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.

ibasso_dc01-14

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.

ibasso_dc01-13

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.

ibasso_dc01-15

Conclusion.

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.

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14 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!

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    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.

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      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 😉

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    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.

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  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

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    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.

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