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Review: HiBy R3 II (featuring Yvain)

Special thanks once again to HiBy for sending us samples of R3 II and Yvain for this review. We truly appreciate your continued support. 


I openly admit that my focus on the high end of the portable audio hobby means I rarely get to experience what’s happening at the grassroots, so to speak. But every so often I get products coming through the DHL Express delivery chute that pique my interest. HiBy’s new ‘micro-DAP’, the R3 II, is one such product. 

If you’re not familiar with HiBy, the Guangdong-based company has more than 15 years’ experience developing digital audio players and the software that powers them. Other established brands (such as Cayin, for example) outsource their software development to HiBy, so if you’re curious why your non-HiBy player sports HiBy Music as the default playback app, now you know. 

More recently HiBy has branched out into other devices and accessories, including a range of IEMs that have mostly been well received, even if not exactly disrupting the market. The company still seems to be finding its way when it comes to IEMs, and their latest effort, Yvain, is a case in point.  

I had very little information about Yvain prior to its arriving in the box along with the R3 II. I knew it was coming, so it wasn’t a surprise as such, but having heard next to nothing about it, I was keen to find out what HiBy was up to. Checking my facts, Yvain is also a ‘value’ product, although at $239 it’s a full $60 more ‘expensive’ than R3 II. That said, the two together cost less ($418) than a recent entry-level cable I reviewed for this publication. 

Let that sink in for a minute and you’ll get an idea of how twisted the value chain can sometimes be. 

But I digress. Since pairing Yvain with R3 II to test their respective capabilities over the past few weeks, I’ve really grown to appreciate and enjoy their synergy, and so I’m going to review both DAP and IEM as a bundle. They’re not actually a bundle (HiBy sells and markets them separately), but for all intents and purposes, I’m going to treat them as such, if only because I think they look and sound so great together. 

And hey, since we’re talking bargains, who doesn’t like two for the price of one?

Continue to R3 II…



Guy Lerner

Guy Lerner

An avid photographer and writer 'in real life', Guy's passion for music and technology created the perfect storm for his love of portable audio. When he's not playing with the latest and greatest head-fi gear, he prefers to spend time away from the hobby with his two (almost) grown kids and wife in the breathtaking city of Cape Town, and traveling around his native South Africa.


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