iBasso DX300 MAX

General Information





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500+ Head-Fier
A desktop-grade setup in your pocket! (sorta...)
Pros: TOTL features at an "affordable" price
One-handed friendly if you don't mind the weight
Industry-leading CPU (for this form-factor)
Industry-leading 6GB RAM
Flagship discontinued (now-considered "rare") AK4499EQ chips
Built like a tank... potential self-defense weapon
Premium accessories
Everything you need is included at no extra cost
Bettery life
True balanced line out
Analog potentiometer
Fully isolated digital and analog circuits
Discrete amplifier circuit
High-quality capacitors & components
One of the best equalizers on the market
The sheer power that this monster provides
Customer Support (one of the best out there)
Sound performance: more realistic vocals, more details in the upper mid-range and high range, a very well-defined & clean sub-bass/bass, a very black background... & more... & more
Cons: Pet peeve: coax out isn't perfectly in-line with the rest of the ports on the back panel
Software could be more stable

A desktop-grade setup in your pocket! (sorta...)​

Let’s go way back to 2006, the year iBasso was founded. It started out as a manufacturer of headphone amplifiers, portable amplifiers, and DACs. In the same year, it released “Series D” of amplifiers & DACs, “Series P” of amplifiers, and “Series T” of slim headphone amplifiers. Fast forward 2011, the most important year for iBasso, the company released its first DAP — DX100 (HDP-R10). It was many things. It was the company’s greatest success and greatest accomplishment. It was the world’s first digital audio player that could play DSD while utilizing Android OS. It was the world’s first true high-resolution (24bit/192kHz) digital audio player.

iBasso accomplished this by successfully bypassing the ASLA driver on Android and using two EX9018 DAC chips. This would go on to be an industry-changing achievement.

In the coming years, iBasso would go on to release several DAPs: DX50 (2013), DX80 (2014), DX90 (2014), DX200 (2017), DX120 (2018), DX150 (2018), DX160 (2019), DX220 (2020), DX220 MAX (2020), DX300 (2020).

And here we are in 2021, we’ve witnessed the release of iBasso’s brand-new MAX series member: DX300 MAX. While the release was somewhat chaotic and made some people upset, everything turned out to be just okay in the end. The SS (stainless steel) version was limited to 400 units, while the Ti (titanium) version was limited to 100 units. Both of these releases had a set number of units reserved for the company’s homeland (China). In short, what caused the outrage is the fact that it that the Ti version wasn’t announced at the time of the release of the SS version, causing some people to be upset. Also, it wasn’t clear that the SS version would be limited to 400 units.

DAPs aside, iBasso entered the Head-Fi industry in 2016. This is the year that it released its first pair of IEMs: IT03 — a competitively priced 1DD + 2BA IEM. Then the company released its then-flagship IEM: IT04. To top it all off, iBasso also released its first headphones: SR1 — the world’s first high-definition headphones to use silicone suspension drivers. All three releases were a great success, with the SR1 being a limited edition that sold out.

In general, iBasso always moves two steps ahead of everyone else. If you just track and follow each and every step of this company, you will be amazed at how fast they are evolving. The consistency of their industry-leading products is nothing to be overlooked.

Preface ⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

Everything about this review was far from ordinary. First of all, an emergency happened, and this on its own took a big toll on me. For the majority of this review I was not home, meaning that I couldn't work in normal fashion. Not only did the [ongoing] emergency disrupt my way of working, but it also didn't leave me much time for music listening. The combination of not being at home and not having a lot of free time significantly pushed back the release of this review. Secondly, as the manufacturer recommended, I burned-in the DAP for 200 hours. I usually do not do this as though I like the virgin experience of natural burn-in. However, as burn-in was recommended, I took it very seriously and made sure to document the whole journey. This way, if you want, you can repeat my burn-in process:

The burn-in was done with the following settings:
Gain: High
Volume pot position: 12 o'clock
Played from: Internal Storage
OS: Mango OS

To keep everything versatile yet smooth, I only had three albums in my Internal Storage music library. I set the playback mode to loop, which allowed me to leave the DX300 MAX running while I went on about my life. Basically, loop made sure that the three albums were played by track order and were on repeat (loop: A, B, C, A, B, C... etc.) The three albums were: Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (9 tracks, 64DSD), Yo-Yo Ma’s Classic (16 tracks, 64DSD), Chesky Record’s 2020 Audiophile Sampler (10 tracks, WAV 24bit 96.0 kHz). Besides the first day, I played the three albums on loop from a full-charge (100%) to 20% (the first battery to drop to ~20%). Then I would charge the DX300 MAX (analog battery was being charged with the included charger, while the digital one was being charged slowly with a 5.0V charger). It roughly takes 3h 20min to charge the digital section from 20% to 100% with a 5.0V charger. In terms of problems, I sometimes found the DX300 MAX to be frozen. However, even though it happened only a couple of times, I cannot confirm whether there was any music playback while it was frozen, or whether it froze only when I turned it on and interacted with the screen. In other words, this remains a question mark.

Burn-In documentation:

Session length (hh:mm)​
Session details (start - end)
Wed, Oct 7, 19:30 - Thu, Oct 8, 3:00
09 35​
Fri, Oct 8, 6:25 - Fri, Oct 8, 16:00
08 40​
Fri, Oct 8, 19:20- Sat, Oct 9, 4:00
10 10​
Sat, Oct 9, 8:00 - Sat, Oct 9, 18:10
09 15​
Sat, Oct 9, 21:45 - Sun, Oct 10, 7:00
09 30​
Sun, Oct 10, 10:15 - Sun, Oct 10, 19:45
09 30​
Sun, Oct 10, 23:15 - Mon, Oct 11, 8:45
10 00​
Mon, Oct 11, 13:05 - Mon, Oct 11, 23:05
08 50​
Tue, Oct 12, 2:25 - Tue, Oct 12, 11:15
10 00​
Tue, Oct 12, 15:00 - Wed, Oct 13, 1:00
10 40​
Wed, Oct 13, ~4:00 - Wed, Oct 13, 14:40
Wed, Oct 13, 18:30 - Thu, Oct 14, 4:00
Thu, Oct 14, 7:15 - Thu, Oct 14, 15:35
Thu, Oct 14, 19:10 - Fri, Oct 15, 4:25
Fri, Oct 15, 7:30 - Fri, Oct 15, 17:30
Fri, Oct 15, 20:55 - Sat, Oct 16, 6:25
Sat, Oct 16, 9:40 - Sat, Oct 16, 18:05
Sat, Oct 16, 21:25 - Sun, Oct 17, 6:55
Sun, Oct 17, 10:15 - Sun, Oct 17, 19:30
Sun, Oct 17, 22:45 - Mon, Oct 18, 8:15
Mon, Oct 18, 11:40 - Mon, Oct 18, 21:10
Tue, Oct 19, 00:40 - Tue, Oct 19, 6:20 paused - Tue, Oct 19,10:20 continued - 14:40
Tue, Oct 19, 18:15 - ? paused accidentally - Wed, Oct 20, 7:40
Wed, Oct 20, 11:40 - Wed, Oct 20, 21:35
Thu, Oct 21, 00:35 - Thu, Oct 21, 10:10

Disclaimer: The DX300 MAX was provided to me free of charge. I received a "Demo" unit which isn't a part of the limited 400 unit batch. 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). Like all of my previous reviews, unless stated, there is no positive nor negative influence coming from the manufacturer. In fact, Mr. Paul always clearly states that he wants an honest review that does't hide flaws. Also, like my other reviews, this review wasn't written overnight and took many hours of research, photographing, editing and listening experience to result in the article that you are about to read.

Disclaimer #2: I was going for a very specific look of the photography, and thus I decided to make the gold accents look "golden". In real life, the gold is of a more mature and darker golden color. I usually color-grade my photography to match the colors in real life.

The featured photography of the DX300 MAX was composed and edited by me. I am also responsible for the advanced Head-Fi formatting, tables, and overall layout in this review. Last but not least, I decided to make a switch from Imgur to ImgBB. I spent way too much time making, color-grading, and editing the DX300 MAX photography, only to be forced to compress it before uploading to Imgur. In short, Imgur has a 5MB limit before it applies its own compression, so I usually do the compression beforehand and make sure the files are below 5MB. For this review I had enough of it. I uploaded the uncompressed images to ImgBB, and this is why it might take a bit longer for the images to load. Please contact me (PM on Head-Fi or email) if you can't see any photography of the DX300 MAX.

Thank you, enjoy the review =D

Unboxing Experience

Let’s just say that the unboxing experience leans towards the simpler side from what we are used to seeing from iBasso.








First, you will be met with a plain black cardboard box with two white stickers on the side (one of them is the bar-code, and the other is the serial number). After you open it up, you will be able to slide out a second box. Unlike the first one, this one features a matte rubber-like finish It is also plain, but features a shiny iBasso’s logo in the middle. It opens upwards, like a watch box. Inside you will first see your DX300 MAX set in a velvet-like compartment. Below this compartment are all the accessories and your exclusive 1-of-1 metal card with your unit number — not included with my Demo review unit. The metal card is held “inside” of a black envelope. In this envelope are the screen protectors, quicks start guide, and the warranty card. The accessories are separated into three velvet-like pouches. One pouch has the charger for the analog section, the other one has the leather case, and the last holds a braided coax cable, a braided burn-in cable, 2.5mm to 4.4mm adaptor, a thick rubberized 4.4mm to 3.5mm Line Out cable, and a braided USB-A to USB-C cable.

All of the accessories are premium.

Format format of what’s inside:
1x DX300 MAX
1x leather case
3x different sized velvet-like pouches
1x iBasso CA02 2.5mm to 4.4mm adaptor
1x 4.4mm to 3.5mm LO cable
1x USB-A to USB-C cable
1x coax cable
1x 1-of-1 metal card with unit number



DX300 MAX is a big boy, there’s no doubt about it. You can think of it as a combination of a smaller desktop amp and your classic DAP.

If this is your first time seeing a MAX series digital audio player from iBasso, then the size might come off as surprising. It wasn’t the height or the width that surprised me as much as the sheer thickness of this monster. Compared to my phone, Samsung Galaxy S8, the DX300 MAX is just about the same height and it’s a couple of centimeters wider. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the DX220 MAX, then you will find DX300 MAX’s size pretty normal. And while they are almost same in size, the two have some pretty distinct physical design differences. I will point out these differences as I reveal the design features of the DX300 MAX.

Let’s start off with the chassis. On the front panel, you will find the true 4.4mm balanced Line Out, 4.4mm Balanced Phone Out, 3.5mm Single-Ended Phone Out, and Volume Knob; in that order. On the back panel, you will find the DC-in, USB-C port, Coaxial Out, and Micro SD card slot. Finally, on the right-side, you will find the Power On/Off button and the media control buttons. The latter are “isolated” from the power button by being spaced farther apart from it. I’m glad iBasso listened and changed the media control buttons to a round design (like on the DX220). If you are unaware, the DX300 had slim media control buttons that weren’t quite ideal. The newly designed buttons are easier to press, are more consistent, and have more tactile feedback. The exact changes I asked for in my DX300 review!

Besides the volume knob, visually-wise, there haven’t been any notable changes. DX300 MAX still carries that iconic DX220 MAX look & finish. However, what has changed is the physical layout. One thing that you should know is that DX220 MAX had only one button: the power button located on the back panel. The addition of the media control buttons is a significant change, if you ask me. Having both the power button and the media control buttons in one place is something that makes using the DAP much more comfortable and convenient. In addition, the Micro SD card slot has also been moved to the back, leaving the left side completely blank.

Regarding the volume knob, it is circular in shape. The front-facing side has a brushed finish, while it features slanted “slashes” all the way around. Besides the “slashes”, it is polished all the way around, and there is an engraved ring close to the face of the knob.

iBasso DX300 MAX holds a rectangular shape with polished smoothed out edges. There is not a single sharp corner, everything is buttery smooth and gorgeous in appearance. I especially appreciate the attention to detail, such as the small part of the chassis by the display that is polished.

The front panel has CNC-milled cutouts for the audio outputs (Line Out, BAL Phone Out, SE Phone Out). All three audio outputs are recessed within the cutouts. However, on the back panel, the inputs/outputs are not recessed and do not have cutouts around them. Instead, they are set flush with the chassis.

The MAX series features a color combination of silver, as the base color, and gold, as the accent color. Each input/output is outlined with a golden faceplate. Round inputs/outputs are surrounded with a round faceplate, while oval inputs/outputs are surrounded with a rounded rectangular faceplate. To further add to the details, each faceplate has a circular engraved texture.

I know there has been a decent amount of debating about the portability of the DX300 MAX. Here’s my take on it:

My interpretation of the word “portable” is something that can be carried around without any hassle. On the other hand, I define “pocketable” something that can fit in your pockets. I am aware that “transportable” might be more appropriate for my definition of “portable”, but it is what it is.

To get to the point. Does DX300 MAX fit in the pocket with ease? No. Can it be easily carried around? Yes. Whenever I think about portable, the question “Would Tyll be able to take one with him?” always comes to mind. That’s only one of the things I question. Another aspect that I question is whether it can fit in a backpack and be carried around. DX300 MAX can certainly be thrown in a backpack with its charger & other accessories.

So, in my opinion, DX300 MAX is portable, but isn’t pocketable. That's my take on its portability.

Functions & Features

I would like to go over the details of the above-mentioned inputs/outputs.

The 4.4mm Balanced Line Out can be used when you want to use an external amplifier and let the DX300 MAX act as a source. The 4.4mm and 3.5mm Phone Outs are to be used with your desired headphones, earbuds, earphones, and IEMs. The volume knob is a story of its own and will be covered in a dedicated section.

Moving to the back-side, DC-in is where you plug in the included 12V AC/DC adapter to charge the analog battery section. The USB-C port is used for both data transfer (USB 3.1 Gen 1 Superspeed) and charging (supports QC3.0 and PD2.0 quick charging) the digital battery section. The S/PDIF Coaxial Out allows you to connect the DX300 MAX to a device with a Coax In and allows your DAP to act as digital transport — allows you to play your music library from your DAP.


note: if you look closely, you can notice that the coax out is slightly above the rest

Build Quality

If you limited me to one sentence to describe its build quality, it would probably be “Built like a tank”. You could seriously use this gorgeous chunk of stainless steel as a self-defense weapon. It would be of great use in a zombie apocalypse. Forgot the keys to your car? Worry not, DX300 MAX will go through those windows with no struggle… Okay, I might’ve gone a little bit too far there.

As the SS name suggests, DX300 MAX SS is made of stainless steel. While I couldn’t the exact grade of it, I did find out that it is commercial high-grade stainless steel (the factory manufacturing these specializes in manufacturing medical and airline metals). The stainless steel is treated with a brushed finish. There is also a Ti version made of a titanium alloy. More specifically, it is made of aerospace titanium (Ti-6Al-4V; also known as Grade 5 titanium).

The volume knob is also made of stainless steel. It is treated with a soft radially brushed finish.

The faceplates are made of anodized aluminum.


Custom Analog Potentiometer

One of the signature features of the MAX series is the analog potentiometer. The analog potentiometer is responsible for the balanced signal, and thus has 4 wipers. If it were responsible for a single ended signal, it would only need 2 wipers. Each potentiometer is tested before sent to iBasso. However, iBasso does one more final testing to eliminate any units that don’t meet their specifications.

For those unfamiliar with analog potentiometers — *cough* *cough* like I was — you might think something is wrong with your DAP when you hear channel imbalances at low volumes. As I and many others found out, this is a completely normal characteristic of analog potentiometers. I thought it would be of great value to hear manufacturer’s recommendation at what position the volume pot should be set. Mr. Paul suggests that the volume pot is set at 9 o’clock or higher.

“It may vary a little but that is generally where ours is at a good balance“ he said.

I like to keep mine at 12 o’clock, but I allow myself to go lower than that.


While iBasso made a bold statement with its DX300’s industry-leading display size & resolution, the MAX series leans towards a different direction. DX300 MAX has a 5” IPS touch display. In comparison, DX220 MAX also had a 5” display, but instead of a IPS panel it used an LCD panel. What the two share in common is the Full HD (1080x1920) resolution.

The jump from the almost bezel-less DX300 to the MAX is not small. In fact, it is a completely different experience. I’d say it’s a love it or hate it experience. I love it.

For some reason, the thick bezels make it much more cozy to use. I think it’s moreso the top and bottom bezels that make it such a pleasant experience. The combination of thicker bezels and a smaller display result in a very convenient design that allows for one-handed use. Everything is within hand’s reach. This is one of the main reasons why it is such a joy to use.

Internal Hardware

Let’s uncover the beast hiding underneath.


SoC (system on a chip)

Holding it all together is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 SoC (system on a chip) with 128GB of internal storage, 6GB of LPDDR4X-3733 RAM that operates at a frequency of 1866 MHz, an octa-core 14nm processor (four Kryo 260 Silver cores operating at 1.84 GHz and four Kryo 260 Gold cores operating at 2.2 GHz), and a Adreno 512 integrated GPU operating at 647 MHz. When it comes to the processor, I ran CPU-Z, and it revealed that four cores operate at 633MHz – 1843MHz, while the other four operate at 1113MHz – 2208 MHz.

DX300 MAX shares the same industry-leading SoC that’s featured in the DX300. It can be considered industry-leading until Shanling officially releases its M9 flagship DAP that will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665.

DAC (Digital to Analog Converter)


Official AK4499 Block Diagram from AsahiKasei
Perhaps the most notable part of the DX300 MAX is the use of the now-discontinued AKM AK4499EQ DAC chips. After all, this is why iBasso was forced to make this model so limited. For those unaware, on October 21, 2020, a fire broke out at AKM’s semiconductor plant “Fab2”. This factory plant was mainly responsible for manufacturing large-scale integrated circuits (LSI) used in audio equipment, home appliances, TCXO oscillator, and other products. While AKM didn’t immediately publicize how its chips would be affected, earlier this year they officially announced which of its chips would be permanently discontinued, AK4499EQ — the company’s flagship chip — being one of them. AKM does plan to redevelop its two now-retired flagship chips (AK4498EQ, AK4499EQ), but it is uncertain whether the performance will be worse/better than the original. Regardless, I think it’s safe to assume that we will never get the same original AK4498EQ chip.


In terms of DX300 MAX and its implementation of AKM’s chips, iBasso incorporated two AK4499EQ chips (one per channel). Each DAC chip has 4 channels, totaling to 8 channels. While, yes, in theory DX300 MAX has 8 channels, they will not all be used unless you activate “Ultimate Mode” through software. When not using the Ultimate Mode, DX300 MAX uses only two channels, allowing for longer listening sessions (more battery) and less heat being generated.

AK4499EQ features 6 digital filters (these can be chosen in a couple of different places in Android & MangoOS):

D1: Short Roll-Off

D2: Slow Roll-Off

D3: Short Delay, Sharp Roll-Off

D4: Short Delay, Slow Roll-Off

D5: Super Slow Roll-Off

D6: Low Dispersion, Short Delay


Unsatisfied with how the average DAPs don’t prioritize audio playback and instead let the SoC and the OS process multiple tasks at the same time, iBasso 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 ultra-low power noise Accusilicon Femtosecond 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.

The following are DX300 MAX’s supported audio formats: MQA (16x), APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DFF, DSF, and DXD
PCM: 768kHz / 32-Bit, DSD512: 22.5 MHz / 1-Bit

In contrast, DX220 MAX used two 8-channel ESS ES9028PRO DAC chips. Another difference is that DX300 MAX supports PCM 768kHz (16x oversampling), while DX220 MAX supports PCM 384kHz (highest PCM non-oversampling resolution).


Yet another standout feature of this DAP is its amplifier section. Yes, I know, everything I mentioned so far has been “special”, but that’s just how iBasso does things. I cannot deny their genius!


The analog and digital circuits are fully isolated from each other. It’s almost as though the two are completely independent of one another. Just like the DAC volume can be exclusively controlled through software, the Phone Out volume is exclusively controlled by the analog potentiometer. The two are controlled independent from each other.

Once again, if you never used a MAX series DAP from iBasso, then you might be prone to making the same mistake as me. Even after reading people pointing it out under the DX300 MAX Head-Fi thread, I forgot that there is no way for you to see the AMP volume. Well, technically you can see it by looking at the volume pot’s position, but you cannot see it through software. When I turned it on for the first time and noticed the volume in the top-bar menu wasn’t reacting, I thought something was faulty. I knew the volume pot worked because it altered the volume (duh…), but was confused as to why the number on the screen wasn’t changing. Don’t be a dummy like me! This is how analog potentiometers work.

Both the digital and analog circuits use optocouplers (opto-isolators) and I2C isolators for complete isolation from interference between each other.

Let’s go over the more technical details about the amplifier section. First off, it is based on the AMP8 module — originally designed for DX150/DX200 models. It is an “optimized super class A discrete circuit”. It eliminates he switching distortion of transistors, while providing the sound signature of a Class A amplifier & significantly reduces heat generation. To better understand this, here is iBasso’s quote describing the AMP8:

“When using OPAMPs to develop an amplifier, it is almost impossible to achieve high voltage output and high current output, especially on a portable devices. Some engineers have used the TPA6120 on the buffer stage to achieve 750mA output current. However, it has 10ohm output impedance, which isn't ideal for low impedance IEMs or headphones. So, we decided to use discrete components which are usually used on desktop amplifiers to develop the AMPS, but the development process is much more difficult when using discrete components. After a long development period and with our final design, we present the AMP8 card that has both high voltage and high current output and at the same time maintains low output impedance with extremely good measurements. AMP8 complements the premium performance of the DX150 and the DX200, giving you even more choices when playing the music you enjoy.”

Or, in one sentence, “AMP8 card has both high voltage and high current output and at the same time maintains low output impedance with extremely good measurements”

Oh yeah, and iBasso couldn’t forget to mention the use of high quality components! For electrolytic capacitors, iBasso used Siemens axial capacitors, Philips BC capacitors, NOS Philips metal film capacitors & silver jacker Philips BC capacitors. As Paul explained to me, it was hard to acquire the NOS (new old stock) capacitors, and they can still be found in some places today, but are increasing in price. If I understood correctly, Vishay now took over manufacturing these capacitors, but they differ in sound performance compared to the NOS ones. In the same way, iBasso didn’t overlook the cabling used on the amp circuit. “Aside” from all the hand soldering done on the board, the cables used are peripheral cables, but also hand soldered to the board. I’m sure there are people who have opinions, but then there are also people who couldn’t care less about the cables used inside. From @Whitigir ’s perspective, peripheral cables have 3 benefits over ribbon cables:

1) The connectors are more solid and larger in size
2) They allow the wire materials to be customs made
3) They allow the user to modify and upgrade the cables

As a whole, I think it’s quite prominent that the amplifier section is one of the main attractions to iBasso’s DAPs. Many people loved the past AMP8 module, so I think it was the right move to base DX300 MAX’s amplifier circuit on it.

Here are the official specs:

Phone Out

3.5mm Single-Ended Phone Out​
4.4mm Balanced Phone Out​
ᴏᴜᴛᴘᴜᴛ ʟᴇᴠᴇʟ​
4.4 Vrms (No Load)
4.4 Vrms (@300Ω)
4.0 Vrms (@32Ω)​
8.8 Vrms (No Load)
8.8 Vrms (@300Ω)
6.5 Vrms (@32Ω)​
ꜰʀᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴄʏ ʀᴇꜱᴘᴏɴꜱᴇ​
10Hz-40kHz (+/- 0.3dB)​
10Hz-40kHz (+/- 0.3dB)​
122 dB​
125 dB​
ᴅʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄ ʀᴀɴɢᴇ​
-111 dB (No Load) (1k/48kHz/24bit, 4.4 Vrms, DAC100)
-107 dB (@300Ω) (1k/48kHz/24bit, 4.4 Vrms, DAC100)
-101 dB (@32Ω) (1k/48kHz/24bit, 1.5 Vrms, DAC91)​
-114 dB (No Load) (1k/48kHz/24bit, 8.8 Vrms, DAC100)
-107 dB (@300Ω) (1k/48kHz/24bit, 8.8 Vrms, DAC100)
-101 dB (@32Ω) (1k/48kHz/24bit, 3 Vrms, DAC91)​

Line Out

4.4mm Balanced Line Out​
ᴏᴜᴛᴘᴜᴛ ʟᴇᴠᴇʟ​
4.4 Vrms (High Gain)
2 Vrms (Mid Gain)
1.25 Vrms (Low Gain)​
ꜰʀᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴄʏ ʀᴇꜱᴘᴏɴꜱᴇ​
10Hz-40kHz +/-0.3dB​
ᴅʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄ ʀᴀɴɢᴇ​
-111dB (no Load, 2Vrms)​

Something that wasn’t initially disclosed in the official specs is the output voltage at different gain settings. I remembered DX300 + AMP11’s high line out output voltage of 7.1V, so I got curious and asked Mr. Paul if he knew what the line out output voltage is at different gain settings, and he told me (you can see I actually included the specs in the table above). Another thing Mr. Paul disclosed to me is that the current output of the DX300 MAX is up to 4A, as opposed to DX300 + AMP11’s max. output current of 2.7A.


Yet… another… standout feature… is the battery section. Here is an excerpt from my DX300 review:

“Something’s got to be powering all this craziness, right? Yup, a patented dual power supply structure. iBasso pursued this innovation in the DAP space because they believe that the usual single battery powering the whole system causes distortion that negatively affects audio quality. To be more specific, the DC from the analog section interferes with the DC from the digital section. This is why the battery design is separated into two sections…”

This is another part where the digital and analog sections are fully separated from each other. The good thing is that this one is actually patented and exclusive to iBasso. DX300 MAX is equipped with a total of 9800mAh! The digital section features a single 6200mAh battery pack, while the analog features a battery pack that is compromised of four 900mAh batteries. It’s also worth mentioning that the amplifier section features an optimized power supply path with the [AMP] battery pack directly loaded on the amplifier board. iBasso states that the analog section is powered by a “true +/- 8.4V battery pack” that uses no voltage boost to “ensure the highest purity and current output”.

Just like there are two separate battery sections, there are two separate charging “sections”. The analog section is charged with the included 12V charger, while the digital one is charged through the USB-C port with a charger of choice. Although quick charging is supported (QC3.0, PD2.0), using lower voltage chargers should extend your battery’s health… but I’m pretty sure that one buying this DAP cannot be bothered to wait. One thing that you should definitely avoid (with pretty much every iBasso DAP) are Samsung chargers. To be more specific, their“Adaptive Fast Charging” chargers. They are not optimized for iBasso players, and therefore create a complete mess. For one second it says it’s fast charging, the next second it says it’s charging, then it says it’s not charging. You get the point.

The battery life greatly depends on several factors: screen brightness, DAC volume, analog volume, audio format, Ultimate Mode On/Off, how demanding the headphones are, etc. However, by far, the single factor that affects the battery the most is the Ultimate Mode.

If you care about battery health, then you should never allow your battery to drop below 25% and should stop charging at 80%. Do note that I am not referring to the burn-in period, but rather to the normal use of the DAP. In terms of how long it lasted me, I will use the data from my burn-in period, because that’s the most stable testing I’ve done (constant music playing, little to no use of the screen). Excluding the first session, the average play time I was getting during the burn-in period was 8 hours and 32 minutes. Also excluding the first session, the most play time I’ve gotten was 10 hours and 42 minutes, and the least play time I’ve gotten was 8 hours and 40 minutes. During the burn-in period, I did not let the battery drop below 20% (except once or twice when I got carried away and the battery dropped to 17-18%), and charged it to 100%. In other words, you can expect 80% to last you around 8 hours and 30 minutes. If you are more curious about this topic, check out this link (thanks to @Poganin for recommending it):

While this is more of a software “issue”, it’s worth mentioning. The software doesn’t appear to be showing the true/correct battery percentage. How do I know this? Well, it’s actually something I found out during the burn-in period. Whenever I powered off the DX300 MAX and connected it to both chargers, the analog section always had 10% more than it initially showed while the DAP was on. The second thing I noticed during the burn-in period was that the software didn’t have a consistent battery decrease rate. What I mean by this is that although the battery life was pretty similar during the burn-in period, the software didn’t always decrease the battery at a consistent rate. For example, the analog battery could drop below the digital battery, but near the end (sometimes it was near 20%, other times it was near 60%) they would catch up to each other and digital one would drop a percent or so below the analog battery. This was apparent when I noticed that either the analog battery or the digital battery held a certain percentage for longer than expected. I’m not entirely sure whether this can be considered an issue, since you are getting constant battery life, but it is certainly an inconvenience. I’m sure it can be fixed through software, but just like anything else, it takes time to get it right.

Software & Interface​

Just like its past players, DX300 MAX comes equipped with iBasso’s authentic dual-boot OS. On one end there is an optimized Android system, aka custom ROM — a firmware based on the Android source code provided by Google. On the other end there is iBasso’s own Linux-based “Mango OS”.

Android Pie (9.0)

As mentioned above, a custom ROM is used. This Android implementation has some visual differences and some limitations compared to the stock ROM (normal Android), but the overall experience will feel homelike if you are coming from an Android device.

Since I do not have the DX220 MAX, I will compare the DX300 MAX to my DX300.

The two are practically identical, except for some minor differences. In terms of settings, DX300 has “Double-tap screen to awake” and “Indicator” in display settings, while DX300 MAX doesn’t. In audio settings, DX300 MAX has “Ultimate Mode”, while DX300 doesn’t, and DX300 has “Output” (PO/LO) and “Volume Wheel Control”, while DX300 MAX doesn’t. Other than these minor differences (which are actually differences related to hardware), the settings are identical.

There is still a flexible homepage, which allows you to customize it to your liking. Once you long press on the homepage, a small pop-up will show up. Through this pop-up you can access “Home settings”, “Widgets”, or “Wallpapers”. Once in “Home settings”, you will see three options: “Enable feed integration”, “Change icon shape”, and “The main screen”. 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 second option allows you to change the icon shape (square, squircle, circle, teardrop). If “The main screen” is enabled, all the apps will be displayed on the homepage, if disabled, it will allow you to use the standard Android app drawer. I prefer the standard app drawer because I like to look at my wallpaper on the homepage.

To make it feel more like home, there are also widgets that you can place on the homepage. Just like on my DX300, I used the time widget and the Google search widget (a stock Google Chrome widget). If you install third-party apps like Spotify, you will be able to use their widgets as well.

“Wallpapers” is a pretty self explanatory one… right?

Although the software was stable for the most part, I did run into some problems. A not so rare problem I encountered was that while in Android, I would press the power button to “wake up” the DAP and unlock it, but the screen wouldn’t register my fingers or would not allow me to fully swipe (needed for unlocking the screen). I also sometimes encountered my DX300 MAX to bug out and just go numb. This, however, wasn’t something that happened often. When this would occur, the screen would freeze, the power button wouldn’t be responsive after you use it to turn the DX300 MAX off, but after leaving the DAP off for a couple of minutes, I would be able to turn it back on. I think that a factory reset would fix this problem, and if it wouldn’t a software update should have the power to do it.

Mango App (Version 3.0.0)


The interface of this app is quite simple and minimalist, making it easy to navigate through. In the top-left corner there is a menu icon that allows you search through your music library, or browse your internal/external storage for music. In the top-right corner there is a settings icon where all of the audio settings are located: 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, Indicator, 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”). Everything below looks exactly the same as in the Mango OS. There is a large track/album cover art, file format, track’s timeline, track info, playback options.

I’d like to mention that both the parametric equalizer and the graphic equalizer are quite refined. 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 pin-point 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/

In addition, check out iBasso's thorough coverage of DX300 MAX's equalizer(s): https://www.ibasso.com/uploadfiles/download/DX300Maxusermanual.pdf#page=46&zoom=auto,-243,395

Mango OS (V


My Music menu (left), Homepage (middle), Settings menu (right)

iBasso continues the implementation of its custom operating system — first introduced in 2014, on their DX80 DAP. Mango OS is a very raw operating system, there are no fancy visual affects (that are present on Android), it’s a very stripped down operating system whose focus is entirely on audio. If you are wondering what I’m talking about, I’m talking about things such as transition animations. These animations contribute to the smooth experience on the Android OS, though you can technically turn them off in Android’s “Developer Options”. Either way, Mango OS is much more than an OS with transition animations turned off!

You will notice that the whole OS is visually quite similar to the Mango App, hence why they share the same “Mango” name.

In total, MangoOS boasts only two menus: “My Music” and “Settings”. The first one is accessed by clicking on the menu icon in the top-left corner. Through this menu, you can access everything related to music media (now playing, all music, directory, album, artist, genre, playlist). All music, as the name suggests, displays all scanned music. You are given 4 options for sorting all of your music: title, album, artist, and added. Besides “My Music”, “Album” gives you an option to sort all your albums in either a list or an icon layout.

“Settings” are accessed by clicking on the settings icon in the top-right corner. Once you’re in the settings menu, you have the option to change the following: gapless, gain, play mode, L/R balance, equalizer, digital filter, advanced, and the option to switch to the Android OS. In “Advanced”, there is a second set of settings: DAC (mode), media scan, languages, display, power management, system info, MTP (media transfer protocol), DAC Volume, Button Settings, Ultimate Mode. For those unfamiliar with MTP, it is used when you want to transfer media between the DAP and a computer.

The OS is quite simple. On the very top (where the notification bar would usually be), the volume and two battery percentages are displayed on the right side. Right below, on the left side, there his a “My Music” menu, in which you can browse, well…. your music. You can see what’s currently playing, all your music files, you can browse the DX300’s directory, browse by albums, artists, genre, or by playlists. On the right side you have the settings menu, in which you will find all the audio settings: Gapless, Gain, Output, Play mode, L/R balance, Equalizer (graphic without visual representation), Digital Filter, Advanced, and also the option to switch back to Android. Once you go into Advanced, there are the following options: DAC, Media Scan, Languages, Display, Power Management, System Info, MTP (media transfer protocol). Then you have the large song/album cover art, and below it you have the file format information. Finally, right below there is the track’s timeline and underneath it you have the track name, artist, and album. In level, on the left side there is an icon of sound waves. Once you press it, all the track info (artist, album, duration, path, delete) is shown, and you also have the option to add that track to a playlist. Last but not least, on the right side you can change the playback options.

Menus aside, MangoOS has a homepage/main screen with a bunch of important info. First of all, on the very top (where the notification bar is usually), aligned to the right, you can see the DAC volume percentage and the percentages of the digital and analog battery sections. The majority of the screen space is taken by the track/album cover art. Below the cover art, you can see the file format information (audio coding format, bitrate, sample rate, audio bitrate size).

For the most part, everything below the cover art and file format info is pretty familiar: track timeline, track name/artist/album centered & displayed one below the other, play/pause & previous/next buttons. In line with the artist/album: one the left side, is a sound wave icon which reveals thorough information about the current track (track name, file format information, artist, album, duration, path, and an option to delete it); on the right side, play mode icon (Order, Loop, Shuffle, Repeat).

And that’s the whole Mango OS for you.

Playback Modes

Order – if you are playing an album, it will be played by track order, and once it’s done, the playback will stop. The same applies for playlists and single tracks.
Loop — whatever you are playing will be played on loop. If you are playing an album, it will be played in order, but will start from the beginning once the last track is finished. If you want to play your whole music library, you can just let it play, and if you turn on Loop, it will keep playing (very useful for burn-in).
Shuffle — random order
Repeat — the current track will be played on repeat

Bluetooth & WiFi

There’s nothing new here. For this reason, I’ll insert an excerpt from my DX300 review:

“The DX220 was the first DAP to support two-way Bluetooth 5.0, which provides native support for LDAC and aptx. The DX300 inherited this feature. When it comes to WiFi, the DX300 is equipped with two antennas (2x2 MIMO), which allows it to support up to two streams of data. It also has the dual band 2.4Ghz/5Ghz ability. The WiFi standard that is implemented is the 802.11b/g/n/ac. On the other side of things, the fairly up to date Bluetooth 5.0 is used.”

Although nothing has changed, I did notice that DX300 recognizes a network faster & connects to one better. Of course, this shouldn’t matter if you are at home, close to your router, using your own WiFi. However, if you are outside and feel a little rebellious and find a network without a password, you might have a harder time connecting to it. Lately, I found myself spending a lot of time in the countryside and there I have no internet… at least not my own (oops!). I noticed that DX300 was able to both connect and recognize a network nearby, while DX300 MAX had difficulties recognizing it and had no success in connecting to it. Perhaps this is due to the thick stainless steel housing? I cannot say for sure, but it is a small “detail” I noticed.

Sound Performance


TRI Meteor + Ego Audio Champagne paired with DX300 MAX for photography purposes only

I have to be honest and tell you that there hasn’t been a time when I plugged something in the DX300 MAX and wasn’t amazed. Before I go into details, I want to say that in order to access DX300 MAX’s sound performance, I compared it against DX300 + AMP12 module (commonly known as “DX312”). I, like others, noticed that the two setups sound quite alike. However, just because they sound alike doesn’t meant they sound the same. They have their differences, and I will state them, but first, let’s do a comparison between AMP12’s and DX300 MAX's numbers and specifications. I separate numbers, aka specifications, and the audio experience, so, I prefer to do the same when I’m writing about sound performance… though, for the most part, I stay away from mentioning them.

Balanced Phone Out (4.4mm):

DX300 MAX:
ᴏᴜᴛᴘᴜᴛ ᴠᴏʟᴛᴀɢᴇ​
8.8 Vrms (no load), 8.8 Vrms (@300Ω), 6.5 Vrms (@32Ω)
ꜰʀᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴄʏ ʀᴇꜱᴘᴏɴꜱᴇ​
10Hz – 40kHz (+/- 0.3dB)
ᴅʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄ ʀᴀɴɢᴇ​

ᴏᴜᴛᴘᴜᴛ ᴠᴏʟᴛᴀɢᴇ​
8.3 Vrms​
ꜰʀᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴄʏ ʀᴇꜱᴘᴏɴꜱᴇ​
10Hz – 45 kHz (+/- 0.9dB)​
ᴅʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄ ʀᴀɴɢᴇ​

Balanced Line Out:

DX300 MAX:
ᴏᴜᴛᴘᴜᴛ ᴠᴏʟᴛᴀɢᴇ​
4.4 Vrms (No Load)
ꜰʀᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴄʏ ʀᴇꜱᴘᴏɴꜱᴇ​
10Hz – 40kHz (+/- 0.3dB)
ᴅʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄ ʀᴀɴɢᴇ​

AMP 12:
ᴏᴜᴛᴘᴜᴛ ᴠᴏʟᴛᴀɢᴇ​
4.1 Vrms
ꜰʀᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴄʏ ʀᴇꜱᴘᴏɴꜱᴇ​
10Hz – 45kHz (+/- 0.3dB)
ᴅʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄ ʀᴀɴɢᴇ​

So, what can we tell from this? A couple of things.

Phone Out-wise, DX300 MAX has a higher output voltage by 0.5 Vrms. However, on paper, it has a lower top-end extension by 5kHz, a smaller dynamic range by 1dB, has a lower S/N ratio by 1dB, and has a higher crosstalk by 5dB.

Line Out-wise, DX300 MAX has a higher voltage output by 0.3 Vrms. On paper, the voltage output is the only specification in which the DX300 MAX is superior in, just like in the Phone Out segment. It has a lower top-end extension by 5kHz, a lower dynamic range by 3dB, a lower S/N ratio by 3dB, and a higher crosstalk by 5dB.

In terms of the frequency response, it is also worthy of mentioning that AMP12 has a greater variation (+/- 0.9dB as opposed to DX300 MAX’s +/-0.3).

Why do I emphasize “on paper” when it comes to the inferior specifications? Because, as you are going to find out, my personal experience has turned out to be the complete opposite. I am not the only one, if you have been following the DX300 MAX thread on Head-Fi—I have since the beginning—you know that just about everyone preferred DX300 MAX over AMP12.

Now, onto my experience…

I only had a limited selection of IEMs and headphones with me at the countryside. I will update this section once my life returns to normal. I definitely have some interesting pairings in mind, some will be possible once I arrive home, while others are yet to arrive. Either way, do expect to see more here in the future. I will also consider making a table like the one featured in my DX300 review (“Pairings” section of the review). I really want to push this bad boy to its limits! After all, that’s what it was made for.


iBasso SR2

The only headphone I brought with me is my trusty SR2. This headphone has become a core part of my headphone journey and I always put it to the test when it comes to sources, amplifiers, and DAPs.


DX300 MAX:
ᴀɴᴀʟᴏɢ ᴘᴏᴛ sᴇᴛ ᴀᴛ 12 ᴏ’ᴄʟᴏᴄᴋ
ᴅᴀᴄ ᴠᴏʟᴜᴍᴇ: 90
ɢᴀɪɴ: ʟᴏᴡ ɢᴀɪɴ
ᴅɪɢɪᴛᴀʟ ꜰɪʟᴛᴇʀ: D3
ᴜʟᴛɪᴍᴀᴛᴇ ᴍᴏᴅᴇ: ON

DX300 + AMP12:
ᴠᴏʟᴜᴍᴇ: 50
ɢᴀɪɴ: ᴍɪᴅ ɢᴀɪɴ
ᴅɪɢɪᴛᴀʟ ꜰɪʟᴛᴇʀ: D5 (ɴᴏs)

Android OS was used on both DAPs, and since an increasing number of people is noticing a chance in sound performance with different MicroSD cards, music files were played directly from the DAP’s internal storage(s).

I’ve gone through a number of tracks, but here are some that caught my attention:

Deep Purple — Soldier of Fortune│Vocals are more realistic and natural-sounding on the DX300 MAX, while they are fuller in the lower mid-range and more forward on the DX300 + AMP12

Yao Is Ting — Speak Softly, Love│Violin at 2:14 has a slightly brighter peak on the DX300 MAX

In general, I noticed that DX300 MAX has a blacker background and provides a roomier sound (there is more space/air between each element in the mix, allowing for more details and texture). The two tracks where all of the above-mentioned observations are present are "Wayfaring Stranger" by the New Appalachians and "Little Crimes" by Melissa Menago


TinHiFi P2+

For a power-hungry IEM, I brought TinHiFi’s flagship P2+.


DX300 MAX:
ᴀɴᴀʟᴏɢ ᴘᴏᴛ sᴇᴛ ᴀᴛ 12 ᴏ’ᴄʟᴏᴄᴋ
ᴅᴀᴄ ᴠᴏʟᴜᴍᴇ: 75
ɢᴀɪɴ: ʜɪɢʜ ɢᴀɪɴ
ᴅɪɢɪᴛᴀʟ ꜰɪʟᴛᴇʀ: D3
ᴜʟᴛɪᴍᴀᴛᴇ ᴍᴏᴅᴇ: ON

DX300 + AMP12:
ᴠᴏʟᴜᴍᴇ: 45
ɢᴀɪɴ: ʜɪɢʜ ɢᴀɪɴ
ᴅɪɢɪᴛᴀʟ ꜰɪʟᴛᴇʀ: D5 (ɴᴏs)

Rihanna — Final Goodbye │00:32, sub-bass is considerably more refined and has more depth & presence on the DX300 MAX (on the DX300 + AMP12, it sounds thinner and the delay isn't as audible as on the DX300 MAX); 00:16, vocal peak is a tad brighter on the DX300 MAX; 01:23 when more percussion hits, the percussion has more shimmer/ is brighter on the DX300 MAX

Sia — Where I Belong│sub-bass/bass in the beginning has more depth and texture on the DX300 MAX. My ear notices and "feels" (I can feel more of the vibration) more on the DX300 MAX, especially in the delay of the bass

Daft Punk — Giorgo by Moroder│bass is more controlled, is tighter and punchier (has a sharper attack & delay), cleaner (less "oomph"), and has more texture on the DX300 MAX; 07:46 - 07:48, each drum hit and its vibration is felt more on the DX300 MAX

Pink Floyd — Dogs│just like in other tracks, I noticed that the bass is cleaner and has more of a thud than an "oomph" on the DX300 MAX



Let’s get one thing straight: iBasso is the king of value, and it is not planning to step down anytime soon.

I think people take for granted how blessed we are to have a manufacturer like iBasso. Imagine being among the top DAP manufacturers on the market, providing flagship & TOTL performance, providing one of the best customer services on the market, and not overpricing your products. To say “it’s rare” doesn’t do it justice. I’ve seen it with their SR2 headphone, DX300 DAP, and now with the DX300 MAX.

It’s fascinating to see iBasso’s products always, I repeat, always being compared to products at least twice their price. DX300 MAX gets to compared to the top dogs (Sony DMP-Z1 — $8499, Luxury & Precision LP6Ti — $5790, Shanling M30 — $3599). In reality, DX300 MAX stands in its own lane, with no true direct competition. The form factor, the software, the power, the portability, the price — there is nothing alike it on the market. If I may say, it’s a “one-off” package. Of course, when it comes to audio performance, the comparison branch widens.

iBasso’s MAX series continues to push boundaries. More than that, the MAX series has a very clear goal: provide “desktop-grade” performance at a portable form-factor. The regular series (DX220, DX300) is targeted towards audiophiles who want a lighter, more of a daily driver DAP, while the MAX series is targeted towards audiophiles who are willing to go out of their way in order to driver their most power-demanding headphones & IEMs from their collections. As the name suggests, everything is maxed out.

In my eyes, the MAX series is iBasso’s state-of-the-art, no boundaries, no limitations — all out series. I imagine iBasso’s team sitting together and committing to the creation of something that truly represents what they are capable of. It’s the series that represents the house, the brand, the legacy.

The MAX series is only a year old. If this is the beginning, what sort of a beast can we be expecting in the future? That I cannot answer, but I am sure it will be something mind-blowing.

Special thanks to @Whitigir , @twister6 , @Poganin , and @M0N (from HiFi Guides) for providing extra information, and a very special thanks to @Paul - iBasso for being patient with me and answering all the extra questions I asked!


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Amazing review, captivating and highly informational. I’d like to think of iBasso being the trend setter of the digital player business, they are innovators but more, affordable daps provider where every other dap businesses are measuring themselves to. I wish them a long and prosperous life.

Thank you @voja for such a wonderful pleasurable read.
Thank you @musicheaven
I think you perfectly summorized who and what iBasso is.

They innovate, provide TOTL performance, start trends, and more, all at a unbeatable price. The whole package that they offer cannot be found elsewhere.
@behemothkat , thought I'd let you know that a few days I've updated the section with the CPU-Z results.

From what I can tell, it hits the numbers that it is meant to.

Are you getting different results?