ibasso DX240 review - expatinjapan



iBasso DX240 review

The iBasso DX240 - spiritual successor to the DX200 & DX220 in a small footprint, fast n speedy ui and delicious sweet defined sound.



Following closely in the speedy heels of the DX300 and DX300MAX with their improved OS, wifi and underlying structure.

A smaller footprint size wise, fast ui/os like the DX300 and an average battery life of around ten hours (micro sd card).

Its a brave new dap world. Eat your soma.

More information here:

DX240 Manual (thx Yannis):

Price is roughly around US$900-$950z
See the iBasso website for a list of authorized dealers.

Releasing soon.



iBasso sent two boxes. One with the stock DX240 and silicone case.

The smaller black box had a leather case and three amp cases for setting of the amps from DX200/220.



On with the show with the usual visual splendor for the visual orientated ones

Full set of  pics here:

DX240 unboxing










I put on a screen protector - but its not one of my strengths to put one on lol.
I tried…





For wifi 5G is generally recommended



Usual two apps for downloading other apps and the google store etc





From bright to dimmer to try keep a nice background whilst the screen is on. To no avail. Oh well i can’t be bothered waiting for morning light… i like natural light photography



The usual cables for charging, connecting to a home system etc and the burn in cable



A bevy of thick and thin screen covers



A starter guide and warranty



And here we go



A silicone type case is included





Some menu stuff for the curious







Size comparisons between DX200, DX220 and DX240







DX240 and DX160





DX240, DX160 and DX300



DX220, DX240, DX300







DX240, DX300 & DX300MAX 

The new generation gangs all here





Scanning…so close…



Android side and also pure Mango player only side

A wee pop when turning on the device or going to mango. So watch your ears



Filter D4 slow roll off (minimum) is what the dap came set at. Sometimes i take this as a recommended hint.








Usual filters. No NOS filter.




Handheld shaky ui, speed etc video





Sound

‘Sound, price, impressions?’

I only just unboxed it :) rest assured that will come at a later date when i have something realistic and confirmed over time.

Until then, stay safe everyone <3




More specs and stuff here:





Bonus box of mystery pick and mix

Lets jump to the smaller box which i actually took photos of last.
This contained another (leather?) case and also module cases that can fit amps 1-8 from DX200/DX220.

I dunno if this is an actual party pack retail or whether the case and modules will be sold separately at this point. I do believe the module cases will be sold separately anyway though.
I thought this is a point many would be curious and want to know more about first of all.

*This would be a separate purchase i believe (case and module covers). 
*Twister6 said the covers would be selling for $20 each.

























If the amp does not fit, you must quit!



Above DX240 amp module and DX300 amp module



Above DX240 amp module and DX220 amp module



Above - amp9 does not fit by itself. Nor do the screws match to any of the DX240 amp module cases. Just as iBasso stated. But i had to try anyway :)






Specifications and stuff 




Battery life

I performed several battery tests by playing various music and a mix of resolutions on shuffle from a Micro SD card

Averaging out at around 10 hours.









Transition and guesswork



I found this post i made. Some guesswork about the future listening tests. 
After i add this to the review i am going to check and see how close or far off i was.

Go…

iBasso DX240 in the light of day. With IT07/CB16 cable & DDhifi 4.4mm to 2.5mm bal DJ44B adapter.

Why the adapter? I am used to the IT07 and did not want too much variance from the cable i am used to. Just sitting at home anyway so no stress on the port.

Amp1mark1 verus mark2 versus mark3.

Audio memory being faulty i would hesitantly say/guess (without undue burn in):
DX200 - Reference/dry
DX220 - neutral/slightly colored & a touch dynamic
DX240 - reference/neutral/detailed/‘fresh & lively’/definition

Not sure how it stacks against DX300 amps 11mk1/11mk2/amp12 - its probably a more recent reference mark for the development of amps using the popular amp8 as a base.

Amp swapping is going to take some time and not a thing i am going to tackle too much initially. I am going to get to know the base stock amp1markiii first.

I do wish i still had the amp8EX now. Ugh. It would be a good baseline to compare to.
I did think the DX300 came quite close but lacking a certain naturalness(?) which was more the excellent iBasso implementation of the ess versus the usual cirrus sound signature style.
So tentatively i would expect the amp1markiii to have again built on what was best out of the preceding amps.

Listening on shuffle and music such as Die Antwoord and Lana Del Rey are excellent.

Music such as rock Led Zeppelin, Hole, Sting etc still needs the amp to settle in more.

It was great out of the box. But on shuffle i can see the usual pre burn quirks that are similar to most (high end and some mid &low) daps and earphones - bass needs to tighten up a bit and bloom (open like a flower) and the treble needs a little taming. Generally satisfying so far. With the right music. i can imagine the future results with rock etc once it gets a good number of hours.


On wid teh show

DX240 stock vs DX220 stock vs DX200 stock

CA Andromeda 2019, low gain, brickwall filter



Adele. One of my test tracks along with other generic songs and a few favorites. My dap has a few specific test tracks and tracks for comparing gear at shows - the usual.

Adele ‘Hello’
DX200 - reference, neutral. Flattest of the three. 
DX220 - reference, with body. Even. More mids?
DX240 - reference with body. More treble

Beck ‘already dead’
DX200 - less full sound than DX220
DX220 - excellent. Bit more simple than DX240.
DX240 - Full, resolving. 

Beck ‘lost cause’

I can start to hear it get more resolving and controlled as i go up the dap chain.

Billie Eilish ‘bad girl’
More dynamic, depth, bigger soundstage with the andros
DX220 with stock amp feels more closed in than DX240 with stock amp. The music just seems more alive and complete. 
DX220 is no slouch either. But theres a few years of development between them.

Timbre, tonality and separation is nicely done and very natural.

Moved onto other tracks for extra confirmation.

Next 

DX220 with amp8 takes it up a few notches.
Some naughty hot swapping between stock and 8 and i am reminded how amp8 became a favorite with more body and then amp8ex took the best of both worlds. 
Mmm, DX220 still holding its own.




Ok. Ok. I am a bad guy.
Hot swapped amp8 between DX220 and DX240. Definitely more space, control, less dark on the DX240, It just seems like i am hearing more of the music on the DX240. 
More dynamic? 

I wish i had the amp8EX to compare with amp8. I am audio memory guessing here that perhaps DX220/amp8EX could be similar to DX240/amp8. But audio memory is a faulty thing so dont @ me.






Is DX240 an upgrade over DX220 ? Sound wise? I would say yes. At this level often it is incremental. But if you are an enthusiast who wants to get the most out of your gear and have decent IEMs etc - then it would be worth it i think. 

DX220 is a bit more closed in, DX240 is more open, more resolving and dynamic. Both are excellent. With DX240 i was hearing more of the music and it was a nice coherent whole.

Delicate springs to mind when thinking of the DX240, fine tuned. While the DX220 just gets on and does the job and does it well. DX240 is more refined.

DX240 still has that powerful feel like the DX220 but has a certain finesse, delicacy and refinement about it.

1:30am. Time for sleep i think zzzz

Next onto DX240 versus DX300…. 


—————————————————

Annnnd morning. Wrecked!

Head-fier:This means that there is no need to rush to change the DX220 to 240?


Well there never is really. Maybe. No. Yes. Possibly. Probably…

DX220 was a bigger jump (past the DX200).

DX240 is ahead of the DX220 certainly (but not as  big a jump as DX200 to DX220).
The contrary phrase that came to mind when i finally woke up this morning was ‘its more dense with more space’. Word salad.

It gives me a memory of the amp1mk2 + amp8 = amp8EX. Which was space, dynamics and detail  paired with power, body and depth.

I can hear a difference in performance for sure.

For some it might be a side grade, others an upgrade.

Certainly if you are running DX220 mid fi earphones and just using internal files or a micro sd card you might consider upgrading your earphones first.

iBasso always goes forward with each new release so its not a surprise. It would be strange to have lower performance/ sound quality ( speedier os, ui, internals etc besides).
Two and a half years is quite a jump in dap world.

I am quite curious now as to DX240 amp1mkiii/amp8 versus DX300 (Amp11mark1/Amp11mark2/Amp11mark2).

———————————————————

Meme intermission
















—————————————————

Dammit. My writing wasnt saved. Ok here we go again.

I was going to have a relaxing late evening listening to the iBasso DX240 in its pretty case and then spied the DX300 sitting there…and my curiosity got the better of me.

DX240 with amp8 versus DX300 with Amp11mark2.



Using Andromeda 2019(v3) for continuity from last night. Low gain. Fast roll of filter. Many of the same tracks as yesterday.

I may lose something in my recalling  as the info i was typing whilst listening got wiped…fml.



I think Amp11mark1 and Amp11mk2 specs are the same. Close enough. Still pissed my original notes got wiped…





Ok what  can i recall my aged and faulty brain.

DX240/amp8 and  DX300/Amp11mark2 are quite close.

No doubt due to the closeness of release dates and sharing much of the recent os, ui and underlying architecture.

The amp11mark2 is a developed amp8. So a similar baseline. Siblings in a way.

Different dacs of course. ESS versus Cirrus.

Now a summary of deleted notes (i hope i get it right).

I was struck at the similarity of the two. They are very close in sound and performance. 

DX240 might have a little more control and naturalness to split hairs. DX300 Amp11mk2 seemed to have a bit more low end at times but a volume up on the DX240 closed the gap.

Needed to volume match check a few times as i switched through albums.

Gonna do a quick re-listen of a few tracks to confirm what i imagine i heard and wrote about before the great reset.

DX240 seems to have more control and naturalness to its presentation.

DX220/amp1mk2 + amp8 = amp8EX. Amp8EX was a great combination of the best of both. The dynamic, even and detailed high end of amp1mk2 plus the depth, body and power of the amp8.

The refined DX240 with amp8 hearkens back towards that sound - from faulty audio memory. I can make an educated guess now after comparing DX240 to DX300 which earlier compared to DX220/amp8EX in the DX300 review.

DX220 with amp8EX was a dream machine for people like me who play off of internal memory or micro sd cards.
The os and wifi of DX220/220 were a bit slow for some streamers in various parts of the world. DX300 cleared up all those issues. Cant fix peoples routers or their countries internet speeds though. Nor control outside apps…

But unfortunately the battery life was not ideal on DX200/220 compared to the new kids on the block. I could get to work and home fairly fine (i think). But the DX300 with its super long battery life, blazing ui and double dac and amp batteries made me pick it up more often.

So enter the DX240. A more pocketable DX300 in a way. A DX300 mini me?




DX240. Dense with space? Centered, middle and outer. Well layered. Nice natural timbre.

DX300. Detailed with space? Centered and outer. Good imaging. Simple imaging.

I am splitting  hairs here. They have more in common that not. But that what you read these for. That slight detail or differences.

DX300 Amp11mark2 can go from seemingly having more low end or or less, more high end or less. DX240 seems more constant.

With the DX240 there seems to be more of the music to listen to. 

But yeah. Super close. Remember i am doing super analytical listening here. Plus i got my ears tested and cleaned three days ago. Top marks for my hearing.

I was not going to bother with Amp11mark1 as i think the amp11mark2 improved on it. But lets take a look later. And then amp12 later on.




Now i think i may have to do amp1mkiii versus Amp11mark1 and amp11mark2 just for a bottom up stock comparison.

Then continue with amp8 versus amp11mark1 and amp12.

Then just stretch it against iBasso DX300MAX for fun. Mebbe, mebbe not.

But with DX240 amp8 versus DX300 amp11mark2 we kinda know where we are…




When they want to know ‘is it teh bestest eva’ but you just know if you ‘say yes,…or no’ they’re still gonna say ‘wut about compared ta xxx?’ So you gotta anticipate, preempt and predict. Good things take time. Even word salad reviews. iBasso DX240


DX300 review here:

Also DX200/150/220/120/220Max/300Max…

———————————————-

DX240 amp1mkiii versus DX300 amp11mark1

Very close. 
DX240/amp1mkiii : A little more upper low end?
More dynamic?more micro defined.
DX300/Amp11mark1 : A little more top end?
Dunno- cancel those impressions above.
- Minuscule differences really overall. Pretty much too close to call.
Same same, but different. Dead heat!

Ok Neeeexxtttt!!!

DX240/amp1mkiii: a little more even

DX300/Amp11mark2: seems to have a little more low end. More dynamic. Nice sense of space. Good body.

Gonna stop there: always liked amp11mark2 - and its the winner here.


Ok onto the finale

Ok, steady, make sure i do not plug it into the line out, again…

Pretty close again ala Amp11mark1.

DX240/amp1mkiii: 

DX300/amp12: 

Ah. Pretty damn close. Again.

Ok: ariana grande finale

DX240/amp8: bit more body. 

DX300/amp12: bit more clearer. 

Lets try 
dx240/filter 2 slow roll off
Dx300 nos filter
- thats closer.


Love that NOS filter. Did want to try to match the filters. But that NOS filter is certainly a nice feature.

Hmm at this point its a bit of a mini me to the DX300. Which is kinda expected. I did the ess dac might give it some unicorn rainbow sprinkles. But pretty damn close.

Maybe go read the DX300 review now for Dr.Evil

I do think the ess gives it a slight more refined sound and naturalness. But it is incremental and awfully close. Which once again isn’t surprising as they share so much under the bonnet.

I do think amp 8 is a good investment and goes above the stock amp1mkiii.

So:
Amp8>amp1mkiii 
Amp1mkiii = amp11mark1
Amp1mkiii <amp11mark2 
Amp1mkiii = amp12
Amp8/amp12 - close in quality, close in sound with a swap of filters.

So kind of a dead heat. Everyone wins.

As kind of predicted: if you want a multimedia device DX300 is your thing. Bigger movie/gaming screen.
If you want something a bit smaller and lighter then DX240 is your thing on the go.

Both share the same under lying key bits and pieces.

Now we just have to wait for future amps to be released to mess everything up, lol.

I could go further and try DX300 amp1mk1, amp1mk2, verus amp2, amp3, amp4, amp4s, amp5, amp7 in the DX240 and see which brings out the best of the dap. Maybe another time.

Now its about time to sign off.

I will leave the dap to get a few more hours on it and see what happens with another 50 hours on burn in.

—————————————————

On power DX240 & DX300

DX240 output power

Amp1mkiii 
2.5mm balanced
Maximum output level: 6.2Vrms.
3.5mm single ended
Maximum output level: 3.1Vrms.

(Amp8)
4.4mm 
6.2Vrms

DX300

Amp11mark2 (1?)
4.4mm/2.5mm 7.1Vrms
3.5mm 3.5Vrms

Amp12 
4.4mm 8.3Vrms

 *Of course this can change with different amp modules

—————————————————-

Laters

Down the rabbit hole bonus.
Lots of talk on the DX300MAX about micro sd cards. I used to be a doubter (and serial mocker) until i tried a sandisk extreme pro (instead of the usual sandisk ultra) and enjoyed the extra thickness it bought.
It was not such a good match with the DX300Max and i sought a bit more transparency. so i went for it and join the other lemmings for the  MICRON card. 

It seems to have worked its magic with DX240 and amp8, gave a bit more air and space to it. Groovy.



 If you want to try… MTSD256AKC7MS-1WT
Micron Technology Memory Card.
Get 256gb up at least for the better cards. (Non CS version, not CS version). There is two types so be careful. I got mine from the Mouser international store. Might have to buy another now…annnd just did to out back in the Max.

Ah scanned a half hour ago. This is what it needed. A slight veil is lifted. DX240+amp8+micron card. Bliss.


Now just need some fairy unicorn rainbow magic audio stickers to complete the quadfecture! 

————————————————————


Annnnd its morning, again. Good morning dear readers. Still with me on this meandering journey towards dap and self discovery? 
Stay close, don’t wander off the path…



DX240 stole the amp8 from the DX220 and so i put the neglected amp9 in the DX220 then thought. Lets do another head to head!

It could be my half coffee status but sound wise they are quite similar. Not exactly same same. But pretty darn close. This is nice.

DX240/amp9/ slow roll off/gain 1/MICRON micro sd card
DX220/ amp9/slow roll off/gain1?2?/special extra amp9 internal dx220 setting low/ sandisk ultra micro sd card.

—————————————————————

So…

 Where does this leave us?

In summary a dap ideal should be close to reference and leave the earphones/headphones to do the work.
Whats the point of spending $1000 on earphones if the dap is going to skewer the sound signature either by coloration or too high a output impedance (for iems).

Its a tightrope walk better being reference and too dry. iBasso manages this by having a fairly reference tuning which can be colored by the different amp modules. But they do not stray too far away.

This is a good thing.

I carry usually around three iems with me where i head out. And i like a different sound in the morning and evening. With a random one in the middle for if my mood changes. If dap has too bright or dark a signature or something else it renders the intended tuning useless. 
One can always ‘gasp’ use eq. But whats the point. Do a diligent search and trial. Find the signature you like and go to town on it. Find a dap company that has a similar outlook on performance and off you go.

That there is consistency within the iBasso productions is a good thing. Within that there is improvement over time also of their products in os, ui, internals and tuning etc whether it be daps or earphones.

Onwards and upwards.

The DX300 certainly has a few more bells and whistles when compared to the DX240 (and a lot in common).  

Lets pause and take a look at a selection of specs

DX240

ESS 9038pro dac
4GB RAM
64GB ROM
Own FPGA chip
USB 3.1
Bluetooth 5.1
Wifi 2.5GHz/5GHz
Snapdragon 660 SoC
Android 9.0 and Mango OS
Battery 4400mAh
Up to 11 hours playtime
Swappable amp modules


DX300

Cirrus quad CS43198 dac
6GB RAM
128GB ROM
Own FPGA chip
USB 3.1
Bluetooth 5.0
Wifi 2.5GHz/5GHz
Snapdragon 660 SoC
Android 9.0 and Mango OS
Battery 4000mAh (amp), 2000mAh (digital).
Swappable amp modules.
Up to 13 or 15…hours playtime.larger screen.


Weeeeell….

Theres not a lot of space o difference in there really.
The DX240 can come across as more reference/neutral and the DX300 perhaps a tad more warm, but still has that ibasso tilt towards reference/(warm)/…But this can also depend on what amp module one chooses…to a degree as well as which earphones one chooses/uses.

The comparisons are done. Perhaps if i had swapped out to Final Audio A8000 or some headphones it may have yielded different results, but i wanted a continuity and probably the results would have been fairly similar i expect. I guess. anyways…There are only so many hours in a day between family, work, rest and other activities.

So with the DX240and DX30 being close in sound signature with a few stray differences, once again i guess it comes down to size for many. Also with probably new amp modules to come, who knows whats in store.
Light, little and portable, or larger and semi portable.
For music lovers, or for music lovers and movie/tv lovers.

Certainly they are both totl, the DX300 does have more Max architecture inside so theres that.

Certainly they are both above DX200/DX150/DX160. 
DX220 with amp9 (and amp8EX??? Dunno) comes in close but has weak wifi and a slower ui.

DX240 and DX300 os, ui speed and wifi is great. 

So in the end dear reader as you can see it is merely a sliver of choices, but one that may tilt the feather either way for you. 

Another way to look at it is DX300Max for home sitting down listening, DX300 as a home multi media device and DX240 for the easy carry around (although i have been known to even take the Max on commutes). Its not a strict saying. All can be used for the above purposes - but it gives another angle.

I found the Android side Mango (with amp8) to be a bit more forgiving than the pure Mango player (accessible by a long push on the power button), pure Mango i found to have more synergy with Amp1mkiii.
Amp1mkiii- i prefer pure mango player
Amp8 - i prefer Android Mango player.
…so far anyways…

All in all i am happy with the device and see no reason to ramble on. There has been enough information presented for you to make up your own mind on this.
Some of it seems contrary but thats the nature of the many comparisons beast.

I will get some more hours on the Amp1mkiii and compare again to amp8 i think for my own personal benefit. And so it goes…

Waiting for Godot and the next amp module for DX240!

Stay safe and happy dap hunting.

🎶 






If still in doubt as to what to choose…iBasso DX240, DX300 or another dap. 
Check out our Buyer guide:




Discourse on virtue and they pass by in droves. Whistle and dance the shimmy, and you've got an audience.” - Diogenes.




Thank you again to iBasso for sending the DX240 to Head pie for review.































4 Comments

  1. Great review sir . Im currently deciding if i wanna get the 240 or 300 for my dap . Im leaning towards the DX300 but as u said the sound signature is a bit warm .My current headphones can be classified as warm as well (Grado PS500e & Gold Planar GL2000) so it might not have the best synergy . What do you think ? .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Answered on head-fi.
      Amp11mark1 is a bit more tubey. But between Amp11mark2 and amp12 you will probably find happiness. Warm compared to dx240. But not warm as in muddy warm like some daps used to be…/ just a little bit extra in thr low end. 240/DX300 are great daps - both offer something a little different for users

      Delete
  2. Which one is better ibasso dx240 or fiio m11 plus? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry. I have not heard the fiio m11 plus. Maybe ask in the head-fi thread.

      Delete

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