Introduction
iBasso is a Chinese brand that is known for their digital audio players (DAPS). They have released the iBasso DX200 not too long ago to mark their 10th anniversary. The iBasso DX200 allows the change of amp modules for different sound signatures. Recently, iBasso has released the AMP5 module that features phone out and line out. I would like to thank iBasso for providing this AMP5 module as a review unit. You can purchase the AMP5 module from their official website, http://ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=6024#page4 or https://penonaudio.com/iBasso-AMP5 .

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Description (From Official Website)

  • +/-8v high voltage swing, this significantly improves dynamics and headroom, resulting in a more powerful sound.
  • Topology utilizing voltage and current feedback, with the positive benefits of both types of feedback
  • Optimized buffer architecture, results in a lower current consumption and higher play time, but still able to output a high current into the load.
  • Topology utilizing an amplification circuit and component layout resulting in a clean and very fast transient response.
  • The AMP5 offers the single ended user a high current and voltage amp for demanding headphones. It is also very quiet and works well with IEMS. With an extremely low background noise, music is all the more layered and transparent. AMP5 handles the dynamics of the music and delivers excellent headroom giving the quality of sound that so many hope for
  • Average Play Time: 9~10hours ,the play time varies with different sample/bit rates, and headphone/IEM loads.

Specifications

Phone Out:

  • Output Voltage: 3.2Vrms
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz~45KHz -0.3dB
  • S/N: 121dB
  • THD+N: 0.00025%, -112dB
  • DNR: 120dB
  • Crosstalk: -107dB

Line Out:

  • Output Voltage: 3Vrms
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz~45KHz -0.3dB
  • S/N: 120dB
  • THD+N: 0.00023%, -113dB
  • DNR: 120dB
  • Crosstalk: -107dB

Unboxing & Accessories

The AMP5 module comes in a simple black package with an opaque wrapper. On the wrapper are the names of the brand and model in black colour. At the back of the box, there is a sticker at the bottom right corner sporting the model name and serial number. I took out the wrapper and lifted the lid. Inside the package, you will get a screwdriver, instruction manual, warranty card and the amp module itself. The screwdriver is used for removing the amp module to change to another one. The overall package is quite nice for just an amp module.

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Module Design & Build
The AMP5 module is similar to the AMP1 module without the balanced output. The AMP5 has 3.5mm phone out and line out. The build and design is exactly the same.photo_2017-12-10_10-32-45

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Sound Analysis
I use the iBasso IT03 with iBasso CB12 cable + iBasso CA01 adapter to test the AMP5 module.

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AMP5 3.5mm Phone Out vs AMP1 3.5mm Phone Out

There is more sub-bass quantity on the AMP5 than the AMP1. The AMP1 extends its sub-bass more than the AMP5. The AMP1 has a quicker bass decay and the bass note is presented with more agility. Bass texture on the AMP5 is smoother. The mid-bass on the AMP5 has more body and it is able to add some weight to the slam. The slam has a smooth approach which makes it enjoyable due to the extra quantity.  Bass articulation on both is fairly precise. The lower mids on both is very similar with the AMP5 having slightly more quantity. Male vocals are presented in a thick manner. The upper mids on the AMP5 is presented with extra body and it results in a more organic performance. There is more crisp on the AMP1 while the AMP5 operates in the smoother approach. The treble on the AMP5 is more smooth than the AMP1 and details retrieval is maintained at the same standard. The expansion of soundstage on the AMP5 is more natural with a greater magnitude and the depth on both is similar.

AMP5 3.5mm Phone Out vs AMP2 3.5mm Phone Out

There is more sub-bass quantity on the AMP5 than the AMP2 and it is extended with more depth. The bass decay on the AMP5 is slightly quicker and each bass note hits with more impact. Bass texture on both is similar. The mid-bass of the AMP5 has more body and the slam has more weight to it. The lower mids on both is similar but the AMP5 is able to render it with more mastery. The upper mids on the AMP5 has less crisp yet still retaining the details. It adds more body to the upper mids for an organic display. Moving on to the treble section, AMP5 has less sparkle than the AMP2 but there is a smoother texture to it due to the extra body. This adds finesse to the AMP5. AMP5 has a more natural expansion in its stage width and the depth on the AMP5 is better.

Conclusion
The AMP5 module is a great upgrade to your iBasso DX200 as it helps to smoothen the overall sound with extra body whilst not compromising on the details. The versatility of DX200 allows one to experience different amp modules for different sound signatures. I enjoy the AMP5 module as it showcases a mature sound with excellent control.

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