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HiBy R6 Pro Portable Music Player Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurement of the Android basaed HiBy R6 Pro Portable Digital Audio Player (DAP). It was kindly loaned to me from an overseas member. The R6 Pro costs US $549 from Hiby's own store.

Any resemblance to a modern mobile phone ends with the Android OS. The R6 Pro is very heavy, thick and chunky compared to any mobile phone:

HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and  DAC Audio Review.jpg

One advantage over any mobile phone is hard switches for standard transport control (play, pause, etc.). Another advantage is ability to act like a DAC over its USB-C port and a Coax digital input.

Personally I think Android brings way too much software for just a music player. Changing the language from Chinese to English for example required digging deep in settings to do (thanks to members who helped me do this).

While I did not play with the unit much, the touchscreen was quite responsive. The display looks dull but this could be due to settings for it.

For my testing, I connected a USB-C cable to the R6, selected the option to act like a DAC somewhere in the menus. The unit was detected nicely as a DAC by Windows 10, allowing me to run the full suite of tests I run on DAC+headphone products.

DAC Audio Measurements
As usual, we start with our dashboard. Here is the output at full volume:

HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and DAC Max Volume Measurement.png


We see a spray of harmonic distortion reducing performance. Thinking this may go away at lower levels, I reduced the volume to 2.0 volts which desktop DACs typically produce but that did not help:

HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and  Volume Measurement.png


Overall ranking is not good as a result:
Best Portable Music Player Review.png


We can see why distortion did not improve at lower level we sweep that while measuring intermodulation distortion:
HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and DAC IMD Measurement.png


We see that distortion takes over noise at -25 dB and stays there. Very disappointing.

Speaking of noise, that performance is good:

HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and DAC Dynamic Range Measurement.png


Frequency response is flat enough:
HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and DAC Frequency Response Measurement.png


Jitter test shows some bad bits here and there but overall, not an issue:

HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and DAC Jitter Measurement.png


The real head-scratcher was linearity:
HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and DAC Linearity Measurement.png


As you see, it has a mind of its own, resulting in 1 dB error. Due to its time-dependent variability I could not replicate it in static measurements to see what is going on.

32-tone test resembling music shows a mess of intermodulation products, increasing with frequency:

HiBy R6 Portable Music Player and DAC Multitone Measurement.png


So in some sense the dashboard is doing the R6 Pro a favor by using a low, 1 kHz tone. Then again our threshold of hearing increases in higher frequencies so the distortions tend to be less audible there. Yeh, I am trying hard to put a positive spin on this. :)

Headphone Output Measurements
Let's see how much power we get with 300 ohm load:
HiBy R6 Portable Music Player  Power into 300 ohm Measurement.png


That is disappointing. What is all that weight going to if it is not a beefy power source and plenty of room for a powerful, higher voltage headphone amplifier?

Since the DAC portion is used in these tests, it serves to raise distortion just the same, making for a sour soup.

Here is what we get at the other extreme with 33 ohm load:
HiBy R6 Portable Music Player  Power into 33 ohm Measurement.png


As with 300 ohm load, distortion starts to increase at such a low power level (again due to the DAC failing). Here, we get hard clipping due to running out of current at 190 milliwatts.

To test the effectiveness of 4.4mm "balanced" headphone output, here is the performance using that, versus 3.5mm jack:

HiBy R6 Portable Music Player  Power into 50 ohm Measurement.png


So we get about three times more power which should come in handy with low impedance headphones.

Output impedance was comfortably low:
Lowest Portable Music Player Output Impedance.png


Listening Tests
I started with my Drop Ether CX 25 ohm headphones powered by the 4.4mm balanced output. Performance here was good although I could get the output to distorted if I went above normally comfortable power levels.

I continued with my Sennheiser HD-650 using the 3.5 mm jack. Here, I was pleasantly surprised that there was decent amount of power available without much hint of distortion. Balanced output would have provided some headroom (I did not test this).

So overall, the subjective performance is better than objective data, likely due to ability to provide more instantaneous power than continuous.

Conclusions
The objective performance of HiBy R6 Pro is low with strange anomalies in linearity test. Nothing stands out as exceptional which is disappointing given the fact that one invests in these devices to get much more performance than a mobile phone. My recommendation is to get a LG phone and use it as a dedicated player. It will be much lighter, come with better software support for the OS (as far as security fixes and such). But I understand people valuing the hard buttons and such on R6 Pro.

--------
As always, questions, comments, corrections, etc. are welcome.

Have to run out and fix our greenhouse which has become a crooked mess due to winds working on its flimsy build. Being very big, I had to hire help to clean it up and help with the reconstruction. The bill will come later today so I appreciate any monetary help so I don't feel poor after that. Please donate using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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Cahudson42

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#2
These DAPs remind me of the single-purpose dedicated word processors like Lexitron and Wang, that were wiped out by PCs and WordPerfect.

No way could single -purpose relatively low volume manufactured word processors compete with high volume PC manufacture and word processing application software.

Like Amirm said: get an LG phone, and if necessary, an NX3. Around $150 for both...
 

VintageFlanker

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#3
Most of the communication was axed on the dual ES9028Q2M chips at the time it was launched... It's a shame to discover this poor DAC performance two years later.

Bottom line (again and again): never buy something only based on the chip it uses.
 

JohnYang1997

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#4
I did blind test on hiby player software about 2 years ago. The output is different from the original idk why. I could pick out hiby being slightly slightly brighter. Are you able to confirm that Amir?
 

Tks

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#5
Still here wondering how DAPs can remotely fail at the singular purpose they were bred for.. And no more excuses about how the rest of tech (in smartphones for example) supersedes them.. They're using the same hardware and software paradigm as phones.
 

solderdude

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#7
Looks like it needs some fixing... firmware/software updates please.
 
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tential

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#10
The hiby r6 and hiby r6 pro are 2 different devices. Since you tested the pro, best to reference it in the review so people don't get confused. Especially since you quoted the price of the unit you didn't test.
The r6 pro is $550 in aluminum, $700(launched at $800) in stainless steel on Amazon, and is $800"in lilac purple, from the last time I looked.

Just a heads up so there is less confusion.

Wish we had seen the tests for the balanced output more although this still is bad testing....

As that other user said... They were literally designed for this... What the hell.... You're better off just attaching the E1DA (because your phone won't output bit perfect to all applications like this device will) so you actually get good performance...
Edit: @amirm how does the E1DA do when you test it connected to a phone or this device? Since really it seems the E1DA as dac/amp and another device as transport seems to be our best bet.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #12
Wish we had seen the tests for the balanced output more although this still is bad testing....
Given the oddball 4.4mm output, I have to make yet another cable to measure that. The only setup I have right now is with the 50 ohm load.
 

maxxevv

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#13
These DAPs remind me of the single-purpose dedicated word processors like Lexitron and Wang, that were wiped out by PCs and WordPerfect.
Believe WordStar was around before WordPerfect became the de facto software standard though ?
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #14
Yeh, wordstar goes way back. I remember using it circa 1979. It ran on "S100" bus systems before there were PCs. Those systems were too complicated to put together though so Wordstar didn't cause the end of dedicated word processors. It was the PC and its apps that did that.
 

maxxevv

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#15
Yeh, wordstar goes way back. I remember using it circa 1979. It ran on "S100" bus systems before there were PCs. Those systems were too complicated to put together though so Wordstar didn't cause the end of dedicated word processors. It was the PC and its apps that did that.
I used it on a 8086 PC for one of my school projects, around '87 ~'88. So it was at the transition of PC and WordPerfect and a little later MSWord. Electronic typewriters were in its dying ebbs by that time.

BTT : That's pretty disappointing how little power it has considering that its a dedicated player. Not counting its SINAD numbers yet as -80dB is perfectly fine for a lot of people.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #16
I think these companies lack performance targets since there is so little objective comparison out there. Now that we are testing, hopefully this changes.
 

tential

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#17
I used it on a 8086 PC for one of my school projects, around '87 ~'88. So it was at the transition of PC and WordPerfect and a little later MSWord. Electronic typewriters were in its dying ebbs by that time.

BTT : That's pretty disappointing how little power it has considering that its a dedicated player. Not counting its SINAD numbers yet as -80dB is perfectly fine for a lot of people.
I'm pretty sure every other dedicated player puts out less power so this is sadly as good as it gets... Which just.... It's their one job.... Why can't they do it?
 

maxxevv

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#18
I'm pretty sure every other dedicated player puts out less power so this is sadly as good as it gets... Which just.... It's their one job.... Why can't they do it?
The top end A&K models claim some pretty lofty numbers though.

How much of that being actual low distortion power output is yet to be seen. Like how some dedicated desktop amps spiral out to pretty significant distortion levels beyond barely 20% of its rated power output figures. *roll-eyes*
 

headwhacker

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#19
It looks like it pretty much fail at every aspect Hiby was claiming it's supposed to be.

When the original R6 was released they put up the every spec in audiophile/enthusiast checklist. Except the very high output impedance which is at 10ohms. Despite many people arguing against it they argued hard to downplay it's significance even for very low impedance multi-BA driver iems.

I almost get myself the Pro version when they fixed the high OI.

However, I see reports of buggy software which is the only thing that drives me nuts on my ibasso DX200.

At least ibasso's software has 3rd party hacks which fixed a few problems. Ibasso makes a very good hardware as they publish some measurements on online forums. @amirm got a taste of that buggy software but the available measurements suggests the hardware is very good.
 

David_M

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#20
@amirm, I really admire your willingness to test high quality analog and digital devices (and that's why I love your website) but I wonder .... why bother test Low-Fi devices such as cellphones and other low fidelity devices? It seems a waste of time and money, imho. What do we hope to learn from these mass market devices, shipped in the tens if million per year?
 

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