AP80 Review - Headfonics (1)
HIDIZS AP80 REVIEW
Michael | August 22, 2018
The Hidizs AP80 is a brand new entry-level DAP priced at a very competitive $115. This is a very small sized DAP designed to compete with the Shanling M0.
Disclaimer: The Hidizs AP80 sent to us for the purposes of this review is a sample and does not have to be returned. Thank you to Hidizs for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Hidzs products review on Headfonics click here.
Over the last few months, I’ve been privy to a few different review samples from Hidizs. Some were portable music players, some were portable DAC’s. I’ve enjoyed all of them so far and it seems very clear that this company is trying to achieve great things.
They are churning out multiple products per year and don’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
Today, we are going to investigate the AP80, their newest touchscreen portable music player that has a Kickstarter just about to begin. Visit the link below to grab that as soon as possible:
Accessories and Battery Life
You get a typical cardboard box with the logo, the AP80, of course, and also a USB-C cable. The player charges super quick via USB-C and is ready to go 0-100% in just over an hour for me. That is awesome and then some. This AP80 has a rating of 15 hours of usage and I capped out around 11 with the screen off. With it on, that number went down.
Standby time is terrible on my unit and I can’t say for sure if something is wrong with it or not. They quote 35 day standby time and I can’t seem to get through one sleep cycle. I can’t let it sit overnight on pause and shut the screen off without needing a full recharge the next morning.
Not really much else to deliberate on here outside of the typical peel off screen protection, which, thank the audio deities, was there out of the box because I near instantly scuffed my AP80 badly. Totally my fault.
The Screen and Build
At 2.45 inches, this 360×480 monitor feels titanic compared to the much tinier Shanling M0 that I reviewed recently. Colors are vibrant, eye-popping and the UI lets you select some solid color schemes for the touch button areas. I like blue. So, I’ve opted for a Blue theme. It looks very pretty, indeed.
However and again, battery life drains much faster with the screen on. Thankfully, we have physical buttons on the side of the player, unlike the M0. The AP80 is also CNC’ed aluminum and has a very solid, weighty feel.
Naturally, DSD is a standard these days, even at entry-level and the AP80 allows up to DSD128. Which, as I’ve said in the past, is already pretty high. I can’t hear a difference from 128 to 256, so I don’t care if the player supports up to 256.
Beyond that, DSD plays wonderfully and responsively too. Meaning, the unit’s hardware can cycle DSD tracks without serious lag or problems in with stutter in the UI itself, or even crashing. So far, no crashes at all and no freezing issues on the current and most up to date firmware.
Yes, when I got the player on what I think was Beta pre-production firmware, the unit was a little laggy. But, that was immediately remedied and never became a problem when I was emailed the new firmware. While playing high-res files, the AP80 handles high-res motions very well for such a small little thing.
I am officially a huge fan of the 9218P, which, as you guessed it, is the same DAC in the Shanling M0. This little new school DAC is turning out to be fantastic and very adaptable in the way of EQ possibility.
No, I would not be using this as a USB DAC, for the price you can do better in a stand-alone unit elsewhere. However, right now, especially if you are like me and enjoy musicality over purity, this is a portable ‘Godsend’ for listeners like myself.
Well, if you are a purist, just ignore this section entirely. Turn off all the EQ functions and play as is, stock and flat. You’ll enjoy that. Without EQ active, this DAC seems to perform in the semi-neutral territory with what I would consider small nuances of treble bloom. With it active, the world really opens up. That is due almost entirely to the MSEB system.
Wow. I am really speechless as to how well the DAC responds to EQ and how well the AP80 is at changing itself with small incremental toggling of the EQ system…but not in the music players EQ subset. Only in the MSEB, which is vastly superior to the normal EQ. Ignore the normal EQ, it does almost nothing when I change it that I found positive.
The available toggles inside the MSEB are magnificent. You can turn the player into a very bassy, very soft impact, or very harsh experience. You can alter the roll off and even directly control midrange to be more on the gentle side, or more neutral. You can do a lot with this and I found myself extremely happy with how easy this system is for the EQ aficionado like myself.
IMO, right now, this is the best overall EQ system available in a budget DAP. I am immensely impressed. I am having a lot of fun and enjoying the sound quality as well. The MSEB is found in the Hiby portable players, by the way, and also short for Mage-Sound 8-Ball.