iBasso dx300 vs Hiby r6 2020

I’m considering adding comparisons to my desktop setups, as that’s sort of the price category that this thing fits in, compared to my portable solutions (the Q5S TypeC and BTR5), but I haven’t decided yet. Really curious how you like the iDSD micro signature. I’ve contemplated getting one for a while now, but haven’t been convinced to actually pull the trigger.

This is my second signature. First was riddled with issues.

I am also comparing to btr5 and qudelix to the other two. I returned the q5s tc as I couldn’t deal with its hissy noise floor. No issues with any of the others on the zen.

I think the Zen itself smooths out differences between them. Still writing and trying stuff out.

I think you should add comparisons to desktop setups. I really wanted to know how daps compare to other things I have heard. So ordered both to find out (at least one is going back)

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Since you’re interested, I’ll put together comparisons to my Mini-i Pro 3, my D90/A90, and my RME ADI-2 Pro FS R Black Edition (they really need to rethink their naming scheme on that).

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I had the a90/d90. So that is even more useful to me!

My comparison of the two may get posted shortly.

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Posted here, because I have a lot of weird stuff and discussions and that thread seemed like a better place:

I’ve now purchased both the DX300 and the R6. They’re both flawed in a myriad of ways, but I thought I should at least write up a quick comparison of the two and explain why I’m keeping the DX300 and returning the R6.

Physical features

TL;DR: Both of these units are very well built, but I’d say that the R6 just takes this category with its aluminium chassis and volume knob. The DX300 isn’t poorly built, and its screen definitely beats out the R6’s, but with a plastic volume knob and somewhat recessed buttons it just doesn’t feel as premium quality as the R6.

DX300

The DX300 is a behemoth. I did a lot of research into it prior to purchasing it but was still surprised by just how huge this thing is. As a reference, it’s more than double the overall volume at least of the R6 and, with a case on it, it’s nearly the same size as the Cayin C9, or twice as thick as my Pixel 4 XL, making it more of a transportable device than a truly portable one.

The volume knob and other buttons feel like cheaper plastic.

All connectors are firm and securely hold whatever you plug into them. The DX300 has a single USB Type C port for charging and data connectivity, a 2.5mm balanced phone out, and both a 3.5mm and 4.4mm pentaconn connectors which are software-configurable for either phone or line out. It also has a 3.5mm line in which I have not tested.

The screen is really where the DX 300 shines (pun absolutely intended). The screen is easily bright enough to be visible during the day, while still being able to dim and retain its clarity for darker-room night time viewing.

There are two batteries in the DX300 - one for the analog section and one for the digital section. iBasso claims this improves sound quality. Unfortunately, this also means you have two separate battery level meters you need to keep an eye on and in all of my testing, the digital section’s battery drains at almost double the rate of the analog section’s battery, which is very inconvenient. When watching movies, you may find that the digital portion only lasts 4-5 hours.

The DX300 has a quad-DAC implementation using two Cirrus Logic CS43198 chips per channel.

R6

The R6 is built with a solid aluminum chassis, resulting in a very premium look and feel. The volume knob and buttons are also aluminum and feel very tactile. Unfortunately, I did on several occasions have the volume knob miss inputs when turned too quickly.

All connectors feel firm and seem to securely hold whatever you plug into them. The R6 has a USB Type C port for charging and data connectivity, as well as two 3.5mm ports and two 4.4mm ports, one each dedicated to line out and phone out. It is missing the 2.5mm connector that the DX300 has, but it does have dedicated line out connectors.

Its screen is about the same width as the DX300’s but is much shorter.

The R6 uses a dual-DAC implementation using one Sabre ES9038Q2M chip per channel.

Software features

Both of these devices have very similar software features and honestly it’s a draw between the two. They both have the ability to install apps from the Google Play Store (note that it comes installed by default on the R6, but you’ll have to install it from the pre-installed APKPure on the DX300), which allows you to stream from services like Tidal.

Note that not all services actually worked on these devices. Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube TV, for example, do not load on either the DX300 nor the R6. I suspect this is because they’re looking for some kind of cellular connection when there is none. YouTube and Tidal on the other hand worked just fine.

The one feature that the DX300 has over the R6, as far as I can tell, is that it can act as a standalone DAC/Amp for any USB-enabled device, such as a laptop. However, I will warn against using it in this manner as the latency introduced is noticeable (around 200-400ms).

Sound Impressions

TL;DR: The DX300 takes the cake for me hands down with it’s clean, clear, detailed presentation. The R6, while also clear - almost clinically so, has a certain amount of shoutiness in the treble which I couldn’t stop hearing, despite the fact that I’m not particularly treble sensitive.

DX300

The DX300 is just as natural sounding as my RME ADI-2 Pro FS R Black Edition while being more resolving, especially in the bass. It’s a far more enjoyable listen than my Topping D90/A90 stack, which I find more analytical, but far less “musical” than the DX300. The DX300 is definitely a warmer sounding device than the D90/A90 stack, but I wouldn’t call it warm per-se, since the mids are still very clear and I don’t find the highs to be rolled off at all.

In fact, this may be one of my new favorite DAC/Amp devices that I own.

R6

The R6 sounds much closer to the D90/A90 than anything else I own, but it has more bite in the treble region. In fact, the treble is so harsh without EQ that I find the device to be painful to listen to for more than 15-20 minutes, and even with EQ I never got the treble to not sound draining.

Conclusions

I’ll be keeping the DX300 and returning the R6. The DX300, with flaws and all, is not just listenable out-of-the-box, but an absolute joy to listen to. It really nails the balance of tonality, detail, and clarity for my tastes. The R6, while a better device in almost every other respect apart from the screen, is just too hard to listen to for my tastes.

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If you haven’t returned the r6 2020 yet, can you switch between multiple streaming services and see if you can kill the external buttons? Basically, play in one service, switch to the other, press play, and see if the external buttons can pause/skip the current service?

This is literally the one thing that kept me from keeping the dx300 despite it’s size.

I agree on the dx300 sound wise. It’s a very nice sound.

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If I start in HiBy Music, press play (it plays), then switch to Tidal and press play, it will continue to control HiBy Music, not Tidal. As soon as I press play in Tidal, the buttons will then control Tidal instead of HiBy Music. I believe this is built-in to Android itself.

Edit #1: To clarify, I did just try this on the R6 and the above paragraph describes the behavior I observed.

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Thanks for the test!

Let me describe what happens on the dx300. When I switch back and forth between streaming apps, playing and pausing, the external buttons simply stop working (it’s not only streaming apps but I could consistently reproduce it with them). And, sometimes, the external buttons just stopped working seemingly randomly.

Meaning, you push play, and nothing happens. It doesn’t start playing the stopped app or stop playing the started app. And skip does nothing as well.

Both dx160 and dx300 both had the exact same problem.

I am really hoping it isn’t in hiby products because it’s just an android issue.

Obviously, it could have been my specific streaming apps which happened to be Amazon Music HD and Apple Music. If that’s the case, it won’t matter what dap I use.

I just don’t want to order another one just to find buttons that don’t work for me.

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Well, I can’t say I’ve run into that issue on either the DX300 or on the R6, but I don’t use either Amazon Music HD or Apple Music, instead preferring Roon, Tidal, Spotify, and the local music app. However, I’ll give it a shot with Roon, Tidal, Spotify, and HiBy Music/Mango Player (on the R6/DX300, respectively) and see if I can repro on either of them.

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Nice comparison. Every time I’m tempted by how fully loaded the R6 is, I read about the bright sound, and I look elsewhere.

Can you confirm this is the R6 2000 and not the original model?

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With my luck it is only the Apple Music app that causes it. ;p

Thanks! This is in fact the 2020 model. I really wish it wasn’t so bright - everything else really is pretty great with it. You can use the built-in EQ functionality to reduce the brightness, but I haven’t been able to get rid of the treble edge that it has, no matter what I do in EQ. Then again, I’m not very well versed in using EQ in general, so it could just be my lack of expertise.

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Haha maybe! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to repro this on either the DX300 or the R6 with Roon, Tidal, Spotify, and the local music app. I did run into one instance of the currently-playing app (Roon, at the time) crashing on the DX300 after switching to a different app and pressing play/pause twice in rapid succession, but that was my only issue with it.

Edit 1: Clarified that the crashing issue occurred on the DX300.

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I’m sensitive to harsh treble and have had no problems with the R6 2020. EQ not used. Midtier Nobles and Oriveti, plus Solaris.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have any of those devices. With what I’ve been primarily testing it with (the HiFiMan Sundaras, Focal Radiance, 64 Audio U12t, and 64 Audio Tia Fourte Noir), it’s got something going on which makes the treble harsh to my ears.

That being said, given your feedback, I may have to try it out more thoroughly with something less prone to treble frequency issues… Maybe my HD6XX, but I’ll have to get them back from the person I lent them to first…

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Correction:
After some A/B’ing I realized my opinions were based on using the C9 amp.
Without C9, yes H6 2020 is comparatively a bit bright. A bit EQ needed for me.
Apologies,

Bill

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Good to know! My goal for this afternoon is to analyse the R6 with the C9 so you’ve now got me rather excited about it! :smiley:

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LMK what you find! And with with and without c9.

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So, after playing around with A/B testing both the DX300 and the R6 with and without the C9, here’s what I’ve found.

What I’ve really noticed is just how warm the DX300 is on its own, especially compared to the R6.

The R6 without the C9 is harsh in the treble region and is frankly not super pleasant to listen to for extended periods. The R6 with the C9 on the other hand has a much more smoothed out treble section with a somewhat enhanced mid section (the bass seems to me just about the same, maybe a little warmer). I listened to the R6+C9 for several hours without any fatigue. Note that I chose the Class A/Solid State configuration for the C9 in all of this testing as I figured the R6 needed all the help it could get.

The DX300 without the C9 is already a much warmer device than the R6, but when you add the C9 (again in Class A/Solid-State) it really takes off. This might be my favorite listening combination - and reminds me of my RME ADI-2 Pro + Manley Absolute combination. It’s warm and lush without being overbearing in the bass/lower-mids. It’s still detailed, but some of that detail gets swallowed in how warm and inviting the music becomes.

Honestly, of all of these combinations, the only combination that I didn’t really enjoy was the R6 on its own. That C9 does some magical things.

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