iBasso DX300 review




A truly modern dap, Light, low noise, long battery life, fast ui, great wifi, swappable amp modules, excellent sound….the list goes on.

The iBasso DX300
Where do i begin? I have stacks of notes, blog posts, forum posts and user experience of this device - all i really need is to stitch it all together really.

I have used a lot of daps and demoed and reviewed plenty. The iBasso is one of the first really modern daps (i have not tried its present competitors the Shanling M8 or Hiby R8).
It truly is a marvelous device with its snappy ui, fast wifi, battery life (12-15 hours or so).

Its a pleasure to use.

More information here:

Early specifications info:

Contents:
- my general blurb.
- unboxing, build, ui, wifi etc
- Amp11mark2 and amp11mark1
- Amp12
- Noise (no noise).
- versus amp8EX 




When i first got the iBasso DX300 i wanted to get the usual hours on it based on past experience of other iBasso daps. 

I also had some time off work so burn in mixed with watching seamless streaming tv shows and movies. I caught up with all my shows and then some.

The big screen was a plus over my aged iphone SE and also served as a good test of its wifi capabilities.

Others experiences may differ depending on their countries wifi speed, router, router settings etc - but on no holds barred Japan speedy internet it worked like a dream.

Battery life is quite astounding - with its two batteries for a cleaner presentation and also to divert the power where it is needed is a great addition. The batteries will drain at different speeds depending on usage.

I found I preferred amp11mark2 (which i ordered and bought) over the earlier amp11mark1 - see later notes.

Amp11mark2 versus amp12 is matter of taste.
Both are quiet noise wise, amp11mark2 i would say is more for on the go or music immersion whereas amp12 with its super quiet line out is more for connecting to an external amp and with its more subtle sonic signature better for home listening. Both are stellar.

I am mostly a play from Micro sd card person. So in some ways the modern totl potential of a perfect streaming machine is a bit wasted on me.
On head-fi the reports of streamers are largely positive - some had to use an early version of tidal at one stage. Though now they recommend using the hiby app or uapp for it. Some other services seem to work better than others across daps as a whole.

Apps there are apkpure and coolapk already installed and from there you can also download the google play store etc 

You have android side and pure mango player (hold down the power/volume wheel).

The ui whilst scrolling through artist and albums is a bit fast - but a change from too slow. Just a minor threat.

The earlier blue case was a bit off the buttons and slightly loose, this was rectified in blue case v2, and even more so with the black case that came with Amp12. I can operate the buttons from within my jeans pocket. I set both sides so the bottom button is fast forward.

I also turned off double touch to wake - not my thing.

The gold-ish button looks fragile but id really solid and ‘clicks’ well. Plenty of volume steps. I would prefer a more sunken black one. But it grows on me.

Priced at around $1,199 with its nearest competitors at around $1500 - $2000 makes it a good deal.

I dont really have much to add - just the minutiae further on.
If you are looking for a dap that is truly a dap of today
I can fully recommend the DX300. Others in my possession have pretty much fallen into disuse since it arrived. It does it all and with the exception of competitors daps i have not heard yet - it really does it all and is the dap we have been waiting for, and at a decent price market wise also.

Excellent everything - sound, battery life, ui, wifi, customer service etc etc
.


Size seems large at first, but later shrinks to comfort.
I put it in my front jeans pocket when i commute.




IBasso DX300 Build, Ui And Wifi Speed Check, Unboxing Etc



The iBasso DX300 has arrived with mass speculation and high expectations and specifications.

Does it measure up to its elder siblings? This will not be the post to enter into any ramblings about sonics and sound impressions. Thats my weary friends will come later.

This post is a data dump of build, videos, photos galore, user interface and all sorts of details your brain and curiosity might be wondering about. 

More details here:

Full specifications at the end of this post or use the link above to skip to the iBasso site.

Manual:

Earlier collected info here;


iBasso DX300 with iBasso IT07 and CB16 cable


On with the show....







General build whereupon we leave the usual colorful Head pie tableau shots for a more uniform and perhaps tiresome on the eyes format.

Its build time!





The toasted egg and ham sandwich i had for lunch is rewarding me greasy fingermarks. Timing is everything.

The sticker below over the FF play buttons is to be removed.





All self explanatory really





Note one side is slanted. This makes operating the multipurpose volume wheel easy.
There were some earlier online concerns about the wheel, i can safely assure readers it is firmly connected.

One can also see the amp module and how it is fitted





Accessories 



Warranty and starter guide



Coaxial and a burn in cable



Two thin and one thick screen protectors.
Is one preinstalled? I am not sure and will check as i have installed a second screen protector by mistake previously. Hard to tell sometimes...



Usual charge and data cable. Although i ave often found i needed to use a different usb-c cable for data transfer with several usb c daps.



The case







Lets get this party started already

Gorgeous screen. My pitiful iphone SE camera does not do it justice.



AKPpure and CoolApk enable you to download your usual apps and the Google play store etc



Several backgrounds to choose from



Main Settings overview







5G and 2G wifi test





















Developer mode for extra tweaking





















The Android Mango music player

The basic screen before music is added and one chooses the background. I chose album art eventually.



General User Interface scroll speed test





Various filters

So far i like D3, D4 & D5 the most.











Scanning is fairly fast... ooh so close.



I highlighted every option below as it was more clearer in the photograph. Then turned them back off.



Advanced menu in the Android Mango player



Loving the marbled paper look



Playing with album art which colors the wider edges of the screen 



Size comparisons

iBasso DX220 Max, DX300 & DX220





iBasso DX160, DX300 & iphone SE






Some background options



One can choose a traditional square album art or circular 



To EQ or not to EQ...



Mmm, smexy.



Photo below says six hours to charge which is not my experience. It charges quite rapidly.

I probably need to do two or three full battery discharges to calibrate the batteries.





Amp module 11 close ups









IBasso Amp11mark2 and amp11mark1 Impressions



I stuck mostly to Campfire Audio MW10 at this point for consistency.

iBasso DX300

Amp11 Mark2

Random notes:

0 to 60 hours.


*I purchased the amp11mark2 to satisfy my curiosity and to enjoy some tinkering.


out of the box is good. Gets a bit ill defined after 10-20 hours but returns ok after 30 - 50 hours.


it needs less burn in, or is not as noticeable as amp11mark1. This could be the amp or a combination of the DX300 having 500+ hours on it.



Its nice. It delivers the goods
Quite a different beast.

That niggling feeling of there could be ‘something more’ or ‘what isnt quite right’ isnt disturbing my mind anymore. 

Flying, airy and satisfying.
Separation is exquisite.
Larger staging. Gets more closer to spherical also.

Mark 1 was mostly just wide with some height (of course thats a lot to do with the earphones- but earphones which would portray a holographic or expansive sound stage werent doing it).

Bass is still there. Just faster. Succinct.
Sweet sound.

Not much changed (component wise). But it is a different beast.

I liked mark1, but it seemed like an everyman amp (of course first amp had to be an all rounder)

Amp11mark1 - it seemed a mix of dx160, max and amp8EX.
But not its own defining thing as amp11mark2 is.

Mark 2 is very good i think
Both amps are good. Just a different flavor perhaps...perhaps...

Maybe mk1 makes it more of an Ak / wolfson dac dap?
And Mk2 makes it more of an ess dac dap?
To put another angle/description on it...

But yeah
Noticing the filters differently now
The other ones seem an option - whereas with amp11mark1 it was d3 or nos only really.

Last night (Friday two nights back) i listened from 11pm to 2am to it. 
I di the same on Saturday night, and i DO like my sleep.

I dont think it’s a case of it maybe matching my preferred signature either - as it doesnt seem to be that. 
I do feel more drawn to use the dx300 with the new amp module.

Whereas before i was stuck between using/choosing either dx220/amp8EX or the dx300.

Now the new amp coupled with battery life and the ui and multi media usage of the dx300 seems to complete it as a unit in my mind

Also now at around 35 hours burn time. But would like to wait until 100 hours at least to make a lasting opinion....but so far so good

It seems to require less burn in. Could be that the dx300 has a lot of hours is helping.
——————





—————————————-

I think most listeners would be happy with the initial amp in the way most are happy with their AKM dac daps and low to upper mid fi earphones.

I think if your earphones are capable of more the mark 2 is probably the better choice 
I do prefer the mark 2 (obviously) of course.
———————

Repeating an earlier post for continuity:


I have some notes up to 50 hours so far on amp11mark2 - pretty much echoing @whitiger

DX300/amp11mark1
- love this ui and battery life of this multimedia device - ends up using it mostly to catch up on movies and tv.

DX300/amp11mark2 
- ...stays up to 2am two nights in a row listening to music on shuffle after the kids went to sleep. And i like my sleep...

———————————-
Its like the music equivalent of one of those youtube having your haircut 3d recordings

————————————-
The separations and layering keep getting better - whitiger

In the while the tonal balances is so accurately presenting - whitiger

The resonances is freakin good - whitiger
———————————-


So much happening in the middle, so dense with lovely details tinkering around the outside

Realistic is right
I keep going back to D5 filter still

But it still has soul, colored without coloring - if that makes sense

Definitely not dry.


At 60 hours and enjoying it with a variety of music.


looking forward to a/b amp11mark1 versus amp11mark2, dx220 stock amp and amp8EX and Max. Maybe dx160 - although that comparison boat may have sailed now.


I do imagine iBasso initially set out just to replace unavailable parts and recreate the same sonic sound, but in the end created something else when it went from the hand soldering to the full oven cooking. Magic.


At this point amp11mark1 owners/users might be thinking ‘do i have a lesser amp module?’


Hard to say until i do another a/b at 100 hours. But as i have written i think amp11mark2 completes the DX300 for me as a release unit.


Others also have amp11mark2 on the way and their opinion may differ.

So lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet and wait for contrasting or agreeable opinions.


*Often the first opinions get written in as gospel - but @whitiger and myself might be completely off in our findings so far.



Looking forward to others impressions



————————————————-





Hot swapping iBasso DX300 amp11 mark 1&2.


*Amp11mark2 at over 100 hours now


Amp11mark2 


Tighter faster bass

‘Still lingers where required 

Bass still goes deep


More coherent 


Layering is great

Timbre is great


More micro detailing


Faster, tighter..just more coherent.


Instruments well separated.


More an even true presentation with the vocals floating just on top or above of the music.


Amp11mark1 


Bass is a but bloomy and bleeds

Bass can be woolly

Some sounds are a bit distant

Feels more closed in, not in an intimate way.


Vocals a bit more forward.


More strident at times.


Can be a V shaped with forward vocals


Not as soaring as mark2, a bit duller.


Summary


They are very close

Amp11mark2 edges ahead overall


It just does it better


—————————————



Amp11mark1 on top


Amp11mark2 on the bottom








Bonus shots of the needed screwdriver as it is unlisted and not included in this package.


CRV T4 Torx





Head-fier whitiger early impressions >>





The DX300 amp11mark2 can be ordered by emailing iBasso


Further On The DX300 Amp 12



regarding PO (i havent tried the LO except with iems accidentally at first - no hiss and volume is lower than PO).

At around 36 hours now. Aiming for around 75 hours for proper impressions and quick comparisons to Amp11mark2 and DX220/amp8EX- maybe Max also.

development seems to be Amp8 - Amp8EX- DXMax based on Amp8 - Amp11 - Amp12. All retaining a certain Amp8 flavor but developed and getting cleaner each time.

Clear is how i describe it, another person i message chatted with said Clean with no prompting.

No hiss on the LO. Very black. PO has some Minor hiss. Initially more but decreased after 24 hours. Not an amount that gets in the way, hardly noticeable imho. This is t

Flicking through the Filters. Mostly using the Slow roll off 2 & 4 with some NOS. Needs more hours to settle just like other amp modules. At least we have data that shows the general sweet spots as one edges to 200 hours or so. @jamato8 thanks parallel journier.

its very listenable. Neutral, not neutral. It does not have that slight coloring that amp11 has.

iBasso wrote: ‘ Quiet with a large sound stage. Dynamic and transparent’

agreed

Next up is to get some more hours on it and then comparisons.

Its a tricky amp module to discuss...because it just ‘is’. In it clean presentation. Its not one to gush about...rich this, wow that...the wow factor is more subtle.

Using CA MW10 constantly as a base point of sonic continuity up to 75 hours.



Nothing to report
At around maaaybe 65 hours

a few sonic changes have happened and stayed or moved on, less refinement then back to refinement, more low end then less then medium. Quite the adventure.

its maturing well would be the right angle to view it.

i think 100 hours rather than my initial usual 75 hours would be a better time to report more fully and accurately.

I’ll be back.

Update:

200 - 300 is about right, 300 is the sweet spot where it comes alive properly.

I jumped the gun on it too soon.

Amp12 is excellent for its clean line out, and phone out i would use at home for its subtleties.





DX300 Amp12 - Noise Testing



Update: june 24th

EDIT  EDIT!!
After further burn in and more hours on the amp12 it has become more balanced/even and the earlier slight water fall hiss has pretty much disappeared to nothing. Good stuff.

Aim for 250 - 300 hours is my recommendation.
——————————————-

Amp11mark2 vs amp12

mids, body and slight coloration vs slight v and clean sound.
*Both a tad north or south of neutral as a base.
perhaps.

Hiss. It is largely (using IEMS) dependent on ones choice. Less on the module i think as there are variations across the board.

At around 70-80 hours i am guessing most extreme sonic changes will have passed and its mostly maturing and fine tuning from here on in. So i can depart from using a benchmark continuity of using the same IEM for testing. In this case the CA MW10.


Black or near black background 

iBasso IT07 
Dita Project 71
Fir Audio VxV
CA Solaris 
Final Audio A8000
CA Atlas

Slight (waterfall? hiss). 
EDIT EDIT. !!After 200 hours or so has pretty much disappeared to near non noticable.

Ando 2020
Andro Gold
Andro MW10


Using Diana Krall ‘lets fall in love’ first 45 seconds - which is only vocals and piano. (Krall, Adele and Eagles one must have on their dap for audio showcomparisons ‘wink’)







IBasso DX220 Amp8EX Versus IBasso DX300 Amp11mark2




very close. Amp8EX is a bit more organic whereas Amp11mark2 is more precise. But they seem to share an overall similar close enough signature (dacs aside sum of parts and teh whole etc etc...).

I found with the right filter on the DX300 & amp11mark2  i could get close enough to the amp8EX sound that i am selling the one i bought.





As written earlier, i dont really have anything to add.


This is a modern dap. One of the first of this new generation. Others like myself who went through the years of early daps where there was always some wrong…bad ui, terrible wifi, bad battery life, few outputs, low power etc the list goes on. Everything was a compromise- it was tiring. I myself skipped the first dew generations and stayed with an ipod touch/iphone 4 as transport and external dac/amp for ages…


But here we are - a well executed dap with all the bells and whistles we wanted.


Light, low noise, long battery life, fast ui, great wifi, excellent sound….the list goes on.


I expect the iBasso DX300 will be a current totl dap for sometime and is a line in the sand between the old gen and next gen.


Well done iBasso and lucky us.







Thank you to iBasso for sending the DX300 to Head pie for review.

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