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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!