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  1. Zelda
    iBasso IT01s
    Written by Zelda
    Published Feb 5, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality
    Great sound quality; nicely balanced and very natural tonality; control
    Comfortable and ergonomic design
    Removable nozzle screens
    Quality cable; strong MMCX connectors
    Review - iBasso IT01s

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    Website - iBasso Audio

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    Official IT01s info

    Specifications

    • Drivers: Dynamic 10mm; DiNaTT
    • Frequency range: 10Hz ~ 43kHz
    • Sensitivity: 109 ± 2 dB
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Cable: 5N Mono crystal silver-plated copper; MMCX connectors, 1.2m length
    • Plug: 2.5mm Balanced TRRS + extra 3.5m TRS adapter
    • Weight: 8g.

    Price: U$200.

    Available in two color themes, Smoke Grey & Blue Mist.

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    The box is the same as the original IT01, discreet, compact and hassle free, with the iBasso logo at the front and specifications and extra info on the back. The earpieces are securely placed inside foam material and all the accessories snugly stored inside the round metal case. The ear tips selection is wide, 9 pairs of silicone tips and 2 pairs of the own iBasso foam tips. With the new nozzle design featuring removable screens there is an extra pair of screen with spare O rings if needed.

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    Design

    The iBasso IT01s follows the same design as the previous IT01 model. It is good that iBasso decided to keep the same shape and compact form factor for this new model, as the fit and comfort was already pretty good with the IT01. There are just a couple of obvious innovations on the 01s, though. First, the shell material, while it seems to be the same polymer (plastic) component, it is now finished by electroplating process on the outer part, and probably on the inner side for acoustics effects. It may or may not be a huge improvement on the overall build quality and durability, but definitely gives a much nicer look on the earphone with a shiny, mirror like finish. Moreover, while the nozzle is made of stainless steel (304) like the IT01, the 01s features now a removable threaded screen; the main idea is for easier cleaning, which indeed is very easy to replace. There is a small rubber o-ring at the base of it, probably to avoid scratching the nozzle. The package includes an extra pair of screens and a few rings too.

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    Fit is great with the IT01s, just as it was with the IT01. Same fixed over-ear IEM fit and seal, very lightweight and ergonomic shape. If anything, the removable screen does add an extra thin layer on the width of the nozzle and a bit more length; differences are practically null, but help a bit for extra tip rolling. Isolation is good, above average for a dynamic in-ear despite the two small vents (like the IT01).

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    A more obvious change is on the included cable. It's a mono (5N) crystal copper silver plated wire, now consisting of just two strands, instead of the four wire configuration of the IT01's cable, but thicker and also heavier. It appears to be of higher quality, though not as soft as the copper cable of the IT04 and IT01, and does carry a bit more weight. Like the IT04 cable, this one is also terminated in a 2.5mm balanced straight plug and arrives already attached to the short 3.5mm plug adapter. Using the IT01s with the extra 3.5mm cable makes is bulkier and not compact enough to fit into the included round case.

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    The MMCX connectors are the same used on the other iBasso sets, with extended plugs and 4 split for tighter connection to the earpieces which avoid sudden disconnection and rotation.

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    Sound Quality

    While the IT01s is practically identical in the outer design and also utilizes a single dynamic driver of 10mm diameter, the actual driver technology is very different on both models. The IT01 uses a graphene, multi layered Tesla 5um diaphragm, whereas this new 01s is even thinner of about 3.8um. Moreover, the new model mixes Carbon Nano tube (CNT) for diaphragm with Diamond like coating (DLC). In short, iBasso called this DiNaTT. Yes, it sounds like very cool high tech for a single yet affordable earphone, and while what really matters is the sonic performance, it may give a rough idea on what to expect.

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    iBasso suggests to have at least 100 hrs of use on the IT01s for better performance and 200+ for best results. Out of the box the IT01s already sounds very good for the price, but still had them running for the recommended time in order to give more solid impressions.

    The IT01s brings a very well balanced signature with nice musical presentation. It could be described as being kind of neutral as it doesn't show a particular emphasis on any certain frequency region, but it is not a flat neutral reference type of sound by any means. Rather, the IT01s has a very natural tonality with a delicate sense of for warmth that plays very well for any genres, and might be one of the most natural and coherent IEMs at this price range I've tried so far.

    Bass is very well weighted with great balance from sub to mid-bass. Quantity-wise it is definitely north of neutral but never overwhelming, with quite effortless extension and good depth. Speed is high but not aggressive in attack and the bass decay is very natural. Capable of showing strong punch and rumble when the track asks for yet remains true to the source. Dynamics and control are great on the IT01s with a smooth texture; it gives enough weight to lower instruments and yet maintains very good layering and separation.

    Midrange is fairly neutral, smooth in texture, rich and with a slight touch of warmth without adding much color to the sound. There's great balance of fullness and air on it, neither too thick nor too lean, good weight and body. The instruments separation is remarkable and also puts vocals a tad forward; female singers sound sweet, and while having some brightness the control is very good, less prone to sibilance even on lower quality recordings.

    Highs have a small elevation for extra brightness. It is definitely not a treble oriented IEM, just a bit brighter than neutral compared to the other iBasso earphones, though it is still much smoother than some contenders like the Dunu Falcon-C or ADV GT3. Ear tips have more effect on the treble part, but it always balances very well with the lows and mids. The natural timbre is well noticed on the highs and despite the extra brightness it has a smooth flow. Treble control is excellent and very refined. Clarity, resolution and extension are very quite good; at least no roll-off to be noticed, and while micro-detail won't be very forward it is more due the less aggressive nature of the IT01s.

    Soundstage has good width and depth for an IEM at this price point, and as usual improves with more dedicated sources. The IT01s is spacious and gives very good imaging too. Transparency is a strong characteristic of the IT01s, and the overall presentation might depend on the source used, either reaching a wide u-shaped signature or a bit more midrange forwardness. Nevertheless, the IT01s keeps a very enjoyable balance in a smooth yet detailed and resolving sound.

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    IT01 & IT04

    Technically speaking, the IT01s is a solid upgrade over the original IT01 in every single way. It has better bass control without the strong mid-bass lift, more forward and richer midrange and much better treble control, even though sounding brighter. Soundstage is a bit wider and mainly has a more coherent imaging with natural tonality. However, they do sound different to be considered a true upgrade in sound presentation, as the IT01 has a more fun, v-shaped signature while the IT01s is more balanced and all-rounder. While the IT01 is still a good offer for the $100 price, the IT01s is a strong rival for the higher $200 options.

    Similarly, the IT04 flagship offers a different presentation than the more affordable IT01s. The IT04 is on a higher level in terms of sound quality, with a much bigger, powerful and spacious sound, more immersive 3D imaging and extension. The bass on the IT04 is much stronger and deep, midrange is richer and detailed and treble reaches a further extension. Even so, the IT01s shares a very similar natural tonality with a very elegant timbre that reminds of the hybrid IT04 top model. Also, the IT01s has a more friendly design that should be less challenging for most users, unlike the very custom-like design of the IT04. So while the IT04 is a strong contender for a mid-tier IEM option, the IT01s could be still a safer bet.

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    Main gears used:
    iBasso IT01 & IT04, FLC 8N, Dunu Falcon-C, Advanced GT3, Lear Kaleido, Symphonium Audio Aurora, final E4000.
    iBasso DX120, Aune M1s (both 2.5mm Balanced), Fiio M3K, Shanling M0, Lotoo Pico.
      Reinhold, Aslshark, jamato8 and 8 others like this.