HiBy W5 - Wireless BT receiver Headphone dac/amp review - expatinjapan



HiBy W5 
- Wireless BT receiver Headphone dac/amp

Now on Kickstarter:

HiBy W5 information:


Precise, energetic, neutral-ish, innovative & streamlined.



A stylist piece of kit to be sure. The BT amp, a charging case and a USB-C to USB-A cable.




I got sent The HiBy W5 for my impressions and a possible review. here we go.

To paraphrase from another of my earlier HP reviews:

 "The xxx is the latest in a series of products from this company. Largely through Kickstarter campaigns and the like they have a history of delivering their products as a bit of short research will prove. 
Although all this is true I do have a reluctance in trumpeting any crowd funding products as they usually have yet to be produced and anything can happen - timeline wise or after the fact.
Fortunately xxx has a good track record on completing the fulfilling of orders side of things so my anxiety is somewhat abated..."

The HiBy R6 I had a short listen to at a show and enjoyed, it was somewhat made lame by a high output impedance as a low OI is the general industry standard and is expected these days, the excellent snappy UI made up for this. HiBy also had a few issues with delivery of units at the time. This OI issue was resolved in the R6 Pro and HiBy also added a 4.4mm for good measure.
I also had a quick listen to the HiBy R3 and it is a little power horse with a variety of functions to please most audiophiles and casual users..

Onwards to the HiBy W5.



Packaging encases netherworld intriguing spaceship: HiBy W5 Bluetooth dac/amp





A wide range of Bluetooth codecs, slim form and battery charging case make the HiBy W5 an attractive option for most audiophiles of all persuasions, experienced/new, interested social and casual users.



Functions and directions

*I found the voice prompts to be very useful and helpful.










The HiBy W5 is definitely innovative, lines, dark, oh so smooth a finish and solid build.





Battery and life






*HiBy W5 will support both high and low gain modes. Currently the default is high gain. 
The duration for single machine is about 3.5 hours under high gain, while the duration is about 4.5~5 hour under low gain.


Doubtless its long duration of battery use via the carry case makes it a versatile and practical multi day use piece of audio gear. One charge in the case for 20 hours of reuse.



How to use:

Step 1: Plug the headphone to the 3.5mm output.

Step 2: Tap the device for 2 seconds.

Step 3: Short tap the device to start pairing your smartphone or Hi-Fi player.

Step 4: Enjoy Hi-Fi wireless sound.


General overall impressions and sound.

Well in all honesty I am kinda dac/amp`d out. Cabled out and dap`d out. So many products of great to excellent quality coming out here and there in all shapes, sizes and prices. Where does a reviewer draw the line on what to review when balancing life, family, work, hobbies, school, free time and all sorts of other essentials and past times. It is not easy at times, some audio gear gets the go ahead, others sent to contributors and some having to be turned down due to time constraints or other reasons.

The HiBy W5 piqued my interest most of all because I saw the opportunity of making dildo and other inappropriate jokes about its suggestive form. But this being the vanilla review site of Head pie and not the Hell zone that is Head pie Facebook I shall refrain from such comparisons.

Looking at the beta packing and the item did not give me any initial excitement. The packaging being simple and not sexy and the lack of being able to make rude jokes dampened my enthusiasm at the first encounter. Later upon listening did the romance blossom.

Recently I published a review which one commentator said it was "It is 90% screen-shots of the product page, a copy and paste of the items specs and then only a few lines of your own actual text describing your experience with the product". Quite true it was indeed, that particular item required no more.
These days audio websites containing detailed specifications and descriptions and glossy pictures about functions some what lessens and diminishes the reviewers work to an extent. Long gone are the days when information was either scant or closely guarded by the companies.

So I make use of what is there. Reusing information in its purest form. Sure I could pad out the build, copy and paste specs in a way that looks like I hand typed it myself along with other information. But whats the point?

Also once one has been reviewing for a while the same questions come up...build, prices, where to buy?, specifications, sound etc....and so on. Sure a quick Google search will render these answers but usually people in this on demand age for consumers want everything in one place.

Therefore I contain as much information as possible and with links to the original sites for those who want to check out the item further. bearing in mind that the companies send me these items for review and would love for you to be a closer click away from buying, but many will not unless they all the information they need before they look deeper in a possible purchase.

I myself always research solidly before making any purchase and like to provide my readers with the same.

Copy and paste into text, or diagrams and pretty specification charts? I`d rather see the latter than wade through a wall of text.

So..."build, prices, where to buy?, specifications, sound etc..." what is left out of these for the reviewer which is not objective information but veers more into the subject, gear used, ear shape, hearing ability, music chosen etc?

we are left with build (which may change after extended use and a review is usually written between one week to several months depending on the reviewer) and build may be solid for a long time, or may falter perhaps within the review time or after. So on can only by the present impressions for build.

Sound, sound, SOUND. That is what we are left with in the end? How does it sound? warm, neutral, bright being terms an international audience can understand.

Then there is the issue of it being a dac/amp. preferably to my preferences it should be largely neutral, as a dap often is these days. Sometimes these on the go devices (or earphones) are tweaked a bit to lend a V shape to the sound which survives the chaos and noise of commuting well.

Dac/amps and daps are at the mercy of the earphones/headphones in many a review. Some parts should be separate, whilst others cross over.

It can be a battle getting to heart of the matter at times, peeling back the onion layers to get a true sense of performance.

Sometimes items require a long write up of analysis or the process to describe this, even a bit of word salad on or off topic to pad it out, but often for the seasoned reviewer a short summary of their extensive testing is enough to describe each item. But of course many readers want more and thankfully there is a sea of reviewers out these days to cater to all tastes and to fill the gaps in each other reviews.

so onwards to the HiBy W5.

What do we have?...


Even in the wettest and dampest of places the HiBy W5 endures and survives.

Price

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/844915658/hiby-w5-the-most-powerful-bluetooth-hifi-amp-for-a?ref=62yot7
A Kickstarter campaign for a device ranging from US$59 - $89 depending on how early you get in.



*(see the HiBy W5 Kickstarter page for options in price and perks).

Build

The build is great, solid and sleek. And dare I say smexy.
You can see in the many photos the attention to detail and smooth, slim corner less form that will fit so easily into a pocket or elsewhere without a painful experience (as many of these devices have sharp corners).
It is light weight.

 *You can see below the HiBy W5 size when placed between the iBasso DX200 and Hidizs AP80.



Charging case

The charge case is a nice touch, but a simple cable port in its end would have been also useful for case less times. The charging case can can charge on the go which is great and still double as carrying case also.

Battery life seems to be 4-5 hours and the Charging case extends that to 20 hours.


Sound.

Well this is what most came for, and many just skip to the sound section. I know I and others do for sure.

Definitely it lends dulcet overtones upon pleasurable yearning overtures utilizing realtime and sonic simplicity.

As mentioned earlier describing a dac/amp or daps sound signature can be difficult because it is of course the earphones we are listening with/ to the music. So one must possess a fairly reference earphone that one is very familiar with as a baseline to see if there are deviations from the norm.

It used to be a an easy bet Wolfson warm/ Cirrus bright then later AKM warm/ ESS bright to simplify things. Nowadays the gap between the AKM and ESS dacs has lessened and many of the recent models have similar characteristics.

The reviewer now has to put in more time, take more notes to deliver a short, coherent, accurate and understandable summary for the reader.

I can happily say I quite enjoy using the HiBy W5, it has connected easily to most most the devices I tried, android daps, iphone, FiiO X7ii, iBasso DX200 (The OREO is a sonic plus), Opus#3, Hidizs AP80. I do not have a HiBy dap to experiment with.  Sometimes pairing was instant, other times it took a few tries.
It is recommended to use the Hiby music app (which I did not).
I did notice a few sonic differences depending on what I used as the source and which Codec they were sending out to the HiBy W5.

Noise floor is good, no hiss to my ears with the various devices I paired it with.
I also placed it on my iphone and between the router and laptop simultaneously to check for interference and found none.

The overall signature is one of expansion - width and depth, sound stage being the domain of the earphones used and I did not found the HiBy W5 to impact the earphones sound stage unduly. No choking of the earphones performance.
Placement of instruments seems fairly accurate.

Bass and treble seem to be prominent with a soft V shape being the dominant feature and vocals nested between them. Mids takes the second place award in this arrangement. A fairly suitable agreement between bass, mids, treble due to the probable use of such a dac/amp being aimed more at the mobile types.

The bass is reasonably quick, thick and moves fast and is energetic, the treble is awfully clean and pleasing to the ear, vocals are realistic and smooth. Mids while present are not a main focus as already mentioned but are featured enough to be noticeable, it is not a desert as far as the mids are concerned.

Whilst 2018 seemed to be the year of small daps, 2019 is looking to be the year of small Bluetooth dac/amps.

The HiBy W5 performed well with the Daps etc it paired with. There were a few sonic differences at times in terms of depth, separation, layer, timbre etc but nothing largely significant.

For the price it is an excellent piece of gear and I am constantly astounded these days at the quality of portable gear and its acceleration in terms of price/performance.

Overall

The HiBy W5 is a decent dac/amp, quiet back ground, well built and light weight, the sound is very clean and retains the sound signature of the earphone used with slightly recessed mids and emphasized bass and treble, vocals are smooth for both female and male, sound stage is also retained as far as the earphones are able to perform, - no choking, separation of instruments is clean and coherent.

Smooth, understated, clean, coherent, musical, an impressively blissful and life like sonic spaceship.




More information via the HiBy W5 Kickstarter page:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/844915658/hiby-w5-the-most-powerful-bluetooth-hifi-amp-for-a?ref=62yot7


UAT

"UAT is a new audio coding method based on DCT. First, it can quickly identify the type of signal and select the appropriate encoding mode through intelligent analysis. Then do quantization according to the specified bitrate. The trebles are preserved as much as possible in the process of quantization. 

There is a dynamic transmission optimization can be performed for different genres and more bandwidth resources are allocated to some specific frequency bands to get more detail.  

Entropy coding is performed after the quantization and then pack the code and side information to one stream for transmission. In addition, UAT also has a noise level detector which can effectively remove the noise existing in the original audio, making the transmission more efficient. "






Thank you for sending Head pie the HiBy W5 for review.

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