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Love Me Now – HIDIZS AP80 PRO Ultra Portable Music Player

Love Me Now – HIDIZS AP80 PRO Ultra Portable Music Player 

 

 

HIDIZS AP80PRO is an ultraportable DAP priced at 170 USD, and mainly designed for IEMs, but capable of also driving some easier headphones. It will get compared to Shanling M2s, FiiO M3PRO, and Hiby R3 PRO. It will also get paired with FiiO FA9, iBasso AM05, and MAS Audio X5h

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

Hidizs started with a small time company running Kickstarter campaigns and is now a full-fledged top level brand with multiple products, slowly becoming the new FiiO with a beautiful interaction with their customers, a really good price / performance ratio for their products, and Hiby’s Full support for their software, growing to be even more loved than their competitors in the Chifi Audio market. They will totally solve your issues, they have a ton if new products coming along every day, and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so purchasing from them is a totally safe and fun experience. 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with HIDIZS. I’d like to thank HIDIZS for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with HIDIZS AP 80 PRO. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in HIDIZS AP 80 PRO find their next music companion. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can purchase HIDIZS AP80PRO  from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/HIDIZS-Bluetooth-Resolution-Lossless-Digital/dp/B087BJB8GZ

 

 

 

Packaging

 

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

 

 

 

 

The package of the AP80 PRO does not disappoint, and it comes with a silicone case, and a cable for charging. This won’t be enough for everyone, but it is perfect if you aren’t too picky, and if you need a practical DAP. 

 

Some small-time Chinese DAP makers include bonus microSD cards with their products, and plastic cases, but so far AP80 PRO has a 10/10 rating for their package, considering the price point. 

 

 

 

Technical Specifications 

 

DAC – 2x Saber ESS9218P
Bluetooth – 4.2 with Apt-X, LDAC and Hiby Link
Screen – 2.45 “, touch
Outputs – 3.5mm stereo, 2.5mm balance, USB-C
Output power, unbalanced / balanced, per channel – 70 mW @ 32 ohms / 190 mW @ 32 ohms
Frequency response – 20 – 90,000 Hz
Battery – up to 9 hours of operation from balanced output
Body material – aluminum, glass
Dimensions – 61 * 56 * 13.8mm
Weight – 68g

 

 

 

 

 

Video Review

 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality

 

The overall build quality of AP80PRO is really nice, it is a solidly built DAP, with a metallic case, glass at the front, and with a glass screen protector applied from the factory. The glass screen protector is not applied perfectly, and you can see that in the photos in my review, as the edges are not glued perfectly. 

 

 

The software of AP80PRO is basically designed by Hiby, so it comes with all the ups and downs of having it. The ups are excellent support for music playing, beautiful GUI, and good overall support for everything, even EQ and MSEB. The downside is that updates to that firmware are rare, and if something doesn’t work from the start, you aren’t likely to see support for it after the initial release, with a few exceptions. 

 

The DAP is much better than previous versions, having the edges chamfered, and having a volume wheel that takes some pressure to rotate. The feature list is rich, and it includes MSEB, the best EQ out there, a dual DAC, ES9218, DSD support up to DSD256, Hi Res, an excellent battery life, and Bluetooth with both receiver and sender BT. 

 

 

The battery life is better than most flagship DAPs, at around 9 hours, but there are Sony and Cowon DAPs that are a bit better, while Lotoo Paw 6000 is a good example of a flagship DAP that has excellent battery life. Still, 9 hours is considered excellent for a DAP. 

 

The Bluetooth can go both ways, so you can use it as a receiver, or connect a BT Headphone to it. It lowers the battery life a bit, and the quality isn’t as good as the wired connection, but this shows that it has excellent resolution. The resolution’s enough to reveal the differences between BT and wired. 

 

 

The overall GUI and usage experience is refined, compared to AP80, and I feel like using a high-end ultraportable DAP, not like an entry-level experimental one. HIFIMAN is quite good with the sound of their DAPs but their Megamini felt really old-school in GUI and overall usage. AP80PRO even outdoes Shanling M2s in terms of overall usage and reliability. 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

AP80PRO is the same as the original AP80 when it comes to the overall tuning, if you don’t enable any EQ at all. The sound is nicely extended, colorful, vivid, detailed, wide and clear. The sonic character is a bit dry, which means excellent texture and detail retrieval, but it can be harsh or grainy at times. 

 

 

The bass is a bit dry and quick, the speed is fast, so it works nicely for metal, rock, and quick music. With EDM or Jazz, the bass may be a bit too short or lack in quantity, but you can happily engage MSEB and change the ratio and even character of the bass a bit if you desire to. The power of the AP80 PRO is really good, and it can totally induce sub-lows and rattle your brains with the right headphones or IEMs, so if you have an IMR R2 Aten or IMR Opus Mia, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Detail in the bass is good. 

 

The bass is considerably better from the balanced output, with better control and more punch. In fact, everything is better, and this time around I do mention it because on Balanced it easily outdoes Megamini, and other previous favorites of mine when it comes to ultraportables. 

 

 

 

The midrange is colorful, vivid, and neutral. It favors both male and female voices equally, and it favors both happy and sad songs equally. In general, the detail and dynamics stand out nicely, and even for simpler songs, they sound closer to live than to a recorded interpretation. On balance, it has a better overall dynamic and more punch, but also more separation between instruments. 

 

The treble is smooth in texture, and doesn’t impose itself in the mix, but the air extension is good, and the imaging is excellent. I’m trying to say that despite a treble that’s fairly laid back, it has good extension for it, so the soundstage ends up being large and satisfying. The soundstage favors width over depth, and it has an oval presentation as it goes wider away from the listener, but doesn’t go far in the front or the back. 

 

 

 

Comparisons

 

Given the price and overall design of AP80 PRO, the main competitors for it are Shanling M2S, FiiO M3PRO, and Hiby R3 PRO. There are so many DAPs that have pro at the end that it is slowly starting to lose its meaning. At any rate, in this particular case, FiiO, Hiby and HIDIZS do all have an original version of their DAPs, and the PRO version is considerably better for all of them, so it works ok. 

 

 

There are many more alternatives out there, like using a FiiO BTR5, or Quedelix 5K, or HIFIMAN Megamini, but the comparisons above are the most relevant at the moment of making this review. 

 

HIDIZS AP80 PRO vs Hiby R3 PRO (170 USD vs 200 USD) – R3 PRO is slightly more sleek in ergonomics / design. I prefer holding it in my hand, feels more precise and the display is a bit larger so I can navigate it a bit better. The overall firmware is a bit smoother on R3 PRO, things work a bit better, and the DAP feels more finished. The sound is similar between the two, especially since you have MSEB available on both. It feels like AP80PRO puts on more punch and a bit more detail, especially over balanced. 

 

HIDIZS AP80 PRO vs FiiO M3 PRO (170 USD vs 80 USD) – M3 PRO is a less expensive DAP, but still an interesting alternative. With a far more limited usage scenario, the main reason I included it in this comparison is because it has slightly better ergonomics, and because it still has a pretty detailed sound. AP80PRO has more dynamic, better punch and more driving power, along with more control, especially over the balanced output. 

 

HIDIZS AP80 PRO vs Shanling M2s (170 USD vs 200 USD) – Shanling’s M2S is old and a bit tired now, but it still was one of the first DAPs I ever seen with a Type-C connector, and even to date is loved by the ones who purchased it. The firmware is quicker on AP80PRO, the sound is more lively, more detailed, but it is warmer and more musical on M2s. Overall, if you want to indulge in using MSEB, AP80PRO is a good upgrade from M2S, but even if you don’t, over balanced, it is a solid improvement. 

 

 

 

Pairing 

 

For the pairing part of this review, I went with FiiO FA9, the latest high-quality IEM from FiiO, iBasso AM05, and MAS Audio X5h. All of those are top-notch IEMs and Headphones, but the pairing list can go forever for AP80PRO

 

 

You could pair it with FiiO F9PRO, or a Beyerdynamic Xelento, it would still work nicely. It doesn’t have a lot of hiss, so Campfire Atlas would work, and if you’re using the balanced connector, it can drive any IEM under the sun, including Final Audio E5000

 

HIDIZS AP80 PRO + FiiO FA9 (170 USD + 500 USD) – FiiO FA9 is a great example of an IEM that doesn’t really need MSEB or anything to sound good. In fact, there’s no hiss, but the pairing has nice detail, a wide soundstage, and good layering. As a benefit, it is really convenient to have such a portable pairing and to be able to use the two together with zero hassle. 

 

HIDIZS AP80 PRO + iBasso AM05 (170 USD + 300 USD) – AM05 needs a bit of MSEB magic if you want to make it more punchy and to give it more bass. By default, it takes all of the advantages of the BA tech, but has a tight bass that won’t satisfy everyone, so I always considered DAPs with EQ a bonus when pairing AM05. If you prefer its original ethereal presentation, then AP80PRO can happily drive it well and provide a nice amount of impact, depth, and even punch. 

 

HIDIZS AP80 PRO + MAS X5h (170 USD + 400 USD) – MAS X5h is an easy to drive headphone, but one that’s a bit hard to control, as it is quite bassy. With MSEB you can make it clearer, give it better resolution (by increasing the treble, you will hear more detail), and you can make it tighter / quicker, also using MSEB, making AP80 PRO a good way to squeeze its entire potential. 

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

The value of AP80PRO is pretty much excellent, and it is a great example of a tiny device that can do it all. There’s nothing it can’t do really, and the only reasons you may want to go for a competitor is the ergonomics / shape and design, since feature-wise and sound-wise it is a top grade one. 

 

 

 

 

Starting with the package, you don’t get a lot, but you do get a cable, and a silicone case, both of which are handy and sweet. 

 

 

We also notice a beautiful design once we open it, and especially those who prefer an edgy design, and want something different from FiiO M6, will love AP80PRO. With a good battery life, bluetooth receiver abilities, and even a good DAC chip, AP80 PRO is good in terms of usage and build. 

 

 

The default sound can be a bit dry, especially the bass, which means good detail, but also a sound that’s not exactly smooth. We have MSEB, the best EQ out there, to combat it though, so it should be all fine. 

 

 

At the end of today’s review, AP80 PRO is one of the best DAPs ever released for us music lovers. It has a nice ergonomic design, good battery life, and a lively, detailed sound with a lot of punch and dynamics. Especially if you use it on balanced, it is totally worth getting, if you need a one DAP to do it all. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can purchase HIDIZS AP80PRO  from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/HIDIZS-Bluetooth-Resolution-Lossless-Digital/dp/B087BJB8GZ

 

 

 

— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—

 

 

 

Full Playlist used for this review

 

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

 

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

 

Youtube Playlist

 

 

Tidal Playlist

 

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

 

I hope my review is helpful to you!

 

 

 

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