iBasso DX300 Max impressions, unboxing and more. Updated 9/23 - expatinjapan

iBasso DX300 max. 

If you want one of the ultimate daps out there in dapland. The iBasso DX300MAX or the DX220MAX is up there with the best of them.
Their recent DX300 is no slouch either.
But the DX300MAX kicks it up a few notches for sure. More transportable than portable, although i have been known to put it my jeans or shorts front pocket, or a backpack and commute about.
The sound is smooth, spacious, layered, divine and detailed with excellent separation and instrument placing.

iBasso DX300MAX unveiled 

Some early impressions (will be added to up to 250+ hours). 
Specs etc

Unboxings can be a hit or miss, many people are visual and appreciate such things, some queries and questions via photos are easily answered.

Also some CONTINUING early impressions further down

Also iBasso has been upping their manual game and setting a standard for many other companies- taking a few cues from other photographic guides perhaps:

Head pie also reviewed the earlier DX220MAX and many similar answers to questions might be found here:

The down and dirty key info (via the manual)

On with the show

Whats in the bags?

A nice firm fitting case in a delightful color.
Very tight and snug fit.

Baubles and cables

Coaxial, 4.4mm balance to 3.5mm (one directional) & a 2.5mm burn in cable with a 2.5/4.4 adapter (pictured above).

Charger cable, USB- C for the digital side and AC for the amp side. iBasso DX300max contains five batteries to separate power for clean sound.

Never fear. Each power plug is different and for each intended country. 12V / 1.5A

Perhaps check such things in the future when buying a used DX300MAX or DX220MAX.

Some wondered about specs on the charger when i did the DX220MAX review. Not sure if anything has changed. Maybe click on the review linked at the start if one wants to compare

Short basic starter guide,  warranty card and screen protectors. Each Max comes with an individually numbered metal card.

Closer look at the Max itself


DX300max has buttons (220max was screen only).

4.4mm line out, 4.4mm balanced and 3.5mm single ended.

Once again self explanatory.
Charge for amp, charge for digital, coaxial for an external amp etc and micro sd card slot.

The backing is a nice silvery grey…unless there is a screencover on there…one can never be sure.

Other angles to satisfy the brain.

Some size comparisons

DX300, DX300MAX & DX220MAX 

I found this seal to leave behind some residue when peeled off. Some quick rubbing with an alcohol baby wipe did the trick.

Some menus.
But the manual and my earlier DX220MAX review covers it well.

Early to final impressions

This will be added to and ongoing up to 250+hours

Sound and impressions 


First salvo

A morning coffee after leaving it playing with earphones and then the burn in cable (on shuffle) for 24 hours (and a little listening).

it got hot as some daps do with the initial caps burn in - around 6-8 hours - then chassis was cool again.

out of the box its good. Like the DX300 was.


Listened to some DX220Max yesterday after a while of absence.

Differences are quite audible

- but not by a huge stretch- …so far…in the same ballpark.

“same same, but different’

But hifi/neutral (220max) vs analog/natural (DX300max)…..EARLY DAYS.

Like the DX220Max- the filters are very close. Hard for me to discern the differences. On the DX300 it was quite different between the filters- immediately noticeable. 
No NOS filter on the Max.

DX220Max is amazing - but perhaps too pure in a way. Beautiful.
DX220Max was fantastic with a8000 final audio etc.But just a bit too breath taking at times. In a good way.

If you get what i mean.

Dx220 amp8EX is wonderful, but that battery life etc… (sold my purchased amp8EX the other week). 

Dx300 is a sweet spot with the slight coloration (amp11mark2). Fast ui etc.

Where the DX300max fits in is another question. I need more listening time.

Ibasso releases seem to be an ever ongoing combo of the previous two releases

Kind of an inwards spiral

Taking the best from each,
Moving towards some imagined sonic perfection 

DX300max Separation and imaging is amazing as expected.

Like the dx300 i think it is going to take less time to appear fully nice sound

It holographic,
But more pointed. As in exact positioning. Not just a general sphere

Shuffling through tracks on random - so far everything seems fine

i need more time with the device, and also do some decent volume matched comparisons.

and pass any honeymoon period etc etc

so far so good.


Friday early afternoon
Aug 20th

Perhaps at 55 hours now - burning in with a combination of different earphones and the supplied burn in cable.

Seems to be a bit more refined than earlier. Bass has dropped down a slight bit and the highs tamed. With past experience if you read y DX300 and DX220MAX burn in odyssey’s you will see it dials down for a bit then the bass comes back up fuller and tighter, the treble extends out again in time but with more control.

I have not been a fan of some of the other AKM dacs such as the commonly used AKM4490 (it has been implemented well in some daps such as the recent Cayin N3pro) - it always was a bit too forgiving for me. Good for CDs and when one wants to relax on a long haul in the back of a car or bus.

I have not tried any other uses of this AKM dac, and i know it is a synergy of all parts and the amplifier can play a large part.
But i like it. It is well tuned.
Seems to be a good center ground between DX220, DX220MAX and DX300.

Largely staying with a small selection of earphones and noting changes the DX300MAX is maturing nicely, perhaps more rapidly defined and settled than the DX220MAX- but time will tell.

More to come. Next stop… 75 hours!

Sunday morning:
Aug 22nd


Approaching 200 hours 

Settled down quite nicely

Really need to compare again to DX220MAX- maybe tomorrow

But i can kind of see where it fits in

Not as colored as Dx300, nor as pure as DX220MAX.

Kind of in the middle.

I think the treble could open up more.

Started to get hot again - could be today, its 32 degrees outside - more inside…need to turn on the aircon perhaps.

concerning dac volume and near 100 having more body etc

Less aggressive at low end it seems.

playing around with it now and dialing it back a bit and it being a bit gentle(?).
Lower, slight v with vocals forward ??moving to soft w then to W/linear with vocals closer to music level. ??

i dont recall the DX220MAX like this.

its quite interesting. I wonder where the sweet spot is. (Probably different for various iems and headphones)

any other impressions on this welcome.


some else mentioned the digital filters on the 3max 
I do not notice much difference at all between them myself.

not as obvious and different to each other as say DX300.


Monday morning
Aug 23rd

Monday morning 

Approx 100-125 hours.

As per other iBasso daps it just keeps getting better and more refined with more hours reflective of quality parts and caps opening up.

Punchy with clarity, centered sound that expands vertically and horizontally, excellent imaging / placement, the amount of separation is fantastic, 

I had a few wonderings how it would be good with the AKM dac, but this is something special.

The Dac volume , pre amping is a fun slider. Low for a more laid back although slightly v shaped —— love it — move it up further for a more w or wall of sound dynamic punchy fun house

Something for everyone. (Or a Bug??)

I will get another 50 hours or so and compare to DX220Max.

I am most interested in low dac volume of 3max versus regular 2max.

Also amp11mark2 vs amp12 versus the Maxes.

Amp11mark1/2 = 3 Max?
Amp12 = 2Max?

I do not know - but am keen to find out.

But yes, listening now and really enjoying it.

Dac volume at 60-80 seems to be my current sweet spot.


Mystery solved.

Updated. And the DAC volume is working as intended and as the DX220MAX. No coloring now.
- Ultimate mode more audible.

I agree with what twister6 has written below. No sense in rewriting the wheel on this.

<< I agree!

How to update ( some still get a bit confused).

Of course OTA via wifi is easiest…..


Update via computer to micro sd card


Chrome did not work

downloaded the file with safari

(Windows person earlier said use edge).

file is now in computer

unzip downloaded file

in the new file is the update and text file

drag and drop the update file into the micro sd card folder

Local update on max - may have to scan the card (do this update twice)

if the computer does not show your max, on pc or mac try another usb c cable as the ibasso ones can be so so for file transfer

or put the micro sd card into a card reader

To get the max to ahow up on a macbook use android file transfer app.


there is also update over wifi - but paul said we should do another local uodate with this one


remember the downloaded file has to be unzipped

- i want to do it all on my max! - if thats not working using a computer.

Good luck


battery life test

no wifi, local mix of files

Ultimate off,
Low gain.

9:30am - 10:20pm

About 13 hours with 11% digital battery left


Friday morning, August 27th. 9am.

Now at around 225 hours or so.

Using low gain, filter 1, dac volume at 70-80.
Ultimate mode on.

Running the update twice fixed up thr mystery dac volume spooky gain/eq.

Ultimate mode is working as expected.
Its subtle as it should be, but rounds things off quite nicely.

iBasso reports they are working on some other fixes also.

Using a mixture of totl IEMs.

The iBasso DX300Max has settled in quite nicely and i am about ready to do some a/b’ing versus DX220MAX.

And also DX300 Amp11mark2 and amp12.

Possibly Monday after the busy weekend is over.

Do it right. Take my time.

I can not say which way i am personally leaning as i am saturated in the 300Max at the moment.

But people want i am sure to hear what the sound signature basically is beyond my own personal preferences.

They are all three quite different daps in terms of sound.

But lets take a basic guess and then see how it pans out.

From neutral (ish) to more body. Cool/ warm. Whatever…

DX300 amp12

The above is a stab in the dark, a hypothesis. Lets see how things are after volume matched testing.

Of course UI wise DX300/DX300MAX are beyond in terms of speed etc

A review might be useful for buyers of a new unit - that is if there are any left of a limited run of 400(?) SS versions.

I do think its more for the used market. Those that want em have probably already picked one up.

Ultimate dap with ultimate sound.

Those who have/had the DX220MAX know that it is no joke as far as sound goes.

The DX300 with updated OS, ui speed, great for those who like streaming and some tactile side buttons for an easy FF… and a few other tweaks.

Its it better than DX220MAX with its awesome dual ESS dacs??, well the dual AKM4499 dacs that utilize all 8 channels certainly is quite wonderful.

So far mostly using a Sandisk Extreme Pro micro sd card i have no complaints.

Shuffling through a wide variety of music i have nit found the dap to be lacking for any particular genre.

I am also taking time to smell the flowers and listen to a few full albums also.

I have yet to plug it into my home system (AK4490 VERITA 768 kHz/32-bit stereo D/A converter) using the Max AK4499 dac.

Onwards and upwards…

Its a hell of a good machine.


Sunday August 29th.

A quiet morning and up early listening to the Max whilst my family sleeps in. I have a nice coffee and am enjoying various albums.

Lets check for black ground,
Floor noise.

Using the sensitive Campfire Audio Andromeda (v3) for a true gauge. (4.4mm - it was the cable that was attached, i have not tried 3.5mm)

No noise, no hiss.

The volume pot goes quite far.

At normal listening levels and even beyond it is very black background and quiet.

Test: If i turn it up to full, waaaay past listening levels (with amp engaged track played then stopped, volume cranked with no music)  on low, mid or high gain there is a slight hiss. But not near anywhere that anyone could actually listen at.

All in all very satisfying.

One can enjoy the music without being distracted by hiss.


Same day via head fi

At around 250 hours now.

the Max has fairly settled in.

Its Sunday and i am enjoying a morning coffee and a listen whilst my family sleeps in.

I am updating my findings on my site every few days in the DX300MAX article. (Here lol)

Mostly listening off a Micro SD Card (Sandisk Extreme Pro).

Switching between Android Mango normal/ultimate and Pure Mango. There are a few subtle differences. 
I like ulitmate mode for Android but usually find myself on the pure mango side.

i dont find much audible differences in the filters (not like DX160/300.

The floor noise is very quiet, even if i use Campfire Audio Andromeda. Listen to a track, stop the track and turn the volume up full on low/mid and high gain, even that level there is only a slight hiss.
At normal listening levels it is near dead quiet.

No a/b vs DX220MAX, DX300 with amp11mark2/12.
So far, soon…

Most are sold already i would guess and the reviews that do come out will be mostly for the used market buyers at this stage…perhaps. Still its good to read things and place them here and there as part of the overall general enjoyment.

Sound at a bad fast guess would be between DX220MAX neutrality/clarity and DX300 colored sound. Seems a good synthesis of both so far. But really need to volume match a/b to be sure.

I have done a lot of shuffle listening and it seems accepting of many genres. Nothing stands out so far as a bad match.

so far so great


On scrolling

A bit slower than DX220MAX- more controllable.


Friday September 3rd

Apologies. I have busy with family and work. Less listening time. Family first!

Updates soon.

‘Wheres my DX300MAX latest impressions & other stuffs Head pie!!’ - busy with my daughter and playing endless licca chan at the doctors office the last few days…

Saturday September 4th evening

Enjoying some Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star). Absolutely divine after a few days not really having a chance for a decent listen.

On TIDAL issues

Some have reported various problems with Tidal and specifically MQA or some pops etc occasionally. Nothing new with daps and Tidal app not working correctly. Astell and Kern had to do a major wide update recently.

Sometimes these are also 5GHz or 2.4GHz, old router, router settings etc issues.
Time will tell.

TIDAL still is not available in Japan. I used a free VPN on the DX300MAX for a free trial, but baulked at the credit card/paypal request. 
I am sure this can be tested and solved by others without me.
Me saying it works for me does not really help, if i have problems perhaps i could troubleshoot on my end…

In the meantime try another streaming service perhaps or go off solid on internal memory or micro sd card tracks.

Mon Sept 6th

Just ordered one of the Micron Micro sd cards to see what all the fuss is about.

EDIT: paypal.
By choosing location as Japan i was limited to credit cards etc, by choosing international it opened up the paypal option. It was all going to be shipped form the usa anyways…

Using the Max300 today via single ended for the first time. Very clean.

I took it on a train commute today and had it in my back pocket with no problems.

Listening with a few different IEMs to get further into the sonic signature of the dap.

also wondering about sound stage of 220Max versus 300Max.
Vertical, depth, wideness etc.

Sept 9/9

2Max Quality/Hifi/Neutral/ reference/detail/air

3Max Quality/ natural/ full/ Quantity/ smooth

Very close. 
2Max leans towards more traditional reference.
3Max has a slight coloring and smoothness.

DX300 w/amp 12 = 
DX220MAX?? (but max is more refined and controlled).

DX300 w/ amp11(mark2 tried so far).  = DX300MAX?? (but max has more finesse overall and upwards on the volume pot).

DX300MAX seems more quiet with sensitive iems than the earlier DX220MAX.

Got a few more album arts to sort out on the DX300Max that are not showing up mainly due to my two fingered luddite backwards way of doing some things…

Bugs and fixes for the DX300MAX:

To be continued…..

September 9/11

Listening in the quiet early morning to a few new albums….

Listening on a Sandisk Extreme Pro micro sd card (helps as one can do factory resets without having to lose all the music).


Micron Technology Memory Card.

Lets see what all the hoo haa is about with these Micron cards.

I upgraded from
Sandisk ultra to extreme pro and did not look back. Lets see how this goes…. More on that later.

Gonna try Android side with Ultimate Mode which unlocks all dac channels.

Then try the pure mango side on Ultimate Mode.

More soon….

September 15th

Well its been a few days and i have been listening at various times over the weekend to some new and old music - either early in the morning or late as night as my family sleeps (i do not like to have earphones in when my children are awake unless they are busy with tv or games etc).

I have less and less to add as time goes on…

If you want one of the best players out there then the iBasso DX300MAX is in the top five of that list definitely. 
Its a joy to use and to listen to.

Today people started receiving their Titanium DX300MAXs - a couple have the SS version to so i am looking forward to their impressions- a few noticeable differences were spotted by headfiers in the amp section - so waiting to see if its a side grade, different signature or an upgrade.

pic collage via maxx134 on head-fi

Whitigir of head-fi iBasso DX300Max Titanium edition review now up in Head pie:

As for myself i have less and less to add. I think i have about exhausted my angles. Others may get into the streaming side or this and that.

In the end its just a phenomenal machine, perhaps the ti max surpasses the ss or just a different flavor - i don't know as i have not heard it.

Lately trying the line out into my home system. I think i prefer it initially over the DX220Max line out. Slightly  more forgiving and musical but still retains the details.

All in all a piece of artful tech that brings the music to life with a decent set of earphones or headphones.



Although more transportable than portable it can fit in ones hand or even the front pocket of a part of jeans etc…or use a bag of some sort.

Updates are already starting to come out

Specs etc

Mooaarr DX220MAX, DX300 & DX220 size comparisons 

Manual yet again

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