I have been anticipating the release of IBasso’s DX320 for quite some time. A new flagship DAP is always something to get excited about, so my face lit up when one unit finally arrived at my desk. The DX320 is a follow-up from IBasso’s last big DAP, the DX300, which garnered a lot of acclaim throughout its lifespan. Does the DX320 make enough of an impression to build off of the reputation obtained by the DX300?
What You Get
You get a few notable accessories with the DX320. Probably its most important items are a green leather case and screen protectors that should always be used with the device, preventing the worst of damages. A USB Type C charging cable is also provided, along with coaxial adapters and a burn-in cable. The DX320’s default AMP module is the AMP11 MK2, which is also newly released alongside the player. Warranty info and a helpful quick start guide are also supplied.
If you’re familiar with the DX300, then not a whole lot about the DX320 will surprise you on the outside. The DX300 is already one of the most well-built DAPs on the market in terms of simplicity and usability, and the 320 lives up to its predecessor with an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” type of philosophy. Suffice it to say, this is one of the best DAPs for just carrying around with you, as it just feels great in your hand, making it more addictive to use. The 6.5-inch screen feels massive with its limited bezel, and it feels like you’re carrying one giant screen with you. It’s also incredibly light even with the case on, but I would be willing to trade that off with more protection.
Of course, you have your 3.5mm and 4.4mm options with the removable AMP11 MK2 module, but other than that the sides of the device are kept very clean, meaning the device isn’t littered with switches and buttons. The volume dial is the DX320 biggest design improvement over the 300, as it feels a lot friendlier to manage with the pot leaving more space in between it and the surface of the player’s side.
The DX320 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 running 6G RAM+128 ROM with Android 11 and Mango OS open for better optimization and sound decoding. Audio performance is also bolstered by a flagship-level 34301 EKV DAC chip, which is designed to target the natural reproduction of sound, with an emphasis on capturing dynamic range and spatial reverberation.
Getting to operate the DX320 for various hours, I can say that it was one of the smoothest experiences I’ve had using a DAP. If you’re familiar with Andriod OS, the DX320 should be a walk in the park for you, as its interface is just as snappy as any recent Android smartphone. If you don’t have music on a microSD, then the DX320 allows you to use APK or the Google Play Store. A pull-down menu can be used to access different gain options as well as Bluetooth.
Being familiar with the neutral output of most IBasso players, I was expecting mostly the same here. Surely enough, IBasso gave me that and more with the DX320, as its neutrality goes beyond its limits to form a greater sound signature. Starting with the soundstage, I tested a couple of different IEMs using the 320’s 4.4mm headphone jack, which I felt resulted in the widest and deepest imaging. What stuck out to me almost immediately was this DAP’s ability to integrate so much air in its spatial field. Not only does the separation make instruments more breathable on the DX320, but it expands the dimension of some IEMs into a 3D space.
Using the Noble Audio Kadence with the DX320 pushed its soundstage away from its more traditional stereo accuracy, and into the field of spatial theatrics. Instead of balanced left to right positioning, the image appeared more like a sphere encapsulating your headspace. In terms of soundstage and imaging, the IBasso DX320 might present you with the most staggering enhancements.
Getting to the frequency response, the DX320 keeps to IBasso’s neutral timbre that their DAPs are known for. However, it also grants you its purest, most clinical detail retrieval yet. You’ll get a great sense of this response in its bass, which although has the ability to shake you and hit hard, comes at you with a more surface-level tonality. Some depth is shared with the lows, but its structure is more concerned with laying out all the details flatly than texturing sub-bass resonance for that extra color. Bass-heavy IEMs like the Moondrop Variations might not feel any different, but the core foundation of the timbre will definitely make more of an impact, strictly in terms of clarity.
The rest of the frequency response is mostly smooth and clean, offering a wealth of micro details to look at more critically. In that sense, this DAP reminds me more of what you get from an Astell & Kern player, which is touted as reference-grade. I’m not sure I would use that label with the DX320, but it is definitely close. Using the ThieAudio Monarch MKII, I got a great sense of what the midrange was capable of on the DX320. Not only was the timbre very composed, but it also felt as natural as it could be with its transparency of instruments and vocals. This felt true with orchestral pieces and some electronic tracks, but mostly acoustic instruments stuck out to me.
Once you get to the treble there’s a bit more to bite on as some of the accents grab you more significantly. It’s a tight presentation though, and one that knows when to pull back to keep the tone from veering into overt brightness. I think these elements showcase the best fidelity when listening to airier background instruments and ambiances, such as reverb reflections or high piano notes.
By far, the DX320 gives you one of the smoothest experiences on a DAP. Everything it does is effortless, and its high-grade performance makes it so natural to use. From its reference level sound signature to its incredible design, the DX320 becomes one of the top players on the market and one that’s worth every penny.
The IBasso DX320 is available at Audio46.