- Sound quality.
- Analytical/brilliant tendency profile.
- Very compact size.
- Operating system, handling and level of connectivity.
- Extra functions (pedometer and e-book reader).
- Decodes MQA 8x.
- Remarkable power level.
- Limited edition with new brushed red copper casing.
- Connectors seem tighter than the standard version.
- There is no case.
- Its small size means a small battery. This means that the battery life is not very long.
- It does not comply with the latest version of Bluetooth.
- It no longer includes FM radio.
- This copper version is heavier.
Link to the Store
Hidizs often goes a step further with its products, creating limited editions of the most iconic devices in its catalogue. And these products usually have a superior construction, using a distinguished type of material that makes them unique. This was already the case with the DAP AP80 Pro, for which it created three additional versions «Rose Gold», «Titanium Alloy» and «Red Copper». He also created a «Red Copper» version for his prized S9 Pro dongle. And now it’s the turn of its newest DAP. It is the Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper Limited Edition. A very long name for a very special and distinctive product. In the following, we will take a look at all the qualities of this limited edition and compare it with the standard edition.
- DAC: Dual ESS9219C
- 2.5mm BAL and 3.5mm SE audio outputs.
- SE output power: 70mW 32Ω.
- BAL output power: 190mW 32Ω.
- Frequency response (±3dB): 20Hz-90kHz.
- THD+N SE: 0.0015
- SE dynamic range: 115dB
- Signal-to-noise ratio SE: 119dB
- SE channel spacing: 110dB
- THD+N BAL: 0.0015
- Dynamic Range BAL: 116dB
- Signal to noise ratio BAL: 120dB
- BAL channel separation: 117dB
- Recommended headphone impedance range: 8Ω-200Ω.
- Display: Samsung 2.45″ IPS HD touchscreen (480×360)
- Battery: 800mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer.
- Battery life: BAL: 6-8 hours, SE: 8-11 hours, 40 days standby.
- Battery charging time: 1 hour.
- Japanese ALPS volume control.
- CPU: Ingenic x 1000
- DSD: FPGA HBC3000 hardware decodes DSD64/128/256 natively.
- USB Type-C connector.
- Operating system: HiBy OS.
- MQA 8X hardware decoding.
- Bi-directional Bluetooth v4.2
- Sony LDAC
- CSR APT-X
- Hi-Res Audio and Hi-Res Audio Wireless certified.
- Two-way USB DAC.
- Supports MAC OSx10.7, iPad OS, Windows XP, Windows 7/8/10 or newer.
- E-Book support
- Step counter support.
- Dimensions: 61.2×54.5×13.8mm
- CNC machined aluminium alloy.
- Choice of black, blue and grey colours.
- Weight: 113.4g.
The limited Red Copper edition of the DAP AP80 PRO-X comes in a box with the same dimensions as the standard version: 128x97x47mm. It is dark in colour. On its front side a picture of the DAP can be seen in the centre, this time the Red Copper version is shown. In the upper left corner you can read the name of the product and a short description. In the upper right corner are the logos of the supported audio specifications. The ink used is holographic type, with a copper tendency. In the bottom left corner is the brand logo, in silver. The back face is filled with the specifications, in 4 languages, plus the branding and other construction certifications supported. These are the same as for the standard version. You can even see that the weight of the Red Copper version, which is clearly higher, is not specified, but that of the standard version. After lifting the lid you can see a dark cardboard, in the centre of which is written a quotation from the brand. In the bottom right-hand corner, the logo appears again, all in silver ink. The DAP is encased in dense black foam, inside a protective white pouch. A cloth strap allows it to be removed from its socket, as well as removing this entire layer. Underneath it is another level covered by another black cardboard, under which are the rest of the accessories. They are the following:
- 1 AP80 PRO-X.
- 1 Type-C cable.
- 1 Type-C to Type-C OTG cable.
- 1 Hidizs VIP card.
- 1 quality control card.
- 1 serial number card.
- 1 user manual.
- 2 screen protectors.
After removing the DAP from the white pouch you can see how a screen protector protects the main panel. The rear panel is also protected. Paper sheets will allow you to remove the cover over the screen protectors.
The content is simply correct. There is no protective cover, it can be purchased separately. The USB cables are quite simple. That there are a couple of additional screen protectors is a detail. But you couldn’t call it a premium level of content and number of accessories, either. The presentation is unchanged from the standard version, only the cardboard that you find after opening the box is a bit different. On the standard version you can read the slogan «Music is The Voice Of An Angel». On the Red Copper version, this phrase does not appear, but the rest of the legend does.
Construction and Design
The design is the same. What changes is the material used for the housing. It is a high-gloss brushed copper. This brushing is visible on the small buttons, which even have the same direction. Both the main screen, as well as the back, appear to be made of hardened glass. This time, the back has the same reddish copper colour and features a 4-pointed star pattern that is now more visible. The top edge is flat, the left edge is bevelled and houses the micro-SD card slot. The bottom edge is also flat and houses the balanced 2.5mm audio connections, the USB Type-C female connection and the 3.5mm SE connector. I would have preferred a balanced 4.4mm connection. On the other hand, the connectors look rather plain, they are black and don’t seem to have put much emphasis on improving the edge quality of the audio ports, even if this is a limited version with a top cover. The right edge is the one with the most complex design. At the top is the small ALPS potentiometer, in copper. The face is bevelled like the left side, but there is an X with a horizontal bar that starts from the centre of the volume wheel. Below that control are 3 small buttons: forward, play/pause and rewind, also all in copper.
On the back face is the brand logo on the top, while on the bottom is the model name and some logos of the features it supports.
There appear to be no changes to the internal construction, based on the specifications of the case, compared to the standard version.
The DAP is still very small, it is the same size. What has changed noticeably is the weight: 113.4g. The display is of good quality and visibility. The feel in the hand is considerably denser, which increases the perception of a large, distinguished and superior construction. In this case, the use of a case would limit the beauty of the copper, although for protection it wouldn’t be a bad thing if it were included, being a special version. On the downside, I again note that the audio connectors don’t look like the most durable I’ve seen. I think Hidizs would do well to look at the 4.4mm connector on their DH80S. I would have liked to see this point solved in this special version, since a superior material is used for the case, it could have been used for the connectors as well.
There is no change, I repeat the section of the standard version: The AP80 PRO-X has two audio outputs: 2.5mm BAL and 3.5mm SE. It also has a USB Type-C female input. It supports MAC OSx10.7, iPad OS, Windows XP, Windows 7/8/10 or newer. Can be connected to a smartphone to be used as a DAC/AMP. Also to a PC as a two-way DAC. Features two-way Bluetooth v4.2 and Hi-Res Audio Wireless (HRAW). It supports several Bluetooth protocols, including Sony LDAC, AAC, SBC, HiBy UAT and CSR APT-X.
As you can see, the level of connectivity is very high. One could only complain that it does not use the latest Bluetooth specification.
Again, the operability is the same as the standard version. They even have the same firmware version, with the same BuildTime.
The operating system of the AP80 PRO-X Red Copper LE is the HiBy OS, which I love and is one of the most complete DAP systems I know. Personally, as I have a preference for pure, non-Android based DAPs, I think it is one of the most complete OS’s I have tried.
The firmware version used for this review is v1.0.
As soon as the player is turned on, a screen with 4 icons (Player, Step, Bluetooth and Book) is displayed. Swiping to the left brings up a new screen with two more icons (System Settings and About).
From System Settings, the content is as follows (Language, Music Database, Brightness, Backlight time, Colour theme, Font size, USB mode, Button operation, Time setting, Idle timer, sleep timer, Standby, In-line remote, Recording steps, Lock volume knob, Screensaver setting, restore factory settings, Firmware update).
If you click on the Player icon, you will see a screen with 4 icons at the top (Hidizs logo, music note, heart, playback screen). Clicking on the centre icon will start the update of the music database.
By clicking on the Hidizs Logo, you access a side menu that allows the update of the music database, MSEB, Equaliser, Play Settings and Exit.
It is known that the MSEB is a different EQ, which allows you to change sound properties (Temperature, Bass Extension, Bass texture, Note thickness, Vocals, Female overtones, Sibilance LF, Sibilance HF, Impulse response, Air). I’m not a fan of using this kind of filters, but I must admit that for those who like to play with this kind of things, the possibilities are enormous. Even more, if you activate the 10-band EQ, with 8 presets and the possibility of modifying each band to your personal taste.
Clicking on the music note takes you to the music library, via the Folder, Albums, Artist, Genres and Format icons.
Press the heart icon to access My Favorites, Recents and Playlist (Create new playlist, Save playlist, Load playlist).
Finally, from the playback screen, if you drag your finger upwards, you can access a menu that allows you to deactivate/activate Bluetooth, choose the gain, USB mode, activate line output, display brightness control bar, playback buttons (rewind, play/pause, forward), volume control bar.
On the playback screen, the playback controls, playback mode and quick access to other functions (List now playing, Add to playlist, Equalizer, View album, Properties, Delete) are shown below.
Swiping to the left takes you to the main playback menu.
It is worth noting that the volume is reported at the top left, the time at the top centre and the battery control at the top right.
The AP80 PRO-X Red Copper LE has three physical buttons (forward, play/pause, back) and a volume wheel, which is also a button to turn the device off/on, as well as activating the display. Each step/click of the volume wheel corresponds to a jump of 1 point on the volume scale, all the way up to 100.
As you can see, the number of controls is very large and I believe that the system does not miss any option.
As the only drawback, as the screen is small, even with the large font you have to have a good view.
On the other hand, the screen sometimes feels a little sluggish, I would say it has a good level of sensitivity, but on rare occasions it doesn’t seem to respond on the first try. This is nothing to worry about and can be attributed to the fact that it is more sensitive to the fingertips than to other parts of the screen.
In the measurement section, if nothing internal changes, everything should be the same. I have checked that the no-load voltage, both at SE, low and high gain, and at BAL, coincide. I have also looked at the output for 33Ω at high gain, by SE and BAL and they also give tremendously similar results.
Sin carga SE
At low gain the maximum no-load voltage is 1V and 2V at high gain. Well, it actually goes up to 2.1V.
Sin carga BAL
At low gain the maximum no-load voltage is 2V and 4.11V at high gain.
33 Ω SE
Using a centre frequency, you can see that the output voltage is 1.68V. This is very similar to the standard version, the differences are negligible. This is 85mW, more than the 70mW specified for 32Ω.
33 Ω BAL
In the same way, the central measurement by balanced output at 33Ω with high gain shows an identical value at 2.43V, the same as for the standard version. We are talking about 180mW, very close to the 190mW specified, almost negligible for the use of a non-professional measurement system.
To describe the sound I have used the DAP in pure mode, without activating MSEB or EQ.
I already made it clear in my previous review of the standard model that the sound of this DAP is very clean, neutral and clear, with a slight tendency towards the analytical side, with great definition, resolution and neatness. What can be said again about this Red Copper model? Well, the sound is like that too. It should be noted that the AP80 PRO-X Red Copper LE is equipped with a DUAL DAC ESS9219C SoC (System on Chip). This is an integrated solution consisting of DAC and AMP in one single pickup. Thus, the sound is much more dependent on this hardware. Of course, the other components needed to make the system fully functional have their value and influence, but can the housing material have an influence? Not all materials are the same, nor are their properties the same. The Red Copper Limited Edition version has constructed its housing from dense, brushed copper. The standard version uses aluminium alloy. The difference is clear in looks and weight, but what about the sound? I am sceptical in this respect. Just as I have always been sceptical about cables, I have finally had to admit that a good cable can make a difference. But as long as it really is clearly superior to the one it replaces. As I say, different materials have different properties. And in the cable the fundamental factor is conductivity. But in an external enclosure, the external influence seems to me difficult to discern. In this sense, suggestion is very powerful.
When I received the Red Copper I felt that its sound was not so analytical, that there was a subtle differential warmth. The presence of the reddish copper and my association with a more passionate colour made me think along those lines. And during the weeks that I have used it I have been happy with that feeling. After a good break-in, the time has come to plug in my favourite IEMS and look for the 7 differences. At this point, the comparison is much simpler, just use two SD cards with the same song library, set the volume to the same level and try it for several hours. During that time of repetitive playback and quick changes, you think you find differences between the two, until you go back to the other DAP to check. In the end, these differences are not based on details, but on a more global experience.
After initial sensations based on memory, the search for differences between the two devices becomes complex. After many tests I base my conclusions on sensations. Many times I have found no difference. In other cases I thought I perceived slightly different sensations.
My perception with the Red Copper is that its sound is more concise, denser, fuller-bodied, subtly warmer but also more open. I think I see a point of superior restraint in the limited edition. I don’t feel it’s as analytical, but more natural and pleasant. I don’t feel a loss of information in any range between the two models. I only appreciate a slight feeling of superior musicality in the Red Copper version. This makes the impressions generated more pleasant and not as cold as in the standard version. Overall, these slight improvements increase the qualitative feel of the sound in a positive way. I have always said that I like analytical sound, but it doesn’t have to be at odds with musicality, nor with pleasure. And this would be one of the best words to describe the difference between one model and the other. Without ignoring the sensation of physical weight and density, these properties seem to translate into sound as well. Could it be suggestion? I cannot deny that it has an influence, and certainly our brains may try to attribute these physical properties to sound as well. But it is the end result that counts. And both my initial feeling and my impressions during intensive testing lead me to think that, despite the great similarity of the sound, there are some minor peculiarities in favour of the Red Copper version. Among them are that feeling of greater weight and density in the sound. The notes are not as sharp, but their definition has a higher point of resolution. In this way, we gain in musicality, in smoothness, in quality and, in short, in pleasure. And I would like to emphasise once again this sensation of pleasure that, both musically and physically, comes from owning the Red Copper Limited Edition version as opposed to the standard version.
Turning to the sound and moving away from the direct comparison with the standard version, I would like to summarise the sound virtues of this version, stressing that many are the same as for the normal model.
The Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Review Red Copper Limited Edition has one of the most powerful 16Ω headphone outputs I have ever tested in such a small device. Its high current delivery is not matched by its small size. But if there’s one thing that makes the sound stand out, it’s the difference between the two outputs. While the SE output is good, the balanced output is superior and both that extra power, as well as the result of better measurements, favour the final sound quality. The level of cleanliness, resolution, breadth, depth, separation and definition is superior with the balanced output. Bass is more textured, descriptive and deep. The highs are more vivid and stand out with better dynamics, while the midrange gains in neutrality, resulting in a higher expressive level.
The SE bass is a bit dry, even unexciting. Switching to the BAL output improves the texture, but I would never say that this is a specialised bass DAP. Its development is neutral, as well as its representation has a good definition, with a clean, distinguishable and marked layering. Depth is improved compared to the normal version, but is still finite, which is good in terms of control. In the Red Copper version there is a subtle more analogue feel, gaining in naturalness and realism over the standard version.
The mid-range benefits from the great control and, due to the balanced output, the level of brightness is high. This enhances the detail and cleanness of the sound. The mids benefit from the improved smoothness of the Red Copper to gain in harmony and musicality. The clear jump in resolution allows the nuances to be exposed with greater rigour, resulting in a higher output, as well as a more elevated approach to the purest music, without the music being totally analytical. It seems that the AP80 PRO-X Red Copper is able to offer a delicate and fine expressiveness of the smallest details, as well as to enhance voices and instruments by way of a very accurate and delimited representation, albeit in a more musical manner than the standard version. The mids are rendered concretely and very concisely, perfectly delimited and placed within the scene. This, to my mind, is highly enjoyable and the sense of great resolution you get is very rewarding. But in the Red Copper version, even the perception of scene and location is improved. You lose some unreal sparkle and gain some superior darkness between elements. There is a little more emptiness and space that allows for a more natural, realistic and analogue feel. The sound is still clean and pure, but also more expressive, corporeal and dense.
In the high end there seems to be a slight redefinition of the range. It is no longer as crisp, even gaining in resolution, as well as in smoothness, without losing sparkle or the brilliant thinness of the notes.
It is clear that such a well-defined sound is supported by great separation. The stereo representation is stellar, the movement of the elements is very easy to perceive, which means that the dynamics are very high, as is the speed of execution and the level of precision. Nothing is blurred or unfinished. For better or worse, the AP80 PRO-X Red Copper represents the sound in a very focused and unobscured way. So, with such an explicit and abundant sound, the scene requires it to be large to accommodate so much information. Fortunately, it is, and the balanced output helps to widen the musical space and give it a breadth and height that impresses. The large amount of air gives a remarkable three-dimensional level, while maintaining a realistic and well-positioned feel. In this way the sound does not escape, it does not feel too vaporous or ethereal, but remains spacious, yet well defined, always focused, very well structured and positioned. The instrumental positioning is very good and the provenance and placement of the elements is also commendable. And in the Red Copper version its greater naturalness, harmony, musicality and resolution, helps to obtain a higher point of depth, a darker background and a more realistic separation.
It is common for Hidizs, after the success of a great product, to add an extra that drastically increases the value of that model. To do this, they select a great material and use it as the basis for those outstanding products, but only as a limited edition. This time, it was the turn of its latest DAP AP80 PRO-X and the material used was copper. The name could not be other than Red Copper Limited Edition.
This special model features a brushed surface and a higher weight. All other elements are the same, internally as well. In theory, apart from the physical considerations of beauty and weight, the sound should be the same. Does the case material influence the sound, or is there a further, unspecified difference? This is a complicated question. A priori, it shouldn’t. But my surprise is that there is something there. How much truth is there in this feeling? Well, it is perhaps more complicated to answer that, than to look for the 7 differences between the standard version and the limited edition. So my recommendation is that everyone should choose what they think is right and not regret it, because both versions are very good, but the limited version is… Special and unique… Even in sound.
Earphones and Sources Used During Analysis
- TRI KAI x HBB
- Letshuoer D13
- Letshuoer S12
- Yanyin Aladdin
- Penon Globe
- Penon Fan
- Rose QT9 MK2s
- BQEYZ Topaz
- Dunu Falcon Pro
- Rose Martini
- Hidizs MD4
- Earbuds Anonymous