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Asking for a DAP recommendation

Destination: Moon

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Hi,

New to the forum and world of high end DAPS. I have a conundrum. I recently bought a Hiby R3 Pro Saber. I connected it to my home stereo system and was astounded at the sound that came out of my system. From music I've been listening to for years and years. It was like the musicians were playing in my Livingroom. I couldn't believe how good it sounded (and how much I have been missing for so long)!

It turns out though, the R3 Saber does not seem to like my home stereo. It gets unstable and will crash if I go to touch it. its weird, it seems ok if I grab it by the cable first. But if I touch the body or screen the music will stop, or start stuttering and the unit needs rebooting. Also, the shuffle is worthless - On the plus side, Hiby Link is fantastic!

So I bought a Hiby R5 Saber thinking it would be the same or better. It seemed nice initially but listening for a short while, its got an an entirely different character.
I was so surprised. The R3 Saber is so open, transparent and clean. The instruments sound like they are separated in a way I never heard before, with a texture that lets you hear the last remnants of a drum strike or a lot of sounds in horns I didnt know were there. Really amazed!

The R5 on the other hand seems to lack a lot of this detail. Its more congested, not as open and I noticed some notes and horn sounds had a resonance (if thats the right word?) that seemed off. Maybe thats called coloration? Whatever it is, I like the unstable R3 Saber so much more! And its half the price.....so that leads to my question: What else should I consider that has a similar sound to the R3 Pro Saber....?? Its a dual ESS DAC and maybe thats most of the difference??
If it didnt have all these quirks and hiccups I'd be thrilled but they seem to be unstable in several ways that makes me want to find something thats more solid.

Any suggestions appreciated!
 

raif71

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How did you connect the DAPs to the home stereo system?
 

Cahudson42

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Taking you up on 'any suggestions'..:)

For a total of $140, buy a $30 LG Rebel TracFone:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QHQ79XH/

And a $110 Qudelix 5k.:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088F7C976/

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/qudelix-5k-bluetooth-dac-headphone-amp.17386/

You will also need an OTG USB micro cable, the 3-ended type will let you use and charge simultaneously:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B6CRW6D/

And then a USB-C male to usb male adapter for the Qudelix:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CZVEUIE/

You now have a $150 DAP with full 10-band PEQ.

Throw away the TracFone sim card. No need to activate. It will work fine on wifi without it. Standard Android 8 - load Amazon Music, tidal, spotify - music streaming apps of your choice.

I use this setup for my 'portable' rig with an HE400i in 2.5mm Balanced mode, or K371 in unbalanced 3.5mm.

You would use your 3.5mm male to dual RCA cable for your stereo..
 
Last edited:
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D

Destination: Moon

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Taking you up on 'any suggestions'..:)
For a total of $140, buy a $30 LG Rebel TracFone:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QHQ79XH/

And a $110 Qudelix 5k.:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088F7C976/

You will also need an OTG USB micro cable, the 3-ended type will let you use and charge simultaneously:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B6CRW6D/

And then a USB-C male to usb male adapter for the Qudelix:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BS8SRWH/

You now have a $150 DAP with full 10-band PEQ.

Throw away the TracFone sim card. No need to activate. It will work fine on wifi without it. Standard Android 8 - load Amazon Music, tidal, spotify - music streaming apps of your choice.

I use this setup for my 'portable' rig with an HE400i in Balanced mode, or K371 in unbalanced 3.5mm.
h

Thanks! I was considering going down this path. I have that DAC saved in my Amazon Later bin.
It's funny, I bought an LG V20 a couple years ago. (They'll have to pry it from my cold ded hands until they start making replaceable battery phones again....). Anyway, I thought I was living large using the LG V20 and it's 4xDac.
Live and learn! I'm partial to the all in one solution for the moment - provided I can find what I'm looking for at a somewhat earth bound price
 

Cahudson42

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LG V20 and it's 4xDac.
That's exactly what I used prior to the Qudelix. Still have it running into a Liquid Spark.:) (Didn't want to waste the V20 quad dac. Rebel fine since Qudelix provides DAC instead).

These days the Qudelix + Rebel is about the same $$ as a NIB V20 - and you get the PEQ, higher 3.5mm power, and 2.5mm balanced even higher power - - which is well worth it...
 

Rottmannash

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Hi,

New to the forum and world of high end DAPS. I have a conundrum. I recently bought a Hiby R3 Pro Saber. I connected it to my home stereo system and was astounded at the sound that came out of my system. From music I've been listening to for years and years. It was like the musicians were playing in my Livingroom. I couldn't believe how good it sounded (and how much I have been missing for so long)!

It turns out though, the R3 Saber does not seem to like my home stereo. It gets unstable and will crash if I go to touch it. its weird, it seems ok if I grab it by the cable first. But if I touch the body or screen the music will stop, or start stuttering and the unit needs rebooting. Also, the shuffle is worthless - On the plus side, Hiby Link is fantastic!

So I bought a Hiby R5 Saber thinking it would be the same or better. It seemed nice initially but listening for a short while, its got an an entirely different character.
I was so surprised. The R3 Saber is so open, transparent and clean. The instruments sound like they are separated in a way I never heard before, with a texture that lets you hear the last remnants of a drum strike or a lot of sounds in horns I didnt know were there. Really amazed!

The R5 on the other hand seems to lack a lot of this detail. Its more congested, not as open and I noticed some notes and horn sounds had a resonance (if thats the right word?) that seemed off. Maybe thats called coloration? Whatever it is, I like the unstable R3 Saber so much more! And its half the price.....so that leads to my question: What else should I consider that has a similar sound to the R3 Pro Saber....?? Its a dual ESS DAC and maybe thats most of the difference??
If it didnt have all these quirks and hiccups I'd be thrilled but they seem to be unstable in several ways that makes me want to find something thats more solid.

Any suggestions appreciated!
Sounds like you need to send the R3 Pro back for repair. That's not normal behavior.
 

Rottmannash

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Noted. For the R5, try increasing the R5 volume and see how that changes the sound coming out of the stereo system.
You are using the R5 in line out mode on high gain, right? At max volume?
 
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Destination: Moon

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Noted. For the R5, try increasing the R5 volume and see how that changes the sound coming out of the stereo system.

No, hi gain but around 75 volume. If I crank up the DAP output I'll turn down the amp. Does this matter?
I ran the R3 similarly.

Apples to apples setting wise at 75 vol. - I think the R3 saber has a certain openness and accuracy that the 5 just isn't capable of. The 5 is darker, more congested or focused and gives horns like sax and trumpet a kind of woody sound (there's probably better words) that bugs me.
 

Rottmannash

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I'll try it but I think the R3 saber has a certain openness and accuracy that the 5 just isn't capable of. The 5 is darker, more congested or focused and gives horns like sax and trumpet a kind of woody sound (there's probably better words) that bugs me.
The R5 Sabre is noted for its articulate and extended upper frequencies- many who bought it returned it due to its excessive treble. Interesting your perception is just the opposite.
 

Rottmannash

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No, hi gain but around 75 volume. If I crank up the DAP output I'll turn down the amp. Does this matter?
I ran the R3 similarly.

Apples to apples setting wise at 75 vol. - I think the R3 saber has a certain openness and accuracy that the 5 just isn't capable of. The 5 is darker, more congested or focused and gives horns like sax and trumpet a kind of woody sound (there's probably better words) that bugs me.
Yes. It does. Turn the DAP at least to 95, preferably 100. All DAPS, always on LO.
 
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Destination: Moon

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Yes. It does. Turn the DAP at least to 95, preferably 100. All DAPS, always on LO.
Ok thanks! And for headphones?
I was just thinking of a DAP review I watched recently, that guy said to always use high gain. Maybe he meant for headphones?
 
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Destination: Moon

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The R5 Sabre is noted for its articulate and extended upper frequencies- many who bought it returned it due to its excessive treble. Interesting your perception is just the opposite.

There is a very good reason for that.... I'm immune to the upper treble range. My hearing is mostly gone above 4000kz. I still enjoy music though! And when things get too loud in the upper ranges it actual causes me pain. Strange but true

The R5 Saber certainly sounds darker and the sound stage seems vastly different to my ears
 

raif71

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Yes. It does. Turn the DAP at least to 95, preferably 100. All DAPS, always on LO.
Ok thanks! And for headphones?
If you look at the R5 specs, https://porta.fi/hiby-r5-review-size-is-not-the-only-thing-that-matters/

1614742470862.png


For connecting to your external stereo amp, try the LO (line out) , for headphones use PO (phone out). For LO, I think volume will be fixed which you can check by increasing/decreasing volume and hear how your stereo setup sounds
 

Rottmannash

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Ok thanks! And for headphones?
I was just thinking of a DAP review I watched recently, that guy said to always use high gain. Maybe he meant for headphones?
Hi gain but headphone out, not line out for HP's.
 

Rottmannash

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There is a very good reason for that.... I'm immune to the upper treble range. My hearing is mostly gone above 4000kz. I still enjoy music though! And when things get too loud in the upper ranges it actual causes me pain. Strange but true

The R5 Saber certainly sounds darker and the sound stage seems vastly different to my ears
Could be the difference between the Cirrus Logic DAC chips in the R5 and the ESS DAC chip in the R3 Pro.
 

Rottmannash

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Destination: Moon

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If you look at the R5 specs, https://porta.fi/hiby-r5-review-size-is-not-the-only-thing-that-matters/

View attachment 115918

For connecting to your external stereo amp, try the LO (line out) , for headphones use PO (phone out). For LO, I think volume will be fixed which you can check by increasing/decreasing volume and hear how your stereo setup sounds

Thank you! The documentation on these things are less than awful...
I couldn't find the Line Out switch on the 5. If it's like the R3 it'll set the volume to 100
 

Rottmannash

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If you look at the R5 specs, https://porta.fi/hiby-r5-review-size-is-not-the-only-thing-that-matters/

View attachment 115918

For connecting to your external stereo amp, try the LO (line out) , for headphones use PO (phone out). For LO, I think volume will be fixed which you can check by increasing/decreasing volume and hear how your stereo setup sounds
The ports, both 3.5 mm and 4mm are used for LO and HP out. One chooses with a drop down menu. One hole-2 uses!
 
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