iBasso DX220 MAX Unboxing
iBasso is a Chinese company that is specialized in the production, development & designing of Portable Audio products such like Digital Audio Players (DAP), Portable Amplifiers and In-Ear Monitors/Headphones.
The iBasso DX220 MAX is a Transportable Digital Audio Player (DAP) and the Top of The Line (TOTL) product of the company. The description Transportable instead of Portable comes from the fact that the DX220 MAX has a fairly larger dimension and higher weight compared to traditional portable classified HiFi Players such like the DX220, DX200 or DX160 and can be classified as a product between desktop and portable.
The DX220 MAX has some really interesting features such like a independent power supply section, with one 4400mAh 3.8V battery that is dedicated for the digital components (DAC, CPU, Screen, etc.) and 4 x 900mAh (3600mAh) 8.4V batteries dedicated for the Analog department (amplifier). It features also an ES9028Pro Dual DAC Chip, a 5.0” 1080P Full Screen, analog volume adjustment knob and many more.
- Official Webpage: http://www.ibasso.com/
I would like to thank iBasso for providing me the DX220 MAX as review sample. Please note that I am not affiliated with iBasso and that all these impressions do reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product!
The iBasso DX220 MAX is a fairly pricey High-End HiFi gear with some impressive hardware features that belongs to the league of TOTL DAP’s. The MSRP price for the DX220 MAX is approx. $1888.00 USD.
Package and Accessories:
The device comes in fairly big box in black color which has the iBasso brand logo on the top.
This box is protected by a cardboard slave in dark grey color without any brandings.
The original retrial package will come with the following items/accessories;
- 1 x iBasso DX220 MAX HiFi Player
- 2 x Screen protective films
- 1 x Leather case
- 1 x USB Type-C Charging/Data Cable
- 1 x 4.4mm balanced to 3.5mm single ended cable
- 1x 2.5mm balanced to 4.4mm balanced adapter (CA02)
- 1 x Coaxial (SPDIF) Cable
- 1 x 18V AC adapter
- 1 x Burn-In Cable
- 1 x User Manual
- 1 x Warranty Card
The DX220 MAX came with a leather case is in orange color which has a nice optic and feel.
The inner surface of that case has small iBasso brand illustrations that do look pretty nice.
The 4.4mm balanced to 3.5mm single ended cable, 2.5mm balanced to 4.4mm balanced adapter (CA02) and the extra burn-In cable which came as standard accessories are some nice additions.
Design, Buttons and Build Quality:
The DX220 MAX is a device that is produced for semi-portable purposes that contains heavy components such like 5 batteries for two independent power supply section or the stainless steel housing which makes it to a fairly large and heavy Player compared to traditional DAP’s such like the DX220 and even smaller like the DX160.
The iBasso DX220 MAX is a very robust looking device with a pretty clean and minimalistic design language. The dimension of the DX220 MAX are approx L145MM x W86MM x H27MM and has a weight of approx. 700 grams (1.55 pounds).
The DX220 MAX is made of stainless steel which explains the weight beside the batteries. It is a very robust device doesn’t show any imperfections like gaps, burrs or any openness.
On the top of the device is the 5.0” IPS screen with a pixel density of 1920*1080, which is a so called “On Cell” capacitive touch panel.
The screen is pretty bright and visible under direct sunlight conditions.
On the left side of the devices is a single micro SD card slot for storage expansion which supports at least memory cards up to 2TB (MicroSD Cards in SDHC & SDXC format).
On the front of the DX220 MAX are the analog outputs such like the 4.4mm Line Out, the 4.4mm Balanced Out and the 3.5mm Phone output. Here is also the nice looking analog volume knob in gold color. This volume knob has a special designed 4-connected analog potentiometer with a tolerance within 2dB.
At the rear side of the device is the DC in charging port, the power button, the USB Type-C port (Digital Section Charging & Data Transfer) and the Mini Optical/Coaxial Output Port.
Both the outputs and the inputs do have nice looking golden frames.
The bottom of the device features a glass panel in black color that is protected with a pre-installed screen/surface protector (made of plastic). Here you can find the iBasso logo, some brandings and information’s about industrial certifications.
The overall build quality of the iBasso DX220 MAX is very robust thanks to the stainless steel housing that is in combination of glass and parts in gold color that gives the device a special appearance.
- Operating System : Android 8.0
- CPU : 8 Core
- RAM : 4GB LPDDR3
- ROM : 128 GB (118 GB free space / approx 10GB are reserved for the OS)
- Screen : 5.0” 1920*1020 (1080P) IPS Screen
- DAC : Dual ES9028Pro DAC Chip
- Analog Outputs : 4.4mm Line Out, 3.5mm Phone Out, 4.4mm Balanced Out (TRRRS)
- Digital Out : SPDIF/Coaxial, Mini Optical Out, USB Type-C
- XMOS Receiver : XMOS USB Receiver for Native DSD Support (up to 512x)
- Battery Digital Part : 1 x 4400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer
- Battery Analog Part : 4 x 900mAh (3600mAh) 8.4V Li-Polymer
- Battery Life : will be added after some intensive use
- Size : L145MM x W86MM x H27MM
- Weight : approx 700 grams (1.55 pounds)
Supported Audio and Bluetooth Codec’s:
The iBasso DX220 MAX supports almost any modern and traditional audio format available on the market including MQA. MQA — short for “Master Quality Authenticated” is a new way to experience high-resolution audio.
MQA encoding folds studio-quality audio into files that are small enough to stream (or store in large quantities on a portable device). But the encoding process doesn’t just make hi-res music files smaller. It makes them sound much better, too.
You can buy a limited selection of MQA downloads now. They play through any equipment that can decode lossless file formats (WAV, FLAC, and ALAC).
The list of supported formats is as follows;
- MQA, APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DSF, DFF, DXD, CUE, ISO
- PCM: 8kHz – 384kHz (8/16/24/32Bit)
- Native DSD: DSD64/128/256/512
The iBasso DX220 MAX is a very sophisticated device with some impressive hardware specs that I will now explain below.
A) DAC (Digital to Analog Converter):
The iBasso DX220 MAX utilizes de same Dual Sabre ES9028pro DAC Chip (Digital to Analog Converter) that we have found inside the DX220, which has 8 DAC’s per side. Each ES9028pro uses the 8 DACs in parallel for each channel. This design optimizes the THD+N, Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), Dynamic Range and Crosstalk performance of the DX220 MAX.
The ES9028pro DAC Chip inside teh DX220 MAX features 7 diffrent Digital Filters. Those Digital filters are Fast Roll-Off (Linear), Slow Roll-Off (Linear), Fast Roll-Off (Linear), Slow Roll-Off (Minimum), Apodizing (Linear), Fast Roll-Off (Hybrid) and Brick Wall (Linear).
B) USB DAC:
The DX220 MAX is a device with a USB DAC functionality that do allow you to connect it to a Windows PC, MAC Computer and Linux Computer to stream music. A MAC and Linux device doesn’t need any driver installation, while you need to download and install the USB DAC Driver for your Windows PC under the following link:
The XMOS XU208 Chip of the DX220 supports PCM formats up to 32bit/384kHz and
Native DSD up to 512x.
The iBasso DX220 MAX features the same 8-Core (Octa-Core) ARM CPU, 4GB’s of LPDDR3 type of RAM we have seen inside the DX220. The main difference is the storage capacity that has been doubled from 64GB to 128GB of ROM.
You can also expand the storage capacity via MicroSD cards with a capacity up to 2TB.
D) Wireless Connectivity:
The iBasso DX220 MAX has a build in Wi-Fi antenna which supports the 802.11 b/g/n/ac protocols and the 2.4GHz / 5 GHz frequency standards.
The iBasso DX220 MAX offers also two-way Bluetooth 5.0 audio transmission and has native LDAC and Aptx support, which means that you can send and receive your audio from/to external devices like Headphones/Speakers/Phones/Tablets etc.
The iBasso DX220 MAX features a optimized super class A discrete amp circuit, based on the AMP8 module, which eliminates the switching distortion of transistors, while providing the sound signature of a class A amplifier, that also significantly reduces heat generation.
The DX220 MAX features also some versatile outputs that incorporate a 4.4mm balanced line out, 4.4mm balanced phone out, and a 3.5mm single ended phone out. The voltage output of the 3.5mm single ended is up to 4.4V RMS, while the balanced phone out has an even higher output power of 8.8V RMS.
Some additional output information’s are listed below;
3.5mm Single Ended Output (TRS):
- Output Level (No Load) : 4.40VRMS (-105.5dB, 0.00053%)
- Output Level (@300ohm) : 4.35VRMS (-104dB, 0.00063%)
- Frequency Response : 10HZ-40KHZ+/-0.2dB
- SNR : 122dB
- Dynamic Range : -122dB
- THD+N (no load, DAC140) : -114dB (0.0002%) (2.5VRMS)
- THD+N (@300ohm) : -112dB (0.00025%) (2.5VRMS)
- THD+N (@32ohm) : -97dB (0.0014%) (2.5VRMS)
- Crosstalk : -118dB
4.4 mm Balanced Output (TRRRS):
- Output Level (No Load) : 8.8VRMS (-108dB, 0.0004%)
- Output Level (@300ohm) : 8.7VRMS (-107dB, 0.00045%)
- Frequency Response : 10HZ-40KHZ (-0.2dB)
- S/N : 125dB
- Dynamic Range : -122dB
- THD+N (no load, DAC132) : -114dB (0.0002%) (3VRMS)
- THD+N (@300ohm) : -113.5dB (0.00021%) (3VRMS)
- THD+N (@32ohm) : -101.5dB (0.00084%) (3VRMS)
- Crosstalk : -119dB
4.4mm Line Output:
- Output Level (no load) : 4.4VRMS (-112dB, 0.00025%)
- Frequency response : 10HZ-40KHZ (-0.2dB)
- SNR : 125dB
- Dynamic Range : -125.8dB
- THD+N (DAC141) : -115.4dB (0.00017%) (2.6VRMS)
- Crosstalk : -115dB
Power Supply & Battery Life:
As I mentioned briefly at the beginning of my writing the DX220 MAX is a very interesting device in terms of power supply. It has two independent power supply sections, one for the analog amplifier and one that is dedicated for the digital components such like DAC, CPU, Screen, etc.
The analog part of the device features 4 pieces of 8.4V Li-Polymer batteries with a power of 900mAh that makes 3600mAh in total. The digital part on the other hand features a single 3.8V – Li-Polymer battery with a power of 4400mAh.
I will add and update my impression in terms of battery life after some intensive usage.
Some Remarkable Features of the iBasso DX220 MAX:
- Kemet polymer tantalum, Toshin UTSJ, Panasonic, Nichicon Audio Electronic, Amtrans PET Film capacitors are used in the MAX.
- A Total of 5pcs of Femtosecond league oscillators, with 2 of them being Accusilicon ultra low phase noise Femtosecond oscillators.
- A custom 4-wiper potentiometer that has less than +/-2dB channel tolerance has been selected.
- Bit for Bit playback with support up to 32bit/384kHz.
Software / GUI (Graphical User Interface):
The iBasso DX220 is a Digital Audio Player with Android OS same as the DX200 & DX150 which is slightly customized by the iBasso software team. The actual Android OS Version is 8.1 Oreo and the speed of the GUI is snappy and should get better after every new update same as I have experienced with other iBasso devices such like the DX200, DX160 or DX220.
The iBasso DX220 MAX doesn’t comes with some applications such like Play Store, Play Music or Youtube that do need the so called Google Services support.
But this is not the end of the world, because iBasso has installed two “Play Store” alternatives which are the so called CoolApk and APKPure applications.
These Google Pay Store alternatives giving you the choice to install online music services (Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, etc.) or any other third party application of your liking.
Beside this Market alternatives are some other pre installed applications like a calculator, chrome browser, clock, file manager, gallery, settings, video and the Mango Music Player shortcut.
On the home page of the iBasso DX220 MAX is a nice widget of the iBasso exclusive Mango Player application that was also installed on the DX220 and DX160. The widget features the album cover, song title, remaining time and buttons like play/pause, previous/rewind & next/fast forward.
The Android OS offers some nice and pretty familiar benefits like the “Top Navigation Bar” for a quick access to your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. In addition there are also some helpful shortcuts like optical out (switch on/off) or Battery Saver (switch on/off).
The main difference between the DX220 and/or DX160 is the second Battery icon which shows the remaining battery of the analog section. The left battery icon is for the analog section while the right icon shows the status of the digital part of the DX220 MAX.
On then bottom of the home screen are the classical navigation button like the back (triangle), home (circle) and task manager (square).
The settings menu is quite simple and many of us who are using or have used an Android device will feel very familiar with the menus and UI of the settings menu.
The Audio Settings Menu is allowing you to activate the optical out or to switch between low/normal/high gain and to chose 7 different Digital Filters.
The iBasso DX220 MAX has the same Dual Boot feature that we have seen on the DX220, which allows you to switch from the Android OS to the Mango OS which is a iBasso exclusive Linux Operating System.
To switch between Android 8.1 Oreo and Mango OS, you need to long press the power button for 3 seconds. There is a pop up window with three options where you can select “To Mango”. To return to the Android System, go into the advanced menu of Mango OS and chose Android.
2. Mango Music Player:
The Mango Music Player application of the DX220 MAX is very similar maybe identical to does that was installed on the smaller brother the DX220.
It has a nice design and some additional features like the section with 7 digital filters and Parametric Equalizer (in short PMEQ) option under the EQ settings menu.
3. Mango OS:
The Mango OS is the Linux based Operating System created by iBasso which allows a Pure Music Experience. Mango OS doesn’t supports Wi-Fi and Third Party applications like Spotify, Tidal Apple Music, etc. but has now a much more modern UI compared to older devices like the DX80.
The user interface of the Mango Music Player is very nice and fast, but it reacts a bit slower than the Mango Music Player application found on the Android operating system.
The complete review with detailed sound impressions is coming soon…