IBASSO IT01 REVIEW: Warm, thick and balanced sound for a versatile musicality.

IBASSO IT01 REVIEW :

P1010238.JPG

SOUND:8.5/10
CONSTRUCTION: 8.5/10
ACCESSORIES: 9/10
VALUE: 8/10

THE PLUS:

  • Warm, balanced and versatile sound
  • Great quality cable
  • Generous accessories

THE SO-SO:

  • Average Imaging and Soundstage

 

INTRO :

TODAY we will take a look at the well received IBASSO IT01, wich is the entry model of IT serie and sell for 99$ at XTENIK store.

Compared to IT03 and IT04 that have multi drivers, the IT01 have a special single dynamic driver made of ultra thin graphene, helmhotz dual cavity resonator and an ultra powerfull magnet going up to near 1 tesla. This isn’t your normal dynamic driver and Ibasso really work hard to use last cutting edge audio technology and create a very capable earphones at a very competitive price.

Having discover the potential of high tesla magnet with an obscure chinese earphones call Zhiyin Z5000, I was utterly curious to see if the Ibasso IT01 will be even better than this bass monster. The answer is a big yes, because even if V shape as the Z5000, IT01 have a more present mid range and less oversized sub bass.

P1010235.JPG

Only other earphones I know that use Tesla magnet are the Beyerdynamic Xelento that sell for 900$, so if you are curious about what a super powerfull magnet can do, the IT01 is the best buy you can make. The magnet is responsible for moving ultra thin graphene diaphragm, promising a very fast and precise transient response and the dual cavity resonator is there to avoid distortion of high frequencies and permit a wider bass response, this alone give you a hint about soundsignature you will get with the IT01, wich is warm, thick, bass and accurate but not mean to be very sharp or extremely analytical.

Let’s see in this review why the hype about this wonderfull earphones is well deserve.

You can buy the Ibasso IT01 for 99.90$ HERE.

Disclaimer: I wanna thank Xtenik for sending me this review sample. I’m not affiliated with this store and do not receive any money in return of my honnest review. All toughs are objective in their subjectivity and I have no difficulties to judge price value because of the fact I buy more than 50 pairs of iem with my own money and my obsession about price value is sincere.

SPECS:

Driver 10mm Dynamic driver
Multiple layered graphene, which is Ultra-light and stiff
Frequency response 10Hz-42kHz
Sensitivity 108+/-2dB
Impedance 16 Ohm
Noise Attenuation -26dB
Rated power 10mW
T.H.D. <1% (at 1kHz/1mW)
Plug size 3.5 TRS gold plated
Cable length 1.2m
Connection MMCX
Weight 8.0g without cable

ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :

P1010220.JPG P1010221.JPG P1010222.JPG

UNBOXING is a very pleasant experience. Presentation is practical and classy. You have a good amount of accessories that include a nice metal carrying case, 3 set of silicone eartips and 2 pairs of memory foams tips. The cable look gorgeous, its an ultra soft all copper 4 cores braided cable.

P1010232.JPG P1010231.JPG P1010230.JPG P1010229.JPG

CONSTRUCTION is well made. The housing is all plastic with the exception of metal nozzle that have changeable filter for cleaning purpose. This type of plastic have the quality of being light, but isn’t particularly impressive for a 100$ iem. Still, construction is well made and the mmcx female connector give a very tigh connection.

P1010223.JPG P1010224.JPG

As said, the braided cable is fabulous too, with a very comfortable earhook that isn’t too tigh and most of all the cable do not creat any microphonic. This is a very soft and flexible cable that will sure please even the most demanding consumers. A big plus is the fact that mmcx connection is very tigh and secure, so it will never disconnect unexpectedly. Nope, we will not put this cable in the trash like we do with lot of chi-fi earphones that include poor quality cable.

P1010234.JPG

DESIGN is specifically over ear, with a universal custom shape that will fit most type of ears even if housing is a little big. The plastic being very slippy, it give an easy and comfortable fit that do not tend to fall whatever the eartips you use. ISOLATION is quite excellent and as the venting hole are in front panel of housing, sound leakage is extremely low even at high volume.

SOUND :

P1010233.JPG

As I read multiple reviews that praise the IT01 sound, my expactation was very high and I think it was unrealistic how high it was for 100$, especially about mid range clarity that isn’t as fowards as I wish.

With the IT01, we got a very well balanced U shaped soundsignature that have beefy mid bass impact and extreme low end extension, this type of sound will please as much basshead than bass lover and audio enthusiast that search for a fun sounding earphones with enough clarity to be a good all arounder.

Bass is bumped exactly in the middle and embrace mid bass kick to give extra weight and roundness, as the mid range isn’t agressively fowarded, it smooth and clear but a little recessed as well. Treble have special tricks in its sleeve to extract specific micro details due to upper highs peaks, this do not make it particularly sparkly but sure help overaly clarity and especially give a good sens of layering even if imaging have restraint spaciality.

Vocal have good thick timbre to it, its polished without too much details or texture even if there a slight upper mids peak to help overall clarity.

I really enjoy listening to signers that aren’t overcrowded by complex instrumentation, this way, it sound near mid centric. As well, piano have wonderfull body, but cello is even better, really full sounding with good transparent thickness.

SOUNDSTAGE is taller than wider and deeper, but do sound around your head in a rather intimate way. Its not an airy sounding iem and have a frontal approach to music.

IMAGING is more talented with layers combination than spacious instrument separation, it sound like a good stereo speakers that site in front of you. There not alot of space between layers so i would say it lack a bit of air, but the transparence do the trick for avoiding any type of congestion in soundstage.

LOWER BASS dig deep, very deeeeeeep and this is very impressive as it never distort and the rumble is well controled even if it embrace mid bass at some extend. Sub bass have good thickness and will sound very good with slap bass or acoustic bass that have texture to its timbre to compensate a little lack of definition and separation with mid bass drum and kick, depending the type of music you listen to.

MID BASS is more emphased than lower end and have good slam to it, thanks to extra lower end extension that offer more body and weight to an already thick punch. As the kick are quite rounded up and beefy, it stole some speed and accuracy so i would not suggest IT01 for fast metal or rock and extremely complexe percussions work, but for rap, electronic, dub and pop it’s more than capable and this extra thickness give an even funnier presentation, a very juicy and lively one.

MID RANGE is slightly recessed with a thick timbre and good transparency, it is quite linear and cover whole 500hz to 6khz with a smooth curve that do not enlight particular peaks, there a little bump in upper mids but nothing drastic that will create sibilance. This type of mids are very versatile and do as good with male or female vocal, wich is awesone. This warm mid range is easy to listen too and sound smooth and natural, sweet and musical. I adore how the saxophone or piano sound with the IT01, its rich but never too grainy, instrument as well as vocal have a wide presentation compared to other V shape earphones I try it do not sound thin or overly shadowed by bass.

TREBLE is on the smooth side with extra emphasis in upper treble. Lower and upper treble are more emphased than mid treble, wich translate to asslightly darkened overall sound as it stole some air for highs decay and sparkle. Still, you have special brilliance to highs that make the IT01 quite revealing for percussion or microdetails that would have been harder to hear with a flat treble response. Ths again make it very enjoyable for pop, rap and electronic wich became more energic and livelydue to fowarded percussions.

SUB BASS : 8/10
MID BASS 8.5/10
MID RANGE : 8/10
TREBLE : 7.5/10
TIMBRE : 8/10
ATTACK : 8/10
SOUNDSTAGE : 7.5/10


COMPARAISONS :

VS IKKO OH1 (130$) :

P1010227.JPG

CONSTRUCTION of the OH1 is sure more sturdy and luxurious looking than the IT01, the diamond shape housing is made of metal and will sure pass test of time, while IT01 housing is all plastic. Cable tough is of better quality with the IT01, even if OH1 isn’t bad at all.

SOUNDSTAGE is more spacious and airy with OH1, but biggest difference is the sens of deepnest.

BASS is thicker in lower end and have more emphasis and rumble than more linear IT01, the sub bass timbre is fuller and richer and give extra juice to the sub line, wich became very beefy and energic compared to IT01 that even with great extension have more emphasis onmid bass. I feel that the OH1 is faster and tigher, even if there more rumble, but the IT01 sub bass will not distract you and feel overall more balanced than more U shape OH1.

MID RANGE of OH1 is more foward and slightly brighter, separation in this area is clearer with OH1 but have a more intimate vocal presentation, in the sens its more centered and less wide than IT01 vocal. Male vocal sound better with IT01 but level of clarity is inferior to OH1. Upper mid range is more emphased with OH1, wich give more detailed vocal but can very rarely create sibilance compared to smoother IT01.

TREBLE is more extended in lower and mid region than IT01, highs have more sparkle and decay too and we have a richer more detailed presentation with OH1. IT01 sound warmer and less accurate but have thicker timbre too. The OH1 have better rendering for acoustic guitar and percussions but to the cost of sounding a little less balanced than IT01.

We have here two very capable earphones, OH1 being more U shape, bassy in sub region and analytical in treble while the IT01 sounding more V shape and balanced with slightly more natural and versatile vocal presentation.

VS VSONIC VS7 (130$) :

P1010226.JPG

So, here we have a fair fight, both using great dynamic drivers this comparaison will be very interesting.

SOUNDSTAGE is seriously wider and deeper with the VS7, spaciality is holographic and airy compared to more restraint panoramic IT01 with a less spacious presentation.

IMAGING is really where the VS7 feel from another league compared to more intimate IT01.

BASS performance is strangely similar with the difference that VS7 sound tigher and better separated from mid bass is if it use more than one driver. This permit to have more accurate timbre and clearer overall presentation. IT01 have more sub presence and bleed that tend to slow the bass attack.

MID RANGE being more fowards as well as less warmed by bass, VS7 offer clearer and more accurate presentation with better instrument separation in this area. IT01 mids are thicker and more recessed as well as less textured. VS7 have slightly more presence in upper mids but avoid sibilance by a magic trick only Vsonic know the secret.

TREBLE is more linear and slightly brighter with VS7, extracting more overall details, timbre textures and giving a more airy and well layered presentation. IT01 have a peak in upper highs that give illusion of more detailed presentation when in fact it will lack low and mid treble to offer an as rich treble than more balanced VS7. VS7 treble is more natural and balanced, while IT01 is more coloured and sharp. For acoustic instrument the VS7 deal better and have more decay and acoustic guitar is not underwhelming like with the IT01.

All in all, VS7 sound like an upgraded IT01 wich would be tuned more accurately and have better imaging and attack-decay.

VS FINAL AUDIO F3100 (130$) :

P1010228.JPG

Well, this is an interesting comparaison, the F3100 being a single Balanced armature while the IT01 have a big dynamic driver, we can expect big difference in bass department.

SOUNDSTAGE of both is similar, not particularly wide but still with an around your head feel, the F3100 have more deepnest due to better clarity.

BASS is without a doubt better with the IT01, its thicker and more impactfull but most of all it dig way deeper than rolled off bass of F3100, still, mid bass is faster and brigther but can make distortion in sub bass region, wich the IT01 deal beautifull with great thickness to it. Yep, dynamic driver are factual better to deal with whole frequency range than a single balanced armature, even if its excellent one.

MID RANGE in another hand is more detailed and brighter with the F3100, wich make for a very realist rendering compared to warmer IT01. Still, timbre is a little thin with F3100 and extra thickness of vocal can be very pleasant with the IT01, but when it come to instrumental music the F3100 offer a more revealing and accurate presentation where every instrument are ultra clear and energic, here, the IT01 sound slow and a little clumsy and subpar in term of overall clarity.

TREBLE is more extended with the F3100, but both earphones aren’t particularly sparkly in highs and have tigh decay to it. Texture is more detailed and fowarded with the F3100. While IT01 have smooth polished thick timbre that give more weight to piano note or cello body, the F3100 will extrac every bit of definition of guitar strings, violin or harpsichord, making it very interesting for instrumental and classical music lover.

Here, the F3100 feel more like a niche audiophile earphones with a more neutral slightly mid centric soundsignature that is less versatile than more permissive warm sounding IT01.

CONCLUSION :

For a first attempt, the IT01 is an impressively tuned single dynamic driver that offer good transient response and a muscular lively sound. Sure, its on the warm side and will not please critical listener or serious audiophile that enjoy top notch clarity and spacious imaging, but this would perhaps sacrifice great and fun musicality IT01 can give as well as its enjoyable versatility.

At 100$ the Ibasso IT01 fall into a very competitive price range where construction and sound are very severly judge (by me at least). As the overall construction is well made and include an high end mmcx cable as well as generous amount of accessories, I can say with confidence that this is a good buy that offer great value in a whole.

If you search for a rich and warm sounding earphones with thick timbre, impactfull bass and clear mid range that achieve a natural yet versatile musicality, you can’t go wrong with the Ibasso IT01 that is among the best buy you can make under 100$.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s