Hiby RS8

Sound Analysis.

The sound analysis of RS8 was done using Aroma Jewel and Oriolus Traillii, playing a selection of test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Galantis “Hunter”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Dua Lipa “Love again”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.  I had about 150hrs of burn in time before I started analyzing RS8.  Also, sound analysis was done after fw 1.04 update.

I prefer to describe the DAP sound based on the comparison to other DAPs and pair ups with different IEMs/headphones since the DAP by itself doesn’t have a “sound”.  What we hear is how it sounds through connected IEMs/headphones or the difference in sound relative to source comparison using the same pair of IEMs/headphones.  This is my subjective opinion, describing how I hear it while analyzing the sound of RS8, and you will get a bigger picture about this DAP’s sound in the follow up sections of Comparison and detailed Pair ups with specific headphones and IEMs.

I want to mention right away that from the get-go I had NOS enabled because to my ears it made a noticeable difference by adding more texture to the sound, articulation to the bass, and improvement to vertical dynamics.  Coincidentally, many IEM presets in Darwin II setting have NOS filter off, so I kept everything default without presets and with NOS enabled when analyzing the sound of RS8.  Also, I switched to Class AB as my output mode of preference, and will talk about Class A comparison toward the end of this section.

The first thing you notice when start listening to RS8 is the weight of the notes, having a natural fuller body density.  A number of DAP manufacturers strive for a neutral tonality of the source.  Some DAPs shift that balance more toward the revealing colder side with retrieval of details on micro-detailed level.  Others shift the tuning toward a warmer tonality to give you a more organic lush analog sound.  RS8 is tuned to strike a happy medium between a natural organic tonality with a fuller body note weight and a rather impressive retrieval of details without being analytical.  The overall tuning is not warm but rather natural and quite resolving, with an added analog texture (especially in turbo mode) and a smoother and more controlled response of upper frequencies.

I found the sound presentation of RS8 to be more intimate, bringing you closer to the center of the stage, especially when you are focusing on vocals.  The imaging maintains a relatively accurate placement of the sounds, but they are not spreading too wide.  I actually found soundstage to have more depth and height relative to width.  Of course, it will vary from IEM to IEM and headphones, definitely pair up dependent, but overall, I felt like soundstage was wide enough, but imaging and placement of vocals was more focused and closer to the center rather than spreading to reach holographic 3D level.

Another impressive thing was a quiet background even with sensitive IEMs.  R8 had issues in high gain and turbo mode when driving sensitive IEMs.  RS6 addressed that, but RS8 is even quieter which I truly appreciate because I didn’t have to switch to low or medium gain and could drive sensitive IEMs even in Turbo mode.

The overall tuning, relative to sound sig of IEMs and headphones I tested with RS8, was great for instrumental and vocal tracks, classical music with natural non-synthesized instruments, even pop songs and tracks where you want to get the best from vocals and instruments with a natural timbre.  It worked OK with EDM and Rock songs as well, but I felt like it was lacking a bit of extra “crunch” energy due to softer treble response.  Everything is up to a personal preference, of course.

Class A vs Class AB

RS8 design has the implementation of both Class A and Class AB amp modes.  In my testing I heard Class A output to give the sound even smoother and slightly denser presentation.  But the difference between A and AB was rather subtle and dependable on resolution of IEMs/headphones you are using and the test tracks you are listening to.  Per my own personal preference, RS8 already has a smoother sound presentation to begin with and switching to Class A makes it more laidback which loses some of the resolution.  Thus, I preferred to go back to Class AB, especially since you get a bonus of extended battery life.

hiby-rs8-18

Comparison.

In every comparison I was using Aroma Jewel and Oriolus Traillii, volume matched while listening to the same test tracks between DAPs.  Also, here I’m mostly focusing on the difference in sound as I hear it.  These are just quick analysis notes.

RS8 vs Hiby R8 – Both have a very similar soundstage expansion relative to width and depth.  I do hear a difference in tonality where R8 has more transparent and thinner mids and also more sparkle in treble which makes R8 sound brighter and a bit colder.  In contrast to that, RS8 has a more natural fuller body sound with a little warmer coloring in mids and smoother and more organic treble extension.  Also, sensitive iems hiss with R8 while I hear no such problem with RS8.  The exterior design is nearly identical, and both are fast open Android DAPs.

RS8 vs Hiby RS6 – Both have a very similar soundstage expansion, perhaps with RS8 being just a touch wider.  The tonality of RS8 is smoother with more body in mids and a deeper sub-bass in lows.  To my ears, RS6 bass is more neutral in many pair ups I tried.  RS6 treble does have a little more sparkle, but as I already mentioned, its bass is more neutral in comparison to RS8.  As a result, RS6 has a bit more forward vocals while RS8 is more balanced in its sound presentation.  RS6, just like R6 2020, is a scaled down version of R8/RS8, and both are fast open Android DAPs

hiby-rs8-24

RS8 vs Cayin N8ii – N8ii has a bit wider soundstage.  Regarding the tonality, N8ii sound is more revealing and a bit brighter due to more sparkle in treble, but you can bring them closer when N8ii switched to NuTube and both are in Class AB.  RS8 still gives you a smoother presentation of the sound with a more organic tonality while N8ii has more revealing tuning.  Another thing I was impressed with is rendition of the bass in both DAPs since Cayin DAPs are usually known for their bass punch and RS8 can now match it to perfection as well.  Both are about the same size and have fast open Android interface.

RS8 vs L&P P6 Pro – The tonality and the resolution between these two daps is not too far off, but I do hear some differences.  First of all, P6 Pro soundstage is wider and there is more air in treble.  In comparison, RS8 has fuller body mids and a little smoother treble definition.  Aside from a sound difference, the interface of these DAPs is night and day since P6 Pro is non-Android device with a rather primitive user interface.

RS8 vs L&P LP6 Gold – LP6 soundstage is wider than RS8, not by a lot, but noticeable especially when focusing on vocals.  Another difference is in density of notes in mids where RS8 notes have more weight and a bit thicker body while LP6 is less colored and more transparent.  Their treble is not too far off, especially after 1.04 update where RS8 gained more sparkle and air, though LP6 has some edge over RS8 when it comes to mid/upper treble.  And again, advanced fast Android interface of RS8 is no comparison to a primitive non-Android interface of LP6.

RS8 vs Sony WM1ZM2 – Sony M2 soundstage is a little wider and tonality has a bit more sparkle in treble.  They both have natural sound tuning with a fuller body organic sound especially when you start playing with Sony DSP settings.  The most noticeable main difference here is more sparkle in M2 treble, otherwise, they are not too far off.  Both are open Android players, but RS8 interface has an edge due to a faster and more advanced processor.

RS8 vs Shanling M9 – I find M9 soundstage to be wider and upper mids/treble are a lot brighter, making M9 tonality noticeably more revealing in comparison to RS8 which has a more natural organic tonality without any treble fatigue like I hear in M9 with some of the IEMs and headphones I tested.  Both DAPs are running a fast open Android interface.

RS8 vs A&K SP2000 – Both have a very similar soundstage expansion.  Also, SP2k has a touch more sparkle in treble.  RS8 tonality is smoother and more organic, especially in mids.  Both have a resolving detailed sound.  You do need to keep in mind that RS8 runs open Android OS while A&K DAPs have a close Android OS where you can only load white-listed apps.

RS8 vs iBasso DX300 MAX – DX300 MAX has a wider soundstage and more sparkle in treble.  In comparison, RS8 has a smoother and more natural tonality in mids and in treble.   Another noticeable difference, DX300 MAX bass is more neutral while RS8 bass has a deeper sub-bass rumble and more punch in mid-bass with a number of IEMs I tried.  Both are fast open Android DAPs.

hiby-rs8-25

Bonus.

RS8 vs A&K SP3000 – a lot of people asked me about SP3000 comparison. I only had this DAP for review in August and returned it back before CanJam SoCal in September.  While testing RS8 with different iems and headphones now, I compared my notes and found a drastic change in the same headphone pair ups between these DAPs.  In my SP3k review, I suggested that dap is better suited for iems since ATH-R70x (470ohm impedance, 99dB sensitivity) and Empyrean (planar magnetic) cans lost the weight in their bass when paired up with SP3k, sounding more mid-forward.  Paired up with RS8 in turbo and in high gain, it was like listening to a different set of headphones where the bass came alive.  Everything is up to a personal preference, but I found RS8 to pair up better with more demanding headphones in comparison to SP3k.  With IEMs, SP3k sounds like a more revealing source, while RS8 was smoother and more organic in tonality.  Also, RS8 runs on fully open Android OS while SP3k has a closed Android OS.

Page 4 – Pair up, Wired/wireless connections, and Conclusion.

11 thoughts on “Hiby RS8

  1. Great reviews. Very much enjoyed. I am currently a RS6 user. Not sure if it’s worthy to buy the RS8. Love the sound of RS6, is there a big difference?

    Like

  2. Hi,

    I am a RS6 owner, I curious how much improvement in term of sound from RS6->8? Especially if I use a portable amp such as C9?

    Cheers

    Like

    1. Per you previous and this comment, and especially since you are using LO w/C9, stick with RS6. Is there an improvement? Yes, I find it with a number of my specific IEMs. You can’t quantify this improvement, we all hear things differently and use different IEMs (or maybe headphones in your case). But in your case, you already have a solid setup with RS6 + C9.

      Like

  3. Hi,
    Great review! How different is the synergy of XE6 with RS8 compared to N8ii? Mainly looking at how the bass and mids sound, which one has better synergy in your opinion?
    Cheers

    Like

    1. Of course, it’s my subjective opinion, but I find XE6 to pair up better with RS8. With N8ii, XE6 has U-shaped sound sig with more emphasis on bass and treble, not as much mids. With RS8, XE6 sound sig is balanced with mids coming more forward.

      Like

    1. In what way? They are designed and tuned differently, if anything, complementing each other. Depending on your preference, you might find some of your iems pair up better with one vs the other. But one is not superior to the other. The only truly superior part is battery performance and staying cool (temperature), that is where RS8 has an upper hand.

      Like

      1. Hello Alex, I’m about to ask the same thing, but now that you already said your opinion I think I’ll keep my N8ii. And yes, what interest me on RS8 is the battery life and newer Android OS, but I’m not sure about the sound because I’ve never use a R2R DAC before. You said that N8ii is more revealing but I think I can tame that with cable rolling. (I’m using Odin + Chiron)

        Like

  4. Hey, could you please share what 4.4mm interconnect you use to connect your C9? Thank you! Love your reviews!! You help so much in selecting product 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s