To Know and Love Thyself – A Review of the iBasso SR1

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Since the iBasso SR1 is balanced so expertly, it will play well with just about any source you throw at it. If you enjoy its signature, there is little worry about pushing to too far into the warm or bright category. I found no source that paired poorly.

The iFi iDSD Pro ($2,499) is the DAC I used while writing up the sound impressions on the last page. It is… heavenly. Can you find a deeper, richer, more resolving source? I don’t know. But it matched the SR1 in the most perfect fashion. Using the vacuum tube output, and GTO filter, it highlighted all of the SR1’s best traits whilst delivering top-tier clarity. If you can afford it, this is the desktop DAC/Amp I would recommend to anyone. I shall miss it when I have to send it back.

For those who want to go mobile with the SR1, and are on a strict budget, the Hidizs AP80 ($139, Review HERE) handles matters surprisingly well. I am amazed by the ease with which it drives these cans. It sounds SO good. Gobs of clarity, stout note weight, and a fairly complete sense of depth. It is the best-sounding DAP within its pricing, and you won’t feel as if you’re sacrificing much in the way of quality.

Shanling’s M5s ($429, Review HERE) is the way to go if you’re looking to highlight the warmth and robust nature of the SR1. This is one of the most musical DAPs I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Its smooth, analogue tuning takes these cans to a magical place. As I said at the top of this section, thanks to iBasso’s signature, you are saved from staying into muddy territory. There’s still tones of clarity and detail. However, the soundstage isn’t the widest with this system, so if that’s high on your priority list, you may wish to for a different player.

Of course, there are options for portability without compromise. But you’ll pay for it. The iBasso DX220 with AMP7 or AMP8 ($899 + $199) gives you damn near a desktop-like experience, but in your pocket. A great big soundstage, limitless clarity, and a full, dynamic sound that will leave you gobsmacked. Oh, and the SR1 scales up with a better source. The higher the quality you feed it, the more impressive they sound. But if you don’t quite have the coin for the DX220, consider the DX150 instead. With one of those high-current AMP modules, it makes a sweet budget alternative.

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About Author

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.

2 Comments

  1. Kristian Lindecrantz on

    How would you compare these to a classic like the HD650s? Sounds like they have a similar signature?

    • Pinky Powers on

      The SR! is less thick and clearer, airier, more detailed, and with sharper resolution. The bass is also more adroit and extends deeper.

      But you are right. The overall signature isn’t far off. Though, the HD650 is the warmer of the two.

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