On the 2019 Axpona Audio Show in Chicago iBasso debuted their new Excessive-Resolution Reference Digital Audio Player, the DX220.
Key options of this DAP are:
Dual Sabre ES9028 DAC chips
A 5.zero” 1080P Full Touch Display
Exchangeable AMP Modules
Playback of up to DSD512
MSRP: $899 USD + Delivery
Measuring 4 7/8” x 2 5/eight” x 7/8” the iBasso DX220 is snug to hold and nicely balanced within the hand. It comes outfitted with the brand new revised AMP1 MkII which has a Line Out (output voltage 3vms), three.5mm Single Ended Out (output voltage 3.1vms), and a 2.5” Balanced Out (output voltage 6.2vms) with a frequency response of 10Hz-45Hz making it ultimate for delicate IEM’s as well as full-size headphones. The amplifier modules are swappable and the DX220 is absolutely suitable with all iBasso AMP Modules which were previously released and in addition gives Bluetooth 5.0.
One of many great things about this DAP is that it helps playback of DSD512 information. This is no small feat and it does so flawlessly, granted, these DSD512 information can run 20GB each but consider me, it’s value it. The unit comes with 64GB inner reminiscence, a single microSD slot able to reading as much as 2TB, and has 4GB of RAM.
The iBasso DX220 is secured within premium packaging and comes with a USB Sort C Charging Cable, an OTG Coax Cable, a premium Burn-In Cable, and Warranty Card. As with all the iBasso lineup, the box is nicely designed with a beautiful box, ample foam, and the charging cable, burn in cable, guarantee card and six display protectors are beneath the unit.
The chassis is manufactured from milled aluminum with grey/black highlights and the display is up to date over their earlier flagship, the DX200, with Corning Gorilla Glass. The build quality is exemplary and the match between seams is spot on. Modern strains, a beveled display, and semi-recessed volume knob make it snug to hold and straightforward to use. It comes with a premium leather-based case in mustard yellow, which, to me, is the only disadvantage here. Perhaps a black, brown, or purple leather-based case can be more interesting to the attention.
Upon starting the unit up, we find the GUI has additionally been up to date from the previous iBasso lineup with a customized interface based mostly on Android O. It’s fast, responsive, and intuitive and will probably be familiar to anybody using an Android based mostly cellular phone. The music participant app iBasso makes use of known as Mango and there are actually two modes. One mode is Android based mostly and the other known as Pure Mango mode. The Pure mode requires a restart and is predicated on Linux and subsequently has no Android processes interfering with the playback in any respect. Many users of the earlier iBasso lineup have most popular this to the standard Android Mango.
I have a check folder of 130 FLAC information that I exploit to check DAPs typically. I selected these particular songs due to the complexity and layering of the tracks, the instrumentation, and properly…they’re all music I like… Quite a bit. I’ll mention some of these tracks once I talk about the precise sound of the DX220 under.
Initially, upon placing your microSD card in, you get a prompt to “Scan Card”. I exploit a Sandisk Excessive 400GB card and it scanned quick, surprisingly fast. You then have the choice of grabbing your information from the interior memory or the cardboard. Choosing the card brings you to the usual folder view of your information. What is a nice improve from the opposite players I’ve had the pleasure of owning is that there’s now a outstanding search bar on prime of the display. This lets you search title, writer, and so on…very good. Navigating the OS on the DX220 is a pleasure and a particular enchancment over the OS on the DX200, it simply feels right. This DAP even has a Parametric Equalizer that I have been utilizing on Setting 4.There are 6 Settings in all, and whereas all of them sound relatively good, I discovered Setting 4 works greatest with the ETHER2s.
When pausing the music and then advancing the monitor with my finger I found the participant responded immediately. Going forwards and backwards to totally different elements of the monitor was seamless, fast, and had zero lag.
For listening, I’m utilizing MrSpeakers ETHER2 open-back and Audeze LCD2 planar magnetic headphones. Each are unbelievable cans with distinct differences that I take pleasure in with many genres of music.
The unit comes with what iBasso calls the AMP1 MKII module. This AMP Module has a Line Out, 3.5mm Single Ended out, and a 2.5mm Balanced out.
Utilizing the ETHER2s one of many things that stand out instantly is the deep black that the DX220 generates. The music is more refined than the DX200 and I am hearing a mature tightness of sound that was previously unnoticeable. In listening to the Thompson Twins “Hold me Now” there’s a definite improvement of element and lushness over the DX200. Now that’s not a simple activity because each the DX200 and DX220 each use the identical DAC chips. Nevertheless, the DX220 utilizes more high-end elements inside and iBasso has carried out improved circuitry on their board. The result’s, to my ears, sound that’s extra partaking. There’s music that makes you faucet your ft, and there’s music that you simply feel going by way of your entire body. The latter is what is going on here.
Shifting on to “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gee’s is just…nicely loopy. I can only describe it as the sound feels as if it’s coming from throughout you. Just like being in a room with a few of the highest-end stereo audio system. Whereas some headphones put the sound “on” your ears, and others put the sound “between” your ears…this pairing brings the sound utterly “around” you. This is not something I’ve experienced many occasions before. It’s extremely pleasant, but in addition a bit of disconcerting at the similar time. Think about being at a membership, and the music being played for YOU.
I decided to attempt the exact same songs with the Audeze LCD2s. Whereas the ETHER2 put the music throughout you, the LCD2 put it instantly between my ears. The layering of music and instruments was the identical in many ways but not all. With the ETHER2s the instruments blended collectively while maintaining their own characteristics. Nevertheless, with the LCD2s, the separation was more distinct.
Shifting on to one thing a bit extra dynamic, I cued up the remaster of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”. This music has acoustic guitars, a slide guitar, electric guitar, piano, and is likely one of the most iconic rock songs ever recorded. I chose this due to all the songs I’ve used to perform critiques, this one both brings out the great in a DAP or the dangerous. In this case, it was the great. I used to be capable of discern the strum sample on the background acoustic, and the vocals stayed consistent throughout the monitor without being misplaced within the music. Both headphones have been unbelievable with this however the winner was the ETHER2.
Then I made a decision to put the DX220 via some heavier tracks, similar to Disturbed’s “Inside the Fire”, on high achieve. Even with the achieve set high, and the quantity over 100 there was no blurring of devices or vocals. Every thing was clear, heavy, and engrossing. Precisely how heavy metallic ought to be! All the pauses within the music introduced absolute black sound, no hiss, no buzz…simply good black silence. Again I have to say the maturity of the sound popping out of this unit. I have owned desktop DACs that don’t put out music in addition to this DAP, and need to say the unit stunned me at what it might put out soundwise.
I like throwing all types of music at a DAP when testing and this was no totally different. From heavy, I’m going to Bob Dylan, to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which sounded absolutely surreal on the ETHER2s. Separation of instruments/vocals and the pleasure of listening to all of the complicated layers of that track was an experience I gained’t quickly overlook. The track was tighter on the DX220 than on the DX200. Each word of the lyrics snapping off sharper than on the previous flagship ever did. I all the time use the identical final monitor to finish-up testing a DAP. The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody”, the remastered model. That was what introduced it house for me with this player. It was actually as in the event that they have been singing proper in front of me, with the drums on stage left and the strings on stage right. Sure, it was that good.
As a last check, I used to be even in a position to hook up with my Sony soundbar by way of Bluetooth with this player and it sounded implausible. Spectacular iBasso, impressive.
Ending a playlist with a premium DAP is all the time like enjoying with a double-sided knife. On one aspect, it’s good to listen to the songs of their most refined state. However on the opposite aspect, it’s type of unhappy to hit STOP and take the headphones off. This rings true for all the top-of-the-line DAPs, be it iBasso, Astell&Kern, Sony, Lotoo, or Questyle. When the music stops enjoying on a very good DAP, your brain continues to be in that semi-euphoric zone processing what you simply heard. It is no totally different with the DX220. I can say with confidence that they hit the mark with this one.
To wrap it up we have now a DAP that punches means above its weight, that sounds mature, melodic, detailed and produces absolute black when crucial. Sonically it sounds nearly as good as some DAPs that value 3x the worth. The display is completely beautiful, responsive, and is manufactured from Gorilla Glass. The chassis is snug and properly balanced. It handles every part from pop, rock, heavy metallic, country, and electronica with the convenience of knowledgeable boxer toying with a 5yr previous. Rock strong.
The participant was successful on the Axpona show and there were a lot of people buzzing about it. Nice sound, engaging UI, wireless/Bluetooth/streaming capability, replaceable AMP modules, frequent updates and solely $899 USD? I can’t think about this be something however a house run for iBasso and for the everyday shopper. The sound is similar to the SP1000 and WM1Z. Frankly, I can’t see any one in every of these being better than the opposite, however with such a low worth level, the DX220 is ready to convey high-resolution audio with the power to listen to DSD512 music to the plenty. When you get a chance to hear it at your local audio store, undoubtedly give it a chance. It’d shock you…