The Hidizs AP80 Pro-X is the 3rd of the company’s AP80 DAP series. The AP80 Pro-X uses a new dual ES9219C DAC chip solution for the analog-to-digital conversation. This is an upgrade from the previous model Hidizs AP80 PRO with dual ES9218P DAC chips (the first model AP80 had a single ES9218P). But the new model sadly ditched the FM Radio function which the previous models AP80 and AP80 Pro have. The e-book reader and the step counter functions remained.
The main improvement of the new dual ES9219C DAC chip compared to the AP80 PRO’s dual ES9218P is its dynamic range and ultra-low distortion. The dual ES9219C DAC chip supports up to 2.0Vrms output with analog gain control, reducing noise and making audio sound cleaner on audible levels. This new high-performance DAC chip decodes up to 32BIT/384kHz and has improved the channel separation by 30%.
AP80 Pro-X kept the same built-in FPGA chip HBC3000, enabling native decoding support up to DSD64/128/256. MQA decoding is still supported up to 8x, compared to the old 4x unfolding.
AP80 Pro-X retains the balanced and unbalanced PO which are 2.5mm and 3.5mm respectively and can be found on the bottom panel of the player. A Type-C USB port can also be found on the same bottom panel, which doubles as a USB input and output.
With 61.2mm x 54.5mm x 13.8mm dimensions the AP80 Pro-X is not a mini but a tiny digital music player.
AP80 Pro-X does not have onboard Wi-Fi, which I find odd at first, more on that later. But has bidirectional Bluetooth 4.2 which supports 192kHz HiBy UAT, 96kHz Sony LDAC, and CSR APT-X codecs. It can be a Bluetooth audio source and double as a professional Bluetooth DAC AMP with Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification. You need the HiBy Music App installed on any Android phone with BT 4.2 and higher to be able to use UAT.
First of all, let’s not forget the size, this thing is tiny and therefore has a tiny battery in it, just 800mAh. It gives you around 6-8 hours on 3.5mm and around 8-10 hours on 2.5mm output. This might sound not much compared to bigger size DAPs but it’s what you get. Like I said before there is no Wi-fi support, this might also sound odd for a DAP in 2022, but you get 192Khz Bluetooth for streaming instead. Though I prefer Wi-fi over Bluetooth anytime, for efficiency. And the output power of the AP80 Pro-X might also seem rather low on paper being a DAP, even Hidizs’ own portable USB dongle DAC the S9 Pro has more power.
All these sound cons for you too? Well, let’s look from another perspective then. Think AP80 Pro-X as a battery-powered portable USB DAC-AMP that supports Hi-res wireless (Bluetooth) audio. And you get a standalone digital music player with touchscreen and hardware media keys as a bonus in the package. How does it sound now? Oh, and no worries, this tiny DAP sounds as good as the S9 Pro, maybe even better, let’s find out.
The AP80 Pro-X sounds smooth and balanced across the spectrum.The midrange has a slight hint of warmth in it and the general presentation is fairly smooth with plenty of details.It feels like a complete all-rounder and provides a good listening experience, regardless of the IEM choice.Transients are fast and snappy.
The tonality is good, it is not overly warm or analytical.It does not sound digital or artificial.With most of the pairings, it sounds clean and linear with good dynamics.Instrument separation is satisfactory.
The low range of the AP80 Pro-X sounds tight, fast, and rounded.The bass quantity is adequate and accurate.It does not over-power the midrange or overlap other frequencies.It is quite controlled and textured.The sub-bass quantity is moderate with good attack and decay.The impact is there. The controlled mid-bass results in a clear transition between the lows and the midrange.
The midrange has a slight hint of warmth and the vocals are clear with plenty of air.String instruments have a good body and the note-weight feels fairly accurate.Mid-dependant woodwind instruments feel natural and airy with plenty of details.Upper mids have adequate energy and edge.While it is easy to track the cymbals and hi-hats, they do not leave their territory and stay controlled within range.The presence range has good detail-retrieval and definition.The positioning of the vocals feels accurate and the whole midrange feels musical and dynamic thanks to the fairly warm tonality.
The treble reproduction of the AP80 Pro-X is clean and clear with plenty of details.The extension is good and controlled, you won’t be bothered by them and you won’t find them lacking in quantity.Hidizs found the perfect balance here and the resolution is just as good.The AP80 Pro-X performed above my expectations and surprised me.The performance is quite good for an entry-level DAP.
The attack and decay are fast and the transients are distinct.I found the separation to be very good as well along with a wide and fairly deep soundstage, especially for the price.The DAP presents the frequency with absolute control, no major humps or dips can be spotted by my ears.The dynamism and energy are really good.The layering is great as well and you can track individual instruments within the stage quite easily.You won’t get distracted easily because the whole presentation feels coherent and neat.The AP80 Pro-X performs well from a technical standpoint.
From the second perspective, the Hidizs AP80 Pro-X is a unique device. A great all-in-one audio gear as a portable DAC-AMP combo that you can use in any scenario and operating system, and as a Bluetooth streamer with the highest bit-rate tech on the market. Also, a great companion when you want just to listen to music separated from the outside world with your favorite local playlist.