Ibasso PB5 the next dedicated portable Amplifier
Jan 29, 2024 at 7:55 PM Post #136 of 421
Has anyone here had the chance to compare the PB5 to the Brise Audio Tsuranagi?
 
Jan 29, 2024 at 10:43 PM Post #138 of 421
@twister6 is your man . But these things take time

Only borrowed Tsu for review last year from Musicteck, don't have it with me anymore. But in general, Tsu and MASS-Kobo 475, which if I'm not mistaken designed by the same team, are following the tuning philosophy of higher transparency/less coloring and expanded dynamics, while you are getting some clean analog coloring with PB5 along with the expanded dynamics :wink:
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 10:04 AM Post #139 of 421
Only borrowed Tsu for review last year from Musicteck, don't have it with me anymore. But in general, Tsu and MASS-Kobo 475, which if I'm not mistaken designed by the same team, are following the tuning philosophy of higher transparency/less coloring and expanded dynamics, while you are getting some clean analog coloring with PB5 along with the expanded dynamics :wink:
TIL Tsu and 475 were made by the same team. Isn't 475 solely the creation of Mr. Masuda? Does that mean then, that he had input into Tsu as well?
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 10:59 PM Post #140 of 421
I can tell you 3 main differences

1/ The PB5 is very Tubey. It has amazing analogue liquidity and fluidity

2/ It is distinctively a tube amplifier in it own signature, not the kind of “just a little bit of tube balances here and but closer to solid state there”. The 320M is a lot more solid state like

3/ I know the C9 as own it for a period, regardless of class A or AB , with Tube, not only did it heated up a whole lot to cook you an egg. It has the “quoted #2 above: just a little bit of tube liquidity but speediness and closer to solid state like”

I would say that 320M was very close to the C9 and 300M stack up, and that the C9 was too hot in the pocket , in bed , I moved on and only accept 320M as the best one in all powerhouse that there can be

Additionally: the PB5 only feel luke warm, like holding another person hand, but it doesn’t generate additional heat when wrapping in a blanket or in the pocket at all. It doesn’t feel that dangerously hot.

And the Final point: the PB5 is very powerful, a lot of thrusts , or Great Dynamic reproductions. On this front, it is more powerful than the 320M. However, it is only Tube amp.

Sound performances and signature will come later when I have time to dissect more. For now, I love it, and constantly am addicted to it (the stack)

Is this a bassy sound in your opinion? I've read that the D16 is bassy, and it seems like you are suggesting that the PB5 also has a warm sound. How warm is this combo we are talking about? I'd imagine that works well with the HD800. What about with warmer headphones?
Only borrowed Tsu for review last year from Musicteck, don't have it with me anymore. But in general, Tsu and MASS-Kobo 475, which if I'm not mistaken designed by the same team, are following the tuning philosophy of higher transparency/less coloring and expanded dynamics, while you are getting some clean analog coloring with PB5 along with the expanded dynamics :wink:
Not sure about who developed what but this description of Tsu and Mass-Kobo is spot on. The Chinese equivalent of them is the Topping sound, imo. The NX7 is very underrated if transparency and dynamics are what one's after.
 
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Jan 31, 2024 at 1:01 PM Post #141 of 421
Is this a bassy sound in your opinion? I've read that the D16 is bassy, and it seems like you are suggesting that the PB5 also has a warm sound. How warm is this combo we are talking about? I'd imagine that works well with the HD800. What about with warmer headphones?

Not sure about who developed what but this description of Tsu and Mass-Kobo is spot on. The Chinese equivalent of them is the Topping sound, imo. The NX7 is very underrated if transparency and dynamics are what one's after.
This is a good question, and I will try to answer it as detailed as I can

First thing first, I would not call the D16 to be warmth or bassy in signature. I still need more burn-in but I can safely state that the D16 is actually sophisticated and very complex in it performances together with sound signature. I dont think summing it up in a single word of being "bassy" or "Bright" or "Neutral" would describe it enough. The D16 has one of the unique aspect that stands out the most out of all of all of my systems, and that is the "Tonal body Depth" together with it's own dynamic range.

Lets not be confused that when people generally talking about Dynamic range, it simply means a peak to peak amplitude of a sinuous sound wave. Some what similarly, I am calling out the D16 ability to reproduce each instruments Dynamic range this way. Each instruments once played and excited, would have to resonate within it own housing and or string vibrations in order to produce sounds. The housings of each instruments is Unique to itself, and each string tensions is unique to it own properties/materials for example, and even Flute with it own housing. Instruments come in different sizes as we have known, and the body materials is different as well, which give the varieties of life, real analogues sounds.

The D16 has the ability to reproduce all that, you will be able to tell the sizes of each different Grand Drum, the Ripples of it, the reverberations, even Hands drums have it own tensions which results in it own timbres being unique and standing out in the complex mixture. Then Trumpets, Saxo, Hi-Hat, and all that, even E-guitars, and different Acoustic Guitars, Horns....every instruments I have known and heard in life. They can come into the reproductions of the D16 and be able to tell it own story, it own harmonic contents, it own Timbres, it very own housing reverberations. They are all popping up everywhere in the whole picture, in a 3D manners, and not just a 2D painting anymore in comparison to other DACS I have owned, even my current Desktop systems, and the DX320M as the best one in all solution as I have been saying all along.

I have mentioned about this before, the D16 has achieved the impossible back when I joined into this forum, been struck with Upgraditis, experimented with different systems, builts different systems, modifying stuff....etc. In the end, I got hit by "fatigues", Fatigue of Pricing inflations as everything is suddenly 3-5k and flying everywhere from everyone, even a cable. Fatigued by the yearly release of productions lines from different brands. It was fun while it lasted, and because in the end, everything in generally when summed up, they are only 5% differences from one another.

What exactly have I been chasing all these years ? the accuracy of a tonal timbres, its own dynamic, which I couldnt have with any digital systems, but only Reel 2 Reel Deck and Originally AAA Recorded 10" Reels. Are they easy to come by ? Absolutely Not!

Even among Vinyl itselfs, different systems have it own different signatures within a 5%, and people would chase all over it, but they never "valued" enough a Recordings, the LP itself. I have seen people nagging off on the price of a Mint LP in the 70th and AAA certified. But the same people would shelve out Thousands for Interconnect cables. A lot of things People do is beyond me. I have my own directions, and that is to chase Timbres Dynamic, resolutions, and accuracy. But more over, the emotional connections between a Reproduced sessions toward myself as a Listener. Another thing that LP couldnt do is the Instruments Dynamic Ranges, Their Groves are limited physically, and they have to be Equalized during Mastering sessions, in order to bring the reproductions of music as close as it was intended. Therefore, the real Master of them all is actually a Reel 2 Reel systems. But how could I go around to collect those Recordings anymore ? I couldnt.

The closest for me was to record the AAA from LP back onto Reel to Reel, and then listen from there with the beautiful pop/crackle.....pun intended.

For as long as I have been joining the forum, Digital music has been progressively improved in implementations, engineering, innovated at god speed, especially over the last couple years. There is a huge market for Portable music, and people are not holding back in paying for a good system. However, like I said, many brands have taken advantages of it, and been raking the price as high as the Moon itself. That was why I was fatigued

I have been loving ROHM chips lately, and luckily manufacturers from China have been crafting good system for it, starting with Cayin N8ii and back at that moment, it was the best I could have had then. It had it quirks and that it heated up a lot, but even so, It was about 5% differences toward other systems. Then 320M came along, with zero heat generated and powerful outputs. I was very content for a while. Also, with being fatigued, I didnt want to bother with other stuff anymore.

What I really wanted was to have a Tube amps portably going with 320M so I can have more options to play with. From looking into Ibasso ads over FB, I came over PB5, and then the D16 was brought into my attentions. I was only curious about what the D16 could have done, and so I grabbed both

I was caught "Off Guard": I simply fell off my chair, popped my eyes, dropped my Jaws all over the floors. I was simply struck, speechless, and in pieces, trying to put it all together. The beast within me was crying out of happiness. Goose bumps were all over my body. Only one thing came into my mind "This is it! This is Analogues! This is what I have been looking for all along"

However, I still have "doubts". The Doubts that burning in may change it, and it could be for the better or worse, but out of the box it was amazing, starting out with Low spectrum, Bass, drums...etc. They were all full of impacts, Dynamic variations. There were a tint of warmth over all other instruments, and especially toward other strings instruments within the mid spectrums, like E-guitars. However, I was in pieces because I never believed that Digital music reproduction could have been this "analogues". Even if it was only for low spectrums, it was pretty much impossible toward whatever I have gone through, except for the next to impossible Reel system with it own original master tapes.

I have it burned in and is listening all along, with different tests to find the best performances out of it, and I have posted previously about it. Listening to it now, with the notes I took, the D16 started opening up and neutralize out the other spectrum beyond 12 hours, strings and cymbals no longer have that warmth tint. This is impossibly amazing in my experiences since 12 hours, and it kept getting better. Starting by beyond the clock of 70 hours, hand triangles and wind chimes starting out to sing vividly, regardless of what position it was in the background, I could never missed it. These stuff when played ways far in the back of the concert was always very elusive from other systems, and very hard to enjoy. Because I can hear it, but it lacked the rhythmic of it, the whole resolutions are somewhat muffled. Beyond 150 hours and low/mid/high spectrums have gained so much air, dynamic, and resolutions. I can listen to very low volume during the day, as low as that I could conduct conversation with my wife at normal loudness, and listening to music without missing a single beats. Now, if this is not amazing Dynamic, then I don't know what is

I posted previously that USB performances cant compare to Coax, and the best sections to listen to it would be the highs and it extensions, especially those chimes that sit back further in the whole performances. USB would have it muffled, making noises like something were there, but not vividly playing out at the vividity of Coax. You can clearly witness it yourself.

How much of the differences between D16 VS all other systems that shattered me in pieces ? I would say that "Even Wooden Ears can tell the differences"

Now, back into your question: No, the D16 is not Bassy. It is actually very Accurate, and because it could reproduce the Dynamic variations of each organic instruments so well, I would call it to be very Neutral and Accurate. This is from my references of known instruments, and life performances of what I have witnessed, and any systems I would wanted to reproduce music. However, I would understand that if any other people would call it being Warm or Bassy in comparison to other systems such as my 320M for example. That is because all other systems are very Dead Flat, and 2 Dimensional, none of them were able to retrieve and reproduce a specific Dynamic variations from Peak to peak. As a result, the timbres of all instruments within the same category with different sizes could not stand out uniquely on it own, and from systems to systems, they are only 5% differences as one could tell a certain instruments better than others, but in the end, they are all pretty much generalized. The D16 brings everything Alive in comparison to others being Lifeless and more 2D

Now, lets talk about what could make the D16 to starting to have those generalized instrument timbres and dynamic variations: You would need both, Upsampling and Dithering. If you Up sampling your file sources beyond 2X, with Dithering, you will lose those unique variations between instruments of which makes digital music to be analogues. You will also lose it if you upsample beyond 4X without Dithering. I use AUL converter, and I found it being the best to stay with original bit depth, and 4x upsampling without Dithering. You can gain more than you compromises

The topic as why it is that way, I may talk about it some other day. But for now, I think I have posted a long enough topic that may be more confusing more than being helpful

I urge everyone who is interested in the system, and or seeking analogues performances, timbres realism, to give the D16 and PB5 a chance. Though, people who have been adapting themselves toward Digital in general, would call these stacks to be warm, and that is understandable. That is the main reason why I urge people to experience it themselves
 
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Jan 31, 2024 at 1:28 PM Post #142 of 421
@twister6 Alex, what ll be cool if you could test connecting DC Elite to PB5 in your upcoming review.
Though it'll be double amping this could have potential for a small sized "mini DX Max tube setup" if it works without bad side-effects
 
Jan 31, 2024 at 1:32 PM Post #143 of 421
This is a good question, and I will try to answer it as detailed as I can

First thing first, I would not call the D16 to be warmth or bassy in signature. I still need more burn-in but I can safely state that the D16 is actually sophisticated and very complex in it performances together with sound signature. I dont think summing it up in a single word of being "bassy" or "Bright" or "Neutral" would describe it enough. The D16 has one of the unique aspect that stands out the most out of all of all of my systems, and that is the "Tonal body Depth" together with it's own dynamic range.

Lets not be confused that when people generally talking about Dynamic range, it simply means a peak to peak amplitude of a sinuous sound wave. Some what similarly, I am calling out the D16 ability to reproduce each instruments Dynamic range this way. Each instruments once played and excited, would have to resonate within it own housing and or string vibrations in order to produce sounds. The housings of each instruments is Unique to itself, and each string tensions is unique to it own properties/materials for example, and even Flute with it own housing. Instruments come in different sizes as we have known, and the body materials is different as well, which give the varieties of life, real analogues sounds.

The D16 has the ability to reproduce all that, you will be able to tell the sizes of each different Grand Drum, the Ripples of it, the reverberations, even Hands drums have it own tensions which results in it own timbres being unique and standing out in the complex mixture. Then Trumpets, Saxo, Hi-Hat, and all that, even E-guitars, and different Acoustic Guitars, Horns....every instruments I have known and heard in life. They can come into the reproductions of the D16 and be able to tell it own story, it own harmonic contents, it own Timbres, it very own housing reverberations. They are all popping up everywhere in the whole picture, in a 3D manners, and not just a 2D painting anymore in comparison to other DACS I have owned, even my current Desktop systems, and the DX320M as the best one in all solution as I have been saying all along.

I have mentioned about this before, the D16 has achieved the impossible back when I joined into this forum, been struck with Upgraditis, experimented with different systems, builts different systems, modifying stuff....etc. In the end, I got hit by "fatigues", Fatigue of Pricing inflations as everything is suddenly 3-5k and flying everywhere from everyone, even a cable. Fatigued by the yearly release of productions lines from different brands. It was fun while it lasted, and because in the end, everything in generally when summed up, they are only 5% differences from one another.

What exactly have I been chasing all these years ? the accuracy of a tonal timbres, its own dynamic, which I couldnt have with any digital systems, but only Reel 2 Reel Deck and Originally AAA Recorded 10" Reels. Are they easy to come by ? Absolutely Not!

Even among Vinyl itselfs, different systems have it own different signatures within a 5%, and people would chase all over it, but they never "valued" enough a Recordings, the LP itself. I have seen people nagging off on the price of a Mint LP in the 70th and AAA certified. But the same people would shelve out Thousands for Interconnect cables. A lot of things People do is beyond me. I have my own directions, and that is to chase Timbres Dynamic, resolutions, and accuracy. But more over, the emotional connections between a Reproduced sessions toward myself as a Listener. Another thing that LP couldnt do is the Instruments Dynamic Ranges, Their Groves are limited physically, and they have to be Equalized during Mastering sessions, in order to bring the reproductions of music as close as it was intended. Therefore, the real Master of them all is actually a Reel 2 Reel systems. But how could I go around to collect those Recordings anymore ? I couldnt.

The closest for me was to record the AAA from LP back onto Reel to Reel, and then listen from there with the beautiful pop/crackle.....pun intended.

For as long as I have been joining the forum, Digital music has been progressively improved in implementations, engineering, innovated at god speed, especially over the last couple years. There is a huge market for Portable music, and people are not holding back in paying for a good system. However, like I said, many brands have taken advantages of it, and been raking the price as high as the Moon itself. That was why I was fatigued

I have been loving ROHM chips lately, and luckily manufacturers from China have been crafting good system for it, starting with Cayin N8ii and back at that moment, it was the best I could have had then. It had it quirks and that it heated up a lot, but even so, It was about 5% differences toward other systems. Then 320M came along, with zero heat generated and powerful outputs. I was very content for a while. Also, with being fatigued, I didnt want to bother with other stuff anymore.

What I really wanted was to have a Tube amps portably going with 320M so I can have more options to play with. From looking into Ibasso ads over FB, I came over PB5, and then the D16 was brought into my attentions. I was only curious about what the D16 could have done, and so I grabbed both

I was caught "Off Guard": I simply fell off my chair, popped my eyes, dropped my Jaws all over the floors. I was simply struck, speechless, and in pieces, trying to put it all together. The beast within me was crying out of happiness. Goose bumps were all over my body. Only one thing came into my mind "This is it! This is Analogues! This is what I have been looking for all along"

However, I still have "doubts". The Doubts that burning in may change it, and it could be for the better or worse, but out of the box it was amazing, starting out with Low spectrum, Bass, drums...etc. They were all full of impacts, Dynamic variations. There were a tint of warmth over all other instruments, and especially toward other strings instruments within the mid spectrums, like E-guitars. However, I was in pieces because I never believed that Digital music reproduction could have been this "analogues". Even if it was only for low spectrums, it was pretty much impossible toward whatever I have gone through, except for the next to impossible Reel system with it own original master tapes.

I have it burned in and is listening all along, with different tests to find the best performances out of it, and I have posted previously about it. Listening to it now, with the notes I took, the D16 started opening up and neutralize out the other spectrum beyond 12 hours, strings and cymbals no longer have that warmth tint. This is impossibly amazing in my experiences since 12 hours, and it kept getting better. Starting by beyond the clock of 70 hours, hand triangles and wind chimes starting out to sing vividly, regardless of what position it was in the background, I could never missed it. These stuff when played ways far in the back of the concert was always very elusive from other systems, and very hard to enjoy. Because I can hear it, but it lacked the rhythmic of it, the whole resolutions are somewhat muffled. Beyond 150 hours and low/mid/high spectrums have gained so much air, dynamic, and resolutions. I can listen to very low volume during the day, as low as that I could conduct conversation with my wife at normal loudness, and listening to music without missing a single beats. Now, if this is not amazing Dynamic, then I don't know what is

I posted previously that USB performances cant compare to Coax, and the best sections to listen to it would be the highs and it extensions, especially those chimes that sit back further in the whole performances. USB would have it muffled, making noises like something were there, but not vividly playing out at the vividity of Coax. You can clearly witness it yourself.

How much of the differences between D16 VS all other systems that shattered me in pieces ? I would say that "Even Wooden Ears can tell the differences"

Now, back into your question: No, the D16 is not Bassy. It is actually very Accurate, and because it could reproduce the Dynamic variations of each organic instruments so well, I would call it to be very Neutral and Accurate. This is from my references of known instruments, and life performances of what I have witnessed, and any systems I would wanted to reproduce music. However, I would understand that if any other people would call it being Warm or Bassy in comparison to other systems such as my 320M for example. That is because all other systems are very Dead Flat, and 2 Dimensional, none of them were able to retrieve and reproduce a specific Dynamic variations from Peak to peak. As a result, the timbres of all instruments within the same category with different sizes could not stand out uniquely on it own, and from systems to systems, they are only 5% differences as one could tell a certain instruments better than others, but in the end, they are all pretty much generalized. The D16 brings everything Alive in comparison to others being Lifeless and more 2D

Now, lets talk about what could make the D16 to starting to have those generalized instrument timbres and dynamic variations: You would need both, Upsampling and Dithering. If you Up sampling your file sources beyond 2X, with Dithering, you will lose those unique variations between instruments of which makes digital music to be analogues. You will also lose it if you upsample beyond 4X without Dithering. I use AUL converter, and I found it being the best to stay with original bit depth, and 4x upsampling without Dithering. You can gain more than you compromises

The topic as why it is that way, I may talk about it some other day. But for now, I think I have posted a long enough topic that may be more confusing more than being helpful

I urge everyone who is interested in the system, and or seeking analogues performances, timbres realism, to give the D16 and PB5 a chance. Though, people who have been adapting themselves toward Digital in general, would call these stacks to be warm, and that is understandable. That is the main reason why I urge people to experience it themselves
This is great, thank you. DAC and AMP burn in is very real; anyone with good ears and reference equipment can testify. I'm personally a fan of depth over height as well, thus very intrigued by your praise of the D16 and PB5.

Nonetheless, it'd be great to have some reference point, even if it's just from your point of view. They sound analog and real, compared to what? What DAC/DAP/AMP does the sound of D16/PB5 remind you of? How does the closest thing you've heard to D16/PB5 compare to this combo exactly?
 
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Jan 31, 2024 at 1:54 PM Post #144 of 421
This is great, thank you. DAC and AMP burn in is very real; anyone with good ears and reference equipment can testify. I'm personally a fan of depth over height as well, thus very intrigued by your praise of the D16 and PB5.

Nonetheless, it'd be great to have some reference point, even if it's just from your point of view. They sound analog and real, compared to what? What DAC/DAP/AMP does the sound of D16/PB5 remind you of? How does the closest thing you've heard to D16/PB5 compare to this combo exactly?
As I posted previously for both questions, the closest to D16/PB5 have to be a Reel to Reel Deck and 10” reels of original mastered reel.

The closest to D16 as in a a DAC have to be the 320Max. But even so, it is day and night in my experiences, comparing with PB5 as an amplifier. However, even the ROHM I have enjoyed so much, it was only 5% differences VS other DACs, and still very digital and generic in overall performances.

D16 being my music alive while 320M line out is pretty much lifeless and digital in comparison. Because it is 2D, it is when I would love to talk about sound signatures of how a colorful amp stages or Line stages can be tuned to give it different signatures and elevate it 5% a bit more, to be different
 
Jan 31, 2024 at 3:11 PM Post #145 of 421
As I posted previously for both questions, the closest to D16/PB5 have to be a Reel to Reel Deck and 10” reels of original mastered reel.

The closest to D16 as in a a DAC have to be the 320Max. But even so, it is day and night in my experiences, comparing with PB5 as an amplifier. However, even the ROHM I have enjoyed so much, it was only 5% differences VS other DACs, and still very digital and generic in overall performances.

D16 being my music alive while 320M line out is pretty much lifeless and digital in comparison. Because it is 2D, it is when I would love to talk about sound signatures of how a colorful amp stages or Line stages can be tuned to give it different signatures and elevate it 5% a bit more, to be different
May I take it as that D16/PB5 is the most analog-sounding (by your definition) device you've ever heard, regardless of price point and form-factor? Not even the desktop R2R dacs / tube amps you've heard replicate it?
 
Jan 31, 2024 at 4:19 PM Post #147 of 421
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Jan 31, 2024 at 4:29 PM Post #148 of 421
Jan 31, 2024 at 4:33 PM Post #149 of 421
So with all the chat above, D16/PB5 stack with DX260 would be optimal if full stack was your main use? Obviously if you didn't always stack, you'd need to make a call on DX260 vs MAX for OTG.
 
Jan 31, 2024 at 4:39 PM Post #150 of 421
Are you streaming with phone to D16? Or using 320M as source for music or?

I’m apologize if this question has been answered.

Thanks for the help.
I am using 320M to coax toward D16. I try to squeeze every last single digit of performances out of my rigs. Therefore, I am using it as followed

1/ Coax interconnect provided by Ibasso, the braided one
2/ 320M as digital source
3/ MicroSD of Micron Industrial grade
4/ 16/44.1 files at minimum. Depends on taste, going toward 16/176.4 will be best. I use AUL converter without dithering applied and no higher than that
5/ Android OS and Mango player in Android
Now, one interesting thing to take notes 5/*

Keeping in mind that we are now talking about Nuances single digits differences. It has never stood out this way to me, but now it does. Between MangoOS vs Android OS and Mango Player. I found that the best sound quality here is actually AndroidOS and Mango players. The sound of MangoOS is now standing out to be a little too warmth as in colored, and some of the upper mid spectrum have been smoothed out, which making the over all performances to be colored, less airiness and lacking some bites for upper mid and high extensions.

Now, Ibasso often update firmwares, and especially MangoOS is an inhouse development. This impression of #5 may changes

So with all the chat above, D16/PB5 stack with DX260 would be optimal if full stack was your main use? Obviously if you didn't always stack, you'd need to make a call on DX260 vs MAX for OTG.
I dont see how I would ever separate this packs....Honestly

I have not had any good meanings to transport and carry the stack from home and to the office with me. But I am ignorance and stubborn because I love this stack too much!!! I have been holding it on my hand, put in my car, seatbelt it up, and drive to my office. Snowy days and I cover it in plastic to waterproof it. I hope Ibasso can think of a way to design a carrying Case for everything. Kinda like each piece laying next to another with it own Velcro Strap inside. So you never have to ever separate them while protecting them

Kinda like Cayin case, but with 3 compartments rather than 2, and with Velcro straps to secure them in places
IMG_1677.jpeg
 
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