It's no secret that in the audiophile sphere, not all, even respected, brands are able to make decent headphones / iem for little money, and these models, as we know, are always in demand. To our common happiness, the ranks of such IEMs were joined by the development from iBasso.
Previously, this company from the Middle Kingdom has already worked in the "accessible sector". We remember well the IEM models - IT01, IT01S and the relatively recent "agent with two zeros" IT00. Well, their new IEMs with the IT01X index have every chance of becoming one of the main "democratic" hits of the year. These earphones turned out to be amazingly interesting and at the same time very inexpensive.
I have never hidden that I have had strong sympathy for iBasso products for a long time, and IT01X is another job of the company's engineers, which is difficult to treat impartially. These guys never stand in one place, but are constantly developing, improving, breaking stereotypes and only going forward. And the desire to make quality sound affordable is worthy of exceptional respect. But I, perhaps, will save compliments for the review itself, let's get acquainted with the "little pleasures" from iBasso.
Text: Alexey Kashirskey (aka Hans Barbarossa)
Driver: 1DD 10mm / Double-sided Beryllium-plated Diaphragm dynamic driver
Frequency response: 10Hz-40kHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Noise attenuation: -26dB
Plug size: 3.5mm TRS gold-plated
Cable length: 1.2m
Weight: 7g without cable
Appearance, kit and ergonomics
IBasso developments are always not only about music, but also about emotions. In this case, everything from packaging instills joy and summer mood. The first to meet us is a bright dust jacket, made in variegated violet-yellow shades. On its front side there is a model index, a clarification that we have "Audiophile In-ear Monitors", a brand logo and a "Hi-Res Audio" sticker. Detailed specifications are shown on the back of the package.
Beneath the beautiful cover is a juicy, bright yellow box embossed with the brand's logo. Inside this "solar brick" we find the IT01X itself, a round case with the inscription iBasso Audio, detailed instructions and a warranty card. But this is only the beginning of our research. We open the "washer" -case and find there a nice replaceable cable, a rich set of tips for every taste, size and color (2 pairs of foam and 12 pairs of silicone tips) and a spare pair of replaceable metal filters to protect sound pipes.
IT01X is available in three color options: black, blue and red. As you can see from the photos, we have the last option.
IT01X looks elegant and very interesting. Small and lightweight, oval-teardrop-shaped cases are made of glossy plastic. The outer side is occupied by an iridescent purple front panel with a silvery lettering - the motto of the company "In Tune"! Wearing is implied behind the ear.
These IEMs are extremely comfortable, and the fit in the ear is wonderful. I will say more: these are, perhaps, one of the most convenient IEMs that I have come across. For ergonomics, they get a solid A from me. Therefore, you can listen to your favorite music in them for as long as you like, the IT01X have it.
On the inside, in addition to the metal sound pipe, there are two compensation holes, which contribute to the better performance of the dynamic driver. The model name and the “L / R” mark are applied next to it. Above is the MMCX connector for connecting the cable.
Filters-mesh on metal sound pipes IEM, twisted, they do not affect the sound, but they reliably protect against moisture, earwax and dust from getting inside. It is simple and quick to change them: unscrew, change the grid, put in place.
Inside each of the IEMs, there is one 10mm dynamic driver with a double-sided beryllium-coated membrane. This design gives the diaphragm the required degree of rigidity and low distortion. In addition, the principle of a Helmholtz resonator is applied here with internal acoustic chambers made of brass, which should also ensure low distortion. I must say, for the budget IEM model, such a technological implementation is very impressive.
Nice braided cable made from monocrystalline copper with silver plated. It is silvery white in color, very resilient, with MMCX connectors, a silvery splitter with a slider and a 3.5mm straight jack plug in the same style.
The connectors are common, and you can easily pick up another cable for the IEM if you want. However, this cable is quite good, and I see no reason to change it.
As I announced at the beginning, the kit, design, ergonomics and workmanship of the IT01X evoke extremely positive emotions. Everything here is saturated with great mood, from the colorful box, IEM design to the original sound. We will talk about this further.
Listening (audio testing) was conducted on: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo PAW Gold, iBasso DX300, iBasso DX220 MAX, QLS QA-361, HIP-DAC & iFI iDSD Diablo.
The earbuds were initially burned in for 70 hours. The IT01X played well with all audio devices.
I recommend that you take a responsible approach to the process of choosing tips, as they make a noticeable contribution to the creation of a sound picture.
I would describe the sound of the IT01X as balanced, clean, with a well-developed low-frequency range, dense and accurate impact, smooth, emotional middle, as well as a clean and slightly sparkling high-frequency range.
There is an elegant afterburner in the lower register and a neat emphasis ("spark") that falls on the high frequencies. This accent is made so delicately that it does not cause the slightest discomfort. This adds a bit of air, light expression and makes the sound more picturesque. As a result, the overall frequency response takes on a light U-shape.
It is a well-balanced and extremely expressive manner of delivering sound, with a body-filled audio image in the mid-range, a light velvet background added by low frequencies, as well as a precise, unobtrusive and clean high-frequency range.
The bass is tight, biting, tight and nimble, with good control, articulation, accurate kick and good texture. It powerfully and rollingly fills the virtual stage with mass, darkening the general background, adding contrast to the overall audio picture and reliably keeping the rhythmic basis of the composition in check. The blow is focused and fairly accurate.
Working out the midbass takes not so much quantity as quality, demonstrating good texture transfer and enviable energy.
Mids are smooth, with a decent transfer of the emotional component of the composition. The mid-frequency range is delivered smoothly and musically, without sharp peaks that straining the ear. Vocal parts sound temperamental, pianos and strings are reproduced cleanly, accurately and picturesquely. This is a raised, natural and melodic manner of presenting the sound.
Musical images are conveyed in a contrasting and easy manner, with due expression. This is a rather comfortable and sweet-voiced manner. For their price point, these IEMs have a pretty decent resolution. It is also worth noting the overall smoothness, good detail and harmonious work with micro and macro contrast.
The high-frequency register is slightly highlighted, the main emphasis is at about 8kHz, but at the same time it is served quite comfortably and does not tend to draw attention to itself. In this case, the high frequencies add a bit of breadth, brilliance and freshness to the sound.
Highs are reproduced clearly, lingeringly and euphonious. Here, perhaps, there is everything you need for such a difficult and capricious register: good resolution, elegant color and playful "speck" that adorns the general musical palette. It is an attractive and correct manner, well articulated, delivered in a light, graceful and comfortable manner.
In terms of genre preferences, iBasso IT01X are not too capricious. They are interesting, with their graceful "color", play both instrumental music, jazz, electronics, and rock.
The bottom line
Lows - balanced, biting, comfortable, with a tight tight kick and harmonious bass.
Mids are smooth, detailed, with a good transfer of the emotional part, decent resolution, without sharp peaks and distortions, comfortable and naturalistic.
Highs are precise, beautiful and delicate. They are served comfortably, clearly, cleanly, but slightly simplified. The cheerful "sparkle" does not interfere with the register in any way, but only gives it charm.
If you look at these IEMs from the sky-high heights of Hi-End, then, of course, one could find fault with the minor flaws that this model has. But such snobbery is completely inappropriate here - we have IEM "budget segment" in front of us, which, on the contrary, deserve only praise.
The IT01X is cute, stylish, lightweight and extremely comfortable. Their beautiful and original sound is just a godsend for beginner music lovers and a great option for even the most demanding audiophiles as a second IEM that you can take with you for a walk or a sports jog.
And a special thank you to iBasso for its humanity, because their "little pleasures" are affordable for almost everyone. On the manufacturer's website, IT01X costs only $ 119. Considering the good kit, great design, build quality, ergonomics and, most importantly, more than decent sound, I consider this proposal one of the best in its category.
Sound, design, kit, build quality, price