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iBasso 3T-154

Ibasso 3t-154

8.2 TOTAL SCORE

iBasso 3T-154

Buy Now

Overall, at just $149, the iBasso 3T-154 surpasses expectations, showcasing the dedication and craftsmanship of the iBasso team. It’s a testament to their commitment to providing audiophiles with a superior IEM that doesn’t break the bank.


Sound Quality 9
Bass 8
Midrange 8
Highs 9
Technicalities 8
Soundstage 8
Design 7
Build Quality 9
Comfort 8
PROS
  • Great Imaging
  • Highly Coherent
  • Expansive and Precisely Defined Soundstage
  • Exceptionally Clean and Detailed
  • Affordable Price
  • High Quality Stock Cable
  • Storage Case
CONS
  • Larger Shell Design
  • May Some Comfort Issues
  • At This Price Point No More Cons

IBASSO

iBasso has been broadening its lineup of players and portable DAC/Amps, with standout models like the DX260, PB5, D16, and DC Elite. Not long ago, they made waves in the IEM scene with popular, budget-friendly releases such as the IT04 and AM05. Now, iBasso is making a triumphant return to the IEM market with the innovative 3T-154. This new model boasts a 15.4mm single dynamic driver and a powerful magnet generating an impressive 3 Tesla of magnetic flux. The 3T-154 is designed to stand out from its predecessors while still offering the affordability that iBasso is known for.

UNBOXING

The package includes foam ear tips (S/M) made from less absorbent material, white silicone ear tips (S/M/L) with a tall cap and small-bore opening, grey silicone ear tips (S/M/L) with a shallow cap and large-bore opening, black soft silicone ear tips (S/M/L) with a shallow cap and medium-bore opening, and blue/black soft silicone ear tips (S/M/L) with a tall cap and large-bore opening.

  • 1 Pair of 3T-154 In-Ear Monitors
  • 1 Detachable cable with 0.78mm diameter 2-pin connectors
  • 1 Swappable 3.5mm headphone plug
  • 1 Swappable 4.4mm headphone plug
  • 12 Pairs of silicone ear tips (1 pair pre-installed)
  • 2 Pairs of foam ear tips
  • 1 Pair of spare nozzle filters
  • 1 Leather carrying case
  • 1 Screwdriver
  • 1 Warranty card & quick start guide

SPECIFICATIONS

Product typeIn-ear monitors
DriverDynamic
Diaphragm materialBeryllium-plated
Diaphragm diameterØ15.4mm
Frequency response7Hz-41kHz
Sensitivity116dB +/-2dB
Impedance16 ohm
Noise attenuation-26dB
Rated power10mW
THD< 1% (@1kHz/179mV)
Cable length1.2m
Net weight18.8g (excl. cable)

DESIGN

The 154 features a 15.4mm dynamic driver with a large beryllium-plated diaphragm, necessitating its sizable housing. The “3T” in the name highlights the diaphragm’s magnetic flux, designed to enhance dynamics. It’s built with a high-precision CNC bracket, an N55 magnet, and a Japanese Daikoku voice coil. With a sensitivity of 116dB and an impedance of 16 ohms, it offers balanced performance. The rear surface is slightly angled, and it includes a removable sound nozzle, with a spare nozzle provided in the package. Available in black and silver, this thoughtful design is a welcome addition from iBasso.

COMFORT

The 3T-154 might seem bulky and uncomfortable at first glance, but they’re actually quite comfortable to wear, especially when you pick the right ear tips. Featuring multiple pinhole vents for the dynamic driver, these IEMs also come with a comfy original cable that doesn’t produce any microphonic noise. The default tips provide a good seal and decent comfort.

Despite the many openings and ventilation ports, they offer strong passive noise isolation of about 25dB. In short, the fit is effective, but it requires a bit of adjustment to get used to. While it might take a little time to perfect, the effort pays off with improved comfort.

SOUND

The iBasso 3T-154 offers a balanced, natural sound signature with a touch of warmth and emphasis on presence. It features strong bass extension, delivering warm and smooth lows, and clean treble. The midrange is central and slightly forward, providing warmth and spaciousness. This results in a sonic experience characterized by extreme clarity, natural timbre, and a hint of intimacy, all without sacrificing resolution. In short, it delivers a lively texture combined with natural detail and resolution.

BASS

The iBasso 3T-154 delivers a subtly colored sound with bass that offers distinct layers, clearly separating mid-bass from sub-bass for a balanced yet impactful performance. The bass is deep, rich, and detailed, striking a fine balance without sacrificing too much neutrality, though it isn’t entirely neutral in the bass region. The bass quality is impressive, well above average, and the quantity is enjoyably elevated without any distortion, leaving a lasting impression.

MIDRANGE

In this price range, the iBasso 3T-154 stands out with its clean midrange, exceptional detail, and natural tonality. The instrument separation is highly engaging, adding depth and intimacy to vocals. While it leans slightly more exciting than neutral, the accents on instruments and effects introduce a pleasant touch of color. The upper midrange features controlled brightness, enhancing presence and sparkle without any harshness. Overall, the sound elements are elegantly presented, offering a smooth and fatigue-free listening experience.

TREBLE

The treble of the iBasso 3T-154 is exceptionally smooth and airy, delivering a delightful sparkle without any harshness or fatigue. It extends well into the frequencies while maintaining a pleasantly subdued brightness.

The 3T-154 impresses with its clean and tight resolution, delivering a listening experience that’s both detailed and fatigue-free. The treble is exceptionally soft in its presentation, adding to the overall coherence of the sound. This combination of clarity and smoothness ensures an enjoyable and immersive audio experience, perfect for extended listening sessions without any discomfort.

STAGING & IMAGING

The iBasso 3T-154 offers an impressively spacious and open soundstage with a good airiness. While not quite holographic, it comes close, boasting excellent width and depth. The soundstage feels natural and realistic, drawing listeners into an immersive auditory experience.

One of the standout features of the 3T-154 is its impressive instrument separation and precise imaging. Vocals are effectively isolated, allowing each element to shine distinctly. The layering and resolution is very good, adding to the overall engaging and dynamic performance. This IEM truly excels in creating a rich, textured soundscape that keeps listeners engaged with its clarity and detail.

SYNERGY

3T-154 & FIIO Q15

When paired with the Q15, an increase in dynamics and treble performance is evident. What stands out is how the bass maintains its separation from the midrange, resulting in a natural and linear profile. Interestingly, the sub-bass seems more pronounced when paired with the Q15 than with other sources. Moreover, there’s a distinct enhancement in detail retrieval and instrument separation. The soundstage undergoes a significant expansion, both in terms of width and depth, contributing to a more immersive listening experience.

3T-154 & SHANLING H7

When pairing the 3T-154 with the H7, you’ll notice an increase in bass impact, characterized by a heightened level of sub-bass rumble and a stronger mid-bass punch. Additionally, the soundstage widens, contributing to a more expansive auditory experience, while the tonality becomes smoother. Remarkably, detail retrieval remains consistent with that of the Q15. The combination of the H7 and 3T-145 is very enjoyable, it immerses you in a rich sonic landscape that draws you in and keeps you engaged.

COMPARISONS

ibasso 3t-154, truthear Nova, Oriveri OD200, Moondrop Kato, Sennheiser IE200

3T-154 VS NOVA

Only the NOVA [1DD + 4BA] is here without a single dynamic driver, but we compared these two because they are in the same price range.

The NOVA delivers a balanced and refined sound signature, subtly emphasizing both sub-bass and upper midrange frequencies. Tuned according to the Harman 2019 target with a slight emphasis on the bass, the NOVA provides a strong, smooth, and quick bass response. The sub-bass offers impressive depth and smoothness, enhancing the overall listening experience. The Nova has more bass impact and rumble compare to the 3T-154.

The treble of the NOVA is neutral with decent extension, though it has an average amount of airiness and openness compared to the 3T-154. In contrast, the iBasso 3T-154 is more detailed, with a cleaner sound and better resolution. Its staging and imaging are superior, providing a more immersive and coherent listening experience.

While the NOVA appeals to those who prefer the Harman 2019 target tuning, our overall preference leans towards the 3T-154 for its exceptional detail, resolution, and expansive soundstage. The 3T-154 stands out as the more compelling choice for audiophiles seeking a more engaging and high-fidelity sound for this price range.

3T-154 VS OD200

The OD200 boasts an exceptionally ergonomic and comfortable design, making it a standout in terms of wearability. During long listening sessions, we experienced zero fatigue or discomfort, which is quite impressive. Compared to the 3T-154, the OD200 is the clear winner in this regard, thanks to its lighter weight and superior comfort. It’s design ensures that you can enjoy your music for extended periods without any issues, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritize comfort in their audio gear.

The OD200, equipped with the silver filter, offers a balanced and captivating sound presentation. It features tight, controlled bass, a natural and effortless midrange, and crisp, airy treble. The vocal clarity and smoothness create a cohesive midrange that enhances the listening experience. The treble of the OD200 is extended and sparkly, contributing to its crisp and airy character. However, the 3T-154 edges ahead with a smoother and more natural treble.

When it comes to soundstage, the 3T-154 outperforms with better staging and seperation. It’s providing a more expansive and immersive experience. In contrast, the OD200 has a slightly narrower soundstage and less depth.

3T-154 VS KATO

The Kato fits as expected for a medium-sized IEM, and while it isn’t the lightest option available, it’s noticeably lighter than the 3T-154. The Kato sits comfortably in the ear’s concha, providing a secure and comfy fit that allows for extended wear without any issues.

In contrast, the 3T-154 presents some challenges with its shape, making it a bit harder to achieve a comfortable fit. While it offers excellent sound quality, a more ergonomic design would significantly enhance its wearability. Overall, the Kato has better comfort and ease of use, making it a great choice for long listening sessions.

The KATO delivers an expressive, vivid Harman-neutral sound with a near W-shaped signature and a touch of warmth. Its presentation is impressively airy, with a wide and deep soundstage that provides a precise sense of instrument placement. The bass is well-tuned, offering a satisfying blend of depth and control.

In comparison, the 3T-154 features a more linear bass tuning with less emphasis, resulting in fuller-bodied mids and a more natural vocal presentation. Both IEMs excel in the treble range, delivering good detail, but the 3T-154 outshines the KATO with detail retrieval and separation. This makes the 3T-154 a compelling choice for those seeking a more nuanced, finely detailed and more natural listening experience.

3T-154 VS IE200

We reviewed the IE 200 months ago, and we were really impressed with this IEM. The IE200 shares the ergonomic design signature seen in Sennheiser’s other in-ear monitors (IEMs). It maintains a compact form factor that rests comfortably against the ear, making it a rare choice that’s particularly suitable for those who prefer to sleep on their sides. In line with its affordability, the IE200 opts for a plastic build, diverging from the aluminum construction found in its higher-end siblings, the IE600 and IE900.

When it comes to comfort, there’s no doubt that the IE 200 is top-notch, significantly outperforming the 3T-154. It fits snugly and comfortably, making it ideal for long listening sessions. However, the material and build quality of the IE 200 are fairly average. In contrast, the iBasso 3T-154 stands out with superior build quality in this price range, offering a more robust and premium construction.

The IE200 showcases a commendable sound signature, emanating maturity with its pleasing balance. Its sub-bass presence is notable, particularly when paired with the appropriate ear tip position, offering a punchy mid-bass performance. While the mids and vocals command attention, the 3T-154 surpasses with its more natural tonality in this regard.

Additionally, the IE200 introduces a subtle treble peak that infuses sparkle and a rich timbral mix, carefully avoiding excessive sharpness. While technically sound, the IE200 falls into the average category. It delivers a respectable level of precision, detail, sharpness, and layering, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of more advanced IEMs.

In contrast, the 3T-154 boasts a wider and more expansive soundstage, effectively immersing the listener within the musical environment. This approach enhances separation and fosters a more coherent sound experience, elevating the overall listening enjoyment.

CONCLUSION

The iBasso 3T-154 stands out as a superior IEM, offering exceptional value with its affordable price point, high build quality, and modular stock cable. Its balanced and natural sound signature, with a hint of warmth and emphasis on presence, elevates the listening experience to new heights. With robust bass extension delivering warm and smooth lows, complemented by clean treble, it delivers a truly immersive audio experience.

While the shell design may not be the most outstanding, it’s still considered average. However, the fit and comfort are commendable, providing a snug and enjoyable listening experience, though it may require a bit of time to find the perfect fit.

Overall, at just $149, the iBasso 3T-154 surpasses expectations, showcasing the dedication and craftsmanship of the iBasso team. It’s a testament to their commitment to providing audiophiles with a superior IEM that doesn’t break the bank.

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