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Ibasso D12 vs Pico DAC/Amp


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I haven’t seen anything about the Ibasso D12 on this site. When my friend at work ordered one, I did a search and found nothing. I apologize if this is a duplicate thread.

So let me briefly discuss my direct comparison between it and the Pico Dac/Amp combo that I made while borrowing the D12 for two days. I only used the USB input for both. And I didn’t make any attempt to isolate the DAC from the amp in either model. I only used the stock op amp in the D12. All comparisons were made using my JH-13s.

The D12 is larger in all dimensions, making it considerably less portable. But it does offer a lot of features the Pico doesn’t. Like the D10, it has toslink and SPDIF digital inputs in addition to USB. It also doesn’t need an AC adapter, as it can charge from its USB connection. There’s a great little switch on the back that lets the USB user turn the charging on or off. So one needs not worry about killing the battery by overcharging it. If the battery isn’t yet charged, a little red light will be lit, as with the Pico.

The D12 is brighter than the Pico. Bass is less prominent, treble is more so. The difference is within the margins of my own preference on a given day. I can’t say for sure which one is closer to neutral. Neither one sounded better at any particular performance attribute than the other. The brighter signature might give the sense that the D12 is more detailed, but I found this not to be so. On the other hand, the Pico might at first seem to have a deeper soundstage. But this is just the darker signature making everything sound a little further back. I recall some people claiming that the D10 had a noticeable coloration to it. I never got the sense that the D12 suffers from this. Of course, this might be the sort of thing that doesn’t register in only days of listening, but rather months.

As of now, I’d say that the D12 is a lateral move from the Pico DAC/Amp. If the toslink and SPDIF inputs perform at least as well as the USB, then it offers considerably more flexibility at the expense of added size. It’s also a lot less expensive than the Pico, so I’d call it a good value too.

One geek bonus point I should make, is that the D12 doesn’t force a single sample rate, and can handle 24 bit files. I assume that this is only of use when connecting with toslink or SPDIF. But it’s nice to know that 24 bit files don’t necessarily get truncated. And I’m rather partial to setting the sample rate to X2 of the file’s rate when listening to 44.1 or 48 Khz files. One can do this with the D12.

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The D12 is brighter than the Pico.

Brightness = bad.

The brighter signature might give the sense that the D12 is more detailed' date=' but I found this not to be so.[/quote']

Good parts have black backgrounds and sound smooth with depth but still not missing any of the details that are actually there.

Depth comes from bright shit not getting in the way of the real highs.

So you own the Pico?

Good choice.

Edited by Tyll Hertsens
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Tyll, my usage of the term "brightness" is relative. Relative to the Pico, the D12 is tipped up with more prominent highs, less prominent lows. There's nothing inherently bad about that. I couldn't find any information present in one unit that was missing from the other. I don't have measuring tools to determine for certain which one is closer to neutral though.

I've been a Pico DAC/Amp owner for about three years now. I won't be getting a D12 for myself because it's not an upgrade from the Pico, but rather, a lateral move.

It should be a great fit for my work buddy though, as he's going to be using it with JH-16s, which would probably be WAY too bassy with a Pico. But then again, JH-16s are for the bass thirsty among us.

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  • 1 year later...

That's interesting... looks good, and I've been reading good things about the DX1000. Seems to be the only worthy competitor to the HM-801 available.

I do hate the idea of having an Android DAP though. I like DAPs to be as simple as possible, instead of cluttered with stuff I don't need, such as apps, touchscreen and so on. iPod Classic FTW

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