iBasso DX170


New Head-Fier
Pros: - Excellent sound
-Clear dark background
- great price
- excellent screen
- Battery life
Cons: Slightly poor responsiveness, but much better than in DX160

iBasso Dx170.


iBasso is one of my favorite audio brands on the market, not only have they undergone a huge transformation over the last few years, but they actually don't have weak products recently. This means that I am eagerly waiting for new products on the market. As you know, I already have in my collection a whole series of dongles from dc01 to dc06, or it00, 01x and even my beloved am05 with cb16 cable. Some of these devices have accumulated, but I still looked at the empty place on the shelf where the dx160 once stood with great sentiment. Therefore, despite having fiio m11plus ess, I decided to supplement the collection with dx170.

Unboxing and making:


The Dx170 comes to us in almost a twin package as its predecessor, the equipment is also similar and includes: The player itself, a silicone case, a usb c cable, two sets of screen protectors. The device itself does not differ much visually from its predecessor, but it is more slender. It looks more dignified and more "premium",,. The power button was also abandoned and its replacement was used in the volume knob, which was embedded deeper. However, the biggest changes took place inside, where practically the entire layout was rebuilt. Changing the DAC chip also resulted in changes such as: A newer processor, faster RAM memory, or other numerous improvements.

I will start with the section dedicated to headphones, i.e. Phone out:
For starters, 3.5mm SE:

Bass: Well controlled, but kept on the entertaining and polite side of the force. We will not run out of lower bands, but it will not be at the expense of other frequencies. We can feel the overtones of individual bass instruments and easily surround ourselves with a strong and tight lower range. In my opinion, we will meet here with a slight warming, which gives us pleasure from listening.

Diameter: Has been smoothed and rounded. Relative to the DX160 we have a much smoother and even more musical presentation with great and clear vocals. They are very engaging and enjoyable. Here it is thanks to the Cirrus dice, which I personally love. Not only the whole has an entertaining and very clean overtone, but also the realism and naturalness of the message and a large, really large amount of details have been preserved. It can be heard that this tuning is for lovers of quiet listening, and not for purists looking for analytics and neutrality, which for me is a great procedure.

Treble: It is very safe, it has been slightly rounded, but we do not have a shortage here, or a loss in the upper registers for musicality. We can feel surprised by the huge amount of detail and beautiful smooth presentation. The resolution is high and I had no doubts that, despite the low price, the iBasso Dx170 is a player that is sonically very mature and provides the right level of musical experience.


The scene is slightly less stretched to the sides compared to the DX160, but it significantly gains in depth and three-dimensionality. This wide and elliptical arrangement of instruments, unlike dx160, is significantly improved depth, which for me personally is a huge plus.

Sound 4.4 Ball:

When connected to the balanced headphone output, we get a significant improvement in tonal range, the stage becomes clearly larger and more holographic. The one on the 3.5mm output is already impressive, so all the more kudos to iBasso for a decent approach to the subject. The power increases twice and thus even one of my favorite over-ear headphones, i.e. SR2, gains control. Balance also provides an even cleaner and clearer sound, and its overall signature is the same as that of the 3.5mm output.

Line Out:

It's actually the icing on the cake. First of all, iBasso listens carefully to users and this time the ability to charge the device during USB DAC mode has been added, which significantly increased its functionality. The DX170 in line mode can easily compete with much more expensive desktop DACs and is able to easily win this competition. It's a great piece of equipment both as a USB DAC and as a DAC in our desktop system. And all in all, for most users, it may be enough to start with.



As in the predecessor, i.e. dx160, we will not run out of it for most headphones, and it's already at the se output. After balance, it is much better than the competition in the same price range, and even higher. It is worth noting that signal purity is impeccable and here the strongest side of dx160 has been further improved.


Virtually everything has improved over DX160. Starting with a significant improvement in terms of Bluetooth, Wifi and battery life. The operation of the system itself has also been improved, and although it is still not a high-end DAP, everything works smoothly and there are no reasons to be dissatisfied.


iBasso Dx170(450USD) and Fiio m11plus ess.(699USD)

Comparing these two devices is not entirely fair, because the price difference between them is considerable. Fiio m11plus ess wins when it comes to streaming and battery life. However, it is much larger and less handy than the dx170, which also has a much better screen and, unlike the m11plus ess, fits easily in your pocket. Don't get me wrong here, the DX170 works fine with the tidal environment, however, there is no LDAC in receiver mode and it does not support AIR-PLAY, the dx170 runs smoothly, but the responsiveness of the m11plus ess is yet to come. Sonically, however, it's a completely different matter. Of course, a lot depends on personal preferences. Fiio m11plus ess sounds colder, more analytical, with pushed back vocals and a more stretched soundstage. It's a more technical and ruthless sound. The Fiio strongly emphasizes the extremes of the band. Personally, I like the warmer and musical presentation of the music better with the DX170, which in my opinion also has better depth, a cleaner background and does not lag behind in terms of detail. What I didn't like about the fiio was the completely useless digital filters, those in the DX170 significantly affect the sound and allow you to tune it to your personal preferences. It is known that on the plus side of the m11ess we can add a 4.4mm line output or a three-stage gain adjustment. However, the DX170 fared much better with IEM type headphones, maybe it was due to the lower output impedance, or a different power distribution.

iBasso DX170($450) vs xDuoo Poke II ($390)

This is a comparison of two completely different categories of devices, on the one hand we have an excellent and well priced DAP, and on the other hand an equally well made and priced mobile DAC/AMP. Let me start with the most important thing, both devices do not compete with each other in any way, but both are built around DAC circuits from cirrus logic. Here the xDuoo will sound more neutral, less emphasizing in the musical direction. Overall, poke II doesn't add much from itself. iBasso is more musical, it emphasizes the bass more and introduces more musicality. But both devices are great and deserve appreciation. It all depends on what is closer to us. If we are looking for an all in one device, the DX170 will be closer to this idea. If we are looking for a more neutral presentation, the xDuoo will sound less colorful.

Music used for testing:

1. Lindsey Stirling – Ice Storm, 2. Michael Jackson – Thriller, 3. Lana Del Rey- Love, 4. Alexz Jonhson – look At Those Eyes, 5. Nightwish, 6. Epica, 7. Scares on poles - Saw tango


Well done, iBasso is a very good brand that is proud to be successful. Today I can confidently say that the DX170 is a successful evolution of its predecessor. Most of the problems with the DX160 have been fixed, the presentation has been softened and musicalized while retaining all the greatest advantages of its predecessor. All this makes the DX170 a strong player on the market at the moment with a price of USD 450, and in Poland it is PLN 1999. I think that the DX170 turned out great both with headphones such as am05, where it sounded clear and musical, and IT01X, where it was able to drive them properly, Tin P1max also turned out great, and with BGVPDM8 it caught even better synergy than my beloved DX160 . It easily handled the iBasso SR2 or sivga robin V21. I recommend the DX170 to all lovers of musical and pleasant playing, actually it's hard to find a better value for money nowadays!



500+ Head-Fier
The Saga continues.
iBasso continues the DX1×× series with the DX170. But is it worth $50 over the DX160?


Design & Build Quality

In 2018, iBasso released the DX150. This $499 DAP will most likely be remembered for the insane set of features it offered for its price, but I remember it for its design. It was designed like a tank, very industrial-like. This changed with the DX160, which went in the opposite design direction — smooth and sleek. The DX170 appears to have the same design of the DX160. It followed the DX320 design language with the volume wheel being silver, as opposed to gold. The accent color of the rings around the audio outputs remained gold. Other than that, the backplate follows the same design accents of the DX300 MAX and the DX320 —satin-like finish (with no gradient) and glossy text. It also doesn’t feature iBasso’s logo on the back, just the “DX170” model name. The back panel is curved, much like it was on the DX300 and the DX320. As a whole, it’s a very smooth design with no sharp edges. My favorite design element is the design of the chassis around the volume wheel. Speaking of which, the volume wheel is phenomenal. The design, the functionality, it’s spot-on. I also really like the round volume buttons, and they are also very functional and have a nice soft click. The soft click of the media control buttons becomes almost indistinguishable with the TPU case on.

Size? Don’t get me started. I LOVE IT. If I’m being asked, it’s the perfect size. The boring official dimension specs are: 124.5mm*70mm*15mm (4.9in*2.76in*0.59in).

It comes in three color options: black, grey, and blue. The unit I have on hand is the black version.

Build-wise, it’s quite premium. The chassis is made of CNC-machined aluminum, and on the back there is a glass panel. There is no part that feels flimsy. The buttons don’t rattle either, so, as said, quite premium. At just 165g, it’s very lightweight, which is always a plus. However, since this is aluminum we are talking about, it’s highly recommended to use the included TPU case to avoid any scratches or damage to the chassis.


The DX170 was provided to me free of charge. I am neither paid nor am I gaining any financial benefit from iBasso for writing this review. The review is based on my personal experience, it is completely free of any bias from an external force (whether that's online influence, other people's opinion, or the manufacturer itself).
Features & Functions

On the bottom, there is a 3.5mm single-ended output and a 4.4mm balanced output. Unlike the DX300/DX320, where all the outputs (3.5mm, 2.5mm, 4.4mm on the stock amp module) double as phone/line outs, the DX170’s 3.5mm output triples as a phone out, line out, and a S/PDIF coaxial out (PCM 24bit/384kHz, DoP DSD128), while the 4.4mm only serves as a phone out. Its function can be selected through software.
On the top, there is a USB-C port. It supports QC3.0, PD2.0, and MTK PE Plus quick charging. The USB-C port is also used for data transfer and the USB DAC function.
On the left side, there is a single Micro SD card slot which supports SDHX/SDCX up to 2TB of storage.
On the right side, are located the media control buttons. There is a volume wheel and three round buttons (Next, Previous, and Play/Stop).


The DX170 comes with a 5” 1080p IPS display. Per iBasso, it has: 16.7 million colors, 445ppi retina display, 480cd/m2 screen brightness, 2.5D Corning glass panel, 95% light transmission and sRGB color gamut.

It’s actually a very nice display. It’s more saturated than DX300’s display, but has a greater dynamic range than DX320’s display. The whites are also brighter than on the DX320. I think it’s closer in quality to the DX300 than to the DX320, and the DX300 has a jaw-dropping display.

Новий процессор від Rockchip - RK3566

This time around, iBasso opted for the. When iBasso said it exceeds the Qualcomm 430/425, which is commonly used by players of the same price range, it clearly was referring to Shanling’s M6 2021 ($569) and M6 Pro ($799), which use Snapdragon’s 430 SoC, and HiBy’s R5 Gen 2 ($449), which uses the Snapdragon 425 SoC.

While 32GB of internal storage is acceptable amount, 2GB of LPDDR4 will likely leave the majority craving for more. Sure thing, if your primary use will consist of light web browsing and listening to music, it’s enough. However, I cannot say it’s not noticeable that the whole Android experience is not as smooth as the big boys. With that, I am referring to iBasso’s higher end models.

In my opinion, the SoC is what’s holding back this DAP from its full potential. If something more capable was used, I think the appeal would be greater due to the endless possibilities (e.g. playing games, streaming films, watching high quality YouTube videos, etc.).

ibasso DX170
The DX300 stood its ground with 4x Cirrus CS43198, and now we have the DX170 with 2x CS43131 chips. Hey, half is better than nothing, right? Both the CS43198 and the CS43131 are Cirrus Logic’s flagship DAC chips, and both share just about the same specs and features. However, the main difference between the two is that the CS43198 is a DAC only chip, while the CS43131 has the addition of a built-in amplifier. iBasso decided to implement an “exclusive OPAMP+BUF amplification after the CS43131”.

That's not where the feature set stops. iBasso also implemented a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) in Master mode. The FPGA works between the Soc and the DAC. It basically requests data from the SoC and then sends that data to the DAC. The FPGA works in Master mode using two fs NDK oscillators as the clocks while synchronizing all audio clocks. This way any jitter is reduced and minimized in order to achieve the cleanest audio processing. @MoonAudio explained it much clearer than me:
"The DX170 utilizes the FPGA-Master technology developed by iBasso. The FPGA-Master, as the audio system controller, directly requests audio data from the SoC, and plays a major role in signal reproduction and maintaining signal integrity. It synchronizes and generates all audio clocks at the same time utilizing two NDK femtosecond oscillators to achieve a fully synchronized single clock source. The FPGA and NDK oscillators also reduce jitter to an extremely low level, building a clean digital audio signal."

The following are the supported audio formats: MQA 8x, APE, FLAC,WAV, WMA,
PCM: 32bit / 384kHz, Native DSD: up to DSD256 (11.2 MHz / 1-Bit)

When used as a USB DAC, it supports up to 32bit/384kHz PCM, and DSD DoP up to

And here is where it gets juicy, the numbers for the phone/line out. For the 4.4mm balanced Phone Out, the maximum output level is 6.4Vrms, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is 130db! For the 3.5mm single-ended Phone Out, the maximum output level is 3.2Vrms, and the signal-to-noise ratio is 125dB.
For the 3.5mm single-ended Line Out, the maximum output level is 3.2Vrms, and the signal-to-noise ratio is 125dB.

That’s quite something, don’t you think?

Software & Interface​


Android 11

The first time I read iBasso’s statement about Android 11 being debuted in the mid-range DAP market with the DX170 featuring it, I was skeptical. I thought there had to be another player that comes with Android 11. While I was proven wrong, iBasso proved that it doesn’t make false claims.

Android 11 is great, don’t get me wrong, but I strongly believe that it’s a bit too much for the RK3566. I’m no software expert, but there is something that’s not allowing the OS to run smoothly. This isn’t noticeable when using the Mango App, but it is as soon as you start doing some more demanding tasks like watching videos. A DAP is a music-focused device, but everyone appreciates a smooth-running device. For example, when using any of the DX3×× DAPs, the experience was as smooth as on a flagship smartphone. With this comparison, be aware that you could almost purchase three DX170 for the price of one DX300 ($1250).

After a long press anywhere on the home screen, a pop up appears and there are three options: Home settings, Widgets, and Wallpapers. Under “Home settings”, DX320 offers three options: Notification dots, Enable feed integration, and The main screen. The first gives you some options to fine-tune notifications. Feed integration is an extra audio-focused desktop which can be accessed once you swipe left on the homepage. It features a mini Mango Player & audio settings (Gapless, Gain, Digital Filter, Play Mode, USB DAC). The main screen is a setting that gives you the choice to display all the apps on a separate home screen. If turned off, you will be able to use the standard app drawer which can be accessed by swiping up.

Wallpapers and Widgets remained the same. The only difference related to wallpapers is tied to the new Android 11 OS, and that’s that your wallpaper will be automatically cropped. Whenever you swipe up, pull down the notification bar, or go to recent apps, the wallpaper will zoom out.

The most important audio settings are located in the notification bar. They are: Output, Digital Filter, and Gain.

Output: Phone Out, Line Out

Cirrus Logic’s CS43131 chip has five selectable digital filters:
D1: Fast Roll-Off
D2: Short Delay, Slow Roll-Off
D3: Short Delay, Fast Roll-Off
D4: Slow Roll-Off
D5: NOS (non-oversampling)

Gain: Low, High

Mango App (v3.2.1)

The interface of this app is quite simple and minimalist, making it easy to navigate through. On the top-left corner, you can go to a menu in which you can search through your music, or browse your internal/external storage for music. In the top-right corner are located all the audio settings: Gapless, Gain, Play mode, Equalizer (graphic with visual representation, parametric), L/R balance, Digital Filter, Media Scan, and Advanced. In Advanced you can choose: Unplug Pause, USB DAC, Bluetooth DAC, Display settings, Sleep Timer, System Info.

In level with the above-mentioned settings, if playing an album, the track number will be displayed (e.g. “4/10”). The main screen consists of: album cover art, file format, track’s timeline, track info, playback options. In the bottom right corner of the album cover, there is a small grey circle with 3 dots. Once you press it, you will see the “Now Playing” pop up menu. This allows you to easily skip through tracks.

I’d like to mention that both the parametric equalizer and the graphic equalizer are very advanced and accurate. With the graphic equalizer, you can adjust 10 frequency bands — 33Hz, 63Hz, 100Hz, 330Hz, 630Hz, 1kHz, 3.3kHz, 6.3kHz, 10kHz, 16kHz — with 24 stops (+12, -12) of which each stop alters +/- 0.5dB. On the other hand, the parametric equalizer is much more capable and allows you to adjust make incredibly precise adjustments. Besides being able to play around with the visual graphic, you can put number values to pinpoint the adjustments. There are a total of 6 filters, each can be turned on/off individually, or all can be turned on at the same time. Each filter comes with 4 options:

Filter Type (8 total): low pass, high pass, band pass, notch, all pass, peaking, low shelf, high shelf
Fc: any value (no decimals) between 33Hz - 16kHz
Gain: +/- 20dB (no decimals)
Q Factor: any value between 0.3 - 20 (infinite amount of decimals supported)

I know that there are a lot of technical terms mentioned here, but they are not rocket science. Visit this link to gain a basic level of understanding of common types of equalizers and filter types: https://iconcollective.edu/types-of-eq/
Or read iBasso's own DX170 manual where its explained how each filter affects the frequency spectrum: https://www.moon-audio.com/files/ibasso/ibasso-dx170-user-manual.pdf#page=45

Bluetooth & WiFi

The support of WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) is something that’s new and interesting on the DX170. The list of all supported WiFi protocols: 802.11 b/g/ac/ax

Bluetooth is version 5.0.


11 hours from a 3200mAh (3.8V, Li-Polymer) battery is pretty good news for everyone! I haven’t been doing any heavy tasks, but whenever I was using it for music listening, it did not appear as though the battery life was ever a concern. It lasts and it holds.

Sound Performance​


You have to remember that the DX170 and the DX300 share the 'same' DAC chip, what separates them is that one has two of them, and the other has four. Why do I mention this? When you have the same DAC chip, you can expect the sound characteristics to share some similarities. Perhaps more than just “some” similarities.

Tonality-wise, the two sound very similar. Where they separate apart is in technical abilities. Not so much in speed, but rather in headroom, separation, and detail retrieval abilities. Of course, all three of these are immeasurable, so I fully understand if anyone is skeptical. After all, such technical qualities are the most subjective. The difference in detail retrieval is the most audible in the treble range. When it comes to percussion, on the DX170, it’s noticeably less detailed, and it’s audible that the decay is shorter. The DX300 (w/ AMP11Mk1) sounds more open, there is more room for each element to breathe. This is the same room that allows each element to have more details, hence the technical ability difference between the two.

However, there are some differences that some may prefer. For example, the bass is much punchier and more fun on the DX170. The attack is very fast, but so is the decay. Not only this, but the bass has depth. Those who like more intimate vocals will enjoy DX170’s mid-range.

What everyone has to keep in mind is that I am comparing a $450 DAP to a $1200 DAP.



DX170 is a very capable DAP. More than anything, it’s impressive for its size and weight. I can picture anyone carrying it as a daily driver, as though it fits just about everywhere.

Is it 3x worse than the DX300? Absolutely not! It’s at least half as good. I consider the DX170 a tease. It’s got the iBasso house sound, but it doesn’t benefit from the features that higher end iBasso players have. You get a taste of iBasso’s way of doing things, but not the full package.

There have already been a couple of people who jumped from the DX170 straight to the DX300/DX320, and it really doesn’t surprise me at all. If music listening is your priority and you don't plan on using your DAP to watch movies and play demanding games, then I can easily recommend the DX170. It's made for music listening, and that's its selling point — sound performance.

It falls short in the software department, but it makes up for it with sound performance.
Last edited:
The sound on this really was quite good, but you're absolutely right about the software. And this thing is laggy. Like, potential deal breaker slow, even after removing APKPure and turning animations off. I had their DX240, which I also returned, but I could never go back to the DX170 after experiencing the smooth, snappy responsiveness of the DX240.
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@Orfik why you return the dx240? is there any problem when you were using it?


Reviewer at Ear Fidelity
iBasso DX170
Pros: Exceptional value
Neutral, dynamic sound
Superb detail retrieval and resolution
Build Quality
Frosted-Glass back panel
Fantastic screen for a DAP
Android 11
Fast Charging, Bluetooth (LDAC) + USB DAC
Good battery life
Very good power output
Lightweight and very comfortable
Cons: Performance is okay, but nothing lightning-fast


It’s been a while since we had an iBasso review here at Ear Fidelity. This time seems even longer, because of the fact that iBasso is pretty much dominating the DAP market lately.

It’s not just about releasing new products frequently, but the quality of those products. The DX160 is to this day, one of the most popular choices among audiophiles on a budget. Their DAP portfolio looks quite impressive with the DX240, DX320, MAX variants, etc.

This entire lineup is well thought-out and polished, so after launching more DAPS in the higher end of the spectrum lately, the time has come for an affordable option in form of the new DX170.

What’s important about this product – instead of reinventing the wheel, iBasso decided to simply improve their DX160. Don’t expect something that feels totally different from the predecessor, as the DX170 feels quite similar in hand.

A few words on the DAP market – it’s still going strong, even though a lot of people in this hobby don’t actually see the point in owning a DAP. We live in an era of smartphones, mobile DAC/Amps, and dongles, so why would you need to buy a DAP, if it’s less functional than your phone?
The answer is quite simple – DAPs are just perfect for people that don’t like to feel overly attached to their smartphones. For example, I regularly use a DAP in my evening ritual, when I just lay down on my bed, turn off the lights and try to chill before sleeping.
I would go absolutely crazy if notifications were to try to steal my attention. I much prefer a separate device that just does one job, and one job only – plays music. No social media, no notifications, e-mail clients, etc.

I’ve been building a vast library of audio files for the past 10+ years, so having to upload them onto an SD card is not a problem for me. For everything else, I have Qobuz installed, which works pretty well on the DX170, so I basically have access to everything I’d want.

So, DAPs are alive, and they ain’t going anywhere. After that longish intro, let’s take a look at the iBasso DX170, which is likely to become the new bestseller in the entire DAP segment.



I haven’t had too much experience with iBasso products in general, so all of this is pretty new to me, to be honest.

The DX170 comes in a rather compact box, but it’s not the size that matters, or at least we’ve all been told so. The quality of the packaging is actually impressive, and I absolutely dig the color scheme, with a light blue outer sleeve, and a yellow box under it.

This color combination alone creates a feeling of you experiencing something cool and fresh. We’re living in the era of black and white boxes, and it’s nice to see a company that isn’t afraid to put out some colors. This is refreshing and just straight-out cool.

What’s under the hood? Well, you’re actually getting some goodies. First up is the case. It’s a transparent plastic case, that I definitely won’t be using, since the DX170 is a lovely-looking device, and this case would just ruin it. However, it’s very nice that iBasso is actually including the case for all of you who want to baby your new DAP. I’d recommend getting some aftermarket cases when they get available though.


Apart from the case, you’re getting some screen protectors, a really good-quality charging cable, a warranty card, and a quick start guide.

Basically, it’s a pretty modest and minimalist package, and definitely, one that you would expect for this price. You’re not getting a quality leather case or anything crazy, since it would have raised the price of the DX170 significantly, and this product is all about value. All and all, I really enjoyed unboxing this product and I’m definitely satisfied with what you’re getting in the form of accessories.

Build Quality and Design​


I’m going to start with the best aspect in my opinion – the weight. The iBasso DX170 is lighter than you expect, and by quite a margin. I was expecting the DX170 to have some weight to it, especially since there’s quite a lot of tech inside.

Well, how surprised I was when I first took it out of the box. It’s very light, but it just feels light, and DEFINITELY not cheap. The weight being low makes it an ideal everyday-carry kind of a DAP, which you basically take with you everywhere you go. Just toss it into your backpack (use some kind of case for that please), and take it out when you need it, or just keep it in your pocket.

I can’t stress enough how important that is for me personally. This is one of the biggest reasons why I’m still using a Cayin N3 Pro to this day – it’s just small and light, which improves on the entire “portable” aspect.

Okay, now let’s get into the actual build quality and design. The DX170, even though looking very similar to the DX160 (which was launched a few years ago) still looks very modern, quite a lot more modern than most of the competition. While many DAPs are kinda rugged and bulky, the DX170 is just sleek, modern, and clean looking.
The aspect I absolutely adore about the looks of the DX170 is definitely the back panel. iBasso went with a frosted glass that reminds me of flagship smartphones in 2022. It just looks wonderful, isn’t a fingerprint magnet and it adds some grip to the whole construction, making the DAP easier and more convenient to use. While most competitors go for a simple, tempered-glass black cover, I find the frosted one in the DX170 superior to almost everything on the market, regardless of the price.


Next up, is the screen. The DX170 uses a 5-inch, 1080 IPS panel. Yes, it seems like overkill for a DAP, and it kinda is, at least for me, but hey, we shouldn’t be mad about it, we’re getting a class-leading screen for that sweet price, what’s not to love? The screen is sharp, and the color accuracy is surprisingly good, with great white balance. Overall, it’s a joy to look at, and your album covers have probably never looked this good on a DAP…well, ever. The only slight problem I have with the screen is the brightness. I wish it would have been darker on the minimum setting. I’m often using my DAP in bed, just before sleeping, and even on minimum brightness, this thing is fairly bright. Not a true con, just nitpicking, but I wish it went 2x darker.

As far as the IO goes, there’s not a lot going on. On top, you’ve got a USB-C charging port, and two audio outputs at the bottom – 4.4mm balanced and 3.5mm, which also acts as a line out. On the right side, you’ve got a volume knob that also acts as a button to turn on/off the device or just block/unblock it. The volume knob works well, it has a step-action and it feels fairly accurate. Don’t know about the longevity, as those kinds of volume knobs have been famous for breaking in the past, but I can’t comment on this one. Lastly, there are three buttons on the right side, just next to the volume knob, and these are to control your playback – play, next and previous. Simple stuff, but very useful. The buttons are fine, nothing extraordinary, nothing to complain about as well.

Overall, the build quality and design of the DX170 are both exceptional for the price. It’s light but also rock solid, it feels great in your hand, looks great, operates flawlessly and it just isn’t a brick. This is what a DAP should feel/look like, especially in this price category.



There’s a lot to cover here, so I’ll try to keep it simple, as you will probably look into the official specifications anyway. Nonetheless, I’m going to highlight the most important stuff.

So, the DX170 uses a dual CS43131 DAC chip. These are flagship chips from Cirrus Logic, measuring 130dB of dynamic range with a THD-N at -115dB. If numbers are not your thing, these are just impressive, that’s all you need to know.

Next up, the FPGA-Master+ technology, together with Dual Femtosecond NDK Oscillators. Here’s iBasso’s take on these two:
“The DX1 70 utilizes the FPGA-Master technology developed by Basso. The FPGA-Master, as the audio system controller, directly requests audio data from the SoC, and plays a major role in signal reproduction and maintaining signal integrity. It synchronizes and generates all audio clocks at the same time utilizing two NDK femtosecond oscillators to achieve a fully

synchronized single clock source. The FPGA and NDK oscillators also reduce jitter to an
extremely low level, building a clean digital audio signal.”

iBasso has been using their FPGA technology for a while, so it’s nice to see it being used in the DX170 as well.
Let’s get into the amplification section. iBasso doesn’t share the official wattage of the 4.4mm and 3.5mm outputs, but we know that they output 6.4Vrms and 3.2Vrms respectively. This means, that the balanced output should be rated at about 800-1000mW – in a DAP this light and compact, this is very impressive. More on that in the Sound paragraph though.

The DX170 uses Android 11 as an operating system, and this should ensure unlimited compatibility when it comes to apps. I ditched different streaming services for Qobuz lately, and it works flawlessly. I’m not having any problems with it.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the OS performance. The DX160 was regularly reported to have rather slow performance, and the DX170 is not a speed demon as well. Most importantly – no, it’s not deal-breaking by any means. You shouldn’t expect a flagship smartphone type of performance, and you surely aren’t getting one.

I would be lying if I said that the DX170 is very snappy and responsive, and I won’t say that. It’s okay-ish, definitely usable. The Qobuz app is laggy a bit, but nothing to write a book about, it works just fine for a DAP. The Mango app (a native app for music playback preinstalled) does work pretty snappy though, and I spend most of my time in this app anyway.

So, yeah, while I surely won’t call the DX170 fast when it comes to the OS performance, it’s completely fine and usable. I already saw some people reporting the DX170 to have a deal-breaking slow performance, and I think these opinions are way exaggerated. It’s a DAP, not a smartphone, you’re not playing games or browsing Instagram on it…or if you do, get a life.


The DX170 supports DSD256 natively, so you won’t have problems with playing basically any audio file you’d imagine. It also supports MQA 8X, but here’s the deal: Both Apple Music and Qobuz are WAY superior to Tidal when it comes to audio quality, and MQA DEFINITELY doesn’t change it, even by a hair. Just get one of these two services and ditch Tidal for good, you can thank me later. If you won’t do it (don’t know why, but okay), then yes, you have MQA 8x.

Now onto a few small things that just make your life easier. First of all, the DX170 supports three Quick Charge Protocols: QC3.0, PD2.0, & MTK PE Plus Quick Charge. It gets fully charged in just 1.5h, which might not sound THAT impressive in the world of current smartphones, but it’s just really fast for a DAP. An hour and a half under the charger and you’ve got about 11 hours of playback, that’s definitely a good score. The battery life has been pretty similar for me to what iBasso officially states, ranging from about 10-11h. It all depends on what headphones you’re using, what files, and how often you turn on the screen. I’m on minimal brightness all the time, and it surely helps the battery life.

As far as connectivity goes, you’ve got Wifi6 and Bluetooth 5.0 with LDAC and aptX support, so you’re covered with everything. You can also use the DX170 as a USB-DAC.

The Internal shielding is a customized silicon steel alloy shielding cover, which does not only shield the electric field but also the magnetic field. Everything for clean audio.

Quite a list for a $449 DAP, isn’t it? Overall, this little thing has everything you need to make the DX170 a powerhouse. Great to see DAPs evolving into devices that have it all.



At the end of the day, iBasso is wildly popular mainly for its sound quality. The DX170 is an entry-level DAP for this brand, but it surely isn’t a low-fi device, quite the opposite actually. Let’s dive in.

I’ll start with the bass, which is probably the most impressive when it comes to sound. The DX170 is a very neutral DAP, and it shows in the bass department, but without cons that were present in neutral devices in the past.
Low frequencies have a lot of punch and depth, with very good timing and great dynamics. You’ll never have a feeling that the bass is lacking in quantity, nor that it fails to deliver a highly textured, rumbly note. It is making my Fir Xe6 and Kr5 sound incredibly in the bass region, which just shows how good it really is. It never fails to have a firm grip over these Kinetic Bass drivers, resulting in a sound that is huge, dynamic, and incredibly saturated. At the same time, the timing and pace are both extraordinary, with great resolution and intense attack.
It handles every kind of driver, and it does it all the way to the lowest regions of the subbass. It never lacks control, nor does it overpower anything. Just a very clean, powerful, and authoritative bass delivery that lets your IEMs/headphones show what they got. I’ll go deeper in the “Pairing” section, where you’ll see that I’m using the DX170 mainly with some wildly high-end IEMs and headphones, and it doesn’t seem to hold them back even so slightly. This is a DAP that can handle headphones even 10x its price. Crazy, isn’t it?

Now, the midrange. It is, again, highly neutral and very texturized, but at the same time, it has that natural warmth and thickness to vocals that I just cannot live without. I like my vocals fairly thick, and the DX170 delivers.
I’d even go as far as saying that the midrange delivery of this DAP is one of the most natural I’ve heard in a DAP, regardless of the price. The midrange definitely has a lot of bite to it, being very fast, and packed with the resolution, but it never sounds fake or forced. It’s just flowing naturally, providing an accurate and pleasant timbre throughout the entire frequency response.
Once again, I’ll give you the Fir Audio Kr5 as an example. If you’ve read my review, you know that I’m absolutely in love with these IEMs and that their vocal delivery is just godlike to my ears. The DX170 doesn’t alter the midrange delivery of the Kr5 at all, leaving everything for that magnificent IEM. It does provide all the resolution and detail they need, but it’s not forcing its character onto the IEM itself.
This is probably the best kind of midrange you can get, especially in this price range. Yes, some of us prefer R2R DACs and Tube amps for that unique timbre, but we’re talking about more specialist types of devices. A $449 DAP is meant to go well with a lot of different music genres and IEMs/headphones, and the DX170 is just that. It’s just neutral, natural, and highly technical, with basically no weak points.


The treble is where things start to get really interesting. I can somewhat feel a slight boost in the lower treble region, which usually I would not be a fan of. Not this time though, as again, the incredible resolution of the DX170 with that slight boost gives us a slight touch of excitement, especially for female vocalists and string instruments. It never gets harsh, and this is the most important thing. Because of that characteristic, I’d call the DX170 SLIGHTLY V-shaped, with slightly emphasized bass and treble. Slightly, because it’s really subtle, but done in a way that it just adds excitement and a tiny touch of life to your music, without really coloring the sound. It remains neutral, but really fun and engaging at the same time. The Hifiman Edition XS shows the full potential of the treble of the DX170, delivering a highly saturated, lightning-fast treble response without being too offensive. I’m really sensitive to boosted treble, and I would definitely brag if it was even so slightly sharp or shrill, but it isn’t. DAPs get better and better, and the iBasso DX170 is a perfect example of that statement. In 2017, this would have been a true flagship killer, probably taking the spot for the best DAP on the market, regardless of the price.

The soundstage is once again – impressive. I somewhat feel that because of that slight lower treble boost, it gains that sense of being very large, but it’s definitely not distant sounding. The imaging and separation are both spot-on, with a very natural and lifelike type of presentation. This is not pushing the boundaries further than a DAP should, nor it is sounding intimate. It sits in the middle of what I’d call perfect. The width is extreme, and the depth is pretty good, but definitely not incredible. But, thanks to that, it delivers vocals fairly close to your face, with everything else being huge and distant, if they are meant to sound this way in the mix. The separation between the instruments is great, you can very easily pinpoint the location of every instrument around you, and it sounds incredible with binaural recordings. Overall, a very natural and engaging staging DAP that just sounds right.


Fir Audio Xenon 6 + Cross Lambda Apollo GB


Yes, I’m pairing a $449 DAP with $4000 IEMs and a $6000 cable, and the sound I’m getting is just incredible. Once again, the DX170 handles the bass of these little monsters like a champ, leaving no room for any doubts if it’s worthy of pairing it with such expensive IEMs.
The neutral and natural tonality of the DX170 allows the Xenon 6 CIEMs to sound incredibly engaging and rich, for which they are known for. The detail retrieval and resolution of this pairing are insane, but it never sounds tacky or overly edgy.

I’m actually sporting this setup while. writing this review. It’s 1:29 AM, I’m up writing reviews as usual (some people start to realize that I’m probably an owl in a human body), and I’m blasting some Archive tracks to my ears. The song called “Remains Of Nothing” from their “25” anniversary album is a great example of why the XE6 is among the best IEMs on the planet right now. It has rhythm changes, various vocals, thick bass notes, and an intense soundstage. It’s not an easy track to reproduce though, as it needs a very high resolution and great control over the entire frequency response to just sound right. The DX170 does that without breaking a sweat. It dictates the pace, gives a lot of juice to that sublime driver configuration of the Xenon 6, and most importantly – it’s just packed with details and resolution. All of that makes for a really fun, engaging, and natural sound that has basically no weaknesses. Oh, what a great combo.

Unique Melody MEST + Erua TAWA


Yeah, I’m a big fan of Bone Conduction and Kinetic Bass in my IEMs. Even though our review of the MEST is almost 2 years old now, it is still one of the most used IEMs in my arsenal, so it was pretty natural for me to try it with the DX170.

Once again, these pair greatly with the DX170. Yet again the DAP proves to be able to control basically every bass driver in IEMs, and so it does with the MEST’s revolutionary Bone Conduction driver. The overall sound is very engaging and highly dramatic and the overall contrast is wicked. The original MEST is one of the most fun-sounding IEMs on the market, and it does work great with iBasso’s great sense of rhythm and highly powerful dynamics.

No Archive this time though, it’s time for something more…intense. A song called “Sober” by Tool is a great benchmark for thick, heavy-hitting guitars and the overall dynamics of the sound. This setup creates a highly emotional presentation of this track, with superb guitar edginess and that wild vocal of Meynard. These two have got all it takes to shine with this kind of music – power, dynamics, resolution, and cleanliness.

Dita Perpetua


This is an interesting one, as the new flagship of Dita Audio, the Perpetua is definitely not an extreme and powerful sounding IEM. It’s meant to chill with, grab a glass of fine Single Malt Whisky and just relax.

How does it pair with a powerful and tactile-sounding DX170? It pairs far better than I expected. Once again, the DX170 proves that it’s not getting in the way, and it left the Perpetua with a clean and powerful signal to play with.

The overall presentation of this setup is smooth and relaxed, with a touch of refinement on the top end. The Perpetua is a mellow-sounding IEM and it does not change at all when paired with the DX170. Detail-wise, while the Perpetua is not packed with details like the Fir Xe6 or Kr5, it’s still highly detailed and resolving, just not intensively.
Take my favorite “A Thousand Shards of Heaven” by Lunatic Soul. Mariusz’s voice sounds incredibly sweet and romantic, being a highlight of the entire track. This setup provides a rich and melodic sound that pairs incredibly with this kind of music, being a blast to just lay down on your couch and forget about the world.

Campfire Audio Supermoon + Nostalgia Olorin


Okay, we’ve tested the mellow and calm-sounding Perpetua, now it’s time to make a 180-degree twist and go for the insanely technical-sounding Supermoon by Campfire Audio.

First of all, this is a planar-magnetic CIEM that requires a lot of juice to sound its best, and the DX170 delivers (you need to plug them into the balanced output though, keep that in mind).

So, how does it sound? The detail retrieval and resolution are both immaculate, providing all of the slightest details in the mix without problems. The dynamic character of the DX170 further improves on that highly tactile and insanely textured sound of the Supermoon, giving you a sound that is just impossible to chill to.
This is a soul-grabber, a setup that will take you by storm and steal all of your attention. Incredibly fast transients, huge instruments, and textures that are just insane. This pairing once again proves that the DX170 is a no-joke when it comes to technical capabilities, and it can (and should) definitely be paired with more expensive stuff.
An example? A track called “Bubbles” by Yosi Horikawa. The fantastic resolution of this combo gives us full control over every single bubble, creating a very insightful and snappy sound that almost feels weirdly accurate. Superb detail retrieval.

Hifiman HE1000se


Let’s now get into headphones. I shortly tried the DX170 with my Hifiman Susvara, but unsurprisingly, it couldn’t drive it properly (well, it’s actually one of the hardest headphones to drive in the world).

So, I grabbed my HE1000se, which is very easy to drive. Once again, the DX170 has uncompromised control over that huge planar-magnetic driver, making the 1000se sound lightning-fast and accurate.

The detail retrieval and resolution are both exceptional, just like you would expect from that headphone (it’s very, very detailed).
The one slight problem is the slight lower-treble emphasis of the DX170, which further extends on the “treble-cannon” aspect of the 1000se. This headphone has A LOT of treble information, and I personally like to pair it with softer-sounding DACs/Amps, to restrain that treble just a tiny bit. The DX170 is definitely not one of those devices, and this combo just offers an immaculate level of detail retrieval. If you’re okay with a forward-sounding treble presentation, this pairing is just wicked when it comes to technical capabilities.



Another planar-magnetic headphone is the Meze Elite. It is a totally different story than the 1000se. This headphone is rather thick and melodic sounding, but with great bass dynamics and slam that is great for rock and metal tracks.

The DX170, once again, handles it like a champ. Absolutely no problems with power, a very dynamic and saturated sound that is meant to bring excitement.
The Elite is definitely not the most detailed or technical-sounding headphone on the market, it has its strengths elsewhere. The DX170 provides all the details and cleanliness of the signal that the Elite needs to sound very lifelike, but at the same time, it doesn’t get in the way of the Elite’s beautiful tuning.
So, the overall sound is rich, thick, and moist, with beautiful vocal reproduction and great weight to instruments. Definitely my go-to headphone pairing with the DX170, for when I just don’t want IEMs.

Audeze MM-500


My review of the new MM-500 is not out yet (it’s coming very soon), so I don’t want to spoil too much, but I can say something.
The MM-500 is a very technical and neutral-sounding planar-magnetic headphone, that has its heritage in studio engineering actually. Together with the DX170, it provides a very neutral, powerful, and detailed sound that does every music genre right.

This is probably the most neutral-tuned Audeze model to date, and it pairs well with the DX170. While it might lack excitement a little bit, this headphone was never meant to be a “fun provider”, but rather a technical and accurate sounding tool.


Cayin N3Pro


My daily driver for the past 2 years, now heading to a retirement home. Oh how much fun I’ve had with this one, still one of the best products I ever had and reviewed.
However, my arsenal of IEMs and headphones grew insanely, and it just doesn’t cut it anymore. I very rarely use its tube 3.5mm output, as it lacks power for a lot of stuff I test and listen to, and its 4.4mm balanced output is just not the way to experience this DAP.

Here comes the DX170, which (4.4mm vs 4.4mm) balanced output just blows the N3Pro out of the water. The DX170 is more detailed, has better dynamics, a better grip, it’s more neutral, and offers a wider and more accurate soundstage. It’s basically better in every aspect, sounding like a vast technical improvement over the Cayin.
At the same time, it’s also very portable, just like the N3Pro, which I really like for its small footprint and easy one-hand operation. The screen is just not a competition, with the DX170 looking like it came from a different planet when compared to that tiny thing on the N3Pro.

The aspect of Android is not THAT big of a deal for me, but I know it is for many. I still mainly listen to local files, so I can live without Android, but the DX170’s functionality is so much ahead of the N3Pro, that I have to give credit where it’s due.

The N3Pro is definitely warmer and thicker sounding in the midrange, so if that’s your cup of tea, it’s still a wonderful option. However, the DX170 is just much more technically capable, more neutral, functional, and overall a much better sounding DAP costing basically the same as the N3Pro.

Fiio M11 Plus ESS


First of all, let’s cover the price difference. The DX170 comes at $449, while the M11 Plus ESS is priced at $799, so nearly twice as much.
Functionality, these trade blows and it’s really hard to tell which one is better. I’d rate the DX170 a bit higher though, as it’s smaller and lighter, making for more comfortable and convenient use on the go, which DAPs are meant for.

The screen is better on the iBasso, just as the overall shape and size. I really like the design of the back panel of the M11 Plus ESS, but DX170’s frosted glass back panel is just more comfortable to handle and it’s way more convenient, so another point for iBasso. While you could probably kill somebody with the M11 Plus ESS, it shouldn’t be really treated as a weapon, and its similarity to a brick in your jeans pocket isn’t desirable in a real-life scenario.

Lastly, the sound quality. This might be very controversial, but I just find the DX170 edging out the more expensive M11. The latter has a slightly dark tonality with excellent soundstage and imaging, but the DX170 is a bit more detailed and it definitely packs more punch. It just sounds more alive, both because of its slightly boosted lower treble, as well as having that bass delivery that is just tactile and very prominent. The M11 Plus ESS is a great DAP, but the DX170 is just more neutral, has better clarity and it packs more punch. Oh, and it costs a touch more than half of the price of the M11 Plus ESS.



I had high expectations of the iBasso DX170, but I wasn’t really prepared for this one. This is an exceptional device that will be really hard to rival in its price range.

Well-built, gorgeous looking, light, and comfortable to make your use of it just convenient and pleasant. Functional with Android 11, fantastic screen, fast charging, and powerful 4.4mm output to let you use it in any way you want. And most importantly, it’s neutral, big, dynamic, and very detailed sounding, feeling even too good for its asking price ($449).

I’ve heard a lot of people claiming that iBasso is currently dominating the DAP market, and now I see why. I hope that I’ll be able to test their other models soon, but for now, I’m going to recommend the DX170 to everyone looking for a DAP under $1000. It’s that good.

Highly Recommended.

Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
  • Headphones – Fir Audio Xenon 6, Fir Audio Kryton 5, Unique Melody MEST, Unique Melody MEXT, Final A8000, Campfire Audio Supermoon, Campfire Audio Solaris 2020, Dita Perpetua, Hifiman Edition XS, Hifiman HE1000se, Meze Elite, Hifiman Susvara, Audeze MM-500, Audeze LCD-X 2021, Final D8000 Pro,
Disclaimer : This unit hasn’t been provided by anybody, all of the above is just my subjective take on the DX170.
Thanks for the review, I have the Fiio M11 plus, and wanted a second DAP, think I'll get the DX170
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Reviewer at hxosplus
Less is more
Pros: + Stellar sound performance
+ Very powerful for the size
+ Crystal clean and transparent
+ Open sounding with precise imaging
+ Dead silent background
+ Compact and lightweight, perfect for one handed use on the go
+ 5" screen with vibrant colors
+ Android 11 OS
+ 3.5mm line output
+ Fast charging and good battery duration
+ Excellent build quality and great price
Cons: - Not strictly neutral
- Runs just a little slower than some of the competition
- Volume control wheel is a little small for larger fingers
The review sample was kindly provided by iBasso free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
I haven't received monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don't use affiliate links.
The price of the iBasso DX170 is $449 and if you are located within the EU then you can buy it from here.


iBasso DX170

The DX170 is a brand new DAP from iBasso with a friendly price, targeting the budget audiophile group.
It is the successor to the much acclaimed DX160, a well known player with a performance that punched well above its modest price but was discontinued due to the great chip shortage.


Technical highlights

For the DX170, iBasso decided to use two CS43131 DAC Chips in a fully balanced configuration.
The CS43131 is a well known entry level DAC chip which suffered from a temporary shortage but it is now back to production.
The DX170 utilizes the FPGA-Master technology developed by iBasso. The FPGA-Master, as the audio system controller, directly requests audio data from the SoC, and plays a major role in signal reproduction and maintaining signal integrity. It synchronizes and generates all audio clocks at the same time utilizing two NDK femtosecond oscillators to achieve a fully synchronized single clock source. The FPGA and NDK oscillators also reduce jitter to an extremely low level, building a clean digital audio signal.
The DX170 supports bit-perfect playback up to 32bit/384kHz, native DSD up to 256x and full 8x MQA decoding.


The main processor used is a mid-range 4-core RK3566 SoC from Rockchip that is aided by 2GB of LPDDR4 memory to run a mostly stock Android 11 OS.
The unit has 32GB of Internal Memory and also supports SDXC and SDHC micro SD cards for expanded storage up to 2TB.
5G WiFi and BT 5.0 with LDAC support are embedded for wireless connectivity while the DX170 can also be used in a USB DAC mode.
The unit is powered by a 3200mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer Battery that supports quick charge and is able to keep the DX170 running for about 9-10 hours from the balanced output streaming high resolution files.

Design and build quality

The DX170 is one of the most compact sized and lightweight WiFi DAPs in the market, measuring 124x70x15mm and weighing just 165g, it fits at the palm of your hand and is easy to carry around in your pocket.
Comparatively it is not smaller than the iBasso DX240 but it is slightly thinner and a whole 40g lighter.
It might be compact but it sports a 1080p 5" screen with narrow bezels that make it appear bigger than it is.
The screen is bright with vivid colors and excellent visibility, it is fast, responsive and can easily be used one handed.
The full aluminium chassis has rounded edges, a smooth finish, excellent build quality and a contemporary appearance.


DX240 vs DX170

At the right side of the unit there is a small volume wheel that also doubles as a power button.
With the protection case attached it is a little tricky to use it if you have larger fingers.
Underneath the volume wheel there are three small rounded buttons that are used for playback actions and can be further customized through the menu.
The bottom of the chassis houses two headphone outputs, one 3.5mm that also doubles as a variable line out / S/PDIF and one 4.4mm - headphone only - balanced output.
At the left side you will find the micro SD card slot and the USB type C port is located at the top of the unit.


What's in the box

The DX170 comes together with a transparent TPU case, a USB type C to A cable, two screen protectors that you have to apply by yourself, a quick start manual and a warranty card.


Android performance

The DX170 is loaded with an almost stock Android 11 OS but you can also switch to the in-house developed Mango player.
Google play store is not installed, instead you get the APK pure third party application but you can easily install the Google play store or download your favorite applications from other sources.
The latest firmware was installed immediately after it was released.


The user experience out of the box is not that snappy because the SoC is not very powerful and the 2GB memory doesn't help either so the unit runs just a little slow.
What you have to do in order to greatly improve the performance is to immediately uninstall the APK pure application that consumes resources and then get into Settings > Accessibility to activate the "Remove Animations" option.
Then the performance improves and you can easily use your favorite streaming services like Qobuz and Spotify or do some light web browsing.
Still it is not that suitable for multitasking, the DX170 is made for music playback and not to substitute for your Android phone. And this task gets accomplished without any serious issues.
The USB DAC performance is stellar, I haven't encountered any problems at least when listening to music since I haven't tested lag performance with movies or games.


Mango player

Switching to the iBasso own Mango player and you get a considerably faster user experience with good library build up speeds and smooth browsing into the music catalogue.
Sound is also a touch better than the third party music players and I would strongly suggest using the Mango player for playing your local files.


Power output

The CS43131 chip has an embedded headphone amplifier but this didn't stop iBasso from adding an extra, op-amp based, buffer stage to boost the power output from the stock 2V/4V to 3.2V/6.4V from the single-ended and balanced headphone outputs respectively.
The DX170 is very powerful given the size and it didn't have any problem driving full sized headphones like the Sennheiser HD660S, Focal Clear Mg and even the more demanding HiFiMan Sundara.
At the same time it has a pitch black background that allows for noise - free experience with sensitive IEMs and helps a lot with detail retrieval.


Listening impressions

Sound performance is stellar, the DX170 is very transparent, yet musical and entertaining with a mostly balanced sound signature except for some upper-mids/lower-treble forwardness.
It is not like a frequency emphasis, I bet that the frequency response is ruler flat, but it is more like a purposeful decision on timbre shaping in order to make for a more lively, luminous and upper-mids focused presentation but not harsh, fatiguing or piercing.
Thus said, the DX170 is not as forgiving as other CS43131 implementations I have tested and is going to push bright headphones into their limits.
The mids section is rich and well balanced with plenty of colorful overtones, euphonic articulation and natural sounding timbre, especially when the NOS low pass filter is selected.
Bass delivery is impactful with deep low extension and great dynamic contrast that provides a lifelike listening experience even with the most demanding symphonic music like Bruckner's eighth symphony.


Bass quality is also excellent, full bodied, well defined, firm and controlled with a strict timing.
Another striking aspect is the uniquely open sounding character of the DX170, soundstage is wide and grand sized with a solid stereo image but it is not too holographic.
The DX170 proved a potent performer with all kinds of music and a suitable partner with most of the headphones but maybe not that well suited for the brighter ones.

Compared to the ASTELL & KERN SR25 MKII ($749)

It's not been too long since I had the chance to review the SR25 MKII for "hxosplus" printed edition.
(Unfortunately it was during my summer vacation and I forgot to shoot a couple of photos)

The SR25 MKII is even more compact than the DX170, measuring just 63.5x108.3x16.1mm but it is slightly heavier and comes with a smaller 3.6" 720p display which has too faint colors.
It is much more difficult to read the display and use the touch interface but if size is what matters the most, then the SR25 MKII should be your primary choice.
The SR25 MKII runs a heavily customized OS which is locked, so you cannot install your favorite applications minus some popular streaming services that come pre-installed and are available to download.
Overall performance and user experience are considerably more slow than the iBasso DX170 which also has the benefit of personalization.
The iBasso DX170 is also much more powerful compared to the SR25 MKII whose power output is limited to 2V from the 3.5mm output and 4V from the balanced one.
Both devices have Cirrus Logic DAC chips but the SR25 MKII is using the newer CS43198 variant.

Sound-wise both DAPs offer great sound with some differences here and there.
The SR25 MKII is slightly warmer and not as transparent as the DX170, treble is smoother and avoids the upper-mids focus of the DX170.
Sound is more full bodied and thick but the DX170 offers a cleaner and more detailed presentation with a wider soundstage where the SR25 MKII is more solid and not that diffuse.
The SR25 MKII is way more expensive than the DX170 but if you prefer a smaller sized DAP with the unique A & K aesthetics and the smoother house sound then you might do better with it.


Compared to the FiiO M11S ($499)

The M11S is a new mid-priced DAP from FiiO with dual ES9038Q2M DAC chips.
It is $50 more expensive than the DX170 but in exchange you get a more powerful Snapdragon 660 SoC and 3GB of ROM that make a difference regarding the working speed.
The M11S is more responsive and faster than the DX170 offering smoother user experience that comes close to a flagship smartphone despite having installed the older Android 10 OS.
Thus said the 1080p DX170 display is of higher quality with more vivid colors and better visibility.
The DX170 is also more compact and lightweight than the M11S giving it the lead when it comes to portability and ease of use but the M11S has better battery duration by a couple of hours.


As is to be expected there are some noticeable differences when it comes to sound performance.
Bass on the M11S is a touch more controlled, it sounds firmer with some extra layers of depth but leaner than the DX170 which is looser but more weighty and impactful.
M11S overall presentation is cleaner, crispier and more transparent than the DX170.
Texture is also of finer quality for the M11S which is more refined sounding when compared to the rougher and more raw DX170.
Timbre is more or less of the same quality, both devices sound quite natural and convincing, the M11S has drier mids compared to the DX170 which is more suave and seductive.
The M11S avoids the upper-mids emphasis of the DX170, vocals sound more balanced but it is pretty sharper on the treble with a brighter sound signature that highlights bells and other high - pitched percussion instruments.
Finally the DX170 is more open sounding with wider soundstage and surplus of air around the performers whereas the M11S offers a more solid and less diffused image.
Both players offer great price to performance ratio and they mark the resurrection of the mid range category that got abandoned in the past few years.


In the end

The iBasso DX170 is great step up from the older DX160. A modern mid-range DAP that successfully bridges the gap between the high quality portable USB DAC dongles and the higher-tier DAPs.
Very compact and lightweight enough to fit virtually everywhere, it supports streaming services and offers great sound performance for a very reasonable asking price, making it a real winner.
All audiophiles with a tight budget now have a reason to rejoice as good quality DAPs were never so affordable.

Test playlist

Copyright - Petros Laskis 2022
Last edited:
Thank you very much!
Good review Ichos. Can you please do a sound comparison between the dx170 and dx240. I decided to get one of those.
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