IKKO Zerda ITM03 Portable Headphone Amplifier

General Information

High quality build: Full Shielded design, highly sophisticated production process, Monster OCC Silver-Plated silicone fully wrapped cable, aluminum alloy sandblasted oxidized shell,Weighs only 12 grams

High quality performance: Cirrus Logic CS43198 flagship DAC chip, low power and high performance, support up to 32 bits / 384KHz (optical digital output bit rate is 32 bits / 192KHz) and up to 128x native DSD PCM decoding capabilities. THD+N is well below 0.0015%, providing unparalleled high-fidelity sound quality, restoring the truest and cleanest sound quality and enjoying the true sound quality

Easy to use: Built-in adaptive drive, no need to manually install the driver, the connection can be used directly, with 16Ω-600Ω Impedance adaptive, 3.5mm Audio & 3.5mm fiber optic signal output two-in-one interface design, easy to adapt to smartphone to professional audio equipment.

Full system compatibility: (Type-c) compatible with Android/Windows/MacOSX System Smartphone Laptop, (Lightning) Compatible with iphone/ipad/ipod

Parameter details DAC:Cirrus Logic CS43198,Fiber Optic Output:32Bit/192kHz,DSD:128, THD+N:<0.0015%,FR:20Hz-40kHz,Impedance Adaptive:16Ω-600Ω

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Latest reviews

Ace Bee

1000+ Head-Fier
Ikko Zerda ITM03: Beauty on the outside
Pros: Catchy look
Beautiful finish
Smooth sound
Cons: Less stage depth
No included Type-C to Type-A connector
Disclaimer : This unit was provided for an honest review by Hifinage. All opinions are my own. You can buy it from the store:
https://hifinage.com/products/ikko-itm03

(Photos will be attached later)

Build:
Ikko Zerda ITM03 looks extremely pleasing to the eye with its beautiful colour and brushed metal finish. In spite of the size, it is faily light and should not prove any difficulty in using on a daily basis.

Specifications:
  • High quality build: Full Shielded design, highly sophisticated production process, Monster OCC Silver-Plated silicone fully wrapped cable, aluminum alloy sandblasted oxidized shell, Weighs only 12 grams
  • High-quality performance: Cirrus Logic CS43198 flagship DAC chip, low power, and high performance, support up to 32 bits / 384KHz (optical digital output bit rate is 32 bits / 192KHz) and up to 128x native DSD PCM decoding capabilities. THD+N is well below 0.0015%, providing unparalleled high-fidelity sound quality, restoring the truest and cleanest sound quality, and enjoying the true sound quality
  • Easy to use: Built-in adaptive drive, no need to manually install the driver, the connection can be used directly, with 16Ω-600Ω Impedance adaptive, 3.5mm Audio & 3.5mm fiber optic signal output two-in-one interface design, easy to adapt to a smartphone to professional audio equipment.
  • Full system compatibility: (Type-c) compatible with Android/Windows/MacOSX System Smartphone Laptop, (Lightning) Compatible with iphone/ipad/ipod
  • Parameter details: AC:Cirrus Logic CS43198,Fiber Optic Output:32Bit/192kHz,DSD:128, THD+N:<0.0015%,FR:20Hz-40kHz,Impedance Adaptive:16Ω-600Ω

Usage:
I used it with a type-c to type-a adaptor with my laptop. Didn't provide much of a hassle, just plug and play. Pretty good.
I do not have any high impedance headphones or iems, hence could not check whether the adaptive impedance holds true.
I do not have anything to use with tis optical out either, hence was not able to check it.

Sound:
Zerdaplays it safe here. It adds a touch of warmth and smoothens the note for a more pleasant and laid back listening experience. However, that may or may not sit well with the listener. Whereas it did well for the harsh tracks, it smothered the smooth tracks.
Zerda ITM03 is best paired with those iems with a boosted uppermid/lower treble, as that particular region will be controlled while providing better musicality. With smooth or warm sounding iems it is a strict no go.
Another negative aspect of Zerda is its soundstage representation. The depth of stage gets compromised considerably, which was an instant turn-off for me.

Conclusion:
At its price point of $99, Zerda ITM03 has serious competition, and it is pretty much evident that they are winning. While using an external USB DAC-AMp, one would not expect the soundstage to losedepth, at least I did not. And hence I was not exactly pleased. However, the smooth touch that it provides is still quite good, and hence I could not totally write it off. However, I genuinely expect Ikko will correct the shortcomings and will come out with a better upgrade over it.

machinegod

New Head-Fier
Pros: Attractive & fresh color and design.
Optical Output.
Smooth Sound Signature.
Cons: Flat soundstage.
Dynamics not up to competition.
No included Type C to Type A adaptor.
Build Quality :
The color scheme of Zerda is refreshing! The sandblasted, oxidized aluminium alloy shell is of solid build quality. The tail cable is very flexible and does not hold its shape. You get a long strain relief on the type c end and another one from the DAC/AMP body.

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Usage :
I wish the Zerda came with a type C to type A adaptor to use with laptops/computers as the third party adaptors are tricky business when it comes to passing audio and having a seamless compatibility.
To the good news, these are driverless and is plug-n-play on my Windows 10 laptop.
Coming to the optical output of the Zerda which caught me by surprise, this enables the user to connect an external dac via a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable (provided your dac/amp has a 3.5mm/SPDIF combo optical input) and the Zerda acts like a digital pass through. This is an uncommon feature in the dongle DAC world, can be useful for the right person.

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Sound Impressions & Pairings :
The overall sound is warm and smooth with good balance from top to bottom of the spectrum. There is no emphasis on any part, although the top end is rolled off and smoothened out to be forgiving of harsh recordings and bright/edgy sounding IEMs. Ikko doesn't state the power output of the dongle but I have tried pairing efficient IEMs, a 120 ohm impedance Sennheiser HD560s and 300 ohm impedance Sennheiser HD600. While the Zerda had no problems driving my IEMs, it did not manage to drive the Sennheiser HD560s optimally and downright struggled to drive the HD600 which sounded sleepy and veiled. So I would recommend IEM usage exclusively with this dongle as the amp section of the dongle seems to be overwhelmed by high impedance loads. The pairing of the Zerda with upper midrange forward IEMs & Headphones to be the best. In my case the pairing with 560s was ideal as the 560s does indeed have boosted upper midrange, which the Zerda took care of. My only gripe with the sound is that there is a definitive lack in soundstage depth; the stage is flat in front of you.

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Ikko Zerda vs Zorloo Ztella MQA :
Zorloo MQA has a more forward upper midrange. The Ztella has substantially deeper soundstage and also trumps the Zerda when it comes to instrument separation and layering. Ztella also dishes out more dynamics and bass impact with a more open top end. It is to be noted that the Ztella is not as forgiving in the upper midrange like the Zerda. Ztella MQA pumps out 2V when >=150 ohms and 1V otherwise. Ztella MQA has a big voltage swing and it drives high impedance loads better. It drove the HD560s and HD600 considerably better than the Zerda : more dynamics, more depth, better layering.

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Conclusion:
The Zerda at 99 USD packs the cool feature of Optical Output and serves a smooth and relaxed sound which is fatigue free. With the right pairing, the combination will be commendable. But the competition in the Dongle DAC world is fierce, and the Zerda isn't leading the pack when it comes to sound quality.

05.vishal

New Head-Fier
IKKO Zerda ITM03 Review
Pros: 1. Musical Sound signature, which may attract the majority of users.
2. Mostly black background.
3. Has the option of Optical out.
4. Solid Build quality.
5. Option for a lightning port.
Cons: 1. Average Depth in the sound.
2. Nothing Much
Ikko is slowly and steadily becoming a mainstream brand. The iem’s that IKKO has launched have already left their impact in the respective price categories, be it the underrated OH1 or the much-appreciated OH10. Today, we have the Zerda ITM03 for review.

Disclaimer:

The Zerda ITM01 has been to me as a part of the review circle from HIFINAGE in exchange for my honest opinions. The following review has been based on my sensibilities and is subjective to my listening experience.

Specs:
  • High quality build: Full Shielded design, highly sophisticated production process, Monster OCC Silver-Plated silicone fully wrapped cable, aluminum alloy sandblasted oxidized shell, Weighs only 12 grams
  • High-quality performance: Cirrus Logic CS43198 flagship DAC chip, low power, and high performance, support up to 32 bits / 384KHz (optical digital output bit rate is 32 bits / 192KHz) and up to 128x native DSD PCM decoding capabilities. THD+N is well below 0.0015%, providing unparalleled high-fidelity sound quality, restoring the truest and cleanest sound quality, and enjoying the true sound quality
  • Easy to use: Built-in adaptive drive, no need to manually install the driver, the connection can be used directly, with 16Ω-600Ω Impedance adaptive, 3.5mm Audio & 3.5mm fiber optic signal output two-in-one interface design, easy to adapt to a smartphone to professional audio equipment.
  • Full system compatibility: (Type-c) compatible with Android/Windows/MacOSX System Smartphone Laptop, (Lightning) Compatible with iphone/ipad/ipod
  • Parameter details: AC:Cirrus Logic CS43198,Fiber Optic Output:32Bit/192kHz,DSD:128, THD+N:<0.0015%,FR:20Hz-40kHz,Impedance Adaptive:16Ω-600Ω

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Tested On:
  • Samsung Galaxy S10
  • Laptop
Impressions:

Lows:


The Bass has enough quality and quantity to it. The decay is quick and depending on the gear used, you will feel sub-bass rumble as well.

Mids:

MIds have the natural tome to them and they have a good amount of extension. Timbre is more on the natural end. The details retrieval is also good.

Highs:

The treble extension has ample details without any peaks or harshness which ultimately caused fatigue.

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Soundstage:

The soundstage is decent enough with respect to width but lacks depth. For laid-back tracks, the imaging is good enough, but it may sound cluttery enough for some of the busy tracks. But that is mostly nitpicking.

Final Thoughts:

For the price to performance ratio, Zerda ITM03 is a complete package. Some may compare it with the Lotoo Paw S1 but then the price difference is wide enough for that argument. If you have a tight budget then think no more and buy the Zerda by clicking here

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