The Womb of New Worlds – A Review of the iBasso DX200

In spite of the brighter nature of the DX200, after burn-in, I found most everything I owned paired up beautifully. The brighter and the warmer gear, it all sounded so splendid. Of course, I’m not terribly sensitive to treble, as it turns out. If you are, be on the safe side and match a warmer monitor with this player.

I hate to be that guy, but you haven’t heard tia Fourté ($3,599, Review HERE) until you’ve heard it on the DX200 w/ AMP4. Likewise, you haven’t heard the DX200 until you install AMP4 and spend some time listening to Fourté. Nothing quite opens up these pieces like pairing them together. It’s an experience unlike any other. Nothing sounds like this. The transparency, soundstage, depth and dimensionality… it’s unbelievable. Hearing this system is what finally convinced me, beyond all doubt, the DX200 outperforms the Opus#2. It took me a while to admit that, I was ridding the fence for a couple weeks, but this setup pushed me over the edge.

For those in search of the perfect mix of deep, chocolaty warmth, and outstanding resolution and staging, the AudioQuest NightOwl ($699, Review HERE) combines with the DX200 to deliver just that. Significant, black depths. Richness and scope. Goddamn what a special sound they make. It might not be for everyone, but for those who lust for true warmth sometimes, yet never want to lose clarity and resolution, I can think of nothing quite like this pairing.

iBasso’s own IT01 ($99, Review HERE) may seem like a bottleneck for a music player of this caliber. Yet I find it a marvel of resolution and clarity. It scales nicely to take advantage of summit-fi sources. You get a rich, detailed, expansive sound, making you question the impulse to indulge in more costly gear. For those on a budget, this is the king of price-to-performance ratio.

Another killer bang-for-your-buck is the Meze 99 Classics ($309, Review HERE). These cans may possess my ultimate favorite signature. With deep, warm lows, crystalline mids, and clean, sparkly highs, Meze is at its absolute best with a DAP like the DX200. You are treated to unbridled musicality, presented in a clean, oh so revealing execution. To my ears, it does everything just right, and the result can move me to tears.

DITA the Dream ($1,800, Review HERE) moved me in much the same fashion. Its synergy with DX200 AMP4 left an impression on me I doubt will ever entirely vanish. To put it simply, I loved this setup.

No question about it, the Noble Audio Kaiser Encore ($1,850, Review HERE) is on the brighter side, with its enhanced treble tuning. With DX200, you could be forgiven for calling it “too bright”. For me, however, they play together awfully well. Much like tia Fourté, Encore celebrates all iBasso’s strengths, creating one of the most insane systems I’ve heard for high-resolution audio. This is not warm or smooth or laidback. It’s detail-first, aggressive, and transparent, but not without a good measure of musical fluidity.

I remember, as I looked for an upgrade to my AK120II, I dismissed the DX200 rather swiftly. It was too new and unproven, and the threads were full of mixed impressions. So I went with the Opus#2. Make no mistake, that is a serious DAP and has served me well this past year. The DX200, it seems, has come a long way in that time. With the AMP4 Module in particular, I’ve found my new reference. I won’t say it’s an outright upgrade to the Opus#2, as the tuning is different enough to make that a matter of preference, but it sure as shit delivers the goods. Of those qualities I prize most, the DX200-AMP4 outshines all.




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.


9 Responses

  1. I recommend you read up on the Empire Ears Phantom and Legend X. The 64Audio A12t is a good idea, but the N8t may be even better for you.

    I’m currently reviewing a few IEMs, and among them is the Custom Art FIBAE Massdrop Exclusive. That could also be a serious consideration, if you like LOTs of bass that doesn’t muddy the vocals.

  2. Hi Pinky,
    Thank you for excellent review.I was planning to upgrade to Dx 200 for better resolution now I am fully convinced. I currently have dx90 with earsonics velvet. I am happy with the musicality of velvet but am looking for a better transparency sound stage and resolution. I am mainly listening to rock blues, jazz &classical. Which CIEM should I consider? I heard much about 64audio A12T empire Zeus’s xr and unique melody Mason V3. I cannot try them as they are not available in my country.

  3. But that’s not the DX200 case I have. It’s considerably more… orange. Like a version of the standard case that has sideburns and brass knuckles. Looks stylish. I want that too…

  4. That depends on you.

    Are you in any way concerned by Vega’s treble? If so, DX200 may push it passed your preference. If you love Vega’s high frequencies, then DX200 should prove a wonderful source for you.

  5. It really depends on what you’re hoping to accomplish.

    For me, I’m always trying to tame that hot treble and bring up the bass and thicken the mids. Encore can be a too bright and thin sounding with the wrong cable.

    I’m a big fan of Effect Audio’s Thor Silver II. It does all that for Encore, while also possessing the exquisite clarity silver cables are known for.

    I recently took delivery of a new plusSound cable which hasn’t been released yet. It’s copper based, and very unusual in a lot of ways. This may be my favorite cable for Encore. The treble is completely tamed, and actually quite natural-sounding. The bass is brought up in a big way, and the vocals now have a hint of lushness. And yet, Encore’s transparency and clarity are still class-leading.

    If that sounds good to you, keep an eye out for more info on this cable in March.

  6. So much exciting audio gear, no one can afford to keep up. One must be highly selective with their purchases. Take your time, read everything, and find the exact right upgrade. Or better yet, be happy with what you already have.

    I know. Easier said than done. 😉

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