Review: iBasso Amp8 (for DX150/200/220)

Firstly I would like to thank Paul at iBasso for sending me this sample to review; this has had well over 200hrs of burn-in before reviewing.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used: 
iBasso DX200 with Amp1 + Amp8 > 64 Audio A6t / Custom Art FIBAE3 / InEarz P350 / HiFiMan Sundara

Packaging and Build Quality:
The Amp8 comes in a compact little box with the model on the outside. It is held neatly in a foam insert, with a small flathead screwdriver and a small piece of card showing you how to swap the amp modules (super simple). As you can imagine, this is an accessory so there is no need for elaborate and fancy packaging.

Build quality wise is what you would expect, excellent machining on the main housing, contacts are all clean and solid and the 4.4mm socket feels sturdy and tight. I cannot complain about anything here, the module installed neatly and easily and there's little that can go wrong here.

My reference point for this review is the stock Amp1 module which to my ears has a very neutral, clean and crisp sound. One of the big benefits of the Amp8 module is the output power, it is now able to driver some full headphones with more authority.

The Amp8 module has had plenty of burn-in, and I have had a lot of listening time with it. It has become my daily module, I mainly stuck with the Amp1 due to the flexibility of the outputs but the Amp8 provides a big enough jump in sound quality that I am keeping it permanently attached. Where I always loved the reference sound of the Amp1 module, the Amp8 just has this ability to portray every detail with excellent clarity but without the slightly cold edge of Amp1. There is more depth to the sound, the soundstage and imaging are now more convincing and layered, and there is a greater sense of space. 

There is a slight warm tilt to the Amp8, but I would not class it as a dark sounding module, there is just a little bit better extension and body when it comes to the lower end of the spectrum. The lows punch with a little more authority, but they don't sound out of place. The midrange is less clinical than Amp1, but doesn't quite reach what I would class as coloured. With regards to the treble it is ever so slightly more realistic, the Amp1 occasionally had a slight metallic tone to it, which is gone with Amp8. The highs are now more effortless in their extension, bringing out that last bit of detail but not bringing it forward in a harsh way.

Conclusion: To me the Amp8 just sounds right, it sounds natural and effortless and has plenty of power on tap for slightly more demanding headphones. I appreciate the reference qualities of the Amp1, but I do fine Amp8 to be slightly more resolving of finer details, yet it also manages to get out of the way of the music a bit easier and lets you just sit back and enjoy listening. Overall if you want a little extra body, wider soundstage and better resolution the Amp8 is a worthy investment.

Sound Perfection Rating: 8/10 (not as flexible output wise as Amp1, but the sound is truly excellent)