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iBasso D10 impression, AKA opamp rolling journal

post #1 of 2
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Click on the pictures to enlarge.


1. D10 initial impression

When I got iBasso D10, I was quite surprised by that tiny size.
Here is a comparison to SR71A and Headroom portable2007(DAC/Amp), the differences are remarkable.

http://vaiopocket.up.seesaa.net/imag...thumbnail2.jpg http://vaiopocket.up.seesaa.net/imag...thumbnail2.jpg

However, as for sounding, my initial impression was a bit disappointing, even if considering the insufficient burnt-in time.

iHP140/D10 in default configuration is neutral, less colored and good bass. This is not bad, but I felt D10 lacks definite power. I know the word "power" is too generic term but "less power" is the one that came to the front of my mind. My recent experience on P51 and XM5 confirms, even though they were used with iMod. I also felt D10 lacks a snap, the sound was less crisp too.


I hooked D10 up with ESW10 and HD25, but I was not happy. The HD25/V3 hooked up with iHP140/Headroom portable 2007 is amazingly great, just stunning. I expected this sound in a much smaller package, but that's a tall order.
Probably be sake of the battery which is quite small but of low voltage, lower capacity. I know this is a trade off, actually most volume of huge Headroom 2007 was occupied by a high voltage and high capacity battery, hence sounding good. It's a karma of portable audio.

Otherwise, I found the D10 is a good match to IEMs. Thanks to the very low noise floor, D10 is a good mate of high efficiency UE11.

2. My opamp rolling diary

I thought D10 lacks control ability even if used with IEMs. Then I decided to swap buffers.
Fortunately, D10 comes with opamp rolling kit. Since I am not a DIY guy, this helps me lot.


I swapped the buffers with two 6642s, the result was very good. Better control over the lower registers and I felt the bass is tighter than before. Attack is better too.

Meanwhile, I was figuring out the nature of DAC sounding. I had an ONKYO PC card which has a WM8740 as a DAC chip, I thought the impression is similar. It's a decent sounding with a fineness but a bit thinner.
I had a complaint that the D10 amp section is too weak to reproduce such delicate beauty of DAC sounding.

So, next I swapped the opamp section (I meant voltage gain opamp) this time.
There are 8656s comes with the kit as a opamp but I remember AD8397 works great on low voltage through the experience of Xin SuperMini3. So I just removed the AD8397 from the Xin SuperMini3 and installed it to the D10.
This works great!
D10 sounding much better, now the sound is more crisp and have better articulation. AD8397 add a bit aggressive sounding, this is nice as the default sound tend to be boring at times. In contrast the 8397 version is good for rock music too.

I've tried bypass buffers(ie. dummy) with 8397, as 8397 supplies a good current output. This is not bad but I think the 6642s configuration has better articulation to my ears. I prefer 8397 with 6642s but this may be a matter of preference.
I also compared AD8397 with AD8656 which is supplied as the opamp rolling kit. AD8656 is way better than default opamp. I wonder why iBasso did not use AD8656 as a default opamp.
Anyway, AD8656 and AD8397 comparison is depended on personal preference again. AD8656 is more balanced and of dynamic, but AD8397 exhibits more detail , more defined. Considering the DAC/Amp nature of D10, I take 8397.

3. Current sounding impression


So I am happy with this configuration, 8397 + 6642x2. The current setup is iHP-140 + sys-concept cable + D10 + UE11. I use Rockbox with Apple loss-less and FLAC. I use EAC to rip for FLAC.
With these high quality source has been used, I feel the strength of DAC/Amp combo. Now the sound is so real with UE11, it is clean, crisp and have good detail. Bass is tight and the attack is good, yet the bass is not so prominent. Sound is a step beyond from iPod setups.

At this level, the sound is closed to Headroom portable 2007. Still behind but considering the size, D10 doing a very good job.
Finally the Cobra is deadly.
post #2 of 2
I am getting the Ibasso D10 and looking to get the Op-amp AD8397 any idea where i can purchase it .. Thank you so much in advance
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