HiBy is a well-known audio brand established in 2011 that is specialized in research, development, production and marketing of Portable HiFi Audio products such like DAP’s, USB & Bluetooth DAC/Amplifier’s, In-Ear Monitors and Accessories. Moreover, HiBy is also a highly experienced company in development of Software’s such like the HiByMusic application for Android & iOS devices and of course HiBy OS that is a widely used professional Portable Audio Operating Systems (OS).
HiBy has released recently their New DAP (Digital Audio Player) the R6 GEN III, which is the latest member of the popular R6 series. The R6 GEN III, which is equipped with a 5” 720P IPS Touch display comes with some impressive Hardware features like a Dual ES9038Q2M DAC Chip, a Class A/AB discrete Amplifier section, Dual Independent Crystal Oscillators, a powerful Snapdragon 665 SoC that is supported by 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM. The device is powered by a 4500mAh large battery with 18W fast charging support. HiBy has designed the R6 GEN III with four output ports, which is a combination of 1x 3.5m SE phone out, 1x 4.4mm Balanced out, 1x 3.5mm Line out and 4.4mm Balanced Line output.
HiBy R6 GEN III is also a strong contender on the software side that comes with the latest customized Open Android 12 OS. Moreover, the device supports full 16x MQA decoding, Native DSD up to DSD512 and offers system wide bit-perfect audio with HiBy’s latest Direct Transport Architecture (DTA).
I would like to thank HiBy for providing me the R6 GEN III Digital Audio Player. I am not affiliated with HiBy beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The New HiBy R6 GEN III comes for a pretty affordable price of $499.00 US$ especially with respect of all the Hardware & Software features. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package & Accessories:
The HiBy R6 GEN III came inside a stylish looking rectangular black box that has a cardboard sleeve in blue color with some company and product related brandings in gold color on its surface.
The box of the HiBy R6 GEN III contains the following items/accessories;
- 1 x HiBy R6 GEN III Digital Audio Player
- 1 x USB A to USB Type-C cable for file transfer and charging
- 3 x PVC Screen Protectors (2x came pre-installed front/back)
- 1 x Semi Transparent Protective Silicone Case
- 1 x User Manual
- 1 x Warranty card
Design & Build Quality:
HiBy products are known with their impressive build quality and eye catching design language and the New R6 GEN III is no exception. It has a very similar design based on previous R6 devices that looks very esthetic.
The R6 GEN III features an aluminum alloy chassis that is available in two different color options, which are black and the one in gunmetal grey color same like my review unit. The metal body has a very solid appearance that gives the device a premium look and feel.
The R6 GEN III Digital Audio Player has dimensions of 129.4×73.1×15.6mm and weights approx. 250g.
On the front of the HiBy R6 GEN III is a 5” 720P (1280×720) IPS Touch display with an olephobic anti-fingerprint coated surface that came pre-installed with a PVC screen protector, which is a nice addition. The screen quite responsive and offers an adequate color reproduction (16.8 million), resolution and outdoor visibility that meets my expectation from a Digital Audio Player at this price level.
The display has a nice 2.5D curved design on the corners and sports the HiBy branding near the bottom.
On the top device is the volume control knob that has a nicely tactile surface and good response.
The left surface of the chassis features the power/wake up button, an LED status indicator and 3 more buttons that are dedicated for actions like Play/Pause, Next and Previous track.
At the bottom of the R6 GEN III are the analog and digital interfaces of the device that do have a nice finish in gold color.
Here are the 4.4mm Balanced & 3.5mm Single Ended Line outputs, the multifunctional USB Type-C digital interface and the 3.5mm SE Phone out & 4.4mm Balanced outputs.
The USB Type-C port supports Digital Out, Data (File Transfers) and charging functions.
On the left side of the device is the Micro SD card slot that supports cards up to 2TB.
The rear side features a glass panel that that has also a pre-installed PVC protector.
Here are the HiBy Brand logo and some industrial certifications (CE, FCC, etc.), the DSD logo and the Hi-Res Audio/Wireless brandings.
- Operating System : Open Android 12 OS
- SoC : Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
- CPU : 11nm 8-Core Kryo 260, 2.2GHz.
- GPU : Adreno 610
- Display : 5” 720P IPS Touch Display 16:9
- RAM : 4GB
- ROM : 64GB
- MicroSD Support : 1x up to <2TB
- DAC : Dual ESS ES9038Q2M
- AMP : Class A/AB discrete
- OPAMP : 2x OPA1652
- Analog Out : 3.5mm SE/4.4.BAL Phone & Line Out
- Digital Out : USB Type-C & Coaxial digital out
- Phone Out : 3.5mm Single Ended / 4.4mm Balanced
- Line Out : 3.5mm Single Ended / 4.4mm Balanced
- Phone Out Power : 125mW @ 32 Ohm
- Balanced Out Power : 405mW @ 32 Ohm
- Frequency Response : 20Hz – 45kHz
- THD-N 3.5mm SE : 0.0008 3.5mm (A/AB)
- THD-N 4.4mm BAL : 0.0005 (A) / 0.0009 (AB)
- Noise Floor : 2.1 (3.5mm SE) / 3.5 (4.4mm BAL)
- SNR : 119dB (3.5mm SE) / 120dB (4.4mm BAL)
- DNR : 116dB (3.5mm SE) / 117dB (4.4mm BAL)
- Bluetooth Standard : 5.0
- Bluetooth Two-Way : SBC/AAC/APTX/APTX-HD/LDAC/UAT
- Wi-Fi : Dual Band 2.4 GHz & 5.0 GHz
- Battery Capacity : 4500mAh PD2.0 Quick Charge
- Battery Life : 3.5mm PO up to 9h(A)/15h (AB) – 4.4mm BAL up to 6h(A)/12h(AB)
- Dimensions : 129.4×73.1×15.6mm
- Weight : 250g
Hardware & Software Features:
The HiBy R6 GEN III is a portable Digital Audio Player that features some impressive hardware and software specs that I will share with you.
A. Snapdragon 665 SoC & Storage:
The HiBy R6 GEN III features Snapdragon 665 Octa-Core SoC that is produced with the 11nm CPU technology that is more power efficient compared to the Snapdragon 660 that is produced with the older 14nm technology. The SD665 is equipped with the pretty capable Andreno 610 GPU, which is able to provide a smooth GUI (Graphical User Interface) for a Smartphone-Like user experience. The SD665 SoC of the R6 GEN III is supported with 4GB of RAM that provides a pretty fluid UI with the latest Open Android 12 Operating System.
The device has an internal storage capacity of 64GB and comes with a single MicroSD card slot for storage expansion, which supports a theoretical expansion capacity of up to 2TB.
B. Digital to Analog Converter (DAC):
The HiBy R6 GEN III is equipped with a high performance 9038Q2M Dual DAC Chip (Digital to Analog Converter) of the company ESS Technology. The 9038Q2M comes with ESS patented 32-bit HyperStream® architecture, which offers a decent THD+N, Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), Dynamic Range and Crosstalk performance.
The results are quite good with a THD+N of 0.0008% over the 3.5mm SE and 0.0005% over the 4.4mm BAL output with Class A amplification. The SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) is about 119dB over the 3.5mm SE and 120dB over the 4.4mm BAL output.
The ES9038Q2M DAC Chip inside the R6 GEN III handles up to 32-bit 768kHz PCM and DSD files up to DSD512.
C. Supported File Formats:
The HiBy R6 GEN III is capable to play a wide range of mainstream and Lossless audio formats such like MP3, FLAC, APE AIFF, WMA, WAV, ALAC and supports also Native hardware DSD (Dsf, Dff, ISO) Decoding up to DSD512.
The R6 GEN III is also MQA certified device that supports “Master Quality Authenticated” Audio standard. The MQA encoding folds studio-quality audio into files that are small enough to stream or to store in larger quantities, which is a benefit for portable devices. But the encoding process doesn’t just make hi-res music files smaller. It makes them sound much better, too. The R6 GEN III is able to unfold 16x MQA files.
Moreover, the HiBy R6 GEN III features a system-wide bit-perfect audio architecture that enables high-resolution audio decoding on different applications as well.
D. Class A / AB discrete amplification & Dual Pro Audio Crystal Oscillators:
The HiBy R6 GEN III is equipped with Class A high power circuit and Class AB efficient amplification mode. You can easily switch between high power and high efficiency mode to safe battery with a dedicated software toggle. The Class A circuit is constructed in combination of 2x OPA1652 Opamp’s for high output power, 16x hand matched transistor units for almost zero-crossover distortion and faster transient response and 4x Elna audio capacitors to improve the sound texture.
Moreover, the HiBy R6 GEN III features “Two dedicated Crystal Oscillators” at 45.158Mhz and 49.152Mhz for 1024x oversampling of 44.1kHz and 48kHz audio alike at femtosecond accuracy with phase noise down to -159dBc/Hz @ 1kHz (0.0000001%).
E. High-Resolution Wireless Connectivity & Direct Transfer Architecture:
The HiBy R6 GEN III supports high-resolution wireless Bluetooth connectivity. It has the latest Bluetooth V5.0 connectivity with high-resolution UAT, LDAC, AptX HD, AptX, AAC, SBC, wireless codec support. It also has 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi connectivity for a reliable and stable wireless internet connection. It also has DLNA, Airplay, and WiFi audio transfer functions.
The R6 GEN III features HiBy’s “Direct Transfer Architecture” in short DTA, a system-wide bit-perfect audio architecture. It provides you with bit-perfect audio across different applications on the device. Enjoy high-resolution lossless music with Apple Music, Tidal, Qobuz, UAPP, and several other applications that support bit-perfect audio.
F. Battery Life:
The HiBy R6 GEN III is equipped with a 4500mAh battery that offers a pretty good battery life thanks to the power efficient Snapdragon 665 that is produced with the 11nm Technology and the combination of its Class AB amplification mode. I have tested the battery life of the HiBy R6 GEN III under the following condition and file formats.
Testing Conditions: Volume: 70 / Gain: Low / File: Flac 16bit/44.1kHz / Screen: Off
- Class A Mode : 3.5mm SE approx. 8.5 – 9 Hours / 4.4mm BAL approx. 6 Hours
- Class AB Mode : 3.5mm SE approx. 14 – 14.5 Hours / 4.4mm BAL approx. 11 Hours
The R6 GEN III supports 18W quick charge with the PD2.0 Quick Charge standard, which is a nice addition.
HiBy has chosen Qualcomm’s 8-core Snapdragon 665 SoC chip as the core of the R6 GEN III. It is combined with 4 gigabytes of RAM providing a decent performance with a snappy user interface (UI). R6 GEN III is loaded with HiBy OS designed around an open Android 12 operating system. The Open Android OS ecosystem of the R6 GEN III supports countless music and media application from the Google Play Store such like online music services such like Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify, Apple Music and many more.
Another highlight of the R6 GEN III is the HiBy Music Application, which is my favorite player that I am using also on my Smartphone. It offers a very versatile and clean interface with lots of features.
My favorite software feature is the MSEB (Mage Sound 8-Ball) that is developed by the HiBy software team. MSEB is a combination of multiple algorithms based on parametric equalizer (PEQ) and sound field adjustment (in short a DSP tool) that works pretty good If you like to play/transform the sound of your device. I normally do not use any type of EQ settings on any of my devices but the MESB is one of the best solutions in this category.
HiBy R6 GEN III supports HiByCast completely. The HiByCast application supports a “System wide Operation” of different functions on the device from a remote Smartphone or tablet. It includes operating and managing third-party applications as well.
HiBy R6 GEN III Key Features:
- Open Android 12 OS
- 5” IPS 720p Display
- Dual ES9038Q2M Dual DAC
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC
- 4GB RAM+64GB Internal Storage
- Class A/AB Dual Amplification modes
- Pro-Grade Dual Independent Crystal Oscillators
- Full 16x MQA Signal Decoding
- System wide Bit-perfect Audio
- Hi-Res 32-Bit/768kHz PCM & DSD512 signal decoding
- 3.5mm & 4.4mm Dual Output Ports
- Independent Headphone Out & Line-Out Ports
- USB DAC Output, Coaxial Output, Analog Line-Out
- Dual-Band WiFi (2.4GHz/5GHz)
- Two-Way Bluetooth V5.0 Connectivity
- Hi-Res UAT, LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, AAC, SBC Bluetooth Transmission Protocols
- HiByCast Universal Compatibility
- 4500mAh Battery
- PD2.0 Quick Charging
Equipment’s used for this review:
- DAP’s : HiBy R6 GEN III, iBasso DX170
- IEM’s : Westone MACH80, Meze RAI Penta, QoA Margarita, FiiO FA9
- Headphones : HiFiMAN Editon XS, Meze Audio 109 PRO
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (DSD)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- 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 R6 GEN III offers a pretty balanced, natural and mature overall sound presentation, while it also shows a decent performance in terms of overall resolution & technicality. The lower frequency region is produced with a decent level of layering and authority, the midrange on the other hand sounds pretty transparent, natural and resolving. The treble range is shown with a good grade of presence and brilliance, without to have any remarkable over-brightness issues, which could interrupt the overall balanced sound profile.
The HiBy R6 GEN III review has been written after a burn-in period of about 80 – 85 hours. The sound impressions below are mainly based on my experiences over the 4.4mm Balanced output paired with IEM’s like the Meze RAI Penta, Westone Audio MACH80, QoA Margarita, FiiO FH9 and headphones such like the HiFiMAN Edition XS and Meze Audio 109 PRO. I have used the device in Class-A Amplification mode and have deactivated any type of Sound Plug-in or MESB filter.
The HiBy R6 GEN III is a source that offers a pretty dynamic, nicely layered and textured bass response that is pleasant to listen with almost any IEM and Headphone that I have paired with it. It shows just a very minimal amount of coloration that doesn’t affects the overall presentation of any IEM or headphone I have listen to, which is a remarkable plus point for the device. The quite easy to drive Meze Audio 109 Pro and IEM’s such like the FiiO FH9 and Meze Audio RAI Penta sounded quite successful in terms of depth and rumble in the subbass area with songs like Lorde’s “Royals”, Massive Attack’s “Angle” or Rok Nardin’s “Berserks”.
The midbass region of the HiBy R6 GEN III is produced in a fairly balanced and natural manner, with good level of tightness, impact and intensity. This area shows a slightly bit of coloration that is not overdone, which was just audible with the Westone MACH80 that has a neutral bass response. The R6 GEN III offers a decedent sense of authority, speed and clarity, when I have listen to complex songs like Gogo Penguin’s “Raven” and “Murmuration” that do have very complex bass passages. Instruments on the other hand like electro and acoustic guitars are shown with a good amount of body and warmth, while toms and kick drums are punchy and quite musical especially paired with the QoA Margarita and FiiO FH9, which do show a nice synergy.
The midrange of the HiBy R6 GEN III shines with is natural and balanced presentation and a touch of warmth that adds some sense of musicality and avoids a too digital or dry overall timbre while listen to instruments and vocals. The midrange is produced with a good level of clarity and airiness that comes from the upper midrange region that shows mildly coloration that is not overdone.
The midrange stands out with its transparency, natural timbre and surprisingly solid level of micro detail retrieval for a device which such a reasonable pricing, especially when I do feed it with good recorded albums and tracks and pair it with a good earphone or headphone.
The HiBy R6 GEN III has a relative neutral and detailed lower midrange that shows an adequate grade of depth and fullness when I do listen to instruments such like toms, violins and bass guitars. Male vocals on the other such like Isaac Hayes, Barry White and Sting do have a nice sense of fullness when paired with the Meze Audio RAI Penta, FiiO FH9 or QoA Margarita.
The R6 GEN III offers also a pretty dynamic and nicely textured upper midrange presentation, with a resolution that performs beyond its price level while listen to a wide variety of instruments and to vocals. Female vocals for example such like Norah Jones, Adel or Diana Krall are lively and emotional, while instruments like a piano, side flute, violin or mandolin are reproduced with good sense of clarity, presence and extension.
The treble range of the HiBy R6 GEN III has a slightly bright and relative energetic presentation that is a common signature of the ESS 9038Q2M DAC chip. The treble range offers a solid performance in terms of attack, sparkle and extension while listen to a wide variety of instruments.
The transitions from the upper midrange towards the lower treble region are relative controlled when paired with IEM’s like the Meze RAI Penta, FiiO FH9, while the Westone Audio MACH80 has shown some low amount of sibilance and sharpness. The lower treble area sounds fairly bright and is able to produce an above average level of clarity and definition. Instruments such as pianos or organs are shown with a decent grade of presence.
The upper treble range of the R6 GEN III sounds in general pretty natural and detailed, especially and is able to create a good sense of airiness and sparkle when I do listen to tenor saxophones, tenor and soprano voices. Instrument such as hi-hats in metal music do come slightly from the background, while the hits still quite audible. Crash cymbals on the other hand do sound in general pretty realistic and detailed, while the extension is on an efficient level.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The HiBy R6 GEN6 that has a very dark and clean background offers ideal conditions for a precise separation and localizations of instruments and vocals. The pretty airy and spacious soundstage atmosphere of the R6 GEN III shows a pretty realistic sense depth and wideness that fulfils my expectations from a Digital Audio Player at this price level.
HiBy R6 GEN IIII versus iBasso DX170:
The HiBy R6 GEN III shows a slightly warmer tonality compared to the iBasso DX170, while both devices do offer in general a pretty natural vocal and instrument timbre. The subbass response is pretty similar, while the midbass region of the R6 GEN III shows a tad more coloration since it has more body and impact.
The iBasso DX170 has a more forward oriented midrange presentation where instruments and vocals are more upfront. Both devices do offer an excellent level of transparency and resolution in this area for their price tag. The lower midrange of the R6 GEN III shows a bit more body and depth that makes it more enjoyable with male voices or instruments such like an acoustic guitar or percussions.
The upper midrange and highs of the iBasso DX170 sounds slightly more energetic yet a bit more prone to sibilance, while the HiBy R6 GEN III offers a slightly better sense of control, especially with neutral IEM’s like the Westone Audio MACH80. Both devices do offers a decent level of dynamism, resolution and extension in the treble region.
The soundstage of both devices performs pretty well in terms of separation and placement of instruments and vocals. The HiBy R6 GEN III has the upper hand when it comes to the depth of the stage, while iBasso DX170 has the slightly edge when in terms of wideness.
The HiBy R6 GEN III surprised me in a very positive manner, since it is a source with a pretty balanced, natural and mature presentation that offers also a decent performance in terms of resolution & overall technicality that is available for a quite affordable price. Moreover, the R6 GEN III is a source with a fluid UI and easy to use interface thanks to its solid hardware & software configuration. All of these features are combined in a device that is both visually and structurally of high quality. So I can confidently say that the new R6 GEN III from HiBy fully deserves its price tag.
Pros & Cons:
- + Decent Overall Sound Performance for the Price
- + Fluid UI & Mature Ecosystem (Open Android 12, HiBy Music, HiBy Cast, DTA, etc.)
- + MESB Parametric & Sound Plugins
- + Solid Hardware (Snapdragon 665, Dual Crystal Oscillators, Class A/AB amplification, etc.)
- + Good Battery Life (@ Class-AB Mode)
- + Design & Build Quality
- + Competitive Price
- – Power Consumption in Class-A Amplification mode
- – The Silicone case is of high quality but a bit stiff that makes it hard to press the buttons