amazon iBasso DX160 reviews
DESIGN AND FINISHING
At first glance, you will be impressed by the 5 inches edge-to-edge screen of the iBasso DX160. Using Sharp’s high-quality panels, full HD 1080p resolution with OnCell technology is used for extremely sharp images.
The whole frame is made from solid aluminum with shiny glass. The glass on the back is slightly curved rather than perfectly flat for a better grip.
The iBasso DX160 inherits the yellow volume knob design on the black background of DX220. Covered by the slightly protruding claws of the chassis, the volume knob is treated very carefully with concentric surface pattern and the sharp serrated edges which create accents for the overall design. The position of the volume knob is tilted upwards, making single-handed control convenient and easy. The cluster of 3 control buttons in the center position on the camera body is also used for this purpose.
The device’s weight is quite light, lighter than other same-sized music players, only 170g. This is partly due to the fact that the module’s non-removable design significantly reduces the weight compared to previous high-end DX models.
The power button and USB Type-C charging port is located at the top of the machine like the high-end products DX150 / DX200 / DX220. The bottom of the DX160 is equipped with Balanced 4.4 output ports and 3.5mm Single End, which is set to one side, similar to iBasso’s previous module design.
Overall, iBasso DX160 has an elaborate and beautiful design with an extremely sexy borderless screen, luxurious glass combined with the metal frame, and gold-plated volume knobs.
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
This time iBasso has removed the dual-OS feature on DX160 and equipped it with only one operating system, customized Android Oreo 8.1. iBasso has installed the exclusive Mango music player and some other software like on DX220.
You should also note that Android running on DX160 has been completely removed from Google Play Services. Instead, there are 2 Cool APK and Pure APK apps that allow you to install 3rd party apps on your computer. Online music applications like Spotify, Youtube Vanced, TIDAL will still work normally through manual installation.
In particular, iBasso DX160 will still support the MQA standard when streaming via TIDAL, ensuring excellent sound quality even when listening to wireless.
iBasso DX160 uses the same 8-core Cortex ARM chip as on DX220. That is bound to ensure good performance, but I think it’s still a step behind Snapdragon 425 on Hiby R5 in terms of smoothness. The RAM capacity from 4GB on DX220 is now reduced to only 2GB equivalent to Hiby R5.
In terms of decoding, iBasso DX160 uses a pair of DAC CS43198 chips from Cirrus Logic, exactly like on Hiby R5. However, the final sound depends on factors such as source circuit, amp floor … so you can be assured that iBasso DX160 will have very specific sound quality. The decoding capability of iBasso DX160 with PCM 32bit / 384kHz and DSD256 Native, super low distortion of only 0.00022%, and a high dynamic range would create realistic sound and close to the original recording.
The iBasso DX160 is also equipped with a Balanced 4.4mm port from Pentacon Japan instead of the traditional 2.5mm standard. This is a good sign as more and more music players use this standard. With the Balanced 4.4mm standard, you will be able to output line out Balanced without the need of virtual ground, the durability of the jack and the lifetime of the socket are also greatly increased.
iBasso DX160 is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard which supports 2-way Bluetooth. Both capable of signaling in high-quality codecs for headphones, and capable of making Bluetooth DAC / AMP for phones or computers. Thanks to the new Bluetooth standard, the signal stability as well as the details of the music will be significantly improved compared to the old Bluetooth standards.
The iBasso DX160 has 32GB of internal memory and an external memory card slot that can expand up to 512GB.
The USB Type-C port of iBasso DX160 is responsible for Data Transfer, Digital signal output to a discrete DAC, USB DAC, and, of course, device charging. The battery equipped on the iBasso DX160 has a capacity of 3200mAh for up to 13 hours of continuous listening time and supports fast charging via QuickCharge 3.0, Power Delivery 2.0, and MTK PE + which takes only 1.5 hours.
iBasso DX160 has a very good amplifier stage, it reached an impressive output power and, importantly, it’s super static. Tested with high-sensitivity IEM headphones such as the 64 AUDIO Tia Fourte Noir, I did not hear any hissing at any volume level whether plugged in via 3.5mm or 4.4mm.
The overall sound of the iBasso DX160 is very neutral, balanced, highly detailed, and somewhat dry. It’s able to separate musical instruments, reproduce the stage extremely well in its price range.
The bass range is neither too much nor too little but sufficient for those who love the balance. Bass beats are compact, firm, and has good speed. The Sub-bass is deep but not tail drag at all. The separation ability is relatively good but still inferior to DX220 and AMP8 by one level. The bass control extremely good, not encroaching any mid-range at all. For the basshead, I think they would feel that the iBasso DX160 is a bit lacking in volume but the majority of Audiophiles will agree that the DX160’s Bass is more natural and realistic compared to the original recordings.
The mid of iBasso DX160 is neutral and clear. Perhaps for that reason, I feel that this mid-range is a bit dry but not too rough and unrefined, just not as smooth as Hiby R5 at the same level. The singers’ voices are pushed up a bit more rustic and soaring. The thickness of the vocals is just right, it will be a bit thinner when compared to Hiby R5 so that both male and female voices are well presented, not deviated to any side. It seems that a little press on the high mid makes the details of the instruments very well expressed and peeled off while the space between the instruments is significantly more than the Hiby R5. The timbre of the instrument is also very honest and rustic, most evident in the symphony.
The high range on the iBasso DX160 is a bit cold, thorny for those who like to listen to smooth sounds like me. When listening to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, it takes quite a while to get used to it, it is neutral, not too rough. The percussion sounds are relatively porous and have quite a bit of air in them. The treble strip has a good extend but not excellent. The advantage of this treble strip is its great control, no glare, or sibilance.
Another commendable point on the iBasso DX160 is the soundstage. The stage space that this machine reproduces is significantly wider than the Hiby R5 of the same price range. The more space between the instruments and the singer makes the positioning more clear and accurate. The height of the stage is also improved. However, the depth is somewhat inferior because Hiby R5 is slightly better in bass when compared to DX160. The singer’s position on the iBasso DX160 is concentrated in the middle of the stage and a little forward.
If you have a headset that uses a 4.4mm or 2.5mm Balanced port, take advantage of it. With Balanced ports, the output is double that of single end ports. Sound when listening through the 4.4mm port of iBasso has better dynamic and more solid bass. Vocals are better focused while the instruments are layered more noticeable when using the 3.5mm port.
The theoretical power of the 3.5mm port is 3.2Vrms and the 4.4mm port is 6.4Vrms which allows the iBasso DX160 to pull in 300 Ohm impedance headphones which are still quite good for a Balanced port.
iBasso DX160 in terms of design, finishing, and sound is well worth the money. If your style of music includes detail, simplicity, and neutrality like symphonies or orchestras, the iBasso DX160 is a bright option in the current mid-range segment.
where can you get a iBasso DX160 online
iBasso DX160 High Performance Digital Audio Player – 2020 Version (Blue): Buy it now
iBasso DX160 High Performance Digital Audio Player – 2020 Version (Black): Buy it now
iBasso DX160 High Performance Digital Audio Player – 2020 Version (Red): Buy it now
iBasso DX160 High Performance Digital Audio Player – 2020 Version (Silver): Buy it now