iBasso D16 Taipan Review


iBasso D16 Taipan Review



The iBasso D16 Taipan is a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) and Amplifier designed for audio enthusiasts seeking high-fidelity audio playback in a portable size. The D16 Taipan features iBasso’s FPGA-Master 2.0 Technology, which uses advanced algorithms to manage signal processing and reduce noise and jitter. This lays the groundwork for accurate digital-to-analog conversion.

The centerpiece of the D16 Taipan’s conversion stage is its 1Bit Discrete PWM-DAC. This design utilizes 128 individual DACs (discrete), significantly more than many competing portable DACs. This high number of DACs, combined with precise control from FPGA-Master 2.0, achieves a measured Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N) of less than 0.0001%, indicating exceptionally low signal distortion.

Beyond digital processing, the D16 Taipan has a powerful Super Class-A Discrete Amplifier Circuit. This design, similar to the one found in iBasso’s high-end DX320MAX (DAP), delivers an output of 1125mW per channel at 32 Ohms impedance that is controlled with a 4-Section 24 position Stepped Volume Attenuator located on the front of the device.

Moreover, the iBasso D16 Taipan features a 1.3-inch OLED display for navigating settings. It also includes a built-in battery that offers up to 9 hours of playback time. Connectivity options include a USB-C digital input, Coaxial/Optical analog inputs, and both 4.4mm and 3.5mm headphone outputs all packed in to robust and modern looking aluminum alloy body.



I would like to thank iBasso for providing me the D16 Taipan Portable DAC/Amplifier as review sample. I am not affiliated with iBasso beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product!


Price & Availability: 

The actual price of the iBasso D16 Taipan portable DAC/Amplifier is 1499.00 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;


Package & Accessories:

The iBasso D16 Taipan arrives in a hinged box. The exterior has a soft polyurethane surface in black color with iBasso Audio branding on the top. Lifting the lid reveals a nice velvet fabric lining the inner surface, creating a premium look and feel.

Inside the box are the following contents & accessories;

  • 1 x iBasso D16 Taipan Portable DAC/Amplifier
  • 1 x USB A to Type-C to USB cable
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable
  • 1 x USB Type C to Lightning Cable
  • 2 x Coaxial/OPT cable
  • 1 x Pleather Pouch
  • 1 x Soft cable Pouch
  • 1 x Wrap-around Leather Case
  • 1 x Print Materials

The D16 Taipan comes with a generous set of accessories. You’ll find four low-profile cables stored neatly in a black pouch. A separate USB-A to Type-C cable is included for charging and data transfer.

The device itself comes in a soft, green pleather pouch.

But the crown jewel of the accessories is the elegant green leather case. This wraparound design features a large opening on the top that showcases the device’s glass panel and provides easy access to its 1.2″ OLED display.


Design & Build Quality:

The iBasso D16 Taipan strikes a balance between modern elegance and rugged durability. The chassis is crafted from aluminum alloy with a black anodized finish, delivering a premium look and feel. This aluminum construction keeps the D16 Taipan lightweight (approximately 312g) yet impressively sturdy.

A noteworthy design element is the ribbed texture across the sides, bottom, and top of the device. These ribs not only enhance the visual appeal with a textured look but also serve a functional purpose: aiding in heat dissipation, which is crucial for maintaining optimal performance during extended use.

While the D16 Taipan’s dimensions (139 x 82 x 28mm) may seem larger compared to some modern USB DAC dongles, its size is justified by its impressive hardware, powerful capabilities, and large battery. This translates to a true high-end portable DAC/amp that still fits comfortably in a small camera bag or even a fanny pack.

The top of the D16 Taipan features a large glass panel with subtle branding in the top left corner. The real highlight, however, is the 1.2-inch OLED display. This display clearly shows the current input, sample rate, volume level, battery status, and gain settings for both the DAC and AMP sections.

The display is bright and easy to read, even in relatively bright lighting conditions.

The front panel of the device is equipped with two headphone jacks located on the left side. A 4.4mm Balanced Headphone output and a 3.5mm Single-Ended Headphone output are both available. These outputs can also function as line outputs for connecting to speakers or amplifiers.

The right side of the front panel features the multifunctional volume and navigation knob. This knob allows you to adjust both volume and navigate through menus. By pressing the multifunctional knob for about 2 seconds, you can access the settings menu. This menu allows you to adjust the gain for both the DAC and Amplifier, select the input and output sources, and change the backlight duration.

A large analog stepped attenuator with 24 steps is also located on the right side. This knob controls the volume level for the analog section in precise increments, similar to the one found on the DC-Elite model and DX320 MAX.

The D16 Taipan boasts two separate USB Type-C ports on the rear panel. One port is dedicated to DAC conversion, while the other serves as the power input for charging.

Additionally, you’ll find a combination Coaxial/Optical input interface, a power on/off switch, a small LED status indicator, and two Allen head screws that provide access to the device’s interior.

Overall, the iBasso D16 Taipan is a well-designed and attractive portable headphone amplifier. The black aluminum alloy chassis is both stylish and durable, and the controls are well-placed and easy to use. If you are looking for a high-quality portable headphone amplifier that looks as good as it sounds, the iBasso D16 Taipan is a great option.


Technical Specifications:

  • DAC Design               : 1Bit Discrete DAC Design
  • DAC’s in Total            : 16 sets of 8E PWM-DAC’s (128 PWM DAC’s in Total)
  • PCM                           : up to 32bit/768kHz
  • DSD                            : Native DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DSD512
  • Coaxial/Optical Out    : Up to 32bit/768kHz

4.4mm LO (Line Out):

  • Output Level: 3.3Vrms (DAC Low Gain), 4Vrms (DAC High Gain)
  • THD+N: -120.4dB (0.000095%) @ 1kHz (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • DNR: 123dB (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • SNR: 123dB (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • Crosstalk: 135dB
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz-40kHz +/-1dB

3.5mm LO (Line Out):

  • Output Level: 1.65Vrms (DAC Low Gain), 2Vrms (DAC High Gain)
  • THD+N: -118dB (0.00012%) @ 1kHz (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • DNR: 120dB (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • SNR: 120dB (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • Crosstalk: 133dB
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz–40kHz +/-1dB

4.4mm PO (Headphone Output):

  • Output Level: 4.2Vrms (AMP Low Gain + DAC High Gain), 6.8Vrms (AMP High Gain + DAC High Gain)
  • Output Power: 1117mW @ 32Ω (THD+N < 0.5%)
  • THD+N: -117dB (0.00014%) @ 1kHz (AES17-20K A-wt, 600Ω Load)
  • DNR: 123dB (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • SNR: 123dB (AES17-20K A-wt)
  • Crosstalk: 131dB
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz–40kHz +/-1dB

3.5mm PO (Headphone Output):

  • Output Level: 2.1 Vrms (AMP L Gain + DAC H gain), 3.4 Vrms (AMP H Gain + DAC H gain)
  • Output Power: 640mW+640mW@16Ω THD+N<0.5%
  • THD+N: -114dB (0.00019%)@1kHz
  • SNR: 118dB AES17-20K A-wt
  • Crosstalk: 130dB2
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz-40kHz +/-1dB

Input Interface:

  • USB-C input, supports PCM768kHz/DSD512; 3.5mm coaxial input, supports PCM768kHz/DoP256; 3.5mm optical input, supports PCM192kHz/DoP128
  • Output Interface: 4.4mm balanced output, 3.5mm single-ended output, 4.4mm LO output, 3.5mm LO output

Charging interface:

  • USB-C (Charge), supports 5V/2A and QC3.0 quick charging
  • Charging time: 2.5 hours
  • Battery life: 9 hours


Other Parameters:

Size: 139mm82mm28mm

Weight: 312g


Hardware Features:

Digital to Analog Converter & Amplification:

The iBasso D16 Taipan is a cutting-edge device with a Discrete DAC Design. The FPGA generates a precise PWM signal, which then undergoes decoding by a cascade of 16 sets of 8E PWM-DACs, making a total of 128 DACs. These DACs are distributed across the L+, L-, R+, and R- channels, resulting in a total of 32 PWM-DACs. The synergy of accurate decoding and a substantial number of high-quality DACs contributes to achieving an exceptional THD+N level of less than 0.0001%, which is very impressive.

This configuration takes advantage of FPGA-Master 2.0’s picosecond-level precise control. The 32 DACs per channel operate in “delay parallel” mode essentially functioning as a hardware analog FIR filter. By averaging the differences between these multiple DACs, distortion is minimized. This leads to enhanced sound detail and density, contributing to the D16 Taipan’s exceptional audio performance.

The iBasso D16 Taipan leverages a Discrete Amplifier Circuit similar to the one found in the DX320MAX DAP (Digital Audio Player). This Super Class A design utilizes 20 low VCESat (BISS) dual transistors, with a current capability of up to 2A, enabling a robust output of up to 1125mW per channel into 32 ohms. This power delivery potentially drives demanding headphones like the HiFiMAN Arya Organic with ease. However, the most remarkable feature of the D16 Taipan might be its ultra-clean output. Thanks to its Dual Accusilicon ultra-low phase noise femtosecond oscillators, the noise floor is as low as -158dBc/Hz (@1kHz). This translates to an incredibly quiet listening experience, noticeable even with sensitive in-ear monitors like the HiBy Project ACE, which is a real noise picker. Further contributing to this clean output is the D16 Taipan’s ultra-low noise analog power supply, with noise as low as 0.6μV.

4-Section 24 position Stepped Volume Attenuator:

The iBasso D16 Taipan employs a high-precision volume control mechanism. Borrowing technology from the top-of-the-line DX320 Max, it utilizes a miniaturized version of a traditional 24-position, 4-section stepped attenuator. This compact design ensures exceptional channel balance below 0.1dB and consistent performance across the volume range. This results in smooth, accurate volume adjustments without any unwanted channel imbalances.


The iBasso D16 Taipan caters to a wide range of devices with its versatile connectivity options. It utilizes a standard USB Type-C connector and UAC2.0 USB receiver for seamless plug-and-play with most Android Smartphones (5.1+) and tablets. Additionally, the D16 Taipan functions as a USB sound card for Mac and Windows PCs with the included USB Type-C to USB-A adapter. For Apple users, a USB Type-C to Lightning cable is provided, enabling high-quality audio playback on iPhones and iPads. This comprehensive suite ensures the D16 Taipan adapts to your listening environment, be it a DAP (iBasso DX260) Smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Computer (MSI VECTOR GP68 HX 13V), or tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra).

Equipment’s used for this review:

  • DAC’s             : iBasso D16 Taipan
  • USB Source   : iBasso DX260, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, MSI VECTOR GP68 HX 13V
  • IEM’s              : iBasso IT07, Campfire Audio Supermoon, Meze Audio RAI Penta
  • Headphones  : HiFiMAN Arya Organic


Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Sertap Erener – Olsun (Apple Music Lossless)
  • Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Adele – Someone Like You (Apple Music Lossless)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – The Girl in the Other Room (Apple Music Lossless)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Radiohead – Live in Berlin “Album” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Radiohead – Pyramid Song (Deezer HiFi)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Nobody Weird Like Me (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Bear McCreary’s – Valkyries (Deezer HiFi)
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Daft Punk – Instant Crush (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
  • Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Clair de Lune – Claude Debussy (Spotify)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Miles Davis – So What (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Dyers Eve (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush – Tom Sawyer (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)


The Sound:

The iBasso D16 Taipan immediately impressed me with its highly transparent, organic, and accurate presentation, rivaling desktop units, which is impressive for a portable device. It prioritizes a linear sound signature, aiming for a natural and highly detailed presentation. This results in a balanced response across the sound spectrum, with no unnecessary emphasis on any specific frequency range. Here’s a closer look at its sonic characteristics, reviewed using a variety of equipment and music.

This review was written after a burn-in period of about 150 hours. I paired the D16 Taipan with sources like the iBasso DX260 (DAP), Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (smartphone), and the MSI VECTOR GP68 HX 13V (gaming PC). My sound impressions below are mainly based on my experiences with the iBasso IT07, Campfire Audio Supermoon, and Meze Audio RAI Penta IEMs, and the HiFiMAN Arya Organic headphone over the 4.4mm Balanced Output.


The D16 Taipan delivers a tightly controlled and well-articulated bass performance. Low frequencies pack a satisfying punch without sacrificing detail or precision. Each note resonates with a clear and impactful presence, invigorating the lower end.

Subbass rumbles with authority, maintaining control and avoiding any bleed into the rest of the sound spectrum. This ensures instruments remain distinct, especially noticeable with IEMs like the iBasso IT07 and Campfire Audio Supermoon. Tracks like Lorde’s “Royals” or Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” showcase this capability, with the bassline remaining tight and defined without overwhelming other instruments.

The decay of bass notes is clean and controlled, preventing muddiness in the overall soundscape. The D16’s bass presence is sure to grab your attention without overpowering the rest of the music. The sense of layering from the subbass towards the lower midrange is impressive and the overall dynamics and resolution is top notch.




The midrange is where the iBasso D16 Taipan truly shines, especially in terms of clarity and micro detail retrieval. It showcases the inherent richness and subtle nuances of vocals and instruments, adding a slightly sense of warmth and authenticity to the sound. The lower midrange shows in general a natural character, subtly enriching the presentation without overshadowing the rest of the midrange. Both male and female vocals bloom with clarity and nuanced emotion, particularly when paired with revealing IEMs like the iBasso IT07 or Meze Audio RAI Penta and my new favorite headphone the HiFiMAN Arya Organic. Instruments occupy distinct spaces within the midrange.

Songs like Adele’s “Someone Like You” or Diana Krall’s “The Girl in the Other Room” benefit greatly from this faithful midrange reproduction that the D16 Taipan presents, allowing the vocals to take center stage with intimacy and detail. The upper midrange shows a decent level of balance, avoiding undue emphasis or recession. Pianos, violins, guitars, and vocals are reproduced with great sense of transparency and a pleasing presence. With the right IEM for example the IT07 or headphone pairings like the Arya Organic, vocals like Sertap Erener in “Olsun” come alive with intimacy and impact.



The iBasso D16 Taipan’s treble achieves a delicate balance. It’s crisp, detailed, and extends smoothly, imparting a sense of airiness to the sound without venturing into harshness. This meticulous reproduction preserves the intricate textures of instruments and vocals.

Cymbals shimmer with a natural decay, adding sparkle and a sense of openness to the soundscape. Hi-hats and percussion articulate with precise attack and sustain, adding detail and texture to complex passages. Songs like Charly Antolini’s Knock Out 2000 Album benefit from this detailed treble presentation, where each cymbal strike and drum beat retains its natural texture, especially with the Arya Organic.

Despite this airiness, the treble remains smooth and controlled, avoiding harshness or sibilance, even with bright IEMs like the Campfire Audio Supermoon.


Soundstage & Imaging:

Despite its portable size, the iBasso D16 Taipan offers a nearly desktop level of spaciousness within its soundstage presentation. Instruments are precisely positioned within a well-defined stereo image, creating a clear sense of separation and depth. The soundstage feels expansive and holographic, surpassing many portable DAC/Amplifiers on the market. This spaciousness enhances the overall listening experience, drawing you deeper into the music and creating a sense of immersion. Tracks with a wide soundstage, like classical compositions or orchestral pieces, benefit greatly from this presentation, allowing you to appreciate the full placement of instruments within the sonic landscape.



The iBasso D16 Taipan is a standout option in the portable audio market, offering advanced technology and impressive sound quality. With its 1Bit Discrete PWM-DAC design and Class A discrete amplifier circuit, it delivers accurate signal processing and ample power output. The device’s sleek design and multiple connectivity options enhance its practicality for various setups. In terms of sound performance, the D16 Taipan excels in reproducing audio signals with impressive level of clarity and precision, while presenting a balanced and realistic soundstage that enriches the overall listening experience. Overall, it’s an excellent device for audiophiles seeking power and high-fidelity audio in a portable size.


Pros & Cons:

  • + Rich and Effortless Sonic Presentation
  • + Impressive level of Resolution from the Lows up to the Highs
  • + Very Clean Black Background with almost Zero Hissing
  • + Super Class-A Discrete Amplifier Section (up to 1125mW @ 32ohm)
  • + Hardware (Discrete PWM-DAC, FPGA-Master 2.0, Hardware Analog FIR Filter)
  • + 24 position 4 section stepped attenuator
  • + Solid Built Quality
  • + Rich Set of Accessories (Premium Leather Case, Carry Pouch, Cables, etc.)


  • – A slightly larger Power Switch would be easier to use
  • – The stepped attenuator has a bit of a learning curve (but after that, it’s a real joy to use)
  • – A bit Pricy (TOTL Price for a TOTL Sound)


Thank you for the Read!





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