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IBasso T5 mini review

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

IBasso T5 Impressions

 

 

PB040115.JPG

 

 

"The average human is made up of around 60% water.  As far as I am concerned that is a bit extravagant.  If you begin to feel dehydrated during the course of this review, that's normal.  I am going to hit you with some jet engines to see if I can get you down to around 20 or 30%."

 

 

I do not have enough hours of burn in on all my new gear, so make sure to Subscribe as future updates will be made.  

 

My current setup is composed of the following:

Livewire Dual Custom IEMs
Blox M2C Earbuds
HiFiMan HE-500 Loaner
Cowan J3
Yamaha MCR-040OR
Fiio E9 / T5

 

 

Price Build Quality Bass Mids Highs Sound Stage
$169+$22shipping     ★★★★    ★★★    ★★★★★  ★★★★   ★★★★★
         
  Soundstage is on par with the Cowan J3, exceptionally large and spacious sounding          

 

Build Quality is top notch, feels very solid, no loose buttons in audio jacks.  Bass is the units weakpoint, it does not reach as deep as I would like it, it is a bit too smooth and lacks snappiness I enjoy in my music.  The mids are absolutely lush and smooth, somewhere between neutral and warm, right where they should be, nice forward sounding re-creation of what the J3 offers, mids sound a bit smoother but are placed in the same location  ( moderately forward ).  Amazing vocal experience.  Highs extend to exceptional levels and are on the bright side to my ears, they offset the smooth lows and mids just enough to call the amp engaging.  They have some brightness and bite to them, definitely brighter highs than just the J3.  I detect a small amount of graininess, the J3 EQ system can achieve more clear highs.  Distortion is minimal and I am surprised it can achieve such high decibels without splashing and warping.  Smashed my Pico Slim in this area, which distorts noticeably more at lower volume.

 

Overall Soundstage is just like IBasso said it would be, massive in height and width for such a small unit.  Definitely better than my UHA4 and Pico Slim and is actually on par with the J3, I think its safe to say stage width and height are near identical to the already very nice J3 stage qualities.  Transparency is very good, but not as good as the TTVJ Slim.  Does not mesh with the HE500 at all.  Then again, none of the Slim amps have meshed with the Orthos.  While the TTVJ is still the most powerful of the slim amps, I can safely say the T5 is better than the Pico Slim and UHA4.  Clarity is just as good if not a bit better in the mids than these other two models yet it offers more sound staging than both and is still so tiny.  

 

Size Comparison to the Cowan J3.  

PB040107.JPG

 

Right now my Livewire customs are too new to judge definitively so I won't say anything beyond I do not hear much of a difference in high gain mode over just the J3.  The change in volume and snap is noticeable on the Blox M2C, but not the Livewires.  Right now there are some Pros and Cons.  I'll keep this updated as time goes by.  

 

Pros Cons
BTL Grounding Seems a bit needless, rogue inductance was not much of an issue in other models.
8 Opamps Less Battery Life w/ Higher Voltage Needs
Accessories  None
Gain Switch Simply not enough output power even at 500MA per Channel.  IEM compatible only
Digital Volume Controls Not very responsive, it takes a few clicks to hear a difference.  64 steps might be overkill if it takes 3 clicks to get an audible change sometimes

 


Edited by swbf2cheater - 11/5/11 at 2:33pm

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post #2 of 20

How many hours are on the amp? I found the bass to go through stages and to take some time to start improving again, which I figure must be due to the 470uf caps that are forming. I know you mentioned that the gear is new, so the question of how many hours are on it. 

 

Edit: In listening to my T5 right now, I hear so much deep bass, that it would also seem we are listening to two different amps, from your description. :^) 


Edited by jamato8 - 11/5/11 at 3:29pm
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Around 20 hours of usage, half that on the HE 500 and Livewires.  As I said it is way too early to say anything definitive, this is just a first weeks impression.  Based off what I read in your thread we experienced similar things, you said it will open up and achieve nicer bass deepness over time.  I have not reached that point yet so naturally my initial impression will be different than your experience with some hours behind it.

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

Around 20 hours of usage, half that on the HE 500 and Livewires.  As I said it is way too early to say anything definitive, this is just a first weeks impression.  Based off what I read in your thread we experienced similar things, you said it will open up and achieve nicer bass deepness over time.  I have not reached that point yet so naturally my initial impression will be different than your experience with some hours behind it.

Ah, I see. Mine has opened up since around 200 hours. At one point I though, gahhhh, this amp sucks but thank the audio god, things have changed heading towards audio excellence. And yes, it did go into the too polite area for a while and there was a lack of "bite" to the music, that I like. That has returned. 


Edited by jamato8 - 11/5/11 at 3:48pm
post #5 of 20

interesting. looking forward to how your impression changes over the next few weeks.

 

Hopefully scooter joins this discussion as well.

post #6 of 20

Now why did you sell off the Edition 8s.

 

Wonder how they'll do against them portable headphones.

post #7 of 20

I second that
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintkeat View Post

interesting. looking forward to how your impression changes over the next few weeks.



 

post #8 of 20

My impressions pretty well mirror those of Jamato8's, although I do not as yet have as many hours as his.  I am at about 150 or so.   What I like most about this amp is the precise imaging, both in width as well as depth.   Not many amps portray depth very convincingly.  This one does.  

 

 

post #9 of 20

This amp has gone through a lot of phases from it sucks (out of the box) to it is starting to sound nice, to pretty good at about 130 hours. Currently at 145 and looking forward to the 200 hour mark, more to come.

 

Note: The bass has been one of the biggest changes followed by a very musical presentation.

post #10 of 20


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo View Post

This amp has gone through a lot of phases from it sucks (out of the box) to it is starting to sound nice, to pretty good at about 130 hours. Currently at 145 and looking forward to the 200 hour mark, more to come.

 

Note: The bass has been one of the biggest changes followed by a very musical presentation.



heyy guys, hows the amp sounding now?..also what do you u use for burning in 200hours?..

im thinking of buyin this amp for my ultrasone 900's - good idea??

thankss

 :P

post #11 of 20

Opinions varied, I like the T5 a lot and its small size is a nice plus. However, I preferred the sound of the D4 w/ the TopKit.

post #12 of 20

wt and how did u burn ur amp in?, im new to all this n hav no clue :/

also how will this amp sound with ultrasone 900's...they shud b here soon :P

 

thanks!!

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

One of the larger Ibasso's would be more wise to use with the Ultrasone.  The T5 is strictly an IEM amplifier and will not drive the Pro 900 well.  With most of my full size headphones, the T5 makes no difference at all with my J3 except in sonic texture and coloration.  The T5 started out great and got a little bit better. I don't know about it opening up that drastically at 200+ hours, but I do feel like there was an audible increase in overall quality.  My ears adjusting and the amp slightly burning in combined allows for an audible more open signature.  The Pico slim gets absolutely no use, it is obsolete. 

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 20

Would there be audible difference if using T5 for the Shure 535?

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

I think if you have iems that expensive you might want to invest in a more spacious and dynamic sounding portable amplifier, something again more along the lines of the D2 Boa or something ( if you want to stick to Ibasso ).  That's just my recommendation, the Boa is the same price as the T5, last thing I want to do is recommend something more expensive but I think that would be the wiser way to go.  It is bigger of course but I just wouldn't be using any of the smaller slim amps on something like that.

 

But to answer your question, it would depend on your source.  If the source player is weak you will hear a difference, if it is something like the J3 or a nicer portable player you might not hear so much of a difference.  Just my two cents.  Best of luck :)

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