HiBy FD1 DAC/Amplifier Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

HiBy FD1 DAC/AMP Review

   

Introduction:

HiBy was established in 2011 and is specialized in research, development and sales of Hi-Fi grade portable audio products such like DAP’s, USB & BT DAC’s and earphones. HiBy has also an experienced software team that has developed HiBy OS which is also one of the most widely used professional portable audio Operating Systems (OS) on the market.

The FD1 is the first member of the new portable DAC/Amplifier product line of the company and offers some interesting features like ES9118 Dual DAC, 3.5mm TRS Single Ended & 2.5mm TRRS Balanced outputs, Dual Crystal Oscillators and many more.

 

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank HiBy for providing me the FD1 DAC/AMP as review sample. I am not affiliated with HiBy beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.

   

Purchase Links:

The actual price of the FD1 is $59.00 USD and can be purchased under the link below;

 

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The HiBy FD1 came inside a small white box with the product illustration and some brandings on the top that contains the following items;

  • 1 x HiBy FD1 DAC/Amplifier
  • 1 x USB A to USB Type-C cable for file transfer and charging
  • 1 x Magic Sticker
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable (Straight Profiled)
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable (L-Profiled)
  • 1 x User Manual/Instruction & Warranty card

The removable Magic Sticker that comes with the FD1 is a great solution to stick the R2 + FD1 together.

The L – Profiled USB Type-C cable is also a nice addition that fits perfect to the R2+FD1 combo.

 

 

Design, Buttons and Build Quality:

HiBy offers with the FD1 DAC/Amplifier a device with a robust build quality and good looking industrial design which is also nice to hold in your hands with its all metal body in silver color that is made of aluminum alloy.

The FD1 is also a pretty compact device with dimensions of 61.5×61.5x 9.5mm and weights approx 71.5grams. On the front of the FD1 is the HiBy band logo that is engraved to the surface of the device which gives it a premium feel.

At the bottom of the FD1 are the 2.5mm balanced (TRRS) output, the USB Type-C port and the 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) output with inline remote support.

On the right surface of the device is a hardware USB mode switch for an easy Switching between USB Audio 1.0 and 2.0 standards, which is a very useful feature.

At the left side of the FD1 is the play/pause button and the volume up + volume down buttons for the internal hardware volume control.

At the bottom are some industrial certifications/brandings and 4 small silicone stands that do offer a nice extra hold on slippery surfaces.

 

 

Technical Specifications:
  • DAC                                       : SA2000 + Dual ES9118
  • DSD Decoding                       : Native DSD (SA2000)
  • Audio Format Support           : Native PCM & DSD Decoding
  • Phone Output                        : 3.5mm TRS (Supports Wired Remote Control)
  • Balanced Output                   : 2.5mm TRRS
  • USB In/Out                            : USB Type-C Charging / Data transfer / USB DAC
  • USB Port                                : USB Type-C
  • Size                                        : 61.5×61.5×9.5mm
  • Weight                                   : 71.5 grams

 

 

  

Hardware and Software Features:

The HiBy FD1 is a Ultra Portable USB DAC/Amplifier that feature some nice hardware specs especially for a device at this price tag.

 

a) DAC / AMP Section:

The HiBY FD1 comes with the Dual ES9118 HiFi SoC with integrated Amplifier that features ESS Technologies patented 32-bit HyperStream architecture. The Dual ES9118 DAC configuration is dedicated for the 2.5mm Balanced & 3.5mm Single-Ended outputs. The SA2000 Chip on the other hand is responsible for the Native DSD support for a decoding up to DSD128.

 

b) Driving power & Hissing:

The 3.5mm Single Ended output of the HiBy FD1 delivers 26mW @ 32ohm; while the 2.5mm Balanced output offers 75mW @ 32ohm. The FD1 was able to drive full sized headphone like the ATH-M50 and SIVGA Phoenix quite loud volume level, while is also a pretty clean background when paired with sensitive IEM’s like the DUNU DK-2001.

 

c) Dual crystal oscillators:

The HiBy FD1 two (dual) independent crystal oscillators supply correct time base signals to x44.1 and x48 sample rate music data respectively, lowering the jitter and improving the accuracy of digital music reproduction and reducing the effect of phase noise on sound quality.

 

d) Connectivity:

The HiBy FD1 DAC/Amplifier features two (2) analog and one outputs and one (1) digital input, which are the 3.5mm single-ended phone out and the 2.5mm balanced output and the USB Type-C input interface to connect the device to sources such like Digital Audio Players, for example the HiBy R2 or to your Smartphone/iPhone or Table/PC.

The Hardware USB mode switch allows the Switching between USB Audio 1.0 and 2.0 standards.

On android devices it is recommended to use USB Audio 2.0 and use with HiByMusic app;
iOS supports device directly, USB Audio 2.0 recommended (Camera Connection Kit cable required). USB 1.0 for driverless plug and play on Windows 7/8/10, DSD not supported;
USB 2.0 for driverless plug and play on Windows 10 (build 1703 and later), extra driver installation required for DSD support.

For more information and driver download, you can use the link below;

e) HiBy Music APP Comparability:

The HiBy FD1 is compatible with the official HiBy Music app that supports both Android & iOS cross-platforms. Its Exclusive USB Audio Access mode works in combination with external USB DACs like the FD1.

 

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:
  • DAC/AMP’s               : HiBy FD1 & Musiland MU2
  • DAP’s                         : HiBy R2
  • IEM’s                          : HiBy Beans, Meze Audio Rai Solo, Dunu DK-2001
  • Headphones              : SIVGA Phoenix, Audio-Technica ATH-M50

 

 

 

Albums & Tracks used for this review:
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Elton John – Rocket Man (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Casey Abrams – Robot Lovers (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kpbs)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The HiBy FD1 is an Ultra Portable Digital to Analog Converter & Amplifier that shows a fairly neutral presentation with a slightly bright tonality.

PS: The reviews is written after a burn-in for about 60-65 hours and is mainly based on my sound experiences from the 2.5mm Balanced output paired with the HiBy R2 DAP and Dunu Dk-2001 and Meze Audio Rai Solo In-Ear Monitors.

Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:

The lower frequency region of the HiBy FD1 shows in general a pretty linear and close to natural presentation. This reference type of bass is neither little nor too much in quantity. The subbass are shows an average depth and intensity, along with a fairly good level of extension.

The midbass region is slightly more highlighted compared to the subbass area, while it still pretty neutral and with minimal coloration compared to other sources with the same DAC chip. The midbass is controlled and has doesn’t show any unwanted midbass hump thanks to the fairly neutral tuning.

The midrange of the HiBy FD1 shows a slightly bright tonality with all IEM/Earphones I have paired with it and offers in general a pretty transparent and detailed presentation that performs above its price range. Both female and male vocals do sound quite natural/realistic, while male vocals do have an average depth and female vocals a good level of clarity and sparkle.  The lower midrange is in general less highlighted compared to the upper midrange that has good extension and detail retrieval.

The treble range of the HiBy FD1 shows a moderate level of extension and sounds pretty detailed for a DAC/AMP at this price range. The lower treble range is of the FD1 offers a sufficient level of clarity and definition. The upper treble range sound in general pretty controlled and is able to produce a good amount of airiness and sparkle.

The soundstage of the HiBy FD1 has a sufficient performance in terms of separation and placement of instruments and vocals. The soundstage is fairly wide, while the depth is on an average level.

 

 

Comparison:

HiBy FD1 versus Musiland MU2:

Both the HiBy FD1 and the Musiland MU2 do have a solid build quality thanks to their metal housing, while the design of the devices is quite different. The FD1 has squared shape while the MU2 has a cylinder like design. Both devices do offer multifunctional volume and navigation buttons, while the MU2 has a fixed low profile cable with USB Type-C connector.

The Musiland MU2 has only a 3.5mm single ended output, while the HiBy FD1 offers both 3.5mm TRS and 2.5mm TRRS Balanced outputs.

When it comes to the sound, I can say that the Musicland MU2 shows as slightly warmer tonality compared to the HiBy FD1. The FD1 offers a more linear and close to neutral bass character with slightly better control and detail retrieval. The subbass of the MU2 has a bit more depth and intensity, while the midbass are pretty close in terms of intensity and impact.

The midrange of the Musicland MU2 shows slightly more warmth and body, compared to the HiBy FD1 which has the upper hand in terms of overall midrange clarity and detail retrieval. The upper midrange of the MU2 sounds smoother and slightly more controlled.

The treble range of the HiBy FD1 is a bit more highlighted and offers slightly better level of clarity, airiness and extension, while the Musiland MU2 has the edge in terms of smoothness and control.

The soundstage of both the HiBy FD1 and Musicland MU2 shows a sufficient performance in terms depth and wideness, while the FD1 has the upper hand in terms of soundstage wideness.

 

Conclusion:

The HiBy FD1 is a very competitive priced DAC/Amplifier with a solid all-metal aluminum housing that offers a neutral yet pretty detailed sound character and shows a nice synergy with the HiBy Beans IEM & R2 Digital Audio Player. The FD1 offers also some interesting hardware features like an additional 2.5mm Balanced output beside the 3.5mm Single Ended headphone out, comes with an ES9118 Dual DAC and has Dual Crystal Oscillators.

 

 

Pros and Cons:

  • + Great Value for your Money
  • + Overall Sound Performance (Detail, Clarity, Neutrality)
  • + Solid Build Quality (All-Metal Housing)
  • + 3.5mm Phone Out & 2.5mm Balanced Outputs
  • + A Rich Accessory Package (Two USB Type-C Cables, Magic Sticker etc.)
  • – None for a device with such a competitive priced

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

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