HiBy FC3 Headphone Amplifier Review
DAC Chip: ESS Sabre ES9281PRO (Single)
32-bit, 384kHz PCM, DSD128 (DoP) & MQA, DNR: 124dB, -112dB THD+N, Power: 70 mW x2 32Ω (Fixed Gain), Connectors: USB Type-C, Female, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: Supported), Volume Buttons & Status Indicator, 45*13*9 mm, 9.1g, Aluminum Chassis
- Exceptionally crisp, articulate timbre – faithfully neutral and uncolored
- Clean Treble textures with graceful decays, beautiful airiness
- Excellent Treble extensions, comparable to Cayin N6ii and Topping D10s
- Strong snazzy Mid-Bass with short decays
- Bass exhibit solid texture definition, so does the Mids
- Snappy guitars and stringed instruments attack
- Reference grade speed and transients handling
- Cosy, forward, and clear male/female vocals, good depth
- Excellent micro details, beautifully nuanced
- Great Piano, Violin and Cello tones, attack, and decays
- Great sibilance resistance despite being sparkly bright.
- Exemplary clean background with zero floor noise
- Dry overall timbre tonality, somewhat barren (sterile)
- Moderate dynamic vibe overall, soft visceral bite and groove
- Non-organic, non-analogue timbre disposition
- Lean bodied sub-Bass, flat sounding seismic sensation and impact
- Bass rolled off shorter compared on reference grade comparison.
- Short snappy Bass decays could use a few milliseconds more.
- Can be too flat on some songs, dependent on recording quality.
- Moderate layering, instruments sounded spaced too close together.
- Less than spectacular headstage, soundstage cramped in slightly.
- Flat percussions sound, vibrancy, and bite less than stellar
- Spatial imaging is precise but less holographic.
- Hardware volume control could use a bit refinement between levels.
HiBy FC3. A mixed bag highly DEPENDENT on pairing options. However, I am keeping FC3 because it pairs blissfully great with my beloved ETYMÒTIC ER2XR and Meze 99 Classics, these two are the saving grace for it. The weaknesses as noted above are mitigated when synergy is struck beautifully. Will NOT recommend FC3 for an already bright/analytical sounding IEMs or Headphones like the ETYMÒTIC ER4SR, Grado, Knowles BA or Beyerdynamic. It is worth noting that FC3 is among the cleanest sounding DAC compared to the rest, great overall finesse and for those who like their sound being sparkly, well behaved, and tidy, they will love FC3, practically free of any graininess. And IMPRESSIVE speed too. I would regard FC3 being the dongle version of Topping D10s/A50s with less outright power beyond 150Ω.
OVERALL RATING: 88/100
Recommended Pairing: Natively warm and dynamic headphones/earphones/planars.