iBasso DX160

Cheaper and better!

PROS: price, beautiful 5” high res display, Mango v2 app w/PEQ, BT 5.0 (LDAC, aptX), fast charging, MQA support, wide soundstage, resolving, neutral, natural tonality.

CONS: not the strongest BT performance, the same Rockchip SOC (as in older models).

The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.

Manufacturer website: iBasso.  Could be purchased directly from manufacturer or Penon Audio or Amazon.


Intro.

I find every new DAP release from iBasso to be a surprise, and not only because it is usually unexpected, but also because it turns into a guessing game around the model number.  iBasso doesn’t just randomly assigns DX number.  Instead, lots of thought goes behind placing the new model in a lineup of their existing DAPs.  Right after the latest announcement, everybody started to speculate because DX160 comes after DX150.  Could it be an upgrade of their “budget” Android modular model?  Will it cost more than DX150, with a price tag higher than $500?  Turned out to be neither.

If I would to describe the first thought that ran through my mind when I got DX160 in my hands, it felt like a crossover between feature packed Android-based DX220 flagship and slim’n’slick non-modular DX120.  It was a surprise that iBasso announced their new Android-based DAP to be non-modular, though it also allowed them to slim it down while keeping the output power (per spec) on the same level as AMP1ii and AMP8.  But spec is just a number.  Now, after spending the last month testing DX160 (and answering multiple dozens of questions on Head-fi), I’m ready to share about what I found.

Unboxing and Accessories.

DX160 arrived in a small compact box, nearly identical in size and design to the one with DX120.  I always look at the box from a different perspective, and perhaps iBasso tried to make a statement here that DX220 with its bigger box is still the flagship (or maybe I’m just reading too much into this lol!!!).  But either way, you have a sturdy cardboard sleeve with iBasso logo and the spec on the back, and a box with a magnetic cover inside the sleeve.

Inside the box, everything is nicely partitioned and organized to keep DX160 secure during transport, along with accessories and documentation.  Besides DX160, you get a premium quality USB-C cable, 2 sets of film screen protector, quick start guide, warranty card, HDtracks card, and MQA card to remind you DX160 supports MQA full unfolding in hardware.

The case was included as well, but unlike DX150/200/220 leather cases which added some bulk to the DAP, to keep DX160 slim iBasso included a clear TPU case.  In my personal opinion, that was a right move.  Besides being slim, the transparency of the case allows to see the actual design without any bulk.  The case has a secure grip, covers the back and the sides, has a generous opening for headphone and USB ports, access to micro SD card, and volume wheel.  Playback buttons and power button are covered, and still allow easy operation and the feel of tactile response.  The TPU case is a bit slippery, though it does enhance the grip, protects DX160 from scratches, and even from minor drops and bumps since it wraps around the corners and display edges.

Page 2 – Design, and Under the hood.
Page 3 – GUI, and EQ/PEQ.
Page 4 – Sound Analysis, and Digital filters.
Page 5 – Pair up with IEMs and Headphones.
Page 6 – Comparison with different DAPs.
Page 7 – Wired/Wireless Connections, and Conclusion.

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6 thoughts on “iBasso DX160

    1. imho, it will not get better. In case of DX150, the DAC is behind its technical performance which is just OK. AMP7 can color the sound a little, maybe improve some dynamics, but technically DX150 with any amp (even amp8) will still be inferior to DX160.

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  1. Hey, I am about to buy a new DAP and stuck between DX160 and M11. To give you some context, I still use the original Fiio X5 (Gen 1) and still love its sound signature. Which one would you recommend? DX160 or M11?

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  2. Thanks for your review. I also read your DX120 review and found that you quite enjoyed that too, and now I am looking for a comparison between these two DAPs. What do you think of them in term of sound quality?

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    1. I need to charge up the battery again of dx120 to compare, but in general with dx160 out, I wouldn’t consider 120 unless you want something even smaller and lighter and need two micro SD cards. 120 was noisier with sensitive iems, and just not the same level of resolution, layering, and soundstage expansion. 160 sound quality is aiming closer to 220 with its default amp1mk2. But keep in mind, 160 Bluetooth performance is not that good if you are relying on it.

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