HiBy FC6 DAC/Amplifier Review
HiBy was established in 2011 and is specialized in research, development and sales of Hi-Fi grade portable audio products such like DAP’s, USB & BT DAC/AMP’s and Earphones. HiBy has also an experienced software team that has developed HiBy OS which is also one of the most widely used professional portable audio Operating Systems (OS) on the market.
The HiBy FC6 is the brand new Ultra-Portable USB DAC/Amplifier of the company in form of a dongle adapter, which is a popular solution these days. The FC6 is a quite small device with some pretty interesting hardware features such like the 24bit R2R DAC design based on HiBy’s innovative DARWIN architecture with DARWIN HDR and Filter support. Moreover, the devices is equipped a FPGA Relocking system, Discrete Headphone AMP stage, an LCD color Display and multifunctional hardware buttons for Volume/Navigation and Menu selection. The FC6 supports also PCM up top 768 kHz, Native DSD up to DS512 and MQA Rendering with 8x unfold.
I would like to thank HiBy for providing me the FC6 USB DAC/Amplifier as review sample. I am not affiliated with HiBy beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The MSRP price fro the HiBy FC6 is 299.00 US$, which is available in two different color options black and green. More information’s can be found under the link bellow;
Package & Accessories:
The HiBy FC6 came inside a relative small cardboard box in features product related brandings on its surface.
The box contains the following items/accessories;
- 1 x HiBy FC6 USB DAC/Amplifier Dongle
- 1 x Type-C to Type-C interconnect Cable
- 1 x USB Type A to Type C interconnect Cable
- 1 x Protective Leather Case
- 1 x Premium Storage Case
- 1 x Print Material (User manual / Warranty Card/ Certificate)
The FC6 comes with a premium looking protective leather case and a beautiful storage box that reminds of a luxurious watch or jewelry box, which are some pretty nice additions.
Design & Build Quality:
The HiBy FC6 is a pretty small and compact Ultra Portable USB DAC/Amplifier in form of a dongle with an excellent overall built quality and a premium look, especially when you use the it with the protective leather case that is included inside the standard package.
The FC6 is a solid looking device that shows a material composition of a CNC machined metal main body and a glass panel on the front.
The main body made from metal has an anodized surface in green color that looks quite esthetic.
The device has dimensions of only 22.4*50*10mm and is also pretty lightweight with just 19grams (exclusive cable).
On the top of the USB DAC/Amplifier is a 0.96 inch LCD color display with a pixel density of 80×160 where you can see information’s such like Volume, Sampling Rate, NOS and Filter, which is a nice feature that you can enter with a the menu button right under the display.
Here is also a multicolor RGB status indicator that lights up in different color depending of the actual file format/status.
- Magenta: MQA Rendering
- Yellow: ≤48k
- Cyan: 64k-192k
- Orange: 352.8k or above
- White: DSD
- Red: Paused
The left surface of the FC4 is equipped with a multi functional two way hardware button for the 30-step volume adjustment and in order to use it for navigation.
At the bottom of the device is the 3.5mm Single Ended headphone output that supports the CTIA standard.
On the top is the USB Type-C digital input interface of the device in order to connect it with your Phone, Tablet or PC.
The rear surface features the HiBy FC6 branding in gold color.
- Model : HiBy FC6
- Display : 0.96 inch LCD (80*160)
- DAC : R-2R DAC Architecture
- AMP : 2x OPA1622
- Analog Outputs : 3.5mm Single Ended
- Digital Inputs : USB Type-C Interface
- Output Power : 100mW @ 32Ω
- Output Level : 1.8Vrms
- THD+N : 0.006% @ 32Ω
- Noise : 2.6μVrms @ 32Ω
- SNR : 117dB
- Dynamic Range : 105dB
- Crosstalk Rejection : 72dB
- Frequency Response : 20-40 kHz (-3dB)
- Supported Formats : PCM up to 768kHz/32bit, up to DSD512 native
- Device Dimensions : 22.4*50*10mm (without cable)
- Weight : 19grams (without cable)
Hardware & Software Features:
The HiBy FC6 is an Ultra Portable USB DAC/Amplifier dongle that offers some pretty interesting hardware features such like a 24bit R2R DAC design based on HiBy’s innovative DARWIN architecture, a FPGA Relocking system and Discrete Headphone AMP stage.
A) DAC, AMP & FPGA Relocking System:
The HiBy FC6 is equipped 96 precisely matched resistors forming an R2R ladder array DAC arrangement that features their in-house developed Darwin Architecture Technology. The R2R DAC matched with FIR filters and NOS/OS switch, creates a decent combination of traditional R2R touch with modern digital filters in a single package. The FC6 offers some remarkable specs such like a Signal to Noise Ration (SNR) of 117dB @ 32Ω and a Total Harmonic Distortion (THD+N) of about 0.006% over the 3.5mm Single Ended output.
The HiBy FC6 has a discrete headphone amplification stage that is equipped with 2x OP1622 OpAmp’s that provides a clean and ample amplification for the sound signal. FC6 adopts also multiple Darwin Filters. The device offers an output power of 100mW @ 32Ω output and up to 1.8Vrms over its 3.5mm Single Ended headphone output.
The FC6 is equipped with FPGA-based dual 45.158MHz and 49.152MHz independent crystal oscillators in order to effectively lower the jitter and to provide the whole audio system a high precision, low jitter clock source.
B) Background & Hissing:
The HiBy FC6 offers a very clean output over its 3.5mm Headphone Output, which makes it to an ideal device for sensitive In-Ear Monitors. Such clean and dark outputs do create ideal condition to concentrate to the details in your songs.
C) Supported Platforms & Formats:
The HiBy FC6 is a very easy to use USB DAC/Amplifier that offers a driver free plug-and-play function. Supported are devices with Android OS, iOS, Mac OS and Windows 10 Computers. The device supports file formats up to PCM 768 kHz/32bit and Native DSD support up to DSD512. Moreover, the FC6 renders MQA files up to 8x unfols.
Equipments used for this review:
- DAC/Amplifiers : HiBy FC6, Cayin RU6
- Sources : Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, ASUS TUF FX504GD
- IEM & Headphones : Westone MACH30 & MACH60, QoA Margarita, Moondrop Void
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Rush – YYZ (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Nobody Weird Like Me (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Rok Nardin – Berserks (Spotify)
- Bear McCreary – Valkyries “God of War OST” (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The HiBy FC6 is a pretty small USB DAC/Amplifier that has a clean, rich and dynamic overall sound presentation, which offers also a decent sonic technical performance. The general tonality is mildly warm and smooth, while it shows a pretty lush and organic instrument timbre. The device stands out with its clean / hiss free background, which helps to concentrate to micro details that could otherwise fade in the background.
This review has been written after a burn-in period of 70 Hours. I have used the stock short profile USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable that came with the device. I have paired the FC6 mainly with my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and ASUS TUF FX504GD Laptop PC. My sound impressions below are based on my pairings with IEM’s like the Westone MACH30, Westone MACH60 and QoA Margarita and headphones such like the Moondrop Void.
The HiBy FC6 shows a pretty comfortable and pleasant to listen to subbass presentation with a nice hint of warmness. The device is able to produce a good level of depth in this area without to add any remarkable coloration. For example, when paired with IEM’s like the QoA Margarita and Westone MACH60, the result is a quite entertaining and nicely soft tonality, along with deep and strong subbass rumbles in songs like Rok Nardin’s “Berserks”, Lorde’s “Royals” or Massive Attack’s “Angel”.
The midbass region of the HiBy FC6 has slightly more intensity compared to the subbass region and shows also a mildly coloration that is not overdone. This area is nicely textured and has a soft character, while the level of resolution and extension of this area meets my expectation from a device at this price level. Here are no audible negative conditions such like a midbass hump or muddiness, while the sense of layering and separation when I do listen to instruments such like a kick and snare drums is on a decent level.
The HiBy FC6 has a pretty musical, lush and nicely textured midrange presentation. The device shows a mildly warm tonality in this area that is not overdone, on the contrary, it adds the midrange a nice sense of musicality while listen to both vocals and instruments.
The lower midrange of the FC6 is produced with a good sense of depth and fullness that was pretty audible while listen to male vocals such like Sting, Dave Gahan or Isaac Hayes. The lower midrange is shown with an above average level of clarity and doesn’t show any remarkable negative conditions such like muddiness or dullness. Instruments on the other hand such like cellos or mandolins do have a good level of body, while their clarity is on a sufficient level.
The HiBy FC6 has a relative mildly pronounced upper midrange tuning that shows an efficient level of dynamism, transparency and resolution, while listen to instruments and vocals. Female vocals for example such like Adel, Edith Piaf or Diana Krall are reproduced in a pretty musical and lively manner, while instruments such like violins and guitars do sound mildly bright and do have a good grade of extension.
The HiBy FC6 comes with a quite natural, nicely smooth and balanced treble tuning that offers a good grade of technical performance such like detail retrieval, extension and separation. The tonality of this area is slightly on the warmer side of neutral that makes the FC6 quite forgiving while listen to treble intensive instruments or to soprano voices. The treble tuning of the FC6 stands out with is excellent level of controlled especially when instruments do play at high level of distortion.
The clarity and definition in the lower treble region is pretty good when I do listen to instruments such like violins and clarinets in classical music or to saxophones or trumpets in jazz music. The general resolution and extension of this area is on a moderate level.
The upper treble region is able to produce an efficient sense of airiness and sparkle, while the extension is slightly short when I do listen to instruments such like snare drums, hi-hats and cymbals. The fairly smooth tuning of both the upper and lower treble region avoids any over-sharpness, which makes the FC6 to a good source for earphones and headphone with a relative bright treble tuning.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The HiBy FC6 stands out with its pretty clean and dark background, which helps to concentrate to micro details that could otherwise fade in the background. The device shows a decent performance in terms of instrument separation and imaging especially in NOS mode. The soundstage is has a moderate level of depth and wideness, while it offers an efficient sense of air between instruments.
HiBy FC6 versus Quloos MC01:
The HiBy FC6 shows a warmer tonality and has also a more musical overall character compared to the Quloos MC01 that shows a neutral oriented presentation.
The subbass region of the HiBy FC6 shows slightly more depth and rumble, while both devices are pretty close when it comes to the authority and extension of this area. The midbass region of the FC6 has a bit more body and impact compared to the MC01, which shows a more linear oriented tuning in this area.
The Quloos MC01 has a more neutral midrange character and sounds also less forgiving, while the HiBy FC6 offers a smoother midrange tuning with a warmer tonality which makes it more musical in this area. The FC6 shows a higher sense of body/fullness compared to MC01 that has the upper hand when it comes to transparency, airiness and realism. Both male and female vocals do sound a bit lusher and musical when I do switch to the FC06 especially in NOS mode. Instruments like violas and acoustic guitars do have more note weight when I listen to the FC6, but do sound slightly more detailed with the MC01.
The upper midrange and treble region of both the HiBy FC6 and the Quloos MC01 sounds pretty natural and balanced. The FC06 has the slightly edge when it comes to the control and smoothness while listen to treble intensive instruments such like percussion or pianos. The Quloos MC01 has the slightly edge in the upper treble register in terms of extension and micro detail retrieval.
The soundstage of the Quloos MC01 sounds a bit more airy and spacious and has the upper hand in terms of wideness, while the HiBy FC6 offers a better level of depth.
There are many ultra-portable USB DAC/Amplifier dongle on the market, but none of them are that small and do come with a pretty useful color display and multi-functional hardware buttons like the HiBy FC06, which has also a fantastic built quality. But the most important part of the device is the 24bit R2R DAC design based on HiBy’s innovative DARWIN architecture that offers a very musical and pleasant to listen to music experience especially in NOS mode that I have highly enjoyed.
Pros & Cons:
- + Highly Musical Sound Profile
- + Timbre and tonality of Instruments and Vocals
- + Clean/ Hiss-Free Headphone Output
- + Premium Build Quality & Very Small Size
- + Nice Color Display & Multi-Functional Hardware Buttons
- + Beautiful Leather Case is a Great addition
- – No Balanced Output
- – A bit pricy
- – No lighting cable for Apple users included to the package
Thank you for the Read!