iBasso DC04

DAC Chip: Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC (Dual)
PCM 32-384kHz DSD256, SNR: 133db , Power: 4 Vrms 195mW 32Ω, USB Type-C Female, 4.4mm BAL (Microphone: NO), Metal Chassis with SPC Cable
Firmware: 20210319_v1p0_EE_9302_R06_R15 (V1.1.0 April 2,2021)


LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING


💚PROS

  • Neutral and natural smooth, crisp timbre, very euphonic
  • Vibrant sparkly dynamics, well controlled articulation
  • Reference grade coherence with pristine clarity all over, very transparent
  • Balanced Mids with rich textures and definition, crisp Male/Female vocals
  • Silky smooth Treble with matured finesse, depth, extension, and textures
  • Punchy richly textured Mid-Bass with crisp decay
  • Deep, richly textured Sub-Bass with great decay
  • Excellent details retrieval, Macro and Micro. Well nuanced
  • Realistic guitar, piano, cello, and bass guitar tones, vivid yet smooth
  • Realistic sounding percussions (chimes, bells) and drums and taps
  • Massive soundstage with great depth and spacing.
  • Reference grade imaging, razor sharp precision with spacious spatial staging
  • Reference grade speed and transients handling, no congestion
  • Completely black background, zero floor noises
  • Zero signs of coarseness or grainy edges, at any frequency
  • Great sibilance resistance even on peaky songs
  • VERY forgiving on Lo-Fi and lower quality sources
  • The MOST Powerful drive at 45/100 for Monolith M565c & Tin HiFi P1 Magnetic Planars
  • Flexible synergy with wide variety of IEMs and Headphones
  • Beautiful, lightweight, and elegant metal construction
  • Easy to update firmware: https://ibasso.com/dcseries2/

💔CONS

  • No hardware volume adjuster
  • May not appeal to those preferring warm timbre.
  • Only with 4.4mm Balanced Jack, require Pentaconn cable replacement.
  • Being one of the most euphonic Dongle, may induce fatigue for extended listening

VERDICT

iBasso DC04. This bigger sibling of the DC03 is about as similar sounding in every manner – and they both should because they are identical inside. Sparkly, resolving, transparent and vibrant. Now with HUGE driving power of 4 Vrms from the 4.4 Pentaconn port. It makes driving Magnetic Planars like a walk in the park, not even touching 60/100 even on the lowest volume recordings. With balanced circuit, the DC03 goodness now have an improvement with the soundstage being a bit more spacious and wider, even better spaced layers with great imaging (not that DC03 was lacking, but the improvements do help). As how I already noted for DC03, all these thanks for iBasso masterstroke of keeping the Firmware updated and thus keeping these two DC siblings highly relevant in present day contest. I am impressed and I liking what I am hearing from both of them. Oh yes, DC04 is one of the most powerful dongle tested so far with that 4 Vrms.

DC04 vs Ovidius B1:

  • Ovidius B1 exhibited slightly more audible micro details.
  • Ovidius B1 has slightly thicker bodied timbre and bass decays
  • DC04 has more pronounced treble sparkle
  • DC04 has slightly spaced back Mids, B1 a bit more forward

16 July Update

With the arrival of my FOSTEX T40RP MK3, extensive re-tests were conducted against the top performers and unfortunately this DC04 took a hit. Attached to an iPhone 7 2.0 USB port (with ddHiFi adapter), the DC04 were forced to have the volume cranked all the way to 80/100. While the output was still full bodied, I observed that 5-6% of timbre coherence was sacrificed. There was audible micro jitters and distortions which makes it edgy sounding – it was unstable. The loss of smoothness under duress driving the merciless 91db Magnetic Planar cannot be ignored and DC04 loses its spot from the 5 star performers.

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ ($75.00)

Best Pairing: Anything up to 250Ω or above 94db sensitivity.

Back to #donglemadness

3 Comments

  1. Does the ddhifi tc44b perform similarly to this? I see that you have not reviewed that balanced ddhifi yet, hehe. I read that tc44b has real balanced 4.4mm

    Like

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