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!
Text: Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa
Drivers: 5 Knowles balanced armature
Frequency response: 10-40kHz
Sensitivity: 115±2dB (at 1 kHz)
Passive noise reduction: -30dB
Rated power: 5mW
Distortion:<2% (at 1kHz/1mW)
Plug: jack - 2.5 mm balanced straight / adapter 2.5 mm -3.5 mm included
Cable length: 1.2m
Appearance, kit and ergonomics
The IEM are packed in a small white cardboard box on which the iBasso pyramidal logo is adorned, the model name and its brief specification: Five Balanced Armature Driver in-ear monitor. For a more detailed description, refer to the back of the package, there all the characteristics are given in eight languages.
We lift the lid and see two enticing emeralds recessed into the foam base - the IEM themselves, and under them is a black case washer with the inscription iBasso Audio. In the case we find an excellent balanced cable with an adapter 2.5mm / 3.5mm and a rich set of tips for any size, taste and color (2 pairs of foam and 11 pairs of silicone tips + one already installed on the sound pipes). Mandatory warranty instructions are also in place.
AM05 shells are made of medical resin using 3D printing. Shell is transparent, faceplate (back panel) is blue or green. As you already understood, I opted for the second option. Therefore, during testing, two graceful “precious stones” flaunted in my ears.
Silver inscriptions are located on the outside of the IEM: on the right - the name of the model is AM05, on the left - All Music.
On the inside of the shell there is a metal sound pipe with a limiter to protect it from moisture and sulfur, and on top is a gold-plated connector MMCX for connecting the cable.
Through the transparent shell, one can admire the triumph of engineering thought from iBasso: an intricate look from the scattering of reinforcing drivers, acoustic tubes, wires and a crossover (I will specify for corrosive - 4-way) appears to the inquisitive gaze.
The smoothed “pellet” of the cases is not only pleasing to the eye, but also convenient to use: you can wear the AM05 for any length of time without discomfort. Wearing is supposed to be behind the ear.
Sound insulation is above average, and if you choose the right tips, you can easily stay face-to-face with your favorite music, not paying attention to the outside world, where vanity and noise interfere with revelry of fantasies.
Cute braided cable made of monocrystalline copper. It is silver-colored (the jewelry theme does not leave us here), very elastic, with MMCX connectors, a balanced TRRS 2.5 mm jack and an adapter for TRS 3.5 mm, which are made in the same style.
After the first acquaintance (kit, appearance, workmanship and convenience), the IEM confidently gain the highest scores, but let's see how the AM05 will pass the main test.
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.
This is a very detailed and energetic feed, where the main attention is paid to the mid-frequency range, and the lower and upper registers clearly interact with it.
The picture is drawn in contrast, in detail, with a good separation of instruments, the transfer of textures, tones and a meticulous display of all the small nuances. This is a dynamic, fast and neutral manner, where sound images, shimmering, line up in a skillfully assembled assemblage.
The bass is distinct, assembled, with an articulated beat and sufficient speed characteristics. It is fed extremely linearly. There are no questions regarding the quality and quantity of its development; it is on a par with the rest of the frequency range. This is an accurate, well-articulated, embossed and comfortable manner. Testing midbass takes not so much quantity as quality, demonstrating excellent texture transfer and energy. I like this approach.
The middle frequencies are harmonious, with a commendable transmission of the emotional component of the composition and proper drive. It is served faithfully and clearly, technically and extremely musically. Pleases excellent detail and an enviable resolution. For its class, everything is very decent.
The high-frequency register is a little highlighted, but without waywardness. He interacts with the upper middle in a friendly manner. Treble is slightly crumbly and, to my taste, too “grainy”, but at the same time, devoid of excessive brightness and comfortable to listen to. There is the necessary resolution, and light "sparkles" that add air and beauty to the music.
In those compositions where there is brightness, AM05 can emphasize this point, but where there is no aggression, everything sounds very nicely.
These IEM have an analytical manner of delivering material; they scrupulously outline all the micro details. At the same time, AM05 is unlikely to suit lovers of warm and overly comfortable sound.
In my opinion, the designers of iBasso brilliantly coped with their task - the earphones turned out right. AM05 is a model with a stylish design that would surely appeal to the magician of the Emerald City, with a solid assembly and a neutral, detailed, melodic sound.
Such an audio sketch, in my opinion, is able to satisfy the needs of a fairly wide range of music lovers.
It is also worth thanking iBasso for its humanity towards customers. Recommended retail price AM05 is $ 299. Given the wonderful kit, chic design, build quality, ergonomics and, most importantly, good sound, I find this price more than acceptable.
Sound, design, kit, excellent cable, build quality, price
No (not for that money)