Headphone Amp/DAC - Hiby, Shanling, iBasso, etc

I looked into these DACs after my failed Chord Hugo and AQ Cobalt, but my suspicion grows as to all these coming from the same or similar Chinese factory, who then peddle a quantity free for supposed unbiased reviews.

I did try some ibasso IEM as an aside and they where pretty poor, but again rave, somewhat orchestrated reviews and a few forums full of very happy Chinese punters all saying game changing tech.

Anyway anyone else have any experience with these?

Note I did just order a Chord Mojo, then cancelled only because Chord are knocking 25% off today, maybe sales are flagging.

Check on HeadFi they love FiiO Hiby, iBasso and Shanling stuff. I am interested in the new Shaning M6 Android player. Guy at work has an M0 it’s so small and sounds very good for what it is and very well made. I know lots of people on other forums who are very happy with them to. Not all models are as good as others though.

Or maybe an M2 in the offing, after all its two bigger brothers have moved up

Yeah I saw the HeadFi forum but again the Hiby rep chimes in and the other reviews elsewhere have the usual “I received this free for an honest review”.

I am keen on the Hiby R3 but waiting for them to confirm it does a full MQA unfold, then I’ll give it a go.

Funny though they also have a new Bluetooth super Res device, but again all paid reviews singing its praises.

Yes was thinking that but seems a limited offer and same on the Qutest.

Ok so got a reply back from Hiby regarding the R3 and MQA, it does the complete x4 unfold, so i think i will be giving this a punt as my last dip into mobile DACs.

I am becoming more certain that DACs make little is any discernible difference

I’ve found all of mine have made differences, some more subtle than others though and one is a clear winner. On the move it’s very hard to tell but in a quieter environment it’s noticeable so I keep the best for home listening. The DFB is perfectly fine for on the go and way better than my phone’s output on its own. Ifi Nano at work as it’s more flexible and I like the volume knob.

I found quite the opposite, though that doesn’t mean every DAC sounds different from every other DAC, therefore depends what you are comparing, and very possibly in what system, including room.

My experience:

Hugo in place of ND5XS’s DAC very noticeably different (fed by NAS, into Musical Fidelity P270 and IMF RSPM speakers in my own room).

TT marginally better sound than Hugo, and Dave wow! factor better. (Much the same in two similar systems: Mac Mini running fully optimised Audirvana through Gustard U12 - DAC - into Bryston 4BST2 and firstly PMC Fact 12 speakers in dealer’s partially treated room, and same with PMC EB1i speakers in my own room.)

@obsydian it looks like the R3 can’t do offline Tidal as it’s not Android based so doesn’t use the official app but the SDK much like Roon and Naim app. Not sure if that’s a big thing for you or not.

Maybe mojo2 is on its way:)))

Yes realized that offline Tidal is really only phones and tablets, hence why i kept coming back to the mobile DAC. I plan to use the Hiby at work (so WIFI is not an issue).

I sent a whinge-a-gram to Tidal saying if these DAP’s are your MQA partners why no offline mode.

Hi @Innocent_Bystander for me it is purely mobile on the go, not home use.

Fair enough - interesting,though, if it makes more audible difference in mobile type usage (generally limited-fi rather than hi-fi), when in a good hifi system people often struggle to hear differences between red book and hi res, and when there are differences they tend to be subtle (ignoring when the two have been mastered differently).

Maybe it is the sound changes produced by the MQA process, rather than anything to do with the resolution, that make the MQA approach work better on lower fi gear - and if so, that may explain the appeal to mass production, as opposed to companies like Naim. But that is purely conjecture on my part.

Its the record labels not TIdal its the same for Qobuz.

Interesting so does Android with a Hifi subscription actually perform the full MQA unfold, I thought like with the AQ Cobalt you still need the DAC and USB Audio Player Pro to get the full unfold …

You only get the first unfold in Tidal app you need aa mqa DAC in phone like the LG models, or a phone that works around the resampling and Tidal recognises an external dac, none that I know off do. Have to rely on UAPP for full MQA on Android but your limited to online playback only. If you have iOS it will work with the app and external DAC I believe but not sure what other limitations there may be or how reliable it is.

Thanks, I ordered the Hiby R3 interesting they came back saying “just to make you aware no offline Tidal mode as Hiby o/s”.

I guess they must be having quite a few returns relating to that.

I seem to be coming full circle back to the AQ Dragonfly …

:small_blue_diamond:@obsydian,…Why don’t you run on IBasso DX200,.or the new DX220.
There you can switch between different amp modules.


Don’t encourage his habit for tweaking @Peder you know what he’s like. :wink:

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That’s £799, I tried the higher end with the Hugo and was left very disappointed.