iBasso DX50 DAP

Posted

Pros: Lovely Sound, Nice Box, 15 Hours of Battery Life, USB OTG, User Replaceable Battery

Cons: Back Scratches Easily

The DX50 from iBasso Audio does seem like a direct competitor to the hugely popular Astell & Kern AK100 and the high value Fiio X3. Released at a price point of $239, it is slightly more than the X3, but much less than the price of the AK100. As you probably know, all three DAPs are based around the same Wolfson 8740 DAC chip and while some people believe that what matters is the implementation of the chip, I had previously believed that the DAC chip played a larger role – until I heard the DX50. Almost every DAC/DAP that I have heard which uses a Wolfson has sounded warm, but this doesn’t sound warm at all, but very neutral, leaning a bit towards the brighter side.

 

Girls Generation's picture. 

 

This really surprised me, as well as how good the DAP sounded out of the box. For $239, I have absolutely no complaints about the packaging, accessories or most importantly, the sound quality of the DX50. There were some issues like songs with apostrophes not playing, and that caused quite a stir in the DX50 thread, but I’m sure that iBasso will fix it soon. Another thing to take note in this review is that it is running firmware v1.1.5 and iBasso have an odd habit of changing the sound with each firmware update. I will try and update this review once in a while when a new update comes out. Here are the specs:

 

Main features:

- Bit Perfect, Support up to 24Bit/192kHz
- WM8740 24Bit DAC Chip
- Built-in 9V Voltage Swing Headphone AMP
- 2.4" IPS Screen(320*240) with Capacitive Touch Screen, Bonded by OCA
- Up to 24Bit/192kHz Mini Coaxial Output
- 3.5mm Headphone Output, and Line Out
- Three Physical buttons (Rewind, Play/pauses, Forward) on The Top Panel. 
- 256-Steps Digital Volume Control
- 8GB Onboard Flash
- Support SDXC and SDHC MicroSD card, up to 2TB (In theory, currently the largest available microSD cards are 64gb)
- 3-Setting Gain Switch
- Audio Formats Supported: APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, OGG, MP3 
- User Replaceable Battery(Compatible With Samsung Galaxy S3), 14hours Play Time.

 

Specifications:

Line out:
Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-0.2dB 
S/N: -109dB +/-3dB
THD+N: 0.003%
Output Level: 1.5V rms (1kHz 0dB)

Headphne out:
Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-1dB 
THD+N: 0.004% (32ohm load)
Output Level: 1.2V(Low gain), 1.7V(Mid gain), 3.1V(High Gain)
S/N: -103dB +/-3dB(Low gain), -106dB +/-3dB(Mid gain), -108dB +/-3dB(High Gain) (32ohm Load)
Output Impedance: <0.5ohm

Battery Life: 14hours
Battery Charge Time: 3hours with AC adapter, 5.5hours with PC USB port
Case dimension: 2.52W x 3.98L x 0.67H (inch), 64W x 100L x 17H (mm)
Weight: 146g or 5.15oz

**Disclaimer** I am in no way affiliated with iBasso in any way and I will try my best to give an unbiased review.

 

 

Unboxing & Accessories
The unboxing experience was very pleasant indeed. It did not feel like a cheap product and the packaging was very appealing. While it was simple and cheap, it made the appearance much nicer. I can’t but help comparing the packaging of this to the X3’s...

I really didn’t expect the DX50 to come with many accessories considering its low price point and it didn’t come with a lot, but it did include most of the important ones. It came with a USB charging cable, coaxial cable, soft case and a screen protector for me, but other people got a warranty card as well. Not sure why I didn’t get one, but I should be able to get warranty if something happens. 

The DX50 silicone case is available to order from iBasso as well.

 

musicheaven's picture of the DX50 and all it's accessories. 

 

 

Design & UI
First of all, I really like the design and the look of the player, but I also know some people who think that it is very ugly. The pictures from iBasso’s website really don’t do it any justice. The body and back are a type of brushed metal and very similar to the material used in the AK1X0s. I also love the 3 gain settings which will come in handy if you are planning to use it to drive more inefficient headphones. Build quality is very impressive indeed but the back scratches quite easily. I did put some clear book contact on the back and while it doesn’t scratch, it does look pretty bad. Another downside is the jack is one of that tightest that I have ever encountered and I feel like it might damage the plugs of my headphones. Overall, I am quite impressed by the design of the DX50 but there are some quirks.

 

I don’t feel like it is entirely fair to judge the UI of the DX50 right now, but I will for the people who are interested. Keep in mind that there is a very high chance the iBasso will improve it over future firmware updates. Ok, so the scrolling and everything is great, and it is easier to use than my HDP-R10, but there are pretty annoying issues like not playing songs with an apostrophe in them and skipping about ½ a second from the start of some songs when you forward or in some cases, select a song. I have no idea why this is, but it is certainly very annoying. Some other issues include listing the same album several times if there are different artists (fixed in firmware v1.1.6)  and the fact that there is no playlist option (fixed in v1.2.0) as well as the apostrophe issue (fixed in firmware v1.1.6). I hope that iBasso rectifies these problems quickly.

 

Edit 1: The UI in v1.2.2 is extremely smooth and the user experience is way better than on the first firmware. The first firmware was incredibly buggy and now just about all of them have been fixed. 

 

Edit 2: iBasso have been improving the UI in each firmware update and here at v1.2.8 I feel like the UI has improved quite a bit from v1.2.2 and now I have absolutely no complaints about it. The scrolling is very easy and no more accidentally selecting a song while you are scrolling. Also, no more freezes since v1.2.6. The directory and album view is also perfect. I just wished it was easier to add songs to the playlist. Yes, the first few firmwares that iBasso rolled out were terrible, almost unusable for some people, but they have a come a long way from there since the beginning. The UI is absolutely wonderful; now. 

 

 

Sound

Yes, the DX50 looks pretty and on the v1.2.8 firmware works flawlessly as well. It is easy to skip or rewind and it has all the features most people would want in a DAP. This leaves the just the sound quality. What is a DAP if it doesn't sound good? Not much really. And I think here is where iBasso have done their best work; they have absolutely hit it out of the park with the DX50's sound quality. Hell, a few people including me even sold their DX100s! What does that tell you? :wink_face:

 

Edit 1: After I updated to firmware 1.2.2 I think that it is time to update my review. I feel like there were some large sonic improvements here.

 

Edit 2: After I updated to v 1.2.8 I've decided to update the entire sound quality section again. I feel like it is a solid upgrade over the v1.2.2. 

 

 

DAC Section
As mentioned above, the DX50 has a Wolfson WM8740 chip in it. This chip has been immensely popular in DAPs since the AK100 was introduced. It may not have the same micro-detail retrieval as the reference sabre chip (ES9018) found in the DX100, but the DAC section of this is more forgiving and IMO more musical and enjoyable, but that does not mean that it is not detailed because it is detailed, just not as much as more sterile and cold DAC chips based on the sabre chip. iBasso have created a very nice DAC section that does performs very well and is extremely listenable and a bit fun. On the v1.2.8 firmware the sound coming from the DAC has opened up and is more detailed and has a bigger soundstage. From memory, it is still not as detailed and resolving as the DX100's ES9018 DAC, but the DX50's has the cleanest and best line out I have ever heard in this price range. I still think that if iBasso managed to lose that little bit of warmth the DAC has, it can be even more spectacular. Don't get me wrong, the DAC section of the DX50 is awesome, but I think that they can perhaps squeeze that last bit out of the WM8740 chip to make it even better than it already is.

 

Here is a picture of the WM8740 from the Wolfson website if you are interested in that sort of thing. 

 

 

Amplifier Section
There is plenty of power for IEMs, but just not enough juice for headphones like the HD600. The amp is very neutral and resolving with great separation with IEMs, but with my HD600, it struggles and you can immediately hear it. It can easily get to listening volumes, but there is just not enough power to make them sound nice, resulting in them sounding lifeless and boring. However, with IEMs, the amplifier does incredibly well and separation, detail, dynamics etc are well above DAPs that I have heard at this price range.  To sum up, the amp is great for lower impedance headphones and IEMs, but is not a good choice for harder to drive headphones. I feel like I should go on a bit more about the amp section for IEMs - it is very clean and with all IEMs I tried on it one v1.2.8 I did not find they had any hiss on slightly higher than normal listening volumes. Some people say that the amp section is the weaker part of the DX50 and whilst I don't totally agree, I do understand why people think that. Indeed, the DX50's DAC is fantastic and if you want the DX50 to go to the next level, go ahead amd strap on a nice amp. :bigsmile_face:

 

 

Separation

This section was only added in after firmware v1.2.2. Previously, the separation was particularly good, but it has improved in the new firmware. Starting off with vocal separation, I used the song "Some Nights" by fun., which is my go to track to test vocal separation. The DX50 passed with flying colours on the latest firmware and you could hear the person on the very right very clearly, something that you could not do on the previous firmwares. The level was almost up to HDP-R10 level, but not quite there yet. I think that due to the mids coming a bit forward, the vocal separation has benefitted greatly. On the v1.2.6, the separation was really taken up a notch. Bands' vocals seem much clearer well defined than before and I think sometimes I am perhaps just hearing a bit of detail in the vocals that I don't think was there on previous firmwares. On the newer v1.2.7 and v1.2.8 firmwares I didn't detect any change in the vocal separation.

 

Some Nights Album

 

Moving on to instrument separation, I can also say that it does very well, but it is slightly behind vocal separation. The instrument separation has really improved with the wider soundstage. On congested tracks it can still get a bit hard to make out some things, but those are hard to make out on much more expensive DAPs so the DX50 does very well. Previously, the instrument separation wasn't great, but it has substantially improved with the new firmware. The v1.2.6 firmware was a very solid upgrade in every way over the v1.2.2, v1.2.3 and v1.2.5 firmwares. Songs got a less congested and this was more noticeable on more complex sections of songs. Now we reach the v1.2.8 firmware and I think that even though the vocal separation was roughly the same between v1.2.8 and v1.2.6, I think that the instrument separation may have just improved a little bit. 

 

 

Soundstage & Imaging
The soundstage isn’t very wide, but it is quite deep and height isn’t bad either. This is the area that the DX100 absolutely trumps it, but that is to be expected, costing over three times as much. The soundstage is bigger than the X3 though, which is probably seen as it’s biggest competitor. Previously I put the soundstage as one of the cons, but that was because I was listening to the HDP-R10 before so that's the reason I though the soundstage was small. On firmware v1.2.2, the soundstage actually opened up significantly. Even though it is still smaller than the DX100's and it's Japanese brother, the soundstage is big enough to finally list my HDP-R10 on the for sale forums, a thing that I certainly did not foresee when I got the DX50. The soundstage opened up further with the v1.2.6 and v1.2.8 firmwares which I consider the two best so far. No longer was is small like in the first few firmwares. Now it is actually closer to the DX100 from memory but it's still quite far off.  

 

As for imaging, it does incredibly well, but it does not have that pin point imaging that higher end DAPs have. You can easily tell where instruments or the singer(s) is/are on a normal track, but in more congested tracks, things start to get a bit “muddy”. Still, it is great for its price and I am really not being fair at all by comparing this to TOTL DAPs. Once again, imaging has improved a lot of firmware v1.2.2 and everything is much clearer and imaging is much better on congested tracks, partly due to there presentation being more spacious. I take back what I say about the imaging being muddy because on the v1.2.8 firmware these have exceptional imaging. I feel like the biggest jump was from v1.2.5 (rather bad, worse than the v1.2.2) to v1.2.6. It's hard to imaging iBasso improving much more in future firmware updates. 

 

Random, but here is 00lunar's picture of the DX50 (bottom left) with various other DAPs. 

 

Bass
This section has changed the most after the firmware update (from v1.0.0 to v1.1.5) and the bass has increased in quantity. Whether this is a good or bad thing is your call. IMO, this made the sound more neutral and fuller. I did find it more appealing and it did not drown out any details. There seems to be more sub-bass rumble as well. The bass quality and detail is absolutely awesome and I certainly did not find this in similarly priced players like the X3 and RoCoo BA DAP. Each drum hit sound very real and has great speed to it. It is a bit heavy, but it does not have bloated bass at all. The bass was the highlight for me, but only on the updated firmware since I found the bass lacking on the original firmware that came with the DX50. 

 

Edit 1: The bass has actually reduced a tiny bit in quantity in v1.2.2, but detail and layering have been improved. I have emailed iBasso asking them to slightly bring the bass up in the next firmware and they told me that they would work on it. Anyway, the bass is still very fast with good impact and it makes the previous firmwares' bass sound a bit thicker than it should. 

 

Midrange
I am quite unsure of what I think of the mids yet since it does seem like on the v1.0.0 firmware they are a bit thin and a bit recessed, and on the v1.1.5 firmware it seems a bit warmer than neutral. I do feel like I am leaning towards the v1.1.5 firmware more because it suits what I listen to more. I would say the original firmware is better for female vocals while v1.1.5 is better for male vocals. That aside, the detail in both vocals and instruments are exceptional and singers are dead centre and you feel like you are in a concert. Pianos sound very good on v1.1.5 and string instruments are great as well, but I feel like the original firmware may be a bit better. 

 

Edit 1: Wow, the mids have really changed quite a lot from the previous few firmwares. In the first few firmwares, the midrange was perhaps a bit recessed and the sound was somewhat V shaped, but now I feel like the DX50's midrange presentation has become the highlight. It is slightly forward, and pairs very nicely with my UM Miracles. Vocals also sound clearer. I love the mids on this firmware!

 

Treble
The treble is a bit rolled off on v1.1.5 and a bit over prominent on the original firmware. If I had to pick one, I would go for the updated firmware, but I do wish iBasso will make the treble in between the original and update firmware. On the v1.1.5 firmware, cymbals sound great but have a slightly short decay bit still have great detail. Woodwind instruments sound very pleasant and while the detail levels are good, they do not reach those of TOTL DAPs, not that I am expecting it to. The treble instruments are extremely well rendered and while they were sometimes harsh on the original firmware, they are never harsh on the updated firmware. 

 

Edit 1: When I first got this the treble seemed slightly too emphasised and made some songs quite harsh. Luckily, iBasso have listened to everybody's suggestions and toned the treble down to a more neutral level. The detail and nice decay is still there, just without the harshness. 

 

Firmware Updates

 

Picture of the firmware updating from earmass.com.

 

v1.1.6

The new firmware update has corrected the apostrophe option at last! They actually play properly now and the album issue has been sorted as well, but still no playlist. :( I've been informed that it will be added in the next firmware update. As for the sound, the bass seems to be a bit tighter and punchier, but that can just be me because the comparison is based on memory. Treble seems to be better even though the quantity doesn't seem to have changed. Everybody should update to v1.1.6; it is by far the best firmware yet. 

 


v1.2.0
The new firmware update has added a playlist, but it takes ages to add songs to the playlist. Some people have said that the sound has become smoother, but I'm not sure because I did not use it for a day before the firmware update. The text has become a bit weird though and instead of it being "Game Of Love" and then in the artist section, "Daft Punk", it is now just "Game Of Love - Daft Punk in the title. Not a huge problem, but it is a bit annoying. The 1/2 second skip is not corrected and according to iBasso, won't be corrected in future firmwares. The skip is due to the pop or something like that. If there was no skip, there'd be a pop at the end/start of each song. 

 

v1.2.2

Updated this firmware this morning and I've used it for a few hours now. Upon the first listen, I immediately thought that the soundstage improved quite a bit. Previously, the DX100 & HDP-R10 trashed it completely, but now the gap becomes smaller, small enough to make me list my HDP-R10 for sale. The midrange seems to be a bit more prominent, and sweet, pairing terrifically with both the 1plus2 and my Miracle. Hiss seems to have been improved quite a lot for me. The battery meter also finally works and doesn't last half an hour on the last 2 bars. Apparently the playlist function has been improved, but I haven't tried it yet. One thing my HDP-R10 does better is the bass section, which despite all the firmware improvement s and sometimes sonic improvements still does not have bass with such authority. This firmware update has taken the DX50 one step up and with the way that iBasso is going, I might be changing this review to 5 stars. Best firmware by a long way!:) I have a few suggestions for iBasso though - please do put a battery percentage meter and please do somehow automatically add half a second to a start of a song so there is no delay.  

 

v1.2.3

After I updated my DX50 to v1.2.2, I noticed that even though basically all areas improved, the bass quantity decreased and I sent iBasso an email asking them to please increase the bass level in the next update. They said that they would work on it and I haven't heard anything about it sine then. Today, I updated the firmware to v1.2.3 and to my surprise, the bass has been taken up a level and now has great impact and the sub-bass is very powerful, but never overpowering at any time. Now it is not lacking bass at all. On top of that, I also found that the separation has improved a bit and it now does better on congested tracks. Imaging has also improved slightly. As for soundstage, I'm not sure whether there is any change, but I feel like there is a slight increase. 
A few suggestions for iBasso: please put a + on the side of the playlist so that it is easier to add songs to the playlist and make an option to have playlists arranged in alphabetical order. 

 

v1.2.5

Finally, I decided to update to v1.2.5 even though I heard some dodgy things about it on the DX50 thread. Quite a few people complained that there were problems with freezing but fortunately, I didn't encounter any of these problems. My first impression was that the bass hit harder and was a bit muddy and not as fast as the already slightly bass heavy v1.2.3 firmware. Personally, I prefer the bass from the v1.2.3 firmware because it is faster, more detailed and is generally cleaner. The midrange feels more recessed and vocals don't have that sharp clarity that they had in the v1.2.3 and v1.2.2 firmwares. Treble is good and not much is changed. The deal breaker for me was the crappy separation and small soundstage. I prefer the v1.2.3 firmware by far and l would not bother updating if you haven't already. 

 

v1.2.6
Wow... Just wow... When the v1.2.6 and v1.2.7 firmware rolled out I was on holidays so I didn't have time to download and update the firmwares. However, I did read some things that I liked on the DX50 thread and after downloading it, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. The sound became rather neutral and lost its bass boost that the v1.2.3 firmware did. For some reason I feel like I am hearing more details and better overall separation. This is just a joy to listen to. Also, I love the new media scanning bar - it's a lot better and faster than v1.2.3. 

 

v1.2.7
The sound is just about the same however I find that the mids are more recessed and it is less detailed. The soundstage may just be a little wider though. The gapless issue is really fixed, something that iBasso told me they weren't able to do a while ago. The issue was that it would skip the first part of a song which got rather annoying at times - well done iBasso! They claim the EQ is better and perhaps it is, but I am not an EQ guy so I'll leave that for you to judge. Also another feature they introduced is that you can change the wallpaper. Personally I'm not really into that, so it's back to v1.2.6 for me then I guess. 

 

v1.2.8
I must say, jumping from v1.2.6 to v1.2.8 was quite a surprise for me. For me at least, this is because the sound is so different from the last firmware. I think that the midrange has been changed somehow to a much more pleasant and unique tone. As some people have said, the midrange veil that is on some headphones is gone; well, the veil on the AX60 has been tamed a bit, but it's not gone and I don't expect it to be. The DX50 stock almost sounds like a Palaios amp :) Bass is nice and solid and treble has become clearer resulting in an increase of clarity and detail. Soundstage has gotten a little wider as well and separation is just as good as the v1.2.6 firmware. However, from what I hear the wallpaper function is gone but DSD is added. Best firmware yet IMO!

 

 

 

 

Summary

My DX50 :D


iBasso have certainly created a winner DAP at just $239. When it was released it was almost a disaster... Complaints flew everywhere and there was even a bug thread that was very popular from memory. Well, it certainly seems like iBasso have listened to the customers' problems and, in time, solved them. To me, the DX50 is a stunning looking DAP which does just about everything right for me. I love the 3 buttons on the face, the jacks on the bottom, the gain switch and in general, the entire DX50 design. But, the icing on the cake is the superb sound quality which is just amazing for the price. At this price, iBasso has well exceeded my expectations; this is a product I feel comfortable recommending to everybody looking for a DAP but doesn't want to dish out the extra cash for a DX90.  

 

Edit: Only reduced to 4.5 stars because the DX90 is a large step up and significantly better. 

Posted

Pros: decent sound but nowhere near as good as the hype leads you to believe

Cons: USB connection problems, SDCard scan problems, player freezes, tag problems, file sorting problems, sluggish UI problems, touch screen to sensitive

 

Posted

Pros: Well Controlled Bass, Great Sub Bass, Forward Mids, Transparent, Soundstage, Design

Cons: Highs can be bright in some cases, UI

The iBasso DX50 is the latest product to come out of the Chinese company iBasso. The DX50 comes in at $239.00 and comes equipped with a single Wolfson WM8740 24-Bit Chip which we see widely used in DAP's such as the Fiio X3 and the Astell & Kern AK100.

 

In this review I will be breaking it down into segments; Design, Storage, User Interface, Sound Quality and Conclusion. 

 

Design:

 

The iBasso DX50 uses a modern and sleek design with a brush aluminium front and back, a very clean 2.4" IPS touch screen and 3 recessed physical buttons which act as the rewind, play and forward. On the bottom of the device we have a headphone out and line out in the form of 3.5mm jacks sitting flush with the bottom of the device, then next to that is our gain switch which has 3 settings; low, medium and high. On the top of the device we have the coaxial line out which is a 3.5mm jack sitting flush, next to that we have our MicroSD card slot and Micro USB connection for charging or the OTG Function. Finally on the right side we have our volume control and on the left we have our sleep/wake power button and the lock switch.

Overall the design is very pleasing and clean with no busy areas or design errors, it is a small and light device that is very portable especially compared to the likes of iBasso DX100 or Colorfly C4.

 

 

 

Storage:

This is just a quick talk about storage capabilities of the DX50, I am currently using a Micro SDXC 64GB Class 10 Card which worked with no formatting needed. It will also work with OTG where you can connect a USB Pen Drive which can go up to 256GB. So overall storage wise this can take a lot more than any other DAP on the market.

 

User Interface:

For this section I am just going to go through what I love about the UI and what is not so good about the UI. Firstly the good, the UI is simple and easy to use, navigating is great but at the same time it doesn't seem basic. All your music is wonderfully categorised into Artist, Album and Genre plus you are able to search the directory manually. The main screen shows you what's playing, the bit rate and sample rate, album artwork and song details plus a timeline with a my music button and a settings button.

Now the bad, it does not display songs using the song title name but the file name which is quite annoying as the file name can be long and it can be hard to find the song you want just based off the file name. Next is when you're searching in the directory, if you click on a folder like "Rolling Stones" but then go back instead of hovering at the rolling stones the UI puts you back at the top of the directory so then you have to scroll down again.

Overall though the UI is one of the best parts of the DX50 even though it has some minor niggles it still is one of the best DAP UI's out there and you never know eventually we may see a Rockbox UI for this considering it is based off Android.

 

Sound Quality:

 

Now the meat of this review, the Sounds. In this part I will use a selection of songs to illustrate my view on how this DAP sounds with the V-Moda M-80.

 

Songs:

 

Daft Punk - Doin' It Right (320Kbps MP3):

Amazing transparent intro with an amazing soundstage to show off the electronic vocals being echoed in space. Greatly controlled bass with limitless extension with great sub bass. Then the forward mid range brings out the great human vocals without bleeding or messing with the electronic vocals or the great bass. The highs here are a little bright but are greatly separated in the soundstage. Then comes the keyboard with great hit and lovely echo in the space.

 

Amy Winehouse - Rehab(16-bit FLAC):

Great instrument separation, allowing to hear each instrument with no bleeding and using all the soundstage to the full. Controlled bass but definitely not over done here allowing for the mid range to really shine to the extent that it sounds like you are standing next to the singer. The highs again are little bright and can be a bit too bright here but overall very well produced.

 

August Burns Red - Empire(16-bit FLAC):

The start can be a bit bass shy which is surprising considering the kick drums being initiated right at the start of the song but then we get going with the vocals and everything just comes alive. the guitars come right at you with the drums punching in the background and the vocals forward and really leading the track with authority. Again the soundstage is nice and open with great instrument separation with each instrument getting their place on the stage.

 

Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal(16-bit ALAC):

Great beginning with amazingly controlled bass to rattle your ear drums slightly without going over the top but keeping the high note. Then the controlled bass leads into the song where we get the highs coming into play which again are a little bright but then the vocals just come at you taking over and leading all the way, which for this song is just bliss.

 

ZZ Top - Concrete and Steel(16-bit FLAC):

Fantastic intro with the drums, guitar and bass being separated in the soundstage to give a great sense of space and transparency.  The vocals here are actually a little recessed but not by much, but compared to the other tracks where the vocals really led the song through here its different where the instruments are leading the song through.

 

Overall the sounds is fantastic with amazingly controlled bass that extends to give a lovely sub bass. The mid range is forward which is great for vocal tracks but can protrude segments of songs that are voiceless giving a weird feeling. The highs can be bright and in some cases fatiguing but mostly they are wonderful. The soundstage is fantastic giving great instrument separation with an completely black and transparent stage to set the song on.

 

Conclusion:

Overall I love this player, it gives music the reproduction it deserves without messing around with it. The design is fantastic and being small it is really portable with no issues. The UI could do with some tweaks but overall the UI is one amazing piece. Do I recommend this player, YES!

 

Posted

Pros: Nice and sturdy, great audio, easy to get started

Cons: UI may need some improvement

I like the fact that the unit feels sturdy and solid. It is not bulky, but you know you are holding on to a solid piece of equipment.

It looks perfect and is easy to get started and upload music to it, no problems at all.

 

The UI takes a bit of time to get used to, however the screen is nice, reactive and precise so no issues there. It just takes a bit to get used to the way files are sorted and presented, but nothing serious.

 

I certainly would recommend this player.

 

Thanks.

Posted

Pros: Beautifully exquisite sounding, great UI, power, 2TB SD card capability.

Cons: Very warm and flavoured sound

iBasso DX50 Quick Review

 

Full review at http://www.head-fi.org/t/720374/ibasso-dx50-review

 

Thanks to Advanced MP3 Player's (AMP3) for the loan.

 

Brief:  Darkly sumptuousness in DAP form.

 

Price:  £199

 

Specifications:  Line out: Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-0.2dB, S/N: -109dB +/-3dB, THD+N: 0.003%, Output Level: 1.5V rms (1kHz 0dB), Headphone out: Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-1dB, THD+N: 0.004% (32ohm load), Output Level: 1.2V(Low gain), 1.7V(Mid gain), 3.1V(High Gain), S/N: -103dB +/-3dB(Low gain), -106dB +/-3dB(Mid gain), -108dB +/-3dB(High Gain) (32ohm Load), Output Impedance: <0.5ohm, Battery Life: 14hours, Battery Charge Time: 3hours with AC adapter, 5.5hours with PC USB port, Case dimension: 2.52W x 3.98L x 0.67H (inch), 64W x 100L x 17H (mm), Weight: 146g or 5.15oz

 

Accessories:  A micro USB charger/ data cable.  A 3.5mm to coaxial out adapter. 2 screen protectors and lastly, a silicon case to keep it safe.

 

Aesthetics:  To my eyes its look is strangely monolithic and I rather liked it, I’ve been told the metal back can be scratched easily if that sort of thing bothers you.  You do get the case but with the case in I thought it looked ugly.

 

Build:  Felt good and solid.  A touch light but it’s snugly put together.  So much so it was a real effort to get to back off to expose the battery.

 

Power:  It has oodles of power available.  It comes with low, med and high gain options and it happily drove the big HD600 beasts and the notoriously power hungry RE-0’s.  In volume too it could go to louder than I would ever care to subject my ears to.  Lots and lots of power here.

 

Sound:  Dark, warm, sumptuous Wolfsonness.  One of its big selling points is its Wolfson heart and rightly so, their chips are very widely loved in audioland.  In my experience they have a warm and smooth flavour and here it’s the most marked display of that I’ve dealt with.  It’s really quite flavoured for a DAP and it’s a gorgeous sound.  Music flows and oozes and my word it’s beautiful to behold.  Here comes the but you knew was coming, but its so very warm if you pair it with warm IEM’s it’s all too soft and smooth.  I want a little more drama and excitability in my DAP’s.  Now I’ll grant you when you hook it up to lighter and brighter IEM’s then they can complement each other very nicely.  Indeed with the highly resolving HD600 the pairing was quite excellent but most things left me wanting.  I wanted more passion and excitability and the DX50 just isn’t that.  It’s a bar of 50% coco chocolate with salted toffee.  Dark yet creamy and sweet then with that hint of salt cutting through in the top end.  It’s so inviting and indulgent but sometimes you just want a grapefruit, something light and crisp and the DX50 just is not that.  Lovely but with a distinct flavour so long as you love that flavour it’s an exquisite DAP.

 

Value:  Its beautiful sounding, it’s got a really excellent UI, removable battery, it can use exFAT so it’ll do up to 2TB SD cards, all pretty unique attributes for a DAP.  If you care about audio and like a warm sound this is leaps and bounds better than the Ipod you’d get for the same money.

 

Pro’s:  Beautifully exquisite sounding, great UI, power, 2TB SD card capability.

 

Con’s:  Very warm and flavoured sound

Posted

Pros: SQ, Form Factor, Battery Life, USB OTG, Adjustable Gain

Cons: Minimal EQ Change, UI, Accessories

iBasso has set the standard for balance between price and performance with the DX50. This DAP is like a stockier, more sturdy version of an iPod.

 

With better SQ.

And USB OTG.

And Line-Out.

 

With regards to appearance it's a nice piece of hardware. The brushed metal case looks great and is rather scratch-resistant in my experience. I was wary of the three button layout AND touchscreen, but after getting used to it, I think its a great design. I can use the touch screen to navigate, adjust EQ, and create/manage playlists. Then after I put the 50 back into my pocket the three buttons make it very easy to play/pause and skip/restart already playing tracks. The other buttons are also easy to use without having to lay eyes on the player. These include volume, gain, power, and hold buttons.

 

With regards to the sound quality, it's just great. The sound has changed slightly and improved over time thanks to the steady firmware updates provided by iBasso, however, in general a rather neutral and sometimes bright presentation has remained. The soundstage is very good and I've yet to hear a better detail retrieval from a DAP. Something to note: the slightly north of neutral presentation makes an excellent pairing with slightly warm headphones. Dsnuts put it best when he said that the DX50 - a slightly bright DAP - pairs well with warmish headphones/IEMs while the Fiio X3 - a warm DAP - pairs best with slightly bright headphones/IEMs. It also bears mentioning that the 50 has  three adjustable gain settings. The most sensitive IEMs will hiss on the LO setting (have you found a standalone DAP that doesn't!?), but overall the gains provide excellent power. I used the HI gain setting to power my HD600s and never once thought that the device couldn't handle it.

 

That being said, an amp does ENHANCE the already great SQ. I pair mine with the neutral Arrow 4G which lowers the noise floor for my IEMs and opens the soundstage width and depth. Also, the EQ tailoring options on the 4G sound better to me than the native EQ adjustments on the DX50.

 

The battery life on LO gain is around 14-16 hours and obvisouly, will change depending on audio file quality and gain setting. 

 

One of my favorite things about this DAP is its USB OTG feature. I'll gladly take this capability over USB DAC function (which I'm told won't be available for the DX50). It gives me the option to hook up any portable USB storage device and let the DX50 browse/play audio files. So. When I go on road trips, I bring my 128gb jump drive and that's all the music I could ever need! No more carrying around multiple MicroSD cards!

 

The qualms I have with the DX50 are few. 1. The native EQ settings don't do much. There are preset settings and the individual frequency bands can be adjusted. However, when I adjust them, I barely hear a difference. New FW has fixed this. 2. The included accessories could be better. I'm sure that the minimal packaging/accessories keeps the price down on this device, but a decent silicone case or cover would be great, along with some sort of user manual. It also bears mentioning that the UI which some people find quirky to say the least, it just fine. It has steadily improved over the course of this DAPs life and continues to get better. It's a UI based in Android and is very intuitive and easy to use. Much better than the X3's design. 

 

Overall this DAP from iBasso is highly recommended. It is around the same price as a 160GB IPC, however, it offers better SQ, virtually limitless storage space thanks to USB OTG, and a better DAC/Amp implementation. 

Posted

Pros: Price, build quality, DAC, connections, storage options, the sound, oh the sound!

Cons: UI, that's it

Alright, here goes. I have been on a slow, meandering journey through hi-fi that has seen me slowly start to climb that ladder that costs you your wallet.

 

Up to now I've been used a Sandisk Clip Zip (Rockboxed) and an ipod classic (rockboxed) running through a LOD cable into a Fiio E7. I was very satisfied with the sound from both of these units, running both with FLAC's ripped from CD's.

 

Cue the neverending need to upgrade and a strong desire to dip my toes into the world of hi-res audio. I quickly homed in on the Fiio X3 and the iBasso DX50. Subscribing to both unit's threads on head-fi allowed me to get a fix on the quirks and qualities of both units.

 

I took a punt on a seventh batch DX50 having been won over the by the looks and some user's claiming superior sound quality over the Fiio X3.

 

I will be honest, I was a little anxious as there have been a lot of forum members complaining about units crashing, dodgy firmware and other nightmare stories.

 

So, the unit arrives and I eagerly unwrap it. Initial thoughts, the box is nothing special, I really could care less, it will be in the attic never to be seen again.

 

The packaged extras are okay, a velvety pouch that is a bit blah, a screen protector, USB cable/charger and a nice mini-jack to co-ax cable.

 

So, the unit itself is a thing of beauty indeed, a sleek burnished black which looks very stealth and understated. The shape is roughly the same as mobile phone, albeit with slightly more angular edges. Really nice build here, no play or issues with it at all.

 

The touch screen is clear, responsive (maybe a little too sensitive) and the operating menus are clearly laid out and easy to navigate (handy, as there isn't a manual!).

 

I bunged in a micro SD card full of FLAC files and fired this baby up, sound's were courtesy of my KEF M500's.

 

I had some hi-res files but thought it only fair to listen to the same FLACs I used on my previous players to see if there was a detectable difference.

 

In short, the difference is night and day.

 

I found that the soundstage was waaaay more expansive with the DX50, really nice separation. What further blew my little mind was I could actually feel the height of the instruments, something I had previously dismissed as mere wishful thinking but no, it is definitely there. Linkin Park blasting away and the drum rolls seem to have height to them, weird but there.

 

Listening to the War of the Worlds is pretty much a reference for me as I grew up with this album, Richard Burtons opening speech now has little sharp intakes of breath at the end of each line, never heard that before.

 

I will be blunt here, I have had no issues with the UI, I am running firmware 1.2.2 and the sound is mesmerising, very clear, excellent detail retrieval but with enough PRAT to make the experience emotionally involving, not clinical at all.

 

I expected some buggy little unit that would misbehave but this has not been the case. Maybe I got lucky, I don't know.

 

Anyway, to break it down here is my impressions on individual sounds

 

BASS -

 

A deep, slamming and impactful bass that never grows muddy or poorly defined. The bass is also very well controlled with no bleed into the mids. The KEF's are a neutral phone which I think suits the DX50 really well, I own a pair of Sennheiser Momentums that sound a little congested compared to the KEF's. The bass is of such clarity that you can feel the pounding throughout your head and, with the KEF's anyway, it almost has that impact you get from speakers, forceful and bright.

 

MIDS -

 

Utterly lush, musically engaging, emotional, stirring. Crystal clear and so revealing of detail that the layers of sound on a busy track almost become overwhelming. Quite simply stunning

 

HIGHS -

 

Well rendered with a nice brightness that never strays into sibilance or becomes fatiguing. Excellent

 

SOUNDSTAGE -

 

Very open with excellent separation, the aforementioned height is also there, I just love the stage here. I am hearing separation in track which was never revealed to me with previous players. What more can you ask for?

 

OVERALL -

 

At this price, simply stunning. You can pick up an ipod for about the same and this thing launches it out of the water. The options with the co-ax cable and line out are not be underestimated, I use this player through the aux-in on my Marantz stereo and it sounds lovely, the line out is really clean and pure.

 

I won't say the forums have been overstating the UI quirkiness, if your player is screwy then so be it, but mine works fine and I am really, really pleased with it.

Posted

Pros: Great sound quality, slick UI, good build quality, OTG input

Cons: Buggy Operating System

My experience with the iBasso DX50 has been one hell of a wild ride. Many bumps in the road, trials and tribulations along the way but somehow, as if by the grace of the Audiophile Gods themselves the DX50 has finally evolved into something functional. By no means did it start out that way, but I don’t want to bore you with the details right in the beginning of this review. I will start off with the conclusion first, you can read the details afterwards.  That is just how I roll.  #likeaboss

 
 
The After
 
I am astounded by the overall clarity and dynamics the DX50 is capable of.   It sounds pretty much the same as the Astell & Kern AK100 to me, which itself sells for a blistering $700.  The $239 iBasso DX50 is the best overall value portable media device I have ever touched or have been made aware of.  Nothing even comes close to this type of a value...that is if you ignore the fact that it is also the buggiest and most glitchy portable music player ever.  In the Hi-Fi Dap world, this is a serious statement.  Most, if not all of the most expensive and popular "Audiophile" music players have one trait in common: an impaired User Interface.  Despite the near infinite failure of the DX50's Buggy Interface, the sonic experience itself has been nothing short of sublime.   Drunkenly stumbling into the portable music player world, it somehow managed to pull out a win.  Despite having the most needlessly rushed and imperfect launch of a portable music device that I have ever witnessed, the player sounds like a true heavy hitter. 

 

Bugs and Glitches 

ibasso 4

 

Many people have experienced a vast array of problems, bugs and glitches along the way. Thankfully, I am not one of them and have only experienced a few minor bugs myself. I guess I was one of the lucky ones. Cyrus at iBasso and I seem to get along really nicely and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the company. Due in part to making an impression upon them, I was able to snatch a DX50 early on before Batch 1 was made available to the public. I received mine just after Batch 1 was released for order and have experienced the player from the stock v1.0 firmware, all the way up to the current third firmware release titled v1.2. The Stock v1.0 firmware in Batch 1 was so buggy that I refused to use it after the first day, instead waiting for the next firmware update about a week later. Load times were excessive, constant freezing and a host of other issues that made the DX50 almost totally unusable.

Many people experienced excessive system crashes, freezes, connectivity issues and volume related problems. I personally experienced severe connectivity issues up until the latest v1.2 firmware release, forced to factory reset the player each and every time I wanted to add music to the internal drive or update the firmware. Once the DX50 was removed from my computer, it would not re-recognize again until the Factory Reset was performed. Daunting, to say the least. I’ve experienced only one serious system crash that forced me to pull the user replaceable battery out of the back side of the unit. Beyond that, I’ve experienced only a handful of random freezes that only lasted a few seconds to a few minutes.

I am extremely giddy over the idea that iBasso seems to care about these problems and is addressing them piece by piece with these firmware updates, but 3 firmware updates in less than a month should be a warning sign to the company that they did something wrong, rushed it and got too excited. Some companies tend to get overexcited at the idea of a multi-hundred page thread on the internet about their product even before it is ever heard by human ears. Take your time with it, make it right, do it right and put your finalized product out with a functional firmware and UI. Unfortunately, iBasso did not follow this formula and instead opted to push their product out before any trials were completed. Thankfully, the very first firmware update fixed a ton of issues and made the player usable, but still very unstable. 2 updates later, it still has some issues that need to be worked out but are only minor gripes to my ears. The Playlist function needs to be fixed immediately.


Originally and on all pre-v1.2 firmware, the Add to a Playlist function appeared when you were navigating the All Music, Artist or Album directories. Once inside, you are forced to touch a very small album art icon next to the track name of any given song. Upon touching that area, a new menu would appear with the option to Delete the track or add it to a Playlist. If you improperly touched that tiny album art icon, it would enable the song to play in the Now Playing window from where there is no way to add that song to a Playlist. Firmware v1.2 finally brought the Playlist directory when previously where was no menu to enter to view your tracks or Playlists in the first place. Currently and thankfully we can now add tracks to the Playlist in the aforementioned navigation directories, however they are all still completely useless. Whoever coded this software, as it seems to be with every single Hi-Fi Dap on the market, tends to leave the Playlist / Favoriting function completely broken, impaired, missing or even unusable.   My advice to iBasso is to get on this quick and enable the larger Album Art inside the Currently Playing track window to open the Add to a Playlist menu. What is up with this broken Playlist function in most Audiophile music players, it is as if the very same engineer was hired by each company to code that area of the UI.

 

Hey, remember a while back in this review when I said the sonic quality was stellar? The DX50′s internal Dac is the very same WM8740 24bit ( lol ) audio sampling rate chip inside the equally great iBasso D42 Mamba revision. I had no doubt early on that this new music player would sound fantastic based on that specification detail. I wasn’t alone, a 100+ page thread appeared on the popular Audiophile internet forums months before the product was even released. Simply put, the WM8740 is highly regarded in the audio community and anyone who has ever heard it was well aware of what it is capable of. On a side note, the Fiio X3 shares the same chip yet sounds noticeably inferior to my ears than the DX50. Whatever other components are inside of this DX50, they are of a very high standard and work together wonderfully.

The stereo imaging on this little thing is fantastic and rivals the famous Hisoundaudio Studio V in many ways. While it doesn’t have the angelic stereo sound-stage depth the V is known for, it does however crush it in width and height, immersion and separation qualities. Nobody expected the DX50 to sound this open and spacious. Astell and Kern, are you paying attention?

The Bass

The low end quality and quantity of this product is good and more than acceptable for the price. The major downfall here is that the DX50′s customized EQ functions are basically useless and offer very little bass enhancement. You can crank that baby up to 88 miles per hour and not hear a lick of difference in the bass department over a flat neutral setting. The entire EQ area acts like a radiation zone. Nothing works right and it is a place that you don’t want to revisit after the first test or trial run. Summed up, the EQ area is almost totally non responsive. The flat neutral setting is the best. Stick with it, as the DX50 is simply not capable of pushing even nearly as much quantity on the low end as something like a Cowon J3. Don’t let this downfall bother you though, the stock bass output on the DX50 is still good, but if you are a bass head and don’t plan to run the DX50 through an amplifier, I would certainly avoid this product.

The experience has drastically evolved after each firmware update. On the stock 1.0 platform, the DX50 sounded lean on the bass, but snappy as well. Upon the first firmware update, the bass changed texture and became more broad and solid, clearly with an additional weightiness as well. Running on the current v1.2, the bass was again changed to yet more smooth, more solid and noticeably less snappy. This is a good thing that improved on an already good thing to begin with. All the changes were positive in my opinion, yet that EQ remained useless throughout each rendition of the firmware.

 

 

The Mids

As a reviewer, I am positively puzzled beyond imagining as to how to review the mid range of this Dap. When the unit arrived on the stock 1.0 firmware, the mid-range was extremely forward, tall and airy. Almost muffled were my first impressions with regard to clarity. Once again, similar to the bass experience evolution, the mids also evolved into a more relaxed, clear and solid feeling experience. I personally enjoy a forward mid experience, I like my vocals up close and personal. With the latest v1.2 firmware, the mids are noticeably more pushed back and in turn the stereo image seems shorter and wider than before. I am a bit saddened by this.

Now, despite all that, the overall clarity is excellent. The player remains quiet for most of my headphones and iems even on High Gain output. With High Gain active, the upper mid-range takes a nose dive in clarity and smoothness and turns into something a bit more snappy and a bit shaky. This is a common issue with High Gain modes on most amplifiers and music players that use a similar feature. Via my JH16 custom iems, the Low Gain setting is very quiet and smooth. I dare not increase the voltage output into the Medium or High Gain mode, as the DX50 on High Gain is powerful enough to drive my Audeze LCD3 and MrSpeakers Mad Dog Planar Magnetic headphones. Medium gain seems to be the most common switch I stick to, as it is almost equally quiet as the Low Gain but has the benefit of the higher output, however it is also not as shaky in the mids as High Gain seems to output with my LCD3 and Mad Dog. The switch from Low to Medium renders slightly more mid bloom in the vocals, making the artist seem a bit closer to you. Stick to Medium gain mode with a higher volume number instead of High Gain mode with a lower volume number. Seems to work out the best for overall clarity to driving power ratio.

Jamie Foxx’s – Why off his album titled Intuition is a highly engaging vocal experience in the mid range as well as the low end. This is one of my go to albums for testing ever since it was released back in 2008. It offers a wide variety of low end bass texturing and quantities and mirrors that variety into its mid range experiences. Jamie is an excellent vocalist and I enjoy his music very much. The DX50s more forward than relaxed mid range is accentuated and reflected backward by most tracks off this album. They work very well together, as will any tracks that are not overly forward or too distant in the mid experience. Exceptional clarity for the price of $239. Beautiful, potent, buttery smooth and very satisfying.

 

The Highs

Throughout each firmware update, I’d never found the upper regions to be a nuisance. Quality seemed to gently increase after each firmware upgrade and I shrug my shoulders at the overall upper region experience. While the Highs are not particularly amazing like the Hifiman HM-901 or the AK120 ( both of which are over 5x the price of the DX50 ) they are pretty much the same as the other major players in the price tier like the Fiio X3 and the HM-602. Both of which had a brighter than normal upper range with some sparkle and bite factor. It could be deemed overly snappy and forceful at times if your source track is more sibilant than flat. I wouldn’t call the DX50 forgiving or smooth on the upper end, but I am on the fence about calling it aggressive. Despite getting stuck on that barbed wire gate, the Highs are still fairly clear despite being a bit potent.

 

Final Thoughts 

The DX50 is clearly going to be an ongoing endeavor. This product is built on an Android platform, so expect Rockboxing to come along sometime in the future. Who knows how many more firmware updates will be needed to finalize the DX50 into a complete product, free of bugs and void of all quirky glitches and stress. I never expected this player to be half as great in sonic quality as it is, yet one that gives me the option of future large media storage expansion with the OTG input option via an external hard drive. USB Thumb drives increase in size much faster than MicroSD cards, right now you can land a 128gb USB Thummy for under $100, with proper driving power via a wall outlet, any compatible external drive should be fine. For the time being, we are all stuck with 64gb MicroSD cards and the internal 6GB or so hard drive space of the DX50. Dropping an extra Thumb drive capacity into the mix is mind blowingly awesome and a very appreciated function. This will be great for those who attend meets and wish to have a large storage device and enjoy showing off their gear to others. Being stuck with a small amount of music is never a good thing.

At the end of the day, I found the DX50 to perform remarkably well. Despite the bugs in the system, the UI is slick, beautiful and simplistic. I rather enjoy it and the thought of a potential Rockbox UI swap in the future makes me overly excited. I will be recommending the player and ignoring the current list of system glitches, they are lessening with time and improving with each firmware update. A few more is needed to make the system perfect though. With great build quality, a nice LCD screen and a simplistic, pocket friendly power house design, the DX50 scores high clarity marks across the board. It is sleek, potent, wallet friendly and one of the best looking portable players I’ve ever seen. Highest overall audio quality to price ratio in the current portable music player world, no doubt about it. 9.5/10 for sound quality to price performance on the current firmware…was still a 9/10 in the dreadful v1.0 original firmware!

Current v1.2 firmware experience – 6.5/10
Original v1.0 firmware experience – 0.5 /10

 
 

Posted

Pros: Clean, clear, neutral sound with IEMs. Very good line-out performance. Feels absolutely solid in my hands, and not bulky or heavy at all. Price.

Cons: UI and interface bugs. Many features need to be implemented. Hissing with sensitve iems.

iBasso DX50 with my Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors (UERM)


 

Quote:

Main features:
- Bit Perfect, Support up to 24Bit/192kHz
- WM8740 24Bit DAC Chip
- Built-in 9V Voltage Swing Headphone AMP
- 2.4" IPS Screen(320*240) with Capacitive Touch Screen, Bonded by OCA
- Up to 24Bit/192kHz Mini Coaxial Output
- 3.5mm Headphone Output, and Line Out
- Three Physical buttons (Rewind, Play/pauses, Forward) on The Top Panel.
- 256-Steps Digital Volume Control
- 8GB Onboard Flash
- Support SDXC and SDHC MicroSD card, up to 2TB
- 3-Setting Gain Switch
- Audio Formats Supported: APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, OGG, MP3
- User Replaceable Battery(Compatible With S**sung S3), 14hours Play Time.

Specifications:
Line out:
Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-0.2dB
S/N: -109dB +/-3dB
THD+N: 0.003%
Output Level: 1.5V rms (1kHz 0dB)

Headphne out:
Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-1dB
THD+N: 0.004% (32ohm load)
Output Level: 1.2V(Low gain), 1.7V(Mid gain), 3.1V(High Gain)
S/N: -103dB +/-3dB(Low gain), -106dB +/-3dB(Mid gain), -108dB +/-3dB(High Gain) (32ohm Load)
Output Impedance: <0.5ohm

Battery Life: 14hours
Battery Charge Time: 3hours with AC adapter, 5.5hours with PC USB port
Case dimension: 2.52W x 3.98L x 0.67H (inch)
64W x 100L x 17H (mm)
Weight: 146g or 5.15oz

 

Build Quality - 5/5


For a $260 dap, the dx50 is built very nicely. Even though it is made out of mostly plastic and a little bit of metal, it is very sturdy. It is the perfect weight and size for my hands, and is not bulky at all. Only minor gripe that I have with it that there is some slight creaking between my power button and hold switch. Others have reported that the playback buttons were off in tactility, but I have no experience that problem with my dx50.

 

In case anyone was wondering, the dx50 is a perfect fit into the pelican 1010 case along with my UERMs. To get it out though, I have to wiggle the box a little to shake it out, but that is better than the dx50 being loose inside the case.

 

Features - 4.5/5


The dx50 utilizes a touchscreen interface for most of its operations. The touchscreen is responsive, though sometimes a bit too sensitive.

 

On the player itself, there are 3 playback buttons at the center (previous, pause/play, and forward). On the left side of the player there is a power/screen button, and a lock switch. To the right side there are the volume up and down buttons. On top, there is a mini-coax out (for use with external dacs), a microsd card slot, and a microusb slot for charging or OTG usage with external storage. On the bottom there are the headphone-out, line-out (for external amps), and 3 gain switches. The buttons are well placed and easy to use; no problems there.

 

The dx50 also has a removable battery, which many people will find useful for longer travels. The battery compartment can be accessed by just sliding the back cover off. The battery life lasts long enough for me to go a week without having to charge it. I use it ocassionally while walking to class and on the bus/train when i commute.

 

 

 

UI/Bugs - 3.5/5, firmware 1.16


The dx50's interface is generally pretty nice looking and easy, with the exception of inconsistent fonts and kerning. I would have liked to see the playback buttons removed from the playing screen. The album art is displayed very sharply, like a high res image resized to fit onto a small screen.

 

Using my 64gb class 10 sandisk, 16gb filled, the scan time for the card only takes a few minutes. However, it doesn't always scan all of my folders. I would ocasionally have to manually search through the folders to add the misssing tracks to the database. Not a huge deal, but I hope this will be fixed in a future firmware

 

As of firmware 1.16 the issue with the apostrophes have been fixed. There are still many bugs though. There are times where the volume would repeated increase until it locked at 255 and required a reset to fix. I have also experienced my touchscreen being disabled, which I had to do a factory reset for. Once in a while the dx50 would freeze up if i accidentally tried to do too many things at once, like changing the volume while skipping to the next track while changing the current playback time.

 

I would love to have the interface go from artist -> albums -> tracks, but currently it goes from artist -> tracks. As of 1.16, the tracks are ordered by the album names and track #s, so that's a good fix for now.

 

Gapless playback works, but I would have liked for it to work a little better. There are options for "close" (off), 5 sec and 10 sec for gapless playback. Both 5 and 10 work, but there seems to be no difference between the two.

 

I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but the volume of the line-out can be controller by the dx50. I would have preferred no volume control for the line-out rather than the variable, as I have to reset it if i wanted to use my IEMs.

 

Sound Quality - 5/5, firmware 1.16


The dx50's internal amp and dac makes it sound fairly neutral, with a slight treble emphasis. What you get is a spacious, clear sound that will complement many IEMs. The internal amp powers IEMs very nicely, but will not work well with high impedance headphones such as the hd600.

 

UERM - The dx50 and UERMs make a great pairing for a portable setup. The treble is only a little bright imo, and is not harsh or fatiguing at all. Bass and mid response is good, with nice impact. It has much better detail, imaging, and soundstage than my sansa fuze + arrow 4g. When using line-out to my uha6s, I notice a nice improvement but nothing too significant with my UERMs. I find that the UERMs work best in mid-gain mode. There is quite a bit of hiss on low-gain and surprisingly high-gain has the least hiss out of them all but CPU noise can be heard. One thing to note is that if I have my UERMs on during powerup, there is a loud pop when the amp/volume gets turned on. iBasso should place a mute on the amp until everything is loaded up imo. 

 

HD600 - The dx50 does not have enough power to drive the hd600s. As a result, the soundstage is cramped and everything sounds closed in and mushed together. But once I use the line-out to my uha6s, everything becomes clean once again and sounds pretty good. But again, this is a portable DAP that's meant for IEM usage. If you want something that can power full sized headphones, look towards the dx100.

 

Vsonic Gr07 - Spacious, slightly warm sound. The treble can be a little harsh at times, but can be EQ'd. The gr07 makes for a nice budget combo with the dx50. There is no noticeable hiss with the gr07s thankfully.

 

 

Summary/overall - 4.5/5


Overall, there are many things that need to be worked out through future firmware releases. As it currently stands, the dx50 is fairly functional for everyday use. I like to just keep it on "All Music" with random order because there is no true playlist support yet, and it is annoying to navigate through the artists and albums. If you're looking for a neutral DAP to use with IEMs, then the dx50 is great contender at its price point; but do wait for more mature firmware.

 

Thanks for reading, and I hope to update this review once more firmware versions are out. Any questions, post in the comments below or PM me.

iBasso DX50 DAP
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Description:

From the iBasso website: Main features: - Bit Perfect, Support up to 24Bit/192kHz - WM8740 24Bit DAC Chip - Built-in 9V Voltage Swing Headphone AMP - 2.4" IPS Screen(320*240) with Capacitive Touch Screen, Bonded by OCA - Up to 24Bit/192kHz Mini Coaxial Output - 3.5mm Headphone Output, and Line Out - Three Physical buttons (Rewind, Play/pauses, Forward) on The Top Panel. - 256-Steps Digital Volume Control - 8GB Onboard Flash - Support SDXC and SDHC MicroSD card, up to 2TB - 3-Setting Gain Switch - Audio Formats Supported: APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, OGG, MP3 - User Replaceable Battery(Compatible With S**sung S3), 14hours Play Time. Specifications: Line out: Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-0.2dB S/N: -109dB +/-3dB THD+N: 0.003% Output Level: 1.5V rms (1kHz 0dB) Headphne out: Frequency Response: 20Hz~20KHz +/-1dB THD+N: 0.004% (32ohm load) Output Level: 1.2V(Low gain), 1.7V(Mid gain), 3.1V(High Gain) S/N: -103dB +/-3dB(Low gain), -106dB +/-3dB(Mid gain), -108dB +/-3dB(High Gain) (32ohm Load) Output Impedance: <0.5ohm Battery Life: 14hours Battery Charge Time: 3hours with AC adapter, 5.5hours with PC USB port Case dimension: 2.52W x 3.98L x 0.67H (inch) 64W x 100L x 17H (mm) Weight: 146g or 5.15oz Accessories: USB cable, Coaxial cable, Pouch, and Screen protector

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