HiBy RS6 Android DAP - Snapdragon 660, 4+64GB, 5” full HD, Darwin R2R, FIR, NOS, MQA 16x, copper chassis
Nov 4, 2021 at 9:49 AM Post #1,037 of 2,769

goodvibes

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Posts
9,295
Likes
1,604
Softears Cerberus
Kinera Baldr 2
M-Fidelity SA-50
Vision Ears VE7
itsfit Lab Fusion
Sennheiser IE900
I assume it was well run in but could you mention what input sampling and antialiasing filter settings were used.

Could someone with one of these and UAPP try untiger upsampling with both OS and NOS. Does this unit have multiple antialiasing options when in OS mode?
I tried to find a manual to answer the last one for myself but couldn't find one online.
 
Last edited:
Nov 4, 2021 at 11:04 AM Post #1,038 of 2,769

gLer

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Posts
10,967
Likes
29,617
Location
Tatooine
First Look: HiBy RS6

Inspired by an earlier exchange with @Deezel177 I decided that some of my copious notes on the RS6 can be put to better use in a ‘First Look’ post. In case you're wondering, this is not my full review of the RS6, which I can't confirm or deny will drop next week. But hopefully it will give you an initial feel for what is shaping up to be a very interesting and potentially game-changing DAP.

For me, the HiBy RS6 is a milestone product. For the first time ever, as far as I know, we have a DAP that combines a relatively modern SoC and a relatively modern and highly customized open Android platform with…drumroll…a fully discrete, NOS-capable R2R ladder DAC.

It’s one the most exciting developments I’ve seen in the still young and rapidly growing DAP market to date, and not one that I thought I’d see for a while yet, given the technical challenges of implementing a high-performance audiophile-quality discrete ladder DAC into a miniature form factor. Yet here we are.

RS6_02.jpg

Unboxing

If you’re already familiar with HiBy’s R6 2020 DAP, you’ll be familiar with the RS6. Physically the RS6 shares many of the same – if not identical – design, build, and operational traits to its 'predecessor', although the RS series is an entirely new platform for HiBy, so the RS6 doesn't follow on directly from the R6 or R8.

The chassis uses the same ‘masculine’ design motif of the R6 2020 and R8 DAPs, only unlike the former, is now made from copper rather than aluminium. This makes the RS6 about 100g heavier than the R6 2020, but still lightweight enough to be comfortably portable. Unlike the edgy design, the rather ‘feminine’ rose gold plating may or may not be to your taste, but at the time of writing that’s the only colorway it comes in.

Screen (1080p 443PPI), internal storage and RAM (64GB and 4GB respectively), battery (4500mAH good for 8 hours of normal use), platform (Snapdragon 660), OS (HiBy OS based on Android 9) and inputs/outputs (SD slot, 3.5mm and 4.4mm SE and balanced discrete line out and headphone out ports, USB-C 3.1 port) – all stay exactly the same as the R6. Even the small knurled volume dial is similar – though it seems to be more responsive than the R8’s.

What does this all mean? It means that, like the R6 2020 and R8 before it, the RS6 sits comfortably near the top of the DAP tree in terms of UI and navigation speed, app compatibility, and software stability and configurability. For the types of apps you’re likely to use with it – I’m thinking local music apps first and foremost, followed by streaming apps, wired and wireless file management, multimedia, web browsing, or if you’re more adventurous, some productivity and entertainment apps as well – the RS6 is one of the fastest, most stable and most responsive DAPs you can buy today.

My review unit shipped with two custom leather cases for the RS6 – a tan-coloured case that comes standard with the retail version of the DAP, and a more premium-looking green leather case made popular when the RS6 was first launched. Sadly, the green case is only available as an optional add-on for $80, but for me, it’s $80 well spent given how much better I think the RS6’s copper sheen looks clad in all-green.

You also get two pre-applied screen protectors for the Gorilla glass front and back, and two cables, one USB-C to A for charging and data transfer, and one USB-C to coax for digital connection to an external DAC. Overall a fairly premium set of accessories befitting a premium product.

I’ll go into more detail in the full review, but that should be enough to give you a decent visual of the RS6. If not, try this:

RS6_collage.jpg

Internals

If externally the RS6 mimics the R6 2020, internally it’s radically different. Gleaning some of the technology we recently saw sister company Cayin releasing as an R01 board for its N6ii modular DAP, the RS6 features a full 24-bit discrete ladder R2R architecture that, if nothing else, harks back to the original complex arrays of R2R DAC designs that preceded Delta Sigma ‘chips’, with all their inherent strengths and weaknesses.

This is not something we can just gloss over, because R2R – and specifically non oversampling or NOS R2R, which forms the core of what HiBy calls its new ‘DARWIN’ architecture, and which I’ll explore in more detail in the full review – has the potential to change the way we listen to music with headphones in general, and IEMs in particular.

In my experience, R2R, when implemented properly, lends itself to a more ‘analog’ sound than what many still consider as digital-sounding Delta Signa designs. This is even more apparent when set to non-oversampling mode, which keeps the audio in the analog domain, although you also have the option of switching to 16x digital oversampling for more technically ‘accurate’ noise filtering.

Without spoiling anything, I can tell you this analog quality – which is difficult to describe but easy to hear – is one of the first things I noticed on my first listen with the RS6. The effect can either be very subtle or ‘night and day’, depending on the music you listen to, but was most evident to me in the tonality and presentation of vocals, which for want of a better phrase, sound effortlessly realistic on the RS6.

HiBy has linked its R2R hardware to a highly-configurable software system, managed by a dedicated FPGA chip that allows for various filters and adjustments that tweak the source files before they’re sent to the R2R array for conversion to sound signals. These range from high-level noise filters to IEM-specific sonic templates. To be honest I haven't really used any of these tweaks or filters yet, and don't plan to either, but for the tweakers among you, it's all there and ready to click.

Also, being HiBy, you have access to the ingenious system-wide MSEB EQ, which I personally prefer to ‘traditional’ EQ software because it allows me to tweak the sound based on ‘real world’ descriptors, like note thickness or sibilance. And since it’s system-wide, MSEB is one of the only EQ solutions you can use with anyAndroid music player or streaming software.

Again, I’ll delve more into the specifics of R2R and the pros (and cons) in the full review, but for the purposes of this post, it’s enough to say that yes, the RS6 comes from the same lineage as some of the better R2R DACs I’ve owned and used in the past.

RS6_14.jpg

Sound

Since I’ve already started talking about sound, let’s dive right in, shall we: the RS6 is a powerful performer that will easily drive all but the most insensitive headphones and IEMs. At the same time, it’s not too powerful that it hisses with any of my IEMs, but then neither does the R8, which some folks I know had issues with, so YMMV here.

While I don’t consider DAPs to have a ‘sound’ per se – they will affect the IEMs you plug into them in different ways, depending on how the DAC is tuned and how the amplification stage is designed. That said, the RS6 has a warm tilt with my IEMs in that its bass emphasis – and midbass specifically – sits several notches above neutral. But this effect is far more pronounced out the box than it is once the array of R2R transistors and other electronics have been given enough playtime.

I want to make this point here because it’s an important one: to my ears the RS6 benefits greatly from extended burn-in, and once burned-in, the sound audibly shifts away from its pre-burn-in characteristics. The main changes I heard on my own unit was, tonally, in the level of warmth and overall midrange and treble forwardness (tighter bass and a more open midrange post-burn-in), and technically, in the size and shape of the soundstage (noticeably larger stage post-burn-in). Both these changes also affect perceived detail, and the RS6 indeed sounds more detailed to me now than it did a few weeks’ back when it was fresh.

The biggest takeaway here, sound-wise, is that the RS6 isn’t aiming to be a neutral or ‘reference’ source, which is closer to how the R8 was tuned, for example. Instead, it’s intent on adding some ‘fun’ to the music, musicality if you will – depending on your own personal definition of musical. But to say that it’s warmer than average, with a fullness of tone and a characteristic thump in the bass, would be fair.

I’d also say there’s some mid-forwardness to the sound, with vocals perceptibly closer to my ears than they are with the R8, and although initially that was a bit too much of a good thing with an already mid-forward IEM like the Legend EVO, over time it’s settled down nicely to the point where the two are a much more synergistic pairing.

Technically the RS6 is a strong performer, just don't expect flagship-level technicalities and you won't be dissapointed. While $1400 plus change is not an insignificant amount of money to pay for a DAP, this ‘first iteration’ of the RS6 earns its price tag in an already competitive market, especially with ‘dongle style’ devices starting to challenge the technical performance of many higher-priced DAPs.

To be more specific, while it doesn’t quite hit R8-level technicalities, at least in terms of absolute detail retrieval, soundstage size and instrument separation, it’s not going to hold back an already-capable IEM in these departments. Technicalities aside, some may also prefer the more aggressive, punchy tuning of the RS6, especially if you have leaner, brighter or balanced IEMs that can either use some taming or some livening up from time to time. The synergy with the Sennheiser IE 900, for example, is sublime to my ears, but I’m also finding lots to like with one of the biggest bad-a** bass IEMs in the business in the Legend EVO.

Suffice it to say I’ll take a much deeper dive into the tonal and technical characteristics of the RS6 in the full review.

RS6_17.jpg

Stay tuned

Make no mistake, the HiBy RS6 is one of the standout products in the fast-moving DAP world this year. While R2R DAPs are not exactly new – there are several highly-lauded and far more expensive ‘summit-fi’ R2R DAPs that have set a very high bar for sound quality – the RS6 is the first dedicated, discrete R2R DAP built on the fastest current open Android platform (for a DAP). As you’ll see in the review, that’s a big deal.

More than that, it’s based on a highly flexible hardware and software architecture that will hopefully see significant investment and development in the short and long term, and with it bring additional gains in performance and functionality to the RS6 and any future DARWIN-based DAPs.

Please stay tuned for the full review to see how I’ve personally tailored the RS6 for my own preferences, both in terms of sound and UX. In the meantime, feel free to join the discussion, PM me with questions, or if you’re an R2R aficionado like me, take a leap of faith and get the RS6 for yourself.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 11:23 AM Post #1,039 of 2,769

Zachik

Sponsor: Etymotic, Westone Audio
Member of the Trade: xMEMS
...is also a Hardcore Head-Fi'er.... I guess....
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Posts
5,848
Likes
8,944
Thanks @gLer for making me feel even better about placing the order last night :laughing:
My unit (along with the green leather case) should ship today!!!
This is my first $1K+ DAP... This hobby is not for the faint of heart (or wallet) :sweat:
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 11:28 AM Post #1,040 of 2,769

gLer

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Posts
10,967
Likes
29,617
Location
Tatooine
Thanks @gLer for making me feel even better about placing the order last night :laughing:
My unit (along with the green leather case) should ship today!!!
This is my first $1K+ DAP... This hobby is not for the faint of heart (or wallet) :sweat:
Sure thing. I'm quietly confident you won't be dissapointed.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 11:37 AM Post #1,042 of 2,769

snowy8171

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Posts
273
Likes
325
Location
usa
First Look: HiBy RS6

Inspired by an earlier exchange with @Deezel177 I decided that some of my copious notes on the RS6 can be put to better use in a ‘First Look’ post. In case you're wondering, this is not my full review of the RS6, which I can't confirm or deny will drop next week. But hopefully it will give you an initial feel for what is shaping up to be a very interesting and potentially game-changing DAP.

For me, the HiBy RS6 is a milestone product. For the first time ever, as far as I know, we have a DAP that combines a relatively modern SoC and a relatively modern and highly customized open Android platform with…drumroll…a fully discrete, NOS-capable R2R ladder DAC.

It’s one the most exciting developments I’ve seen in the still young and rapidly growing DAP market to date, and not one that I thought I’d see for a while yet, given the technical challenges of implementing a high-performance audiophile-quality discrete ladder DAC into a miniature form factor. Yet here we are.

RS6_02.jpg

Unboxing

If you’re already familiar with HiBy’s R6 2020 DAP, you’ll be familiar with the RS6. Physically the RS6 shares many of the same – if not identical – design, build, and operational traits to its 'predecessor', although the RS series is an entirely new platform for HiBy, so the RS6 doesn't follow on directly from the R6 or R8.

The chassis uses the same ‘masculine’ design motif of the R6 2020 and R8 DAPs, only unlike the former, is now made from copper rather than aluminium. This makes the RS6 about 100g heavier than the R6 2020, but still lightweight enough to be comfortably portable. Unlike the edgy design, the rather ‘feminine’ rose gold plating may or may not be to your taste, but at the time of writing that’s the only colorway it comes in.

Screen (1080p 443PPI), internal storage and RAM (64GB and 4GB respectively), battery (4500mAH good for 8 hours of normal use), platform (Snapdragon 660), OS (HiBy OS based on Android 9) and inputs/outputs (SD slot, 3.5mm and 4.4mm SE and balanced discrete line out and headphone out ports, USB-C 3.1 port) – all stay exactly the same as the R6. Even the small knurled volume dial is similar – though it seems to be more responsive than the R8’s.

What does this all mean? It means that, like the R6 2020 and R8 before it, the RS6 sits comfortably near the top of the DAP tree in terms of UI and navigation speed, app compatibility, and software stability and configurability. For the types of apps you’re likely to use with it – I’m thinking local music apps first and foremost, followed by streaming apps, wired and wireless file management, multimedia, web browsing, or if you’re more adventurous, some productivity and entertainment apps as well – the RS6 is one of the fastest, most stable and most responsive DAPs you can buy today.

My review unit shipped with two custom leather cases for the RS6 – a tan-coloured case that comes standard with the retail version of the DAP, and a more premium-looking green leather case made popular when the RS6 was first launched. Sadly, the green case is only available as an optional add-on for $80, but for me, it’s $80 well spent given how much better I think the RS6’s copper sheen looks clad in all-green.

You also get two pre-applied screen protectors for the Gorilla glass front and back, and two cables, one USB-C to A for charging and data transfer, and one USB-C to coax for digital connection to an external DAC. Overall a fairly premium set of accessories befitting a premium product.

I’ll go into more detail in the full review, but that should be enough to give you a decent visual of the RS6. If not, try this:

RS6_collage.jpg

Internals

If externally the RS6 mimics the R6 2020, internally it’s radically different. Gleaning some of the technology we recently saw sister company Cayin releasing as an R01 board for its N6ii modular DAP, the RS6 features a full 24-bit discrete ladder R2R architecture that, if nothing else, harks back to the original complex arrays of R2R DAC designs that preceded Delta Sigma ‘chips’, with all their inherent strengths and weaknesses.

This is not something we can just gloss over, because R2R – and specifically non oversampling or NOS R2R, which forms the core of what HiBy calls its new ‘DARWIN’ architecture, and which I’ll explore in more detail in the full review – has the potential to change the way we listen to music with headphones in general, and IEMs in particular.

In my experience, R2R, when implemented properly, lends itself to a more ‘analog’ sound than what many still consider as digital-sounding Delta Signa designs. This is even more apparent when set to non-oversampling mode, which keeps the audio in the analog domain, although you also have the option of switching to 16x digital oversampling for more technically ‘accurate’ noise filtering.

Without spoiling anything, I can tell you this analog quality – which is difficult to describe but easy to hear – is one of the first things I noticed on my first listen with the RS6. The effect can either be very subtle or ‘night and day’, depending on the music you listen to, but was most evident to me in the tonality and presentation of vocals, which for want of a better phrase, sound effortlessly realistic on the RS6.

HiBy has linked its R2R hardware to a highly-configurable software system, managed by a dedicated FPGA chip that allows for various filters and adjustments that tweak the source files before they’re sent to the R2R array for conversion to sound signals. These range from high-level noise filters to IEM-specific sonic templates. To be honest I haven't really used any of these tweaks or filters yet, and don't plan to either, but for the tweakers among you, it's all there and ready to click.

Also, being HiBy, you have access to the ingenious system-wide MSEB EQ, which I personally prefer to ‘traditional’ EQ software because it allows me to tweak the sound based on ‘real world’ descriptors, like note thickness or sibilance. And since it’s system-wide, MSEB is one of the only EQ solutions you can use with anyAndroid music player or streaming software.

Again, I’ll delve more into the specifics of R2R and the pros (and cons) in the full review, but for the purposes of this post, it’s enough to say that yes, the RS6 comes from the same lineage as some of the better R2R DACs I’ve owned and used in the past.

RS6_14.jpg

Sound

Since I’ve already started talking about sound, let’s dive right in, shall we: the RS6 is a powerful performer that will easily drive all but the most insensitive headphones and IEMs. At the same time, it’s not too powerful that it hisses with any of my IEMs, but then neither does the R8, which some folks I know had issues with, so YMMV here.

While I don’t consider DAPs to have a ‘sound’ per se – they will affect the IEMs you plug into them in different ways, depending on how the DAC is tuned and how the amplification stage is designed. That said, the RS6 has a warm tilt with my IEMs in that its bass emphasis – and midbass specifically – sits several notches above neutral. But this effect is far more pronounced out the box than it is once the array of R2R transistors and other electronics have been given enough playtime.

I want to make this point here because it’s an important one: to my ears the RS6 benefits greatly from extended burn-in, and once burned-in, the sound audibly shifts away from its pre-burn-in characteristics. The main changes I heard on my own unit was, tonally, in the level of warmth and overall midrange and treble forwardness (tighter bass and a more open midrange post-burn-in), and technically, in the size and shape of the soundstage (noticeably larger stage post-burn-in). Both these changes also affect perceived detail, and the RS6 indeed sounds more detailed to me now than it did a few weeks’ back when it was fresh.

The biggest takeaway here, sound-wise, is that the RS6 isn’t aiming to be a neutral or ‘reference’ source, which is closer to how the R8 was tuned, for example. Instead, it’s intent on adding some ‘fun’ to the music, musicality if you will – depending on your own personal definition of musical. But to say that it’s warmer than average, with a fullness of tone and a characteristic thump in the bass, would be fair.

I’d also say there’s some mid-forwardness to the sound, with vocals perceptibly closer to my ears than they are with the R8, and although initially that was a bit too much of a good thing with an already mid-forward IEM like the Legend EVO, over time it’s settled down nicely to the point where the two are a much more synergistic pairing.

Technically the RS6 is a strong performer, just don't expect flagship-level technicalities and you won't be dissapointed. While $1400 plus change is not an insignificant amount of money to pay for a DAP, this ‘first iteration’ of the RS6 earns its price tag in an already competitive market, especially with ‘dongle style’ devices starting to challenge the technical performance of many higher-priced DAPs.

To be more specific, while it doesn’t quite hit R8-level technicalities, at least in terms of absolute detail retrieval, soundstage size and instrument separation, it’s not going to hold back an already-capable IEM in these departments. Technicalities aside, some may also prefer the more aggressive, punchy tuning of the RS6, especially if you have leaner, brighter or balanced IEMs that can either use some taming or some livening up from time to time. The synergy with the Sennheiser IE 900, for example, is sublime to my ears, but I’m also finding lots to like with one of the biggest bad-a** bass IEMs in the business in the Legend EVO.

Suffice it to say I’ll take a much deeper dive into the tonal and technical characteristics of the RS6 in the full review.

RS6_17.jpg

Stay tuned

Make no mistake, the HiBy RS6 is one of the standout products in the fast-moving DAP world this year. While R2R DAPs are not exactly new – there are several highly-lauded and far more expensive ‘summit-fi’ R2R DAPs that have set a very high bar for sound quality – the RS6 is the first dedicated, discrete R2R DAP built on the fastest current open Android platform (for a DAP). As you’ll see in the review, that’s a big deal.

More than that, it’s based on a highly flexible hardware and software architecture that will hopefully see significant investment and development in the short and long term, and with it bring additional gains in performance and functionality to the RS6 and any future DARWIN-based DAPs.

Please stay tuned for the full review to see how I’ve personally tailored the RS6 for my own preferences, both in terms of sound and UX. In the meantime, feel free to join the discussion, PM me with questions, or if you’re an R2R aficionado like me, take a leap of faith and get the RS6 for yourself.
thanks for the first look write up. cant wait till it arrives
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 11:53 AM Post #1,044 of 2,769

gLer

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Posts
10,967
Likes
29,617
Location
Tatooine
You have the Traillii too right? How’s the match up? Placed order for the rs6 yesterday and I plan to keep my stack as rs6–>first times—> traillii
Hi, no I don't, but I've spent quite a bit of qulaity time with Traillii (though not with the RS6). I'm fairly sure the Traillii will be an excellent matchup, since Traillii sounds good out of just about anything.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 11:58 AM Post #1,045 of 2,769

HiFiHawaii808

Headphoneus Supremus
Hardcore Head-Fi'er
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Posts
7,890
Likes
23,469
Location
Honolulu
First Look: HiBy RS6

Inspired by an earlier exchange with @Deezel177 I decided that some of my copious notes on the RS6 can be put to better use in a ‘First Look’ post. In case you're wondering, this is not my full review of the RS6, which I can't confirm or deny will drop next week. But hopefully it will give you an initial feel for what is shaping up to be a very interesting and potentially game-changing DAP.

For me, the HiBy RS6 is a milestone product. For the first time ever, as far as I know, we have a DAP that combines a relatively modern SoC and a relatively modern and highly customized open Android platform with…drumroll…a fully discrete, NOS-capable R2R ladder DAC.

It’s one the most exciting developments I’ve seen in the still young and rapidly growing DAP market to date, and not one that I thought I’d see for a while yet, given the technical challenges of implementing a high-performance audiophile-quality discrete ladder DAC into a miniature form factor. Yet here we are.

RS6_02.jpg

Unboxing

If you’re already familiar with HiBy’s R6 2020 DAP, you’ll be familiar with the RS6. Physically the RS6 shares many of the same – if not identical – design, build, and operational traits to its 'predecessor', although the RS series is an entirely new platform for HiBy, so the RS6 doesn't follow on directly from the R6 or R8.

The chassis uses the same ‘masculine’ design motif of the R6 2020 and R8 DAPs, only unlike the former, is now made from copper rather than aluminium. This makes the RS6 about 100g heavier than the R6 2020, but still lightweight enough to be comfortably portable. Unlike the edgy design, the rather ‘feminine’ rose gold plating may or may not be to your taste, but at the time of writing that’s the only colorway it comes in.

Screen (1080p 443PPI), internal storage and RAM (64GB and 4GB respectively), battery (4500mAH good for 8 hours of normal use), platform (Snapdragon 660), OS (HiBy OS based on Android 9) and inputs/outputs (SD slot, 3.5mm and 4.4mm SE and balanced discrete line out and headphone out ports, USB-C 3.1 port) – all stay exactly the same as the R6. Even the small knurled volume dial is similar – though it seems to be more responsive than the R8’s.

What does this all mean? It means that, like the R6 2020 and R8 before it, the RS6 sits comfortably near the top of the DAP tree in terms of UI and navigation speed, app compatibility, and software stability and configurability. For the types of apps you’re likely to use with it – I’m thinking local music apps first and foremost, followed by streaming apps, wired and wireless file management, multimedia, web browsing, or if you’re more adventurous, some productivity and entertainment apps as well – the RS6 is one of the fastest, most stable and most responsive DAPs you can buy today.

My review unit shipped with two custom leather cases for the RS6 – a tan-coloured case that comes standard with the retail version of the DAP, and a more premium-looking green leather case made popular when the RS6 was first launched. Sadly, the green case is only available as an optional add-on for $80, but for me, it’s $80 well spent given how much better I think the RS6’s copper sheen looks clad in all-green.

You also get two pre-applied screen protectors for the Gorilla glass front and back, and two cables, one USB-C to A for charging and data transfer, and one USB-C to coax for digital connection to an external DAC. Overall a fairly premium set of accessories befitting a premium product.

I’ll go into more detail in the full review, but that should be enough to give you a decent visual of the RS6. If not, try this:

RS6_collage.jpg

Internals

If externally the RS6 mimics the R6 2020, internally it’s radically different. Gleaning some of the technology we recently saw sister company Cayin releasing as an R01 board for its N6ii modular DAP, the RS6 features a full 24-bit discrete ladder R2R architecture that, if nothing else, harks back to the original complex arrays of R2R DAC designs that preceded Delta Sigma ‘chips’, with all their inherent strengths and weaknesses.

This is not something we can just gloss over, because R2R – and specifically non oversampling or NOS R2R, which forms the core of what HiBy calls its new ‘DARWIN’ architecture, and which I’ll explore in more detail in the full review – has the potential to change the way we listen to music with headphones in general, and IEMs in particular.

In my experience, R2R, when implemented properly, lends itself to a more ‘analog’ sound than what many still consider as digital-sounding Delta Signa designs. This is even more apparent when set to non-oversampling mode, which keeps the audio in the analog domain, although you also have the option of switching to 16x digital oversampling for more technically ‘accurate’ noise filtering.

Without spoiling anything, I can tell you this analog quality – which is difficult to describe but easy to hear – is one of the first things I noticed on my first listen with the RS6. The effect can either be very subtle or ‘night and day’, depending on the music you listen to, but was most evident to me in the tonality and presentation of vocals, which for want of a better phrase, sound effortlessly realistic on the RS6.

HiBy has linked its R2R hardware to a highly-configurable software system, managed by a dedicated FPGA chip that allows for various filters and adjustments that tweak the source files before they’re sent to the R2R array for conversion to sound signals. These range from high-level noise filters to IEM-specific sonic templates. To be honest I haven't really used any of these tweaks or filters yet, and don't plan to either, but for the tweakers among you, it's all there and ready to click.

Also, being HiBy, you have access to the ingenious system-wide MSEB EQ, which I personally prefer to ‘traditional’ EQ software because it allows me to tweak the sound based on ‘real world’ descriptors, like note thickness or sibilance. And since it’s system-wide, MSEB is one of the only EQ solutions you can use with anyAndroid music player or streaming software.

Again, I’ll delve more into the specifics of R2R and the pros (and cons) in the full review, but for the purposes of this post, it’s enough to say that yes, the RS6 comes from the same lineage as some of the better R2R DACs I’ve owned and used in the past.

RS6_14.jpg

Sound

Since I’ve already started talking about sound, let’s dive right in, shall we: the RS6 is a powerful performer that will easily drive all but the most insensitive headphones and IEMs. At the same time, it’s not too powerful that it hisses with any of my IEMs, but then neither does the R8, which some folks I know had issues with, so YMMV here.

While I don’t consider DAPs to have a ‘sound’ per se – they will affect the IEMs you plug into them in different ways, depending on how the DAC is tuned and how the amplification stage is designed. That said, the RS6 has a warm tilt with my IEMs in that its bass emphasis – and midbass specifically – sits several notches above neutral. But this effect is far more pronounced out the box than it is once the array of R2R transistors and other electronics have been given enough playtime.

I want to make this point here because it’s an important one: to my ears the RS6 benefits greatly from extended burn-in, and once burned-in, the sound audibly shifts away from its pre-burn-in characteristics. The main changes I heard on my own unit was, tonally, in the level of warmth and overall midrange and treble forwardness (tighter bass and a more open midrange post-burn-in), and technically, in the size and shape of the soundstage (noticeably larger stage post-burn-in). Both these changes also affect perceived detail, and the RS6 indeed sounds more detailed to me now than it did a few weeks’ back when it was fresh.

The biggest takeaway here, sound-wise, is that the RS6 isn’t aiming to be a neutral or ‘reference’ source, which is closer to how the R8 was tuned, for example. Instead, it’s intent on adding some ‘fun’ to the music, musicality if you will – depending on your own personal definition of musical. But to say that it’s warmer than average, with a fullness of tone and a characteristic thump in the bass, would be fair.

I’d also say there’s some mid-forwardness to the sound, with vocals perceptibly closer to my ears than they are with the R8, and although initially that was a bit too much of a good thing with an already mid-forward IEM like the Legend EVO, over time it’s settled down nicely to the point where the two are a much more synergistic pairing.

Technically the RS6 is a strong performer, just don't expect flagship-level technicalities and you won't be dissapointed. While $1400 plus change is not an insignificant amount of money to pay for a DAP, this ‘first iteration’ of the RS6 earns its price tag in an already competitive market, especially with ‘dongle style’ devices starting to challenge the technical performance of many higher-priced DAPs.

To be more specific, while it doesn’t quite hit R8-level technicalities, at least in terms of absolute detail retrieval, soundstage size and instrument separation, it’s not going to hold back an already-capable IEM in these departments. Technicalities aside, some may also prefer the more aggressive, punchy tuning of the RS6, especially if you have leaner, brighter or balanced IEMs that can either use some taming or some livening up from time to time. The synergy with the Sennheiser IE 900, for example, is sublime to my ears, but I’m also finding lots to like with one of the biggest bad-a** bass IEMs in the business in the Legend EVO.

Suffice it to say I’ll take a much deeper dive into the tonal and technical characteristics of the RS6 in the full review.

RS6_17.jpg

Stay tuned

Make no mistake, the HiBy RS6 is one of the standout products in the fast-moving DAP world this year. While R2R DAPs are not exactly new – there are several highly-lauded and far more expensive ‘summit-fi’ R2R DAPs that have set a very high bar for sound quality – the RS6 is the first dedicated, discrete R2R DAP built on the fastest current open Android platform (for a DAP). As you’ll see in the review, that’s a big deal.

More than that, it’s based on a highly flexible hardware and software architecture that will hopefully see significant investment and development in the short and long term, and with it bring additional gains in performance and functionality to the RS6 and any future DARWIN-based DAPs.

Please stay tuned for the full review to see how I’ve personally tailored the RS6 for my own preferences, both in terms of sound and UX. In the meantime, feel free to join the discussion, PM me with questions, or if you’re an R2R aficionado like me, take a leap of faith and get the RS6 for yourself.
Thanks for the initial impressions review. I own the R6 2020 and I was thinking about upgrading to this DAP. Given your description of the signature, I am afraid that what I don't like about the R6 2020 won't be fixed with the RS6. The DX300 better hits my preferences. I think I'll consider the DX300 Max instead.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 12:05 PM Post #1,046 of 2,769

gLer

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Posts
10,967
Likes
29,617
Location
Tatooine
Thanks for the initial impressions review. I own the R6 2020 and I was thinking about upgrading to this DAP. Given your description of the signature, I am afraid that what I don't like about the R6 2020 won't be fixed with the RS6. The DX300 better hits my preferences. I think I'll consider the DX300 Max instead.
By that do you mean the warmer sound/tonality? I haven't actually heard the R6 2020 myself, but will compare the RS6 and R8 in-depth in my review. I don't consider transportable DAPs like the 300MAX useful for my own use case, but I'm sure they pack a real punch if you need that sort of power and 'technical reference' sound.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 12:09 PM Post #1,047 of 2,769

HiFiHawaii808

Headphoneus Supremus
Hardcore Head-Fi'er
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Posts
7,890
Likes
23,469
Location
Honolulu
By that do you mean the warmer sound/tonality? I haven't actually heard the R6 2020 myself, but will compare the RS6 and R8 in-depth in my review. I don't consider transportable DAPs like the 300MAX useful for my own use case, but I'm sure they pack a real punch if you need that sort of power and 'technical reference' sound.
The warmer tonality is fine. It's the veiled treble that I don't like. I prefer a more balanced signature.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 12:14 PM Post #1,048 of 2,769

gLer

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Posts
10,967
Likes
29,617
Location
Tatooine
The warmer tonality is fine. It's the veiled treble that I don't like. I prefer a more balanced signature.
There's no treble veil as far as I can tell. Then again I don't have particualrly bright or trebly IEMs (not my cup of tea), but I don't feel the RS6 is selling any of my IEMs' treble short. If anything it opens it up a bit more than I'm used to with the R8, with more contrast to the music as a result.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 12:19 PM Post #1,049 of 2,769

HiFiHawaii808

Headphoneus Supremus
Hardcore Head-Fi'er
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Posts
7,890
Likes
23,469
Location
Honolulu
There's no treble veil as far as I can tell. Then again I don't have particualrly bright or trebly IEMs (not my cup of tea), but I don't feel the RS6 is selling any of my IEMs' treble short. If anything it opens it up a bit more than I'm used to with the R8, with more contrast to the music as a result.
I'll have to give it a listen. I love the size and the feature implementation of the R6 2020. I just don't like the signature.

I am planning on going to CanJam New York and I know that Musicteck will be there, so I should get a chance to hear it.
 
Last edited:
Nov 4, 2021 at 12:25 PM Post #1,050 of 2,769

rlw6534

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Posts
2,484
Likes
1,902
Location
Clemson, SC USA - Down by the lake
Just read this review and it feels as though it was a bit of a disappointment which is surprising.


Maybe he watched Crin's latest Youtube video... :)

 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top