I’d like to thank HiBy for sending me a review sample of the R6 III in exchange for my honest evaluation. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own, and have not been influenced by HiBy or any other party.
HiBy has come into its own of late as a respected and innovative maker of digital audio players. I say ‘of late’ because the company has been around for years, making some iconic – and in some cases, class-leading – audio players under its own brand, and both Android and non-Android DAP software for other companies, including sister company Cayin.
The new R6 III, the third iteration of HiBy’s midrange series DAP (following the original R6 and R6 2020), continues many of the trends we’ve seen in HiBy’s recent players, including Class A amplification and a new Android 12 platform. R6 III therefore improves on the previous two generations in some important ways, and does so at a new, reduced price point: $499, compared to its predecessor’s $799, and the original’s $600+.
But it also cuts some corners to get there. A lower resolution screen, and reduced power output, are just two of the more obvious changes.
You could argue these ‘cuts’ are actually logical tweaks to a player in this price range and bracket, and don’t materially affect the sound quality. The only way to know for sure is to test it thoroughly, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. But first things first, the unboxing.
Package, design and accessories
The new R6 comes packaged in an attractively compact clamshell hardboard box, covered with a bluish-green sleeve and cleverly-screen printed ‘R6 III’ logo. Opening the box reveals the player neatly tucked into a foam block cutout on one side, and a lift-up tag that hides an included clear silicone case and USB-C to C digital data and charging cable.
This is a no-frills package, lacking HiBy’s proprietary USB-C to coaxial cable, for example, or the leather case that’s usually included with other players (even the lower-end R5 II), though I’ll argue the silicone case provides better protection than leather, and gives you full view of HiBy’s now-pervasive angular metallic design. HiBy has also included pre-applied PET screen protectors on both sides of the player.
Speaking of design, I really like HiBy’s ‘masculine’ motif, first introduced with the R8 flagship DAP a few years back, but it’s not the most practical design in smaller players like R6. For instance, the top-mounted volume wheel is too small to comfortably manipulate, especially with the player inside a case, and since HiBy’s R-player volume wheels are not the most sensitive or consistent on the market, this makes using it quite finicky in practice.
What does work is the way the power and playback buttons are angled downward into the frame, preventing you from accidentally pushing on them. I also like the bottom-placed headphone/lineout ports (two 4.4mm balanced and two 3.5mm ports, consistent with other recent players). Since I mainly use DAPs on the bedside table, couch arm or desktop while working, the bottom-placed ports work best for me, but some will prefer top-mounted ports for easier pocket use.
To that end, HiBy includes a ’flip vertically’ toggle, so if you don’t mind the volume wheel at the bottom, it’s easy enough to switch the orientation of the output ports should you need to.
The only other ports on the player are the bottom-mounted USB-C port (USB 3.1 and PD 2.0 compatible), and side-mounted spring-loaded microSD port, which you can’t access with the case on. Overall, the design of the R6 III is true to form for HiBy’s recent midrange players, being small enough for one-handed use and, with an aluminum frame, light enough for easy pocketing.
Continue to specs and features…