PROS: R-2R discrete resistor DAC, natural organic tonality with intimate sound presentation, advanced DARWIN architecture, custom IEM presets, super-fast Android performance, 5” HD display, MQA 16x support, system wide MSEB.
CONS: weight (copper chassis), battery life.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Last year, on the heels of their R8 flagship release, Hiby introduced new version of R6. To eliminate the confusion with the original R6 and R6 Pro, it was named R6 2020, ironically, released at the end of 2020. Due to the timing of that release, I felt like it lost some of its momentum and I had to point out to my readers it was still the new model. This year, a new iteration of R6 came in a form of a brand-new platform with the only resemblance to last year’s model being the exterior design. On the inside, it got a complete makeover which is a very bold move by Hiby.
With so many manufacturers scrambling after AKM factory fire and global chip shortage triggered by pandemics, Hiby decided to supercharge “R6” with an all-new architecture, referred to as Darwin, turning R6 into RS6. Darwin name is historically associated with a science of evolution, and Hiby attempted to start their own, in two steps. First, staying independent of delta-sigma DACs supply chain by using discrete R-2R resistor ladder design, and second, by introducing various building blocks to fine-tune the sound naturally and more efficiently.
Of course, one can argue that Hiby’s own MSEB effects or just using the EQ can already change the sound without the need to swap DAC or amp modules. I think the idea here was to try something completely different, maybe even challenging themselves in an attempt to reinvent the wheel. But as they say, everything usually looks great on paper. So, how does it sound in reality? After spending a little over a month testing this new Hiby RS6, let’s see what I found.
Unboxing and Accessories.
Unboxing experience of RS6 is nearly identical to their R6 2020, with packaging being the same. You have exterior sleeve with a model number; and after you slide it out, you have medium side box stamped with a glossy RS letters. Flip is open and one side has a storage with usb type-c cable (high quality, durable construction, feels stiff) used for charging and data, and usb type-c to RCA digital coax cable (the same high quality build) used to connect RS6 as a source to external DAC/amp.
The other side of the box has a foam tray with a secure cutout for RS6, and a brown leather case along with a quick guide manual and screen protectors. The case has a similar design and color as a stock R6 2020 case, but with an improvement of having a solid leather back instead of a metal cutout with R6 logo. I wasn’t the fan of that metal grill, and glad the case has a solid back now.
RS6 slides into the case from the top where you flip and close (Velcro) top flap which has a precise cutout for the volume wheel. On the right side you have a generous cutout for transport control buttons, and at the bottom fully open access to LO, PO, and usb port. There is also an optional all green leather case with a matching copper RS emblem on the back. It has the same design as a stock case but the color combination of green leather and copper “RS” on the back makes it look a lot more premium, definitely recommend it.