IBasso AM05 IEM Review

IEM Shell

We have more IBasso reviews for you today at MajorHiFi. This time we’ve got the AM05, a five balanced armature IEM. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve heard from this brand so far, and I’m excited to see what the AM05 has in store for me. This is IBasso’s most featured earphone, boasting more armatures than the IEM I previously reviewed, the IT04. However, the AM05 comes at a reduced price of $299, considerably less than the $539 price point of the IT04. So let’s see what IBasso is packing with the AM05.

IEM items

What You Get

The AM05 comes with your standard IEM fair, and if you’ve read my IT04 review this will sound quite familiar. The packaging layout is pretty much the same as the IT04, with the simple yet organized placement of contents. The earpieces and storage case are the only items shown to you, with the rest of the materials sitting inside the aluminum case. The container stores the 2.5mm detachable cable with a 3.5mm adapter, as well as a whole load of ear tips. IBasso gives you a generous amount of tips in a variety of sizes, from silicone to foam. 

IEM in hand

Look and Feel

IBasso has a good eye for coming up with an alluring architecture for their IEMs. Their aesthetic is simple and solid. For the AM05, IBasso has gone with translucent, crystal clear design for the housing, revealing those inner components. This effect is achieved by using a resin inverted mold, combined with the empty shell housing. As for the fit, the AM05 does the job well but providing an unobtrusive listening experience. Finding the right ear tips is more of a focus for comfortability, as the stem is quite wide. The shape of the earpiece is angled to fit well with your auricle, and feeling in your ear is light as a feather. For long listening sessions, I found myself adjusting them slightly a few times, but not enough times to be distracting.

IEM Design

 

Design

The AM05 has more than a few things going on inside its core. This IEM uses 5 Knowles balanced armatures, tuned by IBasso to achieve the best performance possible. The driver unit adopts a 4-way crossover, 4-channel design for lows, mids, highs, and ultra-highs. There’s a delicate film capacitor that can block interference and vibrations, making the output seem more transparent. This design also lends itself for a lot less distortion interference than a ceramic capacitor. 

IEM cable wrap

Output

With most low resistance IEMs, the best bet is to be safe to drive for any device. The AM05 is no different, offering the nominal impedance of 32 Ohms. The oxygen-free copper cable reduces signal transmission loss, as well as sound degradation, The cable provides a steady flow of signal, without losing any potential details. It boasts a wide frequency response of 10Hz-40kHz, leaving room for an array of technicalities. The IEMs themselves are also pretty self-isolating, leaving a passive noise reduction of -30dB, so taking the AM05 in public spaces won’t be much of an issue. 

IEM Shells

Soundstage

The overall image sounds relatively accurate, while the stage expands into a pretty wide space of stereo immersion. The sounds leave room to be analytical but don’t expect them to go any deeper than the perceived surface of the mix. Separation does a good enough job making instrumentals sound distinct from each other in the stereo field, but the frequency bands themselves are placed very forward. Especially in the mids, where vocals and instruments have the ability to come alive. The AM05 does a good job keeping everything from the middle, as spatial imaging remains intact for the most part, but the stage doesn’t offer much in the way of depth for me to fully appreciate certain tracks to their fullest. However, if you’re looking for a hard-hitting, straightforward reproduction of tracks, then the AM05 definitely accomplishes that.

Low End

As far as bass is concerned, the timbre leans more to the neutral side of things. You won’t find much sub-bass feel here on the AM05, but there is some nice resonance here that make the lows appear fleshed out. Punchy synth basses and kick drums are favored, as well as soft sustaining strings that give the bass tones a more dynamic image. The bass neutrality is probably the best separation that appears on the AM05, as mid and high-range elements get more room to breathe, and the bass gets a lot more room to be as articulate as it wants to be.

Mids

As mentioned in the soundstage section, the mid-range gets a nice ample boost in gain, bringing out details in many diverse genres. The output gives you a lot of clarity to vocal sections, like on the track “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which brings out quite the passionate performance. Other tracks like the Pixies “Hear Me Out” has a nice upper-midrange smoothness I found to be very soothing. Harmonies also sound quite articulate on the AM05, bringing them more to the forefront of the mix while still keeping their space in the aural field. 

Highs

The treble offers a good amount of top-end to the AM05 and mixes very well with the mid-range smoothness. The highs act well as a tail to many mid-range instrumentations like piano keys, and female vocal harmonies. There’s just enough airiness to be noticeable and never squanders into overbearing brightness. This is a warmer timbre that faired well with my ambient selections, as well as pop ballads. 

Summary

IBasso is beginning to build its library of IEMs, and the AM05 is another worthy entry. I enjoyed the mid-range response the most, but also appreciate it’s flatness and neutrality compared to the IT04. I can see some good use for monitoring in these earphones, as their separation gives the sound signature a clear and present tonality. With a reasonable price point and a solid neutral sound, The AM05 proves to be a useful IEM.   

Pros and Cons

Pros: Neutral sound signature, smooth highs, wide stage, unique design

Cons: Not a whole lot of depth   

The IBasso AM05 is available at Audio 46

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