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iBasso DX160 VS. DX220 Test Report- iBasso Even Beat Himself Crazily | Hifigo

iBasso DX160 VS. DX220 Test Report- iBasso Even Beat Himself Crazily | Hifigo

In 2017 iBasso released what turned out to be one of the best sounding DAPs under $1k, the DX200. Roll in 2019 and iBasso’s do with some enhancements to keep the “engine’ competitive and launched new DX220 which should be seen as a competitive evolution of the DX200 rather than a totally different concept. While we are still talking about DX220, iBasso launched the cross-class device suddenly-- DX160, its official indicators super amazing, however, the price is as low as $469, which makes people very suspect its parameters may be false. 

So we are trying to figure out and test DX 160 completely with APX555 and compare it with DX220+AMP8/9. 

The most astonishing parameters of DX160 are 130dB of SNR  and 0.00022% of THD+N, we test it under both 300 Ω and 32 Ω load in this article. 

1. SNR : DX160 vs. DX220 

SNR of DX160: 130dB @ 300Ω load/0dBFS as above, it is even slightly higher than SNR reported by iBasso. 
SNR of DX160: 124dB @32Ω/3Vrms as above

Why it is 3Vrms? Because actual maximum distortion (THD + N < 1%) output @32 Ω is about 3.2 Vrms. We did  -1 dBFS attenuation (AES17 standard) to maintain THD + N at a low level. There is only 1 dB difference from the official index.   If it is 0dBFS, it is just 125dB if tested under 0dBFS. SNR @ 32Ω of DX160 is even better than SNR of many players at no load. 

SNR of DX220 @ 300Ω load above

SNR of DX220 @ 32Ω load as above

DX160 outstrip the flagship player DX220 on the SNR parameter. 

2. THD+ N: DX160 vs. DX220 

THD+N of DX160 is 0.00029% @ 300Ω load/0dBFS.

If -1dBFS attenuation applied,  then THD + N can be reduced to below 0.0002% as above and the output is as high as 5.7 Vrms. 

THD + N of DX 160 @32Ω

The incredible fact is that THD + N and IMD don't change much when the load change to 32Ω, nearly the same as it is reported by iBasso which is super excellent among many players. 

THD+N of DX220 @300Ω as above

THD+N of DX220 @32Ω as above

Since the test time of DX160 and DX220 are different, the parameters of DX220 is shown without A-wt. on FFT spectrum display, so the background noise of low frequency can be seen. It does not mean that DX160  can completely eliminate the low-frequency noise.
However, the numerical calculation is statistically recorded as A-wt., so it does not affect the numerical comparison.

3. Separation: Dx160 

Separation of DX160 @ 300Ω as above

Separation of DX160 @ 32Ω as above 

Separation of DX160  is 127dB@ 300Ω  and 115 @32 Ω which are very excellent.  

4. THD+N  under 50mV: DX160 vs.DX220

Finally, let's check the distortion in 50mV which is most practical.

 THD+N of DX160@ 300Ω as bove

THD+N of DX160 @32 Ω as above 

The THD+N of DX160  @300 Ω and  @32 Ω under 50mV are nearly the same, even for IMD.

 THD+N of DX220@300 Ω

THD+N of DX220 @32 Ω 

THD+N of DX220 @ 300 Ω is slightly better than it @32 Ω.  

DX220 is equipped with a discrete transistors amplifier while DX160 is equipped with IC output, so THD+N of DX220 is slightly behind DX160. 

5. The digital parameters: DX160 vs. DX 220



It can be seen that both the Jitter control of DX220 and DX160 are excellent. Because of the test problem,  DX220 parameters are averaged only 8 times, so the longitudinal dispersion is relatively large, but the actual difference is not much. Of course, there are still some imperfections in this test. In the future, we will adopt a more discriminating digital domain test.

DX220 adopts a more mature XMOS solution, and comply with the femtosecond Accusilicon crystals (AS318B) as a clock, and DX160 is using the Savitech solution ( same as the DC - 01 and DC - 02). Since the CS chip is not sensitive to timing Jitter, so DX160 adopts SiTime Silicon crystal as the clock.

Because there is no sparkling quartz crystal oscillator on the front of the circuit board, and there are two empty 4-pin pads,  many people thought  "DX160 doesn't have crystal oscillator". 

As DX220 uses a unique even-order harmonic to please the sense of hearing, the data can only be used as a reference. But the DX220 level is better than other Nutube products.

Here due to the low AMP9 output, small power, so only test it @ 32 Ω  load

 SNR @ high gain of DX220 

 THD+N @ high gain of DX220 
THD+N @ mid-gain of DX220 

THD+N @ low gain of DX220 

DX 220 non-weighted noise floor under full gain

DX 220 THD+N @ 50mV


As for  DX160, there are so many friends shared subjective sound signatures, we won't say more about it, however, DX160 delivers us an excellent neutral sound, which could be proven by its steady performance in above testing. 

For the cons, the digital part of iBasso is not perfect which is not obvious in our daily using, however, if we try it with DSD 256 files, it is still cannot beat the ones with FPGA Reclocking. 

If you are in the mood for carrying the best buy portable player less than US$500 that has some of the best features incorporated, this DX160 model with the same 1080P Sharp IPS screen and SoC as DX220 is surely a great catch which is even better than the former DX150, DX220.  iBasso even beat himself up crazily. 

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Damian - May 21, 2020

Hi! Nice article and thanks for that, so dx160 actually gets limited to 3V at 32 ohms? In balanced output?

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