iBasso IT01S In-Ear Monitor Review
Balance & Clarity!
iBasso is Chinese company that is specialized in the Portable Audio products such like Digital Audio Players (DAP), Portable Amplifiers and In-Ear Monitors. The IT01s that I will now review for you is the upgrade version of the IT01 with a new Dynamic Driver, Premium Cable and Metal Housing.
I would like to thank iBasso for providing me the iBasso IT01s review sample. I am not affiliated with iBasso beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.
The iBasso IT01s is available for 199.99 USD and can be purchased under the following link;
Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/ibasso-it01s.html
Package and Accessories:
The iBasso IT01 comes in a small box that is wrapped with a glossy violet card box sleeve. The box itself is in blue and has a nice surface texture that gives you a good first impression.
This box includes the following contents;
- 1 x pair of IT01s In-Ear Monitor
- 1 x detachable cable with MMCX connector and 2.5mm balanced headphone jack
- 1 x 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm unbalanced adaptor
- 10 x pairs of silicone ear tips (1 pair came preinstalled)
- 2 x pairs of foam ear tips
- 2 x pairs of spare screens with o-rings
- 1 x Metal carry case
- 1 x Warranty Card
Design, Build Quality and Fit:
The iBasso IT01s has the same ergonomic (universal) design with a rounded shape that we have seen on the IT01.
The IT01s has an electroplated shell which is available in Blue Mist (blue) and Smoke Grey (silver) color options.
The housing of the monitor is made of shiny metal instead of plastic, which we have seen at the IT01. On the front of the monitor shell that we describe as faceplate is the iBasso IT01s branding, while the inner surface of each monitor has a bass vent.
The nozzles on the monitor are made of 304 nonmagnetic Austenitic Stainless Steel material and featuring removable screens with o-rings, which are making the cleaning of the monitor nozzle easier.
On the top of the monitor are the Left (L) & Right (R) markings and the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connectors.
The overall build quality of the iBasso IT01s is solid while it is also very comfortable to wear for hours without to hurt my ears. The isolation of the iBasso IT01s is above average and good enough to isolate you in noisy environments like bus or trains.
The IT01s comes with a pretty soft 5N purity Mono Crystal Copper cable which is featuring a silver plated shield.
The detachable cable of then IT01s has MMCX male connectors which are protected with a metal housing that have Left & Right indicators markings and ring indicators.
The cable sports a metal Y splitter with iBasso branding and a chin slider made of the same metal material.
The cable has a straight profiled headphone jack housing with a 2.5mm TRRS (balanced) jack.
The package is also including a 2.5mm TRRS to 3.5mm TRS adaptor, which allows you to convert the single ended connector to a regular 3.5mm TRS (unbalanced) headphone jack.
- Driver Type : Dynamic Driver 10mm Diameter
- Freq. Res. : 10Hz-43 kHz
- Sensitivity : 109±2dB
- Impedance : 16 ohm
- Noise Atten. :-26dB
- Rated Power : 10mW
- THD : <1%(at 1k Hz/1mW)
- Plug Size : 2.5mm gold-plated
- Core length : 1.2m
- Weight : 8g without cable
Some Features of the 10mm Dynamic Driver:
IT01S is the first IEM utilizing high Tesla Magnetic Flux, Carbon Nanotube diaphragm, and DLC coating together. Therefore, iBasso decided to give this dynamic driver the name-DiNaTT™ (Diamond-like coating + Nanotube driver + Tesla Magnetic Flux technology).
Carbon Nanotube Dome Diaphragm
The DiNaTT has the world’s thinnest Carbon Nanotube dome diaphragm at 3.8µm. Being ultra-thin means the diaphragm can be driven with ease. It also has the advancements of Carbon Nanotube’s stiffness in combination with DLC Coating. This extends the frequency range and allows for an excellent dynamic response.
Diamond like Carbon Coating
The DiNaTT driver has a Diamond like Carbon Coating on the dome; this gives the stiffest dome possible. The stiffer the dome, the better the transient response, stability and improved treble rang.
Tesla Magnetic Flux
With a high Tesla Magnetic Flux, the 3.8µm diaphragm is driven with ease. This contributes to an improvement to resolution, bass, dynamic and speed.
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Leonard Cohen – You Wnt it Darker (Spotify)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Spotify)
- London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Minor Empire – BulbulumAltinKafeste (Spotify)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- Future Heroes – Another World (Tidal Hi-fi)
- Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
Sources used for this review:
- IEM : iBasso IT01s, iBasso IT01, Campfire Audio Comet,
- DAP/DAC : iBasso DX150, QLS QA361, Astell&Kern SR15
The iBasso IT01s is a pretty balanced sounding In-Ear Monitor with a slightly warmer than neutral tonality, while the sound signature depends highly to the used source and can vary from slightly V shaped to a wide U shaped or flat signature.
The iBasso IT01s has a subbass with a fairly soft and warm tonality that shows a good level of depth. It has an average level of intensity and rumble while the extension is sufficient for most genres. The subbass doesn’t stands out in the general presentation but sounds clean and doesn’t cause to any muddiness.
The subbass rumble in Massive Attack’s “Angle” or Portishead’s “It Could Be Sweet” is maybe not on a basshead level, but has a sufficient depth and enough quantity for my taste.
The iBasso IT01s has in general a pretty linear midbass character with a soft and clean presentation, without to show any harshness or annoying midbass hump. The emphasis is on a moderate level and is not very dominant in the general presentation. The midbass character of the IT01s will be on the border for most users who listen to genres like Pop or EDM, but is fast and controlled in genres such like Jazz or acoustic music.
The midbass of the IT01s is fast, controlled, has good attack and sufficient intensity with instruments in metal music such like cross, double cross or snare drums.
The bass of the IT01s is mildly pronounced and is showing a linear character. This reference type of bass is neither little nor too much in its quantity; its detailed, fast and of high quality.
The bass of the IT01s shows a very good level of layering for this price range and is fast, tight and controlled in its presentation, which makes the it01 to a quite detailed In-Ear Monitor in this area.
Instruments such like drums, trumpets or bass guitars have a quite sufficient intensity, while it’s on a moderate level with genres such like EDM or Trance.
The iBasso IT01s has a slightly warm midrange tonality with a quite transparent, spacious and balanced midrange presentation. Male vocals have a good depth, while female vocals are clear and pronounced. Instruments on the other hand are pretty musical, have a slightly warm tonality and are clean in its presentation.
The lower midrange of the IT01s is in harmony with the bass and is showing a pretty neutral, slightly warmish tonality. The lower midrange is a bit more recessed compared to the upper midrange. The clean presentation of the lower midrange is increasing the detail retrieval of male vocals. Male vocals have a good warmth and average thickness.
The upper midrange is pronounced and a bit bright and transparent, which gives the female vocals an airy and detailed presentation. Female vocals are rich in detail thanks to the well-emphasized upper midrange.
From jazz vocals to pop vocals, from sopranos to trance vocals, all types of female vocals are pretty transparent and detailed in their presentation.
The iBasso IT01s has a warmish, close to neutral an fairly musical instrument tonality, with a quite lively, clean and transparent presentation. The separation, positioning and clarity of the instruments is on a good level for a IEM at this price range.
Instruments such as guitars have a soft, slightly warmish and smooth presentation, while violins are slightly bright, soft and sweet in its tonality.
The contrabasses have a good depth and the tractions of the bows are not too thick. The contrabasses are detailed and successful, apart from the missing of a slightly more thickness and warmth.
The iBasso IT01s is showing a pretty strong emphasis in the upper midrange with a neutral tonality, while the overall presentation is quite transparent and airy. The upper midrange transition is in general soft and controlled, without any unwanted sibilance or harshness.
When it comes to the detail and extension of the iBasso IT01s I can confirm that is performs very well in this regarding especially compared to more expansive IEM’s with multi driver configurations.
Side flutes are emotional, fairly controlled and are showing a good extension.
The iBasso IT01s has a treble range with a slightly bright tonality, which is airy and shows good extension. It sounds quite controlled in this region without an annoying sharpness or harshness. When it comes to the detail retrieval I can confirm that the IT01s performs when above its price point.
For example; trash metal cymbals are pretty fast and pronounced, while hi-hats are slightly in a bit in the background but clear, without any mixings.
Two lowering were placed between 2-5k and 5-8k range to ensure the control over the treble range of the iBasso IT01s. Therefore, the lower and middle-highs are pronounced, but the extension has been kept short for a better control. But the good thing is that there is no noticeable negative shortage of the extension, which means that the engineers form iBasso have done a good job with the IT01s.
The iBasso IT01s has a good separation and positioning of both vocals and instruments. The soundstage performance of the IT01s in terms of width and depth is above average and the neutral air between the instruments makes the soundstage of the IT01S quite airy.
iBasso IT01s versus iBasso IT01:
The first noticeable differences I noticed when listening to the iBasso IT01s was that it sounds clearer, brighter and more detailed than the IT01. iBasso IT01 has are warmer tonality and thicker presentation.
Both the IT01 and the IT01s are In-Ear Monitors with a good bass depth, while the IT01 has more subbass quantity, intensity and better extension than those of the IT01s.
When it comes to the midbass, the iBasso IT01s shows a more linear presentation with mild emphasis compared to the IT01 which shows a stronger emphasis in this area. However, the IT01s is superior to the IT01 in terms of bass speed, tightness, overall control and detail retrieval.
The midrange of the IT01 a bit recessed and thicker in tonality compared to the IT01s that is showing a more forward, clean, transparent and detailed presentation. Both IEM’s are pretty successful in terms of the presentation of male vocals, while I like the meatier and deeper vocal presentation of the IT01 more than those of the IT01s.
However, the IT01s is superior to the IT01 in terms of female vocals performance due to the more transparent and detailed upper midrange. The upper midrange of the IT01s is more pronounced and shows better intensity than those of the IT01 that sounds a bit more veiled in this area.
The treble range of the iBasso IT01s is brighter has more quantity and is showing noticeably better extension and detail retrieval compared to the IT01.
When it comes to the soundstage performance I can confirm that the IT01s has the wider stage, while the IT01 is showing slightly more depth.
iBasso IT01s versus Campfire Audio Comet:
The iBasso IT01s is an In-Ear Monitor with a single dynamic driver, while the Campfire Audio Comet sports one Balanced Armature driver.
The general tonality of the iBasso IT01s is warmer, fuller and more musical than the Campfire Audio Comet that is showing less warmth and slightly dryer tonality.
Both IEM’s are showing a moderate subbass depth with a similar intensity and rumble. The iBasso IT01s has the upper hand in terms of bass speed and impact, which was a surprise for me, because as I have already mentioned before, the IT01s has a single dynamic drive, while the Comet is producing its bass with a Balanced Armature driver.
The lower midrange of the Campfire Audio Comet shows slightly less depth, body and detail compared to the iBasso IT01s which explains why the IT01s is more successful with male vocals. The upper midrange on the other hand is on par, maybe a tad brighter on the IT01s, and shows good detail and emphasis that makes female vocals pretty emotional and lively o both IEM’s.
The treble range of the iBasso IT01s is brighter, airier and shows more detail than those of the Campfire Audio Comet which has a smoother presentation that makes it more suitable for longer listening periods.
When it comes to the soundstage performance I can say that the iBasso IT01s has a wider stage, while the difference in terms of soundstage depth is very low. The IT01s shows more space and neutral air between the instruments compared to the Comet.
The iBasso IT01s is the more mature version of the IT01. Its the perfect choice in this price range if you are searching for a pretty balanced sounding IEM with an airy, clear and detailed presentation that is packed in a comfortable, solid metal housing and which comes with lots of accessories such like a high quality cable that supports both 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm unbalanced sources.
Pros & Cons:
- + Great Clarity and Tonality
- + Good Comfort
- + Build quality
- + Cable
- – The metal Housing is a fingerprint magnet and prone to scratches
- – A touch of additional subbass would be welcome