iBasso IT01 Impressions – Face

iBasso IT01 Impressions
– Face

*I purchased the iBasso IT01 at full price.

200 hours UPDATE: https://headpie.blogspot.jp/2018/03/ibasso-it01-at-200-hours-update-face.html

The iBasso IT01 is iBasso’s most affordable and accessible option in their current IEM line up. 
It’s a single dynamic driver universal IEM priced at $109 from Penon Audio and the latest entrant in the ever growing ~$100 entry level IEM market.

Taken directly from the iBasso IT01 product page on Penon Audio
Driver:10.0mm Dynamic driver
Multi 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

The iBasso IT01 comes in a medium sized box for an IEM, that is covered with a white carton sleeve containing the iBasso logo and IT01 text at the front with the product details in the rear. 
Removing the sleeve reveals a navy-blue box with an embossed iBasso logo and opens from the front via a magnetic clasp. 
Opening the box reveals a red lining, a paper sleeve for the manual and warranty card, and in the main compartment the IEMs sitting in foam and the metallic green case containing the included cable and 4 bags of a different variety of included ear tips including 2 sizes of foam ear tips. 
The case is made of metal with foam padding inside and though not very pocketable offers good protection for the IEM but the paint and strength of the case material is a little poor as a drop easily chipped and dented the case. 
Overall a good value package, though maybe replace one set of silicone tips with double flange tips for a more comprehensive offering and improve the quality of the case.

Build Quality:
The IT01 has a plastic shell, a metal nozzle with metal mesh filters and two vents near the base of the nozzle to let the driver breathe. 
This unit is in the “Black” color though in reality it is a very opaque “smoky” shell. 
Plastic seems to be of good quality and doesn’t bend or buckle when reasonable amounts of pressure is applied. 
No unseemly gaps, MMCX connection is tight and fit and finish all look very good.

The included cable is a 4N OFC 4 core loose braid and is of very high quality. The cable is soft and pliable and offers no micro phonics at reasonable levels of movement. It uses metal for the 3.5mm jack cover, Y-splitter, and cable cinch, the MMCX termination is plastic and the cable has a pre-molded shrink wrap tube to fit over the ear. The cable quality is not one often seen at this price point and is a plus. 
Do note that while the universal MMCX connection is secure, it may be a little too secure and the cables are somewhat difficult to remove.
Overall the IT01 exhibits excellent build and exceptional cable quality at its price point.

The IT01 is a universal IEM of small to medium size, though maybe slightly larger compared to most single dynamic IEMs, that borrows some small traits from custom shells, such as the slight protrusion at the top of the shell to fit snugly along the ear while the main part of the body is designed to rest along the ridge on top of our earlobes. 
Overall this a safe and comfortable shape that doesn’t have many exaggerated protrusions that could lead to an uncomfortable fit. 
It is also very light, so you don’t feel weighed down when wearing them for long periods of time. They fit snugly enough that they may be used to sleep in for people with average or larger ears, those with smaller or shallow ears however may have difficulty when sleeping on their side.

The IT01 was burned in for 100 hours before listening impressions were taken.

Sources used: LG G6, FiiO Q1 Mk II. Volume matched for all the songs and sources. 
It seems
The overall sound signature of the IT01 seems to be mild U shape though sometimes exhibits an L shape. I didn’t notice much difference between either source, except for some mild improvements in bass and presentation through the FiiO DAC amp possibly indicating that the IT01 appreciates some extra amp power.

The IT01 has wonderful bass. It has good sub bass that pleasantly hovers and has good rumble. 
In ILYSB by Lany the bass drum kick just lingers long enough so that it doesn’t sound hollow. 
Mid bass is punchy with good texture and has quick decay. 
The bass lines in P.Y.T. by Michael Jackson are nice, tight, and well defined. 
The bass is dynamic in the sense that it can provide a large quantity when songs call for it, but it can also be show more control in less demanding songs so that the bass doesn’t end up bleeding into the mids.

The mids aren’t as brought forward as the bass or treble but only by a little. 
On Rehab by Amy Winehouse I find the bass lines and horns toe the line of being too overpowering for her voice to shine. On the other hand, Adele’s vocals in Chasing Pavements is delivered very well where the band instruments still let’s her vocals take center stage. 
Male vocals are similarly well rendered, like in All of Me by John Legend vocals were full and had no unpleasant thinness to them. Instruments don’t get lost in the mix and carry enough detail and definition to be pleasing. 
Mids are clear, detailed, and natural sounding 

The IT01 has treble that isn’t peaky nor does it exhibit sibilance. It has good extension lending a sense of airiness in songs. Cymbals even on busier songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit are crisp and not harsh. 
Listening to Lindsey Stirling’s The Arena the violin and piano have a sparkle in them and they can stand along the hip hop bass line. In Jazz songs even wailing sax solos have enough restraint to keep them from being unpleasant yet not sound dulled out. 
Overall airy and sparkly and detailed without ever being shrill.

The IT01 has decently wide soundstage. On tracks that can utilize it, like live orchestral recordings it will render space well, just a little to the left and right of the head. 
Depth is good having the space to identify that secondary instruments are a step back from the main band. Height is nothing noteworthy. 
Imaging is good, relative positioning of instruments is discernible and it did great at the virtual barbershop test. 
Separation and clarity are good, even in more complex arrangements individual instrumentation doesn’t get lost. 
Detail level and retrieval likewise is good in Hotel California the subtle hints of shakers, supplementary guitar isn’t drowned out by the main riff and bass line.

The iBasso IT01 is a real winner at its price. It has a natural tonality that is very pleasing and not tiring to listen to. 
It can handle different genres well or at the least adequately. 
The highlight of IT01 is the bass that can be powerful when it needs to be while not letting the bass dominate its sound signature nor sacrificing other aspects of its sound. That characteristic of the IT01 is what I think makes it a winner at this increasingly crowded market segment. 
It’s adept enough to cater to different tastes in music, I’ve listened to Jazz, Rock, Punk, Soul, RnB, and classical music on the IT01 and it does an admirable job in all of them. 
It doesn’t have the super extended rumbling bass or super airy and detailed highs of much more expensive or focused IEMs sure, but it’s a great everyday carry from going through the daily commute to waiting in line to relaxing at a cafe. 

If you want a good, all around IEM then the IT01 is a great addition to one’s collection at $109.


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