Noise and hiss
Hallelujah, the iBasso DX220 is perfectly clean in this regard. Be it single-ended or balanced, the player never gave me that annoying buzz I could hear on all the previous models… As usual, the line-out it saint-clean, so if you want to connect it to an amplifier, feel free to do so.
If you want it or not, amp swapping is becoming a real trend. So, I tried the few I’ve been given to check if the struggle is real or not. You can check the iBasso DX150 review for a more comprehensive comparison.
Warning : the battery life really takes a toll once the module is plugged in. Once you know that, everything works as intended.
As I said previously, the iBasso AMP9 is the first vacuum tube module from the brand. The sound is more relaxed, more… tube-like. Mids don’t change much, but the highs feel tamed and the bass more open. It’s a very strange sensation and I’d not recommend this module with every headphone.
For example, it doesn’t fit the Sennheiser HD800S at all. On the contrary, paired with the Fearless S8F, it gave me a surprisingly good combo. Would I get the module ? Not sure, as I’d stick with the AMP6. But that’s my personal taste.
The iBasso DX220 is a good evolution of the DX200. If not revolutionary, it polishes what was once a rough but great player, into a true TOTL model. It looks good, sounds amazing and can be fitted with all the amp modules you’ll ever need to power all your headphones.
It’s still a tad thick (18mm) but apart from that, it truly feels like a premium device, in and out. The dual Sabre ES9028 Pro chips, a 1080p 5.0” screen, and a true streaming experience, all of this really make for the big case.
Sound-wise, it’s flat and neutral, with exceptional dynamics and meticulously placed details and layering. Almost as if a sound engineer designed a chipset, and then asked a designer to create a player. Like a Lotoo Paw, but with Android.
Do I recommend it? Very much. If your budget allows it, get a DX220. If not, look for a FiiO M11. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.