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The Face of Experience – A Review of the iBasso DX220 Digital Audio Player

iBasso provided the DX220 free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.

The DX220 sells for $899, AMP8 for $199, and AMP9 for $250.
iBasso DX220 on Amazon
iBasso AMP8 on Amazon
iBasso AMP9 on Amazon

– Dual SABRE ES9028PRO DAC Chips.
– Bit for Bit Playback With Support up to 32bit/384kHz.
– Support of Native DSD up to 512x.
– 5.0″ IPS Full Screen (1080*1920), With On Cell Capacitive Touch Panel.
– Corning Glass on The Front Screen And Rear Panel.
– Support of QC3.0, PD2.0, & MTK PE Plus Quick Charge.
– XMOS USB Receiver With Thesycon USB Audio Driver, Ma king This an Easy to Use USB DAC.
– A Total of 5pcs of Femtosecond League Oscillators, With 2 of Them Being Accusilicon Ultra Low Phase Noise Femt osecond Oscillators.
– 8-core CPU.
– Mini Optical Output And Mini Coaxial Output.
– 4GB LPDDR3 – 64G of Internal Memory.
– 5G WiFi And Bluetooth 5.0.
– Support SDXC And SDHC Micro SD Cards.
– Three Settings of Gain Control.
– Patented User Exchangeable AMP Cards.
– 150-Step Digital Volume Control.
– Audio Formats Supported: MQA, APE, FLAC,WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DFF, DSF and DXD.
– Support for M3U Playlists.
– 4400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer Battery (Playtime Will Vary With AMP Cards Used)

2.5mm Headphone Out :
Output Level : 6.2Vrms
Frequency Response : 10Hz~45kHz +/-0.3dB
S/N : 125dB
THD+N : 0.00018% (no Load, 3Vrms),
0.0002% (32Ω Load, 3Vrms)
Crosstalk : -119dB

3.5mm Headphone Out :
Output Level : 3.1Vrms
Frequency Response : 10Hz~45kHz +/-0.3dB
S/N : 123dB
THD+N : 0.00031% (no Load, 1.8Vrms),
0.00035% (32Ω Load, 1.8Vrms)
Crosstalk : -117dB

Line Out :
Output Level : 3.0Vrms
Frequency Response : 10Hz~45kHz +/- 0.3dB
S/N : 122dB
THD+N : 0.00035% (no Load, 1.8Vrms)
Crosstalk : -116dB

Average Play Time: 8 hours. (The play time varies with different resolutions
and headphone/IEM loads.)

I wasn’t expecting a new flagship DAP from iBasso anytime soon. I wasn’t ready. The DX200 was still my principle player, and I was nowhere near bored with it.

Then I remembered: I got my hands on the DX200 late in the game. It was already an established product with matured firmware when Paul sent me a unit. Grudgingly, I had to accept that maybe it was about due an update.

And “update” is the right word. The fundamental design is much the same, but everything is better, more attractive, of higher quality, and superior tech. The aesthetics are sleeker and less tank-like. The buttons and volume wheel are more elegant. The display is a gorgeous 5” 1080p full screen, and among the nicest I’ve seen in the DAP market. It comes across as flawless. Unlike the screen on the DX200, which looked even lower res than it actually was, with aggressive pixilation and jagged lines. Of course, I never cared a great deal about such things, but I won’t deny, it’s a nice bonus.

The leather case is a bit of a disaster. I had to make liberal cuts to the bottom opening to be able to use wide barrel balanced cables of the sort plusSound employs. Otherwise you can’t get them to plug in all the way. Also, getting the case off is more than a little difficult. While it’s good to know the DAP won’t fall out by accident, one doesn’t enjoy the sense of dread every time they wish to slip the player out. All of my usual tricks for doing so don’t seem to work here, and I always resort to brute tactics, which have caused further damage to the leather.

The DX220 is fully loaded, much like its predecessor, with streaming capabilities, Bluetooth, and all that shit I have no interest in. Only it takes this even further. Not only can you connect to a BT headphone, but you can also control the DAP from your smartphone. This is a feature I’ve seen show up in a lot of recent audiophile devices. It may not be for this old dinosaur, but you may consider it a must-have. So rest assured, iBasso has you covered.

I did, however, spend some time with simple Bluetooth. The Bang&Olufsen Beoplay H9 achieved a stable connection to the DX220, and, apart from a hiccup at the beginning, played flawlessly for about an hour. These headphones have really grown on me, of late. I’ve yet to hear a better sounding pair of wireless cans.



Pinky Powers

Pinky Powers

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.


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