The Old Ways Wrapped in New – A Review of the Hidizs AP80

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The Hidizs AP80 possesses a buttery smooth, profoundly rich signature. It balances warmth and clarity with masterful sensibility. There’s air and body, depth and articulation.

There’s a maturity to the AP80. It doesn’t seem like a budget player. You need not fear remnant traces left from the digital file. AP80 renders organic, natural audio. As seen in the inclusion of FM, it champions analogue.

Neutral done right is the philosophy. All things in moderation. There is ample bass, full mids, and clear, present highs. Nothing stands out or overshadows. It all sounds correct. The treble is delightfully smooth, casting such light, and laying bare the recording. But it is not exaggerated. Nor could you call it bright or strident. Just… revealing. The same is true for that low-end. It impresses only in its texture, depth, and quality, not in some dominating presence.

Where the AP80 shows its budget roots is in depth and dimensionality. The image feels projected onto a flat plane. It’s a beautiful image, but it lacks the tangible, lifelike shapeliness you find in higher-end offerings.

Comparing to the Shanling M2s ($159) and the Shanling has the fuller, warmer sound. AP80 is more neutral. The bass is tighter and more impactful with Hidizs, but bigger and bloomier with Shanling. The AP80 has clearer, more articulate highs. M2s feels hazier. It also sounds more laidback. AP80 has greater dynamism, with superior attack. It also possesses the more refined sound. In comparison, the Shanling M2s betrays slight harshness to its render. Oh yes! Hidizs also has the wider soundstage!

Now for one even cheaper. The Shanling M0 ($109, Review HERE) has much the same characteristics as the M2s, only on a slightly smaller scale. It’s a bit less refined, a bit less smooth, and not as natural-sounding. And considering how much better I find the AP80 over the M2s, the choice is clear. Spend the extra $30 and get the AP80. It is an outstanding bargain.

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About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.

6 Comments

  1. I’m disappointed with this review. It reads well, until you realize it came to an end – before it even got to the main point / feature of any music player, i.e. sound (other than the fm tuner 🙂

    • Pinky Powers on

      It seems you stopped reading at Page 1. There are two other pages, both of which are all about sound.

  2. Piervittorio Trebucchi on

    Hi, I bought a Hidizs AP80 convinced by the good reviews of this brand’s products.
    And I confirm that the product looks good, is well built and guarantees high quality audio, supporting all possible formats.
    Unfortunately, the instructions are inexistent, a few dozen lines which also refer to the Chinese version of the software.
    The real problem is the user interface, which seems to have been developed by a drunk who hasn’t seen any media player in his life.
    It seems impossible to get a directory view (folders with the titles of the discs), a display in alphabetical order or by author, play a complete disc by clicking on the folder with the name of that disc, have a search function for folders or files, have a random playback, etc.
    In fact, once I inserted the 128gb micro SD card with my 400 favorite lossless APE + CUE discs, mostly of audiophile quality, I simply found myself with an alphabetical list of about 4000 songs … Maybe, if there were any instructions, the problem could be solved, since the sw is anything but intuitive.
    But I don’t want to waste time and get nervous, so the AP80 is back in its box, and the MicroSD with my music is back in the smartphone, which with Neutron as an audiophile media layer, is a good solution.
    I have not yet thrown the AP80 into garbage, in the secret hope that in the future they will implement a user interface that is not ridiculous and demented.

    P.S. In their online shop, they publish only the five stars reviews, so there isn’t any possibility to write and read the truth about the AP80 (and this is the reason why they have only two reviews – probably fake – about the product), and they don’t answer in their facebook pages to any critic. Simply, you cannot post a critic comment.

    100% chinese mood and crap.

    • Pinky Powers on

      Upon boot-up, click on Player. Then hit the Music icon at the top. Then go to Files. This is folder view. Once you’ve found the album you want, begin playing your desired track. You can then Swipe Left to full screen the album art and gain access to all the usual features, such as Play Through Folder, Loop, Loop 1, and Random. You can click on a little heart icon to Make Favorite. There’s a whole Settings bar for more options.

      I don’t know if every features you want is here, but this more than covers my needs. It seems like maybe you gave up before digging deeper or asking for help on the forums.

      You are right about one thing, though. Hidizs is a small Chinese company. And like many of these boutique audiophile companies, they lack the resources to be everything for everybody, everywhere in the world.

      • Mobin Haque on

        I just started researching Hidizs AP80 a couple hours ago and this is the second time I have come across this same complaint, copy/paste. I guess I’ll buy it from Aliexpress. I have had zero issues with refunds from them.

      • I’ll say the same, I bought an AP80 one week ago and I have no problem at all. Works fine, sounds better, and the touch screen Isn’t the most precise I have seen, but is usable. Happy with the purchase, better by far in sound, screen and usability than my old Cowon C2. If you pair the AP80 with Final Audio E4000, sounds great!!

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