Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
The Apex
Pros: + Supreme technicalities and ultimate fidelity
+ Reference, yet musical and convincing sound performance
+ Natural timbre without digital artifacts
+ Dynamic, powerful and impactful
+ Fast and responsive navigation
+ Flagship level user experience
+ Android 11 and Mango OS
+ Big sized screen with vibrant colors
+ Swappable amplifier card system
+ Two extra amp cards already available
+ Great battery life for the size and fast charging
+ Excellent as a digital transport to an external DAC
+ Runs very cool even with the AMP13
+ High quality leather case
+ Excellent build quality
Cons: - Relatively big and heavy but not that much when compared to other flagship DAPs.
- Stock sound is a bit more technical than emotional
- The leather case is of different color than the player
- More expensive than the DX300
- Random microphonic and background noise with the AMP13
The review sample was kindly provided 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 DX320 is $1600 and you can order it from here.

iBasso

iBasso is a well known manufacturer of audio gear like earphones, DAPs and USB DAC dongles.
They started almost ten years ago to become one of the most beloved brands among audiophiles thanks to the excellent sound quality and price to performance ratio of their products.

The DX300 was their multi-awarded flagship DAP combining high end sound, flagship smartphone-like performance and swappable amplifier modules.
It used four pieces of the Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC chip that was soon discontinued as Cirrus Logic couldn't meet the increased demand.
Thankfully, iBasso were fast enough to adopt another brand DAC chip and they have released a successor DAP named DX320.
The DX320 builds on the legacy of the DX300 with the new DAC chip, even faster operation, the latest Android version and the same swappable AMP card system but it comes with a $400 price increase.

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iBasso DX320 - Technical highlights

The DX320 is visually identical to the DX300 but inside it packs two pieces of the BD34301EKV DAC chip, developed as a part of ROHM’s high-grade MUS-IC series representing the pinnacle of audio ICs.

Brand new is also the default AMP card, the AMP11 MK2s which is based on AMP8’s discrete circuit and is equipped with 3.5mm single ended, 2.5mm balanced and 4.4mm balanced outputs ports (all ports can also be changed to line outputs).
A +/-18V power supply provides sufficient and stable energy for the AMP section.
The maximum voltage output of DX320 reaches 7.1Vrms, and thanks to the independent battery power supply, the maximum output power at 32Ω load is as high as 1200mW.
In order to have the best match with the DX320, the AMP11 MK2s was tuned with some electrolytic and film capacitors, including the new custom iBasso premium AI foil audio capacitor.

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The DX320 shares the same technical invocations introduced with the DX300 but with carefully re-designed circuitry and implementation to allow all the quality of the BD34301EKV to shine through.
In the DX320, iBasso adopted an in-house developed FPGA-Master technology.
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 Accusilicon femtosecond oscillators, to achieve a fully synchronized single clock source. The FPGA and oscillators also reduce jitter to an extremely low level, building an exceptionally clean digital audio signal.
Android audio processing does not have high system priority. The addition of FPGA-Master technology raises audio scheduling to the system’s highest priority processing sequence, creating a stable and interference-free digital audio system for the DX320.

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The patented Dual Battery Power Supply Structure that was introduced with the DX300 is also used in the DX320.
When a single battery is powering the entire system, a large demand of current by the digital section and the analog section can affect each other, which can cause distortion degrading the sound quality.
The DX320 utilizes a patented dual battery structure with the AMP and digital section being powered by independent batteries.
The independent battery provides a sufficient power supply to ensure the stability of the AMP section and it isolates the digital section interference to achieve better overall sound quality.
This ensures that the analog section is receiving extremely clean DC, allowing the AMP section of the player to evolve to its full potential.

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Except for the audio circuitry, a modern era DAP should have a powerful CPU and sufficient RAM to allow for a smooth operation.
The DX320 is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 as the SoC.
With the powerful performance of this 14-nanometer 8-core processor, the operation is outstanding while with 6GB of RAM there is ample memory for a consistent and fast response while the 128GB of onboard storage space allows for the convenience of installing more Apps and Music.
Of course there is also a micro SD card slot for expanding the storage up to 2TB.

The DX320 supports bidirectional Bluetooth 5.0, with an enhanced antenna that gives longer transmission distance and a stronger signal.

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Full specifications and more information are available here.

Screen

The DX320 adopts an IPD 6.5" screen with a very narrow bezel, covering almost all the front panel.
The screen resolution is 2340x1080 pixels and it has excellent visibility.
Web pages, cover art, videos and everything else are displayed with the most vibrant and bright colors.
There is also an indicator light on the top of the screen, which allows for the working status of the DX320 at a glance as long as you don't use the protection case which covers the light.

Design and build quality

The chassis is made from a single piece of CNC-machined aluminum, the construction is durable with excellent craftsmanship and the DX320 is available in two colors, black and blue.
The DX320 is a luxurious looking player with a neat and modern design totally worthy of the flagship status.
With a size of 162x77x17mm and a weight of 310g, it is not the most compact sized player and not that pocketable but still, it can be used with one hand and you can carry it around in a small pouch.

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Layout

The DX320 adopts a simple and minimalistic design without too many buttons and ports.
With the default Amp11, you get 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced outputs along with a 3.5mm single-ended output that are housed at the bottom of the player.
At the top you will find the USB type C port and a 3.5mm digital coax output.
The on/off - volume scroll wheel is located at the top of the right side along with three, discreet, buttons that are used for controlling the playback and their working sequence can be altered through the main menu.
The SD card slot is located at the left side and allows for changing the card on the go.
At the bottom side of the back plate, there is a tiny semi transparent rectangular window that will glow green when the AMP13, Nutube, amplifier module is used.

Android User experience

The DX320 runs the latest Android 11 OS so you can freely install most apps and enjoy online streaming with your favorite services.
The system runs lightning fast, the DX320 is very responsive and smooth like a flagship smartphone, you can easily multitask while listening to music without any single trace of lag.
Thanks for the 5G WiFi MIMO antenna, the DX320 boasts an ultra fast and stable wireless reception so you can stream or download high resolution files at lightning fast speeds.

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Mango OS

The DX320 has also a Linux-based system specifically developed for pure audio playback, the famous iBasso Mango OS.
With the powerful GPU acceleration of the Qualcomm 660, the fluency of the Mango system is close to that of the Android.
This version of the Mango OS has accumulated a lot of optimization results for music decoding and underlying driver algorithms.
The Mango OS disables Bluetooth and WiFi to reduce EMI interference while it also minimizes CPU and RAM usage to maintain the system purity to achieve the best possible sound quality.
The in-house developed Mango player APK brings together the EQ algorithm accumulated by iBasso for many years.
In addition to the graphic equalizer, the DX320 adds a more professional parametric equalizer, providing 6-band with 7 types of high-precision filters of all types. Each section of the filter can be individually adjusted to adjust the F value, Q value and gain, with detailed visual adjustment capabilities. It can achieve fine adjustment with almost no distortion, and freely defines EQ for different listening situations, bringing a more professional and advanced gameplay than graphic EQ.
The Mango OS with the embedded player has an excellent sound quality and a well designed and responsive UI so I suggest that it should be your primary choice if you are listening to music files stored in the SD card.

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SRC bypass

The DX320 bypasses the SRC from the system level, whether it is the built-in Mango player or the third-party steaming APK, you can enjoy the system-level “Non-SRC” feature.

USB DAC and digital transport

You can use the DX320 as a USB DAC connected to a PC or any other platform through the USB type C port.
You can also use the DX320 as a digital transport to an external DAC through the same USB type C port or the 3.5mm coaxial output.

YouTube and Multimedia

The DX320 is very good for watching YouTube videos and enjoying other multimedia content thanks to the lag free performance, the excellent visual quality and the correct synchronization between sound and video.

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Battery duration

The DX320 has the patented dual battery power supply structure where the digital section gets its own 4000mAh battery while the amp gets a 2000mAh one with separate charge indicators at the top information bar.
Both batteries support fast charging and need about 2.5 hours to get fully charged while they can provide about 10 to 11 hours of actual playing time from the balanced output and with the WiFi enabled.

Accessories

The DX320 comes packed in the familiar iBasso silver and blue box.
Open it up and you will find the player, a high quality leather case, two screen protectors, a USB cable, a coaxial adapter and the burn-in cable.
Strangely the carrying case is of green color rather than black or blue.

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Associated gear

The DX320 was left playing music with the burn-in cable attached for more than 200 hours prior to listening tests.
Additionally both AMP12 and AMP13 were also fully burned.
I have used most of my headphones and earphones, like the Focal Clear Mg, HiFiMan Arya V3, Meze Audio Elite, FiiO FDX and others.
All headphone cables are of pure silver and made by Lavricables.

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Power output and noise

The DX320 with the stock amp is very powerful for a DAP and from the balanced output it can run most headphones on the market minus some really hard to drive planar magnetic ones.
The same applies for the AMP12 which is even more powerful while the AMP13 might look less powerful on specs but it actually worked pretty well with all the above mentioned headphones.
The stock AMP11 is hiss free even with more sensitive IEMs while the AMP12 can get a little noisy when high gain is used but only with sensitive earphones.
With the Focal Clear Mg I couldn't detect any hiss or noise even at the high gain.
The AMP13 has two different outputs, one with a lower power that also yields lower background noise and works pretty well with sensitive earphones and one of higher power output which is a little noisier.
Still with headphones like the Focal Clear Mg or the Meze 109 PRO there was no audible noise.

Listening impressions (stock AMP11 MK2s)

The DX320 sound signature is perfectly neutral, linear, exceptionally transparent and very lively.
This is a true reference, high fidelity tuning with top tier technicalities.

Compared to the original DX300, the sound is a bit less warm and a touch more dry and lean, slightly sharper on the treble and less relaxed but with undeniably superior transparency, greater definition, faster transients and greater dynamics.

Bass is deep and extended while it remains exceptionally tight and controlled with strict timing and pace.
Layering and definition are exemplary while dynamic swings sound utterly contrasted and impactful.
Pair the player with a hard hitting headphone, like the Focal Clear Mg and you are going to be treated with an astounding bass performance no matter the music you throw at it.

Mid range is harmoniously intense and balanced with colorful overtones that are not excessively euphonic or lush.
Voices and instruments sound lifelike thanks for the correct tonality and the realistic timbre while articulation is of the finest quality with very clean intonation.
The DX320 sounds crystal clear and resolving with excellent definition between every single note but they don't sound detached from the whole.
The sound is very musical, not that organic or excessively analog but still very natural flowing without any imposed artificiality.

There is a certain treble focus and a sparkling liveliness in the higher end register presentation that nevertheless it should not be confused with any kind of brightens or hardness.
The sound is fast and agile but it manages to stay rather smooth and fatigue free, suitable for long term listening but in no way forgiving to lesser quality material.
The DX320 is not the kind of player that you are going to use in order to tame an aggressive sounding headphone or enhance the missing sub-bass.
This is the type of player that makes sure that your headphones will sound exactly as they were tuned by their manufacturer, no more - no less.

The texture continues to be on the lean - dry side but on par with the rest of the frequency range, so the end result is the great textural coherency despite not being that visceral.
The textural consistency combined with the balanced decay timing, that is not too fast or too loose, makes all instruments fade away with the same of intensity adding a lot to the overall realism while listening to symphonic music.

Micro-details retrieval and resolution are excellent and with the added benefit that they are presented as a well integrated part of the whole rather than being detached so the sound is not analytical or monotonously detailed.

The DX320 is by no means a clinical or boring sounding player, timbre is certainly not artificial, the tuning is enjoyable and musical but in the end it appears that the focus is more in raw fidelity and transparency than casual emotional engagement.

A most striking aspect about the DX320 is its unanimous ability to carefully reconstruct the all the spatial information and the ambience that is captured inside a recording.
The feeling is that the listener is transported in the recording venue.
Positioning is sharp and precise while the soundstage is not only wide and spacious but it is also deeply layered and well deployed around the listeners head in a holographic and grand scaled manner.
This is something that is well enjoyed with all types of music, be it studio or live productions, but they get particularly highlighted when listening to classical music performances recorded in a concert hall or a cathedral.

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Roll your favorite AMP card

What is particularly unique about the modular iBasso DAPs is that you can fine tune the sound by simply using a different amp module.
Like in the DX240 where you can make it sound more musical and less technical by just swapping the stock amplifier module for the AMP8 MK2.
A replaceable AMP card design provides for more variety, personalization, and enjoyment of your music.

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Currently, there are three discrete AMP cards compatible with the DX320 (or the DX300).
The DX320 stock AMP11 MK2s, the super class A discrete balanced AMP12 and the single Nutube AMP13.
There is no need to replace the player, just replace the amp card and you can freely switch between the transistor sharpness to the vividness of the tube.
Let's have a closer look.

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AMP11 MK2s

Listening impressions with AMP12

The AMP12 module brings a fully discrete balanced circuitry to the DX300 & DX320 with its dedicated 4.4mm headphone and 4.4mm line-out ports.
It offers an ultra-powerful output with a maximum voltage of 8.3V and low distortion ratings of -113dB.
AMP12 has every characteristic of a powerful Class A amplifier offering high-fidelity output with ultra-low distortion and high dynamic range.
The AMP12 comes together with a black leather case.
You can read a full review of the AMP12 here.

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AMP12

While listening to the stock DX320 I couldn't help myself thinking that I would gladly exchange some of the supreme technicalities and transparency for a touch more colorful timbre and organic texture that better suit my listening habits.
This is where the AMP12 comes into play, filling the missing harmonies, adding weight and lushness to the sound, transforming the DX320 into a more analogue and emotionally engaging player.
Overall technicalities and fidelity remain, more or less, on the same level but they don't get that pronounced and take a step back allowing for a more relaxed sound.
The sound is not that crystal clear and well defined as with the stock amp but in exchange you get some extra warmth, greater dynamic impact and fuller sound.
Listening with the AMP12 yields a more convincingly realistic timbre with added harmonic variety and much colorful overtones.

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The AMP12 is not that different sounding but rather a variation in the same theme and while it is perfectly suited for all types of listening habits it will be more valued by listeners who prefer musicality over technicalities while I can see many others sticking with the stock amp for its technical supremacy and fidelity.

The DX320 with the AMP12 could easily be my end game DAP, well if it wasn't for the AMP13…

Listening impressions with the AMP13

iBasso’s AMP13 features the 6th generation KORG Nutube for an engaging and unique vacuum tube sound.
The Nutube operates exactly as a conventional triode vacuum tube and creates the same characteristically rich overtones that are sought after in triode tubes.
Two stages of amplification are necessary to obtain higher output power.
To have both a more robust tube signature and a higher output power, the AMP13 adopts a dual 3.5mm single-ended output design, with low noise tube output and maximized output at the same time.

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AMP13

The low noise tube output of AMP13 utilizes the Nutube 6P1 as a voltage amplifier.
This is followed by digital volume control and current amplification.
The low noise tube output is the output after the first amplification stage. Although the output is not high using this design, the Nutube has a more robust tube sound signature, and noise control is excellent. (2.5Vrms)
In the maximized output, the output passes through a first stage Nutube amplifier, followed by a secondary amplification.
With this, the AMP13 has a higher voltage and current output capability, resulting in better driving capability for headphones and IEMs. (4.1Vrms)

As much as I enjoy a musical sounding solid state amplifier, like the AMP12, my heart always belongs to tubes and their harmonious nature that gets eerily close to reality.
Switching to the AMP13 and you get this taste of tube magic or at least as much of it as a single Nutube can offer.
More harmonic variety and a greater wealth of natural sounding overtones but without sacrificing too much in overall technicalities.
The sound is still clear, transparent, controlled and precise albeit not to the extent of the AMP11 MK2s.
Resolution and overall transparency are not to the caliber of the stock AMP and the sound becomes more relaxed with slower transients, decay is loser but what you hear is got nothing to do with boominess or sluggishness.

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The overall sound signature of the high power output, which is essentially a tube - solid state hybrid, resembles much that of the AMP12 but with a bit stepped down dynamics and a touch less of control.
In exchange you get more weighty bass, warmer and sweeter mid-range while treble is smoother and less sharp but without ending blunted.

The low power output sacrifices a little bit more of bass control and firmness for extra weight and viscerallity in the texture.
The sound is now a touch bloomy and loosely bonded, dynamic impact is softer but overtones become even richer, harmonic saturation is more dense and the timbre is in it's most analogue form.

Tubes are famous for their holographic soundstage and the AMP13 manages to value the fame despite being a miniaturized tube design.
An imposingly grand and dimensional presentation that extends the sound outside the listeners head making for a speaker like experience.
The low power output is a master at sculpturing a three dimensional relief with larger sized images but the higher one is more skilful in positioning accuracy and depth layering.

The AMP13 is the timbre realism master and the undisputed King of holography offering the most analogue-like and organic sounding listening experience especially suited for classical music.

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A note about power output and noise with AMP13

With full sized headphones I wasn't able to detect any background noise or any short of interference from both outputs even while streaming music over WiFi.
There is an initial microphonic noise when you plug your headphones which then immediately disappears.
With more sensitive earphones you will find out that there is a faint noise floor and you will hear microphonic noise every time you touch the volume control or tap the chassis.
I don't own super sensitive IEMs so I cannot add any further information.
The lower power output can drive a variety of full sized headphones but there is always the risk of pushing the volume into its upper limits and then the amplifier will start clipping.

Take your time

The AMP13 definitely benefits from some warming time and feels at its best state after about half an hour of music playing.
So the best thing you can do is to power on the DX320 and then let it play some music while you fix a drink or warm your milk.

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The beauty and the beast - A brief comparison with the FiiO M17 ($1700)

Let's start from the obvious, the FiiO M17 is huge, not that larger than the DX320 but considerably bigger and heavier.
Measuring 156.4x88.5x28mm and weighing a whole 610g, it is a real beast and not what we call a portable player.
It is almost double the weight and the thickness of the DX320 but it comes with a slightly smaller 5.9" screen.
Design language is also completely different, it is the minimal and classy looking DX320 against the futuristic and industrial M17 with the shiny flashing LEDs at both sides and the oversized volume wheel.
The M17 has a multitude of extra digital and analog inputs/outputs that are not present in the DX320.
And the famous DC mode that bypasses the internal battery to power the output stage directly from an external AC adapter offering a near desktop performance of 1.5W/16Ω, 3W/32Ω and 500mW/300Ω, a power output double than that of the DX320.
Battery capacity is also enormous, with 9200mAh on tap you can have the beast running for about 8 hours at full throttle.

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Leaving everything else aside and talking sound only impressions, the truth is that the two of them sound more alike than different. (DX320 with the stock amp)
They are ultra clean, transparent and technical with supreme fidelity while offering the listener plenty of musicality, engagement and timbre realism.

One difference is that the M17 is the more open sounding player with wider soundstage and more precise imaging.
It feels like the listener is placed second to third row where the DX320 is more intimate sounding with close to the performers positioning.
The M17 is also just a touch more refined and clean sounding although a bit more drier than the DX320, especially in the mids.
Bass is more controlled and tight in the M17 with superior authority when it comes to dynamics and impact while it offers more headroom with difficult loads when set to DC mode.
The impressions are related to the stock DX320 amplifier and of course you can fine tune the stock sound by simply using another amp module.

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Truth is that both players are of flagship caliber and absolutely excellent sounding despite their minor differences.
For a more portable friendly player and amp rolling fun you can choose the DX320 but if you need something more versatile regarding the inputs and outputs or very powerful to double as desktop gear then you should buy the M17.

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In the end

Simply put, the iBasso DX320 is one of the best high end players available today with flagship level performance pushing the boundaries of what digital audio players can do in terms of sound quality and user experience.
It is an end game DAP with the pluses of the relatively compact size, the reasonable asking price and swappable amplifier card system which leads to further sound paths.
Be it with the stock amp or not, the iBasso DX320 is the apex of the digital audio players with an overall performance that is very hard to beat and a real challenge for iBasso to get it surpassed in the near future.

Test playlist

Copyright - Petros Laskis 2022.
Last edited:
V
Vakis
Thank you mr Petros. Very interesting.
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swize82
swize82
Thanks for the review. Is the Dx300 with Amp12 comparable with Dx320 with Amp 12. I'm currently contemplating weather if it's worth it to upgrade.
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Ichos
Ichos
Thanks for reading.
Don't think as an upgrade.
Both are flagship DAPs of the same caliber.
Think better as different sound approach.
DX320 is more technical and a touch drier than the more organic and slightly warmer DX300.
There is extra clarity, deeper detail retrieval and more definition for the DX320.
Of course differences are not night and day.

Whitigir

Member of the Trade: Portable Modder
If you like ROHM, you will love it !!
Pros: Fast UI, modular designs, friendly to the users and excellent customer services. Amazing ROHM signatures
Cons: Servicing will be hard just like other brands, taking a trip to another country is a hassle. Something with better battery and longevity will be more appealing
DX320 Edition X

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Disclosure: This is personal purchases from both the original and edition X and my views is not influenced by Ibasso, or affiliated to Ibasso by any meanings.

After the release of Dx320, Ibasso followed with a special edition that is Edition X. This was to commemorate the 10th years anniversary of Ibasso into the portable market. This run is limited to only 500 units globally!



What is so special about this edition ? The chassis is made out of Liquid Metal Alloy that is based on Titanium metal. The specific procedures to produce the alloy gives the metal a much higher tensile strength, more resistive to scratches, and also easier to cast into design. Therefore, the Edition X will carry the liquid curves with beautiful edges. Fortunately, it also come with a leather case that has a specific curves and edges to match with it.

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Usually, special edition from Ibasso has upgraded internal parts for the amp module for limited editions, and Ibasso runs these often. This time around, the only thing special about the player is only the chassis. With edition X Everything remaining the same from the main DAC to the Amp module.



Does the new chassis effect sound quality ? Yes, some people can distinct the differences, and some people may not pay enough attentions to take notes. Technically speaking, every time a whole circuit has a significant resistances in comparison to the same circuits, there would be differences. Unlike the typical tolerances of 5-20% on components. Titanium as a metal only have 3.1% conductivity VS Aluminum which is upto 64% using copper as 100% references. Therefore, the chassis do introduce a significant impedance to the whole circuit in comparison to Aluminum. How much does it effect sound quality ? It depends on the listener, but without additional differences, the chassis would be more for appearances rather than listening differences. I personally don’t think it is significant enough to warrant a “have to” desire to seek for Edition X instead of the regular Dx320. Unless you really love the Dx320 performances, and that you would love to find a unique edition, then yes! The edition X is worth seeking out.



Is Edition X an improvement from the regular ? It is an improvement from the Metal being used, and the seamless integration of curves into the chassis. It is an improvement technically to the circuitry when “feedback networks” is taken into account. It may be an improvement to sound quality, or it may not. In my opinions, it is has an improvement in sound performances. The more advanced your module is, the more you will notice the differences.

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Sporting Dual ROHM flagship DAC chips with discrete Class A output amplification right out of the box for sound performances. We know how seriously enthusiastic the machine is aiming toward. Removable amp modules allow for other amp modules, especially the single ended Korg tube amp13 to change up your taste buds.



Uniquely to Dx300/320 from Ibasso is the Dual Battery packs which is dedicatedly used per each Digital and analog amplifications. Due to this uniqueness, some people may feel odd seeing 2 different batteries % and charging or discharging un-evenly. It is all good because as a DAP, the player is more like a 2 systems smashed into one, a DAC with interfaces and touch screen together with a dedicated amplifier that has modular design and it own battery pack, then integrated together into one chassis and controlled by the UI as a whole

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The SOC is Snap-Dragon 660 with plenty of 6Gb Ram and android 11 out of the box. The UI feels very snappy and modern. The sluggish interactions with your player such as the time of Dx200/220 and 220 Max is no longer a problem anymore. The speedy UI is pretty fluid that give the user a much better comfortable to even use the Chrome and browse around the internet, downloading .APK , installations…etc. It all feels comfortably fast. You can even watch movies, though not as HDR as if you were to use smartphones or IPad, but you get the audio quality :wink:. That was just a tease. Basically, for watching movies, I recommend you to get Ibasso DC-06. It is a wonderful dongles with Ibasso house sound, a bit warmer than typical references house sound. It has no battery to care for, and it can be plug and play. Using the Dx320 as an external DAC has a problem of syncing video and audio timing. There will be a lagging delay between video and audio.

Clocking in around 10-11 hours with charging that can be as fast as 2-1/2 hours. It is very impressive



Unlike the regular, the Edition X comes with additional Metal Card that has the series number, which is assigned to the player series number internally. This number goes from 001 to 500. It also comes with additional faceplates to match with your whole Silvery Titanium metal chassis. Amp11mk2S comes standard, with amp12 and amp13 faceplate. In order to swap out the faceplate, you only need to unscrews, pulling out the faceplate as the socket is inserted into the output slots. The Amp11 needs to have one to lift up the 3.5mm ribbon cables lock tab additionally, before pulling the pcb out.



Sound signatures: Dx320 sporting the ROHM chips, it is my favorite chips at the moment! Dynamic, natural and neutral. I loved ESS, but I always wanted a more blooming sub-bass textures, less glares and artificial high textures. The AKM has blooming bass textures and warmer signature overall but it lacks the sparkling up top. IMO, the ROHM is amazing. It is able to combine both ESS and AKM traits together while having an amazing reach for dynamic and the ability to deliver it.



In both of the portable players at the moment on the market that sport ROHM X2, Cayin N8ii and Dx320. I am able to confirm the unique ability to deliver the dynamic from this chip sets. The density, the stilled energy, the housing resonances, the energy burst of each notes and it variations for each instruments. You will not only be listening to the music, to the details, to the pitch and it accuracy anymore, but you will also be able to “feel” these energy. You will feel each slam of the drum to be a slightly different than the last when you pay attentions. It is pretty amazing. I have experimented with different systems, tweaking, modifying, but I can personally confirm to myself that I love ROHMs for this reason alone. While with N8ii, I couldn’t confirm the dynamic performances of where it is coming from, the amplification section ? Or the DAC ? With modular design, the 320 quickly have that confirmed to me. Following standard recommendations from ROHM engineerings specs, a great amplification stage, and you will be enjoying the unique dynamic delivery from ROHM.

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Very different from Dx300, which using the same SOC combinations but with Cirrus DAC X4. Using the same modular designs and can be interchangeable between 300/320. The dynamic delivery from Dx300 is not as accurate, and or breathe taking as the Dx320, even when using Filter #4 on the Dx300 to get as close to the signature as the 320. The dynamic delivery will leave the 300 in the dust. It is that significant to me. If signature preferences is a factor, the Dx300 is warmer than the 320 which is more natural and neutral. It is not quite as neutral as the Dx200/220, because the delivery of the impacts, the emotions are more integrated to the signature as a whole. It is safe to say that Ibasso has Dx320 a worthy flagship on hand with Dx320, and the Edition X will bring up the luxurious feeling for it owner, whose has 1 out of 500 counts.



With DAC chips on the side, let’s talk about amplifications. If you have been skeptical about the old myth “all amplifiers sound the same, or should sound the same”, then you are technically is not only wrong, but you will also hear the differences between modules for yourself with the Dx320. Go ahead, swap out your stock module to the amp12 module. It will depend on how revealing and capable your headphones or earbuds are, but I am almost certain that you can hear the differences.

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While the N8ii can be heating up quiet a bit, that even the charging circuitry will have to be controlled to stop charging, you will not have similar issues with Dx320. Once again, both do have Class A amplifications, there is no question about it. The OS is more modern than N8ii, and with Neutron Player to be able to OverSampling upto 768KHz flawlessly at the moment, without heating up or exhibiting heat issues. The Dx320 is the only player on the market currently to have this features of 16X OverSampling turned on at all time as desired.



If you are not a fan of AndroidOS, you can opt for MangoOS, which is a Linux based OS developed by Ibasso alone for playing music and reading files. This is not a striped down AndroidOS like other brands, but it is a standalone OS by itself. You can press the power button to turn off the player, you will then see an option to switch to MangoOS in there.


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Soundstage, separations will depend on the module you are using. Out of the box, the 320 have a worthy performances in these accounts. You will be greeted with a natural and neutral signature together with a very vivid layerings, immersive staging. It has 1200mW@32 Ohms just right out of the box. It is very powerful. If this isn’t enough, and you want even more expansive, immersive staging, layering and cues of imagines ? You can opt for Amp12. The only set back is that the stock amp modules will have a more engaging feelings. It makes for personal preferences here, and you are given the options to choose what you would want. But Ibasso made sure to have a wonderful, and powerful performances right out of the box that you don’t have to swap out, unless you want to. Unlike other players, even if you want to, you have no options. Here you do!



An additional note to take is that the stock amp module has Ibasso special film foils capacitors for input stage buffer. This marks the Dx320 to be the only player on the market to be sporting polypropylene film foiled capacitors on the market as of now.



Ibasso can be purchased from a recommended authorized dealers from the main website, or you can buy direct by simply sending the inquiries to Paul. After sales services are great with Ibasso dealing directly with the distributors, or you can also directly contact Paul when assistant is required.

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I have an interesting conversations with my close friend in the recent days that Ibasso players to have worn out battery too early or too fast. Over the years, the observed battery degradation is as much as 40% over the course of 18 months. Well, I think this is the problems for many portable that consumes high power to output high power. One of the stark contrast in comparison is the Walkman from Sony, I still have it running for 24 hours of continuous play time after 6 years owning it. But then of course, it doesn’t have the output power the Ibasso has, neither does it sport Dual DAC of Flagship tier such as ROHM either…..nor does it have Class A discrete. You will have to compromise. Yes, you will need new batteries more often, but you will have high output, flagship DAC, and amazing performances in a pocketable player. The only grime I have with Dx320 is the usage of glues and Glass Back. It will almost always break when remove for battery replacement. Why could Ibasso not opt for a Metal Back with screws for easy battery replacement ? Because sending the player from and to China as a typical consumer is such a Pain! Allow me to repeat it….it is such a Pain! Fortunately, Ibasso and customer relations is top tier, and Ibasso will always find a way to work with you regardless of circumstances, unlike some other brands whom will restrict your services once modified, or transfers of warranty…etc… But I still wish for an easier removal of the back for battery swapping



*How about* a slide and lock mechanism for the back plate, with battery plugs and play ? Common !!



After the lengthy reviews, looking back at the edition X with it silvery appearances do give off a satisfying feeling.



My conclusion, if you are on the quest for high-end players. Please do give Ibasso Dx320 a chance, you may love it as much as I do. There are 3 modules to choose from at the moment, and they are a lot differences from one to another, non is a wrong choice, and you are greeted out of the box with an affordable flagship with an amazing amp module.



PS: additionally, one of the other issues I do have with many brands on the current market is the ability to get parts. Yes, you keep moving on and buying new players, then all is good. However, what about those existed players ? Sending it back to China for a trip in servicing is not only a lengthy, risky issues, but also expensive. Just take battery as an example. To be able to easily buy them or order them, is to have an additional options to have it replaced or repaired by a friend, a smartphone techies, a radio technician …etc… as an alternative to shipping from and back to China.



There is a huge decline on the used market in comparison to 5 years ago. It is due to two main reasons:



A/ flagship players are superseded in a year and when counting from other brands, it seems like a new flagship is out every other month or so. People get purchase fatigue and overwhelmed by the supplies.



B/ to keep and savior your flagship player is not easy, the inability to swap out batteries, and cares/services that requires a trip back and from out of the country for the course of 2 months is a huge hassle.



Anyways, one main reason why I still enjoy Ibasso products is because they have great price, great and powerful performances, with the ability for endless evolutions from modular designs. This is definitely fun to have. I give everything a 5/5 including sound performances, the best customer service out there with Paul by direct email Paul@Ibasso.com and you can almost send inquiries about anything or have your player serviced regardless of how old, how many owners it have exchanged hands to, there is always a solution to be found. However, the final overall 4.5/5 score is due to the one feature that I keep asking for and have not seen yet. This is not an isolated issues from Ibasso specifically, but for every other brands out there including but not limited to Cayin, AK, Hiby, Shanling…etc. In order to keep the player viable for many years, the battery replacement is such a hassle.


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Last edited:

voja

500+ Head-Fier
Same Same, But Different
Pros: Design
Lightweight
Bezel-less display
ROHM DAC chips
Support of Native DSD 512
PCM support of 32bit/768kHz
Support of PD3.0 fast charging
Build quality
High quality accessories (cables, leather case, film screen protector, tempered glass screen protector)
Packaging & presentation
Short charging time & support of Fast Charging
Interchangeable AMP module
Phone Out/Line out outputs
Fully balanced Line Out (2.5mm & 4.4mm)
Among the best customer services in the business
Cons: Volume wheel is firm and inconsistent (manufacturer confirmed that this is a result of a faulty unit and is not otherwise present)
Double tap to wake up is more unreliable and less responsive than on the DX300
Display is overly saturated
Battery life is shorter than on the DX300
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Same Same, But Different​


We’ve already seen iBasso make a statement with the DX300 back in 2020, but can the DX320 do the same two years later?

iBasso walked through fire for the past year or so, having faced multiple challenges created by the worldwide chip shortage. As I’m sure this resulted in financial losses and other complications, the company accepted the situation as it was and focused on the future.

Since DX320 shares the same DNA as the DX300, you will find me comparing them head-to-head more often than not.

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 to 2011, the company released its first DAP — DX100 (HDP-R10). 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. It was many things.

However, the main reason why the DX100 was so important was that iBasso successfully bypassed the ALSA driver on Android. This would go on to be an industry-changing achievement.

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 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), portable AMP/DACs, IEMs, and headphones.

In general, iBasso always moves two steps ahead of everyone else. The consistency of their industry-leading products is nothing to be overlooked.

Disclaimer​

The DX320 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). iBasso refunded me the money used to pay customs fees, and for that I thank Mr. Paul and iBasso!​

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Design & Build Quality

The DX320 shares the same body as the DX300 with some minor design alterations. The most prominent design change, which was also the most anticipated one, is the volume knob. DX300’s volume knob has been criticized from the day the pictures of it have been released. People were either “ok” with it or hated it. The company took notes of the feedback and re-designed it on the DX320. The new wheel is smoother (physically) and more classy. Instead of the ridged edge, it has shallow diagonal indents. Also, the center of the knob has been smoothed out. In comparison, the old knob was like a shirt button (raised edge all around), while the new one is like Smarties (the US tablet candy; not to be mistaken for the UK candy by the same name). However, with these changes also came flaws. While the new design feels much better to the touch and looks significantly better, it isn’t as responsive and precise as the old one. DX300’s volume knob was much smoother and easier to turn. You could rotate it by turning the from the top or from the side, either way, it would turn consistently. Some even found it to be too loose. On the other hand, DX320’s is quite stiff and inconsistent. I find that turning it from the side makes it less problematic, but there are still times when my finger would just glide over the smooth edge and not turn the volume knob at all. This I can live with. What I am petty about is the tactile feedback when you push it. The old design was perfect, it was a firm click that required a moderate amount of force to be pressed. The new one is quite a mess. Not only does it require too much force to press, but it also gives very subtle and mushy tactile feedback, which makes it hard to know whether you actually pressed it or not. It’s a more shallow and less clicky feel, and there is this weird semi-click that acts like a fake click. When it happens, you think you fully pushed the knob, but in reality, you didn’t. This is why I consider the revision to be functionally inferior.

Update: Paul confirmed that the volume wheel issues are not normal, thus confirming that my unit had a faulty volume wheel.


The second change is the backplate. If you read my original DX300 review, you know that the backplate was my favorite design feature. Unfortunately, the backplate design has not been inherited. I knew it looked a little familiar, but I couldn’t figure out where from. Then I pulled my DX300 MAX out and found my answer. It's the same finish. The bigger change on the back is the little see-through area to showcase AMP13’s NuTubes.

To be blunt, I’m in favor of the original backplate design. In fact, I find it superior in just about every way: it looks more premium, more appealing, and it’s authentic. On another note, iBasso, for the love of god, please bring back your logo! We want the pretty logo on the back. Without it, it looks empty and incomplete. In the same way, the glass-like lettering doesn’t look as good as the silver lettering used on the DX300. The original backplate design had life, texture, and depth. I strongly recommend iBasso to further perfect it and bring it back.

There is one picture from iBasso that showcases the DX320 with the old backplate… but that’s about it. It clearly didn't make it to the final release.

Inputs and outputs remained identical:
On the top side of the device, you have the coaxial output and the USB-C port, both of which have laser-etched labels below them. The latter is used for charging (supports QC3.0 and PD3.0 quick charging), data transfer (USB 3.1) and can also be used as a USB sound card. On the bottom-side are located the SE (single-ended) 3.5mm and BAL (balanced) 4.4mm and 2.5mm outputs. While there are only three physical outputs, they double as PHONE Out (aka headphone out) and LINE Out. It should be noted that the mentioned outputs are the ones that come with the stock AMP11Mk2s card. iBasso’s DAP line-up stands out on the market for its replaceable and exchangeable amp card feature, which in my opinion is one of the most significant features that a DAP can have. Most people are okay with keeping the overall device the same, but they like to play with sound. What’s the only way to achieve that? To change the amplifier. In iBasso’s case, all you need to do is change the amp card. Since iBasso chose to change its amp card design with the DX300, we are yet to see what will be offered in the future.

Display

Though both the DX300 and the DX320 share the exact same 6.5” display with the same 1080x2340 resolution, there are visible differences between the two. This leads me to believe that these differences are caused by software.

Side by side, DX300’s display has a greater dynamic range, more accurate colors, and looks more natural as a whole. On the other hand, DX320’s display has more saturated colors, less dynamic range, and a more artificial look to it.

If you are a committed fella, you can likely calibrate the display to your liking with the help of an app or some even more advanced methods.

Internal Hardware​

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SoC

Nothing changed here. It’s still the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC (system on a chip) that makes this machine run smoothly. 128GB of internal storage, 6GB of LPDDR4X-3733 RAM that operates at a frequency of 1866 MHz, an octa-core processor (four Kryo 260 Silver cores operating at 1.84 GHz and four Kryo 260 Gold cores operating at 2.2 GHz), and an Adreno 512 integrated GPU. When the DX300 was released, there was no other DAP on the market that could match its SoC. The story is slightly different in 2022, as though now there are several DAPs with the Snapdragon 660. The market caught up to iBasso’s 2021 release =) In fact, the only DAP that has a newer SoC is Shanling’s $2699 M9, which has 8GB of RAM, the Snapdragon 660, and 256GB of internal storage. You would think that the Snapdragon 665 is a definite winner over the Snapdragon 660, but that’s not the case at all. Let's break down their differences. Snapdragon 660 comes with the Adreno 512, while the Snapdragon 665 comes with the Adreno 610. Per NanoReview, Snapdragon 665 has the advantage of having a smaller size transistor (11nm), performs 26% better in floating-point computations, and supports 7% higher memory bandwidth. On the other hand, Snapdragon 660 has the advantage of operating at both a ~42% higher GPU frequency and a 10% higher CPU clock speed, and also has a 6% higher AnTuTu 9 score. While these differences are visible on paper, I doubt the average audiophile and DAP user will ever be in a situation where these differences are noticeable.

GeekBench 5 Benchmark Results (Picture 1: CPU Score; Picture 2: CPU Single-Core Score; Picture 3: CPU Multi-Core Score; Picture 4: Compute OpenCL Score):

DX320​
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DX300​
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DX300 MAX​
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DAC

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BD34301EKV Block Diagram
Surprise, surprise, iBasso is at the top of its game yet again. If there is something new and innovative around the corner, you best believe iBasso's got it. Last time the team came out with the first quad DAC implementation in a digital audio player, this time it’s one of only two DAPs on the market adopting ROHM’s flagship DAC chips. Cayin N8ii, priced at $3500, is the elephant in the room. If I am not mistaken, Cayin was the first to use a ROHM DAC chip in a DAP.

ROHM is a Japanese company that designs and manufactures integrated circuits (ICs), semiconductors, and other electronic components. With more than half a century of experience up its sleeve, it’s not hard to understand why iBasso selected its DAC chips. The first time audiophiles got a taste of ROHM’s DAC chips is in May 2018, when the company debuted a DAC prototype chip at the International Hi-Fi Audio (Munich High End) show. To my knowledge, the first company to implement a DAC chip from ROHM was Luxman with its $17,000 D-10X player (2020).

DX320 features two flagship BD34301EKV chips which are part of the MUS-IC™—ROHM’s highest grade of audio ICs (integrated circuits)—lineup. Each one has 2 DAC channels, adding up to a total of 4 DAC channels. Just like its predecessor, DX320 has a fully balanced output. In comparison, DX300 featured four Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC chips (double-parallel implementation) which had 8 DAC channels in total.

The following are the supported audio formats:
MQA (16x), APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, ACC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DFF, DSF, DXD, and DST
PCM: 768 kHz / 32-bit, Native DSD512

This makes it superior to the DX300 when it comes to decoding capabilities. DX320 supports MQA 16x, as opposed to DX300’s MQA 8x; DX320 supports up to Native DSD512, as opposed to DX300’s up to DSD256. If you are a consumer of either of these formats, this is great news for you.

What remained the same is the FPGA. Reminder: 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 Accusilicone Fentosecond 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.

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AMP

AMP11Mk2s is the fourth addition to the DX3×× amp module line-up, and it’s also the stock amp module equipped with the DX320. There are quite a few exciting things about this little guy. It’s based on the much-beloved AMP8’s discrete circuit, it features film capacitors, and it also features iBasso’s very own custom “Premium Al” foil audio capacitor. To be fair, AMP11 as a whole is based on AMP8’s discrete circuit, and this includes the two previous versions (AMP11Mk1, and AMP11Mk2). However, at least from a technical point of view, AMP11Mk2s should be the closest to AMP8.

AMP11Mk2s
4.4mm/2.5mm Balanced Phone Out​
3.5mm Single-Ended Phone Out​
Maximum Output Level7.1 Vrms3.5Vrms
Output Power1200mW@32ohm, 168mW@300ohm380mW@32ohm, 40mW@300ohm
Frequency Response10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB
SNR125dB122dB
Dynamic Range125dB125dB
THD+N-112dB (no Load, 2.8Vrms)
-110dB (@300ohm)
-103dB (@32ohm)
-110dB (no Load, 2Vrms)
-110dB (@300ohm)
-99dB (@32ohm)
Crosstalk-120dB-114dB
Output Impedance⠀⠀⠀⠀0.38ohm0.34ohm

AMP11Mk2s​
4.4mm/2.5mm Balanced Line Out​
3.5mm Single-Ended Line Out​
Maximum Output Level7.1 Vrms3.5Vrms
Frequency Response10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB
SNR125dB122dB
Dynami Range125dB122dB
THD+N-110dB (no Load, 2.8Vrms)-108dB (no Load, 2Vrms)
Crosstalk-120dB-110dB


iBasso DX3×× lineup comparison​

Phone Out (Balanced)
AMP11Mk2sAMP11Mk1DX300MAXAMP12
Maximum Output Level7.1 Vrms7.1Vrms8.8 Vrms8.3 Vrms
Output Power1200mW@32ohm, 168mW@300ohm1240mW@32ohm, 168mW@300ohm??
Frequency Response10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz~40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz (±0.3dB)10Hz-45kHz (±0.9dB)
SNR125dB125dB125 dB126 dB
Dynami Range125dB125dB125 dB126 dB
THD+N⠀-112dB (no Load, 2.8Vrms)
-110dB (@300ohm)
-103dB (@32ohm)
-113dB (no Load, 3Vrms)
-109dB (@300ohm)
-101dB (@32ohm)
-114 dB (No Load) (8.8 Vrms, DAC100)
-107 dB (@300ohm) (8.8 Vrms, DAC100)
-101 dB (@32ohm) (3 Vrms, DAC91)
-113dB (no Load, 3Vrms)
-112dB (@300ohm)
-107dB (@32ohm)
Crosstalk-120dB-120dB-110dB-115dB
Output Impedance0.38ohm0.39ohm??

Phone Out (Single-Ended)
AMP11Mk2sAMP11Mk1DX300 MAX
Maximum Output Level3.5Vrms3.5Vrms4.4 Vrms
Output Power380mW@32ohm, 40mW@300ohm350mW@32ohm, 34mW@300ohm?
Frequency Response10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz~40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz (±0.3dB)
SNR122dB123dB122dB
Dynami Range122dB123dB121dB
THD+N-110dB (no Load, 2Vrms)
-110dB (@300ohm)
-99dB (@32ohm)
-111dB (no Load, 2Vrms)
-107dB (@300ohm)
-95dB (@32ohm)
-111 dB (No Load) (4.4 Vrms, DAC100)
-107 dB (@300ohm) (4.4 Vrms, DAC100)
-101 dB (@32ohm) (1.5 Vrms, DAC91)
Crosstalk-114dB-103dB-110dB
Output Impedance0.34ohm0.43ohm?

◈◈◈​

Line Out (Balanced)
AMP11Mk2sAMP11Mk1DX300 MAXAMP12
Maximum Output Level7.1 Vrms7.1 Vrms4.4 Vrms4.1Vrms
Frequency Response10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB
SNR125dB125dB125dB128dB
Dynami Range125dB125dB125dB128dB
THD+N-110dB (no Load, 2.8Vrms)-111dB (no Load, 3Vrms)-114dB (no Load, 3Vrms), DAC93-116dB (no Load, 3Vrms)
Crosstalk-120dB-119dB-108dB-102dB

Line Out (Single-Ended)
AMP11Mk2sAMP11Mk1
3.5Vrms3.5Vrms
10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB10Hz-40kHz ±0.3dB
122dB123dB
122dB123dB
-108dB (no Load, 2Vrms)-111dB (no Load, 2Vrms)
-110dB-103dB


Software & Interface​

Last time I said that the DX300 series was the start of a new era, and I was right. We are seeing more and more DAPs with more up-to-date Android OS. It’s safe to say that the gap between smartphones and digital audio players is closing, but you have to give credit to iBasso who played a significant role in pushing the market to make this change.

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Android 11

Much like other iBasso’s DAPs, DX320 features a custom ROM. The Android OS is very similar to a stock ROM, but the most noticeable differences are in settings. Of course, there is the addition of some exclusive settings, but there are also some settings that are missing — as was the case in the DX300. The whole experience is as smooth as butter. There wasn’t a time when the DAP showed any signs of having a hard time. However, I should point out that I didn’t do any demanding tasks like playing video games.

The home screen still benefits from flexible features, but it’s missing some that were present on the DX300. 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 that 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. DX300 had one extra option under “Home settings”, and that was “Change icon shape”, which just allowed you to further personalize app icons.

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: PO (Phone Out), LO (Line Out)

ROHM’s BD3401EKV chip has two selectable digital FIR (finite impulse response) filters:
D1: Sharp Roll-Off
D2: Slow Roll-Off

Gain: Low, Medium, High

Mango App (Version 3.2.2)

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: DSD Filter, DSD Volume Compensation, Unplug Pause, Indicator, USB DAC, Bluetooth DAC, Display settings, Sleep Timer, and System Info. “DSD Filter” allows you to set the cut-off frequency (Low, Medium, High), and “DSD Volume Compensation” increases DSD files’ volume by 6dB. The addition of these two settings will certainly be greatly appreciated by users who listen to a lot of DSD tracks.

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, and playback options.

Or, in short:ㅤㅤㅤ

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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 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 DX320 manual where it's explained how each filter affects the frequency spectrum:
https://www.ibasso.com/uploadfiles/download/DX320usermanual.pdf#page=46

Mango OS (V 2.03.855)

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 effects (that are present on Android), it’s a very stripped-down operating system whose focus is 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, and 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: Once you go into Advanced, there are the following options: DAC, Media Scan, Languages, Display, Power Management, System Info,
DSD Volume Compensation, DSD Filter, and MTP (media transfer protocol). 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. At 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 is a “My Music” menu, in which you can browse, well…. your music. You can see what’s currently playing, and 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: on the left side, is a sound wave icon that 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.

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Bluetooth & WiFi

The DX220 was the first DAP to support two-way Bluetooth 5.0, which provides native support for LDAC and aptx. The DX320 inherited this feature. When it comes to WiFi, it's 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.

Besides being a transmitter, the DX320 also acts as a Bluetooth receiver. This allows it to have the Bluetooth DAC function, which basically means that the DAP receives digital data from a source and converts it into an analog electrical signal. However, when using it as a Bluetooth DAC, you are limited to AAC and SBC codecs.


Battery

Unlike other differences, this is a major one. We’ve all seen the truly fascinating battery life of the DX300, but I’m sorry to say that you cannot expect the same from the DX320. Someone has already speculated that the shorter battery life is most likely caused by iBasso’s decision to use a desktop DAC chip, and this is the most believable explanation. DX320’s marketed battery life (with AMP11Mk2s) is 10 hours, which is 5 hours less than the DX300.

You may jump to the conclusion that the battery is of a smaller capacity, but the truth is that there were no changes made to the battery section(s). The same patented dual power supply structure used in the DX300 is used in the DX320. The digital section still has a 4000mAh battery, and the analog section still has a 2000mAh battery.

After 8 hours of constant playback through the MangoOS, my DX320 went down to 38% (analog section) and 2% (digital section). This was with the AMP11Mk2s amp module using the 4.4mm BAL PO, volume set at 44, and gain set at "High". With the AMP13, after roughly 6 hours of playback (low noise tube PO), the digital section went down to 25%, while the analog section went down to 35%. The volume was also set at 44%, and gain was also set at "High". With the AMP13, I didn't let my DX320 go below 20%. This is so the battery gets preserved. If you want to make sure that your battery gets to live a healthy life, make sure not to let it drop below 20%, but also not to charge it over 80%.

Sound Performance​

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As an author, I had to find an approach to compare the DX300 and the DX320 in a way that makes sense. To make up for the $310 price difference, I compared the DX300 equipped with the AMP12 ($230) against DX320 equipped with the stock AMP11Mk2s. Here are my findings:

Mango OS
Low Gain
Internal Storage
DX300 volume: 64
DX320 volume: 44
Headphones: iBasso SR2


The biggest difference, by far, is the mid-range. The mids sound godly on the DX320. Pure ear candy! Straight out of the box, I was blown away by how clean and realistic they are. For a second, I thought I was listening to the DX300 MAX, and I wish I was joking or blowing things out of proportion. The mid-range is that good. In “Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys, on the DX300+AMP12, it’s audible that there is mid-bass bleed in the male vocals. This gives vocals a thick and heavy characteristic. I came to the same conclusion when listening to Deep Purple’s “Soldier of Fortune”; vocals come off as more forward on the DX300+AMP12. On the other hand, vocal presentation is incredibly realistic on the DX320, and the tonality is both more accurate and natural. I didn’t hear any significant difference when it came to the soundstage, but on some tracks, the DX320 sounds ever so slightly wider.

The second most audible difference between the two is the treble. While DX300+AMP12 is crisp and clear, DX320 leans more towards the warmer side of the spectrum. It’s not as though one sounds superior in quality to the other, it’s all a matter of preference. Not just preference, but also what you are pairing it with. Do you want more pronounced peaks? Or do you want to tame them and have them under control? If it’s the latter, DX320 with the stock amp module is what you are looking for.

To my ears, lows were the least affected and sounded just about the same, both in quality and quantity.

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Then I compared the DX320 against the DX300 MAX and got surprised. Here are my findings from that comparison:

Mango OS
Low Gain
Internal Storage
DX300 MAX volume: 11 o’clock
Digital Volume: 90
Ultimate Mode: On
DX320 volume: 44
Headphones: iBasso SR2


It’s no secret that the DX320 sounds great on its own, but the craziest part is that it sounds closer to the DX300 MAX than it does to the DX300+AMP12. This is not to say the two are the same, they actually differ quite a bit. Going back to the same tracks, such as “Soldier of Fortune”, I noticed that the overall vocal presentation is more forward. Not only is it more forward, but it’s significantly more forward. The mid-range presence is more in your face on the DX320. On the other hand, DX300 MAX is laid back when compared to the DX320. I should point out that DX300 MAX is not, in any shape or form, laid back. It is when you compare it to the DX320. Otherwise, DX300 MAX is a fairly reference and neutral DAP. Strictly talking about the mid-range, when comparing the DX320 against the DX300 MAX, it sounds like how DX300+AMP12 sounded when compared against the DX320. Aside from more presence, the vocals are thicker and heavier. While I’d consider DX320 as warm and laid back in terms of the upper end, the DX300 MAX is more crisp, bright (in a good way!), and clean.

Something my friend pointed out is that DX320 is more focused on attack, thus making it sound tighter. On the other hand, he found the DX300 MAX to be focused on decay. I came to the same conclusion. Some may interpret this as though the DX300 MAX is slow—nothing could be further from the truth. DX300 MAX is a very responsive and tactile DAP, but the way it handles the decay gives off a different feeling.

Funnily enough, the upper end is also similar to the conclusion I came to when comparing the DX300+AMP12 against the DX320. I found the DX300 MAX to be warmer, but not in the same way I found the DX320 warmer. I know this comes off as contradictory considering I literally said that the DX300 MAX is brighter than the DX320, but allow me to explain. When it comes to percussion, DX300 MAX is crisper, sharper, and more tactile. There’s even more detail in the percussion. However, when it comes to peaks, especially aggressive peaks, DX300 MAX retains full control, whereas the DX320 doesn’t. I believe this is the first time where I felt the term “digital glare” match what I’m hearing. My friend suggested that this so-called digital glare will wear off once the break-in period passes, and while I won’t agree or disagree, I am definitely open to that idea. After all, my DX300 MAX went through a proper break-in method. The reason why I tested the DX320 in its virgin state is because I don’t remember breaking-in my DX300 or AMP12, so I thought it would be unfair to do so for the DX320. Perhaps the very track where I solidified my opinion was Sia’s “Chandelier (Piano Version)”, where it was quite apparent that the upper mid-range was more forward and that the peaks were poking through on the DX320.

Even though the DX320 puts up a tough fight against the DX300 MAX, it doesn’t dethrone the king… which I’m sure comes as no surprise. However,—and this is a big “however”—it’s scary how good the DX320 sounds. The DX300 MAX separates itself with an insanely open sound, the amount of headroom it has compared to the DX320 is not something I can put into words. When I think about it, my friend put it the best, “MAX is more analog”.

Conclusion​

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Even though the DX300 and the DX320 share a lot in common, the two are different enough to stand on their own.

iBasso made a very, very bold statement with the DX300. In my eyes, the DX320 is equally as impressive as the DX300 was back at its release. It’s still got an industry-leading 6.5” IPS display. It’s still got a modular amplifier system. Moreover, you have the flexibility to choose from a total of 5 amp modules. If you don’t count in the AMP11Mk1 and AMP11Mk2, then you can say there is a total of 3 amp modules. Even with those 3 amp modules, you have the freedom to get them modded by @Whitigir, Steve, or someone else. Many owners of modded amp modules state that the mods take the sound performance to another level. With this in mind, I would not hesitate to call the amp module system a platform. So far, all amp modules have been priced below $300. I know a number of people who don’t want to purchase a dedicated amplifier but would much rather spend their money on a more expensive amp module. Essentially, this allows you to purchase the finest components on the market and get them implemented into the amp module system by modders.

Even if you look past the amp module system, the DX320 still has: 6GB of RAM, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660, Android 10, Android SRC bypass (allowing system-wide bit-perfect playback), custom audio dedicates Mango OS, patented dual-battery design, and of course, the ROHM Japanese DAC chips. With the latest addition of AMP13, a Korg Nutube-based amp module, iBasso further strengthened DX300/DX320’s unique position in the market. Why do I mention all these goodies? Because one may suspect that compromises have been made, which I assure you isn’t the case here.

If I look at everything as a whole, the DX320 sits right between the DX300+AMP12 and the DX300 MAX. What most will question is whether the DX320 is a worthy purchase or upgrade over the DX300. The short answer is yes. Although I think the DX300 is more attractive physically and it doesn't share the same volume wheel problem as the DX320, I cannot see these differences playing a significant role in one's purchase. If you already own the DX300, then the answer gets more complicated. For example, it remains a question whether a modded AMP12 paired with the DX300 sounds as good as the DX320 with the stock AMP11Mk2s.
Last edited:
Onurb8690
Onurb8690
Great Review !!!!
👍👍👍
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raps1514
Great review and those photos are slick as well.
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voja
voja

HansBarbarossa

100+ Head-Fier
iBasso DX320 + AMP13: dazzling truth and tube magic
Pros: Sound, kit, design, functionality
Cons: No (leaving the price in brackets)
Hi friends!

We haven’t seen you since spring, but we returned after a forced vacation with two cool new products at once. A little over a year ago, we met the flagship DX300 DAP from iBasso Audio, and now its successor with the DX320 index was born, which is just as beautiful in appearance, but two completely new “hearts” are beating in its chest: a pair of digital-analog chips from Japanese brand ROHM.
Yes, while some companies discontinue their products due to global shortages of audio components, iBasso is finding ways to keep improving their products no matter the difficulties. Naturally, microcircuits, no matter how wonderful and cool they are, do not “sing” by themselves, competent technical implementation of the components is required here. But looking ahead, I’ll say that iBasso engineers once again brilliantly coped with the task set for them, and the DX320 turned out to be, without exaggeration, a chic DAP. This also applies to the new amplifier modules: AMP 11 MK2s (included with DAP) and tube AMP13.

We have never hidden our love for iBasso developments and we are not going to do it now. The brand's slogan "In pursuit of perfection" accurately reflects the zeal and perseverance with which the company approaches the development of its products. And now, against the backdrop of wild competition in the market and the aforementioned problems in the industry, the consistently high level of iBasso devices is especially impressive! But let's move on to the acquaintance with our today's guests.



Text: Alexey Kashirskey (aka Hans Barbarossa)




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Specifications
DAC chips: 2 × ROHM MUS-IC BD34301EKV
CPU: Snapdragon 660 14nm 8-core soc
Operating memory & storage: 6GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB storage
Frequency response:
Balanced out: 10hz-60khz,
Single ended out: 10hz-40khz
Output power (AMP11 MK2S)
Balanced out: 1200mw@32Ω/168mw@300Ω
Single ended out: 380mw@32Ω/40mw@300Ω
Maximum output level balanced out: 7.1vrms, single-ended out: 3.5vrms
THD +N: -110db(300r load), -99db(32r load)
Dynamic range & signal-to-noise ratio 122dB
Size: 162mm x 77mm x 17mm
Weight: 310g
AMP13:
Tubes: KORG Nutube 6P1
Outputs 2x Jack 3.5mm
Output buffer Toshiba 2SK209 field effect transistors
Single-ended out low noise output: 2.5V
Single-ended out maximized output: 4.1V
Max output @32ohm load: 234mW





Appearance and kit / DX320

DX320, as befits the status of a cool DAP, is packed to last. The first is a hard gray jacket, which, like a chameleon, shimmers with mother-of-pearl silver. The name of the model and its title are located on it: Reference DAP, and at the very bottom the manufacturer is modestly indicated. Next, we take out a large blue box with a black triangular iBasso logo in the center. Everything here is refined and concise, I like it.



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We open the lid of the box and begin to study the contents. In addition to the DX320, a whole dowry fit inside: a set of three cables (coaxial, USB type-C and another short cable for the burn-in device), screen protectors, a stylish dark green leather case and mandatory warranty documents and instructions. As always with iBasso, the equipment is the most complete.


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Let's take a closer look at the DX320. It looks solid (162 mm x 77 mm x 17 mm) and thoroughbred (body material - aluminum alloy). The exterior of the device largely repeats the design of its predecessor. It looks like a top-end smartphone, and a silver wheel on the side adds gloss and aristocracy to it. Such a gentleman gadget will be appreciated by aesthetes, of which I am sure there are many among audiophiles. The 320 is available in two colors: black and blue.


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Compared to its predecessor, the DX320 has become noticeably lighter (205 versus 300 grams), and its appearance has become more finished. This is noticeable in the details: a more elegant execution of the side faces, a smoother rotation of the volume wheel with longitudinal side notches and a hollow in the center of this regulator, which now clearly fits under the thumb. Yes, and as an on / off button, this wheel has a smoother ride when pressed. Thanks to all this, the 320 is more comfortable in the hand and causes a more pleasant tactile sensation. As you understand, the ergonomics of the device is beyond praise.


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The entire front panel is occupied by a touch screen that impresses with its characteristics (6.5 "IPS, 2340x1080 px), with good responsiveness and excellent color reproduction. Not every modern smartphone can boast of such a display! Above the screen there is an oblong LED indicator that changes color depending on of the audio format being played or lights up while the device is operating/charging.

The rear panel is bluish-gray with rounded edges, made of plastic, on it, in the center, the name of the model “DX320” is proudly placed, and below there is a small window through which, when the replaceable AMP13 amplifier module is connected, two green “eyes” are lit - amplifier tubes. Under the window you can find information about the brand, country of origin and quality standards badges.


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On the right, on a slightly beveled end, there is the already mentioned wheel for adjusting the volume and turning the device on/off. Three control keys lined up next to it: forward, start / pause, back. There was also a place for our favorite “Hi-Res Audio” sticker. On the left side there is a slot for microSD in case the internal (128 GB) memory of the device is not enough.

The top side got a digital coaxial S / PDIF output and a type-C 3.1 connector that serves to charge the device and connect to a PC. By the way, the device supports QC 3.0, PD 3.0, which allows you to quickly recharge it, in about 2.5-3 hours. Below is the very new AMP-11 MK2s replacement amplifying module with three headphone audio outputs (combined with the linear “LO”): 4.4 mm (Pentacon) balanced, 2.5 mm balanced and 3.5 mm (SE stereo).

For all kinds of wireless manipulations, Wi-Fi 802.11b /g/n/ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz) 2 × 2 MIMO 5G and Bluetooth 5.0 with support for LDAC and aptX are on board. And when connected via USB type-C to a desktop PC or laptop, the player can also act as an external DAC/sound card.


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Unlike the DX300 with a digital-to-analog part (Cirrus Logic CS43198), our reviewed one is built on two new DAC chips from ROHM - MUS-IC bd34352ekv (one for each channel), which expands the possibilities of implementing a fully balanced output. The analog part, as I mentioned earlier, is the new AMP11 MK2s amplifier module, based on the AMP8, using updated components, including premium electrolytes and exclusive film capacitors designed specifically for iBasso. This amplifier module boasts an output power of 1200 mW into 32 ohms.

iBasso's own FPGA-Master matrix is responsible for processing the digital part and jitter suppression.



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The device is equipped CPU 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, 6 GB of LPDDR 4x RAM, which, in conjunction with optimized Android 11, gives excellent results!
Two independent lithium-polymer batteries are responsible for powering the device: one (3.8V 4000mAh) is responsible for the digital part of the device, the second (3.8V 2000mAh) - for the analog one. The discharge is not synchronous, the indication of each section is displayed at the top of the display. One "joint" charge cycle, on average, is enough for about 10 hours of operation with the ability to quickly charge (Quick Charge). Well, as always, the type of connected headphones, the format of the files being listened to and the volume level will have a noticeable effect on the "survivability" of the player.

Yes, iBasso DX320 was a success! It is impeccably made, looks great, stuffed with modern hardware and has an outstanding technical implementation that even the most expensive ultradaps can envy.


Software and control

Android 11 and its own Mango OS are responsible for the "intellectual" abilities of the device.
Installing apps on the DX320 can be done with APKPure, so any Android app can be found and downloaded by yourself in minutes.

In "three hundred and twenty", as in its predecessor, there is a dual boot, which allows you to choose between Android and an independent virtual Mango player, which has acquired a new stylish interface and even more convenient control.
If you want, in addition to listening to music, access to the Internet, all kinds of programs and streaming services - load Android. If you want a clean audio player - choose Mango OS.
The software is updated both online (the DX320 itself finds and installs it when connected to Wi-Fi), and through the manufacturer's website, from where you can download proprietary software to a memory card and install it on the device from there. This is familiar to us from the DX200/220/300/MAX.

Even a child will cope with navigation: swipe across the screen, move the curtains, press with your finger on what you are looking for - everything is simple and familiar, just like in smartphones. Well, if you wish, you can start and switch tracks with the side buttons.

It is also worth mentioning that the DX320 is already quite well optimized out of the box, and the manufacturer promises to regularly improve its software. By the way, the device has just seen the light, and three updates have already been released on it.
Among other things, the player has graphic and parametric (PMEQ) equalizers and two digital filters: sharp roll-off and slow roll-off.

And in general, using the DX320 is a pleasure.



APM13 unboxing

Specs

DAP compatibility: iBasso DX320/DX300
Two 6th generation Korg tubes (KORG Nutube 6P1)
Headphone outputs: 3.5mm low noise (2.5Vrms) and 3.5mm high output (4.1Vrms)
Using Toshiba 2SK209 FETs as Nutube signal output buffer.



The AMP13 is an amplifier stage in modular form, a board of unique design using 6th generation KORG Nutube 6P1 vacuum tubes (two pieces) designed by Korg together with another Japanese company, Noritake Itron. Replacing such a board allows you to upgrade your DAP yourself.


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We met a similar scheme in the AMP9 module designed for the DX220 / DX200, and now iBasso's developers have been able to translate it into a new design compatible with third-series audio players.


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The AMP13 comes in a pearl gray cardboard box with the iBasso Audio logo on the top. Under the cover of this dust jacket is a black box also with an embossed brand logo. Inside it is a whole scattering of useful things: a hard zippered case, similar to a small corrugated peli case, for the module, an additional transparent silicone case for the DX320 player, a screwdriver that will come in handy soon, spare screws, as well as instructions and a warranty card. Inside the plastic case, in a plastic bag, we find our AMP13 amplifier.


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Made by iBasso AMP13 in nude style: the amplifier board is completely open. On one side it has a docking connector, on the other - an external panel with two 3.5 mm TRS headphone outputs: low noise (2.5 Vrms) and maximum output power (4.1 Vrms). Before installing the module in the DAP, you can slowly examine it: square "eyes" of KORG Nutube 6P1 electronic tubes, black textolite and device circuitry. The board was made at the highest level - engineering beauty!


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Replacing amplifying modules is quick and easy. You need to turn off the DAP, unscrew the two screws located at the edges of the module, and pull the plug-in board towards you by prying it with something like a guitar pick or inserting your headphone connector into the jack, and also gently pull towards you. After removing, I recommend carefully folding the unused module into the same plastic box with a zipper, so as not to inadvertently damage the board.
Then we carry out all the simple manipulations from the first part of the operation in reverse order. We take our AMP13 and join it, inserting it into the grooves and pushing it forward to the vacant seat. Now we twist the two screws back with a screwdriver. Voila, everything is ready, you can turn on the player and connect the headphones.

So, we are all set to move on to the most important thing - listening and testing!



Sound Impressions

For our guest, I prepared a damn dozen IEMs/headphones: 64 AUDIO A12t, FIR XE6, Vision Ears VE8, Vision Ears VE7, VE EVE20, InEar PP8, iBasso IT07, Softears RS10, Softears Cerberus, Beyerdynamic DT250/250 ohm, Phonon SMB -02, Phonon 4400 and HEDD HEDDphone ONE.

Before analyzing the sound, the DX320 burn-in was about 50-70 hours, which, in my opinion, had a beneficial effect on the final formation of its "voice".

Also, at the time of writing the review, the latest software was installed on the device - firmware 2.02.834.

A few recommendations from the editors of Audio-PH. If you have installed the latest update (at the time of writing this review, it is fw. 2.02.834), then:
1) Do a factory reset.
2) Reboot the device 5-7 times (one by one, reboot device).
3) It is advisable to let the device burn-in for about 50 hours.

Let me emphasize right away that DAP did an excellent job with both low-resistance sensitive IEM / CIEM and high-resistance full-size headphone models - no noise or any other artifacts were noticed.

The iBasso DX320 with AMP11 MK2s delivers a clean, smooth, comfortable and highly refined sound with excellent tonal balance and no distortion. The new amplifier module handled both low-impedance sensitive multi-driver BA/Hybrid IEMs and high-impedance full-size dynamic driver headphone models. I was a little surprised how the device worked well with the rather "tight", very demanding HEDD HEDDphone ONE. Of course, it could not reveal the full potential of HEDDphone ONE, this requires powerful stationary equipment, but, nevertheless, even at medium volume, it allowed you to enjoy music quite comfortably. An excellent result for a portable device!

This DAP linearly and flawlessly builds all sound sources in the virtual space, delicately outlining each instrument. This is a completely neutral manner of sound production, in which the DX320 + AMP11 MK2s duo, without imposing any taste colors, allows your headphones to sound, revealing their potential, showing their sound character, and also paying more attention to the quality of the mastering of the audio material you listen to. This, in my opinion, is the highest reference reproduction, since it allows you to both adequately evaluate the sound character of the IEM / headphones you are testing, and fully enjoy listening to your favorite music.

Therefore, when analyzing the sound of the DX320, we mostly describe the nature of the sound used with it in a pair of headphones, not forgetting, of course, the contribution of the amplifier module connected to it.



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For example, in tandem with Vision Ears VE8, InEar ProPhile 8 or Softears RS10, the player produces a reference reference sound: extraordinarily smooth, which tactfully lays out the palette of sounds in a "monitor" form, accurately and correctly, without any frequency amplitude distortions.
Connecting the FIR XE6 CIEM adds depth and dimension to the sound, warmth and studio-analogue charm, with a slight accent in the lower register.


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I really liked the connection of the DX320 with the VE EVE20 and VE7, where the manner of sounding becomes unusually plastic, incredibly harmonious and melodious, served in a comfortable neutral form.
In such a sound, you want to completely dissolve and enjoy your favorite music for hours on end. Just you and the melody, one on one.



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The union of DX320 with 64 audio A12t, in turn, adds dynamism, slightly focuses attention on the edges of the frequency range, giving the overall sound drive, emotions and the width of an imaginary space.

Connecting the AMP12 module to the DX320, without changing the overall nature of the “voice” of the device, adds to the overall sound of impressiveness, speed and clarity in working out micro and macro nuances. The musical canvas is drawn widely, vividly, in relief, saturated and more contrasting. This amp has quite a lot of power, more than the AMP11 MK2s, and when switching to it, if you are using IEMs, I would recommend setting the Gain to “Low” to begin with, for comfortable volume control.

The AMP13, when compared to its modular cousins, shows a solid, embossed and warm character. The sound becomes extremely melodious, colorful, plastic and saturated, acquiring a slightly darkened background and a special unforgettable charm that is difficult to express with any definitions. The lower register is filled with a smooth, thick and velvety substance, the beat is dense and rolling. The bass, in turn, is not as fast and biting as in the case of the AMP11 MK2s and AMP12, but it is rich in timbre, plastic, embossed and harmonious. The AMP13 is excellent at conveying timbres and reverbs, as well as displaying the depth of an imaginary space. There is also commendable dynamics, excellent texture transfer and charming mannerism, served in a warm-tube, beautiful "analogue" form. In my opinion, it is perfect for playing classical music, instrumental, jazz and old school rock. For modern brutal music styles, in my opinion, AMP13 is a little less suitable. Although, here, as always, a matter of taste ..

It is worth noting that when connecting high-sensitivity, low-impedance IEMs to an output with maximum output power, some background noise may occur. This is especially noticeable in the pauses between songs. Therefore, I would recommend connecting in-ear monitors to a low noise output (2.5 Vrms). But high-impedance headphones, on the contrary, should be connected to the output with the maximum output power (4.1 Vrms). The developers from iBasso have carefully considered this important point, for which special thanks to them.



Let's sum up the sound results based on a bunch of DX320 + AMP11 MK2s (perhaps the most versatile of all amplifier modules)

Lows - accurate, tangible, with a clearly distinguishable force of impact, with a relief, collected and well-articulated energetic bass. Impressive dynamics, and the transfer of contrast, and the depth of space. An excellent combination of quantity and quality, as well as an impeccable balance.

Mids are smooth, harmonious, natural, with accurate textures and good resolution. Here, each sound has its own mass, body and relief. The mid-range register is presented in detail and harmoniously, with a wide dynamic range, neutral and at the same time very melodic. There is nothing to complain about here, everything is impeccable, as is the case with the lower case.

Highs - clean and crisp. There are no complaints about the quantity and quality of this register. They are moderately restrained and charming, without the slightest hint of dirt or distortion. It is a neutral, smooth, precise and informative manner, well-drawn, presented in a graceful and comfortable manner.

Weaknesses in terms of genre preferences were not found in the DX320. The device perfectly copes with all the musical styles offered to it: classical music, instrumental, jazz, electronics, rock and all kinds of more brutal genres. And for enthusiasts who want to customize the sound of the DX320 to their taste, add personality and make it more unique, there are replaceable AMP modules.



Conclusion

The DX320 is a fully finished and balanced throughout DAP with a reference sound that allows you to open up 100% to almost any IEM and headphones. This is an amazing portable device, in which everything is perfect: appearance, innards and musical "character". In my opinion, the new creation from iBasso Audio should be a hit in 2022, because it has everything to conquer even the most demanding audiophile.
In addition to these advantages, the DX320 is ready to work with streaming services and can act as a sound card connected to a PC. Well, the new AMP13, with its unusually harmonious and plastic manner of sound production, is just a chic gift for fans of iBasso developments.

It remains only to inform about the prices. The suggested retail price for the DX320 at the time of writing is $1599, while the AMP13 will cost around $269. Personally, I believe that every dollar of this amount is more than fulfilled by the above devices, and I recommend the DX320 and APM13 for purchase without the slightest hesitation.
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R
raps1514
The noise from the intervals (wifi, etc.) made this a tough one for me despite the lovely sound.

Alexzander

100+ Head-Fier
iBasso DX320 and Amp 13 - controversial but enjoyable beast!
Pros: + unique solid state Amp 11 MKIIs liquid flavor
+ two very different tube flavors with Amp 13
+ great technicalities and sound on matched firmwares
+ the price is a steal
Cons: - firmware updates change sound and it’s quality drastically
- no quick switch between different firmware tunings
- Amp 13 catches noises from own DX320 WiFi operation
Hi everyone!

05CA6839-B0DF-48AE-BC8C-127D5D0DD3F8.jpeg

Today I’ll be reviewing iBasso DX320 DAP mostly focusing on the Amp 13 card while I’ll say some words about the stock amp.
I’ll be using Oriolus Traillii and Rognir Planars (bass version, non-perforated pads) together with DX320 to describe my sound impressions.
As for competition FiiO M17 and good old Astell & Kern SP2000 would be used in comparison.
I’ll be mostly using Tidal official app to compare the DAPs.
All equipment was bought using my own funds and I have zero affiliation with any of the manufacturers listed.
I listen to all the genres of the music both well and poorly recorded but mostly to Western Electronics, Pop, Rock and Metal.

Stock Amp 11 MKIIs

Important thing to tell right away is that firmware updates do change sound reproduction significantly.
With original firmware the sound is something in the middle between solid state, R2R and tube flavors.
It is well detailed but has liquid transients and a tad thick notes resulting in a little smoothness across the frequency range and a good amount of body.
Soundstage is holographic and instruments placement is quite precise.
As for the sound signature it has a moderate mid bass emphasis along with a bit hot highs, and manages to sound somewhat dark from mids down to bottom.
Bass and sub bass are going deep but a bit not so well controlled as on SP2K/M17.
My only concern would go to a bit more forward than I prefer upper highs range but that is it.
If you like described type of sound you can consider it as a side grade to SP2K.

Unfortunately newer firmware sound much worse for me - I can hear too much artificially layered sound with even more forward lower highs, it’s not coherent and a bit “dead” for me in some regions which puts it behind all the competition. Bass and sub bass suffer from a noticeable dip and are way too soft. Lower highs are too laidback, upper highs are further annoyingly forward.

I hope that in future firmware iBasso will introduce timbres switch to choose from original and new one.

Amp 13

And that’s the whole different story!
This amp have two 3.5mm single mini-jacks that have different sound output and power.
Few great things to mention - despite being single-ended they are no sloughs and I’ll be comparing them with balanced connections on M17 and SP2K!
Also in terms of technicalities it worth to say that DX320 is not compromising micro details on both POs on Amp 13 due to overly smoothing them.
That’s really cool!

This amp adds more smoothness and tubes texture the lower you go in the frequency range - that does mean that you still get crispness and edges where needed, just they are not that laser sharp starting from midrange down to bass (compared to any typical good solid state amp).
Soundstage wise DX323 is being a tad wider than SP2K, while M17 in DC mode is still producing the most wide and deep sound.

As for the cons - Amp 13 is picking noises from it’s own DX320 WiFi components which is a clear issue during streaming sessions. For the first few seconds when new song is being buffered or any other data synced you’ll hear a muted but noticeable noise. I don’t know if this could be properly addressed in future software updates.
Also Amp 13 does not have LO function on both its output which is somewhat sad.

Amp 13 Left PO

That one is currently my favorite one!
It has the least power but the most euphonic and lush sound. Some of you might call it a hall sound.
It is very clean and clear - tight and strong sub bass and bass, rich mids but with a huge lower mids dip along with less pronounced lower highs dip.
Those dips make overall sound a bit on the brighter and lighter side while also laying back music in those regions - so tuning wise details could be perceived as compromised there.

As for SP2K I can say that AK’s creation is more neutral and reference tuned compared to Left PO on Amp 13. It doesn’t have any drastic dips, but it also lacks that lush and euphonic sound. It brings you more edgy textures and pure SS timbre instead.
Same goes for the comparison with M17 here.

Amp 13 Right PO

It does actually sound like some sort of hybrid mode - coherent and not an artificial one like on SP2KT.
Tuning wise it is neutral and more reference without big dips that could be observed on Left PO.
Sub bass is a bit less strong and upper mids are very forward.
Those forwardness result in putting you right on the stage rather than keeping you on the seating rows. While it makes sound more engaging I personally don’t appreciate it as it screws expected instruments placement for me in some songs.
Tube flavor is much more delicate here but still helps to deliver more rich textures.

In terms of technicalities I’ll put Right PO on par with other DAPs. Both SP2K and M17 have stronger and tighter sub bass with more grainy edges in highs - while DX323 will deliver more textures in bass and a tad more holographic sound thanks to NuTube.
M17 in DC mode will still hold its crown in layering, dynamics, micro transients and details - while all of this is much more noticeable with over-ear headphones rather than IEMs.
I was really surprised that without DC mode M17 additional power was not able to grant it superiority on DX323 Right PO. It’s a bit surprising keeping in mind those DAPs size/weight difference.

Conclusion

DX320 is definitely a bit controversial DAP due to noticeable sound signature changes on stock amp after software updates and Amp 13 picking noises from DAP’s own WiFi, but in the end of the day the most important question is do you enjoy it or not?

As for me - I really do!

I love that lush euphonic portable tube sound through Amp 13 Left PO and I can always switch to the Right one in case I need to do some critical listening session.
And for it’s price it’s a steal.

For now DX320 won’t be able to substitute my other SS amplified DAPs but that is why I have them all to be able to choose from.

Hope that iBasso future updates would improve situation with the stock amp sound signature and WiFi issues with Amp 13.

To further music enjoyment!
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RIGATIO
RIGATIO
Great review!
Subhasis
Subhasis
Spectacular in depth review ...
A
Alexzander
Thanks guys!
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