iBasso DX200 Digital Audio Player Review

Sound Signature

Sound Impressions are made using only AMP1 on balanced mode and AMP2.

iBasso DX200 Review - earphonia.com

Lows
Lows on the DX200 shows a typical Sabre nature, they are slightly north of neutral and leaning more towards sub bass focus rather than the midbass region. The bass on the DX200 is fast and very well articulated showing a nice body but it’s not heavily emphasised as in other players such as Lotoo LPG or Sony WM1Z.

With the AMP2 attached the Dx200 shows more mid bass emphasis and gives you more body in lower mids at the expense of a little less articulated response.

Mids
Mids on the DX200 are neither forward neither laidback. The more impressive quality on the DX200 mids is their airiness, it tends sometimes to a little lean sound but the clarity is impressive.

With AMP2 as a result of lower mids being more bold, you get more forward vocals, which takes more space but on the other side clarity is reduced.

Highs
Same as on the bass and mids, the treble on the DX200 is very natural, unlike other Sabre implementations. The treble shows nice extension and sparkle but is not as forward as on the LPG.

AMP2 gives you a little less sharp trebles with more rounded notes in contrast with AMP1 Balanced.

Soundstage/Imaging
The DX200 shows impressive sound stage width, this is especially noticeable on AMP1 balanced and AMP2. The deepness is better on LPG and Sony but width is better on DX200.

The separation and imaging is very nice too especially with AMP1 on balanced mode that gives you a very very nice 3d effect.

Hiss
Background noise is very low on DX200 much like a lot of their other DAPs, this is very remarkable taking  into count the power of the DX200 which is really impressive for a Portable Player. The only IEM that shows hiss on the Dx200 is the Empire Ears Zeus, which is normal because Zeus are a hiss machine 😉

DAP Comparisons

Lotto Paw Gold

 

The DX200 and LPG have a very different approaches, the DX200 is more neutral and flat with a little more laid-back and very expansive sound stage, more airy with focus on natural sound reproduction. The LPG shows a significant narrower sound stage with a more forward presentation, which give more upfront bass and treble, in contrast it has a more powerful presentation with slightly more resolution and great depth.

Lows are more extended and tight on LPG with more midbass bloom. DX200 bass is very natural and is not focused on subbass and neither on midbass.

Mids have different approaches as well with Lotto positioning them more forward, especially vocals, and Dx200 positions them in a more laid-back style. The resolution is a little better on the LPG.

Highs on the LPG can get a little bit piercing with some IEMs, the DX200 have more natural highs, more flat but very well extended as well.

Hiss on LPG is very noticeable and on the DX200 is nearly inaudible.
This two are the more powerful DAPS I tried but I found the DX200 more powerful on balanced mode, this is especially noticeable when you try some power hungry headphones.

Sony WM1Z

earphonia.com Empire Ears Zeus XR Adel with Sony NW-WM1Z Flagship player

Sony is probably my favourite DAP at the moment, it has a very spacious soundstage combined with fantastic low detail and power, a very romantic mids and highs that are not piercing but very well extended, it is a player tuned with a focus on timbre, especially in it’s balanced implementation.

As with the LPG the presentation of the DX200 is different, the two have a little laid-back sound, but the DX200 is tuned for a more reference and neutral  presentation, which is more dynamic,it  is more extended and shows a more little micro detail.

Sound stage expansion is similar but Sony’s player has focus on Depth and the iBasso focusing on Width. The two have very similar imaging properties and both emit low hiss.

The DX200 is way more powerful than the Sony WM1Z.

Earphone Pairings

IT03 with Cb13 cable

When you plug the IT03 to the CB13 and the DX200 you instantly find that they are all make from the same manufacturer as the synergy between those three is perfect, making the IT03 punching a tier above its price bracket.

*note camera shot below shows custom Kimber cable attached

ibasso_with_kimber_cable

The bass on the IT03 is very deep, with very nice rumbles, mids take a backseat in comparison with Noble k10 and EE Zeus, treble has a very nice extension and sparkle, which is never harsh. The hiss is non existent.

Noble K10AU

Impressions with AMP2.
The Dx200 pairs very nice with the iBasso Dx200 and AMP2, giving a little more lower mids than with AMP1, I find a more forward and detailed mid region as well, with little less prominent treble, but keeping a very good airiness. No Hissing.

Empire Ears Zeus XR

With the EE Zeus I am torn between using AMP1 Balanced or AMP2.

earphonia.com Empire Ears Zeus R earphone Review

With AMP2 you get a more full and engaging sound but I found that with AMP1 balanced you get a more articulated sound and more expansive sound stage at the cost to slightly lean mids. Hiss is more audible here, especially with the AMP2.

Conclusion

The DX200 has everything: flagship sound performance; impressive power for all headphones; streaming options, which are getting more important these days; versatility via interchangeable Amp modules; all packed in a very nice price, two or three times better than some competitors at a similar price range.

It is currently the DAP I am recommending the most so far this year.

Congratulations to Paul and the engineers at iBasso for a very attractive versatile, well priced industry shaking DAP.

 iBasso DX200 Review - earphonia.com
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