iBasso IT05

Sound Analysis.

I tested and analyzed IT05 sound performance paired up with LPGT and DX320 sources while playing a variety of test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Galantis “Hunter”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Dua Lipa “Love again”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, Bob Marley “Jamming”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.  I had about 100hrs of burn in time before collected my sound impressions.  Also, I was using stock silicone eartips, stock balanced cable, and gold nozzle filter in the analysis below.  But I will cover other filters as well.


I hear IT05 sound sig to be between W-shaped and Mid-forward in tuning, something I would call balanced with a more noticeable mid-forward emphasis.  Overall, it has clean, transparent, slightly more revealing dryer tonality with a leaner body mids, and a pretty good level of detail retrieval.  The soundstage is wide, though I hear more depth and height than width.  The soundstage has a natural wide expansion without being holographic or intimately narrow.  The imaging is not necessary 3D, but every sound is placed accurately in space and easy to distinguish in the mix.  From a technical perspective, IT05 doesn’t have micro-detailed precisely layered sound tuning, just a clean detailed tuning.  You do need to take some time to go through tip rolling because the sound change will be quite drastic depending on the bore opening and the insertion depth of eartips.

While analyzing the bass, I hear more emphasis on sub-bass relative to mid-bass.  Sub-bass has a good deep extension with a nice rumble, while mid-bass is softer, less aggressive, and with a shorter decay which gives the bass more control without spilling into lower mids.  As already mentioned, lower mids are lean, very neutral, and transparent.  Upper mids are clean, detailed, forward.  You can hear a proper 2kHz-4kHz pinna gain with a little more boost around 2kHz.  I enjoyed dropping that 2kHz peak by about 3dB, using iBasso Mango Player’s Parametric EQ, to give the tonality a more natural clarity.  Treble is also clean, detailed, and moderately extended.  I can hear a nice airy sparkle without any exaggeration.


I found IT05 to synergize good with any genre of music, especially with vocals, since it brings out more details in upper mids.  And the pair up synergy was great with any source I tried, regardless of if it is iBasso’s own budget DX170 or flagship DX320 w/amp14, or any other budget or flagship DAP.  IT05 is not very source picky, and I think eartips selection will be more critical here.  But I did prefer listening at a lower volume which made the sound more balanced and less shouty in mids.

Eartips comparison.

And speaking of eartips, this is going to be very brief, just please keep in mind that eartips selection is very subjective and will be dependent on your ear/earcanal anatomy.  For me, out of all included eartips and every single aftermarket pair I have, the only one that worked with IT05 were large size olive-shaped grey silicone eartips.  The combination of their insertion depth, due to a taller profile, and a smaller bore opening, gave me a clean detailed sound without any exaggerated upper frequency peaks.  And I’m going to say it again, take your time with all the included eartips, as well as all your other ones, because it will play a very important role in the finetuning of the sound.

Nozzle filters comparison.

While analyzing 3 pairs of the including filters, I found:

  • Black – I’m hearing a thinner brighter mids which are lacking body in sound.
  • Silver – Now, mids are a bit distant and a touch smoother at expense of lower resolution.
  • Gold – This one sound somewhere between black and silver.  It doesn’t lack body but has a bit more revealing tonality and wider soundstage expansion, giving the sound a higher resolution.  These were the one I preferred.

Stock cables comparison.

Copper vs Copper/SPC – Based on what I’m hearing, Copper cable gives you a little more rumble in sub-bass and a bit more coloring in lower mids.  As a result, the sound is a little warmer and less transparent.  With Copper/SPC hybrid, lower mids are leaner and upper mids are more transparent, having a better retrieval of details and some improvements in layering of the sounds.  Copper/SPC was my favorite as well, especially since it is 4.4mm terminated while Copper only was 3.5mm terminated.



The sound comparison was done using IT05 with a stock balanced cable, stock silicone eartips, and LPGT and DX320 sources; volume matched in every comparison.  The sad truth is that I hardly have any “budget” iems, thus I decided it will make more sense to compare the sound of IT05 to its closest iBasso siblings released in the last few years.  For the reference and based on MSRP, iBasso AM05 ($299), iBasso IT05 ($325), and iBasso IT07 ($899).

IT05 vs IT07 – IT07 is undeniably iBasso’s flagship with a scaled-up performance of sub-bass and mid-bass, hitting stronger and going deeper, while IT05 has more emphasis on sub-bass rumble while its mid-bass packs a softer punch.  IT07 mids are warmer and pulled more back while IT05 mids are more neutral in lower mids and more revealing in upper mids.  IT07 treble is crisper and has more sparkle while IT05 treble is smoother in tuning.  IT07 soundstage is a little bit wider.  But despite its flagship status level, I honestly wouldn’t expect people upgrading IT05 to IT07 or downgrading from IT07 to IT05.  They are different in tuning and have their own Pros and Cons depending on what you are looking for.

IT05 vs AM05 – AM05 is more neutral in tonality while IT05 is more balanced in its tuning.  AM05 bass is rather flat down to sub-bass and through mid-bass while IT05 subs have more rumble and even its mid-bass has a little more punch.  They both have similar neutral lower mids and clean detailed upper mids.  AM05 upper mids scaled down in quantity, but due to their flat neutral bass, the mids sound as forward as in IT05.  Also, AM05 treble has a bit more energy than IT05.



I started this review by talking about IT05 price and will wrap it up the same way.  It’s true that I don’t have as much experience with budget IEMs because I spend more time with mega kilobuck flagships and matching kilobuck cables.  That is why I was fascinated by this release where the 2 included cables alone probably worth the price tag of the whole IT05 package.  I’m using any excuse now to listen to these IEMs just so I can feel that stainless steel chunky cable plug which reminds me of an analog equipment dial knob.  And these cables pair up great not just with IT05 or other iBasso IEMs, but also with other mmcx IEMs like Campfire Audio (will leave that for another review).

You do need to spend a little bit of time going through different eartips which is very important with IT05.  And the driver flex is there when dealing with eartips that give you a good seal and secure fit.  But aside from that, we are talking about a pair of single DD iems with a clear detailed tuning and a deep textured sub-bass, a beautiful slick metal shell with a cool faceplate design and overall durable built, interchangeable nozzle filters to finetune the sound, and two premium stock cables (single ended and balanced) with a custom hardware.  All this together at a rather budget price is certainly worth checking out.


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