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    Hiby R5iiHiby R5ii
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    Hiby R5ii

    It's devices like R5II that really change the game. HiBy Music disregard this Android 8 music player's entry-level status, taking it to giant-killing heights by building it with a Class A discrete transistor balanced amplifier outputting in 2.5mm and 4.4mm. It leapt immediately onto Headfonia's Recommended Buys list. Headfonics confirm R5II does it all. There was nothing of note for Twister6 to dislike! Never mind that beginner DAPs have sounded good for the longest time – HiBy build R5II to sound great and punch way above its weight. Class A shows up in the sound, with a sense of vibrancy and vigour delivering notes with charged energy. There's a trademark HiBy accuracy to frequency response too, coloured yet always correct. Dual ESS Technology ES9219Cs supply the usual precision as a decoding backbone, allowing you to play back Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless, 16X Tidal Masters and Spotify with no shortage of mobile fidelity. [See Product Desc. For More] What's special about the ES9219C is that it grants R5II access to its on-chip analog volume control – the baby of HiBy's bunch attenuates volume in the analog domain granting much better signal-to-noise performance than the average competitor's lossy digital volume control. You'll see that we're already discussing R5II as a much higher-end offering than it is. And there's still more. Small signal accuracy in the DAC and gain stage is key, because this flows on to a series of eight discrete dual bipolar transistors working in pure Class A. Differentiating itself from so many others who use op-amp ICs with inordinate amounts of gain, R5II's open-loop linearity remains excellent before application of feedback, owing to its Class A bias. That ensures individual transistors are working in optimum condition. Distortion and noise are kept low, without resorting to the excessive use of negative feedback. HiBy designed a true-balanced differential amplifier to further improve R5II's linearity, and you can count on common-mode rejection at its best whenever you plug in via 2.5mm or 4.4mm. Without adding cheaply-built, signal degrading adapters to your balanced connections to make something fit, even your flagships can be juiced to the max potential, signal integrity guaranteed via direct sockets soldered to PCB. R5II's current handling is impressive given its number of output transistors in parallel, meaning this HiBy remains unfazed driving even Raven, Odin and Legend Evo from Empire Ears, the Craft Ears Aurum, or Madoo's Type 711.  By putting such a high-performance circuit in the palms of people's hands, and offering them a Snapdragon 425 with full Google Play support with the ability to bypass Android sample-rate conversion for bit-perfect playback, music is truly accessible to anyone and everyone. TechPowerUp award their Highly Recommended and Innovation awards to R5ii. Discussing the above, it's so easy to forget we're talking about R5II as HiBy's entry-level offering. See what these forward-thinkers can really do higher up the range here, or view our other music players here.


    Our Price | $399

    Sony NW-A306Sony NW-A306

    Sony NW-A306

    In the spirit of the Walkman is Sony's entry-level NW-A306, such that anyone can enjoy listening to music today. With Android 12, Google Play Store and Wi-Fi compatibility for downloading and streaming, A306 is a wonderful music companion for any 3.5mm earphone and headphone. Lose yourself in high quality sound that’s even more dynamic and transparent, with a richer, more expansive sound field. Coupled with the ease of downloading and streaming music, it takes your listening enjoyment to a whole new level. [See Product Desc. For More] S-Master HX digital amp technology, independently developed by Sony, is compatible with the Native DSD format, and supports balanced and high power output. It reduces distortion and noise across a wide range of frequencies, for rich and full-bodied sound, further enhanced by new high quality sound lead-free solder. Various DSP tweaks can still be implemented in Sony's custom Walkman software, including DSD Remastering Engine, DSEE Ultimate upsampling and DC Phase Lineariser. Also view all of Sony's other releases here, or our other music players here.


    Our Price | $429

    Hiby R2Hiby R2
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    Hiby R2

    GOOD TO KNOW:Operating System: HiBy OS DAC: ES9218 Battery size: 1000mAh Storage: Via MicroSD card slot supporting up to 2TB Play time: Up to 15 hours continuous 3.5mm output power: 70mW per channel


    Our Price | $129

    iBasso DX170iBasso DX170

    iBasso DX170

    Returning to the market that DX160 defined, iBasso Audio give you its successor DX170. This condensed, rocket-powered Android 11 music player gives you a huge helping of the high-end, and appeals to all levels of music lovers. Whether you're just starting out exploring what 2022 brings in terms of portable digital audio, or an experienced aficionado looking for something light and small to carry portably, iBasso has your backs with its streaming, 8X MQA-ready DX170. It went onto Audiophile-Heaven's Hall of Fame, and Ear Fidelity's Highly Recommended list. ichos Audio had nothing meaningful to criticise. Dual Cirrus Logic CS43131 DACs provide the decoding backbone for DX170. iBasso have bolstered the performance of these popular chips with a FPGA-controlled clock and data master. [See Product Desc. For More] This FPGA sees DX170 overachieve by supplying its CS43131s the same pure I2S as iBasso's bigger DX240 and DX320 siblings, pushing down DAC phase noise and jitter for a stable decode. After decoding, iBasso's generous use of negative feedback quashes distortion and claims up to 130dB of signal-to-noise ratio. The employment of this feedback also sees DX170 achieve massive bandwidth that's effectively flat 10Hz to 40Khz. That means phase reproduction in the audible human hearing region is stellar, for realistic portrayal of dynamics and natural transparency – a triumph of iBasso's entry-level music player. The quality of DX170's signal will translate to nearly everything you choose to drive from its balanced 4.4mm output, or 3.5mm. Powerful output buffers supply current and mean iBasso's wonderkid promises high damping factor while maintaining its low distortion into low impedances typical of IEMs, Focals, Fostexs and Rosson Audio Designs. Still the closed-loop internal gain remaining after the application of negative feedback around DX170's op-amp IC analog circuit remains high. So where she really shines is in swinging voltage, opening up the sound of any high-impedance Audio-Technica, Sennheiser and ZMF Headphones while barely breaking sweat. On the go, DX170 will see you retain so much of what defines iBasso's reference DAPs. You'll want to get your music aboard via your favourite streaming apps. And their future-proof Android 11 software will mean Google Play Store app support of Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music for years to come. Backed by a SOC processor that has posted AnTuTu scores in excess of 100,000, that's one more sign of smooth daily operation ensuring you'll never part from your DX170. That is, unless you move up to one of iBasso's bigger reference cousin's here, or one of our other music players here...


    Our Price | $599

    Cayin N8iiCayin N8ii

    Cayin N8ii

    Cayin Audio, you keep outdoing yourself. When every release from these innovators is expected to be a revolution, N8II had to break significant new ground. This tube or solid-state flagship music player achieves exactly that, with upgrades on every front. N8II plays with a deftness of touch to dynamics, realistic distances and imaging, plus a soundstage bathed in a gentle light that is at the same time detailed but never fatiguing. Headfonics heard N8ii up Cayin's tube DAP game. It went right onto Headfonia's Recommended Buys list. Twister6 heard "Cayin take their original N8 DAP to a whole new level ... beyond of 'everything but the kitchen sink'". Ear Fidelity declares it a "masterclass of a DAP", with "tube and Class A a game changer". Dual ROHM BD34301EKV DAC chips make their debut in N8II and portable audio, fronted by a full Google Play Android 9 operating system. That all feeds Cayin's new timbre selector that applies to both balanced and single-ended discrete amplifier outputs. [See Product Desc. For More] Four years in the making since Cayin's original N8 made history as the first portable tube music player ever, N8II achieves what its predecessor couldn't even have begun to dream of. It doubles up on its 6P1 tube complement in its small signal gain stage, packing two Nutube dual triodes for true balanced, differential, operation from either its 4.4mm or 3.5mm outputs.  N8II's Nutubes can be turned on or off on both outputs to match your listening preferences. If you choose to bypass tubes, signal direct from the DACs runs to the power stage, benefitting your gear that loves the precise, clean detail associated with transistors. READ ALSO DAPs have gone down the tube Taking inspiration from Cayin's tube/solid-state C9 portable amplifier, N8II's differential analog design relies heavily on common-mode rejection to serve as a clean, transparent – but never sterile – flagship reference with 125dB of signal-to-noise ratio. A marvel of miniaturisation, N8II packs C9's discrete power stage, operating in switchable Class A or Class AB to put out up to 1,200 milliwatts. This bias system ensures the output of watts that are supreme in quality – a result of individual transistors being turned on and operated where their open-loop linearity is optimal to further push distortion down. Cayin leave you the ability to boost N8II's operating voltage beyond 14 volts, further ensuring transistor linearity while guaranteeing headroom for large dynamic swings on bigger cans that need it. However, it's not only about the quantity of power, but more importantly the quality. Signal integrity is key. N8II's volume control remains fully analog, eschewing a lossy digital control thanks to JRC's NJW1195A resistor ladder part, implemented only after the gain stage. Any attenuation is kept far away from the delicate output signal from new ROHM DACs – of which Cayin's implementation has been key. READ ALSO C9 – nothing is too extreme for Cayin BD34301EKV decodes DSD as a native 1-bit stream without PCM processing, owing to N8II's external analog volume control. ROHM's flagship chip's ability to output analog in current, pushing distortion figures down and upping tuning potential via N8II's extensive current-to-voltage I/V converter, also cannot be overlooked. This small-signal segment beginning from the ROHM DACs has been overbuilt for a music player. But what might be considered extreme elsewhere, is only expected from Cayin.  Currawong says "N8II is for people who must have the best DAP of its kind, regardless of the cost".  ROHM's input signal processing via dither and advanced clock handling, plus a chip layout that's been streamlined for silent operation, are also talked up. N8II's FPGA feeds a pristine I2S signal to the dual DACs, after which they are upsampled by up to 32 times before being converted according to ROHM's linear-phase digital filters. Cayin have deployed the perfect Google Play-based Android 9 UI to feed every imaginable kind of content to its shiny new digital sub-system hardware. Direct Transport Audio bypasses otherwise mandatory sample rate conversion of stock Android. So play Tidal 16X MQA, Qobuz and Hi-Res Lossless Apple Music as the file was originally encoded with full confidence, with no undue digital tampering. The flexibility yielded by Cayin's Snapdragon 660 CPU and 6GB of RAM running optimised Android 9 is phenomenal, and fully at the service of N8II – Head-Fi's most advanced and complete music player in 2022. Those wanting more horsepower yet from Cayin can look at C9 as a potential stacking option from N8II's balanced line-outs here, browse Cayin's other revolutionary products here, or view all our other music players here.


    Our Price | $4,799

    HiBy R6 Pro IIHiBy R6 Pro II

    HiBy R6 Pro II

    The cake’s ready, now it’s time for the cherry on top. HiBy Music’s ambitions for 2024 and beyond rise and rise, with the launch of R6 Pro II.  As if bringing AKM’s sought-after flagship AK4191EQ DSP and dual AK4499EXEQ DACs to a new level of affordability wasn’t enough, R6 Pro II adds on a discrete Class A balanced 4.4mm headphone amp. Sophisticated, open and airy, there's a refined flavour imparted on top of its neutral yet forgiving transparency. Headfonia have already elected it to their Recommended Buys list. R6 Pro II is The Headphone List's "instant recommendation at or below the kilobuck mark ... packs more technology than I’ve seen in flagships only a year or two ago, with sound quality that comes oh so close". R6 Pro II’s AKM decode gets passed along beautifully to drive your prized headphones and earphones says MOONSTAR Reviews. Audio Discourse writes HiBy hit it out of the park – empowered by a beautiful I/V stage, Class A discrete transistor output stage, Android 12, full Google Play Store and streaming usability, plus HiBy's relentless drive to surpass previous limits. [See Product Desc. For More] A modern-day music player is so much more than its DAC chips, and HiBy have taken that to heart … hoping everyone does too, to truly see the extent of their efforts. Greatness achieved at the highest end is easy, but portable digital audio has a new master in HiBy because of how much of that essence trickles down affordably into R6 Pro II. HiBy’s effort means R6 Pro II is greater than the sum of its parts regardless of its entry price, and ensures the very best platform for Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM)’s resurgent flagship DACs to make their mark.  That’s evident because of the mastery HiBy designed around AKM's digital ecosystem. These Japanese giants, back on their feet with a clean slate, started afresh expanding the basic footprint of a single DAC chip IC into three separate parts – to similarly multiply capabilities by a factor of three. AKM’s AK4191EQ DSP is the brains of the operation, receiving pristine I2S clocking and data from HiBy’s FPGA. Aboard, AK4191EQ’s delta-sigma modulator takes advantage of its expanded, dedicated, silicone footprint to lay claim to the title of the first chip IC working at seven bits. These seven single-bit modulators flow on into R6 Pro II's AKM 4499EXEQ DACs, one for each channel and built with a single purpose in mind: to turn the interpolated, noise-shaped, digital data it receives into the most precise analog waveform possible afforded by its large footprint.  Silicone size matters when it comes to a great DAC IC, and AK4499EXEQ has it. Enabled by much more exact, matched resistors and capacitors aboard for precise DC single-bit decoding, and dynamic element matching that is less burdened by switching errors – granted by parts accuracy from a bigger footprint. Any conversion errors from AK4499EXEQs outputting in current manifests as DC offset, and not total harmonic distortion, that is easily filtered out. That's expected of any source claiming to be high performance.  HiBy's eight-channel current-to-voltage I/V section follows these AK4499EXEQs, befitting of chips that output in current for best distortion performance and indeed more expensive players.  By treating each of the eight channel current outputs separately before stereo summing, R6 Pro II yields a small-signal stage that is transparent and, most importantly, accurate. HiBy's gain signal flows as a linear waveform on to a series of 16 discrete bipolar power transistors working in Class AB or an optimally pure Class A. Differentiating itself from so many others who use op-amp ICs with inordinate amounts of gain, R6 Pro II's open-loop linearity remains excellent before application of feedback. That's owed to its Class A bias ensuring individual output transistors are working in optimum condition – aided by an operating voltage of five volts. Distortion and noise are kept low, without resorting to the excessive use of negative feedback. HiBy designed a true-balanced differential amplifier to further improve R6 Pro II's linearity, and you can count on common-mode rejection at its best whenever you plug in via 4.4mm.  R6 Pro II's current handling is impressive given its number of output transistors in parallel, meaning this HiBy remains unfazed driving even the punishing low impedances of Odin and Legend Evo from Empire Ears, plus the Vision Ears EXT, Subtonic Audio's Storm, Focals, Fostexs and Rosson Audio Designs. A separately regulated inductor-based power supply ably backs up this potent voltage source. And even this overachieving HiBy is able to supply its clean small-signal to the likes of outboard amps such as Cayin Audio's C9, via a dedicated 4.4mm line-out port. By putting such a high-performance circuit and a big 5,000mAh battery in the palms of people's hands and offering them a Snapdragon 665 with full Google Play support, HiBy grant you the ability to bypass Android 12's sample-rate conversion for bit-perfect playback. This is what it means to truly step-up in 2024, and HiBy use the statement that is R6 Pro II to tell you how much more you should expect. See what forward-thinkers HiBy can really do higher up the range here, or view our other music players here.


    Our Price | $1,049

    Hiby RS2Hiby RS2
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    Hiby RS2

    R2R is for the purists, and few get purer than RS2. HiBy Music distilled the necessities from their pioneer RS6 for pure file music playback in a mini-form factor. Clearly enough, to land on Headfonia, and Audiophile-Heaven's, Recommended Buys list, with no shortage of the R2R experience for Headfonics. While being the smaller sibling, RS2 plays music back with a sonic truth and a particular delicacy and refinement only possible from R2R, but different to its Darwin V2 counterparts. Those with a tremendous personal music library of files will be particular enamoured with RS2's dual micro SD card slots for up to 4TB of storage. READ ALSO Darwin R2R sees HiBy set the bar PCM and DSD will be decoded up and down RS2's ladder of individual resistors, in the second generation of HiBy's low-powered, battery-friendly, Darwin architecture. With the work and skill it takes to design one's own R2R resistor DAC from scratch, we must say: RS2, like RS6 before, is proof of how far up the ladder HiBy have climbed. [See Product Desc. For More] We've heard multiple times it's not a matter of parts but the implementation that counts. So we pay attention when RS2 coverts PCM and DSD via separate circuit paths, doing so for the former ala typical R2R – NOS (non-oversampling).  That's double the feat because the precision demanded in exact resistor values – for the buttery, natural and resolving ability that R2R DAC topology is known for – goes up. Lovers of reference sound need not fret, however, with the ability to switch PCM decoding from NOS to oversampling mode for the cleanest possible result. That scrubs any last distortion and artifacts beyond the audible human hearing range. HiBy make the distinction between PCM and DSD, because RS2 separately converts the latter with the most purity ever encountered in a portable device till date. Instead of pre-conversion to PCM as many other off-the-shelf DAC chips do, RS2 preserves the original DSD file throughout the process.  Believe it: HiBy decode natively in DSD's true 1-bit process. RS2 calls for a simple low-pass filter for the purest, most elegant portable DSD conversion that preserves the simplicity of the process and original waveform. Amidst minimal digital filtering, the format's analog-like goodness gets delivered unmolested to your ears. RS2's dedicated and separate R2R PCM and DSD circuit paths mean you stand to enjoy the best sound you thought possible from either form – impossible to this extent, till now.  The final product goes through JRC's NJW1195A digitally-controlled analog volume control before reaching the output amp, for preservation of your music's true resolution, and that very special, discrete, native DSD decode. The sleekest, latest version of HiByOS allows you to navigate basically between your albums, artists, files and folders as you wrote them to your SD cards. With 4TB of external file storage, and up to 10 hours of playback, get back on the road with maximum portable fidelity in 2022. Also check out HiBy's bigger RS6 here, all of HiBy's releases here, or view our other music players here.


    Our Price | $659

    iBasso AMP12iBasso AMP12

    iBasso AMP12

    iBasso Audio's Amp12 is now released as an ultimate separate amplifier module for their flagship DX320 music player, its large, dual batteries ensuring iBasso could take this module's analog circuit to town. Clean, precise and infinitely detailed, with plenty of headstage, air and also a rumbling, authoritative bass, Amp12 is a product of the comprehensive discrete circuit built within, one Headfonia says "enhances the player signature in many ways, giving you a more natural approach to the sound", complete with pictures. [See Product Desc. For More] Indeed, iBasso built Amp12 to act as a most faithful conduit to your music, allowing it to remain truthful to the way it was recorded. The voltage gain stage is tuned to provide a vast and open soundstage, while the power stage takes that and preserves all the low-end authority in your music. Headfonics throws this back to when iBasso championed the term neutral, in days gone by, Audio-PH talking about its perfect balance. Audiophile Heaven adds Amp12 gave music a new lease of life. Plug any big can from Sennheiser or ZMF Headphones straight in to be immediately impressed, or use its dedicated hardware line-out as the ultimate source for Cayin Audio's C9. Also view all our products from iBasso here or our other music players here.


    Our Price | $315

    Cayin N3 UltraCayin N3 Ultra

    Cayin N3 Ultra

    Cayin Audio's N30LE flagship proved so popular, they shrunk it down into a mini-me. Introducing the N3 Ultra, the entry-level tube music player with dual JAN6418 valves that yield warm, liquid sound to both single-ended and 4.4mm balanced outputs. Dual AKM AK4493SEQ DACs help bring N3 Ultra's concept into the future. Its tubes then sweeten Cayin's decoded analog. But, not content to just extend tube timbre to its balanced outputs, Cayin also adopted N30LE's dual modes to give N3 Ultra the same Classic and Modern tube flavour options. Working its JAN6418 pair either as a triode, a pentode, or turned off entirely, yields clear, audible differences that lets you find the perfect synergy with your transducers. This swappable tube signature then flows on to powerful solid-state output buffers capable of driving the low impedances of your IEMs and headphones. The evolution from Cayin's original N3Pro kick-started a tube DAP genre and indeed inspires flagships these days. But Head-Fi's foremost innovators show us first never follows, staying ahead of the curves with guaranteed hits like N3 Ultra. [See Product Desc. For More] N3 Ultra is so much more than its DAC chips, which as Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM)’s resurgent AK4493SEQs deserve a mention as lowering power consumption and performing better than their predecessor's metrics. Where N3 Ultra really begins to impress is the presence of its pair of JAN6418 tubes – each taking care of one channel. READ ALSO The past, present and future of Cayin tubes Placed at the voltage gain stage where it will yield the biggest sonic impact, the small output of these pentodes makes its presence heard on all four analog outputs by popular request – 3.5mm single-ended phone out, 4.4mm balanced headphone out, 3.5mm single-ended line-out and 4.4mm balanced line-out. Indeed, N3 Ultra is a huge upgrade. It throws out the lossy DAC digital volume control of its Pro predecessor – catastrophically located in the signal path before the tubes back then, already diminishing dynamic range performance before the arrival of the precious decoded analog at arguably the noisiest section of its circuit. Never again. N3 Ultra incorporates a JRC NJW1195A electronically controlled analog volume control only far AFTER its tube gain and right before its power stage, where its quality can be showcased. This resistor ladder volume control comes only after the voltage drivers, kept far from the input signal for maximum integrity, and the best signal-to-noise performance. READ ALSO DAPs have gone down the tube Cayin count on the square law function of N3 Ultra's JAN6418 to push down distortion at the drawing board. The huge operating voltages of this valve section, and their Class A operation, in a portable player means that open-loop linearity exceeds virtually every other non-tube DAP ... at any price. The signal that goes in, comes out amplified the same. You'll hear from N3 Ultra the kind of effortlessness yielded only by high operating voltages, Class A bias and the non-existent capacitance of tubes. These factors allow minimum negative feedback to be applied, as what enters Cayin's JAN6418s has little error that needs correction. You can focus on the music in either Classic or Modern – the latter working each JAN6418 as a pentode – tube modes, knowing that you're hearing back the track close to the way it was recorded. The single-ended operation of Cayin's valves emphasises even-order harmonics for natural, engaging and warm sound. And the small quantity of tube feedback means distortion remains low order, rather than complex intermodulation. N3 Ultra's highly-linear small signal is then converted to balanced and flows into the player's differential solid-state output stage. These op-amp buffers give Cayin's prodigy the grunt to drive lower impedance IEMs and headphones like Focal perfectly. In this way, you can bask in the natural allure of tube sound, and still trust your player to act as a proper voltage source, packing low output impedance and high damping factor.  READ ALSO N3 Ultra's development story You'll want to get your music aboard N3 Ultra, and Cayin build in a Snapdragon processor as well as lightweight, non-streaming Android skin to keep operation bloat-free. Microphonic control is well in place around N3 Ultra's tubes – learnt from generations of Cayin tube music players – and abundant heatsinking is applied around them to keep rising temperatures away from critical components. As evidence by N3 Ultra, Cayin don't build entry-level players. Each release is over-built to stand up to the rigours expected of it, and beyond. Check out the rest of these innovators' releases here, or view our other music players here.


    Our Price | $759

    iBasso DX320 Max TiiBasso DX320 Max Ti
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    iBasso DX320 Max Ti

    For those who like it loud: DX320 Max TI goes up to 11. But iBasso Audio's trans-portable music player knows how to play it soft as well – a stepped resistor analog volume control preserves the resolution of four ROHM BD34301EKV DACs at any listening level. Headfonics hail DX320 Max TI as stunning, with few competitors. Twister6 echoed this. Audiophile-Heaven was unreserved in his praise of "the best sounding DAP that has ever been created ... heard and tested ... a device that [the Chord Electronics] Hugo 2 and FiiO M17 can't really even hope to reach sonically". Limited to 888 units worldwide, iBasso's third MAX in line had to surpass its predecessors. So they built this Android 11 DAP behemoth with a Super Class A amplifier operating on 9 volt rails to tackle Focal, HIFIMAN and ZMF Headphones ... But DX320 Max TI's stepped volume attenuator, developed in-house from individual resistors by iBasso, is where the money is at. It's that that enables it to play it delicately into your flagship earphones for enjoyment at realistically lower volume levels. That means performance can be wrought yet from anything like an Empire Ears Raven and Odin, Elysian Acoustic Labs Annihilator 2023, Oriolus JP Traillii and Subtonic Audio Storm. Indeed, a quad DAC array of familiar  BD34301EKVs from the ultra-resolution DX320 this Max TI is based on is given the platform to perform here unlike ever before. [See Product Desc. For More] Dual batteries – including a separate one for the analog section working at 8.4 volts, exactly DX320 Max TI's operating voltage – respond instantly to reproduce even the most demanding musical passages you ask of it.  The softest voice, on to the loudest passages, effortlessly rendered with the most aplomb regardless of how you choose to listen. Because, it's easy to play it loud, but everyone knows it's in playing back tiny sounds that is the litmus test of a powerhouse capable of outputting as much volume as DX320 Max TI. Without resting on the laurels of previous MAX attempts to increase and decrease both signal and noise levels together at the same time – as only an analog volume control can – iBasso went for the jugular with DX320 Max TI. After years of work, Head-Fi's analog specialists staved off launch till they could perfect their own, proprietary, stepped analog volume control. The results are impressive and a triumph for all Head-Fi to see – the first fully balanced, four-channel stepped attenuator of 0201 resistors miniaturised to work with full performance and reliability in something of DX320 Max TI's size. Transparent at any volume setting down low as much as up high, with virtually perfect +/-0.1dB channel-matching, this iBasso behemoth exposes detail buried deep around the noise floor of your music. The reason is simple: making use of the eight-channel output from four ROHM BD34301EKV DACs leashed to I2S supplied by iBasso's FPGA – the stereo redundancy yielding massive dynamic range and lowest distortion at the start of the chain.  Crucially, DX320 Max TI's BD34301EKVs output analog in current, as demanded by a DAP that claims to be of flagship status. iBasso are therefore afforded the opportunity to tailor the DAP's sonic profile as they wish with their extensive current-to-voltage I/V converter. That brings the added measure of ensuring that small-signal is of highest quality to begin with, with conversion errors manifesting as a DC offset that's easy to filter out – not more sinister total harmonic distortion. And fast optocouplers and I2C isolators ensure iBasso's digital section is galvanically isolated from its analog section, for purer performance still. So begins DX320 Max TI's fully-balanced, true differential analog circuit that runs at a massive 16.8 volt operating voltage for linear open-loop operation. Its power stage is fully discrete and boasts buffers capable of outputting more amperes of current than is needed in reality. Said power stage is another call for iBasso's Super Class A to appear. Current mirrors ensure DX320 Max TI's push-pull operation works without crossover distortion, yielding Class A-like performance at all power output levels. That makes for extremely linear open-loop operation before negative feedback is applied ... yet mostly avoids the heat and inefficiency typically associated with Class A designs. Certainly, the quantity of output power has been discussed, but the quality's not yet mentioned. DX320 Max TI's dual battery power supply component is split into one for the digital sub-system, and a separate 8.4 volt unit exactly for the afore-mentioned analog circuit's rails that avoids boost conversion and power supply ripple distortion along with it. All the above would mean little if DX320 Max TI wasn't built with the future of music consumption in mind. But thankfully Android 11 makes its appearance to be at the cutting-edge of DAP UI, processed by the speedy Snapdragon 660 SOC plus 6GB of RAM for smooth operation.  Tidal and Apple Music will be streamed at bit-perfect level via Direct Transport Authority (DTA), bypassing otherwise mandatory and detrimental Android re-sampling.  And to top all that digital and analog wizardry off, lavish your prized IEMs and headphones with the cherry on the cake they deserve, that is DX320 Max TI's expertly designed volume control – released to much fanfare and designed to tackle every one of the modern audiophile's desktop needs. Also shop iBasso's other releases here, or all our other music players here.


    Our Price | $4,999