Removable amplifier AMP2 for iBasso DX200 and cable CB13 — review with...

Removable amplifier AMP2 for iBasso DX200 and cable CB13 — review with bonus

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In fact, the main strength of the company iBasso lies in the ability to create effective amplifiers. Their laptop solutions in this area a little bypassed by the massive attention, but it’s actually a very good reason. Today, however, we are not talking about them, but the replacement module gain for player DX200, plus as a bonus I’ll tell you about their headphone cable CB13.

It just so happened that the heroes of today’s review with each other incompatible. Gorgeous copper-silver hybrid cord designed for amplifiers with balanced output, plug-in module AMP2 made “normal” (I don’t know any translation of the English term single-ended). And while alternative staffing balanced amplifier AMP1 AMP3 is already moving in my direction, to defer to another time the review of the cable I don’t want to. Make him a separate article, perhaps, is also too wasteful. So will the “hybrid” locomotive to this review, and since the arrival of the AMP3 — will experience it with him.

If we talk about the gain, iBasso’ve tried my best. Despite the “nebelnest”, it uses Quad-channel architecture with separate ground that allows us to achieve separation of channels, comparable to balanced solutions. Don’t skimp on the little things like capacitors Nichicon, fast OPAMP, and so on. Overall nice, not to bend the price to buy AMP2 is around $ 160, quite humanely against the price of the player.

Specifications

Headphone output

  • Output voltage: 3.2 Vrms
  • Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz (-0,1 dB)
  • The ratio signal-to-noise ratio: 117 dB
  • Total harmonic distortion+noise: 0,00056% (-105 dB) @ 32Ω, 1.8 Vrms
  • Dynamic range: 117 dB
  • Channel separation: 109 dB

Line out

  • Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz (-0,1 dB)
  • The ratio signal/noise: 118 dB
  • Total harmonic distortion+noise: 0,00018% (-115 dB)

Installation

The unit is shipped (well, where do without the story about it?) in a conventional box made of black cardboard, according to tradition iBasso covered by a paper tape with the model name. Inside the amplifier, replacement screws and screwdriver for installation.

In contrast to the Fiio X7, the DX200 is not necessary to completely remove the screws for replacement, just loosen them 2-3 turns and gently pull out the module. Note that the DX200 housing made of two l-shaped ledge included in the groove of the amplifier, so do not use extra force. In General, the procedure is very simple, all you need is a little care.

After replacing the module it is necessary to carefully fix by tightening the screws back.

By the way, I did not conduct strict timing needs work but with approximately AMP2 player works the same as with AMP1. I think it is due to the fact that the new unit of power very close to the old one.

Sound

iBasso love to tell the users about the necessity of warming up their devices for hundreds of hours. The player even included a special transaction load to the afflicted audiophiles plenty to apropriate AMP1. I don’t believe this warming, but it is strange that the developers have left buyers of the second module without specialdevice to warm (that comes with the player, made for a balanced 2.5 mm output). How to live, not warming up the amp is a mystery.

Since the miracle wire for heating the second module is not provided, I had to write a review on cold (sorry, the Internet is impossible to convey in text sarcastic intonation).

I would very much laughed, if AMP2 was indistinguishable in sound from “unit”. In fact the complete amplifier DX200 are more than good, remove it from the balanced output and sell it for some money, leaving the “listener” to enjoy the various nuances of sound would be very impressive joke. Luckily, as cruel joke the developers did not, the difference is still noticeable (Yes, I’ve done a blind test to make sure that it is not self-deception, but without it the difference is audible).

I had the feeling that AMP2 was doing for all those who were dissatisfied neutral quality of the first amplifier and the resulting problems with poor quality material. Sound “two”, slightly softened and added a bit of warmth, shifting from “neutral technical” to “neutral music”. Yes, I understand that “musicality” is such a word-a filler, in which everybody contributes something of their own, but in this case we are talking about my understanding of the term unity and integrity of the filing, the physicality of the instruments is what gives this effect for me.

If you imagine some imaginary schedule “softening” of the sound relative to AMP1 AMP2, you get a little tilted to the right in a straight line. The greatest effect is observed on the lower half of the range, however, in any case can not be called great, as iBasso with their experience simply could not get it done quite so smoothly-muddy flow. The second amplification module more deep bass, while they are normally controlled, although I still remain of the opinion that the initial part of the sound range of individual styles is not only unnecessary, but also interferes with (of course, in portable equipment).

SCH also offers more wholly due to this, the player builds an imaginary scene a little less than AMP1, but it depends less on the quality of the recording. This is the main and practically the only change in the flow of this range, fortunately, iBasso have shown restraint and have not smoothed the midrange enough to significantly lose detail. So if you compare the separation of instruments, the elaboration of plans, a contrast — all this was very close to the AMP1.

The high-frequency range retain clarity and unvarnished flow, in favor of Vcforum here a little, removed the aggression of the attacks, but the player is still very critical to the quality of the records and delivers the RF, not trying to hide them. However, due to the increase in the lower ranges of the focus still shifts slightly, but it is solely the effect of perception.

Plus amplifier — low noise. Of course, Andromeda (Ah, the Andromeda) will still make some noise, but to achieve the noise from the less sensitive headphones would be unrealistic.

Cable

The bonus section of the review is devoted to the silver-copper hybrid cable from iBasso. Releasing some headphones (IT03) and planning a few models, the company could not stay aside and not to indulge lovers of audiophile cables. They did CB12 wire of silver plated copper and harsh as Sveaborg option from pure copper and silver wires CB13. In this cable the company’s products is significantly less than companies dedicated exclusively to the wires. “Powerbrake” ask about $ 100for “trudny” hybrid — about 200.

In my opinion, the main characteristic of a cable is its convenience. Even if it’s made from a hybrid of vibranium with unobtanium — if the wire is uncomfortable, to sense from it is not. CB13, despite the thickness, is very comfortable: soft, not hardening in the cold, not prone to tangling. Due to the weight, despite the absence -, of the microphone the effect is not pronounced. The wire also looks fantastic — bright, solid, with quality connectors (used MMCX 2.5 mm balanced TRRS, respectively).

And, of course, sound. If you still used the 3.5 mm output of your DX200 — definitely go for a balance, even if you don’t want to spend money on the CB13, I think, even CB12 will be more than enough to get a noticeable difference in the sound. I was wondering whether there is an effect from the CB13, so I compared it with a few simple balance wires that I have in my collection (unfortunately, I have no CB12). To make this as objective, I conducted a blind test with an assistant, and there is a difference (albeit very small), this wire gives you a more focused bass and a little better attack on the treble. The effect is not great, but still I heard a difference in 14 of the 16 tests. So, if you say “in General” — I remain sceptical on account of the “huge difference”, which supposedly give leads to IEM (well, if there is not clocked something with the impedance of the cable), but small nuances “in particular” is. Although there is a logical question, especially against the background of cost IT03 themselves. I think CB13 in iBasso has in store for future, more expensive models.

Insights

A very good amplifier that offers exactly what many are not enough, AMP1 allows to obtain less capricious flow, although in some cases, AMP1 will be at least as good, if not better. I look forward to AMP3 and the release of the recently announced AMP4.