Saturday, December 27, 2008

[Quick Impression] iBasso T4

I just got the iBasso T4 amplifier which is designed for to pair with IEM (though you can used it with bigger headphone if you like). Last few years iBasso has made itself a name as The bang for the bucks in portable amp market. Naturally I am quite interested in getting one of their lower model to try out with my IEM.

I am by no mean an amp guy so here is a quick impression of the new T4 in comparison with FiiO E5, which is my main on-the-go portable amp at the moment. The source is iriver clix2's headphone-out on 80% volume. Music of choice are various album ripped as >256kbps LAME mp3 or WMA. The earphone of choice is Head-Direct RE0.

In very rough and subjective term, I'll say E5 is about 70% of a T4. The main improvements are bigger soundstage, slightly better instruments separation, slightly better treble and better bass (fuller, warmer body) if you switch both to bass mode. In comparison, E5 sounds more mid centric while T4 is better on extending to both end.

Regarding hiss, I chose to use UM2 for the test. For E5, hiss is most noticeable in max volume, and decreases to none as the volume approaching minimum setting (about less than 1/4 of total). For T4 in low gain with lowest volume, a constant hiss is detected but the volume is very low, roughly the same as E5's hiss on 1/4 volume setting (which is when E5 just starts to hiss). For T4 in high gain with lowest volume, the level of hiss about about E5's hiss b/w 1/2~3/5 volume. The good news is, T4's hiss doesn't increase a lot even when the volume is turn to max. The increase of hiss b/w lowest and highest volume is perhaps less than 50% of that in lowest setting. [EDIT] For those who wonder, the hiss test mentioned above were carried out without the source plugged in.

In picture, FiiO E3, E5, Travagan's Colors (dogbone), and T4.

Spec:
4ch Architecture Design
Gain and Bass Booster switches
ALPS Potentiometer
Stainless Steel Case With Chrome Color Anodized Finish
Rechargeable Li-Polymer Battery with integrated charging system
Charging is accomplished with either the USB cable or AC adapter
Up to 24 hours of play time
Measures 64.5L x 37W x 10H (mm), and weighs only 29g

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Important: All postings are my own personal opinion only and should not be treated as absolute truth. I do get things wrong just like everyone else. Always do your own research!

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