iBasso DX160 - Reviews
Pros: One of the best value DAPs in the segment
- Very good sound quality
- Highly attractive 1080p 445ppi screen
- Light weight, easy to use,
- Nice packaging
- Highly customizable Android platform
Cons: Nitpicking - Slight WiFi interference when close to router which is very low and doesn't bother me to be honest
- Not the fastest DAP
- Volume wheel could've been of better quality though works flawlessly.
I would like to thank iBasso for sending me DX160 to test and review. I am not affiliated with the company or any of its sellers and write this review with an unbiased opinion regardless of how the review turns out.

Link - Manufacturer website: iBasso

Genre preferences.
I majorly listen to rock, acoustic, pop, metal, and sometimes popular EDM songs doing the rounds on the charts.

1 Cover Photo.jpeg

Technical Specifications.
  • Screen – 5-inch 1080p Sharp LCD
  • Operating System - Android 8.1
  • CPU – Rockchip Octa Core | RAM - 2GB | ROM - 32GB
  • DAC - Dual CS43198
  • Output Ports – 4.4 mm BAL & 3.5mm (PO/LO/SPDIF)
  • Battery - 3200mAh
  • Charging - QC3.0, PD2.0
  • Wi-Fi - 80 2.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4Ghz/5Ghz)
  • Bluetooth - Bluetooth 5.0
  • Weight - 178g
- 4.4mm Balanced Out
  • Output Level - 6.4Vrms
  • Output Impedance – 0.4 Ω
  • Frequency Response - 10Hz-40kHz +/-0.15dB
  • S/N - 130dB
  • THD+N - 0.00022% (32Ω, 3Vrms)
- 3.5mm Headphone Out
  • Output Level - 3.2Vrms
  • Output Impedance – 0.3 Ω
  • Frequency Response - 10Hz-40kHz +/-0.15dB
  • S/N - 125dB
  • THD+N - 0.0007% (32Ω, 2Vrms)
- Line Out
  • Output Level - 3.2Vrms
  • Frequency Response - 10Hz-40kHz +/-0.15dB
  • S/N - 125dB
  • THD+N - 0.00035% (no Load)
2 Dx160+box.jpeg

Included in the box.
  • iBasso DX160
  • USB Type-C cable
  • Silicone cover
  • Screen guards
  • Manual, warranty card and MQA card
7 DX160 Accessories 1.jpeg8 DX160 Accessories 2.jpeg

Design and Build Quality.
DX160 has a very nice form factor and easily fits in my palm. It has a very nice, highly attractive 1080p sharp 5-inch LCD ‘almost’ bezel less screen (slight bezel at the bottom). It has an aluminum chassis casing which measures 7x12.5x1.4 cm and feels very solid and well built.

It has a Balanced 4.4mm and a multi-purpose 3.5mm socket (PO/LO/SPDIF) at the bottom and USB type-c charging port and power button on the top. On the left, it has a spring-loaded microSD card slot which supports up to 2TB memory cards. On the right, it has a golden volume wheel and hardware playback buttons (Previous, Play/Pause and Next). All feel nice and very intuitive to use.

4 DX160 bottom.jpeg3 DX160 top.jpeg5 DX160 Right.jpeg6 DX160 Left.jpeg

User Experience.
DX160 comes stock with Android Oreo 8.1. iBasso has APKPure and CoolAPK installed as stock for you to install all the apps you need as DX160 doesn’t come with Google Playstore. I’ve been using APKPure for a while and find it absolutely easy to install all the apps I need.

DX160’s 445 ppi 1080p high definition display is the best display I have come across in a mid-fi DAP, period! It just makes everything look extra good! The touchscreen is very vibrant and responsive. The OS overall is very simple, elegant and easy to use. iBasso preferred using the good old Rockchip with 2GB of RAM instead of the faster and newer Snapdragon/Samsung processors, yet the DX160 isn’t slow or laggy by any means. It might not be as slick as your TOTL smartphones or even the fast Fiio M11 but DX160 is still decently quick and responsive to all inputs, sufficing most of the times for all your DAP needs.

iBasso’s Mango Music Player (V2.2.7) – Mango is iBasso's stock music player and I actually quite dig it for its simplicity. When you open it for the first time, the play screen comes up. You then need to access the settings using the GEAR icon on the right top of the screen. There you have the following options,

  • Gapless – On/Off
  • Gain – Low/High
  • Play Mode – Order/Loop/Shuffle/Repeat
  • Equalizer – Graphic/Parametric
  • L/R Balance
  • Digital Filter – Fast Roll-Off/Short Delay Short Roll-Off/ Short Delay Fast Roll-Off/ Slow Roll-Off
  • Advanced – USB DAC Mode | Sleep Timer | Scanning | System Info
In order to scan the songs, you need to click the Settings (GEAR icon) -> Advanced -> Scanning, and then choose where your songs are located (internal/SD card) and scan the library. Scanning time is on the average side and not the fastest. It depends on the size of your library. It took around 1-2 minutes to scan my 60Gb library. Sometimes it gets stuck visually when in reality it is scanning in the background. Check back after a few minutes and Mango would’ve scanned your whole library at once.

Mango player is very intuitive to use. You can edit music sorting display in the Navigation Bar Management and select between multiple sorting options like Album, Artist, Genre, etc. You can also select Album and Artist View settings. Artist List view looks great with a nice and easy to read font, font size and artist photos. Album view and album art look great on DX160’s attractive hi-res 1080p screen. Below are some pictures for reference.

DX160 Screen 1.pngDX160 Screen 2.pngDX160 Screen 3.pngDX160 Screen 4.png

There are both Parametric and Graphic equalizers available for you to use when you want to fine tune your sound. Though when you enable the EQ, Mango player turns down the volume by a couple of dBs to compensate for all the EQ boosting you’d be doing. As a result, ABing the sound with and without EQ becomes a bit difficult because of the volume difference.

File Formats (MQA Enabled!)
DX160 supports a wide variety of audio formats including APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DFF, DSF, DXD, CUE, ISO, M3U, M3U8.

DX160 is MQA enabled with full hardware decoding (bit perfect) and plays Tidal Masters without a problem. It was a joy to listen to my favourite albums in Tidal Masters (MQA). Plus 5 points to Hufflepuff, ahem, DX160 for that. Haha. :wink:

Sound Analysis.
DX160 is a very vibrant, musical, a bit reference like/neutral sounding DAP which impresses you right off the bat with its sound quality, which I think is very difficult to beat in its segment. It has a very nice wide soundstage and instrument imaging is very precise. The sound is very clean, balanced and neither frequency band sounds emphasised. Bass goes deep and low and note weight is very well done. It extends well at both ends and has good amount of air and openness. I don’t want to sound overdramatic but I think DX160 hits it out of the park in the sound department.

There are four digital filters that you can toggle between which have a subtle effect on sound, which may or may not make a difference for you and some might not hear or care for the difference. But here is what I felt anyway,
  1. Fast Roll-off – Faster bass transients
  2. Short delay slow roll-off – Deeper bass with natural bass transients
  3. Short delay fast roll-off – Quicker bass transients than option 2
  4. Slow roll-off – Just tiny bit slower bass transients
10 DX160 Solo 2.jpeg

To be honest, since DX160 is a musical, neutral and a bit reference-ish sounding DAP, it was difficult for me to come across an IEM from my arsenal it didn't pair well with, especially since it has low output impedance and good power to drive most IEMs/headphones. Because of the low output impedance DX160 doesn't interfere with the original sound signature of sensitive multi-BA IEMs, something that Hiby R6 did because of its high output impedance of 10Ω.

If you’re wanting a DAP to compensate a problem you have with your IEM/headphone, I think that it’s easier and simpler to just use EQ than shuffle between DAPs for that specific problem. Of course, some warmer DAPs help with brighter IEMs and brighter DAPs help pump some vibrant life into warmer IEMs but since DX160 is a nice neutral/reference-ish DAP, most of your IEMs and headphones are mostly going to sound their true self with the DX160.

With that said, I’ve enjoyed pairing the DX160 with some of my favourite IEMs like 64 Audio U12t, BGVP EST12, Lime Ears Aether R, ItsFit Fusion, etc. Here are quick notes about some of these IEMs.

  • 64 Audio U12t – DX160 lets the tia driver shine for its true self and keeps the warmer bass and lower mids sounding absolutely clean and resolving.
  • BGVP EST12 – Love this pairing. EST12’s clean and reference character shines with DX160. The pairing has the whole sound signature sounding vibrant and more open and airier compared to its pairing with other DAPs from my collection.
  • Lime Ears Aether R – I particularly like Aether R’s reference-ish, open and airy character with the DX160. Aether R is very good with instrument definition, resolution and imaging and DX160 makes sure that all of it comes across naturally.
  • ItsFit Fusion – The magnetostatic driver shines with the DX160 and overall resolution and clarity is very engaging.
11 DX160+Box 2.jpeg

Power & Noise Levels.
The 4.4mm balanced out as well as 3.5mm out have a low impedance of 0.4Ω and 0.3Ω and output levels of 6.4Vrms and 3.2Vrms respectively. This is fairly sufficient for most demanding IEMs and headphones.

In my background noise tests, I found absolutely no hissing with Tansio Mirai TSMR-3 Pro which is one of the most sensitive IEMs in my arsenal. There however is slight WiFi/EMI interference every now and then but none when the song is playing or when you’re away from your WiFi router or have your WiFi off. A couple of other DAPs like Hiby R6 Pro which have similar low output impedances and high output levels had some interference too but DX160 experiences it minimally compared to them, at least in my case.

Battery Life.
This is an averaged out estimate.
  • 4.4mm BAL Out – Around 9.5 hours with FLAC files and 10.5 hours with MP3 and minimal usage of screen.
  • 3.5mm Out– Around 10.5-11 hours playing FLAC files and 12 hours with MP3 and minimal usage of screen.

9 DX160 Solo 1.jpeg


Fiio M11 – DX160 sounds more vibrant, natural, clean and engaging compared to M11. DX160 has better bass resolution, impact and also a slightly wider soundstage. DX160 has a way more attractive and fun to use high-res 1080p screen compared to M11’s 720p screen. M11 on the other hand is faster and better at multi-tasking owing to its faster Samsung Exynos 7872 processor and 3GB RAM. M11 is heavier than DX160 and has sharp edges which I am not a fan of whereas DX160 has smoother edges and is easier to hold and use in your hand. M11’s volume wheel feels a bit sturdier than DX160’s, though I like the playback controls on DX160 more as they are easier to press whereas M11’s needs a bit more power. Overall I like DX160’s design language much more.

Hiby R6 Pro (Stainless Steel) – R6 Pro's chassis is made from stainless steel whereas DX160's is made from aluminium. R6 Pro is much heavier than DX160. DX160 has an almost bezel-less 1080p screen whereas R6 Pro has a 720p screen which is much smaller in size and has a substantial stainless steel border at the bottom. R6 Pro has a snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB RAM and is faster than DX160 but the latter is much more fun to use because of the highly attractive display. R6 Pro has sturdier playback buttons with better feedback but DX160's are good in their own regard for the price. Hiby player can be installed on DX160 but Mango player is proprietary to iBasso devices only. Sound wise, DX160 is a more neutral and reference-ish whereas R6 Pro is slightly warmer, more vivid and richer sounding. DX160 comes off slightly brighter and cleaner relatively whereas R6 Pro has a bit more body. Both have good wide soundstage presentation. DX160 hits very well for its price and is one of the best value DAPs out there in my opinion. R6 Pro Stainless Steel edition is a segment above in price selling at $679, so the price difference is substantial. Hiby has an Aluminium alloy version of R6 Pro which is slightly cheaper at $529, where the only difference between SS and Al is the chassis and everything else is the same.

Well, so there you go! DX160 might not have the latest CPU or be the fastest DAP in the market but it hits it out of the park in the sound department for its asking price. Plus the highly attractive 445ppi 1080p screen makes it all the more fun to use. #BestBudgetDAPScreenEver! It is based on Android Oreo 8.1 and has a nice and simple UI. Mango player too is very simple and easy to use plus you have the freedom to use whichever Android player you fancy. Also, it has full MQA hardware decoding and streams Tidal Masters seamlessly. DX160 is also very light and easy to carry in your pocket which makes it a good travel partner. All in all, DX160 does almost everything right and very little wrong. At the price of $399, it is a no brainer. If you're looking for a DAP around this budget, look no further and surely give the DX160 a shot! Highly recommended!

iBasso is now selling an updated 2020 DX160 version. If you have the DX160 2019 version and wish to have it updated to the latest buffer that is in the 2020 version, iBasso will update it for you for $32 (USD). They are charging $10 for the buffers, free labor and $22 expedited shipping back to the owner. For Hong Kong, due to the close proximity, the cost is $10 for the buffers and $5 for the shipping. Warranty card needs to be included with shipment as it will be stamped indicating that the DX160 has the new buffer.

Reference Songs list.
  • Normandie – White Flag album
  • Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia album
  • Dave Matthews - Shake Me Like a Monkey
  • Foo Fighters - The Pretender, Best of you & Everlong
  • Coldplay - Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
  • Ed Sheeran - Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
  • Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
  • John Mayer - Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train & Say
  • Gavin James - Always & Hearts on fire
  • Switchfoot - Meant to live & Dare you to move
  • Porcupine Tree - Sound of Muzak, Blackest Eyes & .3
  • Our Lady Peace - Do You Like It & Innocent
  • Linkin Park - Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
  • Maroon 5 - She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
  • Lifehouse - All in all & Come back down
  • Breaking Benjamin - Diary of Jane
  • Karnivool - Simple boy & Goliath
  • Dead Letter Circus - Real you
  • I Am Giant - Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
  • Muse - Panic station
  • James Bay - Hold back the river
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Pros: + Build quality and ergonomics
+ Fancy package, even at this price point
+ Exceptional support from iBasso
+ Sonic abilities, soundstage roundness, overall clarity and detail
+ Quick, fluid OS, no errors
+ Works with google services, apps, everything in between
Cons: - Burn-In Cable No Longer included, as with other iBasso DAPs
Majestic Express - iBasso DX160 DAP Review

iBasso DX160 is the latest DAP from iBasso, and it comes to tell us once again that they can outdo their own previous work, which was the DX150. With a price tag of 400 USD, it is 20 USD Cheaper than FiiO's M11, which will be one of its main competitors. There's also iBasso's own DX150 running AMP 9 (for fun), and Opus #3. Bonus comparison with Hiby R6 included as well. For pairings, I picked FiiO's FH7, iBasso IT04, Beyerdynamic Amiron, Campfire Atlas, iBasso AM05, Verum One, and Grado SR80e from different shapes, sizes, and price points, exploring the abilities of DX160 the best I could. It is available in Black, Blue, Red and Silver, and the version explored in today's review is the Silver Version. An Android 8.1 DAP with Dual CS43198 DACs, 4.4mm outputs, BT 5.0 and up to 13 hours of battery life, DX160 is sure to be fun to play with.


iBasso is one of those companies who knows how to pursue the dreams of their customers before committing to a product, in time having gained a fanbase that really knows what it feels like to know someone cares about your desires. Indeed, iBasso have put a lot of heart into their products, and never fail to impress when it comes to their products, having greatly outdone all expectations with their DX220 and AMP9, but also having set high bars in the past with their DX200. Even when designing an entry-level IEM like IT01 and IT01S they managed to offer proper support, and proved that a product made by iBasso will last a long time. There have been very few warranty claims, and if you explore forums like Head-Fi, you'll find that all their customers are happy with their products and the service of iBasso.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with iBasso. I'd like to thank iBasso for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with the iBasso DX160. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in iBasso DX160 find their next music companion.

About me



First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

Besides FiiO, one of the companies who makes a great package, there's also iBasso, who makes a package that's just as impressive, if not even more impressive at times, having outdone themselves with previous DAPs like DX200 and DX220. With DX160, they are back one again, and although some of their IEMs, like AM05 may have slightly simple packages, DX160 really impresses.

This time it isn't the design of the package, as much as the raw contents and the modern, elegant and impressive way they are presented. You will get a carrying case, a high quality USB cable, and a spare screen protector with DX160.

There's also the manuals, along with the warranty card, as well as the MQA card, which tells you that DX160 can decode MQA signals, and you will have access to the best music even if you're into streaming and on-the-go.

What to look in when purchasing a high-end DAP


Technical Specifications

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality


Starting with the build quality, DX160 is pretty much the tank iBasso promises it to be, having a full metallic body, but with a glass display, and a glass back. It comes with screen protectors applied on both, and this time around I have not been able to scratch it during the photo shoot, so we can all congratulate iBasso on designing better screen protectors for their products. The entire device is now curved, and holding it in hand feels more like holding a high-end smartphone than what holding an audiophile DAP felt years ago, you can forget about the corners like what QLS QA361 used to have, or even DX150's design, which was considerably less rounded, iBasso went full-out with DX160, and on making it as ergonomic as it was humanly possible.

DX160 is pretty light at 170 grams, at least compared to FiiO M11 which is 210 grams in weight. On the right side of the device you can find the low-profile volume wheel, along with the playback control buttons.


Besides the huge, colorful and bright display at the front, which is an IPS display, with 1080p FullHD Resolution, you can find the buttons, inputs and outputs on the sides. At the top, you can find the power button, and the USB Type-C port. You can use DX160 as a DAP, but also as a USB DAC, so having that port is actually quite handy. I also love the positioning at the top, as you can keep it on your table, and read the display, without having to turn around the DAP when doing so.

Not only the display is bright enough for proper outdoors usage, but you can even switch the resolution of the display to a lower one. DX160's display runs at a 1080p full HD resolution natively, but you can actually turn it down to 720p, and it will eat less battery.

The colors of the display are stunning, and although most people don't stare blankly at their cover art for hours, I admire having a spot of color in my life. I love the brightness for outdoor usage, it is more than enough to see everything in full summer. It is also crisp enough for those who don't like seeing pixelated images, and there's no lag, so the beautiful design is complimented by proper hardware.

Battery Life

Speaking of the battery life, DX160 is a pretty battery-efficient device, which has a lifetime of about 13 hours, at least on paper. Since this paper battery life is usually tested with MP3 files, medium volume, and the screen turned on about 10% of the time, I went ahead and did some tests on my own.

In my actual tests, I was able to get about 11-12 hours on Single Ended, blasting DX160 at loud volumes, with both IEMs, and large headphones like Sennheiser HD660S, Audeze LCD-MX4, and HIFIMAN Sundara. On the Balanced port, I got around 9-10 hours in similar conditions, using Dunu DK-4001, with their modular cables, or pairing Dunu Hulk with HIFIMAN RE2000 Silver, and running it into the Balanced port of DX160.


Although iBasso priced DX160 at a lower price than their previous releases, they haven't given up on Dual DAC designs, and DX160 now comes with Dual CS 43198 DACs, paired with a high voltage delivery of 3.2 Vrms on Single Ended and 6.4 Vrms on Balanced.

iBasso also relies on 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory, having a single microSD slot on the left for you to browse your music. The Android OS takes almost 8 GB of memory by itself, though, so you have about 24 GB of free space for storing music and other files. I always recommend getting a microSD card, and using the internal memory for apps and for the system files. DX160 has OTG compatibility as well, and testing it with two different OTG cables, a microSD reader, and my backup music card, I was able to get proper transfers, everything loaded right up. It won't be practical for outdoors usage, but if you're at home, you can hook up DX160 to a larger data bank, like an external HDD, especially if it is self-powered.

DX160 also has an octa-core CPU, and b/g/n/ac Wifi, as well as Quick Charge, meaning that it will charge considerably faster than DX150, from almost 4 hours for DX150, to 2.5 hours for DX160.

At the bottom of DX160 you can find a Single ended, 3.5mm TRS output, and a 4.4mm Balanced TRRS output. The 3.5mm output can also act as the Line Out of DX160, but also as the SPDIF output.

Software and Navigation

Coming with Android OREO 8.1, this is one of the most modern DAPs on the market at the moment of making this review. By comparison, M11 comes with Android 7 instead. Instead of Google Play, you have to use either APK Pure, or Cool APK to install apps.

You have a really smooth overall system, but the fun part is that you can navigate DX160 in pocket mode, bia the browsing buttons, but now it can also connect with your smartphone, and you can use it as a remote. This new type of Wireless usage is actually quite interesting, and some apps integrate it better than others, but since it has Bluetooth 5.0, which is Bi-Directional, you can use DX160 as a Bluetooth receiver, like FiiO BTR 5, and also as a Bluetooth transmitter. This makes it a skeleton key for your media, and it is just so easy to use it with practically everything you may have around.

You also have full Bit Perfect decoding, so you know you'll only hear what is in your music, no DSP, no effects, and nothing else, but you also have full MQA decoding out-of-the-box. Using Tidal, you can have access to MQA without any further codecs or settings enabled, and you can enjoy Hi-Res music on-the-go, if you use your smartphone to make a Wifi hotspot and connect DX160 to it, as I've been doing in my experiments.

If you need it, you can download Google Play, and use apps that require Google Services to work. This time around there's no Mango OS Dual boot system, but you have iBasso's Music Player there, and it is the one I grew to use the most on DX160.

If you're into DSP and EQ'ing your headphones / earphones, DX160 comes with both PMEQ and Graphic Equaliser. The PMEQ is on par with the one found on DX220, and it has a ton of settings, including variable Q factor, which runs from a value as low as 0.3 up to 20. The values of the Gain go from -20 and +20 dB. There is no loss in volume when enabling the EQ, so you don't have to take the time to adjust to it, but I suggest to be careful when using it, because it helps a lot if you know what you're doing, but a sharp knife is best used when wielded with care. There's also the Graphic EQ, but you need to keep in mind that you can only use either the Graphic EQ or the Parametric Equaliser, and you cannot engage both at the same time. The graphic EQ has 10 bands, and you have five default presets.

I always browse my music by Folder Browsing, because I have the best control of making my own folders, but for those who want a more complex browsing, you can browse by Artist, Genre, Album, and you can also use Playlists.

Video Review

iBasso DX160 First Impressions Youtube Video Review:
iBasso DX160 After One Month In-Depth Video Review:

Sound Quality

Even compared with my initial impressions from my video reviews, at this point, I had the chance to explore DX160 fully, with both full sized headphones, and IEMs, compare it with DX220, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, FiiO M11, and others. I paired it with Clear Tune Monitors CTM Da Vinci X, Kennerton Thror, Audeze LCD-MX4, FiiO FH7, and iBasso's own IT04, to get a good idea of where the signature of DX160 lies exactly.

I could call DX160 probably the best reference, the most correct, and the most natural DAP in the 400 USD price range. It isn't particularly neutral, and doesn't have that digital-ish treble tinge of M11, the one I kept mentioning about, and thanks to its black background, you get a much better resolution than what you're probably expecting from the price point. The sound also feels snappy and quick, it is nimble, and has an astoundingly large soundstage, with excellent instrument separation.

This isn't to say that you're wrong if you like a lighter presentation, or a darker one for that matter. All that matters is that you find something you love and enjoy, so I'm doing my best describing everything as it is, and the bass of DX160 is one of those quick bass that doesn't necessarily impress by being thicker than what is reference, but it impressed me for sure with the speed and resolution. For bassheads, you can always increase the bass presence, as well as the depth and impact, by adding a few dB from the Parametric EQ, or the graphic EQ. For more depth, you increase the first slider of the EQ (~30 Hz), while for more thickness and more impact, you increase the second one (~60 Hz). To make the entire sound warmer, you increase the third slider (~100 Hz).

There's just a tiny bit of bloom in the upper bass towards the lower treble, and this gives the sound a bit of warmth, making the entire midrange really pleasant. The big thing here is that just like the mighty-sounding and pretty high-end DAP, QLS QA361, iBasso made DX160 a bit more wet in character, so it doesn't sound dry or reference, thus making everything fluid. The midrange is not overly rich, and it isn't heavy, but it has a sweet tinge to all musical notes, guitar notes in particular, like those on Dance Gavin Dance - Strawberry's Wake, or their Prisonier song having an especially appealing glow to them.

The treble is on the softer side, especially compared to DAPs like DX220, but it sounds more wet and more natural, compared to the slightly digital treble M11 has. Not only this, but the upper treble extension didn't have to suffer for this little transition, and while I'm in love with some treble sparkle, especially with metal music, I appreciate this type of softer presentation a lot, and DX160 is exactly what I'd go for if I wanted to make sure my DAP pairs well with everything I have. The soundstage is crazily expanded, especially in width, but without losing focus, and instead of the stage sounding vague, it sounds large, and well separated, precise. The stereo imaging thus is stellar and so is the overall perceived detail of DX160.

There's a little difference between the balanced and the single ended outputs of DX160, and I hear a better dynamic delivery, with a more snappy presentation from the balanced output. Especially when listening very loud, the Single Ended sounds softer, while the Balanced output sounds more precise and quicker.

Portable Usage

Things get even better when you start tweaking and playing with DX160, because you can get OTA updates, and the latest brought me some good clean fun. All Streaming services, like TIDAL, Spotify, SoundCloud, and even rare ones like ROON and IDAGIO work on DX160 just fine.

With MQA Unfolding and native MQA processing, you can see an improvement in the sonic quality, especially for the albums that can be found in hi-res formats. Unfortunately, for an old-style rock / metalhead like me, very little of my music collection is available in those formats, but I can enjoy some high-quality classical, and notice minute improvements, which, when consumed in the silence of my room, are too delightful not to mention.

You can use DLNA if you install third party services, so you can look at Plex, Hi-Fi Cast or BubbleUPnP if you're interested in those, but you will need both Google Play Store and Google Services for that.

There is Bluetooth 5.0 on DX160, and this means both a better maximum range, but also bi-directional communication. The Bluetooth protocol also isn't quite as important as the codecs available, but DX160 has LDAC and other high-quality codecs, like aptX.

When you pair DX160 with something like Lypertek Tevi, you lose the advantage of its amplification and the DAC of DX160, but you have the advantage of portability. This is the best part about DX160, it can do literally anything, from being a portable transport, to being a DAC in a large speaker system, like when using Taga Harmony 806F, and act as your main DAP, when driving headphones, like Rosson RAD-0, IEMs, like Dita Fidelity or Fealty, or when driving something more controversial, like the Electrostatic IEM, Shouer Tape.

iBasso has their own IEMs as well, which are the IT01, IT01S, IT04, and AM05. There's also an iBasso headphone out there, named the SR-1, which I hope I'll get to hear one day. Everyone one of iBasso's IEMs has a unique signature, and I suggest clicking on the name of each, to follow to my full in-depth review, but the short version is that if you're a basshead, you will love IT01 or IT01S, and if you like a natural, more mid and treble-focused sound, that is light, yet snappy, you will enjoy IT04 and AM05 quite a lot.


For the comparisons part of this review, I went with DAPs and solutions in the same price range, at the moment of writing this review. I even went ahead and explored slightly more expensive products, because iBasso is totally able to keep up with competition that's even more pricey. The main competitors for DX160 in Today's Review are Opus #3, Hiby R6, FiiO M11, and iBasso DX150.

iBasso DX160 vs Opus #3 (400USD vs 650USD) - Opus #3 was the thing to get back when it was released, and TheBit still sells quite a few of it, thanks to the magical sound it has. The sound was always really dynamic, punchy, and energetic, #3 having enough power even for some harder to drive headphones, like Ultrasone Signature DXP, but it never had quite enough power for something like Audeze LCD-MX4. Thanks to the latest advancements in technology, a DAP costing just 400 USD can now drive titans, HIFIMAN Sundara and HIFIMAN Deva not posing any hardships for DX160 at all. Of course, it isn't quite DX220 with AMP 7, and iBasso having switched to a more compact AMP module design is something to take into account, as DX150 has more power, but it isn't quite as ergonomic as DX160. Speaking of which, I appreciate some industrial-looking devices, but the level of ergonomics of DX160 is simply much better in 2020, and I grab it more often than #3, the shape is better, the display is more colorful, the driving power is better. The sound is actually different, with DX160 being more gentle, and #3 feeling more forward, more aggressive. #3 is also more analytical, more detailed, more revealing, but DX160 feels effortless by comparison, all music has a wider soundstage, and everything feels like DX160 can do it just fine, where #3 feels forward. If you want a more forward sound, #3 is still a really good choice, but if you want something more open, more gentle, effortless, and sweet, DX160 will be your choice. The OS, hardware, streaming abilities, bluetooth connections and overall system smoothness are not really comparable, DX160 is much smoother, has a much faster CPU, better Android integration with more apps, and it feels like a midrange smartphone, where #3 is a bit outdated right now, so if you need streaming and access to multiple apps, or if you want to use your DAP as a Bluetooth receiver and such, DX160 is the only one that offers those features.

iBasso DX160 vs Hiby R6 (400USD vs 650USD) - Hiby R6 is another DAP that is pretty ergonomic, but also quite a bit more expensive than DX160. This being said, it doesn't have all the features of DX160, like seamless Google PlayStore integration (as of the latest updates for both), it doesn't really have the same control over IEMs like DX160, and it doesn't have the Bi-Directional Bluetooth like DX160. Those are things that may matter to you, so even if you already have an R 6 , and want to upgrade, you can upgrade to DX160, and although it is less expensive, it will feel like a large upgrade, especially if you were eyeing any of the features it has. The sound is different between them, especially if you're using IEMs, because where D X 1 6 0 has a really black background with no noise, R6 has quite a lot of hissing, and given it's 10 OHM output impedance, it sounds different with low impedance IEMs, changing their signature, usually taking away some of their warmth and bass, and making them a bit harsh and aggressive. This may work well if your IEM was laid-back to begin with, like Beyerdynamic Xelento, but it is something to experiment with, and if you really wanted to EQ, iBasso's music all, paired with their excellent Parametric Equaliser, or the graphic equaliser are going to do the trick just fine. The main signature has more body for R6, it has a marginally better dynamic, and slightly more detail, but DX160 is larger in terms of soundstage, has more depth and width, it is more gentle, effortless, and R6 sounds more like an edgy, energetic DAP, with a good body and rich midrange, but DX160 sounds more sweet and warm, wider, and lighter.

iBasso DX160 vs FiiO M11 (400USD vs 420USD) - The big battle is at hand, and this is probably the most interesting comparison in this review, because both DAPs have been released recently, both are similar in terms of build and both have a similar driving power, if not DX160 is a bit stronger. The OS has similar abilities, and it is similarly smooth for both, and with the latest updates installed on both, they eventually look similar, at least on paper. The Parametric EQ is better on DX160, if you consider yourself to be a power user, but FiiO also has a very nifty EQ on their M11. You start seeing some differences when you get to the sonic part, because M11 sounds quite different from DX160, and they are quite far from each other in terms of signatures. In detail, revealing abilities, clarity, and refinement, they are pretty much the same, you will get similar resolution from the two. But the way the sound is presented is different, DX160 has a slightly more warm midrange, with a sweeter presentation. There is more depth to everything, and it has more driving power. M11 has a brighter top end, that can edge on sounding digital, but it also has more texture reveal, and it is more forward, creating the feeling of more dynamics, more overall excitement. DX160 has a more gentle top end, with a more wet character, which I really appreciate and enjoy, where M11 is natural in character. From the two, if you wanted a more edgy, slightly brighter, more wide, albeit edging on digital sound, M11 should be your choice, while if you wanted a deeper, gentler, wetter, sweeter sound, you'd go for DX160. If you want a really well-implemented EQ in the default app, DX160 has the upper hand.

iBasso DX160 vs iBasso DX150 (400USD vs 500USD + 250 USD for AMP 9) - DX150 uses the same AMP modules as DX220, and the DAC inside is quite capable, so it can sound quite close to iBasso's current flagship (minus DX220 MAX which will be released soon). The big thing now is that when I paired DX150 with AMP9 from iBasso, I felt like I totally rediscovered it. The driving power is slightly lower than DX160, and for Sundara, it probably won't do quite that well, but for other headphones, like HIFIMAN Deva, Ultrasone Signature DXP, and even Audeze LCD-MX4, you should be right in heaven. Easy-to-Drive cans like Verum One, or Grado SR80 are a sweet pairing as well. The point here is that even if you feel that AMP9 doesn't quite cut it, you can swap it for AMP 7, and have an excellent driving power, from it, DX150 has something magic in. When it comes to comparing the actual devices, I tend to go more often for DX160 because, although it doesn't have the modularity of DX150, it has a much better OS, which is more fluid, it has more features, and the quicker charging all make me grab it quite often. Since my AMP modules are usually strapped to DX 220, I tend to use DX 150 more like a backup, but DX 160 has been making me grab it so often, my girl is starting to use DX 220 as much as I am. If you're having DX 150 in the default configuration, with the default AMP module, you're getting a pretty warm and smooth sound out of it, which should be quite thick, so DX 160 will sound clearer, cleaner, wider, with more depth, and with better instrument separation. Both have a pretty black background, but with DX 160, it is better, so very quiet details are easier to notice, making it an easier choice, if you're running a default DX150.


The pairing part of this review will be as extensive as it is possible, and it includes iBasso AM05, Campfire Atlas, Beyerdynamic Amiron, iBasso IT04, and FiiO FH7, all of those making really interesting and realistic pairings for DX160, and showing how it will react when paired with certain transducers. On a last minute thought, I decided to add both Verum One, which tests how good a DAP is at keeping its cool with ultra-low impedance transducers, and Grado SR80e, as a good benchmark midrange headphone that is averagely hard to drive, but pretty hard to tame.

iBasso DX160 + FiiO FH7 (400 USD + 450 USD) - One of the latest IEMs I reviewed, FH7 is what I would call a full delight. They have enough sub-bass and treble extension to make you think they cost over 1000 USD, and they have the resolution and clarity to scare those weak of heart away from their analytical sound. In fact, that's something to take into account, if you're into thicker, warmer sounds, the FA7 IEMs are much more suited for that, where FH7 are for the analytical signature lover, for those who want to hear everything, and for those who love a large stage. DX160 makes one of the best pairings here, because it helps deliver a gentler overall presentation, and since FH7 were very analytical, with a very revealing nature, DX160 helps tame them down a bit, make them more musical, the pairing sound effortless, clean, but also airy and deep. FH7 can take a lot of EQ if you want to increase the bass, so don't worry, DX160 and its Parametric EQ, and its Graphic EQ are going to aid you, if you'll want to fine tune FH7, beyond the filters it already came with.

iBasso DX160 + iBasso IT04 (400 USD + 500 USD) - Pairing an iBasso DAP with an iBasso IEM feels right at home, and I'm happy to report that if you have an older release, like IT04, you'll be happy to hear a beautiful sound from the pairing, with a natural bass, a pretty wide stage, and a gentle treble. A lot of people fell in love with IT04, thanks to their natural speed, slightly wet character, warm-ish midrange, yet really neutral presentation. Especially those who didn't want a bassy sound, and those who wanted to explore something more open and airy, like a speaker sound, appreciated IT04, and happily DX160 extends on their soundstage, and adds to their detail and clarity. In this pairing, they have enough body to sound great with metal, and enough clarity to reveal all the instruments in a busy orchestra. If there's any downside, you cannot use the Balanced cable, since it is in 2.5mm only with IT04, but the Single ended output of DX160 is clean enough, and has enough power to do just fine, and since they have detachable cables, you can always hook them to something like Dunu Hulk, and you're good to go.

iBasso DX160 + Beyerdynamic Amiron (400 USD + 700 USD) - Amiron is excellent for testing how DX160 pairs with a high-impedance headphone, because you may have one like this around, especially in this price range, although I noticed that not only it did a good job with Amiron, but even with Sennheiser HD660S, where the parametric EQ came in just as handy. Amiron has a very specific sound, which extends well both ways, but it eats through the driving power of DAPs, and it can easily require you to turn Q5s from FiiO as loud as it can get. Now, DX160 once again shows a stellar performance, by having enough power to drive Amiron loud, but also having a gentle enough sound to make it musical, and sweet. The soundstage is huge, and the depth is impressive. The black background of DX160 also helps with the minute details, and you get a great overall performance. And if you want a bit more bass, the Graphic EQ is quite handy, and easy to use, just bump the few first sliders and you're good to go.

iBasso DX160 + Campfire Atlas (400 USD + 1300 USD) - Campfire Atlas is the IEM to get when you want a grand presentation, explosions, and something that will keep amazing you over and over. If you enjoy epic music, if you enjoy explosions, and if you enjoy it all at once, Atlas is as impressive as they get, with an aggressive V-Shaped sound, really strong bass and sub-bass, and a strong treble to counter it, and keep it interesting and exciting. In terms of overall control and dynamics, DX160 couldn't do better for the price, and I'm happy to notice a deeper sound, with no hiss on the background (Campfire IEMs being a bit sensitive to hiss in general). There's a good sense of punch and dynamics, there is a good amount of kick, and I cannot tell you how much I enjoy having the parametric EQ to play with, because sometimes the bass of Atlas can be a bit much, and at times like those I can tone it down a bit. The pairing takes great advantage of the black background of DX160, but also of its more gentle sound, which makes Atlas sound a bit easier for long hours of listening. And if you were concerned about the driver flex I mentioned in my review of it, don't worry, I got it for more than a year now, and they didn't die.

iBasso DX160 + iBasso AM05 (400 USD + 300 USD) - AM05 is a really newly released IEM from iBasso, which I am going to review in writing quite soon, and I am happy to report that it has the magical touch as well. AM05 has a sound that can be described as forward in the midrange, yet really wide. They have a pretty linear bass, but also a gentle treble that has good energy, but a wet character, so they don't really intrude on you. DX160's signature pairs really well with them, and they become even softer in the treble, which is a good thing, since they could be a bit aggressive with the wrong source. The midrange becomes wider, and deeper, giving a better sense of layering, and since AM05 is an all-BA design, I was able to notice a good control from DX160.

iBasso DX160 + Verum One (400 USD + 300 USD) - Verum One was the first Headphone I reviewed which brought almost half of my sources into clipping, and we're talking current clipping. It sounded terrible, and I was scared that I may have burned the headphones, but what happened was much more interesting than I could have ever thought. Verum One has a really low impedance, of 8 OHMs or so, but you usually take it pretty loud to make it sing, so most sources, especially those which are not protected against a short, will detect a short, and you'll get no sound out of it above a certain volume. DX160 does not have such issues, and I can drive Verum One to ear-bleeding levels, indicating a well implemented amplifying stage from iBasso. The sound is also as we know it, rich, thick, and impactful, but DX160's large stage also makes Verum One more appealing for progressive music, bringing it ever so slightly closer to a Sundara.

iBasso DX160 + Grado SR80e (400 USD + 300 USD) - DX160 does a wonderful job at controlling and making SR80e sing, because it has both a top end that is gentle enough for SR80e to be tame, but it also has a sweet enough midrange to make the most out of this headphone. For those of you who don't like Grado so much because it doesn't have enough bass, you can increase that with a few dBs from the Parametric EQ, or even from the Graphic EQ, by increasing the first 2-3 sliders, which should thicken the sound of SR80e, and give it better impact. This being said, they aren't the best at taking EQ, so try to keep it within 5 dB of tweaks when using that EQ.

Value and Conclusion

The value of DX160 is undeniably good, and it can compete on equal grounds on DAPs that have a quicker CPU, thanks to iBasso masterful work at the sonic level. There's also the fact that the package is good, the build quality is good, this is a really ergonomic device, and well, iBasso is right at it when it comes to providing a complete DAP experience, with both a beautiful sound and a beautiful display.

They're not letting things down when it comes to the actual hardware in their DAPs, and with an OCTA-Core CPU, with two headphone outputs, one in the magnifique 4.4mm Balanced format, and one that is a Single ended 3.5mm headphone output, but which can also act as the Line Out, and SPDIF output as well.

The battery life of DX160 is impressive, and any DAP that can reach about 11 hours of battery life with my torture usage, where I change the songs in between, and listen pretty loud, will last you an entire day of normal usage, or even more, if you don't listen the entire day.

For those of you who stay connected at all times, DX160 can run Google Play, Google Services, so IDAGIO, ROON, TIDAL, Spotify, and Soundcloud are all going to work. There's even a Bluetooth 5.0 module inside, so you have bidirectional Bluetooth communication, you can use it as a bluetooth receiver, but also connect bluetooth headphones to it. The Wifi performance is strong enough for me to keep it in my pocket and go for a walk, it downloads everything it needs, from my smartphone, which is acting as a wifi hotspot.

The display is also bright enough to be practical, and I'm really happy to report that using DX160 while in a pocket feels intuitive, the volume wheel comes in handy at all times, the buttons are clicky and satisfying, and it plays music like magic.

The sound is light and snappy, but sweet, it has enough options to configure the sound via its graphic EQ, or parametric EQ, so you could design the sound to work for any headphone, you could tame the untamed, and make a smooth IEM into a beast, with this trickster. It has enough resolution and speed to totally be worth its money as well.

Before the end of this review, I am going to add iBasso DX160 to Audiophile-Heaven's Hall Of Fame, for being one of the most satisfying to use DAPs of the current time, coming with Android 8.1, having support for Streaming Services, Bluetooth 5.0, a good battery life, and an excellent sound.

At the end of this review, if you're looking for a DAP to make a companion for a long while, something with enough juice to drive any headphones or IEMs you'll be using portably, and even some outliers, something that's snappy, quick, but also wide, and precise, something that's sweet sounding, and has all the magic you could need from a DAP, I totally recommend to check out iBasso DX160.

Full Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Youtube Playlist

Tidal Playlist


Song List

Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
SOAD - Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
Eminem - Rap God
Stromae - Humain À L'eau
Sonata Arctica - My Selene
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
Dope - Addiction
Korn - Word Up!
Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
Fever The Ghost - Source
Fall Out Boy - Immortals
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
A static Lullaby - Toxic
Royal Republic - Addictive
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans - My Love
Skillet - What I Believe
Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei - Mirror
Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
Falling Up - Falling In Love
Manafest - Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
Zomboy - Lights Out
Muse - Resistance
T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
Saving Abel - Addicted
Hollywood Undead - Levitate
The Offspring - Special Delivery
Escape The Fate - Smooth
Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
Dope - Rebel Yell
Crazy Town - Butterfly
Silverstein - My Heroine
Memphis May Fire - Not Over Yet

I hope my review is helpful to you!


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Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@SubSTI - I hope it brings lots of fun to you!!
WOW! What an in-depth and thorough review! Thank you for all the work you put into it. Keep up the great work.
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@koolranch - Thank you very much! Will keep doing my best with every review
Pros: Compact and well built design
Excellent 5" screen
Android 8 (now with Google Play support)
Sound Quality
Cons: Some noise with sensitive IEMs
Bluetooth range is less than on DX220 (on a some units)
REVIEW – iBasso DX160

Website – iBasso Audio


  • DAC: Dual CS43198
  • Output Ports: 4.4BAL, 3.5PO, 3.5LO, SPDIF, USB output
  • Screen: 5.0 inch 1080P Sharp Full Screen
  • OS: Android 8.1
  • CPU: Octa Core
  • RAM: 2G
  • ROM: 32G
  • Wi-Fi: 80 2.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4Ghz/5Ghz)
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Battery: 3200mAh
  • Quick Charge: QC3.0, PD2.0
  • Audio Formats Supported: MQA, APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DFF, DSF, DXD, CUE, ISO, M3U, M3U8
  • Size: 113mm x 69mm x 15mm
  • Weight: 178g
  • Average Play Time: 13 hours (3.5mm output)

4.4mm Headphone Out:

  • Output Level: 6.4Vrms
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz~40kHz +/-0.15dB
  • S/N: 130dB
  • THD+N: 0.00022% (32Ω, 3Vrms)

3.5mm Headphone Out:

  • Output Level: 3.2Vrms
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz~40kHz +/-0.15dB
  • S/N: 125dB
  • THD+N: 0.0007% (32Ω, 2Vrms)

Line Out:

  • Output Level: 3.2Vrms
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz~40kHz +/-0.15dB
  • S/N: 125dB
  • THD+N: 0.00035% (no Load)

Price: U$D 399.

Currently not available from iBasso website, only from official distributors. Final price may vary on different countries and shipping costs can be extra.

The DX160 unit here was kindly sent arranged by iBasso company for the full review. On a side note, apologies for the delay on uploading the review.

The DX160 arrives in the usual compact cardboard box as with most iBasso products. The blue color theme is quite elegant. The outer cover holds minimal information of the player specifications on the back side. The inner box has the same soft magnetic closure, holding the DX160 device at the upper layer safely surrounded by thick foam material, while the underneath section holds the accessories. The package includes a USB Type-C cable, two adhesive screen protectors and a TPU clear case. There is no ‘burn-in’ cable included this time.

The case covers the whole player back and sides, leaving the micro SD slot, wheel control, audio output and USB ports open. The case does limits a bit of the wheel rotation, which may actually be considered a plus for some. The only observation is that it can fit too tight, causing the power/screen button on the upper side to be pressed.


For the mid-fi tier segment, the DX160 features a modern design with a very solid good quality. The form factor is more friendly than the couple previous iBasso I’ve tried, holds better ergonomics and while not truly compact it is easy to carry around as daily portable player with a slimmer body and rounded edges. The large 5” screen introduced on the DX220 is also here with the same excellent quality, looking more as a compact smartphone, and much cooler with the gold colored volume wheel at the side.

Build quality is quite good, thick yet lightweight CNC machined aluminum on the whole main chassis, though only seen through the contour, while both front and back panels are made of glass; there are no specifications listed, but probably using the same 2.5D glass as on the DX220. The finish is completely smooth and apart from the black color seen here, the DX160 is available in three extra more colors, blue, silver and red to make it even more attractive.

The dimensions are very close to the DX220 in height and width where the 5” screen occupies practically the whole panel, while the DX160 is thinner. Having fewer components inside and dropping the exchangeable amplifier modules feature of the DX150/200/220, the DX160 is noticeable lighter and feels more hollow.

The layout follows the usual formula for iBasso players. On the left side there is just a single micro SD card slot; not sure the supported capacity but no issues with a Samsung 128GB card. Quickly recognized by the Android system and simply listed as ‘external storage’.

On the right side there the three playback buttons placed on the upper half, back, play/pause and next and the volume wheel above. The default buttons setup is upper for next and lower for back, but can be quickly set otherwise. The wheel is diameter is same as the thickness of the player, meaning it is smaller than the DX220's wheel. Easy to rotate with a very precise volume adjustment. All of these controls can be set to be locked when screen is off. The three buttons do not stick out from the player lateral side, but are a bit sensitive.

The upper side holds the power button which works for screen on/off as well, and the USB Type-C port in the middle. The USB works for charging (supporting quick-charging) and data transmission and also for DAC functions.

On the bottom there are the two audio output ports. Single ended 3.5mm that works as headphone out, line-out and SPIDF, and the Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced audio output. Both are surrounded by large golden colored rings.

Screen is of excellent quality. A 5” 1080p Sharp LCD full touch screen and quite wide for a portable player. The resolution is of 1080x1920 and 445ppi, though now can be set to a lower 720p which may help to extend the battery time. The screen shows sharp images, rich color and saturation, good viewing angles and reaches good brightness; there is a Video app already installed, suggesting the DX160 can provide good video playback and with the great audio quality. Screen rotation does work too.

The hardware inside switches to a Cirrus Logic CS43198 dual DAC, still offering various digital filters. Apparently the processor goes back to an octa-core Rockchip used previous models from iBasso, and RAM of just 2G. Internal storage memory is of 32GB (part of it already used by the Android system and apps). The system speed is decent, it runs at about the same level as the DX220, if a bit smoother, but below the faster competitors with Qualcomm Snapdragon or Samsung Exynos SoC.

User Interface & Software

The DX160 is not only simpler in its design and layout but also in interface. Unlike the previous iBasso Android based players which offered a dual OS boot, Android and pure Mango OS, the DX160 runs straight into Android OS, Oreo 8.1 version. The touch screen responsiveness is good and the whole navigation is easy and fairly smooth for an Android based platform. The player arrives with a few basic apps pre-installed, and new apps can be installed via APKPure or CoolAPK. Google Play is not included from factory; however, as can be seen here it is now supported by updating to the last firmware and installing directly from APKPure as any other application.

On the main home screen it is like any Android one with an extra iBasso icon to access the Mango player App; alternatively, it can be reached by switching to the secondary screen to the left.
This is the 2nd version of the main audio software but any others can be installed. The Mango main playback screen shows a colorful album artwork (if available) and all the playback touch controls and the lower part. The icon to the left will show the track info, while the one to the right toggles between the various playing sequences. At the upper part, the right icon opens the Settings menu, while the left icon is for the Music menu. Scrolling through the music lists and folders is fast and accurate with almost no lag. The DX220 with updated firmware now runs much better and the DX160 is a bit even faster. Still not as smooth as the Hiby R5 with its Hiby Music app, but close, and much more comfortable than any of the Shanling DAPs (excluding the M6). Access to the current playing list is easily done by scrolling down the hidden upper menu. Skipping tracks can be also done by a single swipe right or left to go to previous or next track, respectively. Equalization options are found under the settings options and include the usual ones with extra user defined Custom option.

Below are some multiple screenshots of the Android platform:

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Wireless features – Bluetooth & WiFi

The DX160 follows the same wireless features as the DX220. Bluetooth version is 5.0 and now one of the few DAP to support it. Sound quality and signal proves to be good enough, no drops or cuts on the connectivity so far with a few wireless headphones or IEMs tried. However, the wireless range is less wide than on the DX220 – there are a few reported units on the DX160 with this issue, but seems that iBasso are working on this. Moreover, the DX160 also supports Two-way Bluetooth so can work as a receiver, so a wireless Amp/DAC with balanced 4.4mm output.

For Wi-Fi it supports the dual band 2.4/5GHz, now a standard for portable devices, and seems to work well with home internet servers for both navigation and streaming.

DAC functionality

The DX160 works as external DAC through the Type-C USB port, connected to either a PC or other smart devices. With a Win 10 notebook there was no need to install any drivers, simply connect it and wait until it is automatically recognized. However, to activate the DAC mode it only possible from the ‘Advanced’ options under the Settings menu on the Mango app. Also do note that if the playback button is pressed the DAC function will stop.


Battery time rates to 13hrs of continuous playback, from single-ended 3.5mm output. The time is rather accurate, at least using IEMs after playing a mix of Flac and 320kps Mp3 files, on low gain and with both wireless connections off, it reaches about 12hrs with few random screen uses. 4.4mm balanced output will be lower, around 8~9hrs. It is a decent performance for such a portable device with such a quality of screen. Note that the resolution can be set to 720p which may optimize the battery time a bit further. As usual the needed Quick-charge is supported as well.

Sound Quality

Sources: iBasso DX220 AMP1 mk2 & AMP9, Shanling M5s, HiBy R5 & R6 Pro, Fiio M6.
Ear/Headphones: iBasso IT04, qdc Anole VX & Fusion, Dita Audio Twins, Sendy Audio Aiva, Meze 99.

As the new mid-tier portable player from iBasso, the DX160 implements a Cirrus Audio different DAC chip from the previous takes of AKM and Sabre ESS options used on the flagships DX200/220 or DX120/150. However, it is not iBasso's first take on a Cirrus DAC; DX80 for instance used an older chip model. The one here is a dual CS43198 DAC, found on a few competitors like the A&K SR15 and the newer and more affordable HiBy R5, a much closer rival to the DX160.

Despite this shared audio component, its implementation and tuning of the DX160 still shows the iBasso more characteristic sound, found on the upper DX220 and lower DX120, with a nicely balanced and rich engaging presentation. The DX160 does fit accordingly to its suggested price tag when compared to the lower priced DX120, and more next to similar priced such as the Hiby R5 or Shanling M5s. And more importantly is how it performs next to more expensive players; in fact, the DX160’s sound resembles in many ways the DX220 (AMP1 mk2) with the wide soundstage, great layering and touch of musicality.

The volume range is of a standard 100 steps and there are two gain options. it may sound more limited next to the DX220 that raises up to 150 and features an extra middle gain option, but then it is the usual option you get on almost every player. The changes from each volume step are small and smooth, suiting well very sensitive, low impedance IEMs. For example, using the IT04 the required volume of the single 3.5mm output is just around 30 and ~20 on the balanced output. Hiss is audible only with very sensitive IEMs and the DX160 can present some EMI noise with those, mainly when Wi-Fi is on. It is audible when music is paused and mostly when scrolling through menus. On the 4.4mm output it is less noticed. A small impedance adapter definitely helps to fix this issue.

The Cirrus CS43198 offers a short variety of 4 digital filters. Lower than the ESS Sabre Pro chip on the DX220 with 7 options, Shanling M5s with 6, or own DX120 with 5. Even so, the Hiby R5 with same DAC has none. Unless you really can tell differences between all these filters, then this will never be called as a disadvantage. Similarly to the DX220 with the new Mango player app, there is a small graph showing the digital audio filters differences – a nice touch. Anyway, the true changes will be achieved using the Equalizer. Again, the Mango app offers two equalization systems, Graphic and Parametric. On the Graphic Equalizer there are six options, five EQ presets and one Custom; all of them can be still adjusted by user’s preference by simple touch on the frequency. graph. The frequency band is wide, with 10 frequencies from 33Hz up to 16kHz in a 12dB -/+ range. A nice feature is that the graph curve will change when adjusting each band. There is a small volume drop when enabling the Graphic EQ to apparently avoid channel distortion. The Parametric Equalizer (or PMEQ) is more interesting and much more complex that requires more time to fully understand, but will give a most precise tuning. As it should work like the DX220, so the same manual (to be found online) will properly explain how to use it.

As usual, for the sake of the review the sound impressions and comparisons were done without EQ options and using the Mango player App preinstalled.

For a mid-tier player the iBasso DX160 performance is excellent, making it worth its price tag with key features over some of the competition. An ‘all-rounder’ presentation would be the most proper what to describe the sound out of the DX160, pairing with different types of gears from IEMs to over-ear headphones. It is fairly balanced and linear, but not flat or too reference tuned with that cold, clinical approach; but rather, puts a very good overall balance without emphasizing a certain frequency or adding much coloration. There is fullness on notes with a more natural timbre, and probably the most natural among these mid-fi priced DAPs, which only gives up on some transparency in exchange for extra touch of musicality. It also adds better texture and layering without losing in clarity. Moreover, the DX160 stands out having greater dynamics and a wider surrounding effect. The low-end extends well and effortlessly; there is a slight touch of added warmth that does give a bit more body to the lower instruments yet keeps a very good layering and separation. Control and speed are very good as well. Mid-bass has a slight more priority over the sub-bass which results a bit lighter; it shows good rumble just less depth. Midrange is mostly neutral to slightly forward depending on the pairing; with more v-shaped sets then it just less distant and more even. There is almost no coloration but richer texture, and focus in giving better resolution and greater dynamics. It is at expenses of total precision and transparency, though still all accurate and detailed. Highs balance is as good as with the low-end, well textured and energetic enough. Not as resolving as the flagship tier level of the DX220, and not most natural but yes more enjoyable than the treble on the R5 with the same CS43198 DAC. The layering and treble dynamics are well achieved, completing the touch of ‘musicality’ the DX160 tends to offer, less linear or reference-like, more rounded and very controlled where sibilance or harshness are less perceived. Extension is pretty much equal to the lows, so quite good for a mid-fi range. Soundstage is a key feature on the DX160, and the most expansive among the various mid-tier DAPs compared. It easily offers the best width with more equal depth and height. In fact, it is not far from the DX220 impressive level of large stage presentation. It also has a more realistic imaging and accurate positioning of elements.

The balanced output on the DX160 which is now Pentaconn 4.4mm brings the expected results. On the technical side, there is the usual jump in power, with output level of 6.4Vrms, twice the single ended output. Also, the matching listening volume level is lower by at least 10 steps, depending on the gears used. The real improvements are clearly in terms of dynamic range, greater separation with an even wider and more spacious staging. The sound presentation is more even, open, and well, more ‘balanced’. It also is ‘less forward’ than out of the single-ended out, with better and more effortless extension. With very sensitive IEMs it can result in an extra boost in bass and treble, but otherwise it is easy to recommend if applicable and when battery time is less critical.


HiBy R5

The R5 is probably the closest rival of the DX160. Not only both retail at same price, but also share the same Cirrus Dual DAC CS43198, same dual output options of single 3.5mm and 4.4mm balanced, Android 8.1 OS and all multiple wireless functions, WiFi and Two-way Bluetooth. Build quality is solid on both devices and similar in weight too. Then, they differ in clear physical dimensions being the R5 the most compact out of full Android based players, while the DX160 retains the same excellent wide 5” touch screen introduced with the current flagship DX220. On other internal hardware components, the R5 has the advantage in speed with a faster Snapdragon processor but limited to a lower ROM of just 16GB. The DX160 doubles to 32GB but then is not as fast as the R5. While the R5 arrives with preinstalled Google Play app, it can now also be installed on the DX160.

In terms of sound, both players have immediate similarities in the technical level and a few cons as well; not that surprising, having the same audio DAC component. The detail, resolution, speed and precision are pretty much equal. However, the presentations are differently tuned. The R5 is more average to narrow in soundstage, a bit more linear, cooler and drier in the midrange. It has also a bit more dense texture. The sub-bass is greater on the R5 too, while the mid-bass less emphasized. Treble is sparkly though not the best in quality. On the other hand, the DX160 wins with a wider staging, a bit more open and spacious. It is more musical, especially in the mids, more dynamic but then a tad less accurate. Mid-bass is more focused with less depth on the sub-bass. Treble is better tuned too, more natural and forgiving. Using closed headphones or IEMs, the differences are less noticed, but easier to notice with more open designs.

Shanling M5s

Before the release of the new M6, the M5s was Shanling’s flagship player. There are not just obvious differences on the outside design, but in the hardware and software applied. For a non-Android based device the M5s is very fast in interface response, and still much less accurate when trying to browse through the various menus. The DX160 is smoother and more comfortable to operate, even not being the fastest in its price bracket.

Sound wise differences are easier to pick than against the above R5. The M5s is more neutral and more linear, less lively and dynamic, but more focused in accuracy and detail. Stage is wide on the M5s but the DX160 is even greater in all dimensions. Bass is shier and lighter on the M5s, though also tighter, while the DX160 is more bodied and forward, especially in mid-bass with more rumble. The midrange is similarly forward on both; however, the DX160 is richer and more musical, whereas on the M5s is a bit drier. Treble is even more different – the M5s is just smooth and much less emphasized, making it darker sounding next to the more lively and energetic treble on the DX160. The M5s still has a more natural treble texture, while the DX160 is still better than the R5.


The most interesting comparison is obviously against the own iBasso flagship player, the DX220 with stock AMP1 (MK2). Does the DX160 sound is a good as the twice priced DX220? Well, no, but it has been tuned to offer a very close (maybe too close) presentation with similar strong key features, like the extension and very wide soundstage, fullness and musicality. If comparing with IEMs or closed portable headphones, differences (or improvements) will be less obvious. The DX220 has better layering and further extension on both ends. It sounds more neutral in the midrange, less forward and leaner for a greater sense of space and air. The detail is presented more effortlessly too. However, in terms of value, then the DX160 has the upper hand and is more portable with the same great screen; unless you need or want the exchangeable amp modules. With both players on their latest firmware upgrades, the system speed is similar, though the DX160 runs a bit smoother, while the Bluetooth range is better on the DX220.

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Single ended 3.5mm output:

qdc Anole VX

Like with the DX220, the pairing is still limited to the 3.5mm single ended output, until I get a proper cable for the qdc’s. Even with all switches off on the Anole VX, there is a strong bass presence, with a warmer tonality. Midrange is a tad forward than neutral and a bit thicker. The treble is sparkly and extends to all what the DX160 is capable of. Soundstage has more width than depth. To be fair, the sound is not as high-end level as when paired with the DX220, although does stand out for its price. The VX shows that DX160 is not a totally neutral, reference DAP, but yes a balanced one with a touch of added fun factor.

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final E5000

Single dynamic in-ear that with just ~6.4mm driver diameter has a reality low sensitivity for just an IEM and requires greater power to sound best. The DX160 is plenty powerful to drive the E5000 and pairs quite well. Bass is impactful yet controlled and not overwhelming. The midrange sounds clean, forward and more bodied. Treble is more energetic despite the laid-back nature of the E5000. Wide soundstage.

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Dunu DK-3001 Pro

While the DK-3001 Pro arrives with all the possible plug adapters, with the DX160 I found using just the 3.5mm single-ended output to sound more enjoyable. The DK3001 Pro has a bit of midrange forward sound. The DX160 adds the extra layers of bass, more punch and texture, as well as more treble presence, maintaining a forward, very rich midrange. Soundstage is about average, but tonality is very natural.

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Custom Art Fibae 3

The Fibae 3 is a right example that shows the less neutral and more dynamic sound of the DX160. It is a very linear IEM with a reference tuning, brighter tone and impressive detail. Synergy with the DX160 is superb. There is a very solid low-end, more dynamic but with the speed and detail the Fibae 3 can present. Midrange is richer, especially more in the low-mids. Treble is still bright and well extended. The presentation is very airy and actually reaches a wide stage with just the 3.5mm single-end port.

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Balanced 4.4mm output:

Dita Audio Twins

The DX160 benefits well both Dita Twins, but my preference in this case goes for the Fealty. There are very good dynamics, more lively, all-rounder presentation, bass power and richer midrange. The highs are not completely smooth, peak free, but there is very good extension. If available, the 4.4mm plug for the Dita cable will give better results, especially a wider and open staging.

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iBasso IT04

Still the current flagship earphone from iBasso, the IT04 works as good reference when trying different DAPs and a must if it is an iBasso DAP. Unlike the DX220 with a stock 2.5mm balanced output, a small adapter is needed for the DX160 or if you prefer, a 4.4mm terminated cable. The IT04 still performs greater with the DX220, a cleaner, smoother, more organic sound overall with expansive soundstage. With the DX160, the 4.4mm balanced is also recommended to bring best results out of the IT04. Bass is impactful, with more mid-bass elevation, and good speed and well textured with that graphene driver; deep and rumbly sub-bass too when called for. Midrange is full, and more forward versus the DX220 pairing, especially in vocals or upper string instruments sounding crunchier, but not as layered and resolving. Width and depth are very good. Treble is not as refined, a bit aggressive and not completely harshness free. Some quick EQ can help, or even better small added impedance adapter to smooth down and give more body to the sound.

Sendy Audio Aiva

Between both Hiby players, R6 Pro and R5, I already preferred the R5 synergy with the planar Aiva, not for the technical abilities, but simply for the tonality and less bright signature. With the DX160, the results are similar, though the DX160 benefits the Aiva even more: it has the soundstage the Aiva may need and a better treble control, yet not completely forgiving but at least smoother.

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Pros: Stunning screen and fast UI
Outstanding value for money
Very competitive performance
Low end weight and impact
Small and slim form factor
Cons: No burn-in cable included
Less than holographic soundstage (compared with much more expensive DAP's)
The Ace In The Pack:
A Layman’s review of the DX160 Digital Audio Player (DAP) by iBasso


I would like to begin by thanking Paul and the team at iBasso for their hard work and for providing me with a DX160 in return for an honest review.

DX160 details from the iBasso website:
(the player isn’t yet listed on the site, but keep checking back to this main page).

Official Head-Fi thread for all details and discussion regarding the DX160:

The DX160 is the new portable DAP by iBasso.

Pricing at the time of writing was $399 which I would say places it – financially speaking - somewhere around the upper part of the low-end range or the lowest part of mid-end range of DAP prices.


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Appearance and build:

The previous flagship DX200 had a more polarising industrial aesthetic which proved mildly divisive among fans of the DAP.
I wasn’t a big fan personally (with respect accorded to those who disagree with me!) but I much preferd the relatively more sleek and elegant styling of the new DX220.

Well, I personally feel with the DX160 that iBasso have hit it out of the park appearance-wise! Compared with the rest of iBasso’s DAP line-up (excepting the DX120), it’s much more slimline and easy to fit into a pocket, and with its rounded edges and corners, this is a player that is designed for comfort both in the pocket and in the hand.

It’s got a black classy glassy-looking back panel with the logo in silver.
NB: mine is the black model, other colours (and special editions) are – or have been – available.
It has a huge, gorgeous touchscreen that fills the whole front of the device with only a very slim bezel at the bottom and an almost bezel-less construction at the sides and top.
The screen is 1080p and flawless; the best screen out of all their devices so far.

The volume wheel – in a beautifully contrasting gold colour - feels excellent in use; highly responsive and with tactile clicks as you go up or down (matched with an expanding/shrinking circular on-screen graphic with numbers). I did find that when putting the DX160 (with no case) into a tight jeans front pocket, the volume would creep up as I walked around. However, putting it in a looser pocket (e.g. the one in my jacket inside pocket) or a tight fitting case solved this issue completely.

The DX160 also comes with a practical transparent silicone sleeve.
The play/pause and navigation buttons along the side are easy to distinguish from one another by touch and the ‘Power’ switch is located on the top of the DAP.

At this point, I need to give a shout-out to the accessories and the package as a whole.
It’s very comprehensive, with a wide array of tips, the aforementioned silicone sleeve, the charging cable and so forth; all the usual things we’ve come to expect from an iBasso DAP release.
The regard for these small details, which are actually quite important in daily use, are a testament to their attention to detail.

The only thing I missed was having a burn-in cable; I suspect the reason for the omission is that they have eliminated the 2.5mm socket on this DAP (which is what the burn-in cable uses) in favour of a 4.4mm socket. I suspect 4.4mm jacks are significantly more expensive than 2.5mm ones, and so this omission may be a permanent thing?
Would love to see an option to have or buy a 4.4mm burn-in cable going forwards, or a 2.5mm burn-in cable included, along with a 2.5 – 4.4mm adaptor.

The touchscreen covers almost the entire front face of the DAP with only a thin bezel around the edge. It is bright, detailed, an outstanding feature of this DAP, and I found it to be fast and responsive in daily use.

In terms of the User Interface (UI), I have found nothing to fault.
Unlike other iBasso DAPs, this one is purely Android-based (sporting Android 8.1 I believe) with the Mango music player app. So, no ‘Pure Mango’ non-Android mode here.
I miss the Pure Mango mode, but the DX160 is iBasso’s fastest and most responsive DAP yet and I cannot imagine anyone finding fault with this UI.

Battery life is comparatively good, and an improvement over the DX220; I got around 8 hours playing predominantly 16/44 FLAC files on 4.4mm balanced. Check on the Head-Fi threads for other people’s tests and comparisons.

Usability and UI:

Now, as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I am something of a Luddite when it comes to DAPs.
I simply want to put files onto a micro-SD card and play them on the default Mango app.
No streaming, no Bluetooth, no apps, no EQ.
I would advise people craving such things to follow the link I posted at the beginning to the main discussion thread for this DAP on Head-Fi.
I’m not going to lie and pretend the DX160 works flawlessly with those things; it probably does – feedback on the threads regarding such issues varies - but I honestly haven’t the faintest clue how to use any of them; I’m all about the music.
I’m here for a good time, not a long time :p

In my case, since I am just looking for the best sound quality possible, allied with an attractive appearance and quality build, I have no complaints.

The Sound:

For the purposes of this review, I used the iBasso DX160 with a variety of different IEMs, along with comparisons to a couple more DAPs.

All components have had over 200 hours of burn-in by now, for those for whom such things are A Big Deal.

The IEMs used in this review were:
The Stealth Sonics U9 IEM (a TOTL performer costing $1100), with a dynamic driver for the lows, plus 2 BA’s for the mids, 2 for the highs, and 4 for the super-highs(!).
It features a very large and holographic soundstage, an endlessly extended, pure and crystalline treble, delicate mids and a low end that’s only very slightly above neutral but can still sometimes surprise with depth and power. Detail retrieval and technical performance are world-class.

The Stealth Sonics U4, with a very smooth, silky, rich and warm signature; marvellously musical, with a remarkable ability to let me hear and experience all the micro-details in a song without drawing my attention away from the enjoyment of the song as a whole.
A technical performance that – whilst admittedly not TOTL – is still excellent.
Indeed, its rich, syrupy tone is deceptive in this regard; it leaves one imagining that this IEM will be all about the feelings and fun, but it continually surprises me with how good its technical performance actually is!

The Empire Ears Phantom – a unique tuning, with a focus on faithful presentation of timbre. It has marvellous separation and clarity, with a warm, rich and dark tonality.
There’s something of a feeling of a ‘veil’ across the mids (I think this is just an artefact of its tuning) which generally disappears after a short while with ‘brain burn-in’.
Whilst this IEM is very good technically, its focus is more on timbre and tone

And iBasso's own IT01 and IT04 IEM's.

I’ll be comparing the DX160 with DX220 & AMP 1 Mk II.

DX160 with AMP1 Mk II vs DX200 with AMP1:

Well, I should start with a bit of preamble by briefly discussing iBasso’s DX220, which is the DAP I shall be comparing the DX160 to.
Compared with the DX220’s predecessor (the DX200), I welcomed the excellent sound quality and improved styling and UI speed, even more so when I could use a big variety of AMP units and the price was a steal in comparison to other high level DAPs.

Opinions varied on Head-Fi and beyond as to whether it could really compete with other TOTL DAPs equally, or whether it was in fact superior, or was just a DAP that got close enough to the TOTL ones (at a fraction of the cost) to make it a worthwhile consideration.

Personally, prior to AMP8, I would have put it into the first or the last category. With AMP8, and even more so my modded AMP8W (and other modded AMP8 units), I feel it is now at a level where it should genuinely be able to compete - on equal or superior terms - in sound quality with pretty much any other DAP on the market.
I’ve listened to A&K’s flagship offerings, tested the DX220 vs Sony’s flagship W1MZ DAP (which costs 3.5 times the price of the DX220) and I didn’t feel it came off any worse in either instance. As with most cases at the TOTL level, it simply comes down to one’s personal preferences for sound.

So to some extent, you could say it’s somewhat unfair to compare the DX160 with the DX220, as we’re talking a flagship TOTL DAP vs a mid-tier priced model.
Having said that, the same argument could perhaps be said about me comparing the DX220 with the Sony W1MZ, but as I found, it managed to hold its own just fine.
So let’s start here and see what we find.

I’m going to be employing my tried and tested method of listening to a variety of favoured critical listening tracks and A/B testing one DAP vs the other for each track, noting down my thoughts, and then drawing conclusions at the end.

DX160 vs DX220 (AMP 1 Mk II):
Comparison using Empire Ears Phantom (2.5mm with 4.4mm adaptor for DX160):

Dead Prez - Hip Hop (16/44 FLAC)

DX220: slightly wider soundstage, slightly better handling of transients

DX160: More bass impact and rumble, a bit more definition to the percussion

Taylor Swift - Tim McGraw (16/44 FLAC)

DX220: More holographic soundstage, superior timbre, superior presentation of transients and decay.

DX160: Superior impact and physicality, vocals slightly more forward, a bit more thickness and richness to the vocals.

James Taylor - September Grass (16/44 FLAC)

DX220: more holographic soundstage. More accurate timbre

DX160: Stronger mid bass presence. Consequently, a bit more vocal warmth and richness, although timbre is more accurate on DX220. Fingertips thrumming on something (bongo drum or guitar body?) have more impact and physicality and stand out more.

Paul Simon - The Coast (24/96 HDTracks FLAC)

DX220: increased separation, more holographic soundstage, improved layering and imaging.
Superior timbre. More shimmer and musicality to the stringed instruments at the beginning. Again, superior handling of transients and decay.

DX160: Inferior in every way. Sorry :p

Eric Clapton - Lonely Stranger (Unplugged, 16/44 FLAC):

More neutral tonality. Less warmth and richness.
Better separation, layering and imaging.
Prefer the openness of the sound here and the technical performance, but the DX160 is more musical and enjoyable on this track; its greater mid bass presence adds a lovely warmth and richness to the track, and the intimate feeling - in this case - is well-suited to the track.

Lots of gorgeous physicality to the finger picked guitar.
Warmth and richness, lovely vocal timbre (rich again).
Vocals slightly recessed? Centre at most.
Lots of richness in the timbre of the instruments.
In the case of this track, it makes the timbre overall sound more lifelike and emotionally engaging.
Comparatively intimate staging.

DX160 vs DX220 (with EE Phantom IEM) key findings:
Fans of a more intimate, warm and rich sound signature will prefer the DX160; those whose preference is for a more neutral signature with a tinge of musicality and great technical abilities will delight in the DX220.

DX160 vs DX220 (with Stealth Sonics U9 IEM):

Dead Prez - Hip Hop (16/44 FLAC)

DX220: Big soundstage, slightly better handling of transients, not much bass rumble (considering how much is present in the track itself). Good impact and dynamics. Good vocal timbre. Tight, cohesive sound.

DX160: More bass impact and rumble, reduced soundstage height and depth.
Vocals less detailed in timbre, but good body and presence. Prefer the increased sub-bass rumble and texture and more full-bodied vocals with the DX160, but DX220 wins out on technical performance.

Taylor Swift - Tim McGraw (16/44 FLAC)

DX220: More holographic soundstage, superior timbre, vocals sound better, pretty much everything sounds better.

DX160: Very good, just not as good as DX220.
Little bit more thickness to the vocals, but less high-end extension. Soundstage fairly wide, but not very high. Medium depth.

James Taylor - September Grass (16/44 FLAC)

DX220: more holographic soundstage. Increased separation and improvement in imaging. Slightly more crisp; sharper note edges and slightly superior presentation of transients and decay.
Slightly less bass rumble and presence.
On this track, the superior soundstage, separation and imaging seem to just lift the track and actually make it more musically enjoyable; that lovely shimmer of the U9 is given a stage upon which to shine enchantingly.
Overall, the edge definitely goes to the DX220 here.

DX160: Stronger mid bass presence along with an attendant increase in vocal warmth and richness, although timbre is slightly more accurate on DX220.
The U9 is a DD hybrid; as such, I’m finding the differences in tactility and physicality between these two DAPs less pronounced with this IEM.

Paul Simon - The Coast (24/96 HDTracks FLAC)

DX220: increased separation, more holographic soundstage, improved layering and imaging.
Superior timbre. More shimmer and musicality to the stringed instruments at the beginning. Again, superior handling of transients and decay.

DX160: Percussion has more solidity, tactility and impact, more sub-bass rumble.
Lovely shimmering musicality to the guitar, engendered by the increased warmth in the DX160’s midrange.
The track generally sounds more enjoyable on the DX160, although I’d give the DX220 the edge in terms of technical performance, although the difference here is far less than when listening with the Phantom.

Marit Larsen - Faith & Science (16/44 FLAC):

Again, a more holographic soundstage with a noticeable increase in height, that opens up the track very nicely and gives room for everything to shine.
Vocal shrillness/sharpness is not present here.
Slightly less sub-bass depth to the opening kick-drum than on the DX160, but still manages to draw out a comparatively excellent amount of slam and visceral response from the DD’s of the U9.

More sub-bass depth to the kick-drum, but roughly equal amounts of impact and slam. Noticeable decrease in soundstage height and holography.
Surprisingly, the vocals on this track (which are relatively high-pitched) present more sharply and fatiguing than on the DX220. This may indicate a lift somewhere in the tuning of the upper-mids or lower treble on the DX160.

Eric Clapton - Lonely Stranger (Unplugged, 16/44 FLAC):

A delightfully significant amount of tactility and impact to the acoustic bass, guitar fingerpicking, taps to the guitar body, foot tapping and so forth.
Excellent timbre. Great sustain and decay, including on the piano in the background.
Vocals slightly forward and to the left.
Good vocal timbre, very slight lack of body/richness.
More neutral tonality. Less warmth and richness.

Lots of gorgeous physicality to the finger picked guitar.
Warmth and richness, although a slight decrease in the technical accuracy of the presentation of timbre.
Vocals centrally situated and slightly forward.
More warmth and richness to the vocals here, which is nice, although slightly less accurate in timbre again.

Again, a more intimate presentation due to the less holographic soundstage and somewhat decreased separation. Whilst this worked synergistically with the Phantom, with the U9/DX220 combination I found it opens things up and just lets the natural musical shimmer and cohesiveness of these IEMs shine through more.

DX160 vs DX220 (with Stealth Sonics U9 IEM) key findings:
If you like a more intimate and warm influence on the presentation of your IEMs, then the DX160 will probably suit you more. It offers a bit more note thickness and richness, increased sub-bass depth and impact and slightly more mid-bass warmth. It can be very musically enjoyable and engaging.

Those looking for their DAP to bring qualities of technical excellence, shimmer, holographic soundstage, expansive separation and good dynamics will probably lean more towards the DX220 - if their budget allows!

DX160 vs Sony ZX300 (with Stealth Sonics U9 IEM):

Dead Prez - Hip Hop (16/44 FLAC)

Not bad, but its smoother and more organic sound is less suited to this kind of track.

DX160: More bass impact and rumble, a bit more definition to the percussion. Superior dynamics more suitable to this track.

Taylor Swift - Tim McGraw (16/44 FLAC)

Very nice cohesiveness and delightfully balanced sounding presentation. No sharpness in the treble or vocals. Quite dynamic, but still smooth and non-fatiguing.
Excellent tactility. Vocals dead centre, but still slightly emphasised, having a little more ‘pop’ to them.

DX160: Soundstage immediately strikes me as being wider, although not higher or deeper, and separation doesn’t seem correspondingly bigger. Vocals centre and slightly forward. Less smooth, but similar in dynamics, and more energetic overall.

James Taylor - September Grass (16/44 FLAC)

More holographic soundstage. More accurate timbre. Good transients and decay. More tactility. Brings out the musicality of the U9.
Less through its technical performance than the DX220, and also not so much due to an increase warmth and richness as with the DX160 (although some of that is present here). It just seems to have a black background and an organic smoothness that has great synergy with the U9 on this track and allows it to shine.

Stronger mid bass presence and perhaps more treble extension. Again, somewhat more energetic and warm than the ZX300.

Paul Simon - The Coast (24/96 HDTracks FLAC)

ZX300: Slightly smaller soundstage (but what’s there is holographic, with good separation).
Less energetic and dynamic, more organic and smooth.
Again, the somewhat organic sound signature seems to complement the tonality of the U9 nicely.
Vocals centre, slightly recessed. Not popping out much.
OK vocal timbre.

DX160: Wider soundstage and a bit better separation of instruments. More sub-bass depth and extension to the hand-struck drum about 12 seconds in. Guitars sound a bit more shimmery, with nicer timbre.
Vocals centre, slightly left. Decent vocal timbre.

Eric Clapton - Lonely Stranger (Unplugged, 16/44 FLAC):

Slightly less tactility and impact, and also less bass rumble and depth. Less dynamic. Smoother though, and also nicely musical. Vocals slightly more forward and with equal or better timbre.

Lots of gorgeous physicality to the finger picked guitar.
Warmth and richness, lovely vocal timbre (rich again).
Vocals slightly recessed? Centre at most.
As in previous comparisons, lots of richness in the timbre of the instruments.
In the case of this track, it makes the timbre overall sound more lifelike and emotionally engaging.
Comparatively intimate staging.

Marit Larsen - Faith & Science (16/44 FLAC):

Suits this track pretty well.
DX160 wins on bass impact and rumble, and greater dynamics, but ZX300 does well in taming the peaky treble and high-pitched vocals, without losing the energy and musicality of the song.

As before, more sub-bass depth to the kick-drum, but roughly equal amounts of impact and slam. Vocals on this track (which are relatively high-pitched) present slightly more sharply and fatiguingly than on the ZX300.

The Ataris - Summer ’79 (16/44 FLAC):

Strangely, seems more fatiguing on this track than on the DX160. For other details, see below.
I think the increased separation on the DX160 helps it to handle this track slightly better, in that when it’s already feeling peaky and sharp to me, the last thing I want is any feeling of congestion as well.

The bass rumble on this track is tuned quite neutrally; as such both the ZX300 and the DX160 - along with the relatively neutrally tuned low end of the U9 - don’t have a whole lot to work with and the track sounds slightly unsatisfactory. You get the crunch and sharpness of the electric guitars and percussion, but without the meaty rumble of the bass to balance it out.

Limp Bizkit - My Generation (16/44 FLAC):

Drum solo intro has delightful timbre and is dynamic and involving. However, it lacks the rumble and slam that really would make it shine - again, as much due to the tuning of the U9 as that of the DAP.
Guitars have crunch and energy. Song is engaging and dynamic.


Hmm. A bit more sub-bass depth and rumble here than on the ZX300; more dynamic and energetic again. Cymbals pop more with good decay.
The DX160 presents a more meaty low end than the ZX300 here, which creates more synergy with this track.

Handel: Il Trionfo del tempo… sung by Alison Lau (24/96 HDTracks FLAC):

Instruments sound a bit lacking in depth and body, due to the less rich and warm sound signature, but the organic and smooth tone still keep them sounding appealing and certainly helps to bring out the best in the vocal performance. Never shrill or sharp, but with good timbre and engaging emotion.

Highs are not too sharp, which is always a risk on this track. The singer has talent and can go both soaringly high and surprisingly low at will (and does!).
Decent timbre, richness and musicality with the stringed instruments.

DX160 vs Sony ZX300 (with U9 IEM) key findings:
Again, fans of a more intimate, warm and rich sound signature will prefer the DX160; those whose preference is for a more smooth and organic signature will probably lean more towards the ZX300. Also, DX160 presents as more dynamic and energetic, contrasting with the smoothness of the ZX300 and its comparatively more controlled and balanced sound signature.

A few other IEMs with the DX160 (briefer summaries):

iBasso IT01 (1 DD):

Hmm. So this one is a case of the ‘doubling-down’ effect.
You’ve basically got an IEM which has a medium sized soundstage (compared at least – somewhat unfairly - with my other, much more expensive IEMs) and a pretty L-shaped sound signature; big low-end, full of rumble and impact, with the remainder of the sound signature tuned relatively neutrally, albeit tinged with warm from the low end.

As we’ve discussed, a huge holographic soundstage is not one of the key features of the DX160. It also has a somewhat similar sound signature to the IT01, being relatively neutral, but with something of an increase in low end presence that also adds a tinge of warmth through to the mids.

So if you are a huge fan of that kind of sound, then this combo will be delightful (and comparatively cheaply available) for you.
Otherwise, I’d suggest each of the DX160 and the IT01 will find better synergies when paired with products that offer something a little different in sound signature.

iBasso IT04 (1 DD + 3 x BA hybrid):

As one might perhaps expect, a delightful synergy with iBasso’s DX160.
I personally like bass and some warmth and richness in my IEMs.
I think the IT04 is an excellent IEM – I reviewed it previously – but always wished for a little more presence, rumble and warmth in the low end.
Well, the DX160 helps to contribute that, and in turn, the DX106’s slightly less-than-holographic soundstage is boosted in all directions by that of the IT04. Win.
Treble shimmer is diminished somewhat in comparison with running the IT04 on the DX220, but there’s still plenty of treble extension and air, and that lovely musicality is still there in spades :)

Stealth Sonics U4 (4 x BA – one of which is an extra-large custom BA for the low end):
Listened to the Handel opera piece, sung by Hong Kong soprano Alison Lau.
This combination is astonishingly good. No sharpness in the vocals, GORGEOUS richness and timbre in both the vocals and the stringed orchestral instruments.
Listened to most of the other test tracks too.

What I hear is a reasonably wide soundstage; not much height and average depth, and decent – but not exceptional – separation.
It’s definitely a more intimate presentation, and the DX160 doesn’t quite display the full
strength of the U4’s technical abilities in the way that the DX220 can.

It’s also got impact, rumble and slam in abundance when required; one of the best I’ve ever heard on an all-BA IEM, and the DX160 presents that quality at its best.
However, the strength here is the synergy with the sound signature of the DX160 and the U4. You’re doubling down on the richness, timbre, gorgeous musicality and effortless enjoyment.

Some may find it too much (or prefer to rotate with other IEMs and play this one when they have the mood), but for my tastes (and unlike with the IT01), it’s an addictive combination that puts a huge smile on my face and lets me sink blissfully into the music, and has become my main daily go-to combination.
And you can’t get much more of a recommendation than that, can you? :p


The DAP is relatively neutral with a bit of warmth coming through from the solid and slightly emphasised low-end presence, that expresses itself both in sub-bass depth and impact, as well as rumble.
It’s a comparatively dynamic and energetic tuning too; nothing overboard, but it gives a lot of scope for musicality and enjoyment!

How suitable this DAP is for you – price points aside – is going to depend on the IEMs you want to pair with it, along with your own personal preferences.

If you’ve got a pair of IEMs that you wish were a bit more dynamic or impactful in the low end for example, then this is going to pair up marvellously.
Or if you’ve got an IEM that is already dynamic and impactful in the low end, but somehow you just can’t stop craving MOAR, then again, this is for you :D

I found that there seemed to be a pretty clear difference when using – for example – the EE Phantom with DX220 and DX160.
If you are after a more holographic and technical performance, the combination with the DX220 will probably suit you more.

However, if you love the timbre and musicality of the Phantom (and I imagine that most owners – like myself – will have bought it for those exact reasons) then actually the DX160 has a very nice synergy with the Phantom and may in fact be a combination that you end up preferring.

With a more neutral-reference style TOTL tuning, with the expected extended crystalline treble and fairly neutral low end, again it depends on whether you want to double down on those qualities, or exploit them to make up for the DX160’s comparative deficits in this area (note that I mean deficit in comparison to a TOTL DAP; in itself, at its price point, it has very good technical performance).
If you fall into the latter category, you’ll find that you can still get most – if not all – of the benefits of that TOTL sound signature, but with the bonus of a bit of added warm, impact and low-end goodness thrown into the mix.

Summary (TL; DR):

Here you’re getting a player, with a fairly neutral and natural sound signature, that has a slightly lifted low-end – with a decent, but not excessive, amount of impact and rumble -and a tinge of warmth, combined with a dynamic and energetic sound signature.

This all comes in a delightfully slim and light form factor, with solid build and construction and a screen and UI that are top notch at this – or indeed most – price points.
Speaking of price points, again – as is so common with iBasso gear – you’ve got a product that seems to perform very well both in and above its price bracket.

I’ve compared it to the DX220 – a $900 flagship DAP that can rival most other TOTL DAPs on the market – and Sony’s excellent ZX300, which costs $700 new and sits firmly at the upper end of the mid-range tier of DAPs in price terms.

Here we have a $399 product, with a superior screen that is competitive in sound quality with those much more expensive DAPs.

I personally feel it would be disingenuous to suggest that it’s on the level of the DX220 or only very slightly behind, and there’s absolutely no shame in that of course; the DX220 is iBasso’s current flagship and a TOTL performer that can mix it with the best of the current offerings in the market.

On probably the majority of the tracks I listened to – with any IEMs – the DX220 came out decisively on top. However, there were times and tracks where I actually preferred the DX160 and others where the differences were less pronounced. I would be surprised if I could find similar results with many other DAPs in the $399 price bracket!

I didn’t have identically priced DAPs with which to compare the DX160, but again it’s a credit to the DX160 that it was able to even compete with the other DAPs I own.

For those – like me – that are looking for a DAP with great portability, good battery life, great screen and UI, that they can just plug a micro-SD card into and get on with enjoying their music, I cannot recommend the DX160 enough. It’s superb value for money and a hugely enjoyable performer.
@Paul - iBasso Thanks for dropping by and clarifying this! Excellent customer service as always :)
@Layman1 Thanks for the review, congratulations. I have the DX160 and in fact I find it well beyond its value, of course DX220 is superior (didn't even make sense) hehehe, but I don't think it's too far away either.
glad to find out about why Ibasso doesn't have it on the site...that confused me too for a device that is out and many people are reviewing...
Pros: price, beautiful 5” high res display, Mango v2 app w/PEQ, BT 5.0 (LDAC, aptX), fast charging, MQA support, wide soundstage, resolving, neutral, natural tonality.
Cons: not the strongest BT performance, the same Rockchip SOC (as in older models).

The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion. The review was originally posted on my site, and now I would like to share it with my readers on Head-fi.

Manufacturer website: iBasso.

*** A concern was raised about BT and WiFi performance by users in DX160 thread on Head-fi, and iBasso acknowledged it with a reply they are working to investigate it. My review is based on the unit I received where I only experienced a shorter Bluetooth distance (20-25ft, instead of a typical 50ft), and iBasso explained this is due to BT Class 2 chip they are using.


I find every new DAP release from iBasso to be a surprise, and not only because it is usually unexpected, but also because it turns into a guessing game around the model number. iBasso doesn't just randomly assigns DX number. Instead, lots of thought goes behind placing the new model in a lineup of their existing DAPs. Right after the latest announcement, everybody started to speculate because DX160 comes after DX150. Could it be an upgrade of their "budget" Android modular model? Will it cost more than DX150, with a price tag higher than $500? Turned out to be neither.

If I would to describe the first thought that ran through my mind when I got DX160 in my hands, it felt like a crossover between feature packed Android-based DX220 flagship and slim’n’slick non-modular DX120. It was a surprise that iBasso announced their new Android-based DAP to be non-modular, though it also allowed them to slim it down while keeping the output power (per spec) on the same level as AMP1ii and AMP8. But spec is just a number. Now, after spending the last month testing DX160 (and answering multiple dozens of questions on Head-fi), I’m ready to share about what I found.


Unboxing and Accessories.

DX160 arrived in a small compact box, nearly identical in size and design to the one with DX120. I always look at the box from a different perspective, and perhaps iBasso tried to make a statement here that DX220 with its bigger box is still the flagship (or maybe I’m just reading too much into this lol!!!). But either way, you have a sturdy cardboard sleeve with iBasso logo and the spec on the back, and a box with a magnetic cover inside the sleeve.

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Inside the box, everything is nicely partitioned and organized to keep DX160 secure during transport, along with accessories and documentation. Besides DX160, you get a premium quality USB-C cable, 2 sets of film screen protector, quick start guide, warranty card, HDtracks card, and MQA card to remind you DX160 supports MQA full unfolding in hardware.

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The case was included as well, but unlike DX150/200/220 leather cases which added some bulk to the DAP, to keep DX160 slim iBasso included a clear TPU case. In my personal opinion, that was a right move. Besides being slim, the transparency of the case allows to see the actual design without any bulk. The case has a secure grip, covers the back and the sides, has a generous opening for headphone and USB ports, access to micro SD card, and volume wheel. Playback buttons and power button are covered, and still allow easy operation and the feel of tactile response. The TPU case is a bit slippery, though it does enhance the grip, protects DX160 from scratches, and even from minor drops and bumps since it wraps around the corners and display edges.

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Coming off DX150/200/220, DX160 is a lot slimmer and more comfortable in your hand, especially when you are comparing all these DAPs in their corresponding stock cases. But you also have to keep in mind, those are modular designs which add extra bulk. DX160 is not as small and slick as DX120, but bigger size is expected due to a full Android DAP with 5” display. Despite its 5” hi-res (1080x1920, selected in Setting as 1080p or 720p) Sharp screen, iBasso designed DX160 alloy-aluminum chassis to fit display edge to edge, without any wasted space. The overall size of DX160 is 113mm x 69mm x 15mm. The weight of 178g feels light in my hand as well. Once power is on, the display with its rich colors and high resolution is definitely an eye candy.


Top of the DAP has USB-C port in the middle for USB charging, data transfer, and USB DAC connection. Next to it is a power button, with the usual long press for power on/off, and short press for display on/off. Left side of the DAP has spring loaded microSD card slot, supporting up to a usual 2TB flash cards. At the bottom you have 4.4mm Balanced headphone port, and next to it a multi-function 3.5mm port selectable as headphone, line out, or SPDIF. On the right side you have a new golden slick low profile volume wheel, and hardware playback control buttons with skip and play/pause. The back of DX160 has a curved glass panel.

While DX160 has a simple slick design, it still has a distinct personality with golden external accent disks around headphone ports, golden slim volume wheel with slightly raised top/bottom guards around it, slick glass back, and a gorgeous bezel-less display (16.7 million colors, 445PPI retina fine display).

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Under the hood.

Inside, iBasso decided to take a break from the usual AKM and ESS DACs, using a dual CS43198 DAC. But after this break, went back to their good-old Rockchip Octa Core processor. I confirmed AnTuTu 3D benchmark score to be on par with DX220, no surprises here, even so DX160 has 2GB of RAM. I know, the performance score is not as high as what I have seen with other Snapdragon and Exynos DAPs, but iBasso already has a sw platform built around this processor, and they decided to focus more on analog design and audio performance of the DAP, instead of starting from scratch with a new processor.

Based on my experience with DX160, using its Mango v2 audio app, or streaming using Qobuz and Spotify, or just a general navigation around the system, I didn’t find any lag or other issues. Is it as fast as my Galaxy S9 phone? Definitely not. Is it faster than other Snapdragon based DAPs? Not really. But when advantage in performance is measured in milliseconds, for me personally it’s not a big deal. Perhaps it will become more apparent if playing video games or running more CPU and GPU intense apps. But for audio playback and streaming popular apps, it was fast enough.

As already mentioned, DX160 has Balanced and Single Ended ports. 4.4mm BAL has a low 0.4 ohms impedance and 6.4Vrms output. The single ended 3.5mm port is also low impedance, 0.3 ohms, with 3.2Vrms output. 3.5mm port is multi-functional and could be selected between 3.5mm Headphone Out, 3.5mm Line Out, and SPDIF digital out using the same cables as provided with DX150/200/220 (the cable wasn’t included with DX160).

Internal storage is 32GB, and you can expand it further with micro SD card. WiFi supports a dual band, covering both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Bluetooth is based on BT5.0, including support of LDAC, aptX and other codecs. I will talk more in my review about BT performance which I found to be a little underpowered (in terms of a distance).

USB port supports Type-C (for charging and data transfer), and also supports popular quick charge standards, such as QC3.0 and PD2.0. Internal battery is 3200mAH li-po battery, and I confirmed getting about 9.5hrs of playback time on DX160 (4.4mm BAL, low gain, FLAC in a loop with a display off). Going to single ended and with mp3 playback should extend this playback time, while going in the opposite direction with a playback of power demanding DSD files will shorten that playback time, as expected.


Based on its DAC, DX160 supports variety of lossy and lossless audio formats, such as APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DFF, DSF, DXD, CUE, ISO, M3U, M3U8. I tested up to DSD256, all without a problem. But one very important format support here is MQA. Since you can install and run Tidal app, it automatically gives you partial software unfolding (decoding), but the device has to be certified for a full hw decoding. I was able to confirm that DX160 supports full MQA unfolding to the original file format while playing MQA FLAC files, noticing the correctly interpreted bit depth, sampling frequency, and sampling rate.


Lately I have been using DX160 a lot for Qobuz streaming. I had no issues with that so far, tried it on WiFi at home and at work, always a strong connection, never drop outs, and fast access without any stuttering or buffering. Also, I’m able to download content for off-line listening and access it later without a need for WiFi. And of course, the artwork of tracks is a treat to view on DX160 display. 32GB of internal storage is not that much, but with access to expand it with 1TB micro SD and all the streaming sources, there is no complaints here.

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Unlike its bigger brother DX220, DX160 comes with a single boot design going straight into full Android OS, including new Mango audio v2 app. With access to full Android you have support of wifi and Bluetooth, can load other apps, stream audio, etc, though you have to be aware that stock DX160 doesn't have Google Play. Instead, it comes pre-loaded with APKPure and CoolApk apps where you can search and download most of the apps to install on your DAP. Just remember that updates won't be installed automatically, and you can't bypass apps that require Google play authorization. The solution to this problem is simple since you can download and install Lurker's free ROM (https://github.com/Lurker00) which brings Google Play along with a few other goodies. He has been supporting all the latest iBasso releases with his ROMs, and usually makes a new version available within a day of official iBasso fw releases.

*** It was brought to my attention that after the last iBasso fw upgrade, you can download apk and install Google Play, and run it successfully without a need for custom ROMs.

For those familiar with DX220, you quick recognize the new interface of Mango v2 audio app which is a default playback app. When starting this app, with a bigger display, you also have a better view of the embedded song/album artwork, if one is available. If not, a default image is displayed. As I mentioned in DX220 review, the biggest change in Mango v2 is that you no longer have to swipe left/right to get to the file/song management and settings. The main playback screen has a more logical interface where you swipe the artwork display left/right to skip between the songs, and access song search and file management from a shortcut in the upper left corner and settings from a shortcut in the upper right corner.

Below the artwork, you have track info and a seek bar to advance through the song where you can tap anywhere to skip. To me it’s a BIG deal since previously (in Mango v1) you had to tap and drag the current song position to a new one. Now, you can fast forward/back by simply tapping on a timeline like you would on your smartphone. Below it, you have a shortcut on the left to provide a more detailed info about the song, and another shortcut on the right to switch between playback modes (play in order, repeat list, shuffle, repeat current song). Play/Pause and Skip next/prev buttons are big enough and located at the bottom. Also, all the way at the top in the middle you can swipe down to access the list of your current songs playback or songs located in your current playback directory. From that list, you can swipe each song to the left which gives you an option to delete it.


In Music search and track management, you can search through your songs (where it’s indexed) or by browsing the internal storage directory. Under indexed list, you can view All Music, or sort by Album, Artist, Genre, Now Playing, and Playlist. Any song you long press will give you an option to Play, Add to playlist, or Delete. You also have a setting (3 vertical bars all the way on the right) to specify exactly what you want to see in navigation bar or how you want music to be sorted and viewed. The level of customization details here is quite impressive. Plus, all the way at the bottom you have a small area to see the currently playing song and to control its playback with play/pause button. Tapping on it takes you back to the main Playback screen.

In Settings Menu, you have access to Gapless (on/off), Gain (low and high), Play mode (order, loop, shuffle, repeat, folder play), EQ (on/off, brings you to Graphic/Parametric EQ screen), L/R Balance, 4 Digital filters, and Advanced Setting. In Advanced you can select USB DAC, Sleep Timer, Scanning (songs on a card or internal), and System info.



DX160 offers a traditional Graphic EQ (EQ) where frequency bands are fixed, and you only adjust the gain with a slider. Mango v2 app also has Parametric EQ (PEQ) where you have a lot more control over which frequency is being adjusted, bandwidth of the frequency being adjusted, the type of the filter used to adjust the frequency, and of course the gain of the adjustment. Here are my observations while testing DX160 EQ and PEQ.

Graphic EQ (EQ)
  • When enabled, drops the volume to create extra headroom for band adjustment (to avoid clipping).
  • Relatively clean 10-band EQ adjustment (33, 63, 100, 330, 630, 1k, 3.3k, 6.3k, 10k, 16k frequency bands).
  • Whenever you adjust a band, you can see it being shown graphically above the EQ sliders; great visual feedback.
  • 5 genre specific presets are included where each one could be adjusted further and reset to its original state.
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Parametric EQ (PEQ)
  • Includes 6 custom preset settings.
  • When enabled, volume doesn't drop.
  • While adjusting, I didn't hear any distortion.
  • Each preset setting has 6 assignable filters/frequencies to shape the sound where each one is represented by a different color on the screen.
  • Filter types: low pass filter, high pass filter, band pass filter, notch filter, all pass filter, peaking filter, low shelf filter, high shelf filter - peaking filter will be probably the most useful.
  • Each filter has: Fc (center frequency, from 33 to 16k), Gain (-20 to 20 dB), Q factor (0.3 to 20) where smaller Q makes the bandwidth wider and bigger Q makes the bandwidth narrower.
  • Fc and Gain could also be adjusted on the touch screen by dragging the pointer left/right and up/down.
  • The sound is adjusted/updated in real time as you move the filter peak and frequency.
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Sound Analysis.

I analyzed DX160 sound with U18t IEMs while playing a variety of my favorite test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, Galantis “Hunter”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Robin Schultz “Oh child”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”. As recommended by manufacturer, I let DX160 burn in for over 100hrs using balanced burn-in cable from DX220. At the time of sound analysis, I had close to 200hrs between burn in and actual playback time.

DX160 has a balanced signature with a more neutral natural tonality. I consider the sound to be balanced since there is no extra emphasis on either bass, mids, or treble, everything is equally emphasized. With tonality, out of the box and even a dozen of hours after the initial playback, it was more neutral reference with a slightly more revealing tilt. But after about 200hrs of combined listening and standalone burn in playback, the tonality became a little smoother, richer, more musical. As a result, my initial impression of a colder neutral reference tonality shifted toward a more natural smoother flavor of it.

Of course, the sound we are hearing will be heavily dependent on the actual signature of IEMs and headphones we are using and the synergy with a source, but in many pair ups a noticed a great textured sub-bass rumble with a deeper extension, a less aggressive average speed bass, more natural detailed layered mids and vocals, and more natural yet still crisp treble. The pair up of headphones with DX160 in many cases did take an edge off digital tonality of the sound.

The soundstage perception will depend on tuning of IEMs/headphones, but overall, it's very wide and with a good depth. As a source, DX160 doesn't limit the soundstage expansion. Imaging is very realistic with a precise placement of instruments and vocals in space. Also helps that sound has good dynamics, never feeling compressed or congested, but at the same time I would call the layering with many IEMs to be a little more reserved due to a smoother revealing nature of the sound without too much treble/air between the layers.

The background was black, and even with low impedance sensitive IEMs the hissing level was faint, in some cases I had to unplug earphones from a balanced jack to confirm if I hear any waterfall hissing at all. And with a blacker background, you should expect a faster and a cleaner transient of notes on/off.


4.4mm vs 3.5mm

When I compare Balanced and Single Ended ports, volume matched, I had to set Volume 25 (4.4mm) vs Volume 33 (3.5mm). Aside from difference in output power which is reflected in this volume comparison, the soundstage of 3.5mm output is not as wide, and I can also hear Balanced output to have blacker background.

Digital Filters.

Digital filters always generate a mixed opinion since not everybody can hear their effect. We all have different hearing level, use different headphones, play different music. From my own personal experience, changes in sound when switching between filters are more subtle, but I still do hear some which I would like to describe below. Keep in mind I started with filter 1 as my baseline tuning. All the testing was done using U18t balanced with a DAP output in low-gain.

1 (fast roll-off) - deep sub-bass rumble, faster attack/decay of the mid-bass
2 (short delay slow roll-off) - more sub-bass rumble, the same mid-bass as in fast roll off
3 (short delay fast roll-off) - leaner/less sub-bass rumble, the same mid-bass as in fast roll off
4 (slow roll-off) - more sub-bass rumble, and slower attack of the mid-bass


Pair up.

The sound of a DAP is based on pair up synergy with different headphones. Afterall, you are hearing the sound of headphones connected to the Source. In this section of my review I will go over how various headphones pair up with DX160, in low gain, filter 1. I noted volume "V" in every pair up. Most were wired balanced, unless stated otherwise.

64 Audio U18t (V25) - wide soundstage expansion; balanced sound signature, unlike in some other pair ups where it's more mid-forward; natural revealing tonality with an excellent retrieval of details; textured sub bass rumble with an average speed mid-bass punch, natural revealing layered mids/vocals, well controlled crisp treble. Not a hint of hissing, not even a waterfall.

Fir Audio M5 (V24) - wide soundstage with a little more out of your head depth; balanced sound signature with a more neutral revealing tonality of mids/vocals; sub-bass rumble that extends pretty deep and an average speed mid-bass punch (not too fast or too slow), clear detailed mids with a slightly more forward presentation and natural revealing tonality, natural sparkly well controlled treble with a moderate extension. Not a hint of hissing here, dead quiet.

Empire Ears Legend X (V32) - wide soundstage expansion; L-shaped sound signature but more controlled bass impact; natural smoother organic tonality; the bass is a little bouncy, has more body, more mid-bass than sub-bass emphasis which makes it less fatigue, mids being detailed organic, and the treble being more natural with a moderate amount of sparkle. It's still L-shaped sound sig to please bassheads, and the bass is certainly noticeable, but it doesn't feel as weighted or rumbling like in some other pair ups, thus my reference to bass being "bouncy".

iBasso IT04 (V24) - very wide/deep soundstage; balanced sound signature with a neutral revealing tonality; bass comes alive in this pair up with a more noticeable rumble and faster mid-bass punch, mids/vocals sound detailed, revealing, but in a more natural realistic way, treble has a good sparkle, extension, and well controlled and natural. Pitch black background without any hissing.


Campfire Audio Andromeda (V10) - very wide soundstage spread; balanced sound signature; more natural revealing tonality; I hear a good balance between a textured sub-bass rumble extension and a slower more laidback mid-bass punch with an average attack/decay, smooth natural detailed mids, not as revealing or micro-detailed but with a natural retrieval of details, crisp and airy non-fatigue well controlled treble. Very faint waterfall hissing, so faint that I had to unplug headphones to double check it.

Campfire Audio Solaris (V9) - wide soundstage expansion with more depth, pushing the sound a little more out of your head, making it a little more holographic; balanced sound signature with a noticeable emphasis on lows, mids, and treble; a little brighter more revealing tonality; deep textured sub-bass rumble with a faster mid-bass punch, bass sounds very analog, mids are more revealing, layered, micro-detailed, and still natural in tonality without sounding harsh, treble is more crisp, airy, extended, well controlled (non-fatigue). Some waterfall hissing, a bit more than Andro, but not by a lot.

Noble K10UA (V33) - very wide/deep soundstage; balanced sound signature with a more revealing tonality; bass has a decent sub-bass rumble extension with a fast punchy well controlled mid-bass, mids are leaner brighter layered and with retrieval of details on micro-detail level, treble is crisp and airy, on the edge of being a bit fatigue, but still quite tolerable. Tested these with a stock 3.5mm cable.

Meze Empyrean (V40) - wide/deep soundstage expansion, approaching holographic level. Balanced sound sig with a more natural revealing brighter tonality. Bass is well textured with a nice sub-bass rumble and fast mid bass punch. Lower mids are neutral while upper mids are more revealing, layered, micro-detailed; treble is crisp, airy, with a nice sparkle, and still non-fatigue. It was a good pair up, but to my surprise was a little more on a revealing side.


Beyerdynamic T5p 2nd (V39) - soundstage width is above average, with more out of your head depth in this pair up. The sound sig is balanced with a little more emphasis on mids where I hear vocals having a little more forward presentation. Bass has a nice sub-bass rumble and mid-bass actually has a faster punch, but to my ears bass is pushed a bit into the background, giving vocals more room to shine. Vocals are more revealing, layered, non-fatigue. Treble is crisp with a nice well controlled sparkle. But I wasn't too crazy about this pair up, due to a narrow soundstage width and a little offset in a balanced between lows and mids.

iBasso SR1 (V38) - soundstage has just OK width and I hear more out of your head depth here. The signature is balanced with a smooth natural detailed tonality. Bass has a nice laidback presentation with a good sub-bass extension, going down to a deep rumble without being too exaggerated, and an average speed mid-bass punch. Mids sounds very organic, with a good retrieval of details and lots of clarity, treble has plenty of crisp details and airiness without being fatigue. DX160 was driving these without a problem. SR1 were used with perforated pads.



In this test, I was using U18t, set at low gain, using filter 1 on DX160. This comparison is based mostly on tonality only, not the features. Each of these DAPs has their own Pros/Cons when it comes to features, all of which should be taken into consideration depending on your priorities if you need streaming or not, which balanced termination you prefer, how much output power do you need, your battery requirements, etc. Also, in the below comparison I’m referring to DX221 as DX220+amp1ii and DX228 as DX220+amp8.

DX160 vs DX221 - Upon many extended listening sessions to compare these two, I still find 160 to have a wider soundstage, spreading further Left/Right without being exaggerated. Both have a similar soundstage depth, where you don't feel too far away or too close to the artist, but the advantage of width difference goes to 160. When it comes to other aspects of technical performance, perhaps DX221 has better dynamics and more transparency and a touch less coloring in mids, but it is not exactly night'n'day and it got to the point where in a blind test I even got it a few times wrong. I'm not trying to say that 160 and 221 sounds identical. With both in front of me I do hear the difference, but it is mostly in soundstage where 160 is wider, and in mids where 221 is a little brighter and more transparent while 160 has a little more body with a slightly thicker, more organic tonality. Both were tested in low gain with Filter 1 (fast roll-off) filter.

DX160 vs DX228 - While in this comparison the soundstage, both width and depth, are nearly close in comparison, the differences in sound are more noticeable. While both have a similar sub-bass rumble, 228 mid-bass punch is tighter and with a little more impact. The quality of amp8 bass was always one of its strongest points. 160 still packs a nice low-end punch, but it's a bit softer in comparison. Mids have a similar amount of body to give the sound a more natural characteristics, but 160 is a little warmer, a little smoother, and doesn't have the same level of resolution as 228. The difference is not that big, but you can still notice amp8 having an edge over 160. But the fact that I'm comparing 228 to 160 which cost less than a half while the difference is not that overly drastic (keep in mind, stock AMP8, not AMP8-EX), speaks volumes about 160 sound quality.

DX160 vs DX150 - The difference here is more noticeable, especially starting with a soundstage where depth is similar, but 150 soundstage width is noticeably narrower in comparison to 160. And this difference is not just a little, but very noticeable. Both have a neutral natural tonality, and a similar signature, though I find 150 bass to punch a little harder. The bigger difference here is in technical performance, where besides soundstage, 160 also has the advantage of a better dynamics where in comparison 150 sounds more compressed and not as layered.

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DX160 vs Cayin N5iiS - While not as big gap as with some other DAPs, I still find 160 soundstage to be wider in this comparison. Also, have a similar technical performance, though I do hear N5iiS having some improvement in dynamics and layering of the sound, with a little more air between the layers. The overall tonality is very similar, but with bass N5iiS has a little more slam, especially in mid-bass. Also, N5iiS treble is just a little brighter, crisper. Aside from the sound, I think open android design of DX160 vs a more closed design of N5iiS will be a deciding factor, especially if you’re into streaming.

DX160 vs Shanling M5s - The gap in soundstage width difference here is not as big, but I still find 160 to have a wider soundstage. Technical performance is also very similar when it comes to vertical dynamics of the sound expansion, along with layering and separation. But the difference in tonality is quite noticeable. M5s has a warm tonality with a sound being more colored while in comparison 160 is more neutral and more transparent. Also, relative to using U18t for sound analysis, M5s has more bass slam, with both sub-bass and mid-bass being more elevated in comparison to more neutral 160. In general, 160 is Android based DAP with access to many apps (streaming), while M5s is lacking that.

DX160 vs theBit Opus#1S - Starting with a soundstage, these are very similar, especially in width being close. Technical performance is also very close, I hear a similar vertical dynamics expansion, and a similar layering and separation of the sounds. The tonality is where I hear big difference, but relatively to U18t, the main difference is in mids/vocals where #1S sounds brighter, thinner, and dryer, not as refined, while 160 has a richer, more natural tonality. Plus, 160 is a fully open Android DAP with access to apps/streaming, while Opus#1S is not.

DX160 vs Hiby R5 - Again, soundstage was the first thing I noticed right away where 160 is wider, spreading further to the L/R. The impact and extension of the bass is very similar here. With mids/vocals I hear R5 being a little bit brighter while 160 has a little more body, smoother, a bit more organic. Treble response is the same. From a technical perspective, 160 is a little more dynamic and with a slightly better layering of the sounds. Both are great DAPs, and I think for many the decision will be between a bigger and more beautiful display of DX160, along with some advantages in sound performance, vs a smaller and more compact R5 with a faster android performance.

DX160 vs FiiO M11 - And again, soundstage is the first thing I noticed with DX160 being a lot wider in comparison to M11 narrower staging width. With a tonality, considering M11 sounds very similar to R5, I also hearing a little more body in mids of DX160, while the bass and the treble are similar. M11 sound is a bit compressed to my ears, basically not as dynamic as 160, but it's in a similar way as in comparison with R5. Not a big difference, but noticeable with more resolving IEMs upon closer listening. Besides soundstage difference, another very noticeable one is M11 hissing with sensitive IEMs.


Other Wired/Wireless connections.

In this section of the review I will go over various wired and wireless connections I tested and verified with DX160. Considering this is a new release and iBasso already pushed a few updates, I’m not sure if some of its limitations is still work in progress. For example, I wasn’t able to get digital out to work with Micro iDSD, but iBasso’s own DC01/DC02 usb dac/amp dongle was recognized. Or, Bluetooth Wireless performance didn’t yield the same long distance coverage I’m used to with DX220 and other DAPs. I will come back to update this section if any new features will be added.


DX160 was recognized as USB DAC by Win10Pro (T480s), and drivers were installed automatically. Volume level adjustment is only controlled from the DAP, even so you can also change it from laptop without any effect. Playing the same track from DX160 vs laptop while using DX160 as USB DAC - I hear a little fuller body when used as USB DAC, but in general the sound is very close in tonality and technical performance.

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Wireless Bluetooth.

I paired up DX160 with B&W P7 Wireless and found it to work within 20-25ft in open space, away from the DAP. In comparison, the same pair of headphones worked double that distance with DX220. In my case, it works, but there are some hiccups along the way. Also, I can remotely control the volume and skip track forward/back, but not play/pause (exactly the same as with DX220). I found the sound quality identical when paired up with my Galaxy S9, except using my phone I’m able to move back about 50ft with P7W.

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Line Out (LO).

Line Out test was performed using FiiO E12A as external portable amp. First, you need to switch to LO in Audio Setting. When enabled, volume can be easily adjusted from the DAP. Using E12A, the sound loses its holographic soundstage and some resolution, becoming smoother and more organic. To me this suggests that internal DX160 headphone amp is an important contributing factor to its soundstage expansion (thought could also be due to a difference between 4.4mm when I compare directly from DX160 vs 3.5mm from E12A).

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Digital Out (SPDIF).

SPDIF test was performed with iFi Micro iDSD BL. First, you need to switch to SPDIF in Audio Setting. When enabled, volume can't be adjusted from DAP, only from external DAC/amp. Here the sound had a typical sound sig and tonality of iDSD BL without any distortion or coloration. You can definitely use DX160 as a digital transport with streaming capability to drive external DAC/amp. One thing to note, the cable wasn't included, and I was using DX200/220 short SPDIF cable for this test.

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While in my previous review I considered DX220 to be an upgrade of DX200 when it comes to audio performance, in a way the DX160 felt like a side-grade of their flagship platform. No, it's not going to replace DX220 flagship. Why would a company release a mid-fi DAP at a fraction of the price to kill sales of their flagship? Instead, it offers a slicker non-modular alternative, with a similar system performance, at a fraction of the price, for those who would prefer a slimmer pocket friendly DAP without sacrificing too much of audio performance which I personally found to be not too far off their flagship.

Taking my reviewer hat off and looking at DAPs from a consumer perspective, I understand everybody is searching for that one perfect device with all the bells’n’whistles. And today, a sub $500 price bracket is the most competitive. Thus, you have to figure out which features are at the top of your list and which ones have a lower priority. Then, narrow down and compare DAPs side-by-side, with their corresponding Pros and Cons. If you go by Android benchmark scores, perhaps DX160 is not the fastest (or the smallest in size), but it packs one heck of an audio performance with one heck of a display screen which is hard to ignore!
Cat Music
Cat Music
I was curious how the DX160 vs Dtr1 compares in sound quality? I hope you can help me
Pros: Sound, convenience, design, price
Cons: No
Hi dear friends!

I will not hide, meeting with the latest DAP from iBasso is akin to a holiday for me. This brand from the Middle Kingdom has long been a benchmark in the audiophile world, and without a doubt, it fully deserves it.

Let me remind you that the company began its journey with the production of portable amplifiers and DACs. Moreover, in 2012, the brand introduced the DX100 audio player, which won the hearts of music lovers around the world. Later saw the light and younger models: DX50, DX90, DX80. Well, then the flagship DX200 appeared, which was notable for the possibility of replacing amplifier modules. This hereditary trait was passed on to models like the DX150 and the current flagship DX220. In addition, the kid with the DX120 index harmoniously blended into the new iBasso line of DAPs.

And now, here we have a new budget hit - iBasso DX160. Yes, there will be no suspense about the qualities and properties of the monitored device today, we will leave unexpected interchanges for Hitchcock. In this case, I don’t see the point of suspecting the intrigue; we have a great DAP as a guest, which just captivated me. Let me tell you more about everything.

Text: Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa


Android 8.1 OS
Screen: 5.0 inch 1080px OnCell Full Screen
DAC chip: 2 × CS43198QFN
ROM: 32 GB
CPU: Octa Core
Outputs: 4.4mm balanced, 3.5mm headphones (combined with 3.5mm LO / S/PDIF coaxial)
Bluetooth 5.0 / LDAC, APTX output
WiFi: 80 2.11 b / g / n / ac (2.4Ghz / 5Ghz)
Battery: 3200 mAh / Quick Charge : QC3.0, PD2.0
Dimensions: 113mm x 69mm x 15mm
Weight: 178 gr.

Appearance and kit

DX160 comes in a small, stylish cardboard box in light purple with the manufacturer's logo and model name.

Inside, in addition to the player, a set has been put, to which there is nothing more to add, and everything is already there: spare protective films on the screen, a nice USB-C cable for connecting to a power adapter and synchronization with a PC, a silicone bumper case and well, the required warranty documents.

The dimensions of the device, by today's times, are rather modest: 113 mm x 69 mm x 15 mm. Therefore, it fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and fits easily in your pocket.

The design and ergonomics of the device are beyond praise, and the materials from which it is made even more emphasize its extraordinary. The union of anodized aluminum and glass, embodied in a simple but sophisticated form, caused a wave of pure aesthetic pleasure in me. I experienced similar artistic and emotional experiences when I acquired my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

The DX160 comes in four colors; one another is better: red, blue, silver and black. I got the last option, and this, I tell you, is a gorgeous "dark theme."

The entire front panel is occupied by a touch screen from Sharp (IPS, 5 inches, 1080px) with good responsiveness and excellent color reproduction. The back panel of the device is glossy, covered with plastic, made under the glass. From the packaging, a triangle-logo and model designation migrated to it.

On the right side there is a wheel recessed into the body for volume control with a pleasant smooth ride and control buttons: forward, start / pause, back. On the left side is a microSD slot, if 32 GB, which are already on board the device, are missed.

The upper edge went to the on / off button and the type-C connector. Bottom pair of connectors: 4.4 mm balanced and 3.5 mm for headphones (combined with linear and S/PDIF coaxial).

For wireless manipulation, there is Wi-Fi (80 2.11 b / g / n / ac, 2.4Ghz / 5Ghz) and Bluetooth 5.0 with support for LDAC and aptX.

When connected to a desktop PC or laptop, the device can operate as an external DAC / sound card.

The DAP has a battery capacity of 3200 mAh (8-10 hours of operation) with the ability to quickly charge (Quick Charge: QC3.0, PD2.0).

Software and control

Android 8.1 is responsible for the “inner life” of this DAP. Navigation is performed in a manner familiar to smartphones: swipe right, swipe left, curtain top and touch. The response is quick, and all the commands distributed on the screen with the index finger are executed with lightning speed. Well, for obscurantists (just kidding, just kidding) there is the ability to start and switch tracks with side buttons.

In general, the menu is simple and intuitive. It lacks only the Google Play Market service, however, this is not such a big problem. Almost any application can be installed using apk files - this is not a tricky business, it will take a few minutes.

By the way, firmware, as with older brothers, flies through the air, the device itself finds and updates software when connected to a Wi-Fi network. You just need to go to the settings menu - the system and select the update search - everything is simple and convenient.

The DX160 also has four digital filters and an equalizer, which allows you to fine-tune the sound to your taste.

In general, the device “out of the box” is already well optimized, and the manufacturer promises to regularly improve its software. Why, the player just left, and an update has already arrived on it for me!

Next begins my favorite part in every review. Well, you guess, right?


The DX160 model is based on two DAC chips: CS43198 from Cirrus Logic.

Listening (audio testing) was conducted with: 64 AUDIO A18, 64 AUDIO A12t, Vision Ears VE8, Vision Ears VE4.2, FIR M5, BGVP DMS, Custom ART FIBAE4, InEar PP8, Beyerdynamic DT1350 & Phonon SMB-02.

With all the IEM / headphones, the device played more than worthy, no serious genre deviations were noticed. Separately, it should be noted that he perfectly copes with any type of IEM, not even giving in to low-impedance multi-driver / multi-drivers based on BA.

The DX160, like its eldest relative DX220 with AMP1 MK2, did not gasp, worked with 18 BA driver A18s from 64 AUDIO, and this, you know, is by no means for everyone, because these CIEMs are very demanding on amplification, and to the audio section as a whole. The player fully completed the task, demonstrating good control on all fronts. Pretty boy!

The sound of the DX160 is fervent, noble and very melodic. This is a smooth manner, with bodily filling of sound images and a darkened background, moderately expressive, with a good study of micro and macro nuances.

The device, like the general iBasso DX220, has a good tonal balance, but has a warmer and thicker feed, which gives the sound of special charm and musicality. Undoubtedly, it is inferior to the leader in technicality and speed, but it wins in melody and ability to convey the emotional component. It has a picturesque, with its unforgettable charm, detailed and extremely comfortable sound.

This is by no means an even monitor sound, on the contrary, it has an excellent transmission of the emotional part and is mainly focused on the mid-frequency range, with warmth filling the whole picture, highlighting in the midbass area and a smooth, extremely neat focus in the upper middle region. Because of these masterfully placed accents, an unusually comfortable, charming and melodic manner is achieved. In such a pleasant atmosphere, I want to delight in enjoying my favorite music for hours without thinking about time.

Another point that I liked: iBasso DX160 does not impose its own rules of the game on the IEM/headphones, does not seek to redraw their “voice” for themselves. It only helps them to open and sound in all its glory, more juicy and driving. So the result of the "color" of the sound will depend on the bundle "player + headphones", which gives great variability.

Let's take a closer look at the frequency amplitude.

The bass is thick, energetic, well-tuned and well-controlled. Here there is a dense and precise strike, and relief, and good speed. Here, perhaps, there is a lack of texture transfer for drawing volume, although much here depends on the headphones. For example, with my FIR Audio M5 CIEM, I did not even notice this nuance. The subbass area is linearly applied, clearly complementing the low-frequency register, and the midbass area, in turn, is neatly forced. In general, the low-frequency range and the lower middle in the DX160 are charming; they work off their due, darkening the general background and filling the middle with vital substance, giving it velvet, physicality and naturalness.

Mids is pleases with the detail, localization of sound sources in space and a smooth, charming manner. Vocal parts and string busts - everything sounds rich, lively and naturalistic. Mids are so comfortable and sweet-voiced that they seem to throw a silk veil on your head, woven from the finest tunes. And you sit, wrapped in harmonies, in the center of the sounding composition - how cozy and interesting it is!

The high frequency range is accurate, crisp and clear. It is not a lot and not a little, as much as you need. There is no abundance of “air” or sophisticated after-tones, but there is a correct development of minor nuances, without undue aggression and artifacts - everything is fair and to the point. The register is served smoothly and comfortably, which contributes to long-term listening to music.

The virtual scene of the DX160 is medium in size, it is proportionately built in width and in depth.

To summarize, I will describe the voice of the device as balanced, peppy, smooth, melodic, harmonious and charming.


In my opinion, the DX160 was a success, so much so that it’s not even clear what you can complain about and criticize so that the review does not look like a panegyric. The player is beautiful both outside and inside, and this "beauty" vividly carries in the ears of the afflicted.

Seriously, the device has a charming perky sound, a chic screen, a stylish and durable case, it can be an external DAC, connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - this is where the grouchy word is inserted here?

And, of course, the price of the novelty, which is only $ 399, is pleased. In my opinion, every dollar of this amount iBasso DX160 fulfills with interest!

Nice review! How compared with DX120 only in sound quality?
Brother Hans, great review! Could you tell me about the pairing of dx160 with the PP8? I am currently using Cayin N5iiS with them but I wish for more treble extension (airy sound).. thank you!
I just want to know if there is a sale on this product during black Friday, I hope there is, so I can amp up my gear for this new passion.
Pros: Affordable, beautifully built, powerful output, Android O, frequent firmwares, sound quality punches above it price
Cons: No charger in the box and only 32gb internally
Ibasso DX160

So, for the year of 2019, Ibasso has been very busy to keep up with the enthusiasts forever demanding for higher quality music player, and at an affordable pricing. Ibasso while keeping themselves busy, still have not forgot about all of their line up and previously released products, such as Dx100, Dx150, Dx200....etc

As everyone have known, I sometimes review to share my thoughts about a product, and so here, I have had a pleasure to have a DX160 review unit sent to me. I am not affiliated to Ibasso, and having a review unit just simply means that I am going to share my honest impression to everybody. In no way a review unit would influence my views of it performances and impressions over it.

The DX160 was not clarified as a successor to Dx120, but I think it must be a sibling or side-step as the next up in-line would be Dx150 with Amp modules design, where as DX160 remains to be a complete unit. Also, the DX120 is pure Mango-OS where as DX160 is Android. Aside from all of the disclosed and advertised specifications, I do not have insider information regarding what other components being used, such as OP-amps or DSP-IC....etc....the one thing do caught my attentions still, would be the dual (2X) implementations of CS43198. This is the top tier chip from Cirrus itself and is with Master-Hifi technology which is the revered technology for CSS-DAC IC as a brand. Then it has 6.4 Vrms output at 4.4mm balanced, with an impressive 130Db Dynamic range ? Which is much higher than the DX220 and the Amp8 itself which is 125Db!

So, here is something that everyone would stare into.

Amp8 is listed at 125Db Dynamic range vs 130Db Dynamic range on DX160

Amp8 is listed at THD of 0.00023% and crosstalk is -113db VS DX160 at 0.00022% and crosstalk is -125Db


Yes, I would have to agreed that the specifications above do put the DX160 over the DX220 and Amp8 configurations. So, let put that into perspective, DX228 is a $1,200 device, and with that you will get a top tier player from Ibasso with module design and Discrete Amp 8 module which utilize discrete transistors array for amplification purposes. The DX220 also comes with Mango-OS, and I am not sure how important the OS is to anyone else, but to my own personal experiences, the OS itself is as vital as other components, which also including the implementations, the choices of DAC-IC, and the DSP-IC. Now, in contrast, the DX160 is an $399 player with more impressive specs, compacts, and runs on Android alone without Mango-OS.

Now, do notice that IBasso is similar to other Android based DAP, that they do not have google playstore out of the box, you will have to work around with APK files, or thank you to Ibasso, and you have APK-Pure installed and ready to be your Hacked through app market. Also, Native DSD256 !!!
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DX160 also have 4 color of red, blue, silver, black for your choices. The price is sitting competitively toward IPod Touch 256 Gb for $399. The differences is huge though as the DX160 support MicroSD but internal Rom is only 32Gb. I would think it could make a big gift for anyone on this year holiday if they are thinking of IPod touch.

The most noticeable different here when compared to dx220 is that the digital filters on dx160 will prove to be a much easier observation between each of them. This is another extreme case of differences between DAC-IC, and there will only be 4 filters. My favorite is the Filter #3 as it prove to have more bass textures, the blooms, the articulations, the separations between instruments, the layering, and the expansive soundstage with vocal sit just right. Where as #2, the Bass is more speedy, tighter, less bloom, with vocal a little too forward with the extensions being a little harsh. It does seem to me that the #1 is the #2+ and #4 is #3+. So the real differences that can easily observe is 2 and 3


Design: the DX160 is very compact, and out of the box will come with a clear TPU case. The screen is full-surface, coated and with high resolution display. It is very similar to DX220 display on sizes and resolutions, so I guess 1080 resolution. Sitting side by side to DX220, the 160 is thinner by a bit, and smaller by a small bit. It also weight almost a slight bit less....unless you are picking it by single digit % similar to how you are judging the sound impressions, otherwise I would think they both are similar with a thinner form and different output, headphones ports arrangement. The 3.5mm now will have SPDIF as digital out and lineout as much as single ended phone out, with all that available at a flip of a finger by dropping down menu from the top.

It will come with usb A to UsB C cables, screen protector as well, but no charger. It is compatible upto Quick charge 3.0 or so. So, make sure you are using quick charge charger to have better charge time.

Out of the box and the taunted output, could it drive full sizes headphones ? I quickly grabbed my 4.4mm HD800S and Aiva, and it can drive these 2 just fine. It isn’t as powerful as the DX220 and Amp8 In driving Aiva, a planar headphones

The sound signatures: the DX160 is tuned toward a more musical and entertainment sound signature with a very focused into the inner resolution density and energy. It does not lack the quantity of sub bass, mid bass, or any specific spectrums at any given specific segments. However, the one thing that it does lack is the ability to render the room ambient and reverberate. Also on the same scale of perspective, the DX160 also can not render the depth and airiness between instruments layering as well as the DX220 and Amp8 But not too far behind, and for this point alone, it is enough to say $399 is hardly believable. DX160 is neither a warm nor bright signature but can also hardly be said to be neutral or natural as I would say that it slightly tilt the scale toward warmer side. That is why I would say that it is musical and entertaining. It is also a more vocal focused, forwarded kind of signatures. I would recommend anything with a little lay-back in the mid to pair with it. I found the IER-Z1R and M9 a perfect pairing for it.

Specifically the bass is pretty plenty in quantity, the articulations and the different segments of bass from sub-bass, mid-bass, and upper bass are all presenting with a more focused toward the timbres inner resolutions. This focuses will be carried on from low into upper mid spectrum of the whole player itself. It does not dive as deep as DX220 and Amp 8, and the extensions of the bass isn’t as satisfying as DX228. The DX228 have a very High quality bass that not only accurate, layered, articulated but also a very precise ripples of it extensions and energy.

The mids spectrums on the DX160 is more forward, and together with that focus as mentioned above, the DX160 has a unique presentation of artist Vocals. It is forward, focused, with great extensions and breathy. The rendering of a forward, focused vocal and wider soundstage but a slightly lack in depth when compared to the DX228. The DX160 perhaps set itself a part clearly from the bigger brother DX228. Even with very detailed vocal and mids, the dx160 ability will stop here as the Skillful Vibratos from artists and singers in Jazz and Ballads ...etc.., it will not be fully exposed with the continuity, fluidity that the dx220 may bring.

Please notice that I use DX228 as a mark of comparison as I love Amp8 and it carries an almost similar signature to DX160 as both carry on with the musicality but DX228 is more of an accurate presentation as mentioned above where as DX160 is into rendering and revealing as much as possible without the aims toward the accuracy of little details on room ambient and imagines cues.

However, the DX160 does not sound like any $399 device at all. For instant, when compared to NW-ZX2, an android based Walkman from Sony, the DX160 has a lot more power, a much more modernized Android, a powerful processor, and everything is so smooth, snappy on the UI. The timbres density, the very blacked out background is all presented to me as an upper tier device when compared to this player that I have around here. Even-though I am not into Mid-tier DAP as I used to anymore, the experiences that I have accumulated over the year would put the DX160 instantly into the category of the least 2X of it price or $799 and up for example. Also, I can not say that it can be competitive to higher-end devices such as DX220, just because it stops at fully exposing the finesse of the music textures on each instruments, vocal, room ambience.....But it definitely punches above it MSRP, It simply is because the soundstage, the details, the energy, the vocal, the power to drive headphones, the snappy UI....etc....as a package, the DX160 is very cheap for it price. In fact, I don’t really understand how Ibasso could pull this off ?

The trebles on the DX160 is totally different than the Dx228, and similar to the bass, the trebles does not reach as high or extend much with the timbres rather thick and vivid where as Dx220 with Amp1 MKII or Amp8 both have a better reach and extensions, together with the metallic sparkling. Though, here is the tricky parts. The Dx228 can reach that much in both end of the spectrums. It exposes the limitations of the Dx220 and Amp8 in stock form with “grainy trebles” for any very picky ears, and revealing gears such as Hd800S , which lead me into EX modifications. The DX160, however, does not reach as well, but it also masks the graininess on both end of spectrums very well, which yield a very pleasurable experiences in trebles and bass presentations. For this trick alone, I totally understand why people would put the DX160 on the same tier and side by side to the Dx228. To my own opinions, I think Ibasso has implied too much limitations onto the Dx228 executions of a top-tier products. The EX modifications is totally a proof of this, and this makes me very excited for the Dx220 MAX!

So, what about the battery on both ? They have similar battery playtime and charge with quick charge. I use IPad 29W and Anker quick charge, they work flawlessly on both.

Finally, what is the verdict ? The DX160 sounds too good for its price, and practically is very capable with quick charge, DSD256 ....etc...and especially for anyone who is a fan of Cirrus IC itself, you would found yourself being fascinated by the DX160. Under different perspectives, it can be said to be very close to Dx228 in performances as it would depend on many different factors such as what you are pairing with and what you desires for from a player. However, under my very specific perspectives That judges toward the finesses, the accuracy of timbres, room ambient, imagines, soundstage rendering...etc..just to name a few....the DX160 is really what Ibasso Named it out to be, a high quality digital player. The DX220 and Amp8 does execute those criteria better to my own opinions.

Therefore, what do I say here ? If I have to make a purchase, with a very limited budget, I would be totally satisfied with DX160 performances right next to Dx228, and at 1/4 the pricing VS the performances between both, the decision is easy. But if Sound quality is all that I am chasing for, with the ability to swap out modules, I would rather grab a Dx228 and then also apply EX modifications toward it. Better yet, I would wait for DX220 MAX! But again, if portability form is a huge determination remark, then DX228EX is ways too hard to beat. The DX160 would make an excellent choice for a holiday present which is affordable, and yet performances can be said to be punching above it prices.

Lastly, a kind reminder is that my experiences, and observations as much as preferences and genres are different than you and others. So, please, find a way to try out the dx160 before you make your final decision.


I like the DX200/DX220 for you can swap out amps on those guys, apparently none of that on this new machine.
That is correct @Chimmy9278 . A product of a company should not cannibalizes itself. If you want replacement amp modules, there are dx150/200/220. The 220 still have an edges over sound performances when compare to dx160, plus it also have amp modules.
Hi bro @Whitigir , do you need a special setting to play it in 4.4 bal or it's just plug and play (am planning to get a 4.4 cable)? Will DX160 give a much better listening when 4.4 is used? and will the battery drain faster when 4.4 is used (i currently just uploaded the latest fm 1.02.109 with 3.5 SE the battery is great!) thanks heaps in advance and so sorry for the newbie questions :)