iBasso DX80 DAP. Analysis and review. Part II (English).

iBasso DX80 DAP. Analysis and review. Part II (English).
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Internal design and architecture fo the iBasso DX80 DAP

As briefly introduced in 1st part of the review, the iBasso DX80 DAP entails a new platform design. It moves to a newer lower power quad-core chipset based on the Cortex A7 with a frequency of up to 1.3GHz that includes, among others, integrated S/PDIF output used in the coaxial/optical jack at the top of the DX80 (see below).

iBasso DX80 DAP

Fig.1: Top view of the Ibasso DX80 mainboard.

 

  1. Each side of the Mainboard has one microSD connector for a total of two.
  2. New Cortex A7 based processor helps improving the playback battery life with a minimum of 12/13hrs depending on the load and volume.
  3. It keeps using 512MB Ram which should be plenty for a dedicated music player that doesn’t need multitasking or gaming.
  4. At the bottom of the player, we can see the 6 Nichichon Golden series “reservoir” capacitors that make sure the output audio stage never runs “dry” of current.
  5. On the top view, we have the DUAL DAC CS4398 that is shielded separately from the digital section (other players with this configuration such as the A&K 120 II, cost as much as 3 times the DX80).
  6. One of the big novelties on the Ibasso DX80 is the addition of the USB XMOS receiver that supports up to 32bits/384KHz in PCM mode and native DSD( DSD64 (2.8MHz), DSD128 (5.6MHz), DSD256 (11.3MHz), DSD512 (22.6MHz)). In order to find a portable music player with such capability you need to jump up to an Astell&Kern AK240 (at 2500 USD, you can buy 6 or more DX80…).
  7. Output stage is designed around dual supply IC that generates around +/-5.1V (with the help of an extra pair of Nichichon GOLD SERIES capacitors) for the dual OPA1602 as voltage gain and dual LMH/BUF current buffer output.
  8. It keeps the output relay from the DX50/90 family to block any “pops” at start or shutdown of the player.

 

iBasso DX80 DAP

Fig.2: Bottom view of the Ibasso DX80 mainboard

 

Comparative

DX80DX50DX90
SoC CPUQuad-Core ARM      Cortex-A7

Rockchip RK3128

Single-Core ARM Cortex-A9

Rockchip RK2926

Dual-Core ARM    Cortex-A9

Rockchip RK3026

RAM memory4 Gb 16 bits DDR3 SDRAM4 Gb 8 bits DDR3 SDRAM4 Gb 16 bits DDR3 SDRAM
FLASH memorySamsung 8GB (fully enabled for the OS)SK Hynix 8GB MLC NAND

 

Micron 8 GB MLC NAND

 

Battery and SoC Power Management ICRichtek RT5037X-Power APX202X-Power APX202
USB controllerXMOS XS1-L6A supports PCM up to 32/384KHz and DSD64/128/512Integrated inside Rockchip RK2926 limited to PCM 24/192KHz and no DSDIntegrated inside Rockchip RK2926 limited to PCM 24/192KHz and no DSD
S/PDIF outputIntegrated in Rockchip RK3128 using Coaxial and Optical combo jack.Cirrus Logic CS8406Cirrus Logic CS8406
DACDual CS4398Wolfson WM8740Dual ESS Sabre32 ES9018K2M
High Pass Filter + Voltage Gain stage“SoundPlus” OPA1602OPA1611OPA1611
Output BufferDual LMH65 or BUF634NoneBUF634
Output relayNEC   UD2NEC   UD2NEC   UD2

 

Line out measurements

Line Out10 KOhm
Dynamic Range112.34 dB
Crosstalk (L)-86.9 dB
Crosstalk (R)-86.2 dB
Output Voltage1.566 Vrms@0.022%
Frecuency Response

(20Hz – 20kHz)

+/-0.018%
Floor noise-102.93 dBu
SMPTE IMD0.000392%
CCIF IMD (max)0.0014%

Fig.4: Summary of the iBasso DX80 DAP Line Out measurements

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig29

Fig.5: Frequency Response of the iBasso DX80 DAP

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig31

Fig.6: DAC linearity and floor noise of the iBasso DX80 DAP

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig32

Fig.7: Output voltage of the iBasso DX80 DAP

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig33

Fig.8: THD+N of the iBasso DX80 DAP

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig34

Fig.9: Dynamic range of the Ibasso DX80

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig35

Fig.10: Crosstalk of the Ibasso DX80

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig36

Fig.11: Intermodulation SMPTE of the Ibasso DX80

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig37

Fig.12: Intermodulation CCIFof the Ibasso DX80

Overall, the Line out function performs decently as a good analog source for an external amplifier, with very low noise output (below what the human can hear), lower distortion (particularly at high frequencies) and improved both CCIF and SMPTE  intermodulation compared to the jack output. The IBasso DX80 is as pure as source as a dedicated ODAC RevB 

 

Time analysis

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig38

Fig.13: 30Hz Square wave of the Ibasso DX80

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig39

Fig.14: 300Hz Square wave of the Ibasso DX80

 

Coaxial output measurements

After purchasing a TOSLINK to 3.5mm jack adaptor, we have been able to hook our IBasso DX80 to the optical input of the AP585. You could use a coaxial cable to carry the S/PDIF signal too, but TOSLINK unlike coaxial cables, are immune to ground loops and RF interference. TOSLINK cables may suffer permanent damage if tightly bent, you need to be more careful.

The measurements look as neat as you can imagine from a pure digital signal in an optical format. In the digital world, there are no Volts or Watts, the digital signal goes from -1V to 1V and is measured in dBFS, being +0 dBFS the maximum output of a digital system.

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig40

Fig.16:  Maximum digital S/PDIF output of the Ibasso DX80

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig41

Fig.17:  Zero distortion for the Ibasso DX80 on its S/PDIF optical output

 

Ibasso-DX80-reproductor-DAC-auriculares-fig42

Fig.18: IBasso DX80 floor noise at -180dBFs (!!) in the Optical S/PDIF output

 

Conclusion

This second review emphasizes on the inner design of the Ibasso DX80 and how it focuses on the sound quality through a very careful audio section coupled with high quality components.

As well, we measured the fixed Line Output that achieves lower floor noise and slightly less distortion THD+N than the analog jack, so it highly recommended when you want to use an external amplifier or for an active set of speakers.

Finally, we looked at some measurements on the optical S/PDIF output and highlighted how clean it is. Definitely, the best option if you want to connect the Ibasso DX80 to a superior DAC or AV system at home.

Y además...


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