Fiio E7, Meet Your Rival: The Ibasso D-Zero
It’s pretty amazing how easy it is to get quality gear these days. Just recently I was raving about the $80 Fiio E10 DAC/Amp, and now I find myself with another great entry level DAC/Amp product from Ibasso that is the D-Zero. This thing comes loaded with everything I could want in a portable, entry level DAC/Amp box. USB DAC and headphone amplifier in one box, rechargeable batteries, USB charging mechanism, Aux In/Out, Gain Selector, all packaged nicely in a very small and slim enclosure. This is indeed truly amazing.
Versus the Fiio E7 and the E10
The technicalities are generally good. Very black background with a good instrument separation. Soundstage depth is not as deep as on the Fiio E10, but there is a good tradeoff since the background on the music is blacker on the D-Zero. The tonality is generally neutral and slightly dark. Everything sounds good and in place, very orderly. Comparing the D-Zero to the E7, there really is no contest, at least in my view. The D-Zero has a more linear frequency response (the E7 is slightly boosted on the treble), the background is much blacker on the D-Zero, grain levels lower, and the sound is smoother on the D-Zero as well. Oh, and the amp is punchier on the D-Zero as well. I don’t think I’ve ever given this much praise to an Ibasso product before.
One thing I wish was different is the midrange, which I find to not have enough body hence not as full sounding than the E10 Fiio. Again a trade-off thing since the music is more orderly, each instrument taking a clearer stance on the D-Zero. So I would put a plus on the D-Zero for technicalities, while I would give a plus on the E10 on fun factor.
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