iBasso DX160 - new $399 powerhouse

Anybody else check out one of these yet? Mine just shipped from Moon Audio. Should have it early next week to give initial impressions vs my current Fiio M9.

1 Like

I haven’t had any experience with it, but from the looks it seems pretty great, looks like a really good value

First impressions are good, battery life has been holding really well considering I’m updating it, installing apps, downloading music, etc all at once. It’s getting slightly warm so I know it’s working hard.

Sound compared to M9, definitely more bass impact, noticeably better separation, definitely not as bright and overall just sounds a bit more ‘clear’. I A/B many many times back and forth on the same parts of the same songs. It’s not a massive difference, but it is audible. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hear anything at all. The DX160 just sounds more open, clear, and more “hifi”. Not that the M9 sounds bad by any means, but I do prefer the iBasso.

3 Likes

Oh, and it’s waaaayyyy faster. That’s not even a contest. The iBasso is essentially like using a smart phone. It’s not flagship 2019 phone performance, but it’s close enough you never really notice yourself waiting for anything, it just does what you want. Interface is very slick and intuitive as well. Very pure androidesque

I really want to know if this is a better bang for the buck over the FiiO m11?

iBasso DX160 is go for $364 now with HIFIGO5 coupon code

1 Like

So retaking the thread here, mine shipped yesterday from a UK donor. Will substitute my M9. More to follow…

3 Likes

Here’s a shortish review I wrote for B&H Photo, who sold me my DX160.

Outstanding display, but…

This DAP is well built, appealing to the eye, and satisfying to touch and hold. The packaging was very good for a device in this price range, and I love the premium feel of the included USB cable. Many reviewers have commented on the incredibly good display and fantastic sound the DX160 offers. I agree that the display is out of this world, but I bypass the internal DAC and amp and use it for transport, sending the S/PDIF out to a desktop DAC.

Even after reading everything I could find and watching several videos about this product, I wasn’t sure if the digital output was optical or coaxial. I was banking on optical, but when it arrived I had to order a 6 ft 3.5 mm TS mono to RCA cable. In contrast to my old FiiO X3-ii, its digital output is not stable and reliable. The two DACs I have tried it with don’t like the consistency of its digital output, and I have to restart the DX160 often. USB digital out is also a problem, requiring an adapter, unplugging and replugging, and multiple, time-consuming device restarts to get the signal going. The biggest drawback is that I can’t charge the battery while using the USB digital output.

Also in contrast to my FiiO, the idle battery life is extremely short. Even with the screen off and no music playing, it seems that this DAP is very busy indeed, keeping itself warm and entertained, sucking the battery life from 65% to 10% overnight. My Galaxy A10e has way more apps and connectivity, and I can let it idle for days with only minimal battery consumption. I’m trying some adjustments to see if I can extend the DX160’s battery life, but I’m not too hopeful.

The DX160’s Bluetooth issues are well documented in other forums. While I mostly use this DAP as described above, it is nice to occasionally “share” music with others in the room by sending BT to the 2-channel system. Unfortunately, this device has to be within 2 or 3 feet of my TEAC system for the Bluetooth to work. I might as well just unplug it, get up, take it over to the TEAC, change the output from S/PDIF to line, plug it in, and restart the music - the hassle I was hoping to avoid with the convenience of Bluetooth.

Finally, the installed Mango music player is ok, but not great. I’ve pretty much converted to Poweramp, a hugely powerful app with much greater versatility than Mango.

The learning curve, it seems, for the iBasso DX160 is pretty steep. Having to sift through thousands of forum posts to look for solutions to poor battery life and terrible BT functionality has been a major diasppointment. When your product is clunky enough that independent coders write their own firmware just to make it usable, you might have a problem.

Three stars because it looks, feels, and sounds great, but it only works just barely, and with a great deal of effort, research, and experimentation.

1 Like

How is software performance and battery life of this player now? Have firmware updates improved it lately?

Very helpful post here. Thank you. Did you end up returning it or keeping it?

Right on!

I’m listening to it right now :slight_smile: I just leave the USB plugged into a charger all the time. The digital out works consistently now. I did a software update a few days ago but haven’t tried the BT yet. Between Mango and Poweramp, it’s pretty usable with minimal hassle. But it did take a lot of work to get to that point :wink:

Ok I am looking to get some IEMs finally and have to decide if I want to get a few first or should I get just one or two IEMs and get a new DAP? Was going to play them off my phone (Samsung S8) and do that for a while but I’m thinking I should get a proper DAP now. I’m trying to decided between the usually suspects at this price range (M11, DX 160, Hiby R5)

Any thoughts you can share my way would be greatly appreciated.

I haven’t heard the DX160 or M11, but I quite enjoyed my R5 before upgrading to the N6ii. Plenty of power, very minimal noise floor, full Android (if you’re a streamer), and quite pocketable.

2 Likes

When I was deciding on a DAP, I watched a lot of reviews on YouTube, did a lot of comparisons on Amazon and manufacturer websites, and thought about my priorities - “must-haves” and “can-live-withouts.” At the top of my list were non-USB digital output and a good user interface - that’s how I ended up with the DX160. Your priorities will obviously be different :slightly_smiling_face:

A nice thing about the headphones community is the used market - you can buy used to try something out, and sell what you don’t like or if you’re ready to upgrade. I bought a new FiiO M6 a year or so ago, used it for a few months, hated it, and sold it on Head-Fi.

1 Like

Just got this a few days ago, installed Lurker’s FW for dual boot to Android or Mango OS, so far so good only downside is no search function on Mango OS.

My DX160 went wrong in 5 days. Sometimes on boot up, it wouldn’t allow you to swipe the screen out of lock. I’ve also owned 3 DX200’s and 2 went faulty.