DX220 A new view to your music. * Latest Firmware: 1.15.233 Local * Link for User Guide 1st Page. AMP9 Now available! And DC01.
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Whitigir

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Let’s get back to topic. Here is my DX220EX Amp8EX and 4.4mm Cables into Dual XLR3

Yes, line out directly from the system: High-gain + 100% maxed out feeding my Stax T2. No hisses, whatsoever

6C3B5640-E3E8-4507-B066-5B05A4087C85.jpeg
076C6AC4-DB0F-4685-858D-6B983767EABF.jpeg
 
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bsphong

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To each his/her own.

I won't be hot swapping amp modules but, if what you experience is true, means it should be possible to get more power out of the AMP9 via a firmware update.

Only iBasso ( @Paul - iBasso ) knows why AMP9 output is so limited (heat?, distortion?). Battery life with it is impressive but I'd gladly trade the two for a chance to drive headphones that aren't 110dB efficient. Even stacked with an external amp, output is weak since there's not enough input power. I don't have the tools to accurately measure it but I'd be surprised if AMP9 exceeds 1V at max volume.

Edit: Don't mean to complain about the AMP9. Its sound is so amazing that I've been limiting myself to the few headphones in my collection that it's capable of driving.
Yes. I hope new firmware will improve the amp9's true potential. If not, I think Cayin N8 tube will smile for its victory :)
In my experience, amp9 drive easily high empedence earbuds as Ty Hi z 650 ohm, K's earphone K600 ohms, K500ohms, Yinman 600 ohms, Ve Zen 320ohms. Similarly, my ATH m50x is very splendid after swapping amp module clearly. It is rare in portable DAPs world. Amp9's output is more powerful Chord Mojo. And battery life is similar, even better if screen off longer. Hot is similar. I see dx229 is convenient than Mojo in portable aspect.
In standard amp inserting way. Amp9 is very very hard drive the all of above earphones, volume is tiny even though turned up 150/ high gain mode.
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Kitechaser

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From a person that tinkered around a lot.

Cables, solder, connectors...etc...everything affect sound quality...no joke. But seriously, for a piece of cables that is fool proof....easy to make....and costing that much ? Hmm...

You know ? I always say that Cables is to squeeze out the last % of synergies from your system, between your DAP and your IEMs. There is no universal cables as we all have different system, gears, ears, preferences....etc.....if someone is saying this Cables is the best for “ballads and Jazz”....that is full of “horse shoes”. Sure, Ballads and Jazz from an AK Cube and an HD800s is going to be a lot of different from a Sony DMP-Z1 and a Z1R. Don’t you agree ?

Cables that expensive should be extensively be tested, listened, with certificate and proof that someone tested it on a given system, and detailed it out, and when it is all matched toward your desires. Then you are fully justified to make such a big purchase :wink:

At the end of the day, universal cables that improve your performances do exist, but they don’t worth a kidney, or a limb .... they can be braided by any mommy in the house, and soldered up by any amateur!

However, don’t let my sensible bug bite you.
Definitely going to try and make my own for the next iem I end up getting.
Furutech, the whole 9 yards.
 
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bsphong

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From a person that tinkered around a lot.

Cables, solder, connectors...etc...everything affect sound quality...no joke. But seriously, for a piece of cables that is fool proof....easy to make....and costing that much ? Hmm...

You know ? I always say that Cables is to squeeze out the last % of synergies from your system, between your DAP and your IEMs. There is no universal cables as we all have different system, gears, ears, preferences....etc.....if someone is saying this Cables is the best for “ballads and Jazz”....that is full of “horse shoes”. Sure, Ballads and Jazz from an AK Cube and an HD800s is going to be a lot of different from a Sony DMP-Z1 and a Z1R. Don’t you agree ?

Cables that expensive should be extensively be tested, listened, with certificate and proof that someone tested it on a given system, and detailed it out, and when it is all matched toward your desires. Then you are fully justified to make such a big purchase :wink:

At the end of the day, universal cables that improve your performances do exist, but they don’t worth a kidney, or a limb .... they can be braided by any mommy in the house, and soldered up by any amateur!

However, don’t let my sensible bug bite you.
I thinks mixing the compound of sources, cables, earphones is both science and art. Prices of the art is unmeasurable and very subjective :)
 
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arijitroy2

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Just got my IT04's back from China...had to be repaired.

HOLY COW they sound FANTASTIC on the DX220EX with the AMP8EX. I have to plug the AMP9 back in and try these!

I gotta say, the IT04's sound as good if not better than a LOT of IEM's that cost over $1K. Paired with the DX228EX, they are killing it!

Rock You Like a Hurricane by the Scorpions in DSD512 is INSANE. The tone and detail are SO pronounced that it's hard wrapping my ears around it. This is the second song to really slap you in the face with the sound. The first one was Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers. These two songs in DSD512 sound so ridiculously good on this player that I have to take the cans/IEM's off/out after listening.
MayvI ask which software are you using for the conversion to DSD?
 
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Hiltonk

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I had the pleasure of listening to some lovely headphones today on the DX220 with AMP8, AMP1Mk2 and AMP9.

I was looking for something a step up from the Sony MDR-1A and equivalent of the Andromeda but in a closed back.
This is what I found, and it was very interesting.

What I thought would be the natural progression from Sony MDR-1A (MDR-1ADAC to be precise but they are the same construction and driver as 1A) ... to Z7m2 and Z1R but they were both a real let down... how can Sony can screw up the sound signature while costing twice as much and more than 8x more as the 1A is a real head scratcher.

The 7Zm2 no matter which AMP i used just sound hollow and way too laid back in midrange, Z1R was fuller and warmer but just too bloated in midbass.
Top end was good with both and maybe slightly more refined than the 1A but not worth the extra when you factor in what they did with the rest of the tonal balance that just isnt satisfying at all in any way. MDR-1A 1 point - Sony high end 0.

Then I tried Focal Elegia - wow how bright do you like your mix.. they have a clearly elevated top end that doesnt bite as such and it's a bit tamer on AMP9 but with AMP1m2 and AMP8 they'd become fatiguing pretty quickly. MDR-1 1 point - Focal Elegia 0

I had the Focal Stellia's there staring at me in their beauty - they look much better in person than the photo's can do justice. but I resisted listening to them until the end.... stay tuned....

So I spoke to the guys at Addicted to Audio about my experience so far, and so they pulled out the LCD 2 Closed for a listen. With AMP8 there was enough power to drive them nicely, and they do actually sound quite good, but they are very bulky, heavy and ultimately the top end wasnt as smooth as I was expecting with a sibilant S on male and female vocals.
In that regard LCD2 closed were definitely better in the low end than the MDR-1A and smoother midrange, but MDR-1A had no sibilance, but 1A were a bit sharper sounding in the 7-10k range which is more tolerable than piercing sibilance of the LCD2 closed in the vocal range. So overall the soundstage was better through the Planar LCD2's and if I had to choose something as an upgrade from what I've heard so far, it would be the LCD2 closed, even though they are hard to drive. (not so for AMP8 though)

Ok so we then changed brands over to Fostex and I tried the 900mk2, wow that's a lot of bottom end and I was surprised how sibilant they were too. Overall they are tonally quite fun no matter what AMP I used but the bass was overwhelming and they also had a sibilant sound signature to me. Sound stage was good, midrange was well presented but the top-end again just wasnt right.. Again a win to the MDR-1A for overall tonal balance. Wow this is really surprising me at this stage... So what can I spend my money on to improve on the MDR-1A with DX220????????

I then tried the Fostex TH610's - wow these are a really well balanced sound signature - They dont have the midrange clarity and vocal presence of the others, but they are well balanced tonally and comfortable. They dont boom in the bottom end, if anything they are a bit light on, which was a surprise after listening to the 900s. The top-end was present with out being sibilant. I'd call them laid back easy listening, well balanced. But they still weren't quite upto the standard of the Andromeda's, but they were certainly better than the MDR-1A. With AMP9 they were just short of sublime! So finally something that's tempted me to upgrade my overears from the MDR-1A.... but I still had a couple more sets to go...

I quickly tried the Senn HD820's and yes they have that Sennheiser sound, wide wide imaging, luscious midrange, nicely present and airy treble, present low-end, nothing competes with the combined imaging and midrange and bottom end balance.
They are clearly a very big step up from the MDR-1A and even my HD600's but they arent fun enough. They are easily worth their price of $2400 too when compared to the outrageously priced Focal Stellia's..... but more on that in a minute.....

The Focal Stellia - OMFG!!!! How many unicorns, dolphins and dragons did they slay to create the ingredients for these?? Again I say OMFG!!! These are the real deal, end-game closed backs for sure, no doubt about it... and their price surely shows it, @ $4500 AU that's even a bit rich for me. While I can afford it, I just can't justify it - @ $3500 sure I'd snap them up in a heart beat, so I think Ill just have to wait and be patient until prices start to drop.

Everything was perfect with the Focal Stellia, sub-bass slam, bass, mid bass, upper bass, midrange upper midrange, lowe high end and high end, Imaging was great, depth great. (not upto HD820 level imaging but overall they sounded right)

Tonally the Stellia's are in perfect harmony across the full spectrum and with any AMP I used they still sounded fabulous, displaying the different tonal differences of the AMP sections.
AMP8 was my favourite combo with these though, even compared to the Sony ZH1ES headphone Amp. AMP9 just didnt have the attack that AMP8 can deliver that makes Stellia and AMP8 my next headphone upgrade.

So while I wait for the price to come down at least a little on the Stellia, I picked up the Fostex TH610 which look and feel gorgeous and are a definite step up from the MDR-1A.

In having done all these listening tests back to back across so many different headphones, (including going back to my Andromeda's for a reference check) I was pleasantly surprised by how well the DX220 and the various AMPs handled each of the headphones. If I had to pick 1 add-on AMP to the included AMP1m2 it would be the AMP8.......... AMP9 is really really good, but just cant compete with AMP8 on attack and overall punch and clarity. I think for Jazz and Vocals, Classical and any acoustic music AMP9 probably has the edge, but if you want an all rounder, the AMP1m2 is hard to beat with it's 3.5SE, 2.5Bal and lineout. Only when you want the extra slam would I recommend the AMP8, and if you dont need the power, go for the AMP9.. that's my learnings from today.... Thanks iBasso for giving such amazing quality and choices and remarkable value for money. Im waiting eagerly for the Stellia's to drop in price, and I'm now going off to listen to my new TH610 and burn them in.. :)
 
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arijitroy2

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In having done all these listening tests back to back across so many different headphones, (including going back to my Andromeda's for a reference check) I was pleasantly surprised by how well the DX220 and the various AMPs handled each of the headphones. If I had to pick 1 add-on AMP to the included AMP1m2 it would be the AMP8.......... AMP9 is really really good, but just cant compete with AMP8 on attack and overall punch and clarity. I think for Jazz and Vocals, Classical and any acoustic music AMP9 probably has the edge, but if you want an all rounder, the AMP1m2 is hard to beat with it's 3.5SE, 2.5Bal and lineout. Only when you want the extra slam would I recommend the AMP8, and if you dont need the power, go for the AMP9.. that's my learnings from today.... Thanks iBasso for giving such amazing quality and choices and remarkable value for money. Im waiting eagerly for the Stellia's to drop in price, and I'm now going off to listen to my new TH610 and burn them in.. :)
Great post, love reading these kind of impression posts!

I haven't yet heard my Aeon Flow with my modded AMP8 yet due to no balanced cable but I do love them, hopefully sounds great.

Can you audition Abyss Diana Phi there? Lot of people say that's an endgame-ish headphone, and I can't audition here!!
 
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bsphong

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Hiltonk
If I had to pick 1 add-on AMP to the included AMP1m2 it would be the AMP8.......... AMP9 is really really good, but just cant compete with AMP8 on attack and overall punch and clarity. I think for Jazz and Vocals, Classical and any acoustic music AMP9 probably has the edge, but if you want an all rounder, the AMP1m2 is hard to beat with it's 3.5SE, 2.5Bal and lineout. Only when you want the extra slam would I recommend the AMP8, and if you dont need the power, go for the AMP9.. that's my learnings from today.... Thanks iBasso for giving such amazing quality and choices and remarkable value for money. Im waiting eagerly for the Stellia's to drop in price, and I'm now going off to listen to my new TH610 and burn them in.. :)[/QUOTE]

Yes. Me too, agree with you. Until now, If must choose only one, I also recommend amp8 first. Amp9 is for whose curiosity is high :+)
 
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Paulo Abreu

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I had the pleasure of listening to some lovely headphones today on the DX220 with AMP8, AMP1Mk2 and AMP9.

I was looking for something a step up from the Sony MDR-1A and equivalent of the Andromeda but in a closed back.
This is what I found, and it was very interesting.

What I thought would be the natural progression from Sony MDR-1A (MDR-1ADAC to be precise but they are the same construction and driver as 1A) ... to Z7m2 and Z1R but they were both a real let down... how can Sony can screw up the sound signature while costing twice as much and more than 8x more as the 1A is a real head scratcher.

The 7Zm2 no matter which AMP i used just sound hollow and way too laid back in midrange, Z1R was fuller and warmer but just too bloated in midbass.
Top end was good with both and maybe slightly more refined than the 1A but not worth the extra when you factor in what they did with the rest of the tonal balance that just isnt satisfying at all in any way. MDR-1A 1 point - Sony high end 0.

Then I tried Focal Elegia - wow how bright do you like your mix.. they have a clearly elevated top end that doesnt bite as such and it's a bit tamer on AMP9 but with AMP1m2 and AMP8 they'd become fatiguing pretty quickly. MDR-1 1 point - Focal Elegia 0

I had the Focal Stellia's there staring at me in their beauty - they look much better in person than the photo's can do justice. but I resisted listening to them until the end.... stay tuned....

So I spoke to the guys at Addicted to Audio about my experience so far, and so they pulled out the LCD 2 Closed for a listen. With AMP8 there was enough power to drive them nicely, and they do actually sound quite good, but they are very bulky, heavy and ultimately the top end wasnt as smooth as I was expecting with a sibilant S on male and female vocals.
In that regard LCD2 closed were definitely better in the low end than the MDR-1A and smoother midrange, but MDR-1A had no sibilance, but 1A were a bit sharper sounding in the 7-10k range which is more tolerable than piercing sibilance of the LCD2 closed in the vocal range. So overall the soundstage was better through the Planar LCD2's and if I had to choose something as an upgrade from what I've heard so far, it would be the LCD2 closed, even though they are hard to drive. (not so for AMP8 though)

Ok so we then changed brands over to Fostex and I tried the 900mk2, wow that's a lot of bottom end and I was surprised how sibilant they were too. Overall they are tonally quite fun no matter what AMP I used but the bass was overwhelming and they also had a sibilant sound signature to me. Sound stage was good, midrange was well presented but the top-end again just wasnt right.. Again a win to the MDR-1A for overall tonal balance. Wow this is really surprising me at this stage... So what can I spend my money on to improve on the MDR-1A with DX220????????

I then tried the Fostex TH610's - wow these are a really well balanced sound signature - They dont have the midrange clarity and vocal presence of the others, but they are well balanced tonally and comfortable. They dont boom in the bottom end, if anything they are a bit light on, which was a surprise after listening to the 900s. The top-end was present with out being sibilant. I'd call them laid back easy listening, well balanced. But they still weren't quite upto the standard of the Andromeda's, but they were certainly better than the MDR-1A. With AMP9 they were just short of sublime! So finally something that's tempted me to upgrade my overears from the MDR-1A.... but I still had a couple more sets to go...

I quickly tried the Senn HD820's and yes they have that Sennheiser sound, wide wide imaging, luscious midrange, nicely present and airy treble, present low-end, nothing competes with the combined imaging and midrange and bottom end balance.
They are clearly a very big step up from the MDR-1A and even my HD600's but they arent fun enough. They are easily worth their price of $2400 too when compared to the outrageously priced Focal Stellia's..... but more on that in a minute.....

The Focal Stellia - OMFG!!!! How many unicorns, dolphins and dragons did they slay to create the ingredients for these?? Again I say OMFG!!! These are the real deal, end-game closed backs for sure, no doubt about it... and their price surely shows it, @ $4500 AU that's even a bit rich for me. While I can afford it, I just can't justify it - @ $3500 sure I'd snap them up in a heart beat, so I think Ill just have to wait and be patient until prices start to drop.

Everything was perfect with the Focal Stellia, sub-bass slam, bass, mid bass, upper bass, midrange upper midrange, lowe high end and high end, Imaging was great, depth great. (not upto HD820 level imaging but overall they sounded right)

Tonally the Stellia's are in perfect harmony across the full spectrum and with any AMP I used they still sounded fabulous, displaying the different tonal differences of the AMP sections.
AMP8 was my favourite combo with these though, even compared to the Sony ZH1ES headphone Amp. AMP9 just didnt have the attack that AMP8 can deliver that makes Stellia and AMP8 my next headphone upgrade.

So while I wait for the price to come down at least a little on the Stellia, I picked up the Fostex TH610 which look and feel gorgeous and are a definite step up from the MDR-1A.

In having done all these listening tests back to back across so many different headphones, (including going back to my Andromeda's for a reference check) I was pleasantly surprised by how well the DX220 and the various AMPs handled each of the headphones. If I had to pick 1 add-on AMP to the included AMP1m2 it would be the AMP8.......... AMP9 is really really good, but just cant compete with AMP8 on attack and overall punch and clarity. I think for Jazz and Vocals, Classical and any acoustic music AMP9 probably has the edge, but if you want an all rounder, the AMP1m2 is hard to beat with it's 3.5SE, 2.5Bal and lineout. Only when you want the extra slam would I recommend the AMP8, and if you dont need the power, go for the AMP9.. that's my learnings from today.... Thanks iBasso for giving such amazing quality and choices and remarkable value for money. Im waiting eagerly for the Stellia's to drop in price, and I'm now going off to listen to my new TH610 and burn them in.. :)
Great post indeed. But now I hate you, lately I’ve been looking at Stellia and was trying to forget... my Clears sound awesome with Dx229 but if it was today maybe I would pick a closed design for a variety of reasons, not primarily sound quality
 
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fokta

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@Hiltonk Nice impression.. Agreed with you for full balance exp, AMP1Mk2 will be the first choose.... I sold my AMP8, but curios of AMP9 (because some one told me is not warm tube sound sig)

@Paulo Abreu , Focal Clear already on my hit list for awhile, Love the sound sig... To bad I missed the demo unit selling from one of the local store here...
Curiously, have u try Focal clear combo with AMP1Mk2... how is it ?
 
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Paulo Abreu

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@Hiltonk Nice impression.. Agreed with you for full balance exp, AMP1Mk2 will be the first choose.... I sold my AMP8, but curios of AMP9 (because some one told me is not warm tube sound sig)

@Paulo Abreu , Focal Clear already on my hit list for awhile, Love the sound sig... To bad I missed the demo unit selling from one of the local store here...
Curiously, have u try Focal clear combo with AMP1Mk2... how is it ?
Yes, its a great combo, in fact DX221 surpassed my desktop DAC/AMP in almost every respect (except power which is irrelevant if its enough to drive the headphones), dynamics, layering, etc.
But for Clear DX229 is even a better match, IMHO and for my taste on sound signature - Clear is very revealing, upper highs can be a bit tiring after a while if you throw at it a very bright/analytical "harsh" amp. AMP9 deals with that aspect in such a subtle way, removed all the harshness even in some difficult tracks loosing nothing in the clarity and extension of treble. - l o v e i t !
 
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This software is introduced by @Whitigir if I am not wrong.
https://www.xivero.com/xisrc/
I have been using JRiver Media Centre to convert FLAC to 256DSD. This is free for a month, then upto $80 for a licence. You may wish to try this first. XISRC will convert 512DSD but only 60s long in trial mode. There was a difference between 256 and 512 but I am not sure that the file size was worth it.
 
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BiggieBig

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I had the pleasure of listening to some lovely headphones today on the DX220 with AMP8, AMP1Mk2 and AMP9.
In having done all these listening tests back to back across so many different headphones, (including going back to my Andromeda's for a reference check) I was pleasantly surprised by how well the DX220 and the various AMPs handled each of the headphones. If I had to pick 1 add-on AMP to the included AMP1m2 it would be the AMP8.......... AMP9 is really really good, but just cant compete with AMP8 on attack and overall punch and clarity. I think for Jazz and Vocals, Classical and any acoustic music AMP9 probably has the edge, but if you want an all rounder, the AMP1m2 is hard to beat with it's 3.5SE, 2.5Bal and lineout. Only when you want the extra slam would I recommend the AMP8, and if you dont need the power, go for the AMP9.. that's my learnings from today.... Thanks iBasso for giving such amazing quality and choices and remarkable value for money. Im waiting eagerly for the Stellia's to drop in price, and I'm now going off to listen to my new TH610 and burn them in.. :)
It's good to hear the stellia won , i'm still awaiting material to make my balanced cable so I can enjoy them with amp9. Pure silver cable will be perfect match I think :)
 
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