iBasso DX260 Digital Audio Player

General Information



Latest reviews


Reviewer at hxosplus
The Matrix
Pros: + Stellar sound performance
+ Class leading transparency and fidelity
+ Not clinical or sterile
+ Impressive clarity and layering
+ Phenomenal imaging and separation
+ Immersive and holographic soundstage
+ Powerful and dead silent
+ Snappy and responsive UI
+ Dual OS system
+ Easy replaceable battery
+ Lightweight and compact
+ Excellent build quality
+ Accessories
Cons: - Very revealing
- No double tap to wake the screen
- Slightly sharp corners
- Leather case is sold separately
- No desktop mode
- Can't swap amp cards
The DX260 is iBasso’s new mid-range digital audio player (DAP), the successor of the much acclaimed and multi-awarded DX240. For the DX260, iBasso decided to abandon the modular amp-card system, so unlike the DX240 or DX320, you can't swap amplifier modules to tailor the sound signature to your liking. The DX260 might not be modular anymore but it is the first DAP to feature an easy removable back cover that allows for total battery access, making battery replacement by the user an easy task.

Technical stuff

The iBasso DX260 is the first DAP on the planet to feature an octa-DAC chip matrix, a unique and novel implementation that uses eighth CS43198 flagship DAC chips, four per channel, to achieve class leading measurements.

After years of algorithm development, iBasso's FPGA-Master has entered generation 2.0. As the audio system controller, it 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 utilizing two NDK femtosecond oscillators to achieve a fully synchronized single clock source.

The DX260 also features a dedicated USB receiver for USB DAC mode with low latency and ASIO/WASAPI support. The device supports 768kHz/32bit PCM and native DSD256.


The FIR filter

Thanks to the FPGA-Master 2.0, the potential of the 8pcs CS43198 can be further explored and developed. The DX260 features a synchronous parallel output mode that reduces "discrete distortion" between DACs to improve overall performance. A picosecond-level precise control and adjustment of the DAC clock and data is achieved, making each DAC data stream independently adjustable. Through the "delay parallel" of 4 DACs, the DACs form a hardware analog FIR filter, which averages the differences between multiple DACs, reducing distortion and effectively improving sound details and realism. The user has the option to switch the FIR filter off or enable it in 2x or 4x sampling modes.

Non Audio stuff

Previous iBasso DAPs, like the DX240 and DX320, had a chassis with smooth, rounded corners and curved edges. The DX260 has a new, angular design with asymmetrical lines, sharper corners and harder edges that combine together to a more industrial and aggressive appearance. The DX260 is lightweight and compact enough to fit in your palm and can be easily operated with one hand but the sharp corners may feel a little piercing. Of course, you can always use the silicone case that is included as a standard accessory.

The layout is simple and minimalistic, the right side of the DX260 has the unique iBasso multifunctional wheel and three buttons for playback control. The wheel might seem fragile but it isn't, it has a sturdy shaft that goes deep inside the chassis so it is actually very durable. Rotation is not that smooth and it takes some use to break up.

At the top of the device you can spot the 3.5mm SPDIF jack, the USB 3.1 type-C port and a micro-SD card slot without a dust cover. At the bottom there are the 3.5mm single ended and 4.4mm balanced headphone outputs that can also be set as line level outputs with a fixed or variable level.

The chassis is made from a single block of machined aluminum-alloy, featuring class leading finish and assembly. The back cover is reinforced with hardened glass.

User experience

The device is powered by a Snapdragon 660 SoC with 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM that ensure a seamless user experience. The DX260 is fast and responsive without exhibiting any lagging, no matter the application used. The 5” touch panel is large enough to allow for one handed operation while it has excellent visibility and vibrant colors. Streaming services, like Tidal and Qobuz, run fast and smoothly, you can browse the internet and do multitasking without any slowdown.

The DX260 also supports USB and Bluetooth DAC functionalit, plus it can output digital streams via USB or digital coaxial so you can use it as a transport to an external DAC.


Dual OS system

As per all iBasso players, the DX260 features a dual operating system where the user can choose between a customized Android 11 OS and iBasso's own developed Mango OS for a purer listening experience. The Android 11 OS comes with the official Google play store pre-installed so you can easily download all your favorite applications. You also get all the familiar Android features, like the drop down menu and all shorts of customization options.

The Mango OS is optimized for the best possible sound quality killing all unnecessary tasks. You can't use streaming services, only local playback from the SD card and USB DAC mode are allowed. The Mango OS also includes powerful graphic and parametric equalizers. Database access speed and build times are very fast even with large capacity SD cards.

Battery duration

The capacity of the battery is 4400mAh and supports quick charging so you can get a full charge in about 2.5 hours. iBasso claims 14 hours of average play time which is a little optimistic but still the actual duration was more than satisfying. The player gave me 10 hours of continuous use from its balanced output, in the low gain setting, steaming high resolution material. Additionally you can charge and use the device at the same time but there is no desktop mode that bypasses the battery.

How to replace the battery

Battery replacement by the user is an easy task thanks for the removable back cover. The only thing you have to do is to use a torx screwdriver and unscrew the two screws that fasten the metallic part that secures the back cover. Then carefully remove the back cover, taking extra care not to break it, and you have total access to the battery which is very easy to replace without any soldering involved.



The package includes a silicone protective case, a USB type-C cable, a 3.5mm to RCA coaxial (SPDIF) cable, the famous iBasso burn-in cable and some paperwork. A high quality leather case is sold separately for $59.

Power output and gear

The maximum power output of the DX260’s balanced output is 6Vrms or 1015mWpc/32Ω and 3Vrms, 280mWpc/32Ω from the 3.5mm jack. This is not the most powerful DAP of the category but still has enough juice to run a great variety of headphones, like the iBasso SR3, HIFIMAN Arya Organic, Sennheiser HD660S2 and Meze Liric 2 that I have mostly used for the review.

Background noise is literally inaudible, the device is dead silent and suitable for use with the most sensitive earphones, like the iBasso 3T-154, FiiO FX15 and Soundz Avant.

All headphone and earphone cables are made by Lavricables. As per usual practice, the iBasso DX260 was left playing music for more than 100 hours and was updated to the latest 2.02 firmware.


Audio stuff

Simply put, the iBasso DX260 is the most transparent and neutral player I have ever tested. All iBasso DAPs are famous for their linearity and neutrality but the DX260 has easily surpassed all of them and every other DAP in the market. Its not that there are no other neutrally tuned and transparent DAPs, I can think quite a few of them, but iBasso has managed to push neutrality, fidelity and transparency to their limits. Furthermore the DX260 has an ace under its sleeve as it is the first DAP that manages to stay so transparent and neutral without exhibiting digital glare or treble artificiality. The DX260 is really unique as it possess masterclass fidelity and precision but it doesn't sound sterile and clinical, a major achievement from iBasso that a lot of people are going to appreciate.

When using the iBasso DX260 it gets absolutely sure that you are actually listening to the sound signature of your headphones and the quality of the source material and not the player itself. Some of you might get a little disappointed for not being able to swap amp cards, like you did in other iBasso DAPs, the truth is that the DX260 is made for the purists. This is for people who need to be sure that they have the most transparent and linear sounding DAP that guarantees reference technicalities and don't care about any further sound manipulation.

At this point I must emphasize again and underline that the phenomenal clarity and transparency of the DX260 don't equal to a boring and monotonous listening experience. The DX260 is not like a scientific measuring tool or a monitoring instrument as it is actually very musical and engaging. The sound it produces is full with rich overtones, colorful harmonies and plenty of realistic timbre.

Technicalities are class leading of course and only comparable with much more expensive, flagship DAPs. The bass is deep and extended with excellent definition, amazing clarity and the most impressive layering you can possibly imagine. Throw your most demanding and stressing material and the iBasso DX260 will pass the test with flying colors. It has absolutely no problem at reproducing the finest nuances and the most silent notes while retaining astounding dynamic contrast and physical impact. The textures are not that full or visceral but you wouldn't call them lean or dry either, they are just balanced enough.

The mid-range is present and crystal clear with class leading (again) resolution, fine articulation and plenty of fluidity. The timbre is natural and realistic but the overall temperature is neutral, not warm nor cold. The treble is sparkling and energetic with excellent extension and plenty of shining light. The DX260 is fast and agile, it is not a smooth and relaxed player, it is marginally bright but rest assured that it doesn't sound sharp or piercing. This is not a very forgiving player and will not do much favors to poor quality recordings, especially if you pair it with bright or analytical headphones.

Another striking aspect of the DX260 is its exceptional refinement, the textures are silky smooth without any traces of grain or coarseness. Detail retrieval is absolutely stunning, you can hear the faintest notes emerging from a totally black background and every single sound that is captured inside the recording. But miraculously, the presentation is not analytical or mechanical, this is not the kind of player to present details for the sake of details but rather manages to combine every last bit to form the whole picture and make the music sound even more lifelike.

The separation and the imaging of the DX260 are phenomenal, absolutely class leading, I don't know of another player to outperform it in these departments. You can't only pinpoint the sound of each instrument, no matter how many they are, but you can also clearly understand the exact positioning of the performers during the recording. Headphones don't sound like speakers but with the DX260 you can fool yourself that you are listening to a 2-channel system. Furthermore, the soundstage is expanded and holographic, it sounds immersive and grandiose with stunning ambient sensation. The DX260 can make the Sennheiser HD660S2 and other soundstage shy headphones, to sound more open and spacious than you could possibly imagine.


Fine tuning

Selecting the 2x and 4x sampling modes of the FIR filter will mainly result in enhancing the overall sense of clarity, separation and imaging but you might find that the sound becomes a little more sterile and dry than it is with the filter switched off. The DX260 performs at its best under the Mango OS which further enhances transparency and fidelity by a tiny margin when compared to the Android OS. These are nice options to have that together with the five digital filters can help fine tune the sound signature of the player and offer better matching flexibility with various headphones and music genres.

Comparison with the FiiO M15S

The FiiO M15S ($999) has a larger 5.5” display and a higher capacity, 6200mAh battery but it is slightly bigger and heavier, not that pocket friendly as the iBasso DX260. The screen is also of a lower resolution and less vibrant and colorful than the one on the DX260. The M15S is a bit more powerful (1200mW/32Ω) and has a desktop mode that bypasses the battery which is not user replaceable as it is in the DX260. Both units use the same SoC and 4GB of RAM but the iBasso DX260 runs an Android 11 version instead of Android 10.


When it comes to their sound signature, the FiiO M15S has a slightly fuller, bigger and more impactful bass but it doesn't feel as defined and layered as in the DX260. The M15S is a little warmer and more colorful than the DX260 but it can't match its transparency and neutrality. The textures are thicker and fuller on the M15S while the soundstage is a bit bigger but it can't touch the separation and the imaging properties of the DX260. The M15S is the least digital sounding FiiO DAP, with a surpassingly natural timbre, but the DX260 has a more refined and resolving treble which is devoid from any digital glare, unlike that of the M15S that can show some tiny bits of artificiality.

Comparison with the iBasso DX240

The iBasso DX260 is powered by the same SoC and memory configuration as its predecessor but the Android version is upgraded from 9 to 11 and the overall user experience feels snappier and faster. The screen of the DX260 is greatly improved as it is more luminous, vibrant and colorful. Obviously, their most notable difference is the lack of the interchangeable amp-card system but in exchange you get the user replaceable battery.


When it comes to sound performance, the DX240 with the stock AMP1 MK3 shares a lot of common similarities with the DX260 regarding overall neutrality, fidelity and transparency but the latter feels much improved in every single department. It has better clarity and definition, it is more transparent and precise as long as it is also more refined and resolving. The DX240 can't compete with the DX260 in terms of separation and imaging, nor can it sound as immersive and holographic. The most notable difference though is that the timbre of the DX240 is more clinical and sterile when compared to the DX260 and is also not devoid of some digital glare and artificiality. The treble of the DX240 is sharper and brighter, not as natural and realistic sounding as in the DX260.

Swapping the stock amp card to the AMP8 MK2 will make the DX240 to sound warmer and more organic, the timbre becomes more natural and analog-like while digital glare is effectively minimized. Still the DX260 is the more neutral and transparent player with better technicalities and much improved resolution but I can see some people preferring the DX240/AMP8 MK2 for its warmer and more relaxed sound signature or the versatility of swapping amp cards.


The iBasso DX260 is a phenomenal player with a class leading transparency and neutrality that are not found elsewhere, even when comparing it with flagship models from iBasso or other brands. The DX260 offers masterclass fidelity and precision while it stays musical and engaging enough without sounding artificial and sterile. The price to performance ratio is really astounding, iBasso has managed to make a flagship-level DAP with a price lower than $1K. The DX260 hides plenty of innovation under its compact body and is the first player of its class to come with a user-friendly, replaceable battery.

The DX260 has become my reference DAP, a tool for evaluating headphones but it is also one of my favorites for music enjoyment. This is the perfect choice for everyone who seeks the best possible transparency and fidelity without sacrificing musicality and engagement. The DX260 stands as a major achievement for iBasso but also poses a great challenge as they will now have to surpass its sonic performance in their future products, something not that easy as it sounds. But I still have faith that iBasso is going to surprise us and come with even something better in the near future.

The review sample was kindly provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

The price of the iBasso DX260 is $949 and you can buy it from here.
Last edited:
I am not sure because I am not a Roon user.
This is the magic of the hobby. Subjectivity!!!
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How much is the replacement battery?
I don't know. You have to mail Paul at iBasso and ask.



100+ Head-Fier
The m15s is reaching a new level when connected to an external amp (at least with my he1000se and a C9, but I have read many feedbacks telling the same with Cayin C9 or A&K PA10). What about this Ibasso? Using an external amp can improve it a bit more with headphones?