iBasso has been running mouths in the portable audiophile community for years now and have often been successful with their products. They churn out products not frequently often, but frequently good in performance specially over previous products and models. It’s great to finally see them now back in action with the iBasso D14 Bushmaster. I have waited for this product for weeks and it’s finally out! Let me tell you about it below.
Packaging/Build: Packaging is interesting as iBasso truly has never changed their packaging style. Still the same white and black box with the product and accessories, with the D14, you get an additional SPDIF cable and a carrying pouch to the usual accessories compromising of the USB cable, mini-USB for Android, and a iOS Camera Connection Kit capable cable. Complete with all the cables you need for everything the D14 can do!
Capabilities: The iBasso D14 Bushmaster is interestingly capable and versatile. Capable in the sense that, it has 2 gain setting covering from 8ohms up to 300ohms, it can play up to 256x native DSD on Windows and Mac, takes up to 32bit/384kHz PCM signal, takes 3.5mm, USB, and SPDIF input, works as DAC/amp or standalone DAC or standalone amp! Covers almost everything that you need, specially because it works even with Android and iOS devices. Cables included too!
Sound Quality: For the past years, I have had almost all the products that iBasso had to offer. From the PB2 + DB2, DX50 and DX90 players, the original D-Zero and the D-Zero Mk2, etc. I can say that the D14 Bushmaster is one of their DAC/amps to be highly regarded. The synergy of the Sabre32 ES9018K2M DAC chip to the internal amp is fantastic! You get wide spaces in between instruments without losing naturality and coherance. One issue that I find sometimes with great instrument separation and imaging is the lack of naturalism in both tone and decay, the D14 Bushmaster keeps them even with the very good spacing in between instruments and vocals. Separation is superb as if you can walk in-between instruments and the vocalist. Very natural sounding with a very lush and realistic tone in decay. Body is round and powerful, vocals are stellar, bringing great mids and upper-mid body. Bass is tight, not being too fast as old iBasso amps, but with good extension that also keeps a natural tone and punch. Treble can sometimes get peaky at some tracks and instances when you use the D14 as an amp only depending on the source.
I noticed how great of a match the D14 Bushmaster is in the DAC and amp configuration, being hard to beat at the price and performance. Using the D14 Bushmaster as an amp only on the DX90 showed the glare on the treble on some tracks, and the naturalism on the tone was replaced with a bit of an analytic signature. Using the D14 via coaxial on the DX90 however, gave it back it’s heart and soul which is definitely a good step above the DX90. DX90 users should definitely see the D14 Bushmaster as a great stack for their DX90. Same was found on the AK240 via line-out the treble had glare and even peaks on certain tracks, the low-end is also a bit loose, and the body is thinned down a little. Via Windows, just superbly fantastic as always when used as both DAC and amp! Power is not question as it drove anything I threw at it from the HE400, Denon D5000, HD600, and even drives the LCDX pretty well!
Overall: one of the best bang-for-the-buck with regards to versatility and performance should be given to the iBasso D14 Bushmaster. With its versatility in compatibility and use, plus with the amazing natural and very satisfying sound quality that it pushes out, it definitely is one of those DAC/amps to keep! At the price of $229, that is a steal for the performance! Check-out iBasso’s website below for ordering the D14 Bushmaster.