Pros: Instrument Separation, Clarity, Fit, Bass, Soundstage, Isolation
Cons: Thin Cables, Cable Length, Vocals
This is my first review and moreover and I am not an audiophile by any means. I would try to list out what I feel are the pros and cons. I am comparing these with RE-262 which I bought for approximately same price.
1. Price - In India they retail for around $140-150 which by any means for a triple driver IEM is good.
2. Received them approximately 8 hours ago and still trying to wrap my fingers around their sound.
3. Cable looks very fragile, could have been much thicker than this. By the look of it I still prefer the cables of RE-262 and Brainwavz M2. But only time can tell. One thing I don't like about this one is the right cable is way to long. I somehow prefer cables with equal length.
4. The vocal delivery in RE-262 is very in your face. However in these its more about the instrumental presentation and separation. You can hear and deduce more hidden sounds.
5. My source has been only Sansa Clip + with FLAC/MP3 files.
6. The best thing about these IEMs that I have been able to deduce so far are:
- Soundstage is good.
- Instrument separation is good
- Bass is good
- Isolation is good
7. The stock tips are good and they fit my ears perfectly. I don't think this can be worn over the ear though. The design is not made for that.
8. Construction wise, they look solid. I have never had any problems with Sony on that front. I have had several lower tier IEMs which have gone through a lot of abuse. This comes with a pouch which is neat and can fit my Clip + as well.
6. As per my opinion these work wonderfully with Classical/Progressive Rock/Instrumental music. Having heard Avial, Isis and Shakti on these so far I have no complaints. That said I am not sure if I like listening to more extreme metal ( Cattle Decapitation, Allegaeon) with them. But that could be because I have been using my RE-262 fairly regularly and there is some change in presentation and could take some time getting used to.
CONCLUSION: If someone is exploring the world of IEMs and want to check out a triple driver universal, they should go for it. That said, I won't be willing to pay more than what I did because for me a full sized headphone definitely makes more sense. Finally, when I first shifted from my Brainwavz M2 to RE-262 I was dumbstruck. I can't say the same thing now. Maybe that is because I am not a true audiophile. I am impressed by them but the differences are much finer.
I don't think I am going to explore the world of universal IEMs anymore, I will definitely try GR07 and the next stop would be a custom otherwise I would stick to cans
Retail Prices of a few Popular headphones in India:
HD-25 1-11 - $296
ATH-M50 - $157
Pro 750- $398
Pro 900- $555
HD-650 - $444.
Headphone prices are sky high in India, but I still don't understand why the retail prices of XBA-3 are significantly lower. This once again brings us to the the question which should interest everyone.
See Sony India Website (http://www.sony.co.in/product/xba-3)
I am not sure how these things work, but if Sony India is retailing them for $140 then that definitely includes a sizable profit. This would imply that the production cost for these shouldn't run over $100. If so then the prizes in US and world over would come down.
Would the US prices drop lower than $140? Only time can tell..
This brings us to a greater dilemma. All the people who have reviewed these IEMs so far have compared them to much more expensive IEMs in the price bracket, which would there by make them the best choice available hands down. Then again, I am not sure about reviewers and their opinion anymore. Are you?