If you desire the absolute best from the DD Audio DXB-04 in a portable solution, my reference player is the Opus#2 by theBit. Opus fills out these headphones with a powerful, clear sound, and comes off utterly natural. It pushes the resolution as far as possible, and really showcases the DXB-04’s knack for transparency. The bass hits hard and realistic, the treble extends forever, and the vocals are quite simply perfect.
For a lusher, warmer sound, and one that won’t break the bank, the Cayin N3 is a decent choice. Cayin’s house sound is about serious bass-slam and a more intimate stage. But this little player does quite well with its sense of depth. Clarity is quite good, as is dynamics. The DXB-04 takes on a very rich, chocolaty tone with this player. It’s delightful.
Cayin’s i5 takes all those things I wrote about the N3 and raises the quality and refinement by a few steps. That rich, chocolaty tone is now on a level of pure decadence. The bass has more power, but is also more controlled and detailed. i5 takes better advantage of the DXB-04’s soundstage and skill with transparency.
To push DD Audio’s virtue of neutrality and clarity to its fullest, without spending a terror-sum, the Opus#1 is possibly the best you can find for under $600, and it’s nearly half that right now. It’s a little thinner-sounding than the Opus#2, while packing so much dynamism you never feel it’s missing anything. Opus#1 takes the DXB-04 to supreme heights of transparency and crystalline mids. But it doesn’t lack bass. Oh no, it punches hard, but in a neutral way.
When I first looked up the DXB-04 on DD Audio’s website, it was selling for $249, and I thought it was worthy of that price. In terms of sound quality it’s as good if not better than most of the competition in that bracket. The only headphones that would make me hesitate to recommend it was the offerings from Meze: the 99C and Neo.
Less than two months later, you can buy the DD Audio DXB-04 at $99. They are now well below the Meze range. I don’t know what to tell you. Buy it. Buy it now! If you’re in the market for anything even remotely like the DXB-04, it’s a goddamn steal at this price.