HiBy R4 Review



HiBy R4 Review



HiBy is a well-known audio brand established in 2011 that is specialized in research, development, production and marketing of Portable HiFi Audio products such like DAP’s, USB & Bluetooth DAC/Amplifier’s, In-Ear Monitors and Accessories. Moreover, HiBy is also a highly experienced company in development of Software’s such like the HiBy Music application for Android & iOS devices and of course HiBy OS that is a widely used professional Portable Audio Operating Systems (OS).

The HiBy R4, which I’ll now review for you, is the latest addition to the R Series Digital Audio Players and stands out with its unique design. This budget-friendly device runs Android 12 and offers impressive value for its price.

Featuring a Quad-DAC configuration with 4x ES9018C2M DAC chips, It is capable of handling high-resolution audio formats, including 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD256. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which contributes to the smooth functioning of the open Android 12 OS and supports bit-perfect audio reproduction. The device is equipped with a 4.7” Hi-Res display screen.

The R4 includes dual-independent femtosecond crystal oscillators and offers both balanced (4.4mm) and single-ended (3.5mm) headphone outputs, alongside Bluetooth 5.2 with two-way wireless capability. Its Class A amplification with four 2x OPA1612 and 4x OPA1652 chips is capable of delivering up to 525mW of output power at 32 Ohms. It also includes features such as HiBy Cast wireless remote control and 16x MQA unfolding.



I would like to thank HiBy for providing me the R4 Digital Audio Player. I am not affiliated with HiBy beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.


Price & Availability:

The MSRP price of the HiBy R4 is $249.00 USD, which makes it to a Digital Audio Player that has an impressive value for your money with respect of its built quality, design and hardware & software features. More information’s can be found under the link below;


Package & Accessories:

The HiBy R4 is encased in a striking box that has a rectangular shape. Both the outer and inner boxes adhere to a minimalist design ethos, featuring clean lines and an uncluttered layout that emphasizes the product rather than overwhelming with details. The main box has a vibrant orange color, prominently displaying the #R4 branding on the top. In contrast, the sleeve cover box has in black, which showcases the illustration of the device along with its various ports.

The box of the contains the following items/accessories;

  • 1x HiBy R4 Digital Audio Player
  • 1x USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable for file transfer and charging
  • 2x PVC protectors one for the screen and one for the rear part 1x are pre-installed)
  • 1x TPU Protective Case
  • 1x Print Materials (User Guide, Warranty Card, etc.)


Design & Build Quality: 

The new HiBy R4 stands out in the audiophile market with its eye-catching design inspired by cyborg and mecha concepts. The chassis is a combination of aluminum and plastic, well-crafted for its price point. The HiBy R4 comes in four colors: black, silver, silver with green accents, and silver with orange accents. This review focuses on the black variant.

The R4 has an almost rectangular shape with a beveled top left corner that doubles as a lanyard lug. The device measures 129.6 x 68.3 x 18.5mm and weighs 231g.

The front features a 4.7-inch SHARP LCD display with a resolution of 720×1080. It comes with a pre-installed screen protector, a thoughtful touch. The screen is bright, vibrant, and displays up to 16.7 million colors. Outdoor visibility is above average. A convenient feature is the double-tap-to-wake gesture, which can be enabled or disabled in the settings.

The top left corner features a lanyard lug that’s both practical and stylish. It ensures a secure lanyard attachment (lanyard sold separately, likely a cost-saving decision).

Here, you’ll also find an LED status indicator that glows red while charging and displays different colors based on the audio sampling rate.

The bottom of the R4 houses the 4.4mm balanced, 3.5mm single-ended (SE) outputs, and a standard USB Type-C port that supports SPDIF out, charging, and data transfer.

The rear surface is one of the main attractions of the HiBy R4, thanks to its unique design.

The geometric patterns on the back are not just for aesthetics; they improve grip and hint at the intricate hardware within.

Two screws add an industrial-modern touch.

The top left area features a decorative pattern with three lines that incorporate LED light indicators displaying the device’s operating status, while the HiBy R4 branding sits located on the top right corner.

Below the branding is a gray section with regulatory information and certifications (e.g., SDS©, CE, FCC, RoHS) in small print. On the bottom left are logos indicating Hi-Res Audio and Hi-Res Audio Wireless support.

A large “04” branding is prominently displayed against a black background towards the bottom of the device.

The two ports are clearly labeled “TYPE-C” and Headphone Logo and “BAL,” icons representing their functions.

The right side of the device features four buttons: power/screen on/off, play/pause, and next/previous track buttons.

The left side houses a single microSD card slot and volume up/down buttons.

These buttons are well-placed for easy, one-handed music control.

The top of the device features a customizable FN (function) button. This button can be programmed with various functions through the settings menu, allowing for personalized control.

The overall build quality of the HiBy R4 is impressive for its price range. It offers a decent grip, making it comfortable to hold and use in one hand.


Technical Specifications:

  • Model                          : R4
  • Operating System      : Open Android 12 OS
  • SoC                            : Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
  • GPU                           : Adreno 610
  • Display                       : 4.7” 720P (720*1080) SHARP LCD Touch Display
  • RAM                           : 3GB
  • ROM                           : 32GB
  • MicroSD Support        : 1x up to <2TB
  • DAC                            : Quad ES9018C2M
  • Audio Sampling          : 32-Bit/768kHz PCM and Native DSD256 Signals
  • AMP                           : Class A
  • OP-AMP                     : 4x OPA1652 & 2x OPA1612
  • Analog Out                 : 3.5mm SE (Single Ended) and 4.4mm BAL (Balanced)
  • Digital Out                  : USB Type-C & Coaxial digital out
  • Phone Out                  : 3.5mm Single Ended / 4.4mm Balanced
  • Phone Out Power       : 165mW @ 32 Ohm
  • Balanced Out Power  : 525mW @ 32 Ohm
  • Frequency Response : 20 Hz – 80 kHz
  • THD-N                        : 0.0007% (SE) / 0.0005% (BAL)
  • Noise Floor                 : 2.3uVrms (SE) / 3.5uVrms (BAL)
  • SNR                            : 120dB (SE) / 123dB (BAL)
  • DNR                           : 120dB (SE) / 124dB (BAL)
  • Channel Separation   : 71dB (SE) / 111dB (BAL)
  • Bluetooth Standard    : 5.0
  • Bluetooth Two-Way    : UAT/LDAC/APTX/APTX-HD/AAC/SBC
  • Wi-Fi                           : Dual Band 2.4 GHz & 5.0 GHz
  • Battery Capacity         : 4500mAh PD2.0 20W Quick Charge
  • Battery Life                 : up to 11 hours
  • Charging Time            : approx. 2 hours
  • Dimensions                : 129.6 x 68.3 x 18.5mm
  • Weight                        : 231g


Hardware & Software:

The HiBy R4 is equipped with an array of impressive hardware specifications and software capabilities. It comes with a Quad ES9018C2M DAC setup supporting high-resolution audio up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD256. The device features a Class-A amplifier sections and is powered by a pretty robust Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, complemented by 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. All these features are integrated into a device running the intuitive Android 12 operating system. Let’s take a deeper look at the hardware and software features of the device.

A. Hardware Features:

Snapdragon 665 SoC & Storage:

The HiBy R4 is outfitted with the Snapdragon 665 Octa-Core SoC, utilizing 11nm CPU technology for enhanced power efficiency over the older 14nm technology found in the Snapdragon 660. The SoC includes the Adreno 610 GPU, which facilitates a smooth graphical user interface, comparable to that of a smartphone. Accompanied by 3GB of RAM, the device offers a responsive user interface with the Open Android 12 Operating System.

The R4 features 32GB of internal storage, with a Micro SD card slot available for additional storage, supporting expansion up to 2TB.

Digital to Analog Converter / MQA / System-Wide Bit Perfect:

The HiBy R4 is designed to deliver an authentic high-fidelity audio experience. It boasts a quad-DAC configuration, incorporating four ES9018C2M high-performance DAC chips, ensuring outstanding sound-signal decoding capabilities. This setup enables the R4 to support native DSD256 playback and PCM signals up to a 32bit/768kHz bitrate, showcasing its ability to handle high-resolution audio.

The HiBy R4 comes with a System-Wide Bit-Perfect audio reproduction capability. This guarantees that digital audio files are conveyed to the DAC in their unaltered state, maintaining their pristine quality. Equipped with MQA certification, the HiBy R4 endorses the “Master Quality Authenticated” audio protocol. It possesses the ability to decode 16x MQA files, enabling the playback of high-fidelity audio from compressed sources.


Class A & Dual Audio Crystal Oscillators:

The HiBy R4 audio features a Class A amplification design, known for its high-power circuit that delivers consistent and powerful audio output. This design is powered by 4x OPA1652 and 2x OPA1612 operational amplifiers, along with 16 triodes, ensuring an output free from crossover distortion and capable of quick transient response. The amplification system of the R4 can produce up to 525mW at an impedance of 32Ω over the 4.4mm BAL output, while maintaining a distortion rate of just 0.0005%.

The R4’s dual headphone outputs, which include both 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced ports, cater to a wide range of audio transducers, from sensitive in-ear monitors to full-sized planar headphones. Despite not having the highest output power on paper, the R4’s real-world performance is noteworthy, especially through the 4.4mm balanced output.

A distinctive aspect of the R4 is its incorporation of dual independent femtosecond crystal oscillators operating at frequencies of 45.158MHz and 49.152MHz. These oscillators play a crucial role in minimizing jitter and phase noise, thereby enhancing the precision and stability of audio signal processing.

Moreover, the HiBy R4 is equipped with 28 high-precision tantalum capacitors, which provide a longer power supply, improved ripple rejection for a blacker background. I was really surprised by the clean background even with the HiBy Project ACE, which has a reputation for being a hiss magnet.


High-Res Wireless & Two-Way Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity:

The HiBy R4 integrates a Bluetooth chip with BT 5.0 technology, facilitating Hi-Res Wireless Audio. It supports a range of audio codecs, including HiBy’s proprietary UAT and LDAC, as well as widely-used Bluetooth codecs such as AptX HD, AptX, AAC, and SBC.

UAT (Ultra Audio Transmission) is HiBy’s in-house developed all-new Bluetooth audio transmission codec. Supporting an industry-highest 192kHz transmission sample rate and up to 1.2Mbps Bluetooth bandwidth, this also can optimize its transmission characteristics according to different music genres

The HiBy R4 features Two-Way Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity and can be connected to Bluetooth transmitting devices like a mobile phone, tablets or PC’s, working as a Bluetooth DAC/Amplifier.


Battery Specifications & Charging Capabilities of the HiBy R4:

The HiBy R4 houses a 4500mAh built-in battery. Battery performance was evaluated under specific conditions and with certain file formats.


Testing Conditions:

  • Volume: Set at 50
  • Gain: Low
  • File Format: FLAC 16-bit/44.1kHz
  • Screen: Turned off
  • 3.5mm Single Ended Output : about 10 – 10.5 hours
  • 4.4mm Balanced Output : about 8 hours

The R4 is designed to support 20W quick charging, compatible with the PD2.0 Quick Charge standard,

B. Software Ecosystem:

The HiBy R4 incorporates Qualcomm’s 8-core Snapdragon 665 SoC Chip, complemented by 3GB RAM, to ensure a responsive user interface. The device runs on HiBy OS, which is based on the versatile Android 12 platform. This open operating system allows access to a vast array of music and media applications available on the Google Play Store, including popular online music services such as Qobuz, Apple Music, Tidal or Spotify.

Software Highlights:

A notable feature of the R4 is the HiBy Music Application, renowned for its user-friendly interface and extensive functionality.

The device also features the MSEB technology, a proprietary digital sound processing tool developed by HiBy’s software team. It integrates multiple algorithms derived from a parametric equalizer and sound field adjustments to enhance audio customization capabilities.

Additionally, the R4 is compatible with the HiBy Cast application, which enables remote control of the R4 music player via a smartphone or tablet. The HiBy Cast app provides control over the HiBy Music application and is also compatible with various third-party applications.


Equipment’s used for this review:

  • DAP’s                         : HiBy R4
  • IEM’s                          : HiBy Project ACE, IOAudio Volare, Westone MACH10
  • Headphones              : HiFiMAN Edition XS

Albums & Tracks used for this review:

  • Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Adele – My Little Love (Deezer HiFi)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • 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)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Radiohead – Live in Berlin “Album” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Radiohead – Pyramid Song (Deezer HiFi)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Nobody Weird Like Me (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Bear McCreary’s – Valkyries (Deezer HiFi)
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Daft Punk – Instant Crush (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
  • Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Clair de Lune – Claude Debussy (Spotify)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Miles Davis – So What (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Dyers Eve (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Tom Sawyer (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)


The Sound:

In the under-$250 price range, the HiBy R4 prioritizes a neutral sound signature. This means it avoids boosted bass that can be common in budget DAPs, favoring clarity across the frequency range. While bass extension is respectable, it prioritizes precision over pure power. The midrange is clear and fairly detailed, well-suited for vocals and instruments across various genres. Treble performance emphasizes clarity and can be a tad spicy with certain earphones. The soundstage offers a surprising sense of width and depth for the price point. It’s important to note that compared to higher-end DAPs, the R4’s bass detail and treble control may be less nuanced. However, it delivers a clean and transparent sound for the price, making it a compelling option for budget-minded audiophiles seeking a neutral listening experience. Let’s take a closer look at the sonic performance of the HiBy R4.

This HiBy R4 review is based on extensive listening after a burn-in period of approximately 100 hours. The sound impressions I provide are primarily formed through my experiences using the 4.4mm balanced output. To offer a well-rounded perspective, I’ve paired the R4 with various earphones and headphones, including In-Ear Monitors like the HiBy Project ACE, IOAudio Volare, and Westone Audio MACH10, as well as headphones such as the HiFiMAN Edition XS.


The HiBy R4 prioritizes a clean and balanced sound signature in its $249 price range. It avoids the common budget DAP pitfall of overly emphasized bass, showing a good sense of neutrality. This focus on clarity ensures a well-rounded listening experience that doesn’t sacrifice detail for exaggerated sub-bass or mid-bass.

While the R4 delivers respectable bass speed and resolution, it prioritizes precision over pure power. Bass notes are produced with a fairly amount of clarity across the spectrum, resulting in a relative uncolored and linear response. This allows bass instruments to be well-defined without muddying the midrange or the overall mix. When paired with efficient and revealing earphones or headphones like the HiBy Project ACE and IOAudio Volare or HiFiMAN Edition XS, the R4’s control and precision shine. It provides a tight foundation for the rest of the sound spectrum. Audiophiles seeking a clean and balanced sound on a budget will find the R4 a compelling choice.

However, it’s important to understand the limitations inherent to its price point. Compared to its higher-tier siblings, the R4 may lack the nuanced layering and detail retrieval in the bass region. This isn’t necessarily a negative aspect, but rather a trade-off as a budget device.


Priced at $249, the HiBy R4 is a commendable entry in the mid-range digital audio player segment. It offers clear midrange performance, which pairs well with a variety of In-Ear Monitors, like the HiBy Project ACE and the latest IOAudio Volare. This device is adept at rendering vocals and instruments with good fidelity, making it suitable for a wide range of musical genres with the right IEM and headphone pairing. The R4’s ability to distinctly separate notes contributes to its well-defined midrange, enhancing the listening experience for tracks like David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” and Adele’s “Hello.”

While the HiBy R4 shines with most In-Ear Monitors and headphones I have paired, it’s important to note that its accessible price point may come with certain limitations. However, it still manages to deliver a transparent and authentic audio experience, particularly notable in the clear vocals and dynamic performances it reproduces. The R4’s midrange reproduction is fairly precise, from the subtle nuances of acoustic guitars to the deep resonance of larger instruments like the contrabass. Overall, the HiBy R4 offers a pretty satisfying midrange experience for those who value an above average performance in this area without a hefty price tag.


The treble range is indeed a double-edged sword. It’s capable of delivering exceptional clarity and resolution, yet it can also produce a sound that may be perceived as unnatural without the right IEM pairing. The HiBy Project ACE and IOAudio Volare are examples of IEMs that exhibit great synergy with the R4, enhancing its strengths. Conversely, IEMs with a brighter, more analytical sound profile, such as the Westone MACH 10, may not be the best match.

While I typically avoid using EQ settings, subtle adjustments with HiBy’s MSEB (Mage Sound 8-ball Tuning) can lead to appreciable improvements. The R4 excels in delivering transparency and detail, which is impressive for its price. Complex tracks, like Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets,” are handled with a sufficient grade of clarity and precision when used with compatible IEMs and headphones, such as the HiBy Project ACE, IOAudio Volare or the HiFiMAN Edition XS.

The R4 provides an effective sense of airiness and brightness, well-suited for its affordable price, though it may not reach the heights of more expensive models. Ultimately, the device’s performance will vary based on the synergy with your chosen IEMs and the types of music you prefer, with potential enhancements accessible through MSEB adjustments.

Soundstage & Imaging:

The HiBy R4, while offering a soundstage that provides a decent sense of space and instrument separation, does not quite achieve a holographic experience. Its soundstage, though satisfactory, may not envelop the listener with the three-dimensional effect that some may seek. Nevertheless, it still delivers a soundstage that enhances the overall audio experience within its price bracket.


The HiBy R4 punches above its weight class in terms of features. For a price of just $249, it boasts a quad ES9018C2M DAC for exceptional detail, supporting high-resolution audio up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD256. This powerful DAC is paired with a Class-A amplifier for a fairly clean, powerful audio reproduction. All this is housed in a uniquely compact device with a Cyborg-inspired design, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage, running the familiar Android 12 operating system. Sonically, it prioritizes a neutral sound signature with clear and detailed mids, though bass and treble may require some personal adjustments depending on your preferences. In conclusion, the HiBy R4 presents an attractive choice for budget-conscious listeners in search of a clear and transparent audio experience, complemented by a fast UI and a distinctively modern design.


Pros & Cons:

  • + Excellent Value
  • + Neutral Sound Signature that prioritizes clarity and detail retrieval
  • + Hardware Features (Class-A Amplification, Quad DAC, Snapdragon SD665 SoC, and more
  • + Open Android OS
  • + Solid Output Power (4.4mm Balanced Output)
  • + HiBy Ecosystem (HiBy Music, HiBy Cast, MSEB sound processing)
  • + Cyborg-inspired Unique design with a comfortable grip
  • + Solid Build Quality
  • – May require slight adjustments for optimal sound with specific IEMs and genres
  • – Offers a decent sense of space but doesn’t achieve a fully immersive holographic effect
  • – Unfortunately, the lanyard shown in the advertisements is sold separately


Thank you for the Read!



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