iBasso IT05 IEM Review
iBasso IT05 Review
iBasso is a well known Chinese company that is specialized in the Portable Audio products such like Digital Audio Players (DAP), Portable DAC/Amplifiers and In-Ear Monitors.
The IT05 that I will now review for you is the companies latest In-Ear Monitor. The New IEM is equipped with an 11mm Dynamic Driver unit that features a special diaphragm with a ultra thin chrome coating with a thickness of just 0.007mm that is characterized by a good flexibility. Another highlight of the IT05 is the double Helmholtz resonator, a special acoustic structure that absorbs high-frequency standing waves in order to archive a smoother and more natural presentation in combination with the stainless steal cavity. The iBasso IT05 comes with two separate detachable cables, one 4-core OFC wire cable with 3.5mm Single Ended plug and one 8-core hybrid wire cable with 4.4mm Balanced plug.
I would like to thank iBasso for providing me the iBasso IT05 review sample. I am not affiliated with iBasso beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The MSRP price for the iBasso IT05 is approx 299.00 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package & Accessories:
The iBasso IT05 came in a nice looking jewelry box like rectangular box with hinges that sport the iBasso branding on the top. This box was wrapped with a black card box sleeve that has also the iBasso brand logo on the top.
The box of the IT05 contains the following items;
- 1 x pair of IT05 In-Ear Monitor
- 1 x detachable cable with MMCX connector with 3.5mm Single Ended Plug
- 1 x detachable cable with MMCX connector with 4.4mm Balanced Plug
- 12 x pairs of silicone ear tips (1 pair came preinstalled)
- 2 x pairs of foam ear tips
- 3 x pairs of Sound Filters (Black, Gold & Silver)
- 1 x Metal carry case
- 1 x Warranty Card & Quick Start Guide
Design & Build Quality:
The iBasso IT05 is an In-Ear Monitor with a very premium look, that has a pretty robust CNC machined metal housing with a universal shape, which shows a color combination of silver and blue.
The faceplate is one of the main attractions with its beautiful pattern in form of a blue water wave, which looks with one word “Gorgeous”.
At the rear surface is the removable sound tuning nozzle that has a metal mesh on the top in order to prevent the insertion of particles such like dust or ear-wax that could damage the internals over time. Near the sound nozzle is a small opening dedicated for the 11mm diameter Dynamic Driver unit.
Here are also the L / R makings and the IT05 branding.
On the top of each monitor is a MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connector that offers a pretty tight and solid insertion with the male connectors. Near the MMCX connector is a second opening for the pressure relief, which is part of the acoustic structure.
The overall build quality of the monitors is excellent!
The iBasso IT05 comes with two cables separate detachable cables, one with a 3.5mm Single Ended headphone plug, while the other one has a 4.4mm Balanced (Pentaconn) plug.
The one with the 3.5mm Single Ended headphone plug is a 4-core high purity oxygen-free copper wire cable that has fabric outer insulation in black color with a braided design.
The one with the 4.4mm Balanced headphone plug is a 8-core hybrid wire cable made from 4 conductors of OCC copper with a purity of up to 6N with a black PVC insulation and 4 conductors of silver-plated OCC 6N copper with a transparent outer insulation, which shows also a nice looking braided design.
Each detachable cable has MMCX male connectors that do have a black plastic housing and a metal area near the connectors that do sport L / R markings on their surface.
Near the connectors housings are transparent heat shrink ear guides that do provide an extra over the ear comfort experience.
A quite unique feature of both cables is the distinctive headphone plug housing design. This is iBasso’s original solution, which have been made of stainless steel material with some engraved brandings on there rear surface.
- Driver Type : 11mm diameter Chrome Plated Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
- Freq. Res. : 10Hz-40 kHz
- Sensitivity : 119dB
- Impedance : 16 ohm
- THD+N : less than 1% (@ 1kHz/1mW)
- Plug Size : 3.5mm Single Ended + 4.4mm Balanced
- Core length : 120cm
- Weight : 7.8g without cable
Pairing & Drivability:
The iBasso IT05 is a highly efficient In-Ear Monitor thanks to its quite low impedance of 16Ω and a sensitivity of about 119dB. This makes it highly compatible with relative weak sources like Smartphone’s, Tablet’s and USB Audio Dongles and DAP’s with a weak amplification.
Fit, Comfort & Isolation:
The iBasso IT05 is an IEM with a fairly comfortable inner monitor shape that fits great in to my average sized ear concha’s. However, you will also notice that a proper fit affects the bass performance of the IT05. The passive noise isolation of the IT05 is on an efficient level, which was pretty fine for the use in relative noise environments such like a metro or train.
Sources used for this review:
- IEM : iBasso IT05, Meze Audio RAI Solo
- DAP/DAC : iBasso DX320, iBasso DX170, iBasso DC04 PRO
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Rush – YYZ (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Nobody Weird Like Me (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Rok Nardin – Berserks (Spotify)
- Bear McCreary – Valkyries “God of War OST” (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The iBasso IT05 is a beautiful looking IEM with a genre friendly sound profile that tends to a close to W-Shaped sound signature with an elevated subbass, upper midrange and treble response. The general tonality is a tad warmer than neutral, while it shows a quite lively, pretty clean and natural instrument timbre.
This review has been written after a burn-in period of about 100 hours. I have used the stock Silicone Ear Tips with a large opening, combined with the silver-plated OCC stock cable with a 4.4mm Balanced headphone plug termination. My sound impressions below are mainly based on my auditions with the Balanced Gold filter, paired with devices like the DX320, DX170 and DC04 PRO.
The iBasso IT05 has a pretty textured, clean and controlled overall bass response that is produced with an above average resolution and adequate level of layering. The IT05 has a subbass presentation that offers a good sense of depth, rumble and intensity, beside an above average clarity when I do listen to some songs like Bear McCreary’s “Valkyries”, Lorde’s “Royals” or Massive Attack’s epic song “Angel”. The subbass is reproduced with a fast decay and controlled manner that will satisfy while listen to a wide variety of genres.
The midbass region of the IT05 is slightly less pronounced compared to the subbass area, while it shows in general a pretty tight, full bodied and controlled response. What I really like about this the midbass tuning of the IT05 is its authority and quickness. For example, instruments such like percussion or bass & electro guitars are reproduced in a pretty fast and controlled manner, while the extension meets my expectation from a IEM at this price level.
The midrange is another area where the iBasso IT05 really shines especially after a burn-in period of about 80 hours. The IT05 shows a fairly forward oriented midrange presentation with focal point in the upper midrange area that sound in general noticeably more pronounced compared to the lower midrange. The midrange of the IT05 is produced with a decent level of clarity and resolution thanks to an audible boost around the 3 kHz region, which creates also a pretty transparent and airy atmosphere in this area.
Male vocals such like from Dave Gahan to Sting, form Barry White to Elton John are reproduced with a good grade of depth and body, while female voices such like Adel, Edith Piaf or Dionne Warwick do sound quite intimate and emotional, without to show any remarkable sibilance or harshness when I do use the Golden Filter along with the right ear tips.
Instruments on the other hand do sound in general quite realistic and lively, while the timbre is fairly natural. The level of transparency, extension and resolution is pretty good when I do listen to string instruments such like a viola and guitar or to woodwinds such like a side flute, clarinet or bassoon.
The iBasso IT05 shows a nicely textured and technically competitive treble performance that meets in general my expectations from an In-Era Monitor at this price category. This area sounds not as highlighted compared to the upper midrange area, while it offers a good sense of presence and brilliance when I do listen to a wide variety of genres without to sound sharp or muted.
The transitions are quite clear and controlled when I do listen to instruments such like cymbals, drums, pianos or guitars. For example, the guitar solos played with high distortions such in songs like Slayer’s “Angel of Deaths” and Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets” are produced with moderate level of extension and a decent grade of authority. Instruments such like cymbals or hi-hats that I have listen in genres like jazz or metal music do sound pretty detailed and textured.
The lower treble region of the IT05 is able to create a good sense of clarity and definition, while the upper treble register, which shows a peak around the 8 kHz region, creates a pretty airy atmosphere with efficient level of sparkle.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The iBasso IT05 has a fairly spacious soundstage atmosphere with decent sense of airiness, which is suitable for relative precise positioning and separation of instruments and vocals. The performance can’t be compared to the IT07 flagship IEM of the company in terms of depth or wideness, but it meets my expectation from an IEM at this price level. The soundstage of the iBasso IT05 shows in general an efficient sense of depth and height while the wideness is on a moderate level.
iBasso IT05 versus Meze Audio RAI Solo:
Both the iBasso IT05 and the Meze Audio RAI Solo In-Ear Monitors with a robust build quality and gorgeous looking design that do fit nicely in to my ears with an average sized ear concha.
The iBasso IT05 shows a livelier, more dynamic and detailed overall presentation, which makes it to an IEM, suitable for a wider range of music genres. The Meze RAI Solo on the other hand shows a slightly warmer tonality and a more relaxed character, which is ideal for longer listening periods, while it is missing the dynamism that the IT05 offers.
The subbass region of the IT05 is more highlighted, which offers a better sense of depth, rumble and extension, while both IEM’s are pretty equal in terms of subbass decay and authority. The midbass region of the Meze RAI Solo has slightly less body, impact and intensity. The IT05 offers a slightly better grade of clarity and resolution that is audible while listen to strings and percussions.
The iBasso IT05 shows a slightly closer to neutral tonality compared to the Meze RAI Solo that has a mildly warm character in this regarding. The IT05 offers a higher sense of clarity, airiness and micro detail retrieval in this area especially in the upper midrange register that sounds slightly more pronounced compared to tuning of the RAI Solo.
One of the most remarkable differences between the two IEM’s is audible in the treble area, where the iBasso IT05 shows a higher grade of clarity and definition that is produced in the lower treble register. The IT05 has also the upper hand when it comes to the sense of airiness and sparkle that is created in the upper treble region. Instruments such like woodwinds and percussion are reproduced with a better grade of extension and resolution when I switch to the IT05, while the RAI Solo sounds a bit too smooth and relaxed in direct comparison.
The soundstage of both the IEM’s is successful in terms of separation and placement of instrument and vocal placement. The stage of the iBasso IT05 HE03AL offers a higher sense airiness and depth, while both IEM’s are pretty equal when it comes to the wideness of the stage.
If you are looking for an In-Ear monitor with a unique look and feel, but most importantly with a versatile sound profile the iBasso IT05 is a great choice with its robust build quality, gorgeous looking faceplate design and finally with its genre friendly sound profile a very good option. You also get two excellent cables, a nice storage case and plenty of ear tips that do come inside a nice box, which are great additions, which makes the IT05 to a product with a pretty decent value for your money.
Pros & Cons:
- + Lively, Dynamic and Entertaining Sound Profile
- + Bass Performance (especially the Subbass region)
- + Transparent & Detailed Midrange Character
- + Airiness & Sparkle of the Treble Range
- + Amazing Looking Monitor Design
- + Comes with two separate cables
- + Rich set of accessories
- – Bass performance varies a bit depending your fit and ear tips selection
- – Soundstage could be a bit wider
Thank you for the Read!