InTune with the Next Gen!
PROS: hybrid design with a natural clear tonality, W-shaped sound signature with a powerful bass impact, compact and comfortable shell design, interchangeable filters, quality pure silver balanced cable, lots of included eartips.
CONS: universal only, reasonably priced but still a step up from the previous IT04 flagship.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Back in pre-pandemic days when we had CanJams and other audio shows, new releases were spaced out to make sure every product gets plenty of attention. Today, I have no idea how manufacturers are managing this, definitely not an easy task. And as a result, some new releases end up flying under the radar, like what I think has happened with iBasso flagship 7-driver hybrid IT07 IEMs. They enjoyed some spotlight right after the initial announcement, but then everyone’s attention shifted to the upcoming DX300 flagship DAP. And now with DX300 already in hands of consumers, everybody is focused on the next new iBasso release.
Actually, I’m still getting used to saying “iBasso IEMs” since I associate this manufacturer with DAPs. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that they already released a number of popular and affordable IEMs. Then, IT04 flagship from a few years ago surprised everyone with a more mature audiophile tuning. The new IT07 takes it to yet another level. When I received IT07 last month and started listening to them, I was already thinking ahead about the review and had a few other IEMs in mind for comparison, though all in a higher price bracket. Now, the review is done and I’m ready to share with you about iBasso IT07 latest flagship hybrid IEM.
Unboxing and Accessories.
I do appreciate how iBasso pays close attention to packaging, making higher end models stand out from their other mid-fi and entry level products. Here, while the outer packaging is just a plain all black cardboard box with iBasso Audio glossy print, inside you are treated to a more luxurious jewelry like box with a vinyl exterior and suede inner lining. From the moment you lift the cover up, you know right away this is a flagship level product. It has a nice presentation that sets a premium tone from the get-go. In general, these fancy boxes are not as practical since people keep IEMs in a small carry case, but nevertheless, it is a premium unboxing experience and that is what matters.
Similar to IT04, inside you will find all metal aluminum puck storage container with laser etched iBasso Audio on the cover and a soft velour insert under the cover to showcase these IEMs without a cable like a jewelry on the display. Again, another example of a premium presentation, but I’m sure many will remove the insert to place IT07 inside with a cable attached, and probably will switch to their favorite pocket friendly slim case when on the go.
Furthermore, inside of accessories box you will find a cable and the adapter, and a ton of included eartips. Everything from M/L pairs of foam tips, to 4 sets (S/M/L each) of silicone eartips varying in shape, material type, cap springiness, and bore opening. I will go over the difference in Eartips Rolling section of my review after sound analysis. You also get a warranty card, a quick start booklet with lots of useful info, and a set of interchangeable screen filters.
A pair of silver ones already come by default with IT07, and in addition to that you get a stainless-steel plate with 3 sets (silver, black, gold) sets of screen filters which you unscrew from the plate. I will go over these in more details later as well, but that stainless-steel plate with filters setting is like a cherry on top of the unboxing experience.
Besides IEMs and DAPs, iBasso product line also has cables and adapters which they include with their IEMs or sell as separate accessories. In the past they only featured pure copper, silver plated copper, or combined hybrids, all with mmcx connectors as standard in iBasso IEMs. And with every new cable the quality of wires and the cable hardware went up, along with a default 2.5mm balanced termination and matching cable pigtail single ended 3.5mm adapter.
IT07 is no exception. Here, iBasso included their own custom premium cable, but this one features a brand-new high purity silver litz wires. The wires are thin, lightweight, flexible, and a little springy when wrapped. You will find 4 loosely braided conductors which get twisted above the split and feature pre-shaped heat-shrink earhook toward the connector. The 2.5mm gold plated plug is inside of a slim metal housing with a stainless-steel type of finish and a short strain relief, and a matching finish y-split, chin slider, and mmcx connectors with L/R marking and Blue/Red color coding. Pigtail has 2.5mm female plug and 3.5mm made plug, all with matching finish housing and the same 4 braided wires.
The mmcx connectors are standard universal and make a tight and secure connection with shell connectors. When attached, they don’t turn around easily, almost making it feel like a 2pin connection, and I don’t see any gap at the joint. Also, despite a metal connector housing which is usually slippery, here I was able to get a good grip and was able to disconnect the cable without a problem. I didn’t sense any major microphonic effect, maybe just a little bit, and in general the cable was very comfortable to wear.
If would have been nice to include 4.4mm adapter as well, but if you don’t have one already, something like iBasso CA04 pigtail adapter (high purity mono crystal copper with silver plated shield) with right angle 4.4mm plug should work great. One other optional accessory really caught my attention, their new CB16 cable with high purity silver copper alloy wires.
This optional CB16 cable is already terminated with the right-angle low profile 4.4mm plug, has a very soft 4 wires in a cool purple jacket, uses a matching finish y-split, retractable chin slider, and matching connector housing with Red/Blue color coding, and no memory wire or pre-shaped earhook so you can also wear it wire down with other supporting IEMs. And to my big surprise it comes in a nice wooden box. For those who are interested, here is a more detailed comparison of stock silver and optional CB16 spc cables.
IT07 stock silver vs CB16 spc cable.
Based on what I’m hearing, stock silver cable has a little wider and airier soundstage expansion in comparison to CB16 spc cable. I hear the sound with CB16 being a little smoother and slightly more relaxed, while with stock silver cable the sound is tighter, faster, and more revealing, especially more micro-detailed in mids. Not a huge difference, but I can hear it and was able to pick one cable vs the other in a blind test. Regarding aesthetics, I do like CB16 cable better because of its unique purple color, softer wires (vs stock cable being a little stiffer and springy in comparison), and low-profile L-shape 4.4mm plug. But the stock pure silver cable gives IT07 higher resolution and crisper details, especially when it comes to mids and vocals. One cable is not better than the other, but rather a matter of personal pair up preference.
Being quite familiar with 4 driver hybrid design of IT04, I was expecting 7-driver hybrid version of IT07 to be bigger, but instead it turned out to be just a little taller and more compact. IT07 uses 7 drivers partitioned into 4 groups according to crossover split with 10mm high magnetic flux dynamic driver for bass and 6 Knowles BA drivers covering mids (Knowles 30989), upper mids and highs (Knowles 31785) and ultra-highs (Knowles 30017).
iBasso also paid close attention to IT07 4-way crossover design, using audio-grade high tolerance thin film capacitors and metal film resistors instead of ceramic capacitors. Inside, drivers are arranged based on iBasso patented acoustic structure, referred to as “root tube structure”, including a nozzle that uses coaxial structure to optimize the dynamic driver performance.
Also, while iBasso continues with their custom universal shell design, in every new release they apply more tweaks to improve the ergonomics for a better concha fit. I never had issues with any of their previous acrylic shells, but IT07 feels even smoother with a new polished glossy swirling-blue finish. And again, though IT07 is a universal IEM, it looks and feels like a Custom IEM, very comfortable to wear, though they do stick out a bit from my ears. Both shells still feature the InTune logo, a name behind ITxy letters.
On the inner side of the shell pointing down you will find a pinhole vent and also another pinhole vent toward the nozzle, assuming both are for DD. The actual nozzle is all metal and features interchangeable threaded mesh guard screen similar to IT01s and AM05. This screen also designed to be a filter that changes the sound characteristics. iBasso provides 3 pairs of these screens: Silver, Black and Gold. If you look under the light, the mesh has a different opening density which is easy to see and which affect the sound, covered in the next section.