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R2R GO! – HIFIMAN R2R2000 Streaming Music Player

R2R GO! – HIFIMAN R2R2000 Streaming Music Player 

 

 

An exquisite idea, HIFIMAN R2R2000 is a DAP that promises to bring R2R to portables. It is a limited run unit, and it has support as a music player, but can also act as a USB DAC/AMP, has a type-c input, and is priced at 2500 USD for the black version, and 1000 USD for the red version. This makes it one of the Summit-Fi devices, and it will be compared to Opus #2, FiiO M11 PRO, iBasso DX220 MAX. The pairing list will include HIFIMAN Arya, FiiO FA9, Final Audio A8000

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

HIFIMAN sounds awesome usually, but this time is also a bit expensive.  The very steep price point of R2R2000 is a result of the company trying to embed a DAC that’s rare and hard to work with, so I’m happy to report about this one. HIFIMAN is really easy to work with, answers mails quickly, and based on multiple stories told by their customers, they are one of the best when it comes to warranty. They usually replace any broken unit with a new one, and they are now in top five best audio companies in the entire world, including their customer support. 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with HIFIMAN. I’d like to thank HIFIMAN for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with HIFIMAN R2R2000. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in HIFIMAN R2R2000 find their next music companion. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can always get HIFIMAN R2R2000 Black from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/HIFIMAN-R2R2000-Streaming-Audio-Device/dp/B07FKGKHVY

 

You can also purcahse the R2R2000 Red, which is slightly inferior, but much cheaper, from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/HIFIMAN-R2R2000-Streaming-Audio-Device-Red/dp/B082HP1WY4

 

 

 

Packaging

 

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

 

 

 

 

This time around, the package is not quite as impressive as it was for Arya, HE6SE and other consecrated HIFIMAN products. 

 

We do receive a charging / data cable with the R2R2000, and that’s pretty much it. The outer box is beautiful, a leathery box, actually fit for such an expensive device, but the contents are not quite as great. 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics

 

 

 

The build quality of the R2R2K is pretty much excellent. It has a glass display at the front, and there are glass navigation buttons beneath the display. The display is very limited in terms of of what it shows, and using capacitive touch buttons feels a bit odd in 2021, but it works.

 

At the top, we have a volume wheel, and on the right side there’s an on/off button. At the top we can find the headphone outputs as well, while at the bottom we can find the Type-C USB port. 

 

 

I think that it is awesome that they included a type-C port, and the device sports quite a few awesome features under the hood. We’re talking about a full fledged DUAL PCM1704K DAC, a FPGA filter that supports Hi-Res, a 4.4mm Balanced Headphone Output, and all offering up to 35 Hours of play time. 

 

R2R2000 has Bluetooth too, SHDC even, or LHDC as most people call it. It is on par with LDAC, and can stream up to 900 kbps of data, which is just awesomer. Since I’m using Huawei P20, I know that those come from Huawei, and their own defined protocol, but for other DAPs it appears as HWA. The codec is as close as you can get to lossless wireless transmission right now, outside of having Wifi rather than BT, but that imposes many limitations, especially in latency. 

 

Subjectively, it sounds much cleaner, with more dynamics than aptX usually does, and is almost transparent in most ABX tests. 

 

 

If you don’t want to use it in Streaming Mode, it has a microSD slot that supports up to 256 GB for a microSD card, but you’ll have to do a lot of scrolling on the mini display to fully take advantage of it. There’s a file limit of about 6000 files for the file system of the R2R2000. 

 

The play time is theoretical and in the most positive of situations, but it still manages to beat most modern DAPs, but achieving up to 20 hours if using the eco mode, and up to 8 hours at maximum if using the hifi mode. The hifi mode sounds much better and I always go for it instead of using the eco mode. You will need to update to the latest firmware to take advantage of those features. 

 

The output power is rated at 500mW for the balanced output, and around 320mW for the unbalanced output. Enough to drive some really hard to drive cans, including Sundara to its maximum potential. Using the Balanced output always resulted in a lower noise floor, less overall hiss, and a much better experience. I would pair R2R2000 with less hiss sensitive IEMs, and not with the most sensitive ones like Atlas. 

 

 

 

Software / Functionality 

 

Here’s where reviewing the R2R2000 got a bit tricky, as the software is a bit underwhelming for the asking price. 

 

 

It is best described as a DAC/AMP with DAP abilities. Using it as a DAP that is not the main way I would use it or I would recommend using it. The song limit is a bit low at about 6000 files, and browsing a large file collection is complicated with the touch buttons, especially if you don’t have a strong folder structure. 

 

I tend to go with [music style] / [band name] / [year] – [album name] / [song number] . [song name] . If you have your collection structured as such, you will be able to browse through it quickly and shouldn’t have any trouble at all. 

 

The DAP may be slow when changing songs and browsing folders with lots of files, and may have trouble with special characters from other languages. The DAP is otherwise fairly stable, and with the latest firmware updates I haven’t had any trouble, it is recognized by almost all my smartphones, including Xiaomi Note 9s. 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

The biggest surprise with R2R2000 is how much punch and power it has. You can’t imagine how small it is compared to other DAPs like DX220, DX220 MAX, M11PRO and such. It is much closer in size to a FiiO M6, but sonically it is exceptionally alive, vivid, detailed and punchy. I would go as far as to say that it is one of the best sounding DAPs I ever heard, it really stands out in naturalness, yet how detailed it is, depth and clarity. 

 

 

 

 

The overall bass has excellent extension, and it has excellent control too.  It is one of those bass types that has extraordinary detail, and it can layer beautifully. The best part about the bass is the clarity, how clean it can be, even at very loud volumes, and how much detail it can paint for the listener. There’s no coloration, and most of the focus in the signature is placed on the midrange. 

 

Speaking of the mids, they are colorful, vivid, punchy, and ever so slightly more natural, more detailed, and more clean than what you’d expect from a DAP. To explain, most DAPs that go for a natural sound, add some warmth, make things smoother here and there, and eventually the sound is perceived as natural and pleasing to listen to. That’s absolutely ok, but R2R2000 does something entirely different, and instead goes for the type of sound that is natural. Not too smooth, not too bright, it has a perfect blend of everything, while still managing to be detailed. The soundstage is presented wide, holographic, despite the vocal performance being ever so slightly forward compared to what would be a perfect neutral one. Detail is insanely good, especially for a tiny DAP. 

 

The treble is simply put, natural. It has extension, but also has detail. It is smooth, yet can paint harshness where the song had it. It is so perfectly balanced to sound exactly the way it should, without adding, without taking anything away. It blends everything that should be there and presents it to the listener, without forcing things through. It works equally well for metal, rock, punk, classical, and even pop. Everything falls right into place, and I find the whole presentation to be so delicious that it gets addictive. 

 

 

 

Comparisons

 

The main competitors for R2R2000 are also flagship DAPs, like Opus #2, FiiO M11 PRO, and iBasso DX220 MAX. It may feel like most competitors are less expensive, and they are, but R2R2000 is the only DAP in the entire world that sports a full R2R DAC chip inside, so let’s see how it performs against Delta-Sigma based DAPs. 

 

 

I would want to spend more time comparing to more DAPs, but I’ve got so many awesome articles to share with you, my friends, that if you’re curious about a certain pairing, please let me know in the comments! 

 

HIFIMAN R2R2000 vs FiiO M11 PRO (2500 USD vs 650 USD) – For the first comparison, I should start by saying that M11 PRO is much better designed as a DAP. Neither M11 PRO or R2R2000 can compete with a smartphone for smoothness, but M11 PRO is much quicker, can index more files, has more abilities, and unless we use both as transports, the comparisons will all favor M11 PRO. R2R2000 is quite basic as a DAP, and it feels more like it offers DAP abilities as a backup if you forget or can’t use your main transport. The sound is considerably more colorful, more natural, more coherent and has more detail on R2R2000. M11 PRO tends to be more edgy, a bit brighter, and has slightly better dynamics, but comparing R2R2000 to it feels odd. R2R2000 doesn’t show any new details, but it blends the existing ones in a more natural way, constructs music in a more coherent way leading to a much easier listening experience. 

 

HIFIMAN R2R2000 vs Opus #2 (2500 USD vs 1300 USD) – Opus #2 is slowly being phased out, and if my ears heard the details correctly, there should be a new series of DAPs from Opus in the near future. This may be just a rumour, but it may just be true, so I’m happy to report that the Korean Creator never stopped investing time and effort in their DAPs. In terms of overall DAP usage, #2 is smoother, has a larger display, supports more songs, and works better as a general DAP. This being said, R2R2000 is more ergonomic, smaller and easier to carry around. It may even be easier to pick songs on R2R2000, as #2 has very thick bezels around the display. The sound is considerably more natural and coherent on R2R2000. #2 has a beautiful sound by itself, but it sounds wider, warmer and while it goes for a similar signature, R2R2000 ends up doing it a bit more natural in the end, while blending a bit more detail. 

 

HIFIMAN R2R2000 vs iBasso DX220 MAX (2500 USD vs 1880 USD) – The final comparison is with a Tital DAP, that weighs almost a kilogram! The main point of a DAP is won by DX220 MAX by a huge margin. It is smooth, works well for large collections and has a really nice design. R2R2000 is much more portable and feels like a breeze taking it out, while with DX220 MAX, it is transportable at best. The sound is considerably more powerful on DX220 MAX, with more punch and more driving power. The sound is more natural, softer and more mellow on R2R2000. It sounds more forward on DX220 MAX, with a more punchy presentation. Dynamics are similar between the two, with a slight improvement on DX220 MAX, especially over balanced. R2R2000 sounds more natural in the mids, while DX220 MAX manages to pull a more natural treble, with a deeper bass. 

 

 

 

Pairing 

 

The main pairings I went for are with HIFIMAN Arya, Final Audio A8000, and FiiO FA9

There are many more pairings that I loved, but I really wanted to go in-depth with those few, to showcase what R2R2000 does best, and if it has any shortcomings. 

 

HIFIMAN R2R2000 + FiiO FA9 (2500 USD + 500 USD) – You may argue that I should’ve started with something like RE2000, but I wanted to go for a more popular IEM, which everyone can use as a reference. Most Delta-Sigma sources will make FA9 sound warm, but won’t show how natural and smooth the midrange can be, how clean yet crisp the sound can be, and what a large / holographic soundstage they can have. It is simply outstanding what a few Ba drivers going off an R2R DAC can do, and how natural everything can be. 

 

HIFIMAN R2R2000 + HIFIMAN Arya (2500 USD + 1600 USD) – Arya is actually driveable from R2R2000, to give you an idea of how powerful it is. The sound is wide, slightly warm, clean, and very detailed. The best part is that in the mids, R2R2000 is more natural and has a more coherent midrange than even DAC+ from Mytek, which is the source I typically use the most with Arya. I loved the punch, dynamics and power of the pairing, and I enjoyed the overall detail greatly, even enough to say that they were made for each other. 

 

HIFIMAN R2R2000 + Final Audio A8000 (2500 USD + 2000 USD) – With A8000, I loved the way detail was blended naturally into music, and there were no hard edges, but a beautiful, musical midrange. Everything about the sound screamed high-end, the detail, the clarity and even the way the guitars were juicy and cymbals sparkly, with a quick bass. There is no hissing with this pairing, and I enjoy it greatly regardless if I’m on-the-go or at home. 

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

The price and value of R2R2000 is inherently not great, and it is a very exclusive DAP, with a DAC chip that is running out, and which isn’t planned to be produced again. Still, that DAC is so good that it brought many high-end competitors to their knees, so HIFIMAN played a wise move to purchase the entire remaining stock of it and implement it in a high-end Streaming DAP. 

 

 

 

 

The package is presented nicely, but is not great by itself, as it doesn’t include much else besides a charging / data cable for R2R2000

 

The build quality is exceptional, and it is a very well-thought device, pretty future-proofed with a Type-C port, and a physical volume wheel. It has fair software support, and although it is not perfect as a DAP, it works beautifully as a Streaming DAC/AMP for your smartphone or another transport. 

 

 

The sound is the main reason why you’d go for R2R2000, and there it really plays well and sounds beautiful. The midrange is colorful, vivid, detailed, clean and expansive in every direction to the point of being downright holographic. 

 

 

At the end of today’s review, if you’re looking for one of the best sounding DAPs in the entire world, and if you don’t mind spending extra for a limited edition DAP, HIFIMAN’s R2R2000 is incredible! You really should consider getting it as a streaming DAC/AMP and go for a different transport too though. It sounds so good, you won’t regret it, but the DAP part is handled better by a transport like a midrange smartphone, while you could leave R2R2000 to do all the audio processing to get the best of both worlds. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can always get HIFIMAN R2R2000 Black from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/HIFIMAN-R2R2000-Streaming-Audio-Device/dp/B07FKGKHVY

 

You can also purcahse the R2R2000 Red, which is slightly inferior, but much cheaper, from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/HIFIMAN-R2R2000-Streaming-Audio-Device-Red/dp/B082HP1WY4

 

 

 

— 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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6 Comments

  1. Just a heads up, there are at least some competitors in the world of portable R2R. the L&P P6/P6 Pro are fully discrete R2R DAPs (not chiplet based), and the L&P LP6, Hifiman HM1000 are both chiplet based R2R (with the HM1000 actualy using the same chips as the R2R2000 Black)

    1. George Dobrescu

      Thanks a lot for the heads-up! I actually wanted to look into the L&P DAP series, but they were often unavailable so I didn’t look into it much, seems like they are a rarity. Hope the company will decide to expand a bit more on their DAPs and make them available everywhere

  2. Really nice work with R2R2000! I understand that the RED version is a downsized one, but I hope you’ll get one to review in the near future! Really helps having your help around, George

  3. Thanks a lot for the work you put in the review

    I’m not sure if I’ll end up getting one, given the prohibitive price, but I still enjoy your articles. Really happy with the Hiby R3PRO you recommended on the youtube video review, and looking forward to the full written review for that as well

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Thanks for the review! May I ask what do you think of this one vs QLS QA361? They are both quite limited in terms of functionality, but the QA361 is much more cheaper.

    1. George Dobrescu

      Hiii,

      Indeed, the QLS is much cheaper, and I do think that R2R is actually better as an overall DAC/AMP or even DAP. The only thing that QLS does a bit better is the playback. I would mainly use and recommend R2R as a DAC/AMP, but QLs works really well as a DAP too. The sound is more vivid, more detailed and more punchy on R2R2000. Better overall sound and generally more lively.

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