iBasso DC03 Portable DAC-Amplifier Review

With many fashionable smartphones immediately missing a 3.5mm headphone jack, it is turning into troublesome for audiophiles to make use of them as supply gadgets for lossless wired listening. While many shall be fast to recommend utilizing a devoted high-resolution audio participant or a DAC-amplifier setup utilizing a pc, these will be costly. Fortunately, budding audiophiles on a price range do have some worthwhile choices to contemplate, together with good transportable DAC-amplifiers such because the iBasso DC03.

Priced at Rs. 4,999, the iBasso DC03 is a compact however full-fledged DAC-amplifier, meant for use with smartphones or computer systems. You can join 3.5mm earphones or headphones to this gadget, which serves as a bridge between the supply and output gadgets, similar to the marginally extra reasonably priced Shanling UA1. Is the iBasso DC03 a sensible choice to your price range audiophile setup? Find out on this evaluation.

The iBasso DC03 helps as much as 32-bit / 384kHz decision and DSD256x codecs


iBasso DC03 design and specs

Like the Shanling UA1, the iBasso DC03’s largest asset is its measurement. The core gadget is only a small dongle with a cable connected that results in a USB Type-C plug. Even should you connect the included USB Type-C to Type-A adapter, the DC03 continues to be a really small gadget and can simply slot in your pocket alongside your smartphone. It additionally weighs simply 11g. The connected USB cable is evident and braided, whereas the DAC itself is totally metallic with a reflective end. The iBasso DC03 can also be out there in black, however I fairly appreciated the silver of my evaluation unit.

There’s actually nothing a lot {that a} person has to do to be able to use the iBasso DC03 – you simply plug it into an Android smartphone with a USB Type-C port, and it is able to go (you might need to manually direct audio output to USB by way of the telephone’s settings, although). If you wish to join the DC03 to a laptop computer or desktop laptop, there’s the aforementioned USB Type-A adapter. I did not have to do any further setup when utilizing it with my MacBook Air or OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition; simply plugging it in had it working.

While one facet of the iBasso DC03 has the USB Type-C cable popping out of it, the opposite facet has a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can thus use it as a method to plug your personal wired headphones right into a smartphone that does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack as an alternative of utilizing a fundamental conversion dongle, or to enhance sound high quality with superior digital-to-analogue conversion than most transportable gadgets present on their very own.

Indeed, on paper, the iBasso DC03 is an excellent DAC-amplifier, with twin Cirrus Logic CS43131 digital-analogue converter chips and help for as much as DSD256x and 32-bit / 384kHz decision audio recordsdata. The gadget has a rated frequency response vary of 20-40,000Hz, and attracts energy for itself and the linked earphones or headphones by way of the USB connection.

ibasso dc03 review ports iBasso

The iBasso DC03 has a USB Type-C plug, however you need to use the included adapter to connect with USB Type-A gadgets too


iBasso DC03 efficiency

Although a bit costlier than the Shanling UA1 at Rs. 4,999, the iBasso DC03 is a little more succesful when it comes to specs. The gadget has twin Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chips, which is spectacular given its small measurement, and this leads to extra refinement and nuance within the output. Of course, you may want an excellent supply gadget and high-quality audio, in addition to first rate earphones or headphones to finish the trail, however the iBasso DC03 is forgiving with regards to the standard of the opposite parts within the chain.

I heard a noticeable enchancment intimately over the Shanling UA1, in addition to smoother, extra constant sound output throughout resolutions, file codecs, and music genres. Furthermore, the iBasso DC03 is a little more versatile when it comes to the type of headphones and earphones it could work with. While there is not any beneficial impedance vary, it ought to be capable to simply drive most entry-level and mid-range headphones and earphones with ease.

You would possibly even be capable to get first rate outcomes out of some high-end open-back headphones, however this ought to be a restricted use case reasonably than a part of a daily setup. The measurement and connectivity of the iBasso DC03 signifies that it is simple to make use of with smartphones and entry-level audiophile wired earphones such because the KZ ZSN Pro X or the Moondrop Spaceship, which I used this DAC-amplifier with for a lot of my evaluation.

ibasso dc03 review chain iBasso

Although high-resolution audio brings out the very best within the iBasso DC03, it is versatile sufficient to work nicely with compressed audio as nicely


While the iBasso DC03 does present an honest amplification increase, it is not fairly as pronounced as with the Shanling UA1. However, the acquire feels gentler and extra refined, permitting for extra element with much less of the standard shrillness that tends to sneak in with a giant amplification improve.

Listening to a high-resolution model of Life On The Nickel by Foster The People, the iBasso DC03 and Moondrop Spaceship saved tempo with the fast beats of the monitor, providing a superb soundstage and superbly detailed imaging. This degree of element was significantly noticeable within the faintest features in different tracks as nicely; the refined synthesiser components in State Of The Art by Gotye in addition to the auto-tuned vocals have been superbly reproduced.

With the costlier and way more succesful Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones, a high-resolution model of You Rock My World by Michael Jackson sounded pushed, tight, and spacious, providing a refined degree of aggression that introduced out the very best within the headphones. Where the iBasso DC03 outperforms competitors in its worth section is its capacity to suitably drive each price range and mid-range headphones and earphones equally nicely.


The iBasso DC03 comes from a well-established line of merchandise which have lengthy been thought-about the very best compact price range DAC-amplifiers you should purchase, and it lives as much as expectations. This is a succesful DAC-amplifier that punches nicely above its weight, and is priced at an affordable Rs. 4,999 in India. When paired with good headphones or earphones, the iBasso DC03 serves as a superb bridge between supply and output gadgets, including element, in addition to refined and cautious acquire.

While the Shanling UA1 is a good bit extra reasonably priced than the iBasso DC03, the latter presents a bit extra by the use of element and refinement, making it nicely value the additional Rs. 1,000 for budding audiophiles. Combined with good price range earphones, the iBasso DC03 presents a greater listening expertise than most wi-fi audio merchandise, with most high-resolution and compressed audio codecs.

Price: Rs. 4,999

Ratings (out of 10):

Design: 9
Performance: 9
Value For Money: 8
Overall: 9


  • Small, very straightforward to make use of
  • USB Type-C and Type-A connectivity
  • 32-bit / 384kHz, DSD256x help
  • Improves element and acquire within the sound significantly
  • Works nicely with price range and mid-range headphones and earphones


Interested in cryptocurrency? We talk about all issues crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is offered on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Source link