Zelda

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Best build quality out of all iBasso IEMs
Comfortable custom-like fit
Neutral to bright sound. Detail, accuracy, coherence.
Best synergy with a warm source.
A lot of ear tips included
Cons: Bass is light (very neutral tuning). Easy to EQ
Can be too bright and sibilant
Soundstage is average
Review – iBasso AM05

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Design

The AM05 takes a brand new design that looks quite different from the hybrid models IT03, IT04 and the more universal single dynamic IT01 and IT00. However, the AM05 seems to be combining some characteristics of the previous models, like the very custom-like shape of the IT03/IT04 in a little more compact form and better designed nozzle as the IT01/IT00. The shells are now made of acrylic resin that is supposed to be built using the inverted mold process. They look much thicker and more solid than the usual polymer hollow shells on the IT series. The transparent clear shell is also a radical change from the solid colors applied on all the previous models, and maintains a completely smooth finish. You can see all the components inside, drivers, crossover circuit and the silver thin tubes up to the nozzle.

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The AM05 arrives in two faceplate colors, blue or green, which are still semi-translucent. ‘AM05’ is printed in silver color on the right side and ‘All Music’ on the left, but I think putting the iBasso logo would have been nicer.

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The nozzle is made of stainless steel like on the IT01 and IT00 and follows the same removable threaded screens introduced on with the IT01s but more like the IT00 without rubber rings and much stronger attached. However, there are no spare screens included in the box. The nozzle is not straight as on the IT04 but also not as angled as on the IT01/00.

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The very custom-like shape in addition to the long and well-shaped nozzle part provides a very ergonomic fit. The AM05 is certainly not as small as the IT00, but still not as large as the IT04 and fits much more comfortably. The fit is feel more natural, though still a bit tight. Being all BA drivers, there are no vents in the shells and so the isolation is quite good among universal-fit IEMs.

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The cable is of silver-plated copper wire. The typical 4-strands tightly twisted. The quality is good with metal covers on the plug and y-split and slider. It is terminated in a straight 2.5mm balanced plug and includes an adapter for standard 3.5mm. The connectors are the usual MMCX types. They attach quite strongly to the earpieces sockets, though less tight as on the other iBasso models I tried. The plugs are a bit curved with red and blue markings for either side and have fixed preformed plastic guides attached.

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Sound Quality

Sources: iBasso DX220 & DX160, HiBy R3 Pro, Oriolus BA300s.

The AM05 is currently the only model from iBasso that uses all balanced armature Knowles drivers, five per side. The all BA configuration not just deviates from the dynamic and hybrid earphones of the ‘InTune’ series by their inner components and different outer design of shells, but mainly in the sound signature – and quite a wild change. All the IT models presented a warmer sound with strong, rich and impactful bass response, a good soundstage (for their corresponding price). The AM05, instead, goes into a totally different direction with a very neutral response from lows to mids and brighter, more revealing highs. It is clearly the most transparent and more focused into micro-detail, accuracy and clarity.

There is not much to say about the bass on the AM05. Despite the 5BA setup (not sure if a dual BA is used for lows or a single large BA), the bass is completely flat neutral. It is very tight and you can hear the definition of the lower notes, but there is not any ‘impact’ to feel. The extension is also limited with an early roll-off at the sub-bass, not very unusual for a multi-BA IEM. Fast but also short in decay, without much depth or weight.

The neutrality continues through the midrange. It is clean and very transparent. Very liquid, less forward and more lean at the lower mids, less suited for male vocals and missing weight on lower instruments. The clarity and precision is well heard through the whole midrange. Upper mids are more highlighted and revealing. There is a lot of energy for upper instruments and better texture for female vocals. Its emphasis continues through almost the whole treble as well, just missing some presence at the highest treble region.

The AM05 is definitely not a forgiving earphone when it gets to the upper midrange and treble response; while revealing and airy, the quantity can be too abundant and sibilance is certainly present at most tracks. Ear tips can be critical to tame down sibilance and harshness (at least to a certain degree). While some EQ can help on the bass response, it is more difficult to control the treble. Soundstage is about average – not narrow or a too intimate presentation, but definitely smaller when compared to the other iBasso IEMs. On the good side, the AM05 is very airy and rarely congested, and it is also very coherent being an all BA instead of hybrids.

As an extra, the AM05 paired with the Oriolus BA300s tube-amplifier shows excellent synergy. It is not about the power needed, but the tonality and fullness the BA300s adds to the AM05. The bass is much more present, more weighted with realistic impact and depth. The midrange gains more body and a richer texture. Highs are slightly smoother and more comfortable to listen to. Soundstage is larger and more open. The sound is more natural, and I could prefer this combination over the IT04 when portability is less important.

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Comparisons

iBasso IT04


Being a hybrid IEM, the IT04 offers a much better and larger bass response. It has the extension, power, texture and dynamics. The AM05 is faster, tighter and very light. The midrange on the IT04 is well balanced, and even though it is little less forward it is fuller and richer. Treble is bright on the IT04 but not as on the AM05 and it is more forgiving.

Akoustyx R-210 (2 BA – Knowles TWFK)

Very similar sound signature between these two IEMs. Flat, very neutral to bright tuning, strong analytical capabilities, high speed, accuracy, and not forgiving upper midrange and treble. The AM05 has a very little touch of more weight on the lows and extension is a bit better (or rather, the R-210 rolls-off earlier). The R-210 offers a more even midrange from its low to upper region and it is little more forward and liquid. The AM05 is leaner on the low-mid and elevated on the upper-mids, less forward but a bit more textured and fuller. Highs are similarly bright and too energetic on both; the R-210 has a more ‘hot’ low-treble, but the AM05 can be sharper and more sibilant. None of these stand out in the soundstage.

final B3 (2 BA)

There is a very significant price jump of $200 to the B3, and it is not a technically ‘better’ sound quality than the AM05 and they sound quite different. The B3 is more midrange centered, forward, richer and much smoother and musical. It has a sweeter texture and performs great with vocals. The bass is fuller, warmer, even if it does not extend further than the AM05. The treble is full on the B3 too, but is still more relaxed and forgiving. AM05 is more revealing and very neutral, more detail focused.

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To sum-up, among all the iBasso earphones, the AM05 has the best build quality and most ergonomic shape. It may not fit the smallest ears, but otherwise, is very comfortable with a good level of isolation. The sound quality and tuning is completely different than the usual iBasso house’ sound – very neutral with a bright treble, more focused into detail and accuracy instead of the warm and rich sound of the IT models.
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Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
IBASSO AM05 BA IEMS - THE ROAR'S HERE
Pros: + clarity
+ no hiss
+ comfort
+ ergonomics
+ mid-centric
+ balanced overall sound
+ sweet sound
+ Lots of Passive Noise Isolation
Cons: - Signature is a bit thin and light
- Won't be for everyone, mid centric sound is one of those that's an acquired taste
- Needs comply for best overall sound presentation
IBASSO AM05 BA IEMS - THE ROAR'S HERE
by George Dobrescu - September 26, 2020
iBasso AM05 BA IEMs - The Roar's Here



AM05 is a new IEM released by iBasso, and this is the green version, with a better looking one, blue, in the wild. The price is about 300 USD, so they will be compared to The Periodic Audio Carbon, Final Audio B2, and FiiO FA7. Despite having 5 BA drivers, it has a unique sound, but it is not picky, so the pairings will include iBasso DX160, Lotoo Paw S1, and Earmen TR-AMP.



Introduction

iBasso doesn't really need an introduction, they are pretty much the best DAP maker in terms of consistency, they just have been consistent with their DAPs, they offer an awesome warranty, and if you don't know much about iBasso, they are best known for their DAPs, like the DX220, DX220 MAX, DX160 and even their entry-level variants like the DX120 is simply outstanding even now.

That being said, it should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with iBasso, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I'd like to thank iBasso for providing the sample for this review, with me being responsible for paying the custom taxes. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in iBasso AM05 find their next music companion.



About me

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



Packaging


First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:








The package is actually quite similar to what IT01S comes with, which is not great considering the steep price difference, AM05 being quite a bit more pricy.

On the other hand, iBasso went again with their excellent cable design, where you can use the same cable as a balanced and as a single ended cable. There's a good selection of tips, and the carrying case is practical, earning the AM05 an actually good grade for the overall package.



What to look for when purchasing a high-end In-Ear Monitor

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort


The build of the AM05 is simple, plastic all around, but the plastic is of an excellent quality. There's actually a good selection of tips and the IEMs are rather ergonomic, making them really easy to use regardless of the ear size. AM05 is not exactly small, but it is one of the rare IEMs that I can easily recommend to those with smaller ears too.



The green color was not my favorite to be honest, the blue looks a bit better, but the green has its own charm for those who love green eyes. The IT01S tends to look a bit better, in overall, but I feel like the AM05 is built better, the MMCX connectors are of an excellent quality too.

The passive noise isolation is insane, 20 dB to 25 dB, being an all BA design. The good part is that the void is not very prominent, so you don't feel like the IEMs are sucking out your eardrums, so it is comfortable, even for long periods of listening. There's no cable microphonic noise, there's no inherent issue to the wearing. The MMCX connectors are slightly on the tight side, and it can be a bit tricky to take the cables out, but AM05 doesn't pose an issue if you decide to go for a different cable. iBasso does not sell the cable separately, so they had a custom configuration made for AM05, which is both flexible, ergonomic and sounds pretty good, being made to work well with the AM05.

There's a wide selection of tips included and bundled with AM05, but for the absolute best sound, I totally recommend AM05 foam tips. They have a tinner overall sound by default, with a stronger treble, so foam would compliment the default sound the best. Despite being an all-BA design, the headroom is good, so you can both take them quite loud, but also EQ the AM05 quite a bit without distortion (3-4 dB), something which can't be said about Final B3.



I would recommend the iBasso IT01 or IT01S for more bass though, they have an incredibly strong and tasteful low-end.

The synergy is great with DX120, DX160 and DX220. I could also say that it sounds great out of DX220 MAX, but that's a pretty large DAP, and FiiO M11 PRO, as well as something tiny like HIDIZS AP80 PRO all do a great job in driving AM05. High SPL, paired with an average impedance of 32 OHMs mean that AM05 is not only fairly easy to drive, but not very sensitive to hiss, so even Hiby R6 would work alright.



Sound Quality

AM05 can be described as somewhat thin, balanced, the midrange is quick, precise, but slightly recessed in the lower mids, the bass has a slightly warm presentation in the 100 Hz area, while the sub-bass is mostly linear, without much coloration. Clarity and detail are strong points, although the midrange has a peak in the 1-2 kHz, while the treble is natural. The sound is somewhat thin, light, snappy, and sweet.



The bass is quick, doesn't roll off, but is quite flat. There's not much warmth, although there's a hint of magic in the 100Hz range. After that, it tends to be slightly recessed, so AM05 is not for thick or dark and rich signature lovers. The bass is easily described by the speed and precision, and if quantity is what you're looking for, IT01S is totally more able to satisfy.

Talking about reasons to get AM05 instead of IT01S, the detail, clarity and vocal presence are top notch. This comes at the cost of the sound not being very bodied, but the textures are presented with excellent detail, without being harsh or fatiguing. The sound is exciting, you can hear many details even in pianos, the presentation has a beautiful musicality, with a sweet tilt, so sadder songs aren't presented quite as sad.

The treble tends to have a slight drop after 8kHz, but it doesn't roll off entirely. This makes for good air and stage, without the entire sound being fatiguing or too treble-happy. This was a slight issue with It04, which had a pretty strong and ethereal treble, where AM-05 is more natural.



Youtube Video




Comparisons


The comparison list includes Periodic Audio Carbon, Final Audio B2, and FiiO FA7, based on the price of all, which is pretty close to AM05.



iBasso AM05 vs Periodic Audio Carbon (300 USD vs 400 USD) - Periodic Audio Carbon has a simpler design, which is mainly made to be incognito, a great sound, but within a very simple and basic design. The comfort is better for AM05, it has less microphonic noise, the IEM fits better with most years, and they tend to sit better in both larger and smaller ears, while the Carbon works well mainly for large ears. The package is better for AM05, with a better carrying case, and they have a better cable. The sound is light, snappy, clear, detailed for AM05, while it is deep, bassy, explosive, incredibly heavy, and thick for the Carbon. AM05 is mid-centric, while the midrange takes a second place in the Carbon.

iBasso AM05 vs Final Audio B2 (300 USD vs 300 USD) - B2 is considerably more colored in terms of sound, despite having a somewhat more attractive design, and a slightly better package (thanks to the Final Tips, which are regarded as being some of the best on the market today). The sound of AM05 is very natural, slightly sweet, fun and engaging, while B2 is colored, somewhat thick and smooth in the treble, they don't have nowhere the same detail and clarity as AM05, although if you want something thicker, with a full body, which is relaxing and has Final's outstanding design, the B2 still makes an interesting option at 300 USD.

iBasso AM05 vs FiiO FA7 (300 USD vs 300 USD) - FiiO FA7 has a better package, but AM05 has a slightly better ergonomic, especially for smaller ears, where FA7 still works well, but for medium and larger ears. The sound is basically a one-trick pony for FA7, still, a bassy, colored, full, deep, thick sound that's extremely fun to listen to at first, but which gets boring after a while, as it lacks treble extension and detail. This being said, for those who find treble to be fatiguing easily, FA7 is a perfect choice, where those who love a clear, sweet midrange, and want a quicker, snapper sound, will happily go for AM05.



Recommended Pairings

The pairing list includes iBasso DX160, Lotto Paw S1, and Earmen TR-AMP. The list could go on forever, and pairing with iBasso DAPs gives an excellent result, while pairing with entry-level and affordable sources is not only possible, but also has an excellent result.



The likes of FiiO BTR5, HIDIZS AP80 PRO, and even Tempotec Sonata HD PRO works fairly well.

iBasso AM05 + iBasso DX 160 (300 USD + 400 USD) - DX160 is the natural pairing DAP for the AM05, because not only it has a very natural sound, but you have access to streaming services, a quick OS, and a reliable overall DAP. The Wifi Signal is great, at least has been so far on my unit, the battery life is pretty great too, and you even have a great EQ programmed by iBasso if you want to slightly tweak and play with the settings of the AM05.

iBasso AM05 + Lotoo Paw S1 (300 USD + 170 USD) - Paw S1 is another thing to drive the AM05 with, and it is great because it has a dynamic, clear, punchy sound, which compliments the AM05 nicely, but it also has EQ, even a few presets, and none of which distort with AM05, so you end up with a lot of options to listen to AM05, imagine pairing the detail, clarity and snappy nature of AM05 with more bass, or even more treble, or even a V-Shaped presentation. The price is a bit high for S1, but it can drive full-sized headphones too, making a great portable DAC/AMP for a long time to come.

iBasso AM05 + Earmen TR-AMP (300 USD + 250 USD) - TR-AMp does not have many tricks like Eq up its sleeve, but the default sound is great, has a lot of driving power, great battery life, and during the main Corona Isolation time, it has been a trusty partner for me, as I kept spending more and more time at the computer with a fairly minimalistic setup on hand.



Value and Conclusion

AM05 has an excellent overall value, great comfort, provides a really good detail / clarity and revealing abilities for the price, the package has a nice carrying case, and they come with a nice cable.



Not only that, but you get a large selection of cables, along with iBasso's excellent concept of having one cable that works both as a balanced and as a Single Ended cable. When designing it, the guys at iBasso made sure that you could use AM05 with a few dB of EQ so if you're not entirely happy with the default tuning, you can tweak it slightly.

But I recommend getting it mainly if you like the default signature, because for other signatures there are many options, including IT01-S, if you're into traditional V-Shaped signatures.



The sig of AM05 is what you'd expect out of a mid-forward, slightly lighter, snappier, sweeter IEM with an excellent amount of detail and clarity. They are also easy to pair with any DAP, from DX120 all the way to DX220 MAX.



At the end of this review, if you're looking for a comfy IEM that isolates well from the outside noise, something to use for many years from now on, with iBasso's great support, if you're looking for a light, snappy, mid-forward, clear and detailed signature, AM05 is one of the best IEMs at 300 USD, for this kind of signature.



Full Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Youtube Playlist


Tidal Playlist

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b


I hope my review is helpful to you!

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Tamirci

Member of the Trade: kulakligim
ibasso AM05 - Premium Balance
Pros: Balanced, Soundstage, Lively, Comfortable
Cons: Cable thin for its price, Slight - on Mids, Stock Cable is 2.5mm
Now it's iBasso AM05 review time, AM stands for All Music. iBasso came out with its first digital audio player DX50, then brought legendary DX90 but after that iBasso headed towards iem manufacturing. Now they come up with iBasso AM05. This is the entry level to its' AM family.

Box, Unboxing, Headphone and Cable

Since this is loan IEM we can't say much about it's packaging/box but carrying case is circular and hard to open up. Can't say much about contents. Build is all clear resin, there's blue paint on plate also there's AM05 and All Music written on left and right. It's similarly shaped in CIEM like latest trends and iBasso AM05 isolates really well. It's easy to see the nozzle stem screwed to the body. There's no saltshaker-like holes on the filter, it's like tiny elliptic holes. Cable's connection unit is MMCX and cable does not look durable.





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iBasso AM05 - Sound

Sound is flawlessly balanced. All of the 5 Balanced Armatures resonates same. Overall it sounds balanced, natural, clear and exposing. Layering is fine but not much airy, vocals are close like other side of midrange. With impedance and sensitivity level sound pressure inherently excels. Stage is also wide, like really. I would rate imaging 8,5/10 and instruments sounds realistic.

Bass, Mid, Treble

Bass sounds neutral as i mentioned above, it does not add extra bass while bass frequencies sounds puchy. Church bells at 01:20 of the timeless classic (High Hopes) is as if made of heavy iron and ready to make you suffer when slapped you, thus this expression alone marks its imaging :). In the other tracks bass frequencies reverbs naturally. Mids are neutral as bass. Instruments are really joyful thanks to imaging. It won't take you off from wide orchestrates. Vocals sounds 1 step close. Treble is just like midrange with much more detail and reveal, does not exhausts also smooth like other frequency ranges.

iBasso AM05 - Conclusion

It's good to see iBasso manufacturing headphones
, especially this kind of competent IEM. This drew a image of bronze skinned oldie lad to me. With it's 299$ price tag it may look overpriced but considering what AM05 gives you, it does makes sense. Sincere thanks to Mr. Halil who loaned us this review unit.
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Layman1

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: balanced, reference sound, vivid, great clarity, wide soundstage and separation, imaging, detail, value for money
Cons: bass is neutral (so this is only really a con if you're a bass-head)
A review of the iBasso AM05 In-Ear Monitor (IEM):

Introduction
:

As one of the original and well-respected old-timers on the DAP (Digital Audio Player) scene, iBasso raised a few eyebrows a few years back when they decided to venture into the congested and competitive IEM market – and since then that same market has exploded in terms of congestion and competitiveness, especially in the USD $30-$300 range.

So I’d like to begin this review with a background to what has come before this new AM05.

This firstly serves as a bit of a history of the evolution of iBasso’s IEM line up, but also may give you some ideas about which of their IEMs might most suit your taste, should the AM05 itself not be your preferred sound signature:

They originally released the IT03, a fairly v-shaped hybrid IEM featuring a dynamic driver combined with two balanced armatures, priced at $259 at the time of writing.

I love this IEM and still rate it very highly in its price range. It has a huge, wide open soundstage, with an extended treble that has a beautiful shimmer to it, of a quality that I’ve rarely heard matched even on TOTL IEMs. It has an impactful low end, tuned predominantly towards sub bass and more linear in the mid bass. It has a terrific physical tactility, that again, I’ve rarely heard matched on any IEM.

Then the IT01 (a single dynamic driver IEM with an L-shaped tuning, priced at $99).

For me, it’s a bit like a baby Empire Ears Legend X. Of course, not in the same league as that $2k+ TOTL IEM, but having a similar L-shaped tuning, excellent technical performance at its price point and just a hugely enjoyable and addictive sound.

That was followed by the IT04 (1 DD plus 3 BA’s, priced at $499), with a not-far-off TOTL performance and a relatively reference signature with a tinge of warmth and shimmer, paired by a bass that was tuned maybe slightly above neutral, but capable of deep sub-bass extension and great tactility in presentation of timbre. Again, an IEM that I rated highly and still gets listening time out of my IEM line-up, which now includes a variety of TOTL gear.

Lastly (until now), they released the $199 IT01s, featuring a newly upgraded design of dynamic driver and a more ‘mature’ tuning than the original IT01, that I and others have described as being a bit like a baby IT04.

So, where does the AM05 fit into this illustrious line up?

The answer – and the clue is in its name – is that it doesn’t :)

What iBasso have done here is to create an entirely new flavour of IEM, comprised of 5 Knowles Balanced Armature (BA) drivers, which will cater to people with a rather different taste in sound signature than anything previously available in iBasso’s repertoire.

There is no, I repeat, NO dynamic driver :)

For a closet bass-head like me, this is something that really took me by surprise, but like I said, the whole point of this IEM is NOT being ‘more of the same’.

Indeed (and I’ve finished the review now, and just popping back here to add this ‘disclaimer’), as a bit of a bass-head, this has been in some ways a challenging IEM for me to review.

I have to constantly move beyond that part of my brain that says “this is great, but it would be even better with MOAR BASS”, and try to analyse it with a relatively more objective state of mind, given that I know there are a great many people out there who do not share my taste in such things.

Disclaimer: I was provided with the AM05 IEM free of charge by iBasso in return for an honest review.

Photos:

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I got the blue model (to my delight!); a green model is also available. In keeping with its sound signature, it looks tasteful and classy, and I’m very happy with the build quality.

It’s very alluring how the transparent shells allow you to see the electronics inside.

As with previous iBasso products, the packaging and attention to detail are all on point. A wide selection of tips, a 2.5mm cable that seems to be of good quality (and featuring very handy colour-coded collars on the MMCX connectors to help identify L & R), a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adaptor and a metal carrying case all add to the feeling of getting great value for money.

The Fit:

Regarding the fit, they are most similar to the IT04 in body shape.

I found them to be very small, light and comfortable to wear for long periods with no fatigue.

Tip Selection:

This is an important factor with these IEM’s that should not be overlooked.

The amount of bass impact and presence will be directly affected by this, so I highly recommend spending time to try different sizes, materials and styles. You may find that you get the best results with something you’ve not previously been much of a fan of.

Whilst I’d certainly encourage one and all to try the Symbio wide-bore tips, the key take-home point/valuable life-lesson here is simply “Tips Matter” – experiment and go with what you know works well for you (allowing for the fact that an ear tip that works well with one IEM may not fit so well on another).

The Sound:

As ever, my preferred method of testing is to try out the product(s) in question with a selection of songs from various genres and to let that process draw out the comparative strengths and weaknesses of each product, before drawing together my conclusions.

For the purposes of this review, I have used my two main DAPs to play the music on for testing; the Lotoo Paw Gold Touch (henceforth referred to as the LPGT) and the iBasso DX160.

Ok, let’s crack on.. This review isn’t going to write itself, after all :)

First, a bunch of songs, with a bunch of impressions and stuff that came to me as I listened to them. Is that technical enough for you?

Nobody’s Fault But Mine (live) – Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes (16/44 FLAC):

This is the first track I listened to with these IEMs.

Even in the opening 30 seconds, I was surprised and impressed by how well they separated out the different guitar parts. Imaging and separation was very good, and the whole sound was bright and clear, with really good levels of detail and faithful timbre.

Now, straight up, we hear a difference from the rest of the iBasso IEM line up:

This is an all-BA IEM, with no dynamic driver (DD) handling the lows.

As such, whilst the timbre is very good, it does not have the same physicality and tactility in timbre that a DD brings. I’m thinking of the way you can ‘feel’ the twanging and plucking of guitar strings, taps on the body of an acoustic guitar, intakes of breath from the vocalist, and so forth.

And before you begin to wail and curse the day you were born, it is worth mentioning that I’ve listened to all-BA IEM’s costing $3000+, and NONE of them could capture that physicality and tactility, as – in my experience thus far – it’s simply a quality that’s unique to dynamic drivers.

However, as the number of TOTL flagship all-BA IEMs shows, there are a great many people who love the speed and accuracy that a well-implemented BA driver brings to the low end of an IEM, and are happy to choose this quality over the physicality and tactility (and MOAR BASS pure power) available with DD or hybrid IEMs.

Personally, given the choice, I’d choose a well-implemented DD over a BA for the low end.

I suppose tactility is more important to my listening experience than speed.

Having said that, I do have all-BA IEM’s that I own or have tried (such as the Empire Ears Phantom, my beloved $499 Stealth Sonics U4, the UM Mason V3), and I think they are amazing too! When is someone going to create an IEM that has both DD and BA for the low end? The best of both worlds? That’s what I’m wondering.

If somebody has already done this (with excellent results), do let me know :)

Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club (HDTracks 24/96 FLAC):

Honestly, as a bit of a bass-head and die-hard DD fan, I didn’t expect to like this IEM so much, but it just keeps on impressing.

The soundstage is very wide, with good depth and height too.

There’s a lot of world-class musicians doing their thing in this song, and the AM05’s separation and imaging are really excellent, allowing me to mentally zoom in and out and focus on each instrument or vocal at will. Timbre is less physical and rich than on my DD hybrids or the thick and richly tuned Stealth Sonics U4 or EE Phantom; it’s more reference and delicate, but no less captivating.

A trumpet comes in at 2:37 and this is a good test for an IEM. On some, it can sound (for me) wince-inducingly sharp. However, when presented well, it is jaw-droppingly emotive.

I’m delighted to report that with the AM05, this trumpet solo stayed on the right side of the ‘sharpness line’ and drew out beautifully all the considerable emotion of this part of the song.

I’ve critically listened to this song on a whole bunch of IEMs from $200 to $2000, and this is one of the best presentations of this song I’ve heard, seriously.

The Gulf of Mexico – Shawn Mullins (16/44 FLAC):

This is one of my go-to review songs.

One of the very best presentations of this song that I’ve ever heard was on iBasso’s very own IT03 IEM – this song and that IEM seemed to have a perfect synergy that rendered concepts of ‘price point’ an irrelevance. Literally, it captivates me more than pretty much any IEM I’ve heard, even ones costing 10 times the price.

Now the AM05 is not too far off that performance.

Two differences are that the dynamic driver based low end of the IT03 captured the timbre just slightly better, and the IT03 also had a beautiful shimmer to the mids and treble, which I found to be rather different to most IEMs, which seem to have more sparkle.

The AM05 is more sparkle than shimmer for me (as are many TOTL IEMs), but it is extremely well executed sparkle, with a little tinge of shimmer.

This is a song that shines with an IEM that has brightness and the ability to accurately present the timbre of the vocals and instruments. On both of these counts, the AM05 delivers in spades.

There’s a brief section at the end of this song featuring hand-struck drums (bongos? I’m not too knowledgeable about percussion!).

The AM05 handles this terrifically well; despite my moaning about the lack of a dynamic driver in this IEM, I actually gasped out loud when I heard how it presented this part! Wonderful, captivating timbre, so realistic and technically excellent.

Midnight Blues – Snowy White and the White Flames (16/44 FLAC):

The sparse and heart-wrenching guitar solo work on this track really stands out.

I’m hearing a degree of hiss, but this is from the mastering of the song itself I believe, as I haven’t heard it on any other tracks thus far.

It reduces somewhat the perception of the blackness of the background; nevertheless, the instruments and vocals still ring out pure and clear from the air.

However, it’s not quite the ‘diamonds shining from a black velvet base’ presentation that would really make this song completely captivating.

Still, timbre and emotion are captured very well, and again, separation and imaging are excellent.

Life in a Northern Town – The Dream Academy (16/44 FLAC):

Things that struck me as I listened to this song:

The sense of spaciousness engendered by the expansive soundstage of this IEM.

The very impressive balance; the beautiful and engaging way it presents the synths, vocals and guitar line at the beginning. A kind of bossa nova beat comes in very subtly after this.

On iBasso’s IT range of IEMs, this has a very pleasing thump and tactility, that really lets you feel that it’s there but without detracting from its subtle presentation.

However, here it’s just that little bit less present and engaging.

Still, overall, the AM05 again shines beautifully on this song; its combination of a slight, gentle shimmer and the brightness, clarity and sparkle in the mids and treble really make this song come alive.

Handel ‘Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno..’ – Alison Lau (24/96 HDTracks FLAC):

This is one of my go-to test tracks now, by Hong Kong soprano opera singer Alison Lau.

She is able to swoop low and soar high, vocally speaking (possibly literally too, were someone to equip her with a jet pack. She really is that talented) :)

This song was – for my tastes – very good on the AM05, but not spectacular.

I found I missed that note thickness and weight that really makes the strings come alive in certain parts of the track (e.g. when they too ‘swoop low’ from 13-15 seconds into the song).

Again, that’s perhaps a result of listening so much to the U4 over the last few months :)

Also, whilst in general the AM05 stays on the ‘faithful presentation but without being too piercing or screechy’ side of the treble line, this is a difficult track, and unfortunately, for my treble sensitive ears, there were a few parts of the song where she really hits the high notes, that were just a little bit too sharp and resonant for me.

To try to give a more balanced point of view however, most people will not have this problem I think, and will certainly appreciate the huge space, clarity and detail that the AM05 bring to the (genteel chamber) party here. Either way, there’s no denying the terrific purity in the vocal presentation here; it’s literally breath-taking at times.

Stop Taking My Time – Club 8 (16/44 FLAC):

This track features a driving electronic beat and synths, combined with engaging female vocals.

I feel the presentation of timbre on her vocals are good, but not as good as on the IT04 (albeit that’s an IEM that costs over double the price of this one). The electronic, driving synths and beats are presented with crispness and speed, but again, fans of a more powerfully tuned low end may find it slightly lacking.

I think again, the more balanced tuning on this IEM means that it sometimes leans more towards clear, accurate and detailed presentation of timbre with instruments and vocals, as opposed to a very engaging and emotional richness to the presentation of timbre.

Again, this is mostly just a matter of preference. Until relatively recently, most of my IEMs were more inclined towards being neutral-reference in tuning (albeit mostly with dynamic drivers handling the low end). Then I bought the Empire Ears TOTL Phantom not long ago, which features a very unique, timbre-focused tuning with a lot of note weight.

And around the same time, I reviewed, fell in love with – and later purchased – the Stealth Sonics U4, which featured a completely different sound signature than I was used to up to that point; incredibly rich, warm, with great note weight and thickness. Incredibly musical, engaging, smooth, and with surprisingly good technical qualities to match.

I say this to basically give you an idea of where I’m coming from in this review.

I’ve spent a fair few weeks listening to the AM05 on and off, but it’s impossible, subjectively speaking, for me NOT to compare it to the other IEMs which have been taking up much of my listening time – the U4, the Itsfit Fusion, and prior to those, the EE Legend X, Phantom and Nemesis.

Still all this aside, I can’t help feeling that there’s a slight irony here; iBasso has called this the AM05, where ‘AM’ stands for ‘All Music’.

In fairness, if you like a very balanced tuning, with a bass that is perfectly acceptable, but not tuned much at all above neutral, then this could well be a great choice for you.

But for my own personal tastes, I think this IEM is great with certain genres and songs, and weaker with others; I’d turn to iBasso’s IT range of IEMs for an All Music all-rounder.

Whereas, with the excellent balance and poise of the AM05, I’d describe it as being very much ‘In Tune’. But unfortunately for the AM05, the ‘IT’ series of IEMs already stole that moniker :)

Love is an Advert – Garett Kato (16/44 FLAC):

This song is mastered with quite a wide, open soundstage.

It also features (especially from 18 seconds onwards) a strummed acoustic guitar line that has a rhythm and presence that – when presented well on an IEM – has the effect of providing a very driving, engaging backbone to the whole song. But this requires an IEM with a more significant bass presence and power.

On this song, I slightly feel the lack of a dynamic driver and/or a slightly more powerfully tuned bass. The song is still beautifully clear, spacious and the sparkle of the AM05 suits it well. Fans of more neutral/reference tunings will appreciate the balance in the sound signature here, but for me personally, I feel a more deep and impactful low end here would add to the presentation of this song.

Again, I can only give my own personal impressions (albeit trying to allow for the fact that others will hear differently), but on this specific song, I found the relatively neutral-reference tuning to remove the emotion and foot-tapping engagement of that driving guitar riff. Furthermore, the lack of that guitar riff for me unbalances the song very slightly, letting it drift into slightly fatiguing territory (I am sensitive to treble fatigue though, and most others will probably have no issues whatsoever).

More Than Love – Garrett Kato (16/44 FLAC):

Now, on this song, it’s a good counterbalance to the previous Garett Kato song I discussed, as the mastering is done rather differently. Here, the soundstage is much more intimate, prone to sounding congested on IEMs that feature a more intimate presentation themselves.

Also conversely, the way the strumming of the guitar is mastered on this track, it naturally has quite a significant amount of bass presence.

Here, the AM05 comes into its own again, opening out that soundstage and separation beautifully, presenting the guitar strumming in all its engaging rhythm and richness, and letting his intimate, slightly raspy vocals shine here, front and centre, slightly forwards and with very good timbre. Really outstanding.

To quote someone from some film or programme, neither of whose names I can remember (PM me if you can!):

“Two enthusiastic thumbs up!” :)

Conclusion:

I feel the AM05 is very direct in its intended tuning.

With this IEM, iBasso have made a clear step in a new direction.

It’s almost become a cliché to say that “this iBasso IEM really punches well above its price point”, but.. this iBasso IEM really does punch.. well, you can guess the rest :)

It’s very impressive. It’s bright, detailed, fairly analytical and with a very wide and fairly deep and high soundstage. Technically, it performs very well in terms of separation, imaging and layering. I’ve made remarks calling it fairly ‘reference’ but I’d quantify that statement by saying that I’m speaking relatively here (to the rest of iBasso’s IEM line up, and other IEMs I own).

A better way to describe it would be simply to say that it is very well balanced in terms of the bass, mids and treble.

I think it actually has the quality of being quite bright and vivid with great clarity and detail, and this ensures that the sound signature is never boring or overtly neutral.

I found it sometimes a bit bass-light for my personal tastes, but then that’s exactly the intended tuning, and I have read many fellow Head-Fi members who dislike bass to be tuned anything above neutral.

Which brings me to the key ‘take-home point’ of this exercise; namely, who is this IEM for?

Allow me to remove all doubt, fear and confusion forthwith! :)

If you are looking for:
  • a balanced sound signature
  • Something fairly bright and vivid
  • Something detailed with great clarity (but not excessively analytical or dry)
  • A wide soundstage with excellent separation and imaging
  • A price somewhere in the approximate range of $298 to $300 :)
Then checking out the AM05 should be put on your ‘to-do’ list with immediate effect :)

Conversely, if you are looking for:
  • a DD or hybrid IEM, with all the qualities that normally entails
  • A tuning where the bass is fairly north of neutral
  • Something very relaxed, laid back and forgiving
  • Or if you have sensitivities with regards to upper-mids or treble
  • If you can’t stand the colours green or blue
  • Or have an irrational hatred of quality sound and value for money
Then this may not be the IEM for you.

Or it may still be the IEM for you, just to be used alongside an IEM of a different tuning, for when you have mood for the kind of signature the AM05 offers.

I have spoken :)
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alexandros a
alexandros a
Niceeeeee......
Sunstealer
Sunstealer
It'll be interesting to see if iBasso have solved the problem of faulty MMCX ports that plagued 3 sets of IT04s I had.....

Takeanidea

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Sound - Bass is clean, lean and super accurate
Mids - vocals easy to follow and clear
Treble - just right
Looks - sumptuous
Fit - sculpted
Cable - balanced with an unbalanced adapter
Cons: Packaging - cheap
Ibasso AM05

Cheeky Chi-Fi Mid Tier Madness

China in Your Hands


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This is how they do it


I have great pleasure in telling you; apparently there is still some life left in the wired World of wacky weird wonderful IEMs.


I am the temporary owner of a set of Ibasso AM05 universal in ear monitors. Before I dive into nonsensical whimsical prose about linearity, functionality and banality, I must tell you some facts about me and these here tiny things. 1- I try not to read any material, especially reviews, of equipment that I will be getting my mitts on. This is because I am easily led. Without direction my free mind can work itself into a state of overtime. This is probably the hidden pressure I need to garnish the truth, as I see it, from whatever I'm dealing with at the time. I suspect I am haunted by the tale of The Emperor's New Clothes. That being so, I know I walk the tightrope of becoming discredited and labelled a complete fool. So be it. I like what I like. A certain George Orwell, being a lifelong critic of critics, stated that all us types ever did was to regurgitate the words "I like this", or "I dislike this" into a vacuous splurge of irrelevant waffle. This is my World! Welcome, dear reader!



2 - the Ibasso AM05 is a 5 driver, detachable cable universal in ear monitor. At the time of writing it is on sale for £259 and can be purchased in the UK from amp3, the company who have kindly supplied this to me.

https://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk/


3- The cable supplied is a 2.5mm balanced design. Most of the newest digital audio players have balanced in. For those without balanced, an unbalanced adapter is in the box.

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It's balanced by design



4- The IEMs will be loud enough from a smartphone. You don't have to use an expensive dap to get good sound from these. A good dap gets you better sound than from a smartphone, so that's why I use one in the video to test it. I use another review model, the Fiio M11 Pro, to put the AM05 through their paces.

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The Fiio M11 Pro


Packaging/ build/looks

The goody box. I'm afraid the goody box was not that good! Ibasso have put much of the money on this product into the earphones. The case they come with is bog standard, the box they come with is nondescript and the tips are in small plastic pouches. There are no frills here at all. Considering the outstanding looks of the AM05 and the cable; quite frankly, I was shocked.

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A box with a case. And some bags of tips.


Because the AM05 is built beautifully. The drivers are sculpted. They conform to the natural contours of the ear.

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The AM05 5 balanced armature IEM, featuring Knowles Drivers


That is something I am a big fan of. There is nothing industrial looking about these IEMs. There is a ring shaped chin strap on the cable. That is made from a metal but would be too small to be able to feel it in use. The chin slider looks discrete but elegant.

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Chin strap/slider/cinch

The cable is robustly terminated fore and aft. With see through plastic collars of decent length and girth they should keep the cable in 1 piece unless they go too near a clawhammer or a chainsaw. So be careful with that type of gear around these, please.

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Built for bullish insertion


The MMCX connectors are a test of strength to push into their unyielding partners. But they eventually do so with an undignified snap. Such is the sad fate of the MMCX cable. It is less prone to being bent than it's 2 pin counterpart. It is a curse that we must bear, until someone invents an insertion tool. Getting the cables out, wit a decent set of nails, is a piece of cake. I wouldn't bother doing this too much. I like the cable that has been supplied. I wouldn't be feeling the need to constantly cable swap. I'd rather spend my time chopping and changing my music choices. But, for those who have lots it can be done. And you know how to do it.

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In their naked glory, ready for those MMCX hooligans


Sound

The AM05 sound as good as they look. For once, I am in the position of saying I can recommend these absolutely without reservation at £259 if you want an IEM to commute with on the bus, take out for a stroll, listen in bed, in your favourite armchair etc. I have not taken them to the gym or out for a run. I will sit on the fence as to their ability to deal with prodigious amounts of sweat.

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The sun let me in so you can see the 2 logos.
I'm not sure about the logos; maybe they're a grower



The bass, mid and treble response was compared, by memory, to the £2000 Final Audio A8000 single driver beryllium IEMs.

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Final Audio A8000

It was also judged side by side with 2 more expensive in ears, of which I have owned for a number of years. These are the 6 driver Westone W60

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Highly customised Westone W60



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Highly customised Sennheiser IE800

and the single driver Sennheiser IE800.All 3 comparisons are far more expensive than the AM05. And yet....


The bass on the A8000 was the finest I've heard in an IEM. The low notes could be both heard and felt beyond what I had previously thought was possible in a driver of that size. The bass on the AM05 was not as visceral and was slightly leaner. But the bass on the AM05 is exactly what I want from my kit. Each note sounds right. It sounds natural and has no bloatedness to it. It never becomes tiring, even on old Beatles tracks, which have way too much thud in them for normal headphones to deal with. The bass never gets in your face. The W60 has too much bass. I now know that from hearing not only products like the AM05, but also the Final A8000 and the LarkStudio LSIV, which I have reviewed recently. The W60 have a large viscerality. They push a considerable amount of ir against the inner prt of the outer ear during bass exchanges. You get a feel of depth of sound; much more so than the AM05. But it is simply not a realistic representation of the music. And it can become tiring after a few minutes. The IE800 has 2 air outlets. For the size of the driver shell, the ports are quite large.

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Another look at the custom mod and showing the dual air outlets of the IE800

This gives far more viscerality than the AM05, but less than the W60. The bass presence on the IE800 is more realistic than the W60 but less than the AM05. The IE800 bass is more bearable than the W60 but more annoying than the AM05.

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Mids. Where the majority of our music lives. When I describe mids I concern myself with how easy it is to hear vocals. Can I make out the words more easily than normal? Vocals, nowadays, are a layer in a multitrack soundstage. Lyrics can swamped amidst all that competition for space. In all but the clearest of receivers there is simply too much distraction. Sound engineers know this and use tuning to try and compromise, or shape the sound to give the mids their own distinctive character in each IEM. The AM05 has a clarity in the mids. Each music track I listened to sounded like it was on point. I was sooo impressed with the way the Ibasso cut through the crap. The sound was neither V shaped or U shaped or banana shaped. It just sounded right. It sounded like the way I want my music to sound. Am I a fan of these IEMs? Yes, by cracky, I am! The A8000 delivered the mids with a degree of precision that I have only really heard in some of the top hi fi systems. It was undoubtedly stunning. The W60 is slightly rolled back, even in the mids, lending to it a bass heavy weight to the sound. Mids can still be heard with a degree of clarity but the sound is more dull than the AM05.

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A look at my very own modding of my W60 shells. No logos here......

The IE800 has mids that have an airier sound. There super wide presentation lends a thinness to the sound. The W60 and the IE800 for their own separate reasons, sound artificial in comparison to the AM05.

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Treble. This is the bit where space between instruments can be found. Or that space can be taken up by screaming guitars, crashing cymbals, falsetto wails that threaten the integrity of the microphones they are being inflicted upon. The echoey stuff. The Final Audio A8000 is a victim of it's own technical brilliance. It has a glass like presentation, offering the listening a glimpse into the secret World that lies beyond what most music lovers have heard before. Unfortunately glass can cut. And it is simply too much. An hour with the A8000 can become fatiguing. I found myself searching for the volume too many times for this to escape my notice. Not so with the AM05. I am pinching myself that these are coming in at £259. For an IEM, there's nothing I would change about the AM05. The brain says to me; these things are tiny, so I don't actually want a vaste sound stage throwing musical effects against the wall. Sure; I put the HiFiMan Ananda BT's on; a full sized, open headphone, and I get a much larger sound. But I'm expecting that to happen. I want more intimacy from a small, elegant set of in ears. And that's what happens. The W60 is a rolled off IEM. It sacrifices clarity and precision for warmth and depth. The IE800 is lacking the accuracy of the AM05. It adds a sparkle to the treble that somehow misses being fatiguing but still gives the listener the impression that this adding something extra. It is not altogether unappealing. But it loses to the AM05. And I never thought I'd say that in a £259 IEM!

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The tip removed reveals a nozzle with 9 outlet ports as opposed to the traditional mesh.
Perhaps less prone to ear wax deposits?

Conclusion

The packaging needs tweaking. I'm such a fan of the AM05, I feel it has to be perfect in every way! I have to grudgingly admit that everything I needed was there. And once I put the IEMs on it just becomes a vanity thing to have those extras. They don't seem important any more. And this is why. It is because, at £259, the Ibasso AM05 ticks every single 1 of my musical boxes, for bass, tick, for mids, vocals or main instrument, tick, for treble, space, echo, cymbals, yes, yes, and thrice, resoundingly yes! They outperformed a £2000 IEM. They outperformed a £929 6 driver IEM from a company who've been making in ear monitors for 30 years. I have even modded the universals into a custom fit that is absolutely perfect for my ear canals. They beat the single driver IE800, a £599 IEM with vanishingly low distortion levels, unique ear tips, no crossovers and, again, a custom fit that locks them into the sweet spot for my ears alone. Up until now, I had thought that the future laid with bluetooth technology. The TWS600 have become a fixture for me. I found the right tips after almost a year of searching. I found a set of silicon wings that keep them in place, and for the times when an IEM seems the correct mode of transport, they seem to have become the chosen vehicle. The cable thing seemed to be a thing of the past. No more flapping about, twisting behind the ear stuff. The AM05 brought me back from the abyss of bluetooth. For that, I curse you Ibasso! But I also thank you too.

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The blessed curse
Jotaro
Jotaro
Convinced, thanks.

HansBarbarossa

Head-Fier
Pros: Sound, design, kit, excellent cable, build quality, price
Cons: No (not for that money)
Hi friends!

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!


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Specifications
Drivers: 5 Knowles balanced armature
Frequency response: 10-40kHz
Sensitivity: 115±2dB (at 1 kHz)
Impedance: 32ohm
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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.



Sound impressions

Listening was conducted with: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo paw Gold, iBasso DX220, iBasso DX160, iFI micro iDSD BL, iFI xCAN & QLS QA-361.

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.


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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.



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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.



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In those compositions where there is brightness, AM05 can emphasize this point, but where there is no aggression, everything sounds very nicely.


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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.



Conclusion

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.


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K
Krissdevalnor
Thanks for that very good review. I learn alot about what seems to be a very good iem

alexandros a

500+ Head-Fier
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.....

Intro :

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$.

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Technical Specifications :

Driver : 5 Knowles balanced armature
Frequency response:10-40kHz
Sensitivity: 115±2dB(at 1 kHz)
Impedance: 32ohm
Passive noise reduction: -30dB
Rated power: 5mW
Distortion: <2%(at 1kHz/1mW)

Package,Cable,Accessories,Build Quality,Fit :

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......
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Sound :

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...

FR :
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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:

- iBasso DX80 & PB3 amp (balanced mode)
- Hiby R3 & iBasso DC01 dac/amp (balanced mode)
- Colorfly C200 & Fiio E12A IEM amp
- Fiio X3II & HUM Hypno amp
- Colorfly C10

Bass/Sub-bass :
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.

Mids :
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

Highs :
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.
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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 :

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BR5/BR5 MKII

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.

FiiO FA7
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

BGVP DM6
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

Final Thoughts:
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.....
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mickey568
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samer1990
i have fh7 is it worth to buy or not
alexandros a
alexandros a
No man... . Don't even bother..
Save your cash for a flagship iem bro if you already own FH7...
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