iBasso IT04

General Information

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Audio
Frequency response: 5Hz-40kHz
Sensitivity: +/- 2dB
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Noise attenuation: -30dB
Rated power: 10mW
THD: <1% THD (at 1kHz / 1mW)

General information
Jack connector size: 2.5mm and 3.5 TRS adapter included
Cable length: 1.2m
Weight: 13g (without cable)

What's in the box
iBasso IT04
Leather carrying case
Cable CB12 2.5mm
Adapter for 2.5mm to 3.5mm jack plugs

Latest reviews

darmanastartes

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: highly detailed and resolving
Cons: frequency response varies wildly depending on the degree to which the vent closest to the nozzle is covered, shell design may not be comfortable for all listeners,
INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
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The iBasso IT04 is a hybrid in-ear monitor with one graphene diaphragm dynamic driver and three balanced armatures on each side. The IT04 retails for $499. I received the IT04 through Headphones.com’s Community Preview Program and will ship the IT04 back shortly after this review goes live.

This review can also be viewed on my blog: iBasso IT04 Review

SOURCES:
I have used the iBasso IT04 with the following sources:

  • JDS Labs The Element
  • Apple USB-C to 3.5mm dongle
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
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The iBasso IT04 comes in a rectangular black box with a white slipcover. The IT04 is pictured on the front of the slip cover. The back panel of the slipcover lists the IT04’s technical specifications in eight different languages. Inside the box is a large round screw-top metal case containing the IT04 earpieces, a black cardboard box containing a braided detachable cable with MMCX connectors and a 2.5mm balanced termination, a 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm single-ended adapter, five sets of silicone eartips in varying colors and bore sizes (S, M, L), and 1 set of foam eartips (M, L). The metal screw-top case will not fit the IT04 unless one removes the foam insert.

BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:
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The iBasso IT04’s teardrop-shaped, pseudo-custom fit earpieces are made of glossy black plastic with blue-grey carbon-fiber patterned face-plates behind a clear laminate coating. The faceplates are marked with the text “InTune” in silver script and “iBasso Audio L/R” is printed in white text on each shell. The shells are likely the largest of any IEM I’ve worn. The shells have two circular vents on the ear-facing side, one at the base of the nozzle and one in the center of the shell. The IT04’s nozzles are plastic with metal mesh protective grills. The nozzles do not have a lip for securing eartips, but I did not have any issues with tips coming loose in my ears while using the IT04. The right side earpiece had significantly worse driver flex than the left side earpiece.
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The IT04 comes with a beautiful mixed silver and copper MMCX cable. The MMCX connector housings, chin slider, Y-split, and 2.5mm jack housing are all metal. The MMCX connector housings are labeled “L/R.” The braided cable does not have pre-formed ear-guides or memory wire. The cable is not tangle-prone or microphonic. There is strain-relief above the straight 2.5mm jack and below the MMCX connectors but none at the Y-split. The 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter uses the same cabling and hardware materials and has strain relief above both terminations.

COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:
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The iBasso IT04 is intended to be worn cable-up only. The large size of the shells makes them uncomfortable for me to wear for more than an hour or two. The nozzles provide a deep enough insertion depth to facilitate a good seal with all of the included eartips. Secureness of fit and isolation are both above average.

MEASUREMENTS:
My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The headphones are driven using my Element, which has an output impedance of no more than 1 ohm. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. The magnitude of the valley around 7k is a coupler artifact. There is a resonant peak around 8k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.

I have measured the iBasso IT04 under two test conditions. The blue line is a measurement taken with the vent closest to the nozzle taped over, while the green line is a measurement taken with the vent uncovered. As shown, the IT04’s frequency response varies wildly depending on the degree to which the vent closest to the nozzle is covered. Depending on the tip used, the insertion depth, and one’s ear anatomy, one can get a completely different sounding IEM depending on the degree to which the vent is blocked.
IT04 Untaped.jpg
Below is a measurement under ideal conditions, where the nozzle-adjacent vent on each IEM is completely taped over:
IT04.jpg
I think it is a poor design to require the nozzle-adjacent vent to be completely covered to get what I assume is the intended, non-anemic bass response and an uncompromised upper midrange. Even putting that aside, I expect better channel matching from a $500 IEM.

SOUND:

Under the ideal conditions described above, the iBasso IT04 has a U-shaped tuning with a strong lower treble emphasis.

The iBasso IT04 has excellent sub-bass extension. The lowest sub-bass is more prominent than the mid-bass. There is a fair amount of impact, slam, and rumble. The bass has very good speed and articulation but does not sound as effortlessly quick as more recent offerings utilizing diamond-like carbon diaphragm dynamic drivers. The IT04 has excellent bass resolution. Bass texture is good but not stellar.

The midrange has a slightly cool tonality. Instruments in the lower midrange have adequate body but clarity is emphasized over warmth. Female vocals are a tiny bit more forward than male vocals. Male vocals are conveyed with grit but are slightly dry. Female vocals are rich and vibrant without being sibilant or overemphasized. There is a healthy amount of presence.

The treble prioritizes sparkle and detail retrieval over spaciousness. This lower treble emphasis can be too pronounced depending on the recording but is not usually harsh. Treble transients are quick and do not smear. There is limited air.

Soundstage is larger than average. Imaging and instrument separation are very good. Timbre is mostly realistic if cool and slightly dry.

AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:

The iBasso IT04 can easily be driven to comfortable listening volumes with a smartphone or dongle. I did not notice hiss with either of my sources.

COMPARISONS:

iBasso IT04 vs Tanchjim Oxygen
IT04 (Taped) vs Oxygen.jpg

The Tanchjim Oxygen uses a single diamond-like carbon diaphragm dynamic driver. The IT04 has more prominent sub-bass than the Oxygen, with greater rumble. Impact and slam are roughly comparable between the two IEMs. The Oxygen has a faster, better-articulated bass with slightly greater texture. The two IEMs have similar bass resolution. Female vocals sound slightly more vibrant on the Oxygen. The Oxygen has a more even treble presentation with a more restrained lower treble region and more air in the upper treble. The Oxygen has a much smaller shell size and is more comfortable for me to wear for long periods, but requires extensive aftermarket tip rolling to get a secure fit. The Oxygen has a slightly larger soundstage and better imaging. The Oxygen is harder to drive. The IT04 comes with a much nicer cable and a more impressive set of accessories. The Oxygen uses slightly recessed 2-pin connectors instead of MMCX.

CLOSING WORDS:
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Under ideal conditions, the iBasso IT04 is a highly detailed and resolving IEM but its shell design may not be comfortable for all listeners. However, I do not feel it is a reasonable design assumption to rely on the nozzle-adjacent vent to be completely blocked by variable ear anatomy in order to get the intended frequency response. Not recommended.

Layman1

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Gorgeous looks, musical/reference tuning, wide soundstage and separation, detail.
Cons: Nothing really, except that it could use a smaller and more transportable carry case.
A review of the iBasso IT04 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 year or so ago when they decided to venture into the congested and competitive IEM market. They released the IT03, a hybrid IEM featuring a dynamic driver combined with two balanced armatures, priced at $259 at the time of writing.


Since then, hooking with value and punching above their weight in a devastating one-two combo, they have released the IT01 (a single dynamic driver, priced at $99), followed by the IT04 (1 DD plus 3 BA’s, priced at $499).


I received the IT04 a while back (2-3 months?).

After accidentally bashing one of the earpieces, it developed a small fault and when I emailed Paul at iBasso he immediately asked me to send it in for checking and repair.

Note that this was entirely my own fault and no fault of the IEM itself!

I can only praise the swift and responsive customer service at iBasso and I just received the IT04 back today.


Now here’s a thing. Since I had it the first time, I somehow managed to divest myself of various pieces of equipment and currently have no TOTL earphones.

I’ve been listening to the IT03 via the DX200 (using AMP8 and iBasso’s excellent CB13 cable).


I’ve also just rearranged my on-the-go set up to a DX120 paired with the IT01 (and a CB12 cable).

I listened to the IT01 extensively yesterday and today for the first time in ages, and it was just like the first time I heard it; I was astonished at the level of quality coming from this $99 IEM and found myself mightily enjoying its extremely musical and engaging sound signature, not to mention the soundstage and gobs of detail (which I just in fact mentioned, heh).


I had planned to replace the IT03 with the IT04 in my ‘home listening’ set up sometime tomorrow.

But curiosity got the better of me, and I did a bit of A/B testing of the IT04 with the IT01 and IT03.


I was immediately blown away by its qualities and remembered why I’d loved it so much in the first place. It has gone straight back to being my favourite IEM.


Hence, I decided to force myself to make the time to finish writing this review that I began many weeks ago!


The IT04 can be purchased directly from iBasso (and shipped to many locations) at the following link (correct at time of writing): http://www.ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=6962




The Fit:

Regarding the fit, I think iBasso have really nailed it this time.

The IT03 was designed to mimic in some ways the fit of a custom IEM, featuring a heavily sculpted inner surface designed to mold itself to your ear shape.

A key feature of this was a prominently protruding nodule, designed as an anchoring point that remained mostly unnoticeable when correctly positioned. However, sometimes I had become aware of it digging uncomfortably into my ear, but this is due to me either failing to put it in correctly first time, or fiddling with it unconsciously and moving it slightly out of position.


With the IT04, I can only say that although it looks similar, the feeling I experience is that this has been dialled back to a slightly more subtle fit, and it benefits from this in my opinion. I don’t feel them at all, and I’ve been wearing them non-stop for 3 hours now.


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).






Photos:

I got the silver model; a blue model is also available. Both look great, but I have to say, I really like the silver one! It looks extremely classy and well done, and I’m very happy with the build quality. I personally find the MMCX fittings to be very well done. I’ve swapped the cable on these several times now and never had any problem doing so.

As with previous iBasso products, the packaging and attention to detail are a credit to the company and a delight as a customer. A wide selection of tips, a premium cable and a metal carrying case all add to the feeling of getting terrific value for money. Perhaps an extra, more portable carrying pouch (like the leather one which came with the IT03) might be a useful addition, as the metal case, whilst gorgeous and bomb-proof, is not so practical for on the go usage.

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Note that I am using my own CB13 cable here; the product comes with the excellent CB12s cable, details of which can be found here: http://www.ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=6819#page1

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.

I have a few tracks which I’ve only found available on MP3; the rest are FLAC or WAV in 16/44 or 24/192.
As a way to test and benchmark, I have A/B tested the IT04 predominantly with the IT03.

Regrettably, I do not have access to any IEM’s within the price range of the IT04, although I may have access to some TOTL IEM’s in the coming months, which will be benchmarked against the IT04 as well as each other, so watch out for that! I’ll update this review if I have any significant developments.


Also, for the purposes of this review, I have used my main DAP to play the music on for testing; the iBasso DX200 (with AMP8 and CB13 cable).


Preamble aside, let us proceed to the meat and two veg* of this review, namely, the SOUND:


*vegetarians may feel free to substitute meat with tofu.

“Or substitute ham with...I don’t know.. chicken..” (Alan Partridge).



Life in a Northern Town – The Dream Academy:

Well, this was I think the 5th track I listened to with the IT04 tonight.

I’d recently discovered this song (can’t believe I’d never heard it before!) and have been listening to it a lot over the last few weeks. So you can imagine my surprise to notice almost immediately some new details in the song that had passed me by in all my previous listenings! Lovely background percussion that starts around 39 seconds in. It’s very subtle but this is a good example of the way in which the IT04 does very well in picking out details.

In fact, not even picking them out, because that makes it sound analytical.
Rather, it just immerses you in the sound and you can’t help noticing things along the way.


Stop Taking My Time – Club 8:

This track features a driving electronic beat and synths, combined with engaging female vocals. After listening to this track plenty over the last few months, the first thing I noticed when plugging in the IT04 today was how much better the vocals sounded.

I love the IT03, but its V-shaped signature means that whilst it does some things spectacularly, there are areas in which is relatively lacking. The mids have been described as being somewhat recessed (whereas the IT04's mids are comparatively more forward). I can’t say I’d noticed this in any great detail previously, but listening to this track today, what struck me was the IT04’s significant improvement in rendering vocal timbre and character.
It really brought out the qualities of her voice, and it does the same with male vocals on other tracks too.


The Coast – Paul Simon (HDTracks 24/96 FLAC):

This song features what I’ve been advised is probably a hand-struck drum that comes in at around 12 seconds in. The drum has a v-shaped sound and in the space of a second or less, dives deep down into the sub-bass region and then back up again.
On every IEM that I’ve heard thus far, this sound is not especially remarkable.
With the IT03 however, this bass effect is visceral, deeply textured, impactful and very noticeable.

I was hoping that the IT04 would replicate this effect, but sadly, it is the same as all other IEM’s I’ve tried in this regard. Note that “all other IEM’s” in this case happens to include $1’500 - $2’500+ flagship IEM’s, so I wouldn’t say it could be considered a failing on the part of the IT04!

This is just one specific thing that I loved on the IT03, and I imagine that in order to replicate the same quality on the IT04 would inevitably result in a modification of the sound signature, probably skewing it back towards something more v-shaped again. But this is not the purpose of the IT04, so I can overlook this.


Hobotalk – Walks With Me (from Beauty in Madness, 16/44 FLAC):

This song, by a relatively obscure Scottish band, is one of my all-time favourite songs. A piece of pure bliss; warm and wistful, slightly melancholic without being cold or depressing, beautiful and peaceful in equal measure.

After some extensive back and forth testing between the IT03 and IT04 on this track, this song is helping me to clarify for myself some of the differences I’m perceiving between the IT03 and the IT04.

The IT03 astonished me with its separation and the size of its soundstage. The feeling that everything was being experience in a wide-open setting.

Analytically, I could say that these individual qualities are at least equalled, if not exceeded with the IT04. However, there seems to be a touch more body and thickness perhaps with the IT04, which means the soundstage and separation don’t stand out as noticeably as they do on the IT03.

This song begins with fingerstyle guitar plucking. The IT03 wonderfully brings across the physicality of the sound; the quality confined mostly to expertly-implemented dynamic drivers of being able to let you feel the sound, not only hear it. I can really feel the plucking and twanging of the strings.

The IT04 does not have this affect, at least not in the very noticeably quantities of the IT03. However, where the IT03 excels in presenting the physical aspects of the sound, the IT04 excels in presenting the timbre of the sound, with wonderful naturalness and musicality. It certainly pulls far ahead of the IT03 in this regard.

Also, in the beginning of the song, when there are relatively few instruments playing, the IT03 again just presents this beautiful, wide open soundstage, full of separation, clarity and detail.

In this regard, it does slightly better than the IT04 at this stage, as it enables the slight echo effect applied to the vocals in this track to really increase the feeling of space.
However, once the full array of instruments are introduced, the more V-shaped sound signature of the IT03 becomes ever so slightly detrimental here, as it loses something of the huge soundstage amidst all the congestion.

Conversely, the comparatively more linear and reference tuning of the IT04 allows it to maintain its soundstage and keep things relatively more separated and open, whilst still allowing all the natural timbre of the instruments and vocals to shine.


Ray Lamontagne - A Falling Through:

This track features a gorgeous drum beat in the background, a delightful deep thump with significant bass weight and presence, that still doesn’t dominate the song but increases its emotion. Along with this, the strumming of the acoustic guitar is a great test for an IEM’s faithful representation of timbre.

So, again here the IT04 pulled ahead in its performance. It was completely captivating the way in which every strum and ring of the guitar strings were presented, along with the delicacy of the singer’s normally powerful and gravelly voice. Everything just sounds SO lifelike and right.

Conclusion:


Compared principally with the IT03, my feeling is that the IT04 offers a more balanced, linear and reference tuning. That’s not in any way to imply that the sound is sterile or analytically dry.

There’s far too much musicality and gorgeous natural timbre going on for that to occur.

These qualities also help the deep and wide soundstage and the separation to blend in with the overall presentation, rather than standing out obtrusively. Add to this superior transparency and resolution and what you end up with is really quite something.
My overall feeling regarding the IT04 is one of exceptionally well-executed balance and harmony.

The remarkable tactile feel (musically speaking) of the IT03 is probably the only thing I could say that I feel is lacking in the IT04, and as I’ve already said, I haven’t found that in any other IEM’s so far that I’ve tried, even TOTL flagship models costing 10 times the price. Doubtless it’s out there; I’ve just yet to hear it.
This small caveat aside, I cannot really fault the IT04 in any way.

Memory affords me the knowledge that of course there are much more expensive IEM’s out there that can do things better than the IT04, but I struggle to think of any IEM’s that can compete with the IT04 at anything approaching its price range. By way of disclaimer, I am not very knowledgeable about this section of the market, so it’s not to declare that there the IT04 has no rivals at its price point. However, what I feel I can confidently say is that this is mid-fi level, bordering on hi-fi.
At the mid-fi level, I’d expect it to hold its own against anything else.

The Hi-Fi level, as has been much commented on, is currently pushing its way ever higher into the financial stratosphere, with $1.5k - $3k IEM’s pretty much the standard and some recent releases exceeding $5k. In light of this, to get a performance at the level of the IT04 for a ‘mere’ $500 brings joy to the heart, and not to mention the bank account.
Which I just mentioned.


Yet again, iBasso have produced a product that offers both terrific value for money and a sound that can compete with products well above the price point they’ve placed it at.
The slogan of the iBasso company is ‘Enjoy The Music’.
Thanks to the IT04, I am doing so in abundance :)
Many thanks to iBasso, and to you all for reading!
D
dylann5454
What is the stem diameter of the IT04s? I ask because I’m ordering the symbio ear tips. Should I get the N or W or Wa model? I also just bought the IT04s, but they have not come yet. A lot of that decision had to do with this review so thank you for helping me.
Layman1
Layman1
Hi there, and thank you for your kind words! I have no implements with which to measure the stem width, but I think there were some comments about that on the IT04 thread (or somewhere on Head-Fi) if you maybe do a search! Good luck and I hope you love them too!

ExpatinJapan

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Balanced, coherent, clarity, excellent cable, scales up well
Cons: slight soft v shape, tight mmcx connectors
IBasso IT04 Review
- Expatinjapan



iBasso IT04 and iBasso DX200 with Amp 4 and CA02 2.5mm to 4.4mm adapter (not included)

iBasso IT04 review
-expatinjapan

http://www.ibasso.com/cp_xq_dy.php?id=6962

Stunningly sexy and mysterious to the eye. A Holy Mountain of audiophilia bathed in the Santa Sangre of the blessed audiophile, a traveling mans earphone whilst he goes all El Topo.


iBasso IT04 and iBasso DX120, iBassos lastest dap.



Unboxing & build etc




Beautiful packaging as always from iBasso







iBasso did a wise thing. The cable included is their CB12 terminated at 2.5mm (balanced), they also included an adapter (2.5mm Female to 3.5mm male Single ended) that is the same weave and style as the cable (Not the CA01 adapter). Great for the majority of probable customers for this earphone that would enjoy having the options with many of mid to upper range daps of today having 3.5mm and 2.5mm jacks.

The packaging is gorgeous, the insides are intimate with their unspoken promises of sonic bliss.




Tips, tips! Lots of tips to choose from.


Splendidly simple lines, from the smooth hard outer of the solid metal carrying circular case, to the velvety inner cushioning the beautiful well designed and crafted earphones.









A configuration of three Knowles Balanced Armatures and one Dynamic driver.





The whole gang is here!
The red and blue is iBasso IT01, The middle in black is the iBasso IT03 and finally the IT04.







Specifications







Sound
The iBasso IT04 packs three BAs and one DD within its shell, a bit unusual to start with, a break from the old one, two punch of two BAs and one DD, or four BAs and the ever reliable one DD.
Having previously reviewed the earlier models the IT03 and the IT01 I was curious at what iBasso would produce as the development progressed.

Looks wise it certainly is appealing, not only as an earphone but the whole package of box, cables, case etc. It does have that premium feel about it.

As usual I got several hours (well over 100) on the IT04 before I progressed with this review. If you are an adherent to the belief of burn in you are surely satisfied, If not, well no harm done.


iBasso DX150, iBasso IT04 and (CB12 style) adapter (included).

I played with a variety of sources, the three iBasso daps of course and did a bit of amp swapping along the way although my written up notes mainly concern the stock amps for Purity.

"Be pure. Be vigilant. Behave!"

Several Nemesis daps of the non iBasso type were also sampled to give a more rounded viewpoint to the conversation and in the hope that an objective summary of the IT04s sound signature might be reached, or partway there at the very least.
As usual I mostly stuck to common 16/44 Flac tracks they being a fairly neutral non esoteric meeting ground that everyone has access to.
I also took the time to swap out the stock cable for the iBasso upgrade cable, the CB13 (The IT04 coming with the CB12 as stock) to see what various extra tweaks could be eked out.




I found the iBasso IT04 sound to be very complementary with their daps. Not surprising of course.

Stock cable, black stock tips.
Music is shuffled through for randomness.
DX200 on Android 8.1, OREO.


IT04 with DX200/amp 1: Easy, soaring, natural, tight highs, solid bass, mellow mids, strong vocals.
Vocals centered within ones skull, nice width and height overall. Massive Attack `Teardrop` was delicious.

IT04 with DX200/amp 4: Wider, fuller, strident at time, controlled, smooth and natural.
Bass has great control with this amp in conjunction with the IT04, clear highs. vocals are clearly defined. Shows off the bass and the highs. Ramones made me dance in my chair.

IT04 with DX200/amp 8: Super wider, full bodied lushness, bass, mids, highs and vocals are united in a pleasurable balance. One could wonder whether the IT04 was tuned especially for Amp 8 (or even amp 7 I presume). Even the Pixies `Brick is red` sounds good. Lana Del Rey `Brooklyn Baby` really shows off what this triple strike combo can achieve. Just pure unadulterated blissful sonics, excellent synergy between the different gears resulting in a truly joyful listening experience.
Joy Division `Passover` has those drums, vocals and bass guitar really testing what the IT04 can do. Not the best recorded quality but comes across as clear and realistic.
Neil Young `Down by the river` is just a nice, well balanced and true musical treat.

In summary the IT04 can reach its peak of sound stage, imaging and performance with the DX200.

Moving on to the iBasso DX150 with amp 7

Where is my mind?` by the Pixies comes across as natural, pleasing and realistic.
I do not know If it is the DX150 or amp 7 but I find something here hits the sweet spot for me whilst using the IT04. I can dribble on about lows/mids/highs but it just is accurate as to how this song should sound. Not a hair out of place.

Sometimes the highs can be a bit too bright such as with the Cardigans `Junk of the hearts`, on Lana Del Rey `Lolita` it got a bit busy, dialing back and down low to Belly `Low red moon` once again the IT04 shines. Soaring, gliding treble, nice wading in the shallows barefoot with luscious bass that is smooth, deep and forceful. Richard Ashcroft `Everybody` is a coherent match with this particular set up, nice separation and layering.

In summary the IT04 is a good complement for the more smoother DX150.

Moving down but not out! IT04 with the DX120. Slow roll off filter, Reference setting. Low gain.

The DX120 while a beautiful looking dap and a generous performance to match of course lacks the overall resolution of the DX200.

I tried a few different settings on the Dx120 to try to find the most complementary mix between the digital filters and Sound modes but there being so many configurations I had to in the end just pick two and get on with it. But rest assured between the two modes one can have a decent amount of control over the signature of the earphones albeit in a subtle way.

The DX120 is perhaps the frill free younger sibling of the DX150.

Throwing muses `Downtown` was natural and realistic, PJ Harvey `50ft Queenie` needed a bit more air in it.

Switch to high gain.

The IT04 sucks up the extra power and seems to enjoy it, more solid edges to the music, clarity and brings up the over all performance that an increase in volume on low gain could not achieve.

In summary the IT04 with the DX120 the satisfaction seems to differ from track to track, I think the iBasso IT04 needs a dap to match its price point or above.

Back to the DX200 to complete the circle and the IT04 certainly shines with detail and extension, though I do enjoy the smooth pairing of the DX150.

IT04 with DX200/amp 8 and CB13 cable and CA02 4.4mm adapter.

Ooh now this is lush, Neil Young. The CB13 brings up the mids a bit, to create an enjoyable rich sound without over doing it. I use the CB13 often with the Campfire Audio Jupiter to also bring up the mids and turn it into a mini Andromeda.

Next up Slayer `Altar of sacrifice`, curious how this plays with the stock cable. CB13 seemed too revealing, changing back to CB12 a much better match, bass comes up and treble is controlled. Slayer is better without extra mids :wink:
PJ Harvey `Happy and bleeding`
Sonic Youth `Mary Christ`
The Chemical Brothers `Radiate`
The Verve `This Time`
Massive Attack `Lately`
The Pixies`Down to the well`
David Bowie `Quicksand`
The Pixies `Dead`
Lana Del Rey `Cruel world`
Dire Straits `The Walk of life`

In short the IT04 stock cable CB12 seems a decent match for the earphone.


In summary overall the iBasso IT04 is a well balanced earphone with an ever so slight v shape, It prefers a source that is mid fi or higher, Bass comes across as full and is fast and tight, mids are smooth and natural, treble has a clarity and reach and is also where a lot of detailed is played out, sound stage is large but not massive, the sound not centered within my skull but on the outer skull or just beyond. The IT04 has a nice transparency to it, quite coherent and good separation.





Price

The iBasso IT04 is $US499 and comes in Silver or Blue (Blue/Black)


Hidizs AP80 and the iBasso IT04 with Symbio Mandarine tips
Overall

The iBasso IT04 is a step away from the previous earphones of iBasso, a relativity new venture on their part.
The IT03 which we reviewed on Head pie had a standard V shape, the IT01 was a bit more linear and a jack of all trades, quite pleasing and an earphone I would buy as gift for a friend or a budding audiophile.

The IT04 can not reach the Andromeda performance for instance which understandable as the Andro is over twice the price, but within its price point it could well be one of the Kings of that particular realm.

It is a well balanced earphone with a slight v shape and shows a certain growth and development within iBassos earphone line up as this leans more towards an audiophile tuning, a touch of reference to it although not absolute.

I would like to see more of a lip on the nozzle to keep the tip in place or some cross hatching etc, one time a tip came off in my ear and I had to dig it out with tweezers,...home alone.
Another very personal gripe is the nozzle is too narrow for my beloved JVC Spiral tips to fit on.

There are luckily a huge selection of tips to choose from. Tips are often under rated by many, but fit and isolation is a must to get the most out of your earphone. One can tailor the sound even with tips.

The case which is included is an excellent case.
The CB12 is a beautiful cable and adapter. The MMCX connector is tight fitting so if swapping out cables pull softly and rotate.

The IT04 is not for bass heads, nor is for those who like the dynamic and musical V shape (get the IT03 for that, If you are after a pleasing jack of all trade choose the IT01.

In short If one is looking for a fairly balanced, slightly reference tuned earphone with a minor v shape and clarity, transparency and detail then the IT04 might be for you.






Thank you to iBasso for sending Head pie the IT04 for review

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