Hidizs AP80 PRO DAP Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidizs AP80 Pro Review

 

Introduction:

Hidizs Technology Co. Ltd. was founded early in 2009 and is specialized in portable audio equipments such like Digital to Analog Converters (DAC), Digital Audio Players (DAP), Amplifiers and In-Ear Monitors (IEM).

The AP80 Pro that I will now review for you is the upgraded version of the AP80 with additional features like the 2.5mm Balance output, 2 x ES9218P DAC Chip’s, a HBC3000 FPGA chip and a new design, beside the Native DSD Support, 2.45 inch Touch Screen, Bi-Direction Lossless Bluetooth Connectivity, FM Radio and a Step Counter that we have already seen on the little brother.

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank Hidizs for providing me the AP80 Pro as review sample. I am not affiliated with Hidizs beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.

  

Purchase Links:

The actual retrial price of the Hidizs AP80 Pro is around $159.99 USD. More information’s can be found under the link below;

 

 

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro came in a small black cardboard box that sports some product and company related brandings / illustrations on the top, and some technical informations at the bottom.

 

This box contains the following items;

  • 1 x Hidizs AP80 Pro Ultra Portable Digital Audio Player
  • 1 x Protective Silicone Case
  • 1 x USB mini to USB Type-C cable for file transfer and charging
  • 1 x Micro USB to USB Type-C cable
  • 1 x Set of Screen Protector (Back and Front)
  • 1 x User Manual, etc.
  • 1 x Warranty card

 

 

 

Design, Buttons and Build Quality:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro is a pretty small Digital Audio Player that shares many similarities with the original AP80 that I really enjoyed to hold in my hands.

The dimensions of 61x58x13.8mm and weights only about 60grams which makes it to a very compact device to carry around. The 5-axis CNC machined metal body is made of one-piece high-density aluminum material that feels solid in your hand.

On the front of the device is the 2.45 Inch Touch Screen of the company Samsung with a Resolution of 480×360 Pixel. The screen is small but quite responsive and visible under direct sunlight conditions.

At the back of the AP80 Pro is a glass panel that shows the product brandings and some the industrial certifications.

On the right surface of the device is the Japanese ALPS volume wheel that is fairly precise.

The volume wheel acts also like a multifunctional (power on/off, screen on/off, etc) button.

Here are also the next/fast forward, play/pause and back/fast back buttons that are small but easy to press.

On the left side of the AP80 Pro is the micro SD card slot that supports cards up to 512GB.

At the bottom of the device are the USB Type-C female connection that reacts as digital out for USB DAC/USB Audio functionalities, charging port/data transmission.

Here are also the 2.5mm Balanced (TRRS) Output and the 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) headphone jack that shares also the LO (Line Out) output that you can select from the settings.

 

 

 

Some Technical Specifications:
  • Model                         : Hidizs AP80 Pro
  • Operating System      : Hiby OS 3.0
  • Screen                        : 2.45’’ Samsung HD IPS Touch Screen (480×360pixel)
  • Master Chip                : Ingenic X1000
  • Expanded Memory    : 1 micro SD card slot up 512GB
  • Pedometer Sensor     : KX126
  • DAC                           : 2 x ES9218P
  • Frequency Response : 20Hz – 90 kHz
  • THD+N                       : <0.003% (1 kHz)
  • Dynamic Range         : 115dB (PO) / 116dB (Balanced)
  • SNR                           : 119dB (PO) / 120dB (Balanced)
  • Channel Separation   : 70dB (PO) / 98dB (Balanced)
  • Bluetooth                    : Bluetooth V4.2 with aptX & LDAC support
  • Analog Outputs          : 3.5mm Single Ended / 2.5mm Balanced
  • Output Power              70mW+70mW @32Ω (PO)  / 190mW + 190mW@32Ω (Balanced)
  • USB In/Out                 : USB Type-C USB2.0 Charging/Data trans./USB DAC/USB Audio)
  • Battery                        : 800mAH (3.7
  • Run Time                    : 8 – 11 Hours (Phone Out) / 6-8 Hours (Balanced) 50 Days (Standby)
  • USB Port                    : USB Type C
  • Size                            : 61x58x13.8mm
  • Weight                        : approx 68grams

 

  

Supported File Formats:

The Hidizs AP80 supports most Hi-Res lossless formats including FLAC, APE, WMA, WAV, ALAC, DSF, DFF, and SACD-ISO. Native support for DSD 64/128/256, PCM of up to 384Khz/32bit

 

 

Hardware and Software Features:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro is an ultra portable device with that is packed with many hardware and software features that I will now share with you.

 

A. Processor:

Under the hood of the Hidizs AP80 Pro is the X1000 CPU of the company Ingenic Semiconductor with a processor speed of 1.0 GHz. It has an energy efficient MIPS32 XBurst RISC core with double precision hardware float point unit for low power consumption.

 

B. DAC/AMP Section:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro comes with 2x ES9218P SABRE HiFi SoC that do feature the patented 32-bit “HyperStream” architecture, which supports up to 32-bit 384kHz PCM and DSD256 to deliver up to 130 dB SNR and -114 dB Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N). It also supports popular high resolution and lossless audio formats including DSD, DoP, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV.

 

  • Output Power             PO      : 70mW+70mW @ 32Ω
  • Output Power             BAL     : 190mW + 190mW @ 32Ω

The recommended headphone impedance range is between 8-200Ω.

 

 

C. FPGA Chip

With the dedicated FPGA chip HBC3000, the accuracy of digital music reproduction can be increased by master clock and the clock jitter can be perfectly controlled. Meanwhile, it can hardware decode native DSD 64/128/256.

 

D. Connectivity:

1. Wired:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro features a 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) and a 2.5mm Balanced (TRRS) headphone outputs. The 3.5mm Phone Out that works also as Line Output (LO), which can easily adjusted over the shortcut menu.

The Hidizs AP80 Pro can also be used as an asynchronous USB DAC with both Mac’s and Windows PC’s. With Mac computers, you can just plug-and-play the AP80 without the need of a driver installation. With Windows PC’s you need to install the driver, which you can find on Hidizs website.

 

2. Bluetooth & Bi-Directional USB Connectivity:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro uses Bluetooth 4.2 and supports also “Bi-Direction Lossless Bluetooth Connectivity” which can be used to transmit or to receive/stream your music from any compatible device. This is a nice feature if you want to listen songs from streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, etc. The actually supported codec’s are LDAC/aptX/aptX HD and SBC.

The connection between the AP80 Pro and my Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus was pretty stabile during my tests, without to show drops and noise issue from a distance up to 9-10 meters.

 

3. UAT (Ultra Audio Transmission) Support:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro supports the so called UAT codec (Ultra Audio Transmission), an audio coding technology that was self-developed by HiBy that supports up to 192 kHz sampling frequencies or up to 1.2Mbps bit rates which is a pretty interesting feature.

 

E. Battery Life:

The battery life of the Hidizs AP80 Pro is quite good same like the little brother AP80 especially for such a small device with a build in battery of only 800mAH. I have tested the battery life of the AP80 Por under the following condition and file formats.

Hidizs MS1 Rainbow / Volume 60 out of 120 / Screen Off

  • Flac 16bit/44kHz        : about 9 hours (PO) / 7.5 hours (Balanced)
  • Flac 24bit/192kHz      : about 7 Hours (PO) / 5 – 5.5 Hours (Balanced)
  • DSD128 (.dsf)                        : about 6 Hours (PO) / 4 Hours (Balanced)

 

F. Other Features:

Pedometer:

The Hidisz AP80 Pro has a built-in step counter sensor, while the program will run in the Background after activate it under the step counter APP. You can view your steps in real time and it supports also the viewing of historical actions.

 

FM Ratio:

The AP80 Pro features a FM radio function same like the AP80, which is a very rear found option with HiFi grade Portable Devices these days. To activate the function you need to insert an earphone that will be used as antenna. The radio signal and sound quality is on an average level.

 

The Software:

The Operating System (in short OS) of the Hidizs AP80 Pro (same like the original AP80) is HiBy OS 3.0 which is a Linux based software that was developed by the company HiBy. The GUI is pretty fluid with minimal/low lags and should satisfy most of its users.

The Main Menu shows you some icons/shortcuts like Player, FM, Step, Bluetooth, System Settings and About.

The Player shortcut links you to the player interface which is minimalistic but clean. Here are a number of swipe gestures you can do to open some new windows.

If you swipe from left to right, it will appear the player fine tuning menus where you can see the Hidizs logo and some settings like Update Database, MSEB (Mage Sound 8-Ball DSP Tuning), Equalizer and Play Settings.

If you slide up from the bottom of the screen, you will see shortcut functions which will give you access to quick adjustments like screen brightness, volume, gain, Bluetooth on/off, play/pause, etc.

You can set your EQ settings manually or can use some presets like Rock, Pop, Dance Metal, etc.

Normally, I don’t like to use any EQ settings, but the MSEB (Mage Sound 8-Ball) feature of the AP80 Pro, which is a combination of multiple algorithms based on parametric equalizer (PEQ) and sound field adjustment (in short a DSP tool) works pretty good If you like to transform the sound of your device.

You can turn on and select several Bluetooth functions under the Bluetooth Menu. As I have mentioned before the AP80 Pro supports lossless transmission protocols like apt-X, LDAC, etc. and features two-way Bluetooth transmitting which can transform it to a so called Bluetooth DAC. These features can be enabled under this menu.

Other options like the FM radio, Step Counter and System Settings can be activated and adjusted under the main menu.

The Hidizs AP80 Pro has also a clock feature that is implanted to the main screen.

 

HiBy Link Application:

You can control the Hidisz AP80 Pro wirelessly directly from your phone with the HiBy Link applications. I have tested only the Android version that you can download from the Google Play Store.

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:

DAP’s                         : Hidizs AP80 Pro, FiiO M6
IEM’s                          : Hidizs MS1 Rainow, BGVP DM8, FiiO FH3

 

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • 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)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • 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)
  • 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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro continues the successful sound tuning of the original AP80 that have had also those nicely done mildly warm tonality. The bass of the AP80 Pro offers pretty good control and extension, while the midrange is lush, a bit soft but quite transparent/clear. The treble range on the other hand is slightly highlighted, but in general close to linear in its presentation with a good level of extension and detail retrieval.

PS: This review is written after a burn-in for about 100 hours and is mainly based on my sound experiences over the 2.5mm balanced (TRRS) output that offers in better dynamics and slightly more micro detail compared to the 3.5mm phone out, paired with the Hidizs MS1 Rainbow, FiiO FH3 & BGVP DM8.

Bass:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro shows a low amount of coloration in the lower frequency region, which is slightly warm and soft in tonality. The subbass region has in general a moderate level of depth and extension, which shows an intensity that is neither too much nor to low.

The subbass quantity and intensity is on a sufficient level form cross drums to guitars, from synthesizers to brass instruments. Especially IEM’s with good bass response like the BGVP DM8 do pair very well with the AP80 Pro, while bass light IEM’s like the Brainwavz B200 or the Etymotic ER4S that I have borrowed from one of my fiends did not show the same delightful synergy.

The midbass region of the Hidizs AP80 Pro is more highlighted compared to the subbass area and has a smooth and fairly warm tonality, without to show negative conditions like a midbass hump or mixings. The impact is pretty strong and entertaining, while listen to IEM’s like the Hidizs MS1 Rainbow or FiiO FH3.

The speed and control is one of the highlights in this area, while the level of detail is also pretty high for a device in this price category, which is especially remarkable in genres like classical, jazz, acoustic or metal that does need such a fast bass response. The bass doesn’t come to much forward, which could overshadow the stage or the midrange.

 

Midrange:

The midrange of the Hidizs AP80 Pro offers a musical, smooth and transparent presentation, along with good amount airiness. The midrange doesn’t sound dry or analytical and shows a nice amount of warmness.

 

Vocals:

The lower midrange of the Hidizs AP80 Pro is on an average, while it doesn’t sounds dry or thin sounding, which is an advantage for male vocals. The tonality of male vocals is mildly warm, moderate bold and pretty soft. The reproduction of male voices is clear, detailed and doesn’t show any annoying situations like muddiness.

Female vocals on the other hand do sound quite lively and detailed thanks to the good upper midrange tuning that is nicely pronounced. Female vocals do sound more detailed and vivid compared to male voices due to the more forward positioning. The general female vocal presentation of the AP80 Pro is lively and emotional.

 

Instruments:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro is a successful Digital Audio Player when it comes to the positioning and separation of instruments. The instruments do show a good level of body and fullness, while the general tonality pretty natural and mildly warm. Acoustic guitars are slightly bassy and do have a warm and sweet tonality, which makes them very pleasant to listen to. Especially violas that I really enjoy to listen to, do sound quite emotional and natural. Pianos on the other hand do have a slightly bright tonality, while violins are reproduced in a soft and detailed manner.

 

Upper Midrange & Treble:

The upper midrange of the Hidizs AP80 Pro is pretty highlighted and shows an identical character to those of the AP80. The upper midrange has a good level of extension and the transitions are in general controlled and don’t show any over sharpness even in genres like metal music. Everything from female vocals up to instruments like violins and pianos do sound quite crisp, detailed and clear.

The same performance continues in the treble range which sounds pretty detailed and crisp but still very comfortable to listen to. The resolution in the treble range is shows a level that is above the price range of the AP80 Pro. The added emphasis and focus on the treble brought the treble to a very good level.

Instruments like Hi-hats in metal music are pronounced and it is quite easy to count the hits. Crash and ride cymbals on the other hand are fast, controlled and do show a good level of extension. There is no interference when the piano is accelerating in Jazz songs; the hits are clear and pronounced.

The level of airiness in the treble range is pretty high, while the emphasis in treble range is usually in the lower and middle treble range. The treble intensity decreases in a controlled manner towards the upper treble range.

The treble range is presented in a more neutral and clear tonality compared to the other frequencies and is very successful in terms of detail. The overall treble performance of the AP80 Pro is far above this price level.

 

Soundstage:

The AP80 Pro is a quite successful DAP same like the little brother AP80 when it comes to the soundstage performance. It shows a good performance in terms of separation and positioning of instruments and vocals, thanks to the pretty wide and airy soundstage. The on the other hand is on an average level. The neutral air between the instruments makes the AP80 Pro quite airy.

 

 

Comparison:

 

Hidizs AP80 Pro versus FiiO M6:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro shows a slightly warmer tonality and fuller overall presentation compared to the FiiO M6 that sounds a bit more neutral.

The bass character of the FiiO M6 is more linear compared to the AP80 Pro, which has the upper hand when it comes to the depth, especially in the midbass register. The FiiO M6 has the slightly edge when it comes to the overall control of the midbass and subbass area.

The midrange of the Hidizs AP80 Pro has a tad warmer tonality compared to the FiiO M6, which sounds a bit more neutral and but dry in this area. Both male and female vocals do sound slightly more successful with the AP80 Pro that offers a fuller male and more detailed female vocal presentation.

Both DAP’s are successful in terms of treble performance, while the AP80 Pro is more pronounced and controlled in this area. The treble range of the FiiO M6 is more neutral and harsh than those of the Hidizs AP80 Pro.

The soundstage of both devices is pretty close in terms of wideness and separation, while the Hidizs AP80 Pro is slightly better in terms of soundstage depth.

 

 

Conclusion:

The Hidizs AP80 Pro is an ultra portable Swiss Knife with tons of features like the 2.5mm balanced output, Dual DAC’s, Bi-Directional Bluetooth Connectivity, MESB PEQ an many more. Moreover, it offers a solid sound quality with its fast and controlled bass response, lush and detailed midrange character and a treble tuning that shows a performance wide above its price range.

 

 

 

Pros and Cons:
  • + Bass Response (Control, Speed)
  • + Lush and Pretty Detaille Midrange
  • + Overall Treble Performance (Extension, Detail and Control)
  • + Size and Build Quality
  • + Features (MESB PEQ, FM Radio, Pedometer)
  • + Lots of Wired & Wireless Connection Options (2.5mm Balanced, Bluetooth & USB DAC)

 

  • – Sub-bass Depth (may not satisfy bass-heads)
  • – The Silicone Case Looks A bit cheap
  • – Nothing more for such a small device at this price range

 

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply