Digital Audio Phablet Reloaded!
PROS: dual independent analog and digital batteries, modular amp design, reference quality audio performance (dual ROHM dacs), hi-res 6.5” display, Snapdragon 660 and optimized Android 11, 6GB RAM/128GB Storage, 2.5mm/4.4mm/3.5mm PO and LO (w/stock updated AMP11 mk2s), NuTube (optional AMP13), dual Android & Mango (Unix) OS, fast charging.
CONS: large size, more expensive than DX300, additional cost of optional amp modules, random EMI/RF interference when streaming w/AMP13 (only when wi-fi is on).
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Last year’s release of DX300 was a BIG deal! And it wasn’t just because iBasso moved to a new platform with an optimized Android 9 and fast Snapdragon 660 SoC, but also because they introduced new FPGA-Master to offload SoC processing, implemented dual battery design for analog and digital circuits (similar to MAX platform) using a single charger (unlike MAX), and made the DAP bigger and bolder, including quad CS DACs and a new AMP11 module. But, as that new release was still going strong, including the introduction of AMP12, it came to a halt due to component shortage of CS DACs. The whole audio industry was affected by supply chain crisis, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise considering each DX300 required four of these DACs, but it was still unexpected.
At the same time, discontinuation of DX300 turned the attention to its smaller modular DX240 sibling. But, DX240 wasn’t a replacement of DX300, it was a scaled down version of it. When rumors started circulating about DX300 replacement, the big question on everyone’s mind was, which DAC are they going to use? And iBasso didn’t disappoint, going straight for the latest flagship DAC from ROHM, implementing a dual BD34301EKV in DX320. But that wasn’t the only change. To futureproof the design and compatibility with apps, the new DX320 model stepped it up to Android 11. Furthermore, AMP11 mk2 was updated to mk2s which included iBasso’s new custom premium audio caps, and they also introduced AMP13 with Korg NuTube to add a new flavor to DX320 tuning.
There is a lot to cover about this new DAP, so expect a typically long review/guide. And there is also a big overlap with my original DX300 review when it comes to unboxing, design, and under the hood. Even though I can just reference my previous DX300 review, I prefer to keep everything together in one complete write up, thus partitioned this review into multiple pages so you can jump to different sections, which I’m sure some will do by going straight to Sound analysis, Comparison, and Pair up. Now, let’s take a closer look at this latest iBasso DX320 flagship.
Unboxing and Accessories.
DX320 is identical to DX300, arriving in a packaging box with a similar design as their DX220 DAP, featuring a silver open outer sleeve that slides in from the side and a fancy blue carboard giftbox with iBasso logo and name. The top cover of the box, with a foam lining underneath, swings up to reveal a tray with a soft velour-like foam lining, securely holding the star of the show.
With a top tray out of the way, you will find a number of included accessories, such as a short coax cable for digital SPDIF output, 2.5mm balanced burn-in cable, quality braided sleeve usb-c cable, screen protectors (film and tempered glass), warranty card, and a quick start guide. iBasso recommends at least 200hrs of burn in time and using their burn-in cable, with a built-in load, is a lot more convenient and quieter since you don’t need to use the actual headphones.
A custom green leather case was included as well. It’s a decent quality leather case to enhance the grip of DX320, with a fully open top where the DAP slides in, covered transport buttons on the right side and covered microSD card on the left side, and opening at the bottom to provide easy access to 4.4mm, 2.5mm, and 3.5mm ports. The DX320 leather case was updated with an improvement of a front cutout around the volume wheel and more protruding cover buttons for transport controls which are easier to feel.
Page 2 – Design and Under the hood.
Page 3 – GUI, Mango app vs Mango OS, Graphic and Parametric EQs.
Page 4 – Sound Analysis and Pair up.
Page 5 – Comparison, Wired/wireless connection, and Conclusion.