: 98dB (1kHz, A-weight, Rated Output)
  • Recommended Headphone Impedance Range 8-200Ω (Recommended value)
  • FM: 4705
  • Pedometer Sensor: KX126
  • FPGA DSD: HBC3000
  • Operating System: HiBy OS 3.0
  • Bluetooth: Bidirectional Bluetooth 4.2, support aptX, LDAC, UAT
  • USB Port: Type-C, supports bidirectional USB DAC
  • Remote Operation: HiBy Link
  • Display: Samsung 2.45″ (480×360) IPS HD Touchscreen
  • Housing: Aluminium alloy CNC
  • Body Colors: black, gray, blue, red
  • Rear Cover Material: stereoscopic glass
  • Volume Knob: Japanese ALPS
  • Buttons 3 physical: play/pause, previous track, next track
  • Maximum Storage Expansion: 512GB with MicroSD
  • Battery: 800mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery
  • Work time: PO interface: 8-11 hours runtime, LO interface: 6-8 hours runtime (depends on actual usage)
  • Deep standby: 50 days (depends on actual usage)
  • Charging Time: ~ 1 hour (5V, 2A)
  • Runtime: About 8-10 hours or above
  • Net Weight: 68g
Going through new specs it is clear that the main change between AP80 and its successor is in the balanced output section. What pleases me the most is that rated power with the new output has grown up to 190mW per channel. It is enough to drive high impedance / low sensitivity head gear which was my only concern about the initial release of AP80 in comparison to more powerful DAPs.


It also happens so that I currently have both versions of this player and would be able to compare their musical and functional performance with similar IEMs.

Packaging and design:

No much changes here. Very similar cute matt black box with silver logo and specification imprints. Some minor changes to the previous version in size (it got a bit smaller) and shape but the insides are similarly well protected and neatly packed.


First goes soft podium that holds AP80Pro, the rest of accessories in their boxes rest underneath. Here you would find:
  • AP80Pro DAP with front and back screen gueards preapplied
  • Silicon case
  • USB type-C -> USB A cable
  • USB type-C -> microUSB cable
  • 2 additional front and back screen guarding film
  • couple of leaflets
  • short user manual

Silicon case quality became better this time. All button openings and edges are cut more precisely and look more neat. Hoped that screen guards would also become more precise, but unfortunately not. It still physically exceeds the screen, making it easy to be peeled off accidentally.


More significant changes found in AP80Pro housing compared to its predecessor: design got more complicated and definitely consumes more CNC machine time. All edges became curved, new shape around volume knob makes it easier for access.

I would say that AP80Pro design has matured, changing from simple straight lines to curved elegant look. The rest of its virtues remained the same — beautifully looking back covered with glass, intuitive volume knob with a good grip and shiny flange, comfortable physical buttons with tangible clicks. Although, still small amount of free play at volume knob is available.


Physical size gained couple of millimeters in two dimensions, making new DAP version little bit wider and taller. This change is caused by the new design of the side edges. Thickness and weight has not changed.


Screen size and performance didn’t change at all. It is the same 2.45″ IPS touchscreen with more than enough resolution and sensitivity for this type of a product.


The only difference that I’ve spotted is that the new screen has slightly warmer initial calibration compared to AP80. It behaves perfectly, has wide viewing angles and enough brightness to interact with it outside.

The only new element which is 2.5mm balanced output is located at the bottom edge, left to USB type-C port. The location of other elements has not changed.

Performance and UI:

AP80Pro is based on HiBy OS 3.0 and Ingenic X1000 CPU. This combination stays unchanged since the initial release of AP80 DAP and still demonstrates smooth behavior of the user interface. First scan is very fast even with 128GB cards full of different format tracks, all operations are quite snappy.


Seen couple of interface freezes when scrolling through large list of songs but 99% of other interactions are naturally responsive. Haven’t spotted any FW glitches with the latest 1.1 OS version, neither found any severe bugs or translation errors among function list. If you are using any smarpthones based on iOS or Android — you’d feel like being home. Each feature or program is represented by a separate icon.


All general device and audio settings are gathered in Settings Menu, whereas all deep and more precise audio preferences like EQ and filters are located only in HiBy Music application. By the way, HiBy Music looks very similar to its versions for other platforms. No surprises here. It also features such function as HiBy Link that allows you to control this DAP from a smartphone.

Menu structure:
  • Main screen apps:
    • Player
    • FM
    • Step counter
    • Bluetooth
    • System settings
    • About
  • System settings:
    • Language
    • Database update (Auto|Manual)
    • Brightness (1-100% slider)
    • Backlight time (stay on or 10 — 120 sec)
    • Color theme (ON|OFF, pattern selection, slider selection)
    • Font size (small|middle|big)
    • USB mode (Storage, Audio, Dock)
    • Time settings (date, format, time)
    • Idle timer (OFF, 1-10min)
    • Sleep timer (OFF, 5-120min)
    • Battery percentage display (ON|OFF)
    • Standby (ON|OFF)
    • InLine remote (ON|OFF)
    • Recording steps (ON|OFF)
    • Lock volume knob (ON|OFF)
    • Screensaver (OFF|Album cover|Dynamic cover)
    • Restore defaults
    • FW update
  • Bluetooth
    • ON|OFF
    • Device Name
    • HiBy Link (ON|OFF)
      • High Quality (SBC, aptX, UAT 600k, 900k, 1,2M, Prefer LDAC, LDAC standard, LDAC quality priority)
    • Bluetooth volume adjust
    • Search devices
    • Paired devices
    • Available devices
  • HibyMusic settings:
    • Update database
    • MSEB
    • EQ
    • Play settings:
      • Play mode (through list, loop single, shuffle, loop list)
      • DSD output mode (PCM, DoP, Native)
      • DSD gain compensation (0-6)
      • Resume play (none, track, position)
      • Gapless play (ON|OFF)
      • Soundfield (ON|OFF, -1 — 3)
      • Max volume
      • Power On volume (Memory, 0-100)
      • Crossfade (ON|OFF)
      • Gain (LOW|HIGH)
      • ReplayGain (none, by track, by album)
      • Balance
      • Antialiasing filter (LPFR, LPSR, MPFR, MPSR, AFR, ASR, CMPFR, BW)
      • Play through folders (ON|OFF)
      • Play through albums (ON|OFF)
  • Drop down PLAY NOW menu:
    • List now playing
    • Add to playlist
    • EQ
    • View album
    • Properties
    • Delete
  • PLAY NOW screen options:
    • Seek slider
    • PLAY MODE (shuffle, loop, etc)
    • Menu
    • Add to favorite
One additional and handy feature — you can drag down quick settings panel from the top of the screen to change gain, USB mode, toggle Bluetooth and toggle line out.


Should say that the pedometer function was not reliable in AP80, don’t see much changes with the AP80Pro. My Amazfit Bip watches show more steps for the similar period. Therefore, I wouldn’t use this function in AP80Pro much. The rest are working as it should. First I’ve tried to update FW from 1.0 to 1.1 -> success. For that we have to download FW from Hidizs website, unpack it and place update.upt file to the root of SD card. Than run FW update from System menu. It would take about a monute to get it done.


FM radio would only work when headphones are connected cause they serve the role of antenna. Autoscan and fine tuning functions are available. Scan range is between 76.00MHz to 108.00MHz.

One of the most convenient function of HiBy OS — HiBy Link — that allows full remote control over HiBy Music player from a smartphone works great. Album covers, song list, play mode, volume — all major functions can be controlled from a smartphone. Love this function that makes AP80 home audio integration and remote control in such user case very convenient.


I always check this function and spending some time watching live or recorded concerts on Youtube or other platforms. Short audio lag and good driver is what I would chase in this test.


USB DAC mode works perfectly either with the dedicated TUSB (ASIO) driver available at Hidizs website or with the native Windows 10 driver (USB DAC). But note that ASIO version might produce more audio lag which would not be very comfortable for watching videos. USB native DAC driver is completely free of this lag. There is no problems in video to audio stream synchronization while watching videos and sending sound through AP80Pro to phones. Neither there are any problems of using it with Foobar2000 player over Wasapi (event or push).


Using AP80Pro as external DAC for Xiaomi Redmi Note 8Pro smartphone with the provided microUSB type-C -> microUSB cable works fine. HiBy Music app recognized this device and allowed us to send bit-by-bit perfect stream.

I have also checked such rarely used function as «transport»: sending digital audio stream though DAP USB to another DAC USB that drives home audio system. Even this scenario worked as expected.


Same scenarios of sending / receiving stream may also be used over bluetooth. So called bidirectional bluetooth DAC. Bluetooth supports aptX, LDAC and UAT codecs (along with lower audio quality standard codecs). I’ve been able to check aptX IEMs and UAT 1.2M device (HiBy W5 bluetooth receiver) — both worked fine while sending data from AP80Pro. The distance was about 8-12 meters away before audio started to show some severe interruptions. The other way around was checked by sending audio stream from Redmi Note 8Pro to AP80Pro over bluetooth — no problems there either.

Audio quality:

First, I would like to share AP80 general impressions and than I would compare it to AP80Pro by pointing out the changes. Such approach is logical because 3.5 audio output has not changed at all (or there are only subtle changes). Therefore, the main difference and new experience would come from balanced 2.5mm output. To keep this comparison precise, I’ve used AP80 + Hidizs Seeds 3.5mm V|S AP80Pro + Hidizs Seeds 2.5 balanced IEMs. So, similar IEMs with different types of connection, same settings, same audio material.


Initial AP80 impressions:

What I like the most is that AP80 sounds neutral with no tendency to emphasize any frequency. Lows, mids and highs are in good balance making this DAP universal to feed it with any kind of music genre. I would call it a precise source for connecting any further audio equipment like headphones, large power amps, active speakers, etc.

Good clarity and crispness on higher frequencies with the further ability to switch filter effects; precise texturing and presence of lows; powerfull, fast and punchy midbass; natural sounding at midrange with pleasing vocals and its weighted presence in the entire mix. ATH-M50 40Ohms load is easily driven by AP80 creating the feel of mature and balanced sound picture.


The signature is a bit on the brighter side, no moody or tube-like performance, no cattle effect. Bass is completely enough to hear its nuances with ATH-M50, at least. Neither we’ve found the disturbing presence of sibilance in highest octave. Besides, we didn’t even try to play with HibyMusic MSEB feature that gives additional control over such aspects as:
  • sound temperature
  • bass extension
  • bass texture
  • note thickness
  • vocals
  • female overtones
  • sibilance LF
  • sibilance HF
  • impulse response
  • air
all of that was kept at default settings during out tests and the resulting sound didn’t require any changes. But the availability of such features, along with gain and filters, gives you a huge field for rurther experiments of tuning this source for the final audio equipment in chain.


Channel separation is better than entry-level models demonstrate but not so distant as in case with flagship DAPs or AMPs with coupled DAC chips. The resulting sound stage width, depth and instument location is equal or even a bit more than we would expected from such portable device. Monaural recordings show good distance and intsrument placement on stage with clear horizontal and vertical position.


I also tested AP80 with Hidizs Seeds IEMs and found that they make a great pair. ATH-M50, sometimes, might emphasize low frequencies and are very straight forward. Excellent for detail analysis and tests but too strict for getting some rest… Seeds IEMs are softer, warmer and smooth. They create the additional fluency while maintaining the same amount of details.

AP80 SE V|S AP80Pro Balanced output:

The main advantage of using AP80Pro balanced output instead of AP80 3.5 SE is the amount of power it produces which inevitably leads to more juicy presentation, more dynamics (especially in midbass section), more clarity and transaprency in overall.


Of course, this difference only becomes apparent with high impedance headphones or IEMs which require more power to be driven to an aprropriate level. If pairing both DAPs with the same low impedance | high sensitivity IEMs the differences in sound get less apparent… Perhaps, the main difference is better instrument separation and larger imaginary stage. In other words — I like balanced output sound more due to extended assertiveness in combination with less cramped feel under the same circumstances.


Freedom to choose more demanding output head gear and having enough power in reserve under the hood — this what makes AP80Pro superior to its precedessor even if the changes in audio signature and characteristics are on the subtle side.


Since the first day of arrival the initial version of AP80 became the main portable source of audio for me and was serving its role perfectly up till now. There were some bugs at the beginning which were eliminated by Hidizs with the new FW releases. The only arguable spec was its output power resulting into a range of final gear limited to a lower impedance.


The release of AP80Pro not only inherited all the virtues of the previous DAP, but also comes with a stable FW and solves the aforemended concern. Now it can squish more juice of a higher loads while apparently increasing audio quality in terms of channel separation and dynamic range. Thus, Hidizs had done a really good job of transforming their excellent ultra-portable DAP to an ultimate and mighty piece of technology, especially in respect of its size. Should one switch to AP80Pro from a previous version — probably not unless there is no intention to use it with high impedance gear. Is it worth to buy or should be chosen over AP80? Definitely yes — it is an excellent bargain, packed with lots of modern features, with a great sound and good user experience.

Official AP80Pro page and store: LINK
10% discount for any item at Hidizs store using our promocode: ZMCR10

Official Hidizs Amazon store: LINK

Thank you for reading.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Hidizs AP80 Pro
REVIEW – Hidizs AP80 Pro

ap80pro (1).jpg

Website - Hidizs
Main Features


Price: $169.


The AP80 Pro keeps the same design as the original AP80 version. I hadn’t a chance to try the original one, but if specifications are accurate the Pro is very slightly larger in all dimensions and a little bit weightier. Compared to other recent compact portable players with touchscreen, the design of the AP80 Pro is more unique. All the others follow a rectangular or square shape in a smooth finish with well rounded corners. The AP80 instead, has a more refreshing sharp square shape through the whole contour. A very similar design to found on the upper Fiio players and which all look obviously inspired in some of the modern A&K players, including the volume wheel. The most important addition to the Pro version is the 2.5mm balanced port that now takes advantage of the dual DAC over the single on the first AP80.

ap80pro (10).jpg

Build quality looks solid enough. The main body is made of CNC machined aluminum piece in a smooth paint finish available a popular variety of colors. The weight is about 70g, a good standard for small portable devices; adding a proper armband can comfortable enough for active sport use. While the more unique sharp design does look more eye-catching it may have some impact in ergonomics for some users. The use of the silicone case will completely fix this issue if needed, though will make the player look rather unattractive. Front and back sides are covered by glass panels, both with protective films attached. The AP80 Pro won’t fall under ultra-portable players with devices as the Shanling M0 and Fiio M5 going around. Still a very portable player it is to compete with the Q1 and M6, even lighter, though smaller in its actual touch screen size.

ap80pro (8).jpg

The layout is simple. The right side has the four physical controls. The wheel button at the top that works as power and screen on/off if pressed and as volume control. It has enough resistant to avoid being pressed by mistake. The volume adjustment is accurate, without jumping more than a step per click. It can a bit stiff to operate one-handed if not applying extra strength. Below are the three playback buttons, rather small but easy to reach when not applying the silicone case.

To the left side there is only the micro SD card slot. There is no internal memory storage but it can read USB data from the Hiby player browser.

ap80pro (9).jpg

The bottom side holds the USB Type-C port in the middle, used for charging, data transfer and DAC in/out functions. The 3.5mm audio output is to the right, supporting TRRS plugs with in-line controls or for line-out (set to maximum volume, so be careful), and to the left the new 2.5mm balanced output.

ap80pro (11).jpg

The screen features a Samsung 2.45” touchscreen of 480×360 resolution. Despite the square shape of the front panel, the actual size of the screen is smaller, with a rectangular shape as it doesn’t reach the right side of the player. In comparison, it is a larger and of better quality than the M5, but smaller and lower than the Q1.

Aside from the added Sabre ES9218P DAC chip, no major changes in the hardware had been done. A Ingenic X1000 processor (found on various small DAPs from FiiO and HiBy too). Bluetooth has upgraded to 4.2v over the previous 4.0, now supporting LDAC. Output power rates for 70mW at 32Ω load for the single output, and now with the balanced 2.5mm gets higher to 190mW.

Battery size is the same 800mAh 3.7V. The performance time is standard, rated to work up to 13 hours for headphone out on single 3.5mm output (in practice is a bit lower ~12), and 9hrs for the 16hrs for the balanced. The good news is the charging time is very fast, around 1 hour for full charge.

User Interface & Software

The player runs under Hiby OS 3.0 which is Linux based. There are several players out there using this OS. Very simple to understand with everything pretty much self-explanatory. Upon powering on it takes a few seconds to start up. After a short animation with the Hidizs logo it reaches the main home screen. There are four icons on the first screen and the 2 more on the second. They cannot be hidden or rearranged, at least not with the current firmware, what I personally find a bit annoying as I’d rather see the Settings icon together with the music player and Bluetooth in a same screen. There is no ‘folder’ or file browser, instead the data is accessed from inside the Hiby player. A swipe up from the bottom side of the screen opens up a shortcut menu for music playback, volume and brightness adjustments, and Bluetooth, Gain, USB and LO switches, as found on the Hiby R3 DAPs. What I never liked about the Hiby system based DAPs is that whenever adjusting the volume it appears on the whole screen and it is very prone to be accidentally changed for what I to set the maximum volume to limited safe level. (The smaller bar found on the Hiby R3 is much more convenient.)

ap80pro (12).jpg

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The navigation, scrolling and overall speed is quite good. Smoother than even the own Hiby R3 and way much comfortable than any of the MTouch OS on the Shanling devices. The file menus can list up to 4 files per screen. The font can be changed to medium or large, though due the small screen size longer texts will be better shown with the small font. Navigation is still not perfect; there are no shortcuts to main home screen, so when placed on the music player screen you need to go back to the left most Hiby player menu and hit the ‘exit’ button. Same wise, from the home screen the Player icon will return to the file menu screen so an extra left swipe is needed to get to the playback screen. It is not that much annoying, but places the AP80 Pro behind its competitors which allow various gestures for shortcuts taking advantage of touch screens.

ap80pro (14).jpg

Furthermore, having the Hiby software the AP80 Pro obviously includes the MSEB parametric equalizer along with the typical EQ presets and Custom option. Overall, it packs many of system and audio features, with the only catch that everything looks a bit small to operate with the limited screen size.

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Sound Impressions

DAPs used: Shanling Q1, Hiby R3 Pro, Fiio M6 & M5.
Headphones: iBasso IT01s & IT04, Campfire Audio Polaris 2, Periodic Audio Be, final E5000 & B1, Earbridge E70, Akoustyx R-220; SoundMagic P55 (v3?)

All the sound impressions are based with all EQ and MSEB options off.

As usual describing the sound of a portable player will depend on the headphones used and other players it is compared with. I had not tried the original AP80, but have used other players on the $100~200 were the AP80 Pro is placed (listed above). The use of a known Sabre ESS DAC won’t tell about the sound quality of the DAP, even if shared by other players too, but some general capabilities and limitations can be expected.

The AP80 Pro performance matches properly its price tag as what could be categorized as ‘entry level’ portable and compact device. It is not offering a ‘better’ sound quality over the competition, but yes its own different flavor. Ultimately, the results will depend on the gears used, but there is as an overall presentation that can be described from different pairings. The AP80 Pro does not distant from ‘neutral’ sound, but subjectively it is less linear, putting some emphasis towards the treble area.

The bass is quick but low in quantities and soft in impact. There is a noticeable earlier roll-off and miss of depth and extension. Texture and layering are also average. This is most noticed with bass heavy or very warm sounding earphones. The Polaris 2 is a good example, where the low-end sounds quite underwhelming and boring out of the AP80 Pro, lacking in power, sub-bass and rumble. Very similar results with the very warm sounding Periodic Be. (Yes, the AP80 Pro may push the mids more forward with these IEMs and so add a tilt of extra sparkle on the treble, but without that dominant low-end they’re not worth.) The midrange is more positive, neutral to a bit more forward, especially on vocals. In result, there is less air and separation. The treble is more emphasized but very comfortable with very decent control. It adds more sparkle and treble details can sound clearer. Soundstage is average to narrow.

ap80pro (20).jpg

Where I found a very favorable synergy is with things like the IT01s which have a well balanced overall sound. With the AP80 Pro the bass is still lacking in power, but the midrange is less lean, more forward and nicer textured. The treble remains bright but smooth and well rounded. The IT04 has a similar effect, but due to the limited stage of the AP80 Pro, it is not best a pair. Another good match is the Akoustyx R-220, with dual Knowles BA drivers. Although it is clearly a bass light, neutral and bright IEM, it pairs well here with a punchy mid-bass, forward mids and rather smoother treble, less sibilant. Lastly, the new version of P55 Vento is surprisingly good with the AP80 Pro and the best synergy among these small players. Using full size cans won’t be enough for the AP80 Pro, but seems good enough for portable on-ear headphones easy to drive. I know it is missing in the detail retrieval and stage of the P55 but still makes a very enjoyable combo for daily portable use.

As for driving power, the AP80 Pro is about the standard. Compared to all the similar DAPs in this category they all require the same volume level with each headphones (relatively to their maximum number of volume steps). Using easy to drive gears will be all fine with the AP80 Pro as well. As reference, the final E5000 being a power demanding IEM requires at least 50/100 volume in High gain to sound ‘loud’ enough, but neither of these players is capable of driving it to full performance. Needless to say it won’t drive the ZEN 2 properly, but with it is good enough for 120 Ohm earbuds like the Monk SPC from the balanced output.

ap80pro (22).jpg

The addition of a balanced output thanks to the dual DAC is an advantage, not a must with the AP80 Pro. The changes are slightly noticed, despite rating a more than double output rate. The obvious increase in driving power plainly translates into louder volume. Aside from that, there are not real improvements in the sound presentation, not more than the jump from low to high gains can offer. The AP80 Pro is not a powerful device to begin with as to use with more demanding gears; a clear example is the aforementioned final E5000. I’d say that if you have a 2.5mm terminated headphone ready to use then the balanced output is more convenient, if you don’t mind the faster battery drain, but otherwise there’s no need to upgrade or switch to balanced option if not available for the AP80 Pro. Now, it’s not just with the AP80 Pro as a similar impression is found on the Hiby R3 Pro.

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For comparisons I listed the Shanling Q1, Hiby R3 Pro, Fiio M6 & M5. Describing each of them to the AP80 Pro in every aspect would result repetitive, so instead I’ll give a general comparison with all together. For sound alone, I’d rate the M5 as the lower one and the R3 Pro as top, while the Q1 and M6 are more or less equal to the AP80 Pro. In fact, the Fiio M6 is the closest in sound presentation to the AP80 Pro, despite having a different DAC. The M6 has little bit more mid-bass impact, while both have a same midrange forwardness. Treble is very close, a bit more lower-treble focus on the M6 with a hint of grain, whereas the AP80 is smoother even being brighter overall. The Q1 sound is the most linear sounding of all, with similar mid-bass as the M6 but more sub-bass presence, very neutral, less forward midrange, and more even treble with a touch of brightness (though not very natural). For vocals, either the M6 or AP80 are better. Lastly, the R3 Pro is leaner on the midrange but more spacious and wider sounding with better extension and resolution on both ends, better layering and more natural tonality.

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Each has its own pros and cons in sound quality but they differ more in their other characteristics such as form factor, portability, interface, OS, battery, etc. M5 is the ultra-portable device. M6 is the most versatile running under Android OS and supporting Wifi streaming with different optional apps. Q1, AP80 and R3 have similar UI and all separated controls for playback (buttons or wheel). AP80 has FM radio and R3 supports Tidal. Battery is best on both Q1 and R3, while standard on AP80 and M6, and lowest on the M5. The AP80 Pro has the most unique design, while the all others share a similar rounded smooth design. In the end it is all a matter of preference.
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What iem is that in the 3rd to last pic?
Earbridge E70. review here
MageSound 8-ball (MSEB):

1 -- Overall Temperature is tilt of whole line to treble(cool) or bass(warm)
2 -- Bass extension 70Hz and below
3 -- Bass texture 100Hz (medium)
4 -- Note thickness 200Hz (wide)
5 -- Vocals 650Hz (very wide)
6 -- Female overtones 3kHz (tight)
7 -- Sibilance LF 5.8kHz (medium)
8 -- Sibilance HF 9.2kHz (medium)
9 -- Impulse response 7.5kHz (very wide)
10 - Air 10kHz sloped all the way to 20kHz