DX200=Affordable High End Audio. Dual ES9028Pro dacs. AMP1, AMP3, AMP5, AMP7 & AMP8 ***Firmware support now up for AMP9***
Apr 14, 2019 at 11:20 PM Post #21,152 of 21,956

icefalkon

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Steve, man, what if there was a Star Wars convention and a Game of Thrones convention in Chicago during Axpona?

Forgetaboutit.....lol
 
Apr 15, 2019 at 12:05 AM Post #21,153 of 21,956

jamato8

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DX220: First Impressions from Chicago.

I got a chance over the weekend to try out the 220 at this year's Axpona. I had plenty of time with it for the most hilarious reason: there was a Star Wars convention in town at the same time. As it turns out the overlap between Audio geeks and Star Wars geeks is pretty sizable, and the Force was stronger at the convention, so booths at Axpona were sometimes left lonely. (By the by, I'm also a huge Star Wars geek but I have my priorities straight (grin)).

A–huge–thanks to @icefalkon and @jamato8 who were manning the iBasso display! Great guys who were wonderful to talk to about the DX220, audio, soldering, pizza, and just life in general! (One more time, Chicago deep dish is not pizza!).

The downside, as expected, is that it's impossible to get any definitive sense of the sound of any device at conventions. Even with Star Wars siphoning away any numbers of nerds, the hall was still noisy, and with open back headphones sonic nuances are largely lost. So, I'll share what I'm sure about first, which is what I could see rather than hear.

1) Form Factor: Visually, the DX220 is nice, really nice. It has an anodized aluminum chassis similar to the 200, though it is a bit thicker. What makes it nice is the glossy glass on the back, and mostly, the screen. The display is outstanding, stunning really. It's flush and pretty much edge to edge on the front. It's bright, high resolution, clear, and colors are eye-poppingly good. IBasso really capitalized on this upgraded screen with a dazzling new UI for both Android and Mango. Also, the reworked volume control is just the right kind of tactile. The whole effect is just gorgeous and makes it a pleasure to use. Once you hold the 220 in your hand and swipe around the new UX it isn't all that easy to let go.

However, for those of you who are hoping for improved user performance I had a mixed impression. I believe the processor is upgraded, but I found it lagged at times, and actually, I never had a problem with the performance on the 200. I was told by Jamato that the FW on the demo unit was only the second iteration, which means it may get updated even before shipping. I'm sure we can expect it to improve quite a bit over time and eventually take full advantage of the hardware.

Of course this is just the surface level, the sound is what counts the most. I had a chance to compare the 220+stock amp8 with my modded DX208EX using the same DSD512 files. I didn't try out the new amp1-mkII because I only had a 4.4. plug. Again, there was enough background noise, that I can't be sure of anything. Here is what I can say:

2) Audio: Sonically, the DX220 is good, really good. I went in thinking that there is no way that this thing, in stock form, is going to compare with my heavily upgraded 208EX with Fidelizer Advanced ROM. I thought the advantage of the 208EX+Fidelizer was going to be so clear that I could pick it out even in convention conditions. The fact that I left without being able to know what I expected to know means that iBasso really did a job of overhauling the DX200 into the DX220. If the improvements are not widescale worthy of a DX300, they must be strategic, targeting the right areas.

Since the 220 was announced, there was some speculation that it may be more of a cosmetic upgrade, with a better processor and larger screen, but without major substantative improvements to sound. I don't think this is the case. I can comfortably say that the 220 improves on the sound of the 200. I can't rightly say by how much, but Jamoto referred to the 220 as the "matured" sound of the 200, and I agree. The signature is in line with the 200: neutral, airy, with good dynamics, but it is more refined. Even with amp8, the 220 has gone further in the direction of a "reference" sound with better clarity and naturalness of timbres. The 200 always had a great soundstage but was held back by a haziness and artificiality in its rendering. The 220, I think, has an even more spacious staging and has made strides in delivering a cleaner, more resolved signal.

I tried to find out as much as I could about what exactly was upgraded as far as the internals from John and Steve. I don't think iBasso wants to disclose too many specifics for obvious reasons, but this is what I could piece together. Any mistakes are mine and I could surely have misunderstood.

We already knew that the DAC chips are the same configuration of dual ESS9028 pro. The ESS9038 is just not feasible for a portable device at this time. What it seems like is that the two Accusilicon clocks are also the same, but the three remaining clocks have gotten upgraded. The implementation of the clocks/converters has gotten redesigned and I think the power regulators have also been updated, possibly to the ones used in the Ti model. I'm not sure about this but John told me that the iBasso engineers looked at some of the suggestions for improving the regulators but found that the ones they were currently using still measured better. So, they did not switch to different regulators from they're current stock of components. I would be surprised however if they didn't move the 220 into their 200Ti level regulators. I have to reiterate that this was not made clear to me. Steve was able to share that the internal shielding has been improved as well. Wild speculation on my part is that the effects of the TDK sheeting promoted by @Whitigir and @chaiyuta–may–have contributed to this.

3) Price and Release Date: In regard to time, the DX220 is close, really close. Steve and John couldn't confirm anything at Axpona because, of course, iBasso wants to reveal that for themselves, but the word "imminent" was used. When I pressed further as to whether that meant months or weeks, I got the impression that it is definitely the latter if not sooner? As for price, again not sure, but it looks like more than the DX200 but in keeping with iBasso's commendable practice of affordable pricing. It seems like a reasonable bit more, bucking the inflationary trend of other companies. I think Steve and I may have talked a little too loudly about AK when their booth was just a few paces away.

So, to sum up what we kind of know so far: In terms of form factor, I think the DX220 could've been designated as an DX300; the upgrade is that dramatic. In regard to sound, the DX200 is not a DX300, but a significant refinement of the base DX200 design. There are improvements in SQ that take the DX200 further and, to my ears, in the right direction. I won't be sure until I have it in a quiet environment. I haven't said much at all about how the 220 compares to the 208EX simply because I couldn't tell. The areas where the EX makes such a marked advance on the 200, e.g., low level detail retrieval, spatial cues, blackness of background are all but lost in a convention setting with open backs. So, I really do need to get the 220 into my own home, but I do mean that in every way....

I really do need to get the 220 into my own home.
The reason for any lag was that the card had not been scanned in and when the album was accessed it had to be scanned at that time, so there would be a bit of a lag as it was scanned. With prescanned cards I don't notice any lag. And with an octacore CPU and 4 gigs of ram there shouldn't be any when the card has been scanned.
 
Apr 15, 2019 at 12:07 AM Post #21,154 of 21,956

edwardsean

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The reason for any lag was that the card had not been scanned in and when the album was accessed it had to be scanned at that time, so there would be a bit of a lag as it was scanned. With prescanned cards I don't notice any lag. And with an octacore CPU and 4 gigs of ram there shouldn't be any when the card has been scanned.

All the better. Thanks John!
 
Apr 15, 2019 at 11:04 PM Post #21,156 of 21,956

icefalkon

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Apr 16, 2019 at 3:47 AM Post #21,157 of 21,956

alan_g

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Was going to wait but damn I'm looking for pre-orders in the UK now! Thanks for all of your impressions, keep 'em coming!

I'm the same..
 
Apr 18, 2019 at 6:13 AM Post #21,158 of 21,956

Tweety 99

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As my DX200 had an issue of sudden shut off, tried reset, OS re-installation, etc
and nothing worked.
Finally had a battery replaced and all is good again!
I sometimes wonder why manufacturers don't make one with quick battery changeability.
Spare battery or some sort. Just like a digital camera,why not?
 
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Apr 18, 2019 at 6:15 AM Post #21,159 of 21,956

Stealer

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Having a problem with HiByMusic (Lurker) during sorting...
I had just updated to the latest Ibasso firmware and Lurker add-on.
Upon completing of Ibasso firmware update, I did a factory reset and then follow by Lurker SD bootable for Addon
Both updates were without problem..
But when I use HiByMusic to scan my SD card, a ttl of 12988 files were detected, however, when came to data sorting, the HiByMusic sorted about 2xx files and the error stating HiByMusic isn't responding.

I had reloaded the firmware 2x, practices the same procedure as above but somehow the HiByMusic is not sorting those files...

why I use HiByMusic... so far it can play my music, album by album non-stop...
anyone is seeing the same, any advice?
 
Apr 18, 2019 at 9:41 AM Post #21,160 of 21,956

AndrewH13

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Finally had a battery replaced and all is good again!
I sometimes wonder why manufacturers don't make one with quick battery changeability.
Spare battery or some sort. Just like a digital camera,why not?

A company called ...... iBasso, used to!

I still use my DX90 which has a slideable back panel and out pops battery. Have a few Samsung spares that fit in in seconds.
 
Apr 18, 2019 at 10:06 AM Post #21,161 of 21,956

Whitigir

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Battery for these DAP are often very high capability with high current and low noises...quick-charge...etc...they are easily punctured, unless doing a case protection correctly....otherwise it would be a threat, like someone may think it is fun to poke and puncture it...etc...but when you do a proper job to case the battery, then you can not have a portable form anymore....

That is why, when battery is accessed by opening up the DAP, then he have a better chance that he knows what he is doing and avoid hurting himself....even so, have u seen clips of Cellphone repairs guy getting a blast into their face ? Yeah...exactly what I meant. It wouldn’t be fun to have a company reputation to have gone down the drain by some one blasting their face off with the battery.....or a laws suite

These batteries are not the same thing of your AA or AAA :wink:
 
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Apr 18, 2019 at 6:21 PM Post #21,163 of 21,956

Dobrescu George

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A company called ...... iBasso, used to!

I still use my DX90 which has a slideable back panel and out pops battery. Have a few Samsung spares that fit in in seconds.

I was actually thinking at some point that it would be cool for DAPs and such to have replaceable batteries, some of them have low battery life with high power and high voltage modes :)

On the other hand, I would be afraid of doing the whole replacement myself, so maybe something like having the battery embedded in a metallic module like the AMP modules are, but then, the batteries would cost a bit, I imagine that if the changing mechanism was complicated not a lot of people would buy it and it would increase the development costs of the unit, affecting those that wouldn't use the replaceable batteries as well, which is why most companies don't implement them anymore.

Well, at least I hope we'll be seeing larger and larger batteries implemented in DAPs and other electronics! :)

I wonder what the battery life of DX220 will be with AMP7, waiting on it, will report as soon as it gets here!
 
Apr 20, 2019 at 12:11 AM Post #21,165 of 21,956

tuckers

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So I finally got the latest update to firmware installed (Lurkers addition) and have now used the DX200 in Bluetooth LDAC out to a couple of LDAC headphone rigs. Right away I could hear the difference between my Pixel 2 XL. The iBasso sounds clearer, crisper, more transparent and detailed. I've been using Hibi player and Spotify to listen. It sounds really good on DSF files too, so clean and natural! I use the AMP5 for regular use, but it's really nice to go cordless and use my Sony WM1000 XM3s for travel. It's great that there is this added versatility.

One thing I found is that the DX200 does not work with the highest 990 bit rate in LDAC, it stutters and drops out no matter how close the phones are. It does work flawlessly when close in 660 mode though. If anybody has any tips for making it work with 990 that would be awesome, as I hear a difference with my Pixel XL2.

Another great thing is the battery life of the DX200 is great. I did a 10 hour flight and I was at 85% at the end of it. It's great to save my phones battery, have all my music collection available, and be able to stream Spotify too.

Bluetooth headphones are Sony WM1000 XM3 and the Ear Studio ES100 bluetooth adapter (wonder device) with iBasso iT01s headphones.
 

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