Ibasso IT00 Review

Sound performance

For this review, I used a mix of DAPs and portable DACs from FiiO and iBasso to stay in the same price range.

I chose three players: FiiO M3 Pro / FiiO M11 / iBasso DX160 and paired them to the IT000 in random orders. Most files used were FLAC 16bit/44kHz streamed from Qobuz/Spotify or from the internal storage.

Overall signature

Last time, I was quite pleased with the IT01S as those IEM achieved a bland acoustic design, without getting boring. Thankfully, that’s still the case with the iBasso IT00.

The sound signature is pretty linear, even more than what you got on the IT01S. If the IEM is non-impressive at first, the longer you use them, the better it gets. The bass is accurate, the highs non-harmful and the sound stage is surprisingly wide. Honestly, if you were to compare the IT01S and IT00 next to next, on a low-tier DAP, I’m pretty sure most of us could easily be fooled on which is which.

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The layering is good, the soundstage scaled up easily as I plugged better and better sources, and I was amazed to hear some minor details usually unheard on low-tier IEMs. Don’t fool yourself though, this isn’t as good as a multi-driver IEM, where each “motor” can deliver crisps details. Yet, if you take the big picture, the iBasso IT00 gives a very solid performance, where everything adds up nicely to ensure a surprisingly nice experience.

Voices didn’t sound laid-back, which was my main concern with the previous model. On this aspect, the IEM sounds much more like TinHifi’s IEMs, and that’s quite a prowess. Again, that’s mostly true for mid-tiers sources like the EarMen Tr-Amp and FiiO’s M11, but if you feed your M3 Pro with high-quality recordings, you might be surprised by how good the whole combo sounds.

I put Saint-Michel tunes in repeat mode – Caesare Borgia and Church – and I never got bored. Just a slightly more dynamic would have been awesome, but the IT00 avoided most caveats, in my opinion.

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Dynamic and transients

Again, Once paired with a good DAP, the iBasso IT00 gives you a great run for your money. Of course, pairing the IEM with the brand’s DX160 felts like the logical choice, with great success. Once you exchange the 3.5mm TRS cable for a 4.4mm Pentaconn one, it gets even better.

Going balanced really made a difference: transients felt faster soundstage, seemed more holographic with further depth, and I could lower the volume with no loss.

I put Kollera from Dusty Kid, a caustic track, with hard-hitting bass and acid highs, to see how the IT00 would manage, followed by Ylang Ylang from FKJ, the exact opposite type of track. And, quite frankly, the in-ear really achieved something. 

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This was not the best experience I heard and the dynamic couldn’t match models like the new FiiO FH3, but it didn’t sound bad either. What it lacked in dynamic, it compensated with speed and you’d be quite amazed to hear how quick those new DD drivers became in just a few years.

All in all, a very good result, even more, if you take account of the price.

Tonality

Highs : clean and non-harmful. When most of the IEMs I tried put the emphasis on high frequencies, the IT00 remained very keen to my ears. There is a lot of detail but it doesn’t pop-up to your face, and I want to thank iBasso for that. If you like classical music and gets tired of that offensive 8kHz spike, this is a very good choice.

Good test-track: No Tech – A*S*Y*S

Mids: still laid-back, still blazing fast. Mids are better than before in my opinion. The definition is very good and I even preferred the vocals found on that small IEM, compared to the upper model. Combined with the EarMen Sparrow in balanced mode, it might even outperform some BA models out there.

Good test-track: San-Francisco Street – Sun Rai

Lows : deep and clean. As most dynamic driver IEMs, the IT00 really outshines its competitors in this section, with deep, powerful, articulate bass. The IT01S outperforms our new challenger, but on entry-level sources like the M3 Pro, the difference didn’t feel that big. On the other hand, the more power you get, the more you’ll hear that difference.

Good test-track: Three Days – Chartreuse

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Sensitivity / Hiss

The iBasso IT00 isn’t hard to drive and seemed not prone to hiss. Even with the iBasso DX160 I had no noise whatsoever, so if it’s really important to you, this is your solution.

I always found iBasso DAPs to be somewhat hissy, but that’s clearly not the case for their IEM. 

Association

iBasso IT00 + FiiO M3 PRO: the perfect lightweight combo, for those who seek portability at low-cost. The player gives you enough power and dynamic to enjoy yourself on the go, and the IT00 plays along very well. Technically, it’s not the best combo you could get but once the bass begins to play… You’re on!

iBasso IT00 + iBasso DX160: Unsurprisingly, the best results were obtained when I paired the DX160 and IT00 in balanced mode. If those were not made to be paired, I don’t know what iBasso’s engineers would be for. Get a good 4.4mm cable and enjoy the show, as the combo delivers a constant feeling of control.

iBasso IT00 + FiiO M11: to this day, the FiiO M11 remains my favorite player from the brand. If it doesn’t sound as good as the DX160 with the IT00, I still love the mids that FiiO offers with its DAP. Even more once paired with the IT00. It’s fast, clean and feels just adequate for a first dip into the audiophile pool.

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Comparisons

TinHifi T2 Plus: an IEM found in the same price range, with a metallic shell and a more aggressive sound signature. Both IEM are on par technically and the IT00 sounds less inviting than the T2 Plus, so it’s more about taste than performances. Also, the IT00 was easier to drive, as the T2 plus required a few more steps to achieve the same volume level.

FiiO FH3: overall, the FiiO’s are better in every aspect. But, that’s expected as they cost almost twice as much, and embeds two more drivers than the iBasso IT00. But, the IT00 seemed easier to hear over time, especially at the end of the week, when I took the last train to leave my office. The bland sound design eased the mood and if you don’t want to end with a bang, they will do the trick.

AudioSense DT200: the DT200 is my personal favorite of the year, with great comfort and super solid lows. I even preferred the DT200 to the iBasso IT00 in that aspect: the AudioSense delivering one of the best basses I heard in the sub-200 category. It’s twice more expensive, but if your budget allows it, I’d get this one.

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Conclusion

The iBasso IT00 is a great IEM. The brand shoe-horned its previous model, in a cheaper model that kept the cool-looking design, excellent comfort/isolation and the same sound signature should. Dynamic is excellent and the IEM isn’t too far from the outstanding DiNaTT Driver, and that’s quite impressive.

I even preferred the sound of the IT00 as it gave a slightly better base, with more forwarded mids. Once I fed the IEM with a good DAP/DAC, it gave me exactly what I hope: clean, unoffensive, detailed sound. It might lack punch for some of us, but I’m pretty sure most listeners will be pretty pleased with the IT00, even more for the price.

 

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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

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