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