Audio player iBasso DX90: not a hundred, not fifty, but ninety!

Today I would like to talk about a compromise solution from iBasso: the DX90. Let me remind you, iBasso is a small Chinese company specializing in the production of portable amplifiers and DACs. At the end of 2012 it released its first portable player Ibasso dx100 and a little later its smaller model dx50. After a while dx100 goes out of production and its replacement in the guise of the same dx50, but with a new, cooler stuffing, goes model dx90. By the way, in Japan you can still get the Japanese version of dx100, abbreviated HDP-R10. The hero of today’s review is made on two ESS Sabre 9018K2M DAC chips, one per channel. The “big brother”, the dx100, used single-channel mode, but the more mature, eight-channel Sabre 9018. The amplifying part of our baby is made by OPA1611 and BUF634 chips. By the way, all of this is located in the body dx50, including a removable battery, compatible with Samsung Galaxy S3. In general, an interesting “beastie.



Audio player iBasso DX90

Appearance and kit

Here everything is almost the same as on the younger model. The player comes in a small brown box. On the outside of the box is a black embossed paper tape. Inside is the player itself, a USB cable, a cable for digital output coaxial , a case and two protective films on the screen and wait: a cable to warm up the unit. Yes, you heard right, the manufacturer recommends warming up this model like an engine in the cold, with special tracks or just music material, for 400 hours. Here we go!

The device itself is made of metal with a textured surface. On the front panel is a touch screen IPS/320×240 and three control keys. The left one is responsible for switching “back”, the middle one for “start/pause” and the right one gives full “forward.

It’s very similar to the iBasso DX50 as I promised.

Large keys with a nice soft touch, simple ergonomics. All buttons are within one finger: navigation under the screen and on the touch screen. On the top are the coaxial output, a microSD card slot and a micro usb connector for the cable/charger.

On the left side are the on off button and a switch that is responsible for locking the control of the device.

On the right side there are volume control keys. On the bottom face there is a 3,5 mm headphone jack, 3,5 mm line jack and amplifier mode switch gain .

All very well done. No backlash, no gaps, nothing is loose. The device is very comfortable. Size, build quality, all on high! Convenience is a trademark of the 50th and 90th models!

The interface is quite simple. Here you can find music playback, playback mode selection from directory internal/external memory/USB-OTG , playlist selection, sorting by artist, album and genre, switching eight-band equalizer with presets and switching between two digital filter modes. It is possible to use the device as a USB DAC sound card.

Audio players



The sound of the player is close to neutral. There is a little accent on the HF, or rather not an accent, but a chip. The high frequencies are not scattered, they are collected, but they draw attention a little. In general, this is more of a plus than a minus and I even liked this point.

The middle part is not so clear. There is a chip Sabre, a la three-dimensional filing. When you listen to it, all is cool and it seems that there is nothing to complain about, good detail, everything, then suddenly, a part of the middle part, how should I say it, becomes clumpy or something, as if some musicians in a moment merged in ecstasy, and the rest stayed in their places. Then, that “sex in music” fades away.

Sometimes the sound is aloof and even dead, but sometimes you can not tear yourself away, it is so addictive. Weird, shorter manner. Of course, everyone has his own taste. Some people like this kind of material, even very much. But personally I think it sounds a little bit funny and not very natural. Otherwise it is very good.

Low frequencies have a good elaboration and weight, but at the same time unhurried. Feed is pretty massive, a little warm, if I may say so. Bass is not hum and blurred.

The player sounds very good with the line output and is quite good as a transport for a digital output over coaxial.



What? The player is very good, with a peculiar way of presenting sound material. Like its little brother, it is very handy, has a bunch of advantages in the form of removable battery, the ability to use as a USB DAC and connect flash drives through the USB OTG-adapter by the way, not included . The average price for a portable audio device of this level is 26 000 roubles, which is quite decent considering the crazy dollar exchange rate.

Looks, usability, replaceable battery, price, battery life, sound. The ability to work in USB DAC mode, the ability to connect external flash drives through the USB OTG adapter.

Again, the taste of the sound. Particularly picky audiophiles should listen to some tracks before buying.


ES9018K2M X 2

Line output

Frequency range: 17 Hz – 20 kHz ± 0.1 dB

Signal to noise ratio: -119 dB ± 1 dB

Total harmonic distortion + noise: 0.0015%

Channel separation: 115dB @ 1kHz

Output level: 1.7 Vrms @ 1 kHz, 0 dB

Headphone output

Frequency range: 17 Hz – 20 kHz ± 0.1 dB

Signal to noise ratio: 0.0015% With a load of 32&Omega

Output level: 1.3 Vrms Low gain , 2.0 Vrms Mid gain , 2.8 Vrms High Gain

Signal to noise ratio: -118 dB ± 1 dB Low gain , -116 dB ± 1 dB Mid gain , -115 dB ± 1 dB High Gain , with a load of 32&Omega

Channel separation: 75 dB @ 1 kHz at 32&Omega

Output impedance: <0.1&Omega


Rechargeable battery: 2100 mAh compatible with that of the Samsung GALAXY S3

Battery life: 8.5 ch

Battery charge time: up to 3 hours from the charger, 5.5 h from USB port

Built-in memory: 8GB

Supports memory cards: MicroSD, up to 2TB

Supported formats: APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3

Dimensions: 64 mm x 100 mm x 17 mm

Weight: 140 grams

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