iBasso DC04 Pro Review – The Beast
The iBasso DC04 Pro combines many well-selected parts and advanced technologies, such as dual CS43131 flagship DACs, dual RT6863 high current output OP-AMPs, synchronous DC-DC converter, ultra-low noise LDO, FPGA, KDS femtosecond oscillator, multi-functional APP, Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced socket, CNC aluminum case, and tempered glass panels.
iBasso DC04 Pro features a premium Dual DAC Chipset housing two CS43131 high-performance 32-Bit DAC chips from Cirrus Logics. They offer best-in-class performance with ultra-low distortion, and high signal-to-noise ratio performance, and produce a clean output with high dynamic range.
iBasso DC04 adopts a high-power amplification circuit consisting of dual RT6863 amp chips. The device houses a 4-way fully balanced amplification circuit that produces a power output of up to 280mW@32Ω of load. The output current on the DC04 Pro is up to 100mA and the device works at a 10V voltage swing. iBasso features dual headphone output on the DC04 Pro including a 3.5mm single-ended and a 4.4mm balanced headphone output.
For high-grade audio products, the quality of the power supply plays an important role in the performance of the said device. The latest DC04 pro features ultra-low noise LDO supply circuit that ensures clean power is delivered to different components on the audio circuitry.
The DC04 Pro consumes less power and provides a power-saving mode option. When using normal mode balanced output, the power consumption is 650mW; the single-ended output will turn off the unused half of the AMP, lowering the power consumption to only 550mW. When the power saving mode is on, it turns off and bypasses the AMP section, with output directly from the DAC’s internal AMP. In this mode, the power consumption is as low as 410mW. Compared with the power consumption of similar dongles, which can be as high as 700 to 800mW, the power consumption and heat generation of DC04PRO is lower.
iBasso DC04 Pro utilizes an in-house developed FPGA algorithm. It is supported by a KDS crystal oscillator to form a low-jitter clock on the DC04 Pro. This helps in delivering clear and accurate high-resolution audio signal decoding performance.
iBasso DC04 Pro decodes high-resolution audio signals with support for all leading high-resolution PCM and DSD audio signals. It supports up to 32-Bit/384kHz PCM signals and up to DSD256 signals natively.
iBasso DC04 Pro houses dual headphone output ports. The device provides the user with a single-ended 3.5mm output and a 4.4mm balanced headphone output option. All leading IEMs and headphones currently come with either of the two termination options (3.5mm or 4.4mm).
The DC04 Pro case is made using CNC to precisely manufacture the high-grade aluminum alloy. The open volume control structure requires complex steps during machining, which are both visually appealing and fit with the required function. Using tempered glass panels, the DC04 PRro is both esthetically appealing and conveys the quality of the build. Grey and Blue colors are available.
- High-performance Dual CS43131 DAC chips.
- Dual Independent RT6863 Amp Chips.
- FPGA+KDS Femtosecond Oscillator.
- Elegant Unibody design.
- iBasso Mobile App support.
- Fully Balanced 4.4mm Headphone Output.
- Single-Ended 3.5mm Headphone Output.
- Decodes PCM Up To 32Bit/384kHz.
- DSD256 Support.
- CNC Machined Aluminum Alloy Build With Tempered Glass Panels.
- Lower-Power Consumption.
- Physical Volume Keys.
- Ultra-Low Noise LDO.
- Size: 59mm*23.4mm*12.1mm
4.4mm Output Technical Specifications
- THD+N: 0.00013% (300Ω).
- Output Level: 3.0Vrms (32Ω), 4.0Vrms (300Ω).
- SNR: 131dB.
- DNR: 128dB.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz.
- Output Impedance: <0.4Ω.
3.5mm Output Specifications
- THD+N: 0.00018% (300Ω).
- Output Level: 2.0Vrms (32Ω), 2.0Vrms (300Ω).
- SNR: 127dB.
- DNR: 126dB.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz.
- Output Impedance; <0.2Ω.
I would like to thank iBasso Audio for providing me with the review sample of the DC04 Pro USB DAC-AMP.
iBasso UAC APP has been fully updated to work with the DC04 Pro.
- 100 Steps Hardware Volume
- 20 Steps L/R Balancer
- 5 Options Digital Filters
- 3 Options Gain Control
- 2 Options Output Mode
- On/Off Power Saver
The portable USB-DAC market is very saturated right now and new products are coming out every day. As the number of products increases, it becomes more difficult to distinguish good products from mediocre ones. Fortunately, the product we are listening to today is very good and it manages to make you notice it from the very first track.
iBasso DC04 Pro is fast and precise with a good level of layering. Sounds natural, with deep lows and sharp mids. The micro-detail performance is superb. DC04 Pro will treat you with a well-balanced sound signature.
Lows are fast and powerful. The bass is impressive. Usually, this is where a USB DAC falls short, but this wasn’t the case here, and I could push the volume way higher than I thought. It’s fast and powerful and with good headphones, you’ll be rewarded by deep and tight bass. And it never oversteps on the other frequencies. Midbass is also very well-judged and doesn’t color the midrange.
The midrange is full and lush with a rich timbre. Instruments have a full body and weight. Vocals are rendered in a similar fashion. This full-bodied core is overlaid with an open upper midrange that adds a layer of texture and brightness, making for quite balanced and natural tonality. This creates a sensation of an open and texture-rich tone. The vocals sound with perfect tonality and timber for my ears and the DC04 Pro gave me a good level of clean sound. Mids have excellent layering and great spaciousness. They blend perfectly with the rest of the spectrum.
The Treble area sounds clean and transparent. It is extended, airy, and spacious without any control issues. In my opinion, the DC04 Pro raises the bar in the $100 segment with sharp, harsh-less trebles, and excellent layering at any given volume. With the right headphone, you’ll get a level of power and accuracy that you won’t expect from a DAC at this price. Micro-details, balanced signature, precise timbre, you get it all with the iBasso DC04 Pro.
Moving on to technicalities, it’s exceptionally well-developed for a product of this size and price. The soundstage is surprisingly good even at the highest level of volume. Compared to some budget USB DACs the mids don’t tend to fall behind the highs and lows, and everything sounds pretty even. All tones have plenty of room to breathe and are arranged in front of a very black background. Pinpointing a source where the sound originated is easy, but in doing that iBasso DC04 Pro avoids ever becoming tiring in any way imaginable. DC04 Pro seems to take a step forward in imaging capabilities plus added placement accuracy from let’s say the first iteration dongle DACs that were introduced into the market which generally sounded somewhat narrow and lacked depth.
DC04 Pro vs DC03 Pro
The iBasso DC04 Pro is slightly punchier, and richer. It has as well ever so slightly sparklier treble compared to the DC03 Pro. I also hear slightly better textured layering across the spectrum on the DC04 Pro. It sounds more dynamic and vibrant compared to little brother.
The DC03 Pro was a very good-sounding and feature-rich USB DAC/AMP for the asking price. The DC04 Pro takes it further with better sound quality, better hardware volume controls (72 steps vs 100 steps), 3x more output power (3.5mm/98mW vs 4.4mm/280mW), and much better power efficiency with its eco mode compared to the same class (3.5mm+4.4mm) USB DAC/AMPs. The big brother is a beast!