Introduction

HiBy is a Chinese company famous for their music software. Recently, they have released 2 digital audio players (DAPs) in the R3 and R6. I would like to thank HiBy for the review unit of R3. At the moment, their kickstarter campaign is live on https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/844915658/hiby-r3-ultraportable-touchscreen-hi-fi-network-mu and more information can be found on https://www.hiby.com/index_en.aspx .

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Specifications

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU Model: Ingenic X1000E
  • DAC: ES9028Q2M
  • Crystal Oscillators: 45.1584MHz – 49.152MHz
  • Control Method: Touch Control
  • Internal Storage: None
  • Storage Expansion Type: Micro SD Card
  • Maximum Storage Expansion: 2TB

Connectivity

  • WiFi: 2.4GHz 1EEE802.11 b/g/n standards supported
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth V4.1, aptX, supported
  • USB Interface: USB Type C, Two-way USB DAC

Display Screen

  • HiBy Player: HiBy OS – Linux Version
  • Display Size: 3.2 inches full-touch screen
  • Display Type: IPS
  • Resolution: 360 * 480

Buttons & Ports

  • Buttons: Side buttons + touchscreen
  • Headphone Output (PO): 3.5mm standard headphone output jack
  • Line Out: Stand 3.5mm port (Shared LO)
  • Balanced Output: 2.5mm TRRS balanced headphone jack
  • USB Connection: USB Type C (USB 2.0/data transfer)

USB Audio (DAC)

  • DSD Support: DSD 256
  • PCM Support: 384kHz/32Bit

Power Specifications

  • Charging Interface: USB Type C
  • USB Power Adapter: DC 5V/1A
  • Battery: Internal 1600 mAh Li-polymer battery
  • Charging Time: <2.5 hours
  • Battery Life: 11 hours

General

  • Body Material: Aluminium Alloy
  • Gain Control: Low/High
  • Equalizer: 10-band EQ (+/- 12dB), 9 presets
  • Digital Filter: Two Modes: Slow Descent/Sharp Drop
  • System Reboot: Hold Power Buton
  • Firmware Upgrade: Supported via SD card (FAT32, exFAT, NTFS all supported) or via internet
  • Storage Expansion: 1 Micro SD Slot
  • Data Transfer: USB 2.0 High Speed

Headphone Output: 3.5mm

  • Output Power: 56mW+56mW
  • Frequency Response: +/- 3dB 20Hz-40KHz
  • SNR: 118dB
  • Channel Separation: 68dB
  • THD+noise: 0.003%

Balanced Headphone Output: 2.5mm

  • Output Power: 112mW+112mW
  • Frequency Response: +/- 3dB 20Hz-40KHz
  • SNR: 115dB
  • Channel Separation: 86dB
  • THD+noise: 0.003%

Line Out

  • Output Power: 1.1Vrms
  • Frequency Response: +/- 3dB 20Hz-40KHz
  • SNR: 116dB
  • THD+noise: 0.005%

Drive Ability

  • 8-100ohm

Product Dimensions

  • 82 * 61 * 13 mm (3.23 * 2.4 * 0.51 inches)

Product Weight

  • About 95g / 0.21lbs

Lossless Format Support

  • DSD: DSD 64/128/256 ( ‘.dsf’, ‘.dff’ )
  • DSD: DSD64 ( ‘.iso’ )
  • APE Fast/High/Normal: 192kHz/24bit (MAX)
  • APE Exra High: 96kHz/24bit (MAX)
  • APE Insane: 96kHz/24bit (MAX)
  • AIFF: 384kHz/32bit (MAX)
  • FLAC: 384kHz/24bit (MAX)
  • WAV: 384kHz/32bit (MAX)
  • WMA Lossless: 96kHz/24bit (MAX)

Lossy Compression

  • MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG…

Unboxing & Accessories

The HiBy R3 comes in a black package with the model name printed on the front and the words “High Resolution Music Player” are printed below it. There are the brand logo and name at the bottom. It comes with a white protective cover with the model name and brand name too. At the back of the protective cover, there are details on the product. After opening the black package, there are the HiBy R3, white hard protective case, USB-Type C cable and instruction manual.

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DAP Build & Design

The R3 has a rectangular design with rounded edges. Its housing is grey in color. On the front of the R3, there is the Hi-Res Audio sticker on the bottom left. There is a smooth surface. At the top of the R3, there are 3.5mm standard headphone output jack which also serves as line out and 2.5mm TRRS balanced headphone output jack. On the left side of the R3, there are volume up and down buttons. On the right side of the R3, there are previous, play/pause and next buttons. Just right beside the next button are the LED indicator and switch on/off button. At the bottom of the R3, there are Micro SD slot and USB Type C port. There are the brand name and logo on the back of the R3.

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Functionalities

The HiBy R3 is a touchscreen digital audio player (DAP). It has a cool feature in the MageSound 8-ball where you can change the temperature, bass extension, bass texture, note thickness, vocals, female overtones, sibilance, impulse response and air. In addition, there is equalizer. The R3 supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, DLNA and AirPlay. More detailed information can be found under the Specifications section.

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Sound Analysis

Lows

The R3 demonstrates a good amount of sub-bass quantity with a moderate extension. It is able to produce a rather full-bodied sub-bass reproduction. There is a very smooth rendition. The slight warmth contributes to the overall musicality. The bass decay has a moderate speed and agility is slightly lacking. On the other hand, the bass texture is expressed in a smooth manner and it is enjoyable to listen to. The mid-bass has a moderate amount of body which aids in the overall bass. The slam is executed in a soothing manner. Each bass note is articulated well with accuracy. Bass definition has a moderate standard.

Mids

The midrange on the R3 takes on a smooth approach with a tinge of warmth to accompany it. The details retrieval is quite good with a moderate level of transparency. The lower mids has great quantity and it is able to tackle male vocals with ease. The body is sufficient with no signs of dry/hollow feeling. The upper mids has slight forwardness but there is a good control to prevent female vocals from sounding shouty. There is a nice open feel and it gives a soothing listen.

Highs

The treble has a moderate extension and there is no sibilance and harshness. The amount of air rendered is sufficient to give space at the top end and lightens the overall presentation. There is a moderate level of crisp with lack of sparkle. There is great finesse shown. The polite and smooth approach ensures a relaxing listen. The level of details retrieval is moderate. The treble expression has a good control with no aggression.

Soundstage

The soundstage expands quite naturally. The width magnitude is good which gives an open feeling. The depth offers a good amount of space. The width and depth has a good balance and does not compromise on the intimacy level. Positioning of instruments and vocals has a moderate standard. There is minimal congestion when tackling busier tracks.

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Comparisons

HiBy R3 vs Cowon Plenue D

The R3 has more sub-bass quantity while Plenue D has a slight edge in its extension. The Plenue D demonstrates a good control with strong mastery and each bass note is articulated with better accuracy. On the other hand, R3 takes on its sub-bass reproduction with fuller body. The mid-bass on the R3 has more quantity than the Plenue D and it aids in delivery of the slam. The bass texture on the R3 is rendered more smoothly and the bass decay on the Plenue D is quicker with agility. The lower mids on the R3 has slightly more body than the Plenue D and it benefits male vocals. There is better conveying in emotions. The upper mids on the Plenue D has a little bit more forwardness and female vocals are presented with intimacy. The midrange on both displays good details retrieval but Plenue D is ahead slightly with its definition and transparency. Next, for the treble, the Plenue D has more extension and crisp while the the amount of air rendered is similar. The R3 has good smoothness. There is no sibilance and harshness. Lastly, the soundstage on the R3 expands naturally. The Plenue D has a greater stage width while the depth is very similar.

HiBy R3 vs Shanling M2S

The R3 has less sub-bass quantity than the M2S and both commands a similar standard in its extension. The M2S has a slightly fuller sub-bass reproduction while the R3 is clinical in this aspect. The mid-bass on both has similar body and the slam is expressed well. Each bass note on the R3 is articulated with better precision. The bass texture on the M2S is rendered more smoothly than the R3. Bass decay on the R3 is quicker and provides a higher engagement level. The midrange on the R3 is expressed in a cleaner manner with better transparency. The M2S takes on a more full bodied manner. The lower mids on the M2S is slightly thicker than the R3 and provides a lusher feeling. The upper mids on the R3 has extra forwardness which helps to create a more intimate female vocals presentation. In the treble section, the R3 has more magnitude for the extension. The amount of air rendered at the top end is greater on the R3 with additional crisp. There is no sibilance and harshness. Both have a smooth treble presentation but the R3 is more engaging. Lastly, both expands naturally for its soundstage. The R3 has a greater width magnitude while the depth of the M2S is more closed in.

HiBy R3 vs Cayin N3

The R3 has more sub-bass quantity than the N3 and it takes on a full-bodied approach. There is great musicality to it. The bass texture on the R3 sounds more smooth than the N3. The N3 has a slight edge in its bass decay. The R3 provides a nice tinge of warmth. The mid-bass on the R3 has more body which helps to give its slam a weighted feeling. The slam delivered by the R3 is more engaging. The fuller bass reproduction helps the R3 to exert itself more. The midrange on the N3 has better cleanliness and commands better definition. The lower mids on the R3 has more body than the N3 which results in a thicker presentation that will do male vocals justice. The upper mids on the N3 has the additional forwardness which helps to give a clear and intimate female vocals presentation. The treble on the N3 is slightly brighter than the R3 and there is similar extension on both. There is no sibilance and harshness. The amount of air rendered is approximately the same. The N3 displays slightly better crisp. Lastly, the R3 expands more naturally while the N3 has an edge in its width. The depth of the R3 is more closed in.

Conclusion

The R3 is a musical sounding digital audio player (DAP) that is able to provide a full-bodied bass reproduction, warm midrange and smooth treble presentation. Apart from its sound, the R3 has fantastic user interface (UI) and it delivers a good experience. The  build quality on the R3 is great and it is pocket friendly. The HiBy R3 is HiBy’s latest product which is easily one of the best DAP at its price point with its musical sound and excellent UI.

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