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Hiby FC3 Portable DAC & HP Amp Review

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 13 10.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 87 72.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 19 15.8%

  • Total voters
    120
Since ES9281 is generally rated around 60 mW per channel @32 and given that original FC3 claims 70 mW, it were not clear where those 112 mW came from, maybe from an unmentioned additional op-amp.
It is very common for these companies to add the power for both channels to arrive at their specs.
 
It is very common for these companies to add the power for both channels to arrive at their specs.
Yes, that was my first thought, but then it seemed strange that for original FC3 they claimed more realistic 70 mW

fc31-1651042983852.jpg


Not sure if it can depend on a different revision of the codec chip as also advertized (ES9281 Pro vs ES9281AC Pro) since at ESS site only available info are about a somewhat in between version ES9281A Pro...
 
Yes, that was my first thought, but then it seemed strange that for original FC3 they claimed more realistic 70 mW

fc31-1651042983852.jpg


Not sure if it can depend on a different revision of the codec chip as also advertized (ES9281 Pro vs ES9281AC Pro) since at ESS site only available info are about a somewhat in between version ES9281A Pro...
The ES9281 “A” Pro appears to be the generic datasheet (more of a general summary). Here are the different versions:
1719821524428.png
 
The ES9281 “A” Pro appears to be the generic datasheet (more of a general summary). Here are the different versions:
View attachment 378334

Nice, thanks, so it was released 2020. In this news of early 2019 they say "Our previously introduced ES9281/9280 PRO" so the "non A" version used in the original FC3 is actually a previous version, doubts remain if it was less powerfull or they just switched their advetrtised specs from per channel data to both channels data.
 
This is a very interesting chip. It can also be used as USB to multichannel i2s audio bridge, but, and I believe because of that, there is next to no information available about it, what is a shame.
That they put it in a dongle in 2024 (9x9mm 88 pins) is already something.
There is a press release that dates the announcement of ES9280/81 to January 2019.

 
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Their Amazon specs are hinting at 112+112mW. It doesn’t say that’s what this device produces just that it is a high power for a USB dongle to produce.
IMG_6471.jpeg
 
Wait, we were wrong, looking better we can see that the dongle can really output 112 mW @ 32, at -20 dB SINAD :facepalm:

index.php
 
Wait, we were wrong, looking better we can see that the dongle can really output 112 mW @ 32, at -20 dB SINAD
In US horespower of electric motors is measured when it is brought to dead halt to get the highest "HP" they can! 20 dB SINAD is major transparency compared to that! :)

In fairness, the knee of the curve is sudden requiring more measurement points to accurately determine it than what I have. There may be a few milliwatts left on the table.
 
I Have a FC4 and use it with a Mac Mini 2018. Have also a Topping E50. Hard to listen a major difference between them. These days I have been compared some music sources, like Tidal native on my "junk measures" Pioneer VSX LX503 itself, the Pioneer as a player via UpnP coming from my smartphone (via Mconnect app), the Mac Mini powered with Audirvana with both HIBY FC4 and Toppind E50, all going to a vintage Sansui AU 317 integrated amplifier. Is a normal (brute) listening room like mine, it is hard to listen any great difference on sound signature. Even many guys wishing that I burn in hell, I must say that a great leap came with a better RCA cable. Also, here in my stuation, the great vilain on generating audible and intermitent noise in my set is a cable TV box.
 
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This is a very interesting chip. It can also be used as USB to multichannel i2s audio bridge, but, and I believe because of that, there is next to no information available about it, what is a shame.
That they put it in a dongle in 2024 (9x9mm 88 pins) is already something.
There is a press release that dates the announcement of ES9280/81 to January 2019.

This dongle came out in the end of 2022 IIRC.


Wait, we were wrong, looking better we can see that the dongle can really output 112 mW @ 32, at -20 dB SINAD :facepalm:

index.php
I mean look at max power output @ 1% THD on most things....
 
They also have 51 channels of surround sound. I think someone should start editing their spec sheets.

IMG_6471.jpeg
 
The first thing i learned dealing with this type of devices is that specs outside of manufacturer site, especially at non audio specialized online shop, are generally not even worth to be looked at.
Then comes how much even official manufacturer ones can be trusted.
 
Should I buy this for listening to music in my car? Good enough, or has anyone heard better?

3.5mm aux input and .wav (redbook quality) files on my 2nd smartphone.


- CKND.
 
The FC3 is audibly transparent.

Doubly so for car audio, where environmental noise will drastically limit SNR.
That's very true. I'm currently using Aux to Aux and let's just say the sound I get is drab. Hopefully some improvement after I try this device.
Thanks for your response.

- CKND.
 
That's very true. I'm currently using Aux to Aux and let's just say the sound I get is drab. Hopefully some improvement after I try this device.
Thanks for your response.

- CKND.
If you want a real improvement, get something with built-in DSP (Qudelix 5K, FiiO JA11 etc.) so that you can correct the car's audio system.
 
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