The smell of tangerines and the taste of champagne disappear with the New Year holidays, but the winter fiesta continues in our audiophile haven.
I already admitted earlier that meeting with each new iBasso device is akin to a holiday for me, this time was no exception. Moreover, the five-driver AM05 earphones, which will be discussed today, have everything to become one of the hits of 2020 in their "weight" category.
Well, since our festivities continue, I will allow myself to raise a short toast before the start of the review: for great music and the right sound! To the bottom, friends!
Specifications Drivers: 5 Knowles balanced armature
Frequency response: 10-40kHz
Sensitivity: 115±2dB (at 1 kHz)
Passive noise reduction: -30dB
Rated power: 5mW
Distortion:<2% (at 1kHz/1mW)
Plug: jack - 2.5 mm balanced straight / adapter 2.5 mm -3.5 mm included
Cable length: 1.2m
Appearance, kit and ergonomics
The IEM are packed in a small white cardboard box on which the iBasso pyramidal logo is adorned, the model name and its brief specification: Five Balanced Armature Driver in-ear monitor. For a more detailed description, refer to the back of the package, there all the characteristics are given in eight languages.
We lift the lid and see two enticing emeralds recessed into the foam base - the IEM themselves, and under them is a black case washer with the inscription iBasso Audio. In the case we find an excellent balanced cable with an adapter 2.5mm / 3.5mm and a rich set of tips for any size, taste and color (2 pairs of foam and 11 pairs of silicone tips + one already installed on the sound pipes). Mandatory warranty instructions are also in place.
AM05 shells are made of medical resin using 3D printing. Shell is transparent, faceplate (back panel) is blue or green. As you already understood, I opted for the second option. Therefore, during testing, two graceful “precious stones” flaunted in my ears.
Silver inscriptions are located on the outside of the IEM: on the right - the name of the model is AM05, on the left - All Music.
On the inside of the shell there is a metal sound pipe with a limiter to protect it from moisture and sulfur, and on top is a gold-plated connector MMCX for connecting the cable.
Through the transparent shell, one can admire the triumph of engineering thought from iBasso: an intricate look from the scattering of reinforcing drivers, acoustic tubes, wires and a crossover (I will specify for corrosive - 4-way) appears to the inquisitive gaze.
The smoothed “pellet” of the cases is not only pleasing to the eye, but also convenient to use: you can wear the AM05 for any length of time without discomfort. Wearing is supposed to be behind the ear.
Sound insulation is above average, and if you choose the right tips, you can easily stay face-to-face with your favorite music, not paying attention to the outside world, where vanity and noise interfere with revelry of fantasies.
Cute braided cable made of monocrystalline copper. It is silver-colored (the jewelry theme does not leave us here), very elastic, with MMCX connectors, a balanced TRRS 2.5 mm jack and an adapter for TRS 3.5 mm, which are made in the same style.
After the first acquaintance (kit, appearance, workmanship and convenience), the IEM confidently gain the highest scores, but let's see how the AM05 will pass the main test.
I recommend a responsible approach to the process of selecting tips, as they make a significant contribution to the creation of a sound picture.
I would describe the sound of AM05 as neutral, balanced, with good transmission of the emotional component, high resolution, smooth and expressive middle, with a slight rise at the junction of the midrange / treble, which gives expression to the heard compositions, fast, flush with the entire frequency response bass and elegant "spark" in the high frequency range.
This is a very detailed and energetic feed, where the main attention is paid to the mid-frequency range, and the lower and upper registers clearly interact with it.
The picture is drawn in contrast, in detail, with a good separation of instruments, the transfer of textures, tones and a meticulous display of all the small nuances. This is a dynamic, fast and neutral manner, where sound images, shimmering, line up in a skillfully assembled assemblage.
The bass is distinct, assembled, with an articulated beat and sufficient speed characteristics. It is fed extremely linearly. There are no questions regarding the quality and quantity of its development; it is on a par with the rest of the frequency range. This is an accurate, well-articulated, embossed and comfortable manner. Testing midbass takes not so much quantity as quality, demonstrating excellent texture transfer and energy. I like this approach.
The middle frequencies are harmonious, with a commendable transmission of the emotional component of the composition and proper drive. It is served faithfully and clearly, technically and extremely musically. Pleases excellent detail and an enviable resolution. For its class, everything is very decent.
The high-frequency register is a little highlighted, but without waywardness. He interacts with the upper middle in a friendly manner. Treble is slightly crumbly and, to my taste, too “grainy”, but at the same time, devoid of excessive brightness and comfortable to listen to. There is the necessary resolution, and light "sparkles" that add air and beauty to the music.
In those compositions where there is brightness, AM05 can emphasize this point, but where there is no aggression, everything sounds very nicely.
These IEM have an analytical manner of delivering material; they scrupulously outline all the micro details. At the same time, AM05 is unlikely to suit lovers of warm and overly comfortable sound.
In my opinion, the designers of iBasso brilliantly coped with their task - the earphones turned out right. AM05 is a model with a stylish design that would surely appeal to the magician of the Emerald City, with a solid assembly and a neutral, detailed, melodic sound.
Such an audio sketch, in my opinion, is able to satisfy the needs of a fairly wide range of music lovers.
It is also worth thanking iBasso for its humanity towards customers. Recommended retail price AM05 is $ 299. Given the wonderful kit, chic design, build quality, ergonomics and, most importantly, good sound, I find this price more than acceptable.
Pros: - Exceptional tuning
- amazing build quality
- top-notch imaging and instrument separation
- wide stage
- nice addition of 2.5mm balanced cable
- 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter cable
Cons: - Bass may be lacking for some
(A few words about me):
This is my first attempt to review a product here in Head-Fi so.......guys please be gentle to me.....
I do not consider my self as an audiophile .I see my self more like a music enthusiast celebrating music each and every day in my life,and i am by no means a person of graphs and measurements.You can call me music junkie if you like.....I have my heart and ears focused on music 24/7.
My ears listen,my heart feels.....
iBASSO is a well knowned established name in the Audio industry since....the creation of the universe.......
I have purchased lots of stuff from the company including daps/amps i.e.....
Recently they released their first 5BA Knowles iem with a 4-way crossover design, AM05 iem
For now you can purchase AM05 iem directly from the iBasso site or from Penon Audio for 299$.
Attention to the detail is the keyword here,and those guys seem to be quite proffecional at this area since years now...
Package includes a nice hardshell alluminium case,a high-purity silver-plated 2.5mm mmcx balanced cable,a full set of silicone eartips,as well as foam tips. A nice addition to the set is the inclusion of a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter cable, as well as a warranty card and an instructive manual guide.
iBasso guys used resin inverted mold technology production for AM05 iem, and the result is monitors with transparent resin shells & transparent colored faceplate(green or blue),nothing but astounding.The fit is superb-super ergonomic and probably the closest you can get to a ciem at least for my ears,thus the isolation is way above average(up to -30dB) leaving all external noise outside for good......
Been used to FUN sound signatures mostly, AM05 came as a surpise to me with it's neutral tonality and natural timbre.
Being a fan of big bass response, most of my IEMS obtain a certain "fun factor" and this one really impressed me with it's true to life reproduction capabilities.There are no particular frequencies overshadowing neither overwhelming each other ,it's a linear and spacious at the same time presentation which obtains a high degree of musicality and engangement.In fact engangement is the keyword here as i started to listen having in mind 2 or 3 songs and ended up 2 hours later asking for more .......
These monitors kept me craving for more and more.....they do have a unique natural timbre which does magic especially in the midrange.
For example, on DX80/PB3 Angel Olsen's "Endgame" sounds like heaven with AM05 ,her voice sounds totally seductive and mesmerizing filling my head with ethereal sounds from somewhere out of this world,while Suzzane Vega's "night vision" and "solitude standing"as long as the rest of her acoustic works sounds otherwordly beatifull and majestic.
In more words: a new delicate transparent universe had open it's doors to my ears...
Channel imbalance is almost zero on AM05 (FR L/FR R)
It's a neutral tonality with some slight peaks first would be around 2Khz adding presence and energy on the vocals(especially female vocals do shine on AM05)followed by the second peak at around 8Khz providing some airyness and space on the higher regions.
Gear used with AM05:
There is a decent extension to sub-bass area,bass is punchy and tight,the decay is fast,overall the bass is smooth and neutral not affecting the mids in any way.People having used to heavier bass signatures may be dissapointed and even to my taste i would prefer a little more bass but i suppose it is a matter of "mind burn-in"procedure to get used to a neutral signature after all.
The midrange is at least to my personal opinion, the highlight of AM05.Its super resolving with unbelievable detail retrieval but not in the cost of sounding cold or analytical in any way,and not in the cost of musicality off course.
Female voices sound fantastic and airy.there is a spacious and open feeling and vocals come slightly upfront in the mix (partially due to the slight 2khz elevation).Vocals come with a high level of transparency and musicality resulting in a higher engangement level.Sweet and smooth as butter with incredible authority and true to life reproduction.In the midrange,this is where the magic happens
There is great extension in the upper frequencies and the amount or air rendered is amazing as well.Partially due to the slight peak at around 8Khz there is plenty of space and an transparent/airy feeling near the top end.
Treble never sounds harsh or artificial/metallic, on the contrary there is a smooth and natural way of reproduction of high hats and cymbals.Sibilance is not an issue on AM05 something out of the question at this case.
Highs are smooth and ideal for long listening periods,absolutely non fatique listening,and airy as the stratosphere......
Stage,Imaging,Resolution,Overall Performance,Synergy with sources :
Instrument separation would be the 2nd highlight of the AM05 to my opinion as it is trully exceptional here...Each and every instrument is where it should be on stage with weight and authority,sound effortlessly travels from the left to the right side of your head demonstrating an amazing channel separation only to be found on higher price range iems,and you can easily pin-point each and every little element/cue of the original recording.All this taking under consideration making AM05 a really revealing and faithfull to the original/master recording earphone.Resolution is amazing as well,in heavier electronic tracks or heavily orchestrated pieces (string/brass sections) of music when plenty of instruments are involved and take place in the scene, AM05 stays top-clear and musical at the same time ,maintaining this way a very natural timbre.This way AM05 can easily handle any music genre you like, being always exceptional on acoustic/orchestra tracks and physical instruments.At this case, the timbre is just mesmerising.Soundstage is wide and spacious, congestion is out of the question here, particullary in heavy orchestrated pieces of music is where imaging excels at most.
AM05 clearly benefits from amplification,so DX80/PB3 & Fiio X3II/HUM Hypno amp are ideal pairings, offering a slightly warmer tonallity, and a lush midrange
Selected Comparisons :
Rose Technics BR5 was the first multi BA iem in my collection followed by the revised version later (BR5 MKII)
Rose Technics used 5 BA configuration including SONION & KNOWLES balance armature drivers with a 3way crossover design.While BR5/MKII is a spacious earphone no doubt about it,it is prone to sibilance occasionally and in higher volumes you can get some piercing metallic highs from time to time making it sound artificial ocassionally.That's not an issue here with AM05,musicality dominates everything on AM05 the treble is spacious but gentle at the same time providing a pleasurable and long listening experience.In addition to this vocals on AM05 come to be more sweet and realistic and the overall sound is totally uncoloured.
FA7 is a totally different beast .The definition of the Fun sound signature and U shaped sound with enhanced lows and soften treble the overall experience is more soft/sweet ,mainly due to the mids tunning which on FA7 are really remarkable and reminiscend of AM05 which is a direct contender at this area. FA7 has big bass which can be described best as dominating sometimes over the cost of the mid frequency but the vocals on FA7 is nothing more than amazing.
On the other side neutrallity and uncoloured sound is what AM05 stands for making it a totally different iem from FA7
On DM6 resolution & instrument separation reminds of AM05 with AM05 being the winner of those two and the more natural timbre of the vocals makes AM05 a better choise imo...
nevertheless bass on DM6 is clearly more than noticeable with much more sub bass rumble and due to this a probably better all-rounder for pop and mainstream listening.
TSMR - 3Pro
Those two (AM05 & TSMR 3Pro) sounds (to my ears at least) more similar than the previous iems.
Both have wide stage,very good imaging,and above all transparent midrange with excellent detail retrieval with TSMR-3PRO being the more linear presentation and less resolving monitor.Both excellent choises
Listening to AM05 is trully a musical treat, that offers a very high level of engagement.Friends of vocal and acoustic tracks will adore that one.For the rest of us would be an interest view of how music should be auditioned in the first place.....everything on AM05 is demonstrated neutral with zero colouration in an absolute natural manner.A spacious feeling dominates the overall presentation providing this way a unique musical experience.
If you like neutral uncoloured sound signature,exceptional heaven like vocals,amazing detail retrieval and super crazy imaging/resolution go for AM05.
After all......AM goes for All Music right??
Thanks for your attention.....