- May 15, 2015
Okay so initial impressions Fiio X3ii vs iBasso DX80
First things first..
I bought these two players with my own money. I have no affiliation with either company. I am simply someone who is wanting to upgrade from my iPhone 6. Now.. I know what you all are going to say.. The iBasso DX80 is $360 the Fiio X3ii is only $180, so half the price. How dare you try and compare the two. All I can say is bare with me.. My reasoning, both have the Cirrus Logic CS4398 as their DAC chips. The thing I wanted to compare was how did the implementation of 2 Cirrus Logic CS4398s (1 for each channel) improve the sound from the Single chip execution, or is it all marketing and there was no discernible difference to be noted? In addition, was either of the above a valid step up to the essence of what a Hi-Res Player SHOULD sound like.
So as you can see, the iBasso is definitely a taller unit, just the same basic thickness.
From there.. Where to start?
X3ii is very well built, as the DX80 is as well. Both are primarily Aluminum bodies. Therefore also very light and sturdy. Where the X3ii felt small, the DX80 seemed to fit my hand just right for that secure grip you get with the X3ii's bigger brother X5ii.
The X3ii definitely is nowhere near as nice of a screen. From Pixel density to viewing angles. However, at half the price, sure, it's definitely acceptable. I have no real issue viewing it in the daylight as I'm at work on a work site or driving around.
The DX80 is definitely of Cellphone quality, therefore, you get all the benefits of the cellphone experience. So those looking to upgrade their player don't have to feel like they are degrading in screen to get better audio quality. One thing so far, hopefully will be improved with firmware updates, is the sensitivity and accuracy of the touchscreen. Perhaps an option to calibrate it by taping on a couple of edges. Either way, it's pretty good right now.
Okay.. So sound.. Once again.. This is still just an initial impressions, as I just got the DX80 this afternoon..
So jumping from an iPhone 6 to the X3ii was quite a pleasant jump. Nothing major, but definitely a noticeable difference. Easiest way to explain the jump is adding a quality amplifier like the Fiio E12A, Oppo HA-2, or the Cayin C5 to one of your favorite Smartphones. Definitely certain passages are clearer and cleaner (less distortion and congestion) on the X3ii than your current smartphones, especially my iPhone 6. That could be due to the larger soundstage to put everything.. But either way, it can be attributed to the abundance of power and Audio chip.
Now onto how it compares to the DX80.. Granted, it's only been a few hours of usage with the DX80, and it still has to be "burned in" more.. But so far..
There is already a noticeable jump in sound quality from the X3ii. With each adjustment of the EQ there is an increase or decrease in that frequency. Which overall means I have to adjust the sound less drastically to get the desired sound I prefer from a specific song. I love my Sub-Bass- (30hz) and a very mid-centric sound.. Therefore my overall EQ looks like an upside down U or really a lowercase n.
I can now understand why iBasso decided to use 2 CS4398s for the sound processing.. Each channel reproduces the sound effortlessly with ease. Details are easily discernible. Listening to The Beatles is mind altering.. Lol.. Never realized they had so many random noises and conversations going on in the background of the music.. Especially tracks from their Yellow Submarine era.. The Tesseract Polaris album was already amazing on the iPhone 6.. But now you get the instrument separation that one expects from a Hi-Res player.
One more thing I have to say about the DX80, usually with this much clarity, I usually suffer from "Ear fatigue" within a few minutes of listening, because usually I have to raise the mids up on most players, so with the fact that I don't have to do that on the DX80 and still get the same Clarity I want, I can listen to this at a comfortable volume and still get all the bass, mids, and highs I could ask for. Further more, since I don't have to raise it up as much background noise floor is also dead quiet. So it's definitely blacker of a background than the iPhone 6, and on par if not lower than the X3ii.
This DX80 is the jump I was looking for from a smartphone to a standalone Hi-Res DAP. I can't recommend this product enough! It's truly astonishing what iBasso has created with the DX80, as I believe this will be where they are planing on taking us with the DX200. Only it will be on that next plateau. Meant to compete with the top tier DAPs. I understand why they are discontinuing their DX50 & DX90 line up.. The DX80 as their entry level, and DX200 and their Top tier DAP.. And to be honest, the sound is good enough to compete with DAPs of up to about $600 anything more than that, and you start entering the next level of products like the Astell & Kerns, Luxury & Precision L5 Pro, or the Onkyo DP-X1, Sony NE-ZX2, or even the Fiio X7..
In any case.. Anyone looking for a TRUE step up from a smartphone and future-proof your mobile setup for at least a couple of years, and looking to spend less than $500.. Give this a shot.. You won't regret it. More to come after this breaks in more.. But as you can tell.. It's already made a fantastic impression on me. Well worth every penny of the $365 I paid for it with shipping.
As for IEMs, I have tried the Sony XBA-A2, Sony XBA-1, Sony XB110, Sony EX50, Etymotic HF-5, RHA MA-600, RHA MA-750, and lastly the RHA T10.. I have no Full six
Zoe cans, and each if the aforementioned IEMs are not hard to drive or overly sensitive.. So another reason, I had no issues with powering any of them.. That being said, I was still able to notice a clear improvement in sound from the X3ii to the DX80.. And it technically still needs time to "Burn In" so it'll just further separate itself from the X3ii with that logic. But we'll see..
what do think about the DX80 with Beyer DT770 250?