Other Wired/Wireless connections.
In this section of the review, I will go over various wired and wireless connections I tested and verified with RS6.
Digital usb-c out
I tested this interface using Cayin RU6 usb-dac which got recognized right away. Volume was controlled only from RU6. Sampling rate was displayed correctly. Interestingly, when connected to my phone, I was able to change volume from my phone and RU6, but with to RS6 only from RU6. But, connected to RS6, RU6 sound quality scaled up in soundstage expansion and blackness of the background. Could be related to my older Galaxy S9 phone.
With a provided usb-c to coax cable, you can turn RS6 into an audio source/transport. Just plug it in, connect to external DAC/amp, and it works right away. I was using micro iDSD BL and everything was recognized without a problem or the need to enable anything in settings. Actually, with micro iDSD BL the sound was even better with Coax than digital out.
Once connected to external amplifier, volume can’t be controlled from RS6, only from external amplifier. In R6 2020 and R8 you can adjust LO output with a volume wheel, in RS6 it is fixed due to a different architecture/design.
While using Romi Audio BX2 with IEMs, there is hardly a room to adjust the volume since it is designed for more powerful headphones, even at a very low volume. In this pair up the sound has a wider soundstage and a little more transparent tonality, less organic in comparison to RS6 PO output.
With C9, the same deal, volume controlled only from the external amp. Here, the soundstage is more holographic, volume has more headroom, and tonality is very natural and organic. The biggest improvement is in imaging and soundstage expansion, and also the refinement of a natural tonality.
When connected to my Win10 laptop, in Notification of RS6 I had to go to Android System message for USB connection and select USB preference for Audio In (usb power) or Audio In (no usb power), depending on if you connecting to a smartphone and don’t want to drain its battery. RS6 was recognized right away, volume could be controlled from either laptop or RS6. The sound was identical to listening to RS6 standalone.
You have 2 modes of Wireless Bluetooth operation, Tx and Rx.
BT Rx – Select Bluetooth Audio in and search and pair up with RS6 from your smartphone. Enable LDAC on a smartphone and start streaming from smartphone while using RS6 as a wireless BT DAC. Volume is controlled from RS6.
BT Tx – Paired up RS6 with WH2 tws within seconds. Found it to work across 55ft of open space, full remote control from TWS earpieces. With HD Audio selection it picked right away the highest res connection, UAT TWS in this case. Volume could be controlled from RS6.
When I started testing RS6, I didn’t appreciate at first the power of Darwin architecture because I wanted instant gratification of in-your-face sound changes. Not until fw 1.20 update and addition of new IEM presets from VE and 64 Audio, I realized how effectively and naturally this DAP could be finetuned without a need of EQ or MSEB effects. Even without dialing in presets, the resolution, the soundstage, and even the dynamics of the sound showed improvements going from fw 1.20 to 1.30. Perhaps, the overall changes were not as drastic, but they were quite effective while keeping the same set of hardware and only tweaking controls of Darwin architecture building blocks.
Also, RS6 is one of the fastest DAPs I have tested to date, even putting to shame my aging Galaxy S9 which has a faster processor and optimized to run Android 10. I know, this is Hiby’s first Darwin architecture release, and probably still work in progress considering 2 firmware updates already. But it looks very promising, I do hear the results of finetuning, and based on the latest fw 1.30 update I see access to more controls and presets. It was great to give IEM manufacturers access to the tools, and I think it will be even better to allow users to do the same. I’m looking forward to continue exploring RS6 and to see what other new releases from Hiby going to feature Darwin architecture next!