HiBy R5 Gen 2 - Class A headamp, Dual ES9219C, 35h playtime, MQA 16x, open Android
Apr 29, 2022 at 5:17 AM Post #196 of 729

psikey

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Posts
3,197
Likes
1,987
I've heard that too, but if I'm spending $1000 on a DAP + an amp module the SQ increase needs to be huge compared to say a W2 dongle. Hopefully some owners can chime in
In my experience its rarely huge improvements once you get to a point.
 
Apr 29, 2022 at 6:54 AM Post #197 of 729

psikey

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Posts
3,197
Likes
1,987
No wifi issues yet this morning. Been using my copy of UAPP and app is smooth enough and sounds improved over the Hiby app.

R5 was auto detected by UAPP setting appropriate defaults, with internal MQA support and Native DSD. All sound fabulous.

Light on side seems to be blue for standard def, green for HD, yellow for MQA and white for DSD.


MQA - yellow, bypasses UAPP MQA with Native
20220429_115019.jpg

DSD
20220429_114945.jpg


At this stage I don't think you can get a more complete, great sounding DAP at this price point with what does seem long battery life for an Android device if using the Sabre amp, and plenty power output. And comes with front & back protectors pre-installed and a rather nice case. I also love convenience of having all 3 ports, 3.5, 4.4, 2.5mm. Sounds great on SE and balanced unlike some devices which sound worse on their SE connections.

Weaknesses but not suprising at price point, sluggish operation and only Android 8.1.

Sounds bloody amazing in UAPP with full MQA unfolds (for my MQA tracks of course).
 
Last edited:
Apr 29, 2022 at 8:53 AM Post #198 of 729

psikey

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Posts
3,197
Likes
1,987
And just for any interested UK members, it cost £326.90 with the $10 delivery charge after exchange rate conversion buying direct from Hiby. Tracking was excellent all the way, via Yodel when it got into UK, total time for delivery from ordering 6 days and somehow managed to avoid any customs or further handling fees.

Even the older R5 Sabre version is still £399 at Amazon UK except it looks like a 10% off offer at the moment (£359.10) New version not with a UK seller yet.
 
Last edited:
Apr 29, 2022 at 9:47 AM Post #199 of 729

StivVid

Head-Fier
Joined
May 3, 2013
Posts
71
Likes
78
HiBy R5 Gen 2: First Impressions, first on Head-Fi

Hi guys,

I've been burning in the R52 for the past few days, and am ready to share some very early impressions with you. This is by no means a comprehensive analysis, so please keep that in mind. It's really just a few things I've noticed from unboxing to early listening, and as with any source, things tend to change over time. Also, while I have two other DAPs with me (RS6 and WM1Z), I'll only be comparing the R52 to the RS6. I don't have something closer in price to compare it to (and I can see above that @Animagus has it covered anyway), so I think it'll be a good test to see how the newer - but more budget-conscious and 'hardware limited' R52 - fares against its faster, beefier, pricier sibling.

But first, let me take a selfie...

20220423_180232.jpg
The R52 is HiBy's refresh of its midrange (or rather lower-midrange) DAP, the R5, except it changes so many things it could possibly have been called something else entirely. That's just how HiBy rolls, offering better value at a lower price point than most competitors. At $449 (or $399 early bird pricing) the R5 Gen 2 (it's official name) is not meant to be challenging the tech packed into $1500 DAPs like the RS6. Except in some respects, it is. In fact, it's my opinion that unless you're using really high-end IEMs to 'dig deep' into the finer details the more expensive components in more expensive DAPs are able to deliver, you're probably better off pairing mainstream IEMs (in a similar $400-$500 bracket or below) with a feature-packed modern midrange DAP like the R52. I'll touch more on this in the main review.

Since I currently only have Sony's Z1R IEM to test the new DAP and compare it to the RS6 (which has really excellent synergy with the Z1R), some of my early impressions may be skewed in favour of the RS6. The reason I wrote what I did above about differently tiered IEMs is that these differences may well shrink - or even swing in the R52's favour - with less expensive or more mainstream IEMs, especially if they pair better in terms of synergy with the R5's delta-sigma DAC and its somewhat characteristic ESS Sabre sound.

20220423_180437_HDR.jpg
Since this is a first impressions overview and not a full review, I won't go into any great detail about the build, functionality and software, but I'll cover off some points I noticed while setting up the R52 and then compare it with similar functions on the RS6. If you're not familiar with the specs, the R52 uses a lower-tiered SoC (Snapdragon 425 vs Snapdragon 660), less RAM (2GB vs 4GB), and an older version of Android under the HiBy OS skin (8.1 vs 9.0) compared to the RS6 (which currently sports the fastest hardware platform along with flagships from the likes of Cayin and Shanling).

The results are as expected, if you go looking for them. For instance, I don't feel the R52 is laggy at all, in fact I was pleasantly surprised at how snappy and responsive it felt on first use. Measured side-by-side, however, the R52 takes 23.5s to boot up, compared to 16s for the RS6. App loading is relatively quick on both - and neither DAP can challenge modern flagship smartphones for raw speed - but the RS6 does feel snappier and more fluid when navigating around the UI and opening and closing apps compared the R52. Scrolling through my album art in UAPP, for instance, was noticeably smoother on the RS6, with thumbnails appearing almost instantly compared to the slight refresh delay with the R52. It also helps that the RS6 screen is sharper and more vivid, but also more responsive to touch. Still, when I didn't have the DAPs side-by-side, all these small differences virtually disappeared, and I didn't feel like the R52 UX was holding me back in any show-stopping way.

Other 'corner-cutting' measures you can expect from a mid-tier DAP like the R52 are, as I've already hinted, the screen (4.7" 720P on the RS5 vs 5.0" 1080P 443PPI on the RS6), and I/O (USB 2.0 vs USB 3.1). You'll also have to live without useful UX features like tap-to-wake on the R52, although you should be able to find third-party apps that could, possibly, support that feature if the hardware allows it.

But HiBy being HiBy, you're not going to be left short-changed for long. The R52 one-ups the RS6 in more than one category. Battery life, for example, is significantly better on the R52 than it is on the RS6. Using the 'normal' amplification circuit built into the twin ESS 9219C DACs, battery life reportedly extends up to 35 hours playing normal-res files (I haven't tested this yet, but will do so). I can confirm the battery only dropped 20% (from 77% to 57%) after 6 hours' burn-in earlier today, so the quoted figures are probably very close to the mark.

The 'ace up the sleeve' of the R52, however, is its discrete Class A amplification circuit - separate from the normal DAC-based amplification I mentioned above - that gives the player an edge over just about any other DAP in its price range and, in early testing, seems to give it some real horsepower compared to the supposedly (on paper) more powerful amp in the RS6. While volume level isn't really an accurate indicator of driving power, I did have to dial in 10 more volume steps on the RS6 than I did with the R52 in Class A mode with the Z1R (55 low gain on the RS6 vs 45 low gain on the R52).

Looking over the spec sheet, the R52 continues HiBy's tradition of upping the ante on the parts it uses, even in its so-called 'lower end' players. For example, the R52 uses 163 high-precision resistors, 19 Panasonic tantalum POSCAPs, and 4 ELNA electrolytic capacitors, not something you'd normally expect to see at this price point. And while it doesn't have a dedicated balanced line out port, the R52 does offer both 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced headphone ports, making it versatile with a larger number of IEMs and cables. Lastly, I actually much prefer the R52's button-based volume controls, although I can't say I'm a fan of having the volume buttons on the opposite side of the player to the play/pause buttons. That said, most button-based DAPs are set up this way, but I guess I've been spoiled recently by the best-in-class ergonomics of the Sony WM1Z.

20220423_180725.jpg
Before I get to some initial sound quality impressions, a few more things I've noticed, mostly good. The R52 comes with two pre-applied protectors for both the screen and backplate. They look and feel like tempered glass protectors, which is a bonus compared to the film protectors some far more expensive DAPs still ship with today. I also quite like the PU leather case that comes standard in the box. The blue colour matches the blue theme of the DAP's default wallpaper, which is a nice touch. What I don't like is how the case partly obscures the lettering on the I/O ports at the bottom of the DAP. Surely someone could have thought to place the text below the ports so they wouldn't be covered by the case? Minor gripes aside, the R52 feels sturdy to the touch, well built, and is small and light enough to easily carry around in the smallest of pockets. It's definitely more pocketable than the RS6, for example, and significantly more portable than larger flagship DAPs.

20220423_180536.jpg
Last but not least, some sound impressions. These are going to be fairly brief, because I've only just started listening today, and the player still needs more burn-in in my opinion, especially the discrete amps. But off the bat, I'm hearing a very balanced tonality typical of ESS Sabre 'neutrality'. Compared to the RS6, which tends to lift the bass, and smoothen the mids and treble, R5S seems to be more even-keeled, giving me a very balanced bass-mids-treble response with an emphasis on clarity. There's no bass bleeding into any of the tracks on Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life, and while I find the bass richer and slightly more impactful with the RS6, the R5S flips the script with mids that are slightly more forward and more clearly articulated, if not quite boasting the resolution of the higher-specced (and significantly higher-priced) sibling.

Treble is an area I'm going to pay closer attention to in the coming days. My personal preference is a more laid-back, natural treble response, which is exactly what I get from the RS6's luscious R-2R DAC. Early impressions are that the R52's Sabre DACs follow form, with a slightly brighter, more revealing, more etched treble that picks out finer details more easily, but also tends to emphasise any issues with poorer recordings, like glare or hiss. Not that anything I've heard so far trends in that direction, but I do hear a lighter vocal harmonic response in modern music from Lorde and Missincat, which I attribute to the R52's treble tuning as much as I do its midrange delivery.

What I don't hear is too much of is the infamous 'Sabre glare' that's often plagued ESS-based DACs and DAPs in the past, so it seems HiBy's implementation of this newer Sabre iteration has been deftly done. While the R52 doesn't come across quite as smooth or warm-tilted as the RS6, it still, to my ears, has that distinct HiBy house sound that injects some musicality and verve compared to brighter-neutral or 'reference' tunings from some other manufacturers.

Closing thoughts

It's too early to come up with any definitive conclusions about this player, other than to be impressed by some of its standout features (discrete Class A amplification and extended battery life being the two highlights for me). Sound-wise, I'm not hearing any obvious issues that I need to start finding solutions for, but if any do show up, I'll be sure to mention them in the full review. Build quality, UX and UI speed, inputs and outputs, and supplied accessories all seem very good value and well-specced for a sub-$500 (currently sub-$400) player that's both ultra-portable and powerful enough to provide an assured step up in features, functions, power and sound quality compared to single-function dongles.

I haven't even talked about the fact that you're getting a full Android software platform with battery life that shames most non-Android DAPs, along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (both transmission and reception using every modern standard, including AptX Adaptive, LDAC and HWA). Yes, you're making compromises at this price point, but one thing you won't have to compromise on is versatility. Anything you can do with the latest, most powerful multi-kilobuck flagship DAPs, you can do with the R52, even if it takes a few seconds longer to get those things done.

Much more to follow soon, and feel free to PM me with any questions you have and would like me to elaborate on, either directly or in my full review. Signing off with one last look at the HiBy siblings before I plug in the IEMs and go again...

20220423_180807_HDR.jpg
Have you had time to form any thoughts on the Gen 2's sound?
 
Apr 29, 2022 at 10:40 AM Post #200 of 729

psikey

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Posts
3,197
Likes
1,987
Have you had time to form any thoughts on the Gen 2's sound?
In my listening its typical neutral of many Chinese Sabre DAC players.

I've had Hiby R3, R5, Fiio M5III & M11 in this class of player and its as good if not better than the other R5 and for me better than the Fiio's. Clear mids, wide enough, plenty bass presence, can be a bit shrill with some tracks in the treble. Sounds best using UAPP over Hiby music app. Can't say I notice much between the Sabre integrated amp of the Class A amp, maybe a touch more musical with the class A. Perfectly fine with either. I will be sticking with Sabre amp to get the long battery life as only use easy IEM's.

Its not the lush, warm, smooth cozy'ness like a high end Sony which is why I will be keeping this but complementing with a Japanese import Sony WM1AM2.
 
Last edited:
Apr 29, 2022 at 11:00 AM Post #201 of 729

StivVid

Head-Fier
Joined
May 3, 2013
Posts
71
Likes
78
In my listening its typical neutral of many Chinese Sabre DAC players.

I've had Hiby R3, R5, Fiio M5III & M11 in this class of player and its as good if not better than the other R5 and for me better than the Fiio's. Clear mids, wide enough, plenty bass presence, can be a bit shrill with some tracks in the teble. Sounds best using UAPP over Hiby music app. Can't say I notice much between the Sabre integrated amp of the Class A amp, maybe a touch more musical with the class A. Perfectly fine with either. I will be sticking with Sabre amp to get the long battery life as only use easy IEM's.

Its not the lush, warm, smooth cosyness like a high end Sony which is why I will be keeping this but complementing with a Japanese import Sony WM1AM2.
Okay. Thanks for that. So you're not really hearing much difference when switching from economy mode to class A? I have a Cayin N3Pro now and will be comparing its tube modes to the R5G2's class A mode.
 
Apr 29, 2022 at 11:04 AM Post #202 of 729

psikey

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Posts
3,197
Likes
1,987
Okay. Thanks for that. So you're not really hearing much difference when switching from economy mode to class A? I have a Cayin N3Pro now and will be comparing its tube modes to the R5G2's class A mode.
I'm not with my SE846, K10U or FD7 and though my hearing is good for my age they are 55yo so far from "Golden" ears. Maybe difference greater with demanding headphones (I don't now use/own any headphones).

I'm only at volume 32/100 on Balanced low gain with the Sabre AMP !
 
Last edited:
Apr 29, 2022 at 1:07 PM Post #207 of 729

wmischke

Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Posts
67
Likes
102
Location
38120
I have owned the BTR5 twice and ended up selling it both times. Maybe it just had poor synergy with my IEMs but I always found the sound to be somewhat thin and subpar. I realize I am in the minority in this opinion.

A DAP is as much about convenience and not being tied to external devices plugged into your phone.

^Boom. It's all about the all-in-one solution for me. In most situations I just cant stand using my cell phone connected to a portable/dongle DAC. Feels clunky and inconvenient to me. Plus I don't do much streaming - mostly local files on Micro SD for me. In my limited experience I have tended to prefer the sound of DAPs over portable/dongle DACs. With one notable exception being the Lotoo Paw S1. LOVED the sound on that thing.

Anyway, can't wait to get my hands on this R5 II.
 
Apr 29, 2022 at 2:43 PM Post #209 of 729

psikey

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Posts
3,197
Likes
1,987
But, but, but the R5G2 is a toy compared to the Sony WM1ZM2.
They both play music and R5gen2 is far from a toy. Don't get drawn in to high cost must be far better. Yes, the Z1 is better but its £3,300 vs £330 and in no way is it 10x better.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

  • Top