iKKO Zerda ITM02 Assessment — Headfonics

Deal Score0
Deal Score0

This can be a assessment of the iKKO Zerda ITM02 which is a conveyable dongle DSD128 succesful DAC and 70mW @32Ω single-ended headphone amplifier. It has a value of $59 at the moment discounted to $50.15.

Disclaimer: This can be a pattern despatched in trade for our sincere opinion. Headfonics is an impartial web site that doesn’t have any affiliate hyperlinks or standing. We thank the group at iKKO Audio for giving us this chance.

To learn extra about iKKO merchandise we’ve beforehand coated on Headfonics you may click here.

Observe, that this text follows our newest scoring tips which you’ll be able to learn up on here.

iKKO Zerda ITM02

The iKKO Zerda ITM02 is budget-friendly, properly designed, and with a very good efficiency total. That is on par with 4x the value DACs from a number of years again. That’s what all of us need to see, proper?

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Ahead and interesting midrange

Very pocketable

iOS & Android cable choices


Not sufficient output energy

Fuzzy Imaging

IKKO form of got here out of nowhere, didn’t they? Like BAM! Right here come some respected funds IEMs such because the Gems OH1S and the unique OH1 and a few audiophile group love.

That’s the form of stuff I need to see and listen to as a reviewer, an organization that cares and strives to place forth high quality inexpensive merchandise for us to get pleasure from.

On this assessment, we might be speaking about probably the most inexpensive dongle-DACs in the marketplace as we speak, the  Zerda ITM02. A transportable DAC and amp combo that’s supposed to be used with cell telephones for these which were at midnight this final 12 months or two.

iKKO Audio Zerda ITM02
Copyright iKKO Audio 2022

Tech Highlights

The Zerda ITM02 places out 70mW @32Ω, which isn’t in any respect sufficient to satiate most audiophile headphones past 32Ω today. However, for normal shoppers and really environment friendly earbuds or IEMs, that is completely high quality.

Does this hassle me? Effectively, probably not. Most, if not all of those smaller DACs put out small numbers, so you’re clearly not supposed to energy a 600Ω Sennheiser HD800, however I’m going to anyway!


The traditional AK4377 is simply high quality. No, actually! They’re simply high quality total and don’t actually lack wherever. They’re generalist chips, they’re balanced in portions, and normally have a really slight treble brightness issue to make the sound signature no less than considerably attention-grabbing.

On this case, I discovered that to be fairly correct in my testing phases. The AK4377 is a funds chip, that is now the entry-level audiophilia-tier high quality and that may be a good factor. Just a few years in the past, ultra-budget sounded a lot worse than this.

Amp & Battery

The Zerda ITM02 is, in fact, a solid-state design. I can say although, at 70mW draw, the Zerda ITM02 can drain your telephone a good bit after only a few hours.

In any case, it has no inside battery and it depends in your telephone to energy it. My telephone of selection is the Sony Xperia 1iii, and I get a lot of hours of music on it through its 3.5mm output. Nevertheless, the ITM02 right here plugged in, reduces that playtime by over a half.

However this isn’t a nasty factor. Each transportable DAC like this drains the battery of your supply. I’ve a bag filled with tiny DACs identical to this that do a lot worse.

iKKO Zerda ITM02 Review


The Zerda ITM02 is so small! Formally, I feel, the smallest telephone DAC I’ve ever reviewed. The subsequent closest in measurement is the Hidizs S8, which is thinner, however a bit longer.

There are not any buttons on the Zerda ITM02, only one LED coloured mild to point if DSD and 32bit are energetic, or not. The underside aspect has a single 3.5mm port and the highest makes use of a regular USB-C connector.

Fortunately, IKKO included each an iOS and an Android-C cable for you. It’s small, it’s cute, and it’ll promote effectively as a result of identify of IKKO being so respected now. Clearly, these designs are a shot throughout the bow of FiiO and Hidizs. I say good, the competitors is wholesome and simply provides us extra high quality stuff to mess with.

iKKO Zerda ITM02 Review
Copyright iKKO Audio 2022

Packaging & Equipment

The packaging is comparatively fundamental. A small cardboard field with no colour, simply black ink textual content. Inside it, there’s a cutout for the product and two cables inside. The ICs and the Android-C cables are good, and I recognize the corporate ensuring we even have them.

I reviewed a number of of those that make you choose which one you need on checkout and have to pay further for the opposite mannequin cable. Outdoors of that, nothing else is included besides some paperwork. Will we even want anything? Nah.

Sound Impressions


The Zerda ITM02 has a balanced sound signature, largely. Response by way of amount is missing, and response to EQ alteration can also be missing.

The expertise will muddy up rapidly if you happen to drop a +6dB of additional bass enhance, however once more, it is a funds possibility and normal shoppers usually are not possible to try this anyway.

High quality could be very good, for the value. As talked about, constancy components for funds DACs of this kind are getting so good and pleasant, that I can see why increasingly more folks need to really purchase them within the normal market.

Particularly players. Now that a lot of the gaming world is launched to glorious voice performing and dynamic sound fields, naturally, these players want a nicer expertise and a nicer set of headphones.

Fortunately, most gaming headphones, which might be 3.5mm enabled, don’t require a lot energy and are normally environment friendly sufficient for use with this Zerda ITM02. For the value, it’s justified constancy at $50.


iKKO appears to get pleasure from a ahead and interesting sound discipline. So too with this Zerda ITM02 which additionally has related qualities to their IEMs and would mesh very properly with their product stock. Rig pairing at its best.

The mids are pure feeling, crisp, but additionally ahead and energetic with out being harsh. The higher mids are getting a tad bit vibrant, however not in a damaging means. The higher mids, fortunately, lack a way of nasalness or overly crisp feeling and tone that plagues most funds gear.

For those who get pleasure from Jazz and requirements, you’ll actually just like the Zerda ITM02. I sat in a bathtub for a bit with it and a Hifiman R9 and loved the expansive sound discipline. It has a barely pushed-forward vocal expertise that I’m not used to as a result of my main transportable rig’s DAC isn’t fairly as ahead as this Zerda ITM02.

iKKO Zerda ITM02 Review


The highest aspect has now entered what I name vibrant territory, however once more, not painfully so and never poorly carried out. It’s vibrant, however it doesn’t slam exhausting. It has a pleasant sheen to it, and it does rise up from the mids and bass as extra prominently “there”.

For those who like crisp tones, it is a good set for you that may in all probability take an affordable missing treble IEM and provides it slightly bit further life to the tonality and musicality expertise. For instance, I’ve a set of FiiO FF3 earbuds which have a darkish tone, however with this DAC, they sound livelier and extra participating up high than what I’m very used to with different rigs.

So far as constancy goes, the Zerda ITM02 is the cleanest dongle DAC outdoors of the older Colorfly BT-C1, which is totally Bluetooth-enabled and really sounds cleaner. Whereas that DAC started its life at $100 or so, as we speak it’s the identical value as a brand new Zerda ITM02. For those who just like the darker sound, Colorfly it. For those who just like the brighter sound, iKKO it.

Staging & Dynamics

Imaging is an actual drop-off in comparison with a number of the costlier FiiO’s and Hidizs fashions on the market. In my lot of tiny DACs, this Zerda ITM02 is the smallest staging expertise by way of width issue, however it’s noticeably deeper than the Hidizs S8.

Imaging isn’t its robust go well with, however then once more, none of those tiny funds DACs from another firm had a grand spacious imaging expertise. I contemplate it common in that regard because it actually performs in the identical normal means as all the things else I’ve right here.

As soon as extra, the Colorfly BT-C1 sounds noticeably extra open, however it lacks the air between devices that feels extra breathable as a result of Zerda ITM02’s penchant for treble shimmer. The Colorfly doesn’t have shimmer.

iKKO Zerda ITM02 Review


Floor Noise

Yep, I can detect only a small quantity of fuzz within the background when utilizing the Zerda ITM02. However, for this value? I’m not going to complain. I can’t even hear it on funds and decrease middle-tier headphones.

It took some delicate audiophile higher-tier headphones to even choose it up. 99.9% of the inhabitants received’t even hear it, so it’s not a deal breaker except you need to use nicer headphones or IEMs with this ITM02.


Resulting from it being such low voltage output, the Zerda ITM02 doesn’t scale effectively with even reasonably needy IEMs or headphones. Dearer fashions really feel underfed, however then once more why the hell are you utilizing audiophile costly headphones with a $50 dongle?

You don’t do this except you’re a reviewer!  Anyway, the $50 budget-tier dongle is for use with budget-tier merchandise or on the very least, decrease mid-tier headphones and amps.

In that case, you may squeeze by. Tone pairing is essential and this Zerda ITM02 is extra of a specialised treble tone product than a generalist.


The Zerda ITM02 is a bit too vibrant on the highest aspect to play with hotter amps or headphones, and it was so near being a very nice generalized with excessive synergy rankings for me.

For those who drop the treble down a bit, it’s an amazing generalist however that requires EQ alterations in your supply to perform, it’s not exhausting in any respect to get proper.

With out it, most impartial and warmer-sounding headphones and amps ended up sounding not like they need to and that’s once more as a result of the treble of the Zerda ITM02 is vibrant and plentiful. I feel pairing a vibrant headphone or amp with this might end in an excessive amount of brightness.

iKKO Zerda ITM02 Review

Choose Comparisons

Colorfly BT-C1

Each are tiny and well-made. However the Colorfly is metal-encased and round in design. It’s also totally Bluetooth as effectively which suggests a extra compressed audio sign and efficiency.

The Zerda ITM02 sounds extra ahead, and brighter on the highest. The Colorfly feels darker, slower, mellow, and simpler to hearken to, with much less fatigue susceptible over the course of lengthy usages. The Colorfly additionally has a quantity button, and the Zerda ITM02 is only a pure DAC sort with none buttons.

iKKO Zerda ITM02 Review

Hidizs S8

The Hidizs S8 tone and texture really feel much less pure, much less dense, and extra aired out and sharpened. The Zerda ITM02 sounds coherently weighty however has much less bodily strike slam impact too.

The Zerda ITM02 is far brighter up high, however the S8 digs a lot deeper on the bass aspect. These are equaled in a factors recreation, however I’d go along with the Zerda ITM02 for the purity issue alone throughout the board, sacrificing bass depth and including further participating mids to the expertise that lack on the S9.

NextDrive Spectra X

NeXTDrive Spectra X

The Spectra X sounds audibly much less clear on the treble and bass, however the imaging feels noticeably wider and extra coherently bodily fashioned and introduced. The Zerda ITM02 is far brighter sounding.

The Spectra X feels overly darkened and even darker than the Colorfly. The design of the SpectraX additionally requires a USB normal to C or iOS adapter to make use of on a telephone, it is a smaller PC (largely) supposed DAC and amp.

I can say although, the Spectra X considerably places out extra voltage than the Zerda ITM02, by heaps which means it may deal with extra demanding headphones and IEMs.

iKKO Zerda ITM02 Review

Our Verdict

The iKKO Zerda ITM02 is budget-friendly, properly designed, and with a very good efficiency total. That is on par with 4x the value DACs from a number of years again. That’s what all of us need to see, proper?

Large market enhancements and older merchandise chunk the mud by way of the price-to-performance ratio. As a lot as that sucks for homeowners, the market and audiophilia, generally, has to maintain pushing the boundary and making our present stock out of date.

For the value, the IKKO Audio Zerda is a good little DAC. However the one factor I’d actually wish to have seen was a bit extra energy out of it.

IKKO Audio Zerda ITM02 Specs

  • Materials: Aluminum alloy + Glass
  • DAC: AK4377
  • SNR: 120dB
  • THD: -108dB/0.0004%
  • Output: 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Output Energy: 70mW @32Ω
  • Audio format assist: PCM: 32bit/384Khz, DSD128


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