The iBasso DC01 is a compact DAC / amp that connects to a USB Type-C port on a smartphone, or via a USB Type-A adapter on a PC. It is designed to get better sound from a smartphone or computer with minimal financial costs, without the need for a massive separate Hi-Fi player. Inside the company managed to fit the DAC Asahi Kasei AK4493EQ and “honest” balanced gain scheme, headphone output-2.5 mm TRRS with Pinout iRiver. They promise a very impressive 113 mW per channel at 32 Ohms. Native PCM 32 bit/384 kHz and DSD256X signal processing is supported. Powered by the iBasso DC01 from a smartphone or PC.
What’s in the box?
the iBasso DC01 comes in a small white box with an image of the device. Inside-a minimal set: the USB DAC itself, an adapter from Type-C to Type-A for connecting to a PC, and a small instruction.
How convenient is it to use?
Using iBasso DC01 is very simple, but there are a couple of things that are worth mentioning. With Windows 10 (I believe that with Mac OS as well), the iBasso DC01 “starts” without any problems.
Connect to the USB port Type-C or Type-A via the adapter and select in the list of playback devices. For older versions of Windows, you need to download the driver on the official site.
How good does the iBasso DC01 sound?
The iBasso DC01 uses the Asahi Kasei AK4493EQ DAC with the proprietary VELVET SOUND architecture and fully balanced circuitry, resulting in a power output of 113 mW per channel at 32 Ohms.
There is native support for PCM 32 bit / 384 kHz and DSD256X. AK4493EQ replaced the popular AK4490EQ. AK4493EQ can be found in Hi-Fi players Shanling M5s and FiiO M11, the price tag of which is more than 10 000 UAH. We used the iBasso DC01 with Campfire Audio Polaris (first generation), Campfire Audio IO, FiiO F9 and Shure SE315 headphones.
The compact size of the iBasso DC01 suggests a very modest sound quality. But these suspicions were not confirmed, the sound was very full-fledged, driving and very detailed (taking into account the size and price). Subjectively, I think iBasso DC01 wins by sound from players up to 5000 UAH, including Cayin N3, Shanling M1 and, especially M0. There is a slight emphasis on low frequencies: they sound massive, dense and powerful, while not losing too much speed and detail. Although more expensive devices are more interesting to convey the nature of tools.
The middle is not a failure (as it often happens), rather on the contrary, it was made a little accentuated and bright, so the overall character of the sound is energetic, emotional and quite a bit aggressive, which is good in this case. The upper frequencies are available in sufficient quantity, but they are slightly smoothed: this practically eliminates the possibility of sibilants and cutting RF on any headphones and with any audio materials.
But, as a result, they sound a little “simple”, without the desired microdynamics, attenuations and after-effects. In General, the iBasso DC01 produces an interesting, driving and emotional sound. As they like to write on profile forums, “engaging”. It won’t go in for Analytics fans, but for fans just to enjoy the music — very much.
iBasso DC01-DAC / amplifier for headphones, which for a little money will allow you to get high-quality and driving sound from your smartphone and laptop, while not carrying (and not buying) a separate massive Hi-Fi player. In terms of sound quality, the iBasso DC01 is more interesting than some budget players and, of course, significantly better than the regular music capabilities of the smartphone. Among the objective claims, we can only highlight the sloppy Assembly of the device.
The second point is rather not a disadvantage, but a restriction on use due to the 2.5 mm balanced output. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the potential audience of iBasso DC01 is focused on budget solutions, and owners of more advanced headphones with a replaceable balanced cable have already got a good Hi-Fi player or are ready to spend money on it.