All my impressions here are with the AMP1 MKII and AMP9.Headphones/earphones used in random order: Fearless S8F, Sennheiser HD800S, Audeze LCD-X, and Onkyo IE-C3.
All files were streamed from Spotify in 320kbps, of from my own database in FLAC 16/24bits.
Rejoice, the iBasso DX220 is better than the DX200. Was it a surprise? Almost, as the DX150 offered 90% of the DX200, for cheaper, so the DX220 had to be better. Or what would be the point ?
It gives you what you expect of a TOTL player: massive dynamics, lots of micro-details, a large sound stage and enough power to drive behemoths such as the Sennheiser HD800S. That said, I had to switch the gain to high and push the volume up to 105 to truly enjoy the headphone. If you own one of those majestic cans, you better add an AMP6 to your DX220 bundle. Again, if you stick to smaller headphones, like a Meze 99 Classics you will never have to reach High gain, Mid gain will be more than enough.
Even for a Sabre powered player, the iBasso DX220 is very neutral. Some might find the FiiO M11 and its dual AKM chip flat, but that’s nowhere near the DX220 level. If you’re a sound engineer, this player should definitely end up on your bucket list.
The sound stage is wide, even with AMP1, so much I was surprised by some voices coming from behind: as if someone really whispered behind my head. Head to head with the DX200, the difference is palpable, if not by a big margin, instead of the DX150 which truly fall short in this aspect.
For long listening, this is definitely the kind of player I’d stick with. Even if I still find the SP1000M more precise, the sound signature emphasis on the upper mids to much, where the DX220 never does so. I know I make it sound like a tool, but trust me, there is much more than that.
Also, if the DX200 was a brute, perfectly adequate to its bulky style and electro tracks, the player could become tiresome over time. Something the DX150 fixed, as well as the DX220, giving you that amazingly tight bass, crisps highs without the hammering sensation.
All in all, this is, up to this date, the best player iBasso has to offer. Bonus, no hiss and no noise : AT LAST !
First let me say that iBasso added a third step in the gain section: middle. So now you have : Low/Middle/High, so you can fit any given headphone. It doesn’t change the sound signature by any means, but like a camera where you can change the aperture or speed, this allows you to leave the volume untouched, and just change the gain level.
Highs : razor sharp. A flat sound signature doesn’t mean your highs have to be dull, case proven with the iBasso DX220. Every timbale, bell or whistle is perfectly distinctive, even at low volume, and they all sound perfectly sharp. I would not recommend boosting the 8kHz this time, as I’m pretty sure this will make the sound ear-piercing sharp.
Good Track test : Puffer – F-Rontal
Mids : clean work. I prefer the FiiO mids, more mellow, even shallow. Yet, the DX220 gives you superb vocals, be it men or women singers, folk or rock. I listened to Ether & Wood from Alela Diane, and was directly engulfed in the track. It’s still a bit too analytical for me, but that’s also the charm of this player. If you want something more forgiving, go for the DX150.
Good Track test : Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux – Poom
Bass : crème de la crème. This is where the iBasso DAP outshines its competitor: the bass is exceptional. It’s tight, deep, always on point and it works on every headphone. My best experience was when I combined the DX220 with the Audeze LCD-X : the bass almost sounds as good as my desktop setup. No small feats!
Good Track test : Customer is King – Solomun
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