iBasso is a Chinese brand that has firmly established itself on the market with a wide selection of DAPs (digital audio players) and IEMs (in-ear monitors). I previously reviewed their DX120 DAP and IT01s IEM and found both to be top performers in their respective categories. In this review, I’m taking a look at their newest IEM the iBasso IT00.
The iBasso IT00 features a 10mm graphene dynamic driver and unique dual Helmholtz resonators. Additionally, the IT00 has a high magnetic flux driving the 5μm diaphragm for improved dynamics and speed. So how does iBasso’s first budget model hold up against the competition in this competitive bracket? Let’s find out.
iBasso website: http://www.ibasso.com/
Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
- Clean, minimalistic appearance
- Great build quality and comfort
- Detachable cable
- Class-leading audio quality
- Value for money
- Driver flex
Package and Accessories
In typical iBasso fashion, the IT00 comes in a textured blue box with a white cardboard sleeve with specifications listed on the back. Here’s what you find inside the box:
- iBasso IT00 earphones
- 3.5mm MMCX detachable high purity OFC cable
- clamshell zipper carrying case
- 9 pairs of silicone eartips
- replacement nozzle filters
- user guide/warranty card
The IT00 has lightweight, glossy white shells and minimalistic design. I can’t help thinking they look like baby stormtroopers (which is a compliment, by the way). On the faceplates are the brand and model name.
There are 2 small vents on the inner side of the shell along with L and R markers but those vents still don’t alleviate some fairly severe driver flex.
The nozzles are aluminium and feature replaceable mesh filters. Overall, the build quality feels fantastic for something in this price range and I’m personally a big fan of the clean aesthetic. The driver flex I really could do without though and I was disappointed to see it here just like I experienced with the IT01s.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
The IT00 is a small and lightweight earphone. It has an ergonomic design and therefore fits well in the ears. These are very comfortable earphones and are suitable for long listening sessions. They offer a moderate level of passive noise isolation so they’re perfectly fine for everyday environments and you’ll have no difficulty hearing your music.
The included cable is a high purity OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) braided type with glossy black insulation. It terminates with a right-angled aluminium 3.5mm plug and has a matching aluminium Y-split and MMCX connector housings. There are heat-shrink pre-formed ear guides and a small rubber chin slider.
The cable is very supple and handles quite well but it is quite prone to tangling due to the thinness above the Y-split. This can be alleviated substantially by using the cable cinch and/or the included Velcro cable strap.
Gear used for testing
Topping DX7 Pro, Shanling M5s, iBasso DX120
When it comes to sound, the IT00 has a very organic sound with excellent clarity and tonal balance. There is a touch of warmth to its sound, healthy bass response and light, crisp treble. Like so many single dynamic driver IEMs, the IT00 has great coherency and delivers a unified, natural sound.
The IT00 has a commanding, confident bass coupled with good control. It’s the kind of bass that sounds big even when you’re listening at low volume. But fear not, it’s not a heavy or dominating bass, as the quantity is balanced with the mids and highs.
Sub-bass notes give a reassuring deep rumble and come with good extension that reaches way down low. Mid-bass is punchy and carries ample impact but has a fairly quick decay that eliminates any bloom. In “Cosmica” by Sublab and Azaleh, the IT00 makes the deep synth bass sound intoxicating and powerful without masking the details of the midrange.
The midrange is relatively warm but has decent clarity throughout. There’s a little colouration for naturalness but it doesn’t introduce any muddiness. Vocals are quite forward and intimate. The general tone of the midrange sounds organic and inviting.
This is an IEM that works well across a wide variety of genres. In Noordpool Orchestra’s rendition of “Weird Fishes”, the horns sound vigorous without being shouty and the string section has a charming, rich resonance.
The IT00 has a light, airy treble that really helps to open up the soundstage and infuse some clarity into the sound. At the same time, it’s also easy on the ears and never strident or shrill. It’s not ultra-detailed but has good extension and adds a nice lift to the presentation.
Treble notes are slightly feathered and deliciously smooth, resulting in a natural timbre. While it doesn’t provide the highest level of precision, it does create a treble that won’t cause fatigue and is ultimately more musical.
Although it has that light airiness in the treble, the weight of the lower bass adds some thickness to notes. Furthermore, the forwardness and warmth of the midrange make the stage feel slightly more intimate. Like its big brother the IT01s, IT00 has good width but is shallower in depth. However, it’s a well-organized stage that feels sufficiently spread out thanks to a faster bass decay and overall clarity.
Tin Hifi T4 ($99)
The Tin Hifi T4 (review here) features a single 10mm carbon nanotube dynamic driver. It has a metal shell compared to the acrylic IT00. T4 has a brighter overall signature with a particular emphasis on the upper midrange and lower treble.
T4 has less bass extension with less sub-bass but similar mid-bass quantity. However, the bass often gets muted behind the aggressive upper midrange. As a result, the T4 sounds more detailed but can be quite fatiguing to listen to.
The T4 midrange has more clarity and presence than the IT00 but it often comes across as shouty. IT00 has more body and sounds fuller in the lower midrange where the T4 sounds a bit thin. The lower treble is boosted too, making percussion sound more snappy with a sharper attack. Upper treble is similar on both IEMs but the T4’s lower treble is considerably more forward.
KBEAR Diamond ($79)
The KBEAR Diamond (review here) is a single dynamic driver IEM. It has metal shells and comes with a nice bundle, similar to the IT00. The Diamond has a comparable mid-bass quantity but slightly less sub-bass than the IT00.
Where the Diamond differs most is probably in its midrange which is more recessed, making the overall tonality more V-shaped. It has exceptionally clear mids and slightly less body in the lower midrange. Up top, the Diamond has more lower-treble presence which gives it slightly more definition and clarity.
Moondrop Starfield ($109)
The Moondrop Starfield (review HERE) is another single dynamic driver IEM. The first notable difference is how much more efficient the IT00 is, likely due to it’s Tesla driver technology. As such, the IT00 requires a lot less power to drive.
These 2 earphones share a similar frequency response curve but with a couple of key differences. The Starfield has slightly less sub-bass quantity and a little less body in the lower midrange. In the upper midrange, the Starfield is more accentuated giving percussion instruments a sharper attack.
In contrast, the IT00 peaks a bit further up, around 5kHz. Thankfully this does not result in any sibilance but it gives guitars, piano and higher instrument notes more presence. Starfield dips significantly around 11kHz giving it a real sweetness, while the IT00 is a bit more forward and energetic.
When I started listening to the iBasso IT00, I thought I might have been mistaken about its rumoured price. Frankly, it seemed almost too good to be true. But I’m happy to say it has an MSRP of $69 which means it is a real standout and currently one of my favourite earphones in the budget segment.
The IT00 has bass to die for, a full-bodied, clear midrange and a lively but sweet treble. Not only that but they look great and are really comfy (at least for my ears). If you’re shopping for something under $100, I highly recommend the iBasso IT00 which is why I’m adding it to my Best IEMs List.
Available from the iBasso website.
- Driver Configuration: 10mm dynamic driver with multi-layered graphene diaphragm incorporating unique dual Helmholtz resonators
- Sensitivity: 106dB +/- 2dB
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Frequency Range: 10Hz – 35kHz