iBasso DC04 PRO Review

 

 

iBasso DC04 PRO Review

 

Introduction:

iBasso is a well known Chinese company that is specialized in Portable Audio products such like Digital Audio Players (DAP), Portable Amplifiers, DAC/Amplifiers, In-Ear Monitors, Headphones, and many more.

The DC04 PRO is iBasso’s latest USB DAC/Amplifier in form of a dongle that features Dual CS43131 flagship-grade DAC chips and a powerful amplifier section consisting of a Dual RT6863 chips setup. The device is equipped both a 3.5mm Single Ended and a 4.4mm Balanced output that do offer clean output thanks to the use of a LDO supply circuit. The DC04 PRO supports PCM and DSD audio signals, up to 32-Bit/384kHz for PCM and up to DSD256 for DSD signals natively.

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank iBasso for providing me the DC04 PRO 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 iBasso DC04 PRO is available for 119.00 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;

 

Package & Accessories:

The iBasso DC04 PRO came inside a small transparent plastic box same like all other USB DAC/Amplifiers of the company. The box show some product related brandings o the top and information’s rear surface.

 

Inside the box are the following contents & accessories;

  • 1 x iBasso DC04 PRO USB DAC/Amplifier Dongle
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable or USB Type C to Lightning Cable
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB A Adaptor

 

Design & Build Quality:

The iBasso DC04 PRO has is a pretty small but very robust USB DAC/Amplifier in form of a Dongle. The metal housing of the device has a rectangular shape and is made from CNC machined high-grade aluminum material. The device has dimension of 59mm*23.4mm*12.1mm and weights just about 21grams.

On the top of the DC04 PRO USB DAC/Amplifier dongle is a tempered glass surface with some product related brandings and a Hi-Res Audio sticker.

This surface features also a LED status indicator that gives information about the Standby, PCM & DSD conversation.

The rights surface is the area where the hardware volume buttons are located.

On the front of the device are the 3.5mm Single Ended and 4.4mm Balanced.

At the bottom of the device is the USB Type-C port in order to connect the device with a cable to the source.

The rear surface of the housing sports some product related brandings and some industrial certifications.

The overall build quality of the iBasso DC04 PRO is on an excellent level that meets the price of the device.

           

Technical Specifications:

  • DAC chip                    : Dual Cirrus Logic CS43131
  • Frequency Response : 20Hz-40kHz
  • Dynamic Range          : 126db (SE), 128dB (BAL)
  • SNR                            : 127db (SE), 131dB (BAL)
  • THD+N BAL               : 0.00013% @ 300Ω load
  • THD+N SE                 : 0.00018% @ 300Ω load
  • Output voltage BAL    : 3Vrms(32Ω), 4Vrms(300Ω)
  • Output voltage SE      : 2Vrms(32Ω), 2Vrms(300Ω
  • Output impedance      : <0.2Ω (SE), <0.4Ω BAL
  • PCM                           : up to 32Bit/384kHz
  • DSD                            : Native DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
  • Dimensions                 : 59mm*23.4mm*12.1mm
  • Weight                        : 21g

 

Hardware & Software Features:

 

DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) Chip & Amplification:

iBasso DC04 PRO is equipped with a Dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chip configuration, which is a 32-bit stereo Digital to Analog Converter. The CS43131 shows excellent values like 0.00013% (BAL) THD+N and SNR of 131dBA over the 4.4mm Balanced output.

The iBsso DC04 PRO has a pretty powerful amplifier for a USB DAC/AMP dongle, which offers up to 3Vrms @32Ω and 4Vrms @ 32Ω over the 4.4mm Balanced output. The iBasso DC04 PRO utilizes an in-house developed FPGA algorithm, which is supported by a KDS crystal oscillator to form a low-jitter clock. This feature helps the DC04 PRO in delivering clear and accurate high-resolution audio signal decoding performance.

 

Supported Sampling Rate:

The iBasso DC04 PRO support sampling rates from 16, 24, 32Bit, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, 384kHz up to Native DSD 256x.

 

Connectivity:

The iBasso DC04 PRO uses a USB-C connector and utilizes the standard UAC2.0 USB receiver. It is compatible with most Android Smartphone’s & Tablet, and can also be connected to a MAC and Windows PC’s via the supplied USB Type-C to USB-A converter in order to use it as a USB Soundcard.

Moreover, the DC04 PRO supports Apple iOS devices such like iPhone’s and iPad’s, which you can connect to your source with a USB-Type-C to Lightning cable that is old separately.

The iBasso DC04 PRO uses a standard UAC 2.0 sound card chipset for plug-and-play on Mac and Win10 computers. For WinXP, Win7, and Win8 systems please download the driver from the link below;

 

iBasso UAC Application:

iBasso offers a dedicated APP for the DC04 PRO, the UAC2.0 volume controller in order to achieve a 100 step hardware volume control. You can access settings like 5 Digital Filter, NOS/OS, Gain (Low/High), Output Method and a so called ECO mode to reduce the power drain of the device.

 

Equipments used for this review:

  • DAC’s             : iBasso DC04 PRO, Zorloo ZuperDAC PRO
  • USB Source   : Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Asus TUF FX505DU
  • IEM’s              : iBasso IT05, iBasso IT05, Westone Audio MACH80, Moondrop Blessing3
  • Headphones  : iBasso SR02, HiFiMAN Edition XS

 

  

Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
  • Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (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)
  • B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
  • 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)
  • Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (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 – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Metallica – Master of Puppets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)

 

 

The Sound:

The iBasso DC04 PRO is a quite detailed sounding USB DAC/Amplifier in form of a dongle that shows clean, dynamic and nearly neutral presentation from the lows up to the highs. The slightly amount of coloration created by the Dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chip setup adds the general presentation a nice sense of musicality especially to the midrange with all earphones/headphones I have paired the device.

This review was been written after a burn-in period of about 65 – 70 hours. I have paired the iBasso DC04 PRO with sources like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (with UAC 2.0 Application) and the Asus TUF FX505DU (Laptop PC). My sound impressions below are mainly based on my experiences with the iBasso IT07, iBasso IT05, Moondrop Blessing3 and Westone Audio MACH80 IEM’s and the iBasso SR2, HiFiMAN Edition XS Headphones.

Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage & Imaging:

The iBasso DC04 PRO is able to separate the lower frequency area layer by layer and the fact that the bass sounds pretty fast, tight and natural makes the device to a source with a decent performs in terms of resolution in this area. The subbass region is produced with a good level of depth and rumble when paired with IEM’s like the IT05 that was audible while listen to tracks like Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” or Massive Attack’s “Angle”. The midbass region of the DC04 PRO is produced with a close to reference grade of emphasis and intensity. The midbass area sounds in general pretty fast and controlled, without to have remarkable negative conditions such like mixings or unwanted muddiness while listen to fast and complex bass passages in songs like Gogo Penguin’s “Raven” or “Murmuration”.

The iBasso DC04 PRO is a source with a close to neutral midrange tonality that shows a good sense of transparency and airy n this area. Here is a mildly amount of boost around the upper midrange area that increases the level of clarity and resolution of the midrange. The male vocal presentation of the DC04 PRO is pretty clean smooth and detailed, which was audible when paired with the IT07 flagship IEM of the company. The upper midrange tuning creates a decent grade of liveliness, clarity and brightness, while listen to female voices such like Adel, Diana Krall or Sertap Erener. The instrument presentation of the DC04 PRO is close to neutral with just a touch of additional brightness that was audile, which is not overdone. The positioning and distance between each instrument is also quite successful, for a product at this price range. Instruments like guitars are a bit bright in tonality, while pianos have a good level extension and detail.

Airiness is the key word when it comes to the treble presentation of the iBasso DC04 PRO. The treble range of the device offers a good level of extension and crispiness that was audible with both the IT07 and IT05 In-Ear Monitors by iBasso. Instruments like cymbals, guitars and flutes do sound quite natural and realistic when I do switch to more neutral IEM’s like the Westone Audio MACH80. The dynamism and detail retrieval generated in the treble region is excellent for a device at a price below the 150 US$ mark. The treble range of the DC04 PRO stands out with its sense of control and fluidity, which is in most situations free from sibilance or over-sharpness when I do listen to strings, electro guitars or soprano voices.

The iBasso DC04 PRO offers a pretty spacious and realistic soundstage presentation that is suitable for a quite precise placement and separation of instruments and the vocals. The DC04 PRO shows also a decent performance in terms of depth, height and wideness of the stage, while the clean and black background creates good conditions for a realistic atmosphere.

 

Comparison:

iBasso DC04 PRO versus Zorloo ZuperDAC PRO:

The iBasso DC04 Pro and Zorloo ZuperDAC PRO are both excellent USB DAC/Amplifier dongles that offer a great sound performance for their price tag. The DC04 Pro shows a more neutral and reference type of sound signature, with a brighter treble and a leaner bass response. The Zorloo ZuperDAC PRO on the other hand has a bit warmer overall tonality, with more weight in the lows and a smoother treble response.

The DC04 PRO shows a more linear and less colored bass profile, with slightly better sense of texture, layering and resolution that was audible both in the midbass and subbass area. The midrange of the Zorloo ZuperDAC PRO has a warmer tonality when compared to the iBasso DC04 PRO that sounds a bit more neutral, transparent and airy. The upper midrange and treble region of the DC04 PRO is a bit more highlighted and detailed compared to the ZuperDAC PRO, which shows a smoother overall presentation. The soundstage of both devices is pretty airy and spacious. The DC04 PRO has the slightly edge when it comes separation of instruments and vocals due to its cleaner (hiss free) background and offers a better sense of wideness.

 

Conclusion:

The iBasso DC04 Pro is a solid device that delivers is able to deliver pretty natural, dynamic and detailed sound with a decent sense of spaciousness. This has been archived thanks to its well implemented Dual CS43131 DAC and Dual RT6863 OP-AMP setup that has been integrated in to compact and elegant looking device.  The DC04 PRO is a versatile and powerful USB DAC dongle that can drive most Headphones and IEM’s by its 4.4mm Balanced and 3.5mm Single Ended outputs, while the hardware volume control buttons, the power saving mode and iBasso’s UAC APP for Android users are some remarkable additions.

 

Pros & Cons:

  • + Natural, Airy and Dynamic Presentation
  • + Good Level of Detail Retrieval for its Price
  • + Clean Background (No Noise/ No Hissing)
  • + Sleek Design
  • + Solid Built Quality
  • + Hardware Volume Control Buttons
  • + iBasso UAC APP (Android)

 

  • – iBasso UAC APP is limited with Android OS (No iOS and Windows Support)
  • – No MQA Support

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

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1 Response

  1. Felicitaciones, muy buena reseña IBASSO DC04 PRO. Quiero saber si la calidad del sonido que describes en tu reseña se ve afectada al utilizarlo en la computadora?. Me interesa mucho este producto para utilizarlo con una computadora. Gracias!

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