The highest expectations accompany the launch of iBasso Audio's fourth-generation flagship player. DX300 has lots to live up to and comes charging out the gates embedded with the DNA that has made all its predecessors overwhelming successes to date.
That was abundantly clear with Headfonics praising its "natural tone, a tube-like quality yet still with a very black background that's easy on the ear with beautiful texture in both instruments and vocals as well as excellent staging to flesh it out". The phablet treatment was totally worth it to Twister6's ears.
Fourth-generation means four times the decoding power, with DX300 packing four of the Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC chips that distinguished iBasso's entry DX160 as one of Head-Fi's most transparent sources at any price. This flagship is similarly unbridled in exposing detail with zeal, while developing a full palette of tonal colour, saturation and involvement.
Naturally, doubling up the number of DAC chips wasn't a guarantee of quality on its own so iBasso tout an FPGA supplying DX300's raw decoding capability with dedicated code and a master clock able to eradicate jitter to its lowest levels. Little wonder Headfonia placed it on its 'Recommended Buys' list as a "a no-brainer, outperforming many players, sometimes much more expensive".
The dual, separate batteries and completely isolated power supplies that made their first appearance in DX220 MAX come built in here. The analog supply independently feeds a discrete architecture Amp 11, capable of pushing over 1,200 milliwatts of clean power into demanding loads. Focal, Rosson Audio Design, Sennheiser and ZMF Headphones will drink up a current output of up to 2 amperes and voltage swings to 7.1Vrms.
Built with FET inputs and running on a high eight volt internal operating voltage that translates to greater open-loop linearity, Amp 11's 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm phone jacks double as line outputs. 125dB of signal-to-noise ratio speaks for the thoroughness of the circuit.
DX300's sheer usability on the go is backed by a Snapdragon 660 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of memory and Android 9.0 for eight times MQA-ready Tidal and Spotify streaming. It's a complete suite of features ready to usher in a future of the next decade of DAPs.