I've been looking at a lot of the back and forth between the MAX and 300 "advocates" (can someone really advocate for something they don't have yet?). I think a lot of us are looking at this all wrong. As a former owner of the MAX (and soon-to-be owner of the 300), I have some nagging questions about the MAX and its position in iBasso's line-up:
1. Why is it the "220 Max" if it is a so-called flagship?
2. Why go for the middle ground of "Transportable" vs Portable or Desktop?
3. Why the odd power charging configuration?
4. Why the odd battery configuration (really? five batteries?)
5. Why such a limited number of units for a "Flagship"?
Bear with me here; I too thought it strange that the 300 was announced so shortly after the MAX and that it had some, but not all of the MAX's features (i.e. multiple batteries but not Dsd512). But then it hit me; (please understand this strictly IMHO...I have no confirmation), what if the 220Max is a "Technology Demonstrator"?
Think about it; for years (most) DAP companies slowly (ha!) evolve their products with better components and technology as it comes along. FiiO, HiBy, and even iBasso try to offer products that perform better than the previous ones, but it is usually incremental "evolving" improvements. That works mostly, but there are many users that are getting tired of the XXX -> XXX Pro -> XXX Limited -> XXY...ad infinitum! What if (and again, this is an observation and an opinion) iBasso said, lets take the best current platform we have (DX220) and add on every cutting edge or innovative audio technology feature we can come up with? It may have to break some molds, but we (iBasso engineers) want the best possible architecture we can design within a "affordable" price range? How do we do it and how do we get feedback from the Audio listening public? Then we can take the best features and technology and adapt it into our line of DAPs, leaping the generational evolution barrier.
So, take the basic DX220, add all the bells and whistles you can think of, and put it in as small a chassis as they could. Some compromises had to be made to accommodate the innovations (no swappable amps) and I think the power supply was a bit over-engineered on purpose, all to get the best sound possible out of what is a cutting-edge "transportable" music player. And 999 use-cases gives iBasso engineers plenty of feedback on what's working and what could be improved. Max owners have a right to be proud. The MAX is an awesome and rare piece of technology. Although it is Flagship-Level, I wouldn't consider it iBasso's flagship DAP. However, take heart in knowing that the DAPs coming down the line from iBasso (including whatever they deem a Flagship), will contain the DNA of the 220Max. I truly don't believe that, in some way or another, the 300 or its follow-ons would be possible without the MAX.
So, the 300 doesn't have all the top-end features of the MAX (no 512, smaller, but still separate batteries), but it will be the start of an even better line of iBasso DAPs, and in more obtainable quantities. So the 300 owners can feel fortunate, and the MAX owners can be proud!
All the above is strictly IMHO and a personal observation. The truth may be different.
Cheers and All the Best to All of You!
MAX is a DX220 with a better amplifier. Full stop. It is the same DX220 board plus an amplifier. It is a good implementation for sure but this is the whole story behind. Dual battery is not a new thing, DTR1 applied it earlier, for example. And it is not properly implemented. You may accept it or not, there is nothing "cutting edge, technological break-through" about MAX. DX300 and MAX were being developed in parallel, I am sure. And DX300 must have started before MAX, as there is much more new stuff there.
So, please let's not get emotional. There is nothing to be proud of for owning a product. If you like it, good for you. That is my last post about the MAX subject.