Separate names with a comma.
Digital Audio (FLAC/MP3/etc) Players (DAPs) item created by lin0003, Sep 14, 2013
Pros - Sturdy ,easy to operate ,accept 128GB micro cards, Battery life is good
Cons - screen could be a bit larger and a manual would be helpful upload of 128GB card is slow
I use the DX 50 since march 2014 and was priced 220US .I agree that the first software were a bit messy but as time went by the software has gotten better and now even can accept DSD files !
Sound at least for me does not makes you tired to listen to .For me the player has a balanced sound without over emphasis the bass ,middle or the high sounds .Ok the music source and HP plays a role as well .I listen mostly to red book files and high resolution files and use VISO / NAD HP which in my opinion fits well with the Player .Sometimes I hook it up directly with my audio system and it sound pretty good to me .However if I use the Audioengine D2 wireless 24 bit DAC in connection with ROON music software (in my opinion the best music software on the market)he sound opens up to a wide sound stage ,more details and better instrument separation. Anyway the player was designed to be used as a portable player and for that the unit is very good value and YES there a better players on the market but you have to pay 3 to 4 times more ! For sure you don't hear 3 to 4 time better or more sound .If you have the money to burn go for the expensive players but if you look for a decent player which is not far behind I do recommend the DX 50 I-Basso if it still available ? Its a bargain for sure .
Pros - Storage, sound quality, build quality, ports
Cons - Can get bulky with an amp attached to it
I was contemplating buying this or the Fiio X3. I didn't like the size of the X3 or the button layout and the other reviews on the DX50 were just too good for me not to pick it.
I bought mine used from a member on here, he included a 32gb microSD card with his music collection on it (thanks trojan2900). Right away I fired it up, picked a random song, and started listening and couldn't have enjoyed it more. The sound quality was amazing, a very warm, soothing sound, good through the highs and the lows, even through the cheap earbuds I was listening through.
With the built-in amp there isn't exactly a need for a separate amp, but depending on your headphones you can definitely benefit from one.
The user-interface is a little bare, Rockbox can help here but it is a little tricky getting everything figured out and working properly.
Overall a great DAP for anyone looking to get into the hi-fi world or as a dedicated, everyday player.
Edit: After owning the DX50 for a few months now, I love it. It is everything I wanted in a DAP. The more I use it the more I realize the stock Mango software is actually better in some ways than Rockbox. I just couldn't find a theme I liked from Rockbox that fit well with the DX50. Also, being able to create a playlist is something I never figured out how to manage with Rockbox (if it's even possible) and enjoy having that function with Mango.
Up until now, I always thought the DX50 sounded best with the gain switch on "medium", I switched it to "high" a few weeks ago and I haven't switched it back. I've really only been listening through my M6 Pro's but they sound so much better. I'm waiting on the OPPO PM-3 loaner set to come my way so I can decide between those, Hifiman HE-400, or AKG K545.
In just the past couple of days, I have used the DX50 with the Aune X1S review program and I must say that DAC is great. Clarity, refinement, and overall better sound signature are just some of the ways I can describe what the X1S does. I wish I could keep it but if I ever need a desktop amp, I am definitely leaning towards the X1S.
Pros - Great DAP dark sounding, Great sound separation, good soundstage, lots of firmware updates
Cons - amp section is a bit weak, size as I now have the X1
Had this little player for sometime now recently purchased the X1 and comparing them both im still sold on the DX50 although I still like my X1 but I still find the sound seperation on the DX50 much more appealing still using FW 1.3.3 SU which I much enjoy the signature. Still there are a few issue I had with the player itself like the HO became loose and I started losing sound on one side of my phones I had no issue with warranty as Ibasso have great service. Amp section could be a little more better but can be fixed using a portable amp, great DAP still my preferred daily at this point til I can get my hands on a X5 or DX90.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Well rendered with a nice brightness that never strays into sibilance or becomes fatiguing. Excellent
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?
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.
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
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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!