iBasso DC01

Pair up with other DAPs.

While most of my previous testing was done with DC01 paired up with Galaxy S9 smartphone where it definitely improves the sound, I was also curious to find out if I can do the same with my other DAPs, specifically non-Android ones.  To my surprise, it actually paired up with a few DAPs without a problem.  In this testing, I was comparing iBasso IT01s connected directly to the DAP vs connected to DC01 attached to the same DAP.

Hiby R3 (2.5mm bal) vs R3+DC01 – DC01 expands the soundstage, makes it wider and deeper, more holographic, tonality is also improved, making it a little more transparent and more neutral, improves dynamics of the sound as well.


Cayin N3 (3.5mm SE) vs N3+DC01 – adds balanced output to N3, and actually has a very noticeable improvement, going from warmer, smoother sound to a more transparent, more layered, more detailed, with better dynamics and more holographic soundstage.


Shanling M5s (2.5mm bal) vs M5s+DC01 – DC01 expands the soundstage, makes it wider, and changes the tonality to make it more transparent, more neutral, in comparison to a warmer thicker original tonality of M5s. Btw, in case if anybody is wondering, I wasn’t able to connect DC01 to M0.



As I mentioned in the intro of my review, DC01 caught me by surprise because I didn’t know what to expect, or the reason why iBasso would even bother to release this USB DAC dongle.  Yet, I ended up bringing this little guy with me to work almost daily for the last few weeks because I found it to be very convenient as well as being able to improve the sound quality of my smartphone, especially soundstage expansion and sound dynamics.

The convenience comes from DC01 becoming a relatively small extension to my IEM cables.  The sound improvement comes from a high-res AK4493EQ DAC and a true balanced output design.  Plus, with 2.5mm headphone jack, I don’t have to bring extra 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapters and can use my balanced 2.5mm cables connected directly.  And I get the same benefits using DC01 with my laptop.  For $49 this is no-brainer.

31 thoughts on “iBasso DC01

  1. How come your S9’s battery got drained by only 9%/hour whereas my S10 plus saw a drop of nearly 20%/hour when using Apple music and that too when played downloaded songs! Not even FLACs!


    1. I wasn’t steaming anything, only playing Neutron, and my phone is quite optimized with not too much stuff running in the background. You got some other stuff draining your battery, bud.


      1. Dc01 is like an external sound card, as long as it’s compatible with your phone or tablet, it should be compatible with anything that produces sound on them. Of course, in theory 😉


      1. not familiar with usb audio pro, but I think it’s popular with Tidal users, somehow you can listen to Tidal through it, or maybe I’m wrong. Regarding other audio apps, I like Neutron cause it’s very powerful (oversampling, parametric eq, every rate support, and it actually makes sound better), but its interface I still can’t get used to. Other one is HibyMusic, that one is free. Love the interface and MSEB effects, those are very good.


    1. The soundstage is very wide/expanded. But from my experience when it comes to vocals (upper mids part of the spectrum), that’s usually a function of your IEMs/headphones and how they position and handle the imaging of the vocals and sounds. The source could be a bottleneck, limiting the soundstage. Here, DC01 will not limit it, so the rest will be up to a technical ability of your transducers.


  2. Hi twister .
    Can I use my 3.5 single ended earphones with 2.5 balanced adapter instead of purchasing new earphone with 2.5 balanced jack (I’m afraid this will hurt the DAC ) ?
    I am looking forward to hear your answer. Thanks


    1. You can’t convert 3.5mm single ended to 2.5mm balanced because in single ended L/R grounds are tied together and you can’t split them. You can either go from balanced to balanced or balanced to single ended. I think in your case you need DC02, it’s their 3.5mm version of DC01.


    1. high res files will drain your phones battery faster, but there are other variables to contribute because it will depend on the app you are using on your phone and if it downsamples or sends a bit perfect stream. If you are playing locally stored files or streaming your MQA using Tidal, etc. Sorry, I don’t have that data.


  3. Great review with so many devices you owned.
    I only have 1 iem hybrid driver (5 balance & 1 dynamic driver) and jack connector using 3.5mm with replaceable cable.
    Can I just replace cable with 2.5mm balanced Trrs dan put DC01 as my dac
    without damage it?
    I know ibasso have option for DC02 but i preferred ak4493 over ak4490 since 4493 is newer & upgraded from 4490.
    In their website has acclaim that compatibility issues with samsung s9 and s10 maybe my phone (note 10+) have same issues, did UAC volume control resolve that issues?


  4. Hi!
    I have a cayin n3 and have the ibasso it01, but I am finding the bass too much.

    I wanted to get the ibasso it01s , but unfortunately my Cayn n3 don’t have a balanced output and the dc01 wouldn’t let me control the sound on the go 😦 you think they will sound good, just with the unbalanced output? Till I get a better dap later?
    Also, will the it01s, fix the problem of too much bass of the ibasso it01?


    1. Don’t know your bass tolerance, you could find it01s bassy as well. Maybe get something like Hiby R3 Pro dap, it has balanced output and great EQ and also dsp effects (MSEB) to reduce the bass.


      1. Thank you!

        And while I don’t upgrade my DAP can you tell me how the IT01s pair up with the unbalanced Cayin n3?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s