Review: iBasso IT04 – A Big Step

iBasso IT04

Comparisons

 

Let’s compare the IT04 with 5 different mid-fi IEMs and get to the conclusion.

vs. FiiO FH5: The FH5 is also one of the good mid range IEMs for the price with good build and fit. But the IT04 fits even better than the FH5 with a more ergonomic shape. It also looks better to me.

Sound-wise although the FH5 has the same configuration as the IT04, they sound quite different. The FH5 has a thicker sound with a bigger note size but it has an overpowering sub bass which is not nice with certain genres. The IT04 has a more quality bass performance and it also has cleaner mids with more resolution, but it presents thinner notes. They both have a similar staging, while the FH5 giving just a notch wider performance.

I found that the timbre with the FH5 is slightly better, but the IT04 is more transparent with better instrument separation. I also think that the IT04 has a cleaner craftsmanship on the shell. Overall the IT04 is the better IEM, which is expected from the price. I should say that the FH5 is on the level of the IT03, while iBasso elevated their game with the IT04.

But the new FH7 is on its way from FiiO, so let’s see. The FH5 review is coming soon.

vs. Noble Savanna: The Savanna is one of the best monitors I’ve experienced in the mid-fi area. Its clarity and resolution is perfect for the price. But the IT04 is also at the same level in terms of overall transparency and resolution, and it has a better bass response. The sound stage width is a little better with the IT04 as well.

iBasso IT04

iBasso IT04

They both have good tonality and timbre but the Savanna presents its mids on the front, therefore you might like the Savanna better for the sake of having marvelous mids. But the IT04 is the more controlled and balanced IEM of the two in my opinion. And one more important plus for the iBasso is its fit. Savanna can not match it in terms of fit & comfort. The IT04 is much more ergonomic.

vs. Acoustune HS1551 CU: The HS1551 CU is one of a kind IEM with it’s one driver design and amazing build quality. But its fit is very fiddly and difficult to work with. The IT04 on the other hand is alot more comfortable and it fits much better. Still, the Acoustune has the better build.

The bass in the Acoustune is joyful, with great punch and decay. It has more presence than the IT04 in this region but it has the same qualities, so it’s a win for the HS1551 CU. Treble and mids are very close so it’s a tie. What the IT04 does better is the overall resolution and separation.

What the Acoustune does better is its wide and deep sound stage, overall control and bass performance. They’re both very well balanced earphones with the IT04 slightly being ahead. But when you consider all the factors, the IT04 is the better IEM for its user experience and resolving, balanced nature.

vs. Oriolus Forsteni: The Forsteni is a wonderful IEM for its little price compared to the giants. It fits as good as the IT04 with its very ergonomic shell design. In terms of sound it has a light bass performance and slightly recessed mid range like the IT04. However the Forsteni has better treble with more extension on top with similar overall resolution.

But in terms of mid performance I think the IT04 puts up a better performance for transparency and musicality. The IT04 also has a better separation performance with similar staging, and they also have a similar imaging performance. They have a similar type of tonality as well. So the IT04 is the better IEM by a small margin for me because it is the more versatile of the two.

vs. LEAR Turbo: The LEAR LCM Turbo is a very cheap custom monitor, probably the cheapest you can find. It has bigger bass with more punch and rumble with better layering. The IT04 has better mids and treble though, which is very important for many genres. The Turbo I think has a better timbre, while the IT04 having better resolution & separation.

The LEAR has a bigger sound stage for both width and depth, and it of course fits better since it’s a custom model. It’s half the price by the way, so a very good contender on this level.  But the very dark and smooth nature can be a no go for many people.

iBasso IT04

iBasso IT04

Summary

I personally think the price increase from the IT03 to the IT04 is completely justified. Sound-wise the new model is much more proficient in terms of technicalities. Apart from that, it has a great build and a better cable in the package, and it has a better design as well.

And moreover, it achieves to be the best IEM I’ve experienced for 500$. What does it mean? It means that it dethrones the Noble Savanna and takes its place in our recommendations. It fits better, sounds more versatile and all around, and it has better bass. So replacing the Savanna with the IT04 is a no brainer for me.

An easily recommended mid-high IEM from iBasso.

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A lover of personal audio from Turkey, Berkhan always seeks the perfection. He chooses a simplistic expression of sound at all times, and tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, and sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside.

17 Comments

  • Reply November 1, 2018

    Willy

    Damnit, I got both the Noble Savanna and the Acoustune Hs1551, but not the It04. Seems like the It04 is better than both of my favorite iem that i own.

    • Reply November 1, 2018

      Berkhan

      Both are very good IEMs. You don’t have to jump to the IT04. The differences are not big. But the IT04 is by far the best fitting earphone of the three.

  • Reply November 2, 2018

    John Churn

    Thank you for such informative review. Thumbs up to you Sir.
    Now have to delay my purchase & wait for FH7. What a joy. ^^

    • Reply November 2, 2018

      Berkhan

      You’re welcome.

      We’re also curious about it.

  • Reply November 5, 2018

    Roman

    Feeling previlliged to read this insightful and incredibly detailed review, ending a long wait. Thank you!
    I’m actually a bit torn right now between three choices for my next upgrade: IT04, GR10e, or NF-3U. All in a similar price range, making it very hard to chose from my desktop. Any thoughts would be highly appreciated.

    • Reply November 5, 2018

      Berkhan

      Much thanks Roman.

      I never listened the other two so I can’t comment unfortunately.

      Could you find any direct comparisons anywhere?

      • Reply November 5, 2018

        Roman

        Thanks Berkhan! Not really, I think you are the only site that has reviewed all those three 😉 but it seems by three different reviewers!!

        • Reply November 6, 2018

          Berkhan

          Yeah, that’s not good 🙂

          Still you can compare them using those reviews I think, at least in terms of their sound characters.

  • Reply November 16, 2018

    Arvin

    Compared to the BGVP DM6 which is a better IEM with different kinds of Genre?

  • Reply December 15, 2018

    SGTHRT

    how about Earsonics ES vs iBasso iT04?
    which one is better for allrounder mid range iem?
    thanks

  • Reply December 15, 2018

    Dylan

    I know they are two different price ranges, but how do these compare to the RHA T20s?

    • Reply December 18, 2018

      Berkhan

      No idea, I’ve never listened to the T20.

  • Reply February 20, 2019

    Chris Bell

    Would the Ibasso IT04 be a good pairing for the LG V30+ Phone with that Beautiful Quad Dac

  • Reply April 15, 2019

    Kave

    Currently using IT01, pretty happy with it considering the price point, my biggest complaint is that male vocals sound a bit airy (if that’s the right term), would love to try IT04 as well.

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