Affordable Audiophile IEMs – IBasso IT01 Review

It’s been a while since I last covered an IBasso IEM. So far I’ve taken a look at the IT04 and AM205, which were all solid earphones for their respective price points. With recent more economical products like ThieAudio’s Legacy 4, and the Shuoer Tape Pro making their way onto MajorHiFi, I thought it would be best to revisit IBasso’s series of IEMs. Their affordable nature has always interested me, with the IT04 being the pricier model out of the bunch. However, there are two more IT branded IEMs to cover, starting with the IT01 at only $149. What I’ve heard from IBasso’s IEM line so far has impressed me with its pricier appearance and sense of clarity. IBasso’s products outside of DAPs are still limited, but hopefully, they can sustain their growing reputation here.    

IEM packaging contents

What You Get

Similar to the IT04 packaging, and maintaining its clean, organized structure. Inside you’ll find the earphones separate from the rest of the contents, which are stored in a nice aluminum container. Here you’ll find a great number of ear tips, as well as the IT01’s 2.5mm MMCX balanced cable with a 3.5mm adapter. You’ll receive 9 pairs of silicone tips in a variety of sizes, with an extra 2 pairs of foam tips. The wide selection of tips is always welcome with any pair of IEMs, but the most interesting item here is the 2 extra nozzle screens and O-rings. They won’t change up the sound signature in any significant ways, instead, they act as spare parts in case one is damaged.

IEM in hand

Look and Feel

IBasso’s IEMs all have impressive housing designs and attractive aesthetics. The IT01 continues this trend with a beautiful solid blue, reflective surface. The outer shell feels like plastic, and there’s a crease where the faceplate and the rest of the housing connects. It might subtract a bit of elegance from the overall architecture, but it still sports a confident look. The triangular shaping with rounded edges reminds me of the Kinera Freya a bit, but it’s not as well fitted. Even though the IT01 retains a seamless fit and respectful amount of comfortability, I felt that the ear loops were a bit too distracting at times. Adjusting them to the right place makes for a better level of comfort, but the thickness around the earloop could always be felt. Then there’s the security of the fit, which seemed loose for the silicone tips, but the foam tips granted the tightness I was looking for. IT’s a mixed bag of comfort, but it didn’t harm my enjoyment of the IT01’s too much.

IEM Body

Design

The IT01 utilizes a number of very specific components that make up its 10mm driver unit. IBasso gives this driver a name: DINATT. What makes it so special is its high tesla magnetic flux, featuring a carbon nanotube diaphragm in a diamond-like coating. All of these complex elements help extend the frequency range for a more dynamic response. Then there’s the cable, which is made from 5N mono crystal copper with a silver-plated shield. 

IEM wrapped

Output

With a low impedance of 16 Ohms, the IT01 is incredibly easy to drive. Any laptop or smartphone should give you a nominal gain with plenty of headroom. I myself went to my trusty HELM Audio Bolt AMP/DAC that I’ve been using to test a few different products now. I wanted to clean up the sound and try to get the most out of this IEM as possible. With MQA streaming through Tidal, my headphone gain was just sensitive enough that I could comfortably adjust my volume while making just noticeable differences to loudness. 

IEM shell

Soundstage

The presentation of sonic elements is articulated in a wide but linear manner. However, what makes this stage so enjoyable is its height. The top-end imaging expands to a respectful degree while maintaining a more solidified image. The IT01 isn’t very concerned with spacious separation or immense layering, but it still continues to express large spaces well enough without sounding unclear. This means that listening to your busier tracks, such as in the Jazz or Classical genres, will have a clear response that only lacks some depth. 

Low End

One of the most surprising aspects of the IT01 is its deep bass response. For an IEM at so affordable a price, it’s uncommon for a bass range to cut this deep. You can feel almost all of the rumbling textures and thick resonance in your chest. They respond so cleanly and dynamically without muddying the fidelity of the lower mids and provide a fluid motion in most tracks. It also has a perfectly balanced gain that presents itself with enough lift to support more meaty mids.

Mids

The midrange contains a lot of body and fullness. Some of the richness found here rival even some of the more extravagant IEMs on the market. It covers a wider range than anyone would expect but sometimes doesn’t receive the necessary boost they might need to really balance out the frequency spectrum. However, the notches are very minor. Instruments and vocals still respond naturally and receive an ample amount of space to express some fine details. It’s hefty, colorful, and immensely satisfying.

Highs

In comparison to the bass and mids, the highs are definitely more smoothed out. They don’t feature the color of the mids or the crisp tonality of the bass but retains a good sense of balance and detail. There’s enough treble response here to successfully fill out the overall timbre of the sound signature, and you don’t have to worry about any bright textures or harshness. 

Summary

Every time I visit IBasso, I tend to be impressed, and that’s no different from what I’ve heard on the IT01. For $149 its deep bass response is sure to satisfy audiophiles and bass heads alike, and the fullness of the timbre works great when listening to a variety of genres. If you’re an audiophile on a budget looking for a suitable pair of IEMs, the IT01 is a sure bet to delight you with its design and sense of richness. 

Pros and Cons

Pros: Deep lows, meaty mids, driver design, aesthetic, ear tip selection 

Cons: Not very secure at times

Specs

Frequency Response  10Hz-43kHz
Sensitivity 109+/-2dB
Impedance  16 ohm
Noise Attenuation  -26dB
Rated Power  10mW
T.H.D <1% (at 1kHz /1mW)
Plug Size 2.5mm gold-plated
Cord Length  1.2m
Weight  8g without cable 

    

The IBasso IT01 is available at Audio 46.

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