HiBy R8 returns fully upgraded in quality, functionality and appearance!

Faye Zhou

The R8 gen 1 was launched in 2020, which is now 3½ years ago.  Even today, the R8 gen 1 is still a product worth buying, but HiBy has also given it a complete upgrade in the form of the R8 II newly announced on 8 April.  Now, the R8 makes its return in the form of the R8 II with a unique exterior design and a uniquely high fidelity audio processing architecture.

So what has been upgraded?

  • Intuitive unboxing

HiBy Music went for a more environmentally friendly packaging design this time, with lasered silver highlighting the product model.  Compared to regular packaging, the dual door opening design lets users see the whole design of the unit on first opening, adding an air of ceremony to the unboxing.  Included are the R8 II player, a type-C USB cable (for data transfer and charging), warranty card and product manual.  By putting the money on the device itself, and seeing level with eco-friendly major manufacturers, we let customers own this high quality player at a more affordable price.

  • All-new audio processing architecture

Classical tuning being a major selling point of the R8 II doesn’t mean it runs flat on modern genres, as it sports an all new Darwin-MPA (Multiphase PWM Array) audio processing architecture independently researched and developed by HiBy.

The first generation R8 used dual AKM4497 DAC chips.  Rather than using any DAC chip, the R8II uses an all-new Darwin-MPA architecture, which is different from the R2R architecture of the first Darwin units.

The Darwin-MPA (Multiphase PWM Array) continues the flexible design of Darwin-R2R, having most of the same distinguishing features as Darwin-R2R.  To work with the internal delta-sigma modulators, input signals are oversampled to 128x via the flexible Darwin v2 filter system (which may optionally emulate various types of non-oversampling DAC functionality via the 3 built-in NOS filters or follow a hybrid approach via the built-in Darwin Ultra filter).  The oversampling (or non-oversampling) processing follows a cascaded FIR design with a highly precise 1024-tap opening stage.The output stage includes 16 channels of current-mode D/A conversion, in conjunction with I/V conversion amplification and “lowpass” filtering only at MHz frequencies thanks to the exemplary oversampling (or non-oversampling) implementation for an exquisitely open sound of extraordinary bandwidth that is provided at a modest power consumption, in keeping with the identity of a “portable” DAP.

  • All-new industrial design

The exterior ID design is a major selling point of the R8 II, and very new and different from the R8 1st gen.  R8 1st gen is made in stainless steel and aluminium alloy versions, while the R8 II incorporates Alcantara, “material of the future” that is used even in supercars.  This is the first cooperation collaboration between a Chinese brand and Alcantara.

The material not only confers a high grade tactile feeling to the R8 II, but is highly comfortable to hold, and greatly reduces the chassis weight.  Then what about heat dissipation?  HiBy Music installed copper plates within, dissipating heat to the stainless steel sidewalls;  users will not experience a hot backplate in use.

As a culmination of advanced technologies, Alcantara is a avant-garde material able to take on different shapes and surfaces, and a guarantee for beauty and tactile enjoyment.  This material requires advanced manual labour procedures as well as professional industrial production (its composition a trade secret to this day).  Alcantara is a keyword for modern living.

Alcantara is elegant in outlook, gentle to the touch yet hard wearing and easy to maintain.  Alcantara may take on any design shape required, and it is hard to describe its exact product category owing to its unique properties.  One may say that Alcantara is a product unto itself.

As well as the Alcantara on the R8 II itself, HiBy Music also includes an Alcantara-lined protective case for the R8II.

Other than the carefully selected material, the R8 II also incorporates the unique external design cues from several product lines.  It hints at the button arrangement and material of the first generation HiBy R6 pro as well as the dual curve design language of the R6 pro II, and combines this with a curved stainless steel chassis for a sleek aerodynamic look befitting a supercar, creating a feast for the eyes of owners from any angle.

The R8 II is also a work from the heart for HiBy Music in terms of ergonomics, colour, material and finish.  Our designers shaped the device carefully and made good use of appropriate materials to reduce the weight and weightiness of the device.  The well crafted lines, tirelessly polished stainless steel chassis and the tactilely excellent Alcantara work together to place the R8 II comfortably onto the palm of your hand as your fingers slip naturally onto the well-placed buttons, for a flagship-level experience even before the first note is played.

  • Upgraded componentry and ability all around

HiBy R8 gen 1 holds its place well in the market despite having come out 3½ years ago.  Even so, the R8 II makes several concrete upgrades over the R8 I.  Firstly, in terms of format support, the R8 II may play up to DSD1024 as well as PCM1536, whilst the R8 I could only play up to DSD512 and PCM768.

In terms of processing, the R8 II has moved up to a fully open Android 12 OS, with Snapdragon 665 SoC as well as generous storage at 8+256GB for a smooth user and audio experience.  At the same time, a 5.9” 1080p+ high definition display gives visual entertainment to users.  These are up from 6+128GB and 5.5” screen of the R8 I .

As for battery capacity which HiFi aficionados are surely concerned about, this is up from 10000mAh for the R8 I to the 12000mAh for the R8 II, a capacity reserved for our flagship.

Furthermore, the R8 II supports class A / AB dual headphone amplification, turbo mode and utilizes two ADA4625-A op-amps;  supports systemwide bitperfect audio via DTA technology;  has 4-way independent power suppliers for digital, DAC, preamp and amp stages;  and is USB3.2 compatible for up to 10 gigabit transfer speeds for data.

We also added a particularly user-friendly feature: independent volume memories for all the 4 line and headphone outputs 3.5 and 4.4mm.  Never worry about blasting your ears by mistake again!