iBasso DX220

GUI (Mango).

DX220 continues its DX200 tradition with a dual boot design where you have access to either full Android OS with its Mango audio app or stripped down Mango OS with a main interface being that audio app.  Each one has its own advantages depending on user requirements.  With access to full Android you have support of wifi and Bluetooth, can load other apps, stream audio, etc, though you have to be aware that stock DX220 doesn’t have Google Play.  Instead, it comes pre-loaded with APKPure and CoolApk apps where you can search and download most of the apps to install on your DAP.  Just keep in mind that updates won’t be installed automatically, and you can’t bypass apps that require Google play authorization.  The solution to this problem is very simple since you can always download and install Lurker’s free ROM (https://github.com/Lurker00) which brings Google Play to DX220, along with a few other goodies.

Mango OS is a strip down version of operating system built around Mango app interface where the focus is strictly on audio interface without a waste of OS resources on other tasks.  Switching between these two OS is very simple, when you boot up into Android and press’n’hold Power button you have a choice of Power off, Restart, or switch to Mango.  When you switch to Mango, DAP is rebooted and will continue to boot into Mango OS every time until you go to Settings->Advanced and select Android System.  Once Android System is selected, it will only boot into Android OS until you switch back to Mango OS.

If you look into Mango app (or Mango OS), you will quickly realize this is a new v2 version, and it doesn’t just have the updated look and functionality, but also a lot smoother and faster to navigate.  There are a few differences between Mango app and Mango OS interface, they are not identical, and I will cover it a little later.  But first, let me go over the updated interface layout and its changes relative to the original Mango v1 in DX200.

With a bigger display, now you also have a better view of the embedded song/album artwork, if one is available.  If not, a default image is displayed.  The biggest change here is that you no longer have to swipe left/right to get to the file/song management and settings.  The main playback screen has a more logical interface where you swipe the artwork display left/right to skip between the songs, and access song search and file management from a shortcut in the upper left corner and settings from a shortcut in the upper right corner.

Below the artwork, you have track info and a scroll bar to advance through the song where you can tap anywhere to skip.  To me it’s a BIG deal since previously you had to tap and drag the current song position to a new one.  Now, you can fast forward/back by simply tapping on a timeline like you would on your smartphone.  Below it, you have a shortcut on the left to provide a more detailed info about the song, and another shortcut on the right to switch between playback modes (play in order, repeat list, shuffle, repeat current song).  Play/Pause and Skip next/prev buttons are big enough and located at the bottom.  Also, all the way at the top in the middle you can swipe down to access the list of your current songs playback or songs located in your current playback directory.  From that list, you can swipe each song to the left which gives you an option to delete it.

In Music search and track management, you can search through your songs (where it’s indexed) or by browsing the internal storage directory.  Under indexed list, you can view All Music, or sort by Album, Artist, Genre, Now Playing, and Playlist.  Any song you long press will give you an option to Play, Add to playlist, or Delete.  You also have a setting (3 vertical bars all the way on the right) to specify exactly what you want to see in navigation bar or how you want music to be sorted and viewed.  The level of customization details here is quite impressive.  Plus, all the way at the bottom you have a small area to see the currently playing song and to control its playback with play/pause button.  Tapping on it takes you back to the main Playback screen.

In Settings Menu, you have access to Gapless (on/off), Gain (low, medium, high – 3 gain settings now!!!), Play mode (order, loop, shuffle, repeat, folder play), EQ (on/off, brings you to Graphic/Parametric EQ screen), L/R Balance, 7 Digital filters, and Advanced Setting.  In Advanced you can select USB DAC, Sleep Timer, Scanning (songs on a card or internal), and System info.

While I enjoyed the unique look of the original iBasso Mango interface and its navigation by-swiping to get to corresponding tiled pages, the new Mango v2 is a lot more “traditional” and consistent with other DAPs.  So, when switching between different DAPs, I no longer have to think if swiping the artwork will skip to the next track or will bring up a file sorting menu.

Mango app vs Mango OS.

I’m sure many will be curious how does Mango app (in Android mode) compares to stripped down Mango OS.  Here is a summary of some of the differences I found while testing under fw 1.09.092.  There could be more, but these stood out for me.

  • Mango OS start up is faster, while Mango app/Android takes a little longer (a few extra seconds).
  • Mango app (in Android) navigation is faster, while Mango OS has a slight lag.
  • Mango app (in Android) has EQ and PEQ, while Mango OS has only EQ.
  • In Mango app you can randomly tap on timeline to advance to any part of the song, in Mango OS you have to drag the pointer to a new position like in original DX200.
  • In Mango app “Now playing” directory/list is accessible when you pull down the main screen, while in Mango OS you have to tap upper left corner to get to music sorting where you view “Now playing” list.

There are also differences in sound between Mango app and Mango OS, and I will cover it in sound analysis section of the review.


DX220 offers a traditional Graphic EQ (EQ) where frequency bands are fixed, and you only adjust the gain with a slider.  In Mango app (Android mode) you also get Parametric EQ (PEQ) where you have a lot more control over which frequency is being adjusted, bandwidth of the frequency being adjusted, the type of the filter used to adjust the frequency, and of course the gain of the adjustment.  Here are my observations while testing DX220 EQ and PEQ.

Graphic EQ (EQ)

  • When enabled, drops the volume to create extra headroom for band adjustment (to avoid clipping).
  • Relatively clean 10-band EQ adjustment (33, 63, 100, 330, 630, 1k, 3.3k, 6.3k, 10k, 16k frequency bands).
  • Whenever you adjust a band, you can see it being shown graphically above the EQ sliders; great visual feedback.
  • 5 genre specific presets are included where each one could be adjusted further and reset to its original state.


Parametric EQ (PEQ)

  • Includes 6 custom preset settings.
  • When enabled, volume doesn’t drop.
  • While adjusting, I didn’t hear any distortion.
  • Each preset setting has 6 assignable filters/frequencies to shape the sound where each one is represented by a different color on the screen.
  • Filter types: low pass filter, high pass filter, band pass filter, notch filter, all pass filter, peaking filter, low shelf filter, high shelf filter – peaking filter will be probably the most useful.
  • Each filter has: Fc (center frequency, from 33 to 16k), Gain (-20 to 20 dB), Q factor (0.3 to 20) where smaller Q makes the bandwidth wider and bigger Q makes the bandwidth narrower.
  • Fc and Gain could also be adjusted on the touch screen by dragging the pointer left/right and up/down.
  • The sound is adjusted/updated in real time as you move the filter peak and frequency.


Page 4 – Sound Analysis and Pair up.

Page 5 – Comparison, Wired/wireless connection, and Conclusion.

40 thoughts on “iBasso DX220

  1. Great review! I am loving my DX220. It is a large step up from my n5ii. Quick question: when using the line out, I am must to having the output fixed, and was surprised to see the volume control come into play. What gain and volume should it be set at for best performance?


    1. It will all depend on the amp you have connected to LO. You don’t want it to clip. So, maybe keep the gain of the amp somewhere in the middle and raise the volume of dx220. If you reach the volume over 75-80%, then boost the gain of the amp.


  2. Nice review! Regarding my earphones (Andromeda & Xelento), do you think dx220 is a solid upgrade (sound wise) over my current dap Hiby R6.


    1. Definitely. R6Pro, still have to review it, is great as well and I like mseb dsp effects, plus it’s super fast, faster android performance than dx220. But dx220 stepped it up to a higher sound performance.


  3. Nice review as always. Still undecided, whether to upgrade my R6 to R6pro or DX220 or now N6ii.. i read r6pro had hiss problem on some iem.. my earphones now tia trio, mh334 (problem pairing with R6) and moondrop A8..


  4. A long awaited and greatly appreciated review.
    Many thanks and congrats on being able to wait out 150 hours of break-in before being able to sample this new piece of kit 🙂

    From memory h0w would you consider the sound signature and power of the DX220 to the Cayin N8?

    Did you find battery life to be on par with the DX200?

    I also have some off topic questions regarding audio equipment. Is there a general discussion board I can use or should I post them here?

    Very nice review


  5. Great review. I wonder; when burning in a dap, should one also activate the EQ circuits to burn them in too? Or does it ‘not work like that’… I’ve never been a EQ guy, but i’m wondering if the circuitry just needs to be burned in.


  6. Hi again, Twister. Can you sum up the difference between the dx220 and the A&K SE-100’s sound signatures? Is one ‘better’ than the other?


  7. Hello, Alex!
    Very interestingly as dx220 in comparison with cayin n6 mk2? Loses on a sound, or devices of one level, just different giving? So to speak matter of taste:)


    1. I already compared dx220 to many other daps in my review, on the last page. I didn’t have M11 until now, and M11 has a great design, build, functionality, but its sound is just mid-fi, not on the same level as other flagships like dx220 or N6ii or even fiio older flagship X7ii. For many consumers M11 will be great, but if you are a picky audiophile, you will find M11 to sound flatter, not as layered, and with more hissing when using sensitive iems. Just my opinion.


    1. if you are streaming with constant display on, or high gain, or play hi-res files or switched from 720p to 1080p resolution, all will add up to extra battery consumption. Under normal circumstances of playing a mix of mp3/flac, with period display on, at 720p resolution, I get 8hrs of payback with IEMs in low gain in 2.5mm balanced. But the battery life will go down when you push it with other stuff I mentioned above.


  8. Could you, please, help me with my problem. Thinking about buying a new DAC (currently, I have dx80, quite satisfied but want more at this point). Choosing between A&K sp1000 and dx220. I understand that sp1000 should be better than dx220, but on what scale? Because sp1000 is older and also cost much more (in my region though difference is not so huge, 600USD). Is the difference in sound worth the price? I’ll listen sp1000 by myself but will not be able to get hands-on dx220 unfortunately… Can only order it via Amazon. I’ll also look for new IEMs and listen to some of them, but I think I’ll choose solaris se


      1. My budget…good question) in the beginning I thought to buy smth like dx220+dunu4001. But then I saw huge sale at the nearest shop on solaris se and sp1000. This is more than I wanted to spend but…I can afford them, more or less (it would cost 2800 usd for me). And no, I don’t care about streaming and bluetooth at all. I am open-minded to other suggestions though, both about daps and iem-s


      2. well, since you are coming of DX80, many daps will be an upgrade in sound and performance (better resolution, more resolving, better separation of instruments, etc.). Also, it sounds like you are not a very picky audiophile. SPK is great dap, but big and bulky to carry around like your dx80. DX220 is great, but you can save money and go with DX160. Solaris is great, but are you sure you wll be happy with a fit? Some people find it too big. SE version is brighter, btw. I personally prefer original over since it sounds more natural. If you want more natural sound maybe RAI Penta is a good choice, I’m not familiar with 4001, though I thought people were saying 4001 and 3001 were bright, while 3001 Pro was more natural in tonality. Heck you can get DX160 and ibaso IT04 for under $900 and it’s a great combo. There are dozens of DAPs and hundreds of IEMs. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get something good. 3-4 year ago it was a different story. With iems, you need to figure out what sound you are looking for, and also read what people say about the fit. Dunu Luna is comfortable, I tried that one, but heard many older models were very uncomfortable to wear. Also, be aware, way too many amateur reviewers today, people without experience who use big words and promoting junk in exchange for free samples.


  9. With iems – yeah, I am not so concerned about choosing them, as I will be able to listen to many of them and choose. Not ibasso unfortunately. My shop doesn’t have any ibasso or dunu products for some reason.
    I will consider ibasso dx160+it04 as you suggested. But since I cannot listen to them, could you tell me, is there like a significant difference in sound quality between them and sp1k+solaris se, for example? or it is more like “I have a lot of money to spend, so I will pay 3x times more for 10% better sound”. Because even if they are much better than mine dx80+d2000j, maybe difference with dx160+it04 is not so significant.
    And yeah, I am not such a person who believes that software (mango os on linux vs android os on A&K) or usb or power cables in your audio system affect sound. But I want to buy something I will be happy with for 5+ years. Because I have dx80+2000j for 4 or 5 years, and I have started to think that I want more.


    1. Also, for example, how sp1k and ibasso dx160 compares with lotoo paw6000? I am not sure though how to get it in Australia..


      1. i see. yes, geographic location plays a big role when you’re down under and won’t be able to return it back if you don’t like it. Tbh, in your situation stick to something you can test. Are there some stores in your area with audio gear on display? PAW6k is great, solid DAP and very compact. The thing, price no longer means everything. PAW6k not going to sound 3x better than Dx160, just like SPK will not sound 9x better than DX160. DX220 gives you flexibility of different amp modules, and ibasso usually focuses more on sound quality, not necessary the fastest processor…. So, my advice, don’t go for the most expensive thinking it will be the best. Figure out your priorities in terms of what features you do or don’t need. And maybe try to buy something which you can return if you don’t like it (i just google “audio store in australia” and see a few choices). Cayin makes nice daps, like N6ii w/A01 stock card. Hiby R6 Pro is nice, and even R5 is good. iBasso kicked arse with DX160 release, though bluetooth performance wasn’t as strong. Read different reviews, some more ideas. Good luck!


  10. Actually, I have only one shop to go, but they are on quarantine right now) They have sp1k (and some others), but not ibasso. There are people on forums, who say that they sold their sp1k or even sp2k, and that dx220 is better. And I know that A&K is quite overpriced, while ibasso is not so hungry for money with some good sound. But still those people could not convince me as they were saying things, like Mango is much better in terms of sound quality than android. And in the context of a price difference for me is actually only 600USD (1400AUD of dx220 and 2200AUD for sp1k), which one would you choose? That’s why I am asking if you can give some advice about their comparison. If like sp1k is better for 20%, not several times, it will be enough for me. But if dx220 is more or less equal or even better…


  11. Hi, I need some recommendations.
    I do have an iBasso DX90 and I think it’s time to replace it with another mid-tier DAP.
    I already have better sounding or more expensive DAPs, but I’ll never take them out of my house for their value. So, this one will replace my DX90 just for walking or traveling, paired with my inseparable Shure SRH1540.
    Which one do you recommend?
    I think DX220 (with Amp9) and DX160 are my finalists.


    1. from DX90, I would suggest DX160. For traveling/walking you want something more compact, and don’t really need modular design which only adds to its weight and size. And besides, I wouldn’t even recommend amp9, DX220 w/amp8 is their best amp. But like I said, DX160 should be a better choice for you.


      1. The DAP I like most is the golden Sony NW-WM1Z that has recently surpassed my old favorite (Astell&Kern AK240, still great today for this musicality). I’d like to have a new DAP that could come closer to these two. Is the DX160 good enough?


      2. Mmh, not exactly. I want something that doesn’t make me regret too much what I leave at home. DX90 was enough until recently, but now I think it’s getting outdated. But could be just personal. In my opinion AK240 is still great, no matter who says otherwise. What do you think?


      3. Well, don’t have ak240, but have somewhere ak120ii collecting dust and it should be similar to 240. Those are ancient daps with old inferior dacs. Dx160 will sound better. But not better than wm1z, it still holds its own.


      4. Between AK120II and AK240 there’s a huge gap, in favor of the latter. I recognize Sony’s superiority right now, but the NW-WM1Z belongs to the 2nd generation of DAPs, which has a lot of new competitors. 1st gen, instead, had just one winner, and it was AK240. Listening is believing.
        Just a last question: why do you say amp9 is not good for DX220? A lot of listeners say it’s better than the amp8.


      5. Listeners or reviewers say it is better? amp9 is the only amp I didn’t review, way too much hissing with IEMs, and underpowered to drive more demanding headphones. My big problem is that I use mostly IEMs and it hisses badly with all of them. Of course, it might be OK since you only intend to use it with your Shure headphones.


  12. I finally bought a DX160 and it literally.. SUCKS! It’s way way worse than the old DX90!! Just soundstage and details are more pronounced, but voices (mids, if you prefer) are really thin, totally uninteresting. Musicality is a backward step. I know it sounds incredible, but I will never change my DX90 for a DX160! (I’m using Rockbox fw on DX90, and need to try Lurker’s fw on DX160, but I think it won’t change a lot).
    So I’m now convinced that you don’t have to rely too much on DACs, but you need to try as much as possible. Time is relative, especially in sound.


    1. sounds like its signature is not for you and you probably need a warm source. Don’t know what iems or headphones you are using and if they have a good pair up synergy with dx160, or maybe you mentioned before and I forgot. At the current moment all Shanling daps are warmer tuned. Maybe should try those, something like M6 Pro?


      1. I’ll take them into consideration.
        I’m now using SRH1540 to go around. At home, I have my adorable HD 650 and my outstanding LCD-3. So yes, I’m addicted to warm sound signature, probably.


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