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iBasso D4 HELP!

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

Hello You All,

I just recieved my new version of the iBasso D4 and I have only had it a day.. I am not impressed with it at all, other than it came with extra parts and a spare case..


I have been using a FiiO E5 and switching to the D4 I was expecting I big difference at least a difference for the better and it was not that there..


Then I set my new iTouch's EQ to Flat and switched back and forth from D4 with LOD to using the iTouch's AMP  again not much difference like the D4 vs the E5.. I have some pretty good headphones you can see below and I am pretty confused as I expected a slight SQ change with new Caps in the D4 but it was $240 vs $25 for the E5


All I am getting out of these AMPs is a little more or a lot more volume.. So when I read a review of a few dozen AMPs and the D4 was in the first or second tier right up there with RSA AMPs  what am I missing?

Are AMPs all about a few more DBs ? I was expecting a higher quality sound that what the iTouch is putting out when I spend the same price as a 32G model.....


I have a pretty good ear I think.. I seen 500-600 live rock shows I worked for bands most of my life, hell Lenny Kravitz hung out at my apartmant in the 90's, I love music..


I am stumped as to no improvement in SQ


Thanks for any replies..

Edited by rarebear - 7/2/10 at 12:42am
post #2 of 41

the iBasso D4 should be an awesome little amp. I have a D2 and love it.  What is the bit rate of the files on your mp3 player? minimum should be 256kbps. Lower of course will sound like garbage. Of course the term with .mp3 files is "Garbage in, garbage out" So, if they are 128kbps its going to sound like poop no matter what. Then, when using with iTouch you are not using your Amp/DACs full capability. The DAC is being unused, therefore it cannot change the digital signal back to analog to improve sound quality. If you use it via your computer you will use the DAC. Try that and you will notice the difference.


I see you are using AKG K702s. Ummm... Not the ideal headphone for rock and the D4 will probably not help the headphone out. K702's are very hard to drive and to get any warmth out of them you should be using with a Tube amp. I borrowed a buddies set of K701s (same as 702 - just white) and ran them through my 3 headphone amps and setups. They woke up via my Bravo Audio tube amp. But, i would never buy these phones as they would never work for me. K702s are great for reference or to hear lots of detail, but they are not going to satisfy the rock ear at all. You should probably be using a set of Denon D2000s, Grados, Sennheiser HD600s or something else.

So, there is nothing wrong with your D4. They biggest problem I see is the headphones.

post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice on the headphones, I'm going to start saving to buy a new set..


But why is improvment in sound, if any so small threw any headphones I use?

Is it because they are not the correct headphones???


I don't hear much difference from E5 to D4 and the D4 is 10x the cost..

I'm not looking for a lot but I want to hear some improvement for the cost...


Thanks Again..

post #4 of 41

are you using the line out?  whats the bit rate and what phones you driving?


also try diff opamps they can make big differencces

post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 


Whats a opamp ??


Yes using a Line Out Dock (LOD)


MP3s are all high quality ripped by me with LAME 3.98 @320


Here is what I am confused about there is no SQ improvment from D4 AMP over a E5 or no AMP at all......


I was OK with just more volume when I bought my E5, since I spend 10x more for the D4 I expected an improvement in SQ I don't have to strain to hear..


Is this normal for good quality AMP all you get is more volume ?

Edited by rarebear - 7/2/10 at 2:11pm
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 

I did a search and found a post on the D10 Opamp kit and poster said he did not like the SQ till he changed chips?


iBasso is very short on instructions like thier very short D4 manual it only says Opamp Rollable, they list not opamps D4 for sale   :(


I read a post the new D4 dosent have the mid range of the old and I am thinking this is the problem..

I would like to crank it up louder but highs just blow out SQ in the headphones and there is not enough mids of bass to keep up with the highs and SQ is all highs and no body..


Do you think knowing there is less mids and never even changed the Opamp to tune the new models SQ ???


I am thinking its going back to China and I take a $40 loss on shipping and cut my losses before I dump more money into an opamp kit they dont even list for sale..


When I think of what they call a leather case makes me angry with the lack of info on their website :(

Edited by rarebear - 7/2/10 at 2:52pm
post #7 of 41

You dont need to change opamp yet. The D4 is 10x the cost because it has a DAC and more power etc. The problem is your headphones - get rid of the K702. They are bass shy and are really for listening to detail such as classic music. Thats the problem in your setup. Get a good old set of cheap Grado SR60s or SR80s first. I tried K701 with my iBasso D2, Firestone iCute and Bravo. iBasso - just wooden and no warmth, iCute had more power and the Fubar DAC helped, but still not warm enough. But, via Bravo tube amp it woke them up and gave them warmth, but still not a headphone I would own. My Denon D2000s sound good through all, maybe not good through the Bravo as the D2000s are naturally bass heavy and warm. My ATH-AD700s only sound good via Bravo as they are bass shy and the tube warms them up.


Ok - why little improvement in sound? Its an amplifier - it amplifies or strengthens the signal thus creating a stronger output that can bring out different details in the recorded music. An amplifier in general will not improve sound quality - it will boost it. Its like if you bought a bass or guitar amplifier and set the EQ flat. One brand/size configuration of speaker cabinets will sound different from the other and some dont sound good with certain amps.

Different headphones have different construction and have different sound qualities. You should try hooking to you computer and using it as a headphone amp & DAC. You will really notice the difference.

Keep the D4 - dont get rid of it yet.


I would sell the K702s and go from from there.

post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 

I just hooked it up to the PC and sounded good, I am thinking it may need to break in as when I switched back to the iPod same song it still sounded good .. Maybe my ears need to break also :)


I guess if I know for $240 all I was getting was the same thing as sliding the volume louder I would have stuck with the E5 or better in some cases I'd same the money for better headphones :)


Thanks You All for being so understanding with a noob.......

post #9 of 41

Well, better headphones better amp and DAC too. Yes, give the amp time to burn in too. The sound will change over time too and get better. I would have recommended the D2+ Boa as its cheaper.

get some new headphones ASAP. Say bye to the K702s!

post #10 of 41

I think the real surprise is that you would hear any difference between the ipod alone against the ipod + FiiO E5.  I owned the E5 and found it to be an utterly worthless addition.  There are lots of reasons you might not hear a difference, but the headphones are probably the main culprit.


The D4 is an amazing little device, and if anything, it's well UNDERpriced for what it delivers.  Many think it's almost identical to a Pico DAC + RSA P-51 setup once the topkit is installed, and that's over $700.  I do think the topkit makes a big addition to the bass fullness, at least on my Sennheiser 580s and JH-13 pros.  It comes very close to my Audio-Gd A-/B+ Sparrow home amp, which is a bit of an unfair comparison given that the latter has ACSS, wall power, 

isn't portable and is about 10x the size. 



Also, in the realm of partly kidding, partly not: 

Originally Posted by rarebear View Post

I have a pretty good ear I think.. I seen 500-600 live rock shows I worked for bands most of my life



That right there may be your problem.  Nothing beats a live show - but they do destroy your hearing over time.  

Edited by AVU - 7/2/10 at 5:22pm
post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 

So where do I find info on Top Kits and is there one for this AMP..


At low listening levels the K-702 are awesome but when I want to crank it up they cant take it..

But using the EQ with FooBar really helps vs nothing..

post #12 of 41

Sure, there's a member of the forum who makes them who goes by "HiFlight" - pm him for the details.  



Also see here:



post #13 of 41

yeah, Ive seen about the same amount of concerts  am a musician as well. My hearing is trashed from the last band I was in. The guitar player loved to play and practice as loud as he possibly could. For chris sakes for a while he was using a Mesa Boogie 400+ bass amp for a head. 400 watts for guitar is insane and that particular amp was super powerful. But, I can still hear the difference between headphone amps, DACs and headphones.


Just my last 2 cents is the D4 is a wonderful amp and there are quite a few people that can attest to it. I dont know, maybe you got a bad unit? There is no way a FiiO can compare to a D4. The Fiio E5 is ultra entry level. Like I said - its the headphones dude!

post #14 of 41

Portable amps improve the sound, but just a little. That is why I have not bought a more expensive one.

I have done head to head comparison with the P51, Headsix, Tomahawk, Predator. I also compared the Pico Slim. They are nice and pretty, but don't expect a huge improvement in sound, even with other phones. It will drive them to a louder volume, with better sound stage and better bass. But huge difference? Not IMHO.

post #15 of 41

Thats why they are portable amps. Thats why most of us have a desktop setup and a portable setup. And of course i prefer my desktop setup!

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