The Delight of Ambition – A Review of the iBasso IT01 In-Ear Headphones


Since the IT01 walks the line between warm and bright so well, they are not tricky to pair. Practically any source will sound good. If you want a little extra bass, or more treble, the device you choose can swing the scales. They are highly efficient and require very little power to drive. Like I said, you really can’t go wrong. Still, here are a few pairings you may find interesting:

The Shanling M3s ($279, Review HERE) is a fantastic budget DAP for the IT01. Smooth, clean, and revealing as f**k. With a hint of warmth and plenty of treble, you get quite a lot of musicality without leaving neutrality. Soundstage is above average, and there’s great separation. It allows the IT01 to show off its qualities without aiming for the stars… and emptying your wallet in the process.

theBit’s newest release, the Opus#1S ($399) is a warmer, fuller device. It adds a more natural, relaxed quality to the IT01. The treble is less splashy, the grain less noticeable. Soundstage is bigger and depth increases. There’s a degree of refinement and maturity to this setup that is seriously impressive. Normally I’d consider a budget earphone not worth the effort of such a fine source, but the IT01 responds with vigor to the added richness.

My reference player is the Opus#2 ($1,299, Review HERE), and the DAP I use for my audio break-down and comparisons. It has the weight and naturalness of the #1S, but also manages the clarity and transparency of the M3s. That’s what Top of the Line gets you, I guess; the best of both worlds. It doesn’t stop there, either. #2 also delivers a significant upgrade in depth and separation, with a grander soundstage, and all around greater realism. The fact IT01 can illustrate these changes with such articulation may be the single most impressive feat I’ve seen it perform yet. They scale like a motherf**ker!

Before I move on, I’d like to mention the Cayin N5ii and iBasso DX200 are also highly recommended for these. You can’t go wrong with either one, but in this case, the price difference does yield greater quality. Set your budget, and buy the best you can afford. You won’t regret it.

Sweet Jesus! We’ve come to the end. Are you still hazy on my stance? Do you really need me to say it? Fine, I will. I love these things. Are you happy? The iBasso IT01 should not sound this good. Or if it should, it shouldn’t be this inexpensive. Or if it should, everyone else ought to readjust their prices. I won’t say it’s a game-changer, because the only game Pinky cares about is the game of love. That’s a different article entirely. Still, something’s changed, and iBasso did it. I can’t wait to see what they do next.


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About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.


  1. matt on

    Great review. I’m having a hard time deciding over Oriveti New Primacy, TFZ King PRO and the it01? Obviously there is a price difference, but i can get the ONP for £150.

    I love my Brainwavz B400 for the smooth yet detailed sound. Very good separation and good space. I am looking for another more musical and “fun” set. A set with a bit more sparkle and sub bass rumble. I have the LZA4 which is okay, but I’ve always felt they sound a bit disjointed and can sound a bit messy and i hate the fit.

    I’m not a fan of bright signatures, but the it01 does sound like it might have done the treble just right stopping just before being overly aggressive (I think?). Never liked the Dunu DN1000 for this reason. King PRO may be a bit much for me? ONP I’ve read very different reviews so it’s a confusing one to get a proper picture of?

    I have the TFZ Exclusive 3 on the way.

    • Pinky Powers on

      I think the IT01 would be well worth your time. Seems to have everything you’re looking for.

      • matt on

        you really should try get a Brainwaz B400 to review

  2. Adrian on

    Can you compare this with Shozy Hibiki and Advanced Sound Model 3?

    • Pinky Powers on

      I cannot. I have yet to hear those products.

    • Ryan Soo on

      The Hibiki is thinner and brighter while the Model 3 is more natural and less aggressive. The Hibiki has a more midrange focussed sound, the Model 3 is more V-shaped.

      • Adrian on

        Hi Ryan, what about the IT01? I saw your review on TFZ King Pro and the IT01, but I’m still in a pickle on the two, since there are no demos on my area for these 2 products. I had a TFZ S2 and I’m really not confident with the build quality of the brand, and seeing the cable of TFZ King Pro, it seems like it’s the same with it.

  3. Fudge on

    Trying to decide between these or the Magaosi K3 HD. Any thoughts? Or should I save my money and splash out on the Oriveti New Primacy? Is it worth tripple the Price?

    • Pinky Powers on

      Is it worth triple the price? Surely I answered that through the whole body of the review. No, of course it’s not. I actually feel the IT01 sounds better than New Primacy.

      I have not heard the K3, so I can’t comment on that.

  4. Zack on

    Will it pair nicely with Hiby R6?

  5. Manny on

    How does it compare to the Vsonic GR07 bass edition? I currently own the Vsonic VSD3S and I’m looking to upgrade.

    • Pinky Powers on

      I don’t own any Vsonics.

    • michael on

      Hi, I had the same problem, couldn’t find comparison of IT01 and GR07 BE. After reading many reviews I decided to buy IT01 because I couldn’t find proper fit with GR07. My first impressions are positive. Bass – IT01 have slightly more bass in quantity, quality is similar in both iem’s, mids – where the differences really starts, in GR07 vocals sound little distant while IT01 vocals sound kind of inside my head. Also mids in ibasso sound fuller and more musical. Treble – I feel like IT01 are more airy and have little bit more details, GR07 even though have less pronounced treble they are sibilant. Sound stage is definitely bigger in Ibasso. Overall to my ears ibasso wins in every category plus fitting my ears much better.

  6. Juan Luis on

    Would you make a good pair with the Cayin n3? I was just looking for a replacement for my oriveti basic, which I love, but I miss something more bright in the highs.

    • Pinky Powers on

      Yes. The N3 is quite warm and smooth, and will give the IT01 extra musicality.

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