For a bit of background before I give my general statements on the Hiby RS6, I have always been interested in portables. Carrying my Gameboy Advanced or Nintendo DS while my bro was playing his PS1, PS2, etc. and even though it’s true that at the time the graphics on those consoles were not as good as the graphics of the home consoles, they kept on improving and improving while still being extremely fun and portable. Now I have a Nintendo Switch and its has similar graphics to the PS3 which back in the day would have been unfathomable! Similarly the experience is the same with computers, where am I writing this article for example? In my room, in the garage, maybe in the shitter if I run out of time (I would like to formally promise that not one piece of this article was typed in the restroom) and this is all due to me having a laptop! A portable computer that allows me to do everything and have every piece of a PC with me on my lap. Now this brings us to the real topic of this article. ~
The Hiby RS6 is the latest in the line of the Hiby DAPs, to my understanding it used the same amplifier that was inside of the Hiby R6 (2020 version) but actually improves on the DAC side of the device (which is admittedly usually the weakness in the Hiby DAPs). It now uses a discrete R2R design DAC and oh boy has it been eye opening. Things that might be worth mentioning are that the main DACs that I’ve had solid time with are the Bifrost 2, the iFi Diablo, Schiit Modius, Hiby R6, Xduoo XD-05 plus, so basically 1 desktop DAC and pure portables. During that whole time I was looking for something to replace the Bifrost 2 as it was obviously just the best DAC out of all, many like the Diablo and R6 certainly carried some more comparable qualities that others didn’t match, but to say that they were comparable to the Bifrost 2 in any way would really be stretching it. The Hiby RS6 is the most revolutionary product in the Hiby lineup imo because it shows the amount of work that the company put into it, as it not only is capable of being as good as the Bifrost but imo actually is a fair bit better than the Bifrost (which notably is loved for being capable of performing very well for it’s price range) and when you add the fact that the RS6 is a transport for your music and also a amplifier
it’s just incredibly compelling as a whole.
Let’s dive into sound a bit!
Disclaimer: Everything in this article is based off the NOS (non-over sampling) mode.
First of all, staging might be the thing that stands out the most (besides mids, more later) as it just has a way of recreating the room or stage in such a beautifully precise way. I played Cafe Tacuba’s live recording album Un Segundo MTV Unplugged on my speaker system, Focal Alpha 80, and calling it bliss and exhilarating is an understatement. For the first time ever it kept me in my seat enjoying every detail of the 16 songs recorded for the album. You could hear the clear separation and different vocalists taking different spots inside the recording as well as amazing dynamics that went from small tremors to large orchestral instruments just firing away with plenty of energy however all while keeping this DAC’s main characteristic of finesse and beauty. The ability to recreate the stage with excellent precision and levels of energy that, whether they are or aren’t more accurate in terms of the recording, they just maintain a type of beauty and elegance that I’ve fallen for. One track in particular, Burn the night away by There for Tomorrow, opens with the lead singer entering the room and you hear him sit down get ready to record, I could basically see him during my speaker session just sitting down and hearing his every movement along with what was happening in the room.. The last item I tried that helped get this and more level of accuracy in spacial creation was the Pass Labs HPA-1 preamplifier, since then after I had to give it back to a friend from a generous loan, I was left crushed with something that I can never forget. The RS6 brought back some of that as soon as it replaced the Bifrost in my speaker setup, it’s still not as glorious of course without that amazing preamp doing it’s magic within my stereo system, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Bass, mids, and treble are all incredibly balanced within this DAC as it reaches a beautiful balance of neutrality and general well roundedness. First of all when it comes to the bass it’s actually still fairly dainty sounding but does posses very good bass detail, it’s punchy, tight but definitely not the main ingredient in this soup! Next come the mids, oof this is where it gets exciting as the vocals, violins, pianos and everything that’s covered in the midrange has spectacular detail and incredible organic attributes that really help the Verite Closed show it’s strengths. The mids don’t sound buttered up or smooth per se, they just sound incredibly organic and magical. The best way I can describe the mids on these is euphoric, they aren’t thickened up and sweetened as on Questyle products nor are they as loosey goosey as they are on some things like a Bifrost (not saying Bifrost is loosey goosey, just in comparison), Liquid Platinum type of qualities but instead they have this feeling of a beautiful wave that just comes and goes. Something about the transitions from instruments and sound is so smooth like a calm beach waves slowly filling the shore and then going back. Treble is definitely very musical where it is never piercing, I wouldn’t call it overly smooth either but it’s the weak point on the RS6 as it’s a bit too polite sounding at times but still manages to portray energy from instruments such as horns and things of that nature. (Using Darwin 1 and stock too, haven’t tried others too much but Darwin 10 might be a departure from that polite treble.)
Interface/Feel of RS6
In terms of usability and interface the RS6 uses Android and runs incredibly smoothly, feels like any high end phone you might buy so it’s very nice in terms of usability and customization. The real biggest plus about running Android is that you can use UAPP (USB Audio Player Pro) on it, also when passing some songs instead of connecting to the PC or getting the micro SD card out myself, I use the application sendanywhere to transfer music files from the computer to the RS6 and vice versa. The build on it is phenomenal and feels premium as it has a very hefty feel with a small footprint. The volume wheel in comparison to it’s predecessor is absolutely a fair bit easier to spin and use one handedly. The entire build just screams premium and so does it’s lighting speed interface along with some nice tweaks you can do with the sound such as some simple EQ and some other tweaks. And with the tweaks that come with Android as one can imagine you can really customize everything to your liking, hence the reason I have a background wallpaper of Gfriend (여자친구) (Gfriend for life, rest in peace) and have system language set to Korean. Stock Hiby player is also extremely nice, however like most DAPs or music players it really misses on the whole language thing as everything that uses the Roman alphabet is A-OK in how it’s displaying the list of artist name, but for Korean it leaves a single “?” mark to show all of your music even if you have system language set up to Korean. I realize that is a problem more specific to certain people but I know for a fact there’s many bilingual and trilingual people in the world so it’s a big bummer.
Something to keep in mind
Don’t know what’s the exact science behind this, but there’s a noticeable warm up time every time that you use it. What I mean is that the depth, dynamics, speed and every sonic quality is heavily affected by the device having warm up time. In my experience the DAP changes a fair bit within 30-40 minutes of playing music and even then that’s after what was one day and a half of it just playing music after I first received it (and that’s used product from musicteck). The pros are that unlike tube amplifiers/DACs you don’t have to worry about the lifespan of something you continuously have to replace (tubes) however; you do have to worry about the actual lithium battery that it has if you plan to leave it on all day for it to sound its best.
Some final thoughts!
Like most people that fell in love with the Sennheiser series of headphones, the Audeze LCD Prefazors, and the ZMF lineup of headphones, what really attracts me to the sound of Hiby is the same thing reason that their slogan is “Make music more musical”. Big portion of my library is acoustic music and Hiby’s big emphasis on warmth and forgiving sound tends to shine in bringing what we call the “soul aspect” of the music, RS6 is a home-run in bringing musicality and soul to our ears without sacrificing technical abilities and without creating a uber-warm sound to the device. The RS6 is what I would describe as a laid back neutral sound signature that emphasizes mids but isn’t mid centric (mid-forward) either, instead it’s the way in which it presents the mids that gives a very vocal focused experience. Things like the Hiby R5, Bottlehead Crack, and Bifrost all define the typical sound signature that fcomes to mind when we think of musical; they all typically trade some level of precision or accuracy within a given space to have a more gooey warm presentation. At the other end of the spectrum in something that is also warm but extremely sharp, punchy and alive in its presentation such as the Questyle which only really gives up treble but gives you THICC mids and THICC bass. but this is why the RS6 has been such a revelation to me, as it actually retains a fairly neutral linear sound signature while achieving the soul, richness, and musical aspect of music listening without having any extra gooeyness and sloppiness and without thickening up anything but instead attaining it by a more blunt type of attack (as mentioned by another forum member in post #13 within the Hiby Daps thread) that gives it a very euphoric, dreamy type of vibe but maintaining top clarity and an incredibly defined stage.
Disclaimer: This was not a review! I haven’t had this item for long enough to be confident in writing a review but I did want to discuss It’s highlights hence the making of this article. If you want to follow along with what others are also saying about this DAP I would recommend you check out its own thread in our forum as not only my thoughts will I’m sure continue to change/deepen but others have different perspectives in there that are worth taking a look at. Something else I will talk about in the forum itself will be the difference between NOS and Oversampling since that had a huge impact on the sound:
Generally chill person, found purpose in life through Martial Arts as a child and as a young man trying not to let that young boy down. Lover of Photography, Running, Audio Gear and living life freely. Just like my experience in life please keep in mind that my experience in audio is fairly limited.