That's why FiiO made the X3. This is a 24Bit/192Khz WOLFSON DAC (WM8740, same one the AK100 uses), stuck to an AD8397 amp and wrapped in black aluminum. Translation? Baller stuck to gangster and wrapped in win.
I Lol'ed so hard.
Nothing with any treble in it, since the treble practically disappears from 7 kHz down.
So I've been comparing my Mediabridge cable to the $11 more inakustik premium cable. Now this is a comparison between a highly burned-in cable - Mediabridge - and one with none at all.
The conclusion right now is that it's a toss up, but there are differences in the cable. on the X1 page someone stated that the inakustik is a brighter cable. He's correct. I think the inakustik put a bit more emphasis on the highs (nothing harsh, but more emphasis). Bass is a bit less than with the Mediabridge, but may be more visceral. Soundstage sounds a tad bit wider (not by much) with the inakustik. Mids may be a tad bit more forward, but nothing by any leaps and bounds.
The Mediabridge is a warmer, darker, and fuller sounding (in the bass) cable. Which one do I like better? Well, I like the sound coming out of both of them. I can see myself switching cables, so I don't see myself returning this cable. Now, I'm expecting the $34 Zu to blow both of them out of the water. I should have that by Monday, so we'll see. Oh, the inakustick cord seems thicker, firmer and of better quality, but the connects are fancier on the Mediabridge. Both have 24k-gold plating on the connectors. You can't go wrong either way.
Any changes from when first purchased?. I might have to look into getting a nice cable for my X1 as well.
So I promised a while ago that I would do an S2 vs XBA-3 comparo..I haven't had time really to do that until now..I have mentioned how the S2 sounds like a dynamic version of the XBA-3 and they do. The main difference for me is the presentation of the neutral sound on both earphones. The XBA-3 with 3 balanced armatures sound great but overall the sound is somewhat distant and I noticed this when comparing them to my CKS1000 as well..They do convey a very nice tidy detailed picture of the sound but I have recently discovered that the S2 has a more forward midrange over the XBA-3 and even a wider stage. The XBA-3 has got a real nice stage for sound and these are indeed source dependent compared to my S2s and have power limitations.
From my Sony Z1060 the XBA-3 still sounds the best and has the best synergy out of all my players and sources. When using something like my NFB-5 they just don't do it for me they sound decidedly BA very digital and less organic sounding. So as a simple plug and play earphone the XBA-3 excel and is still one of the best earphones that I can recommend for the price. Especially now that places are liquidating them.. If you guys ever see these on sale anywhere for $100 or so and just plan on using them with your simple clips ipods cowons sony daps and the like. I will highly recommend you buy a pair for your collection. So that is where the the XBA-3 shines. A simple DAP is all they need for their detailed sound to shine. Here is where the S2 separates themselves to the XBA-3.
Being a single large dynamic and not only that. The S2 are truly pushing what is possible with a single dynamic when it comes to sound. The difference is perceivable right away when I go from the XBA-3 and S2. That fullness a good amp that brings to your sounds. I mentioned this before but the S2 is so revealing of your source if you add power it will bring that power. If you add an amp to your source you will be able to tell not only with how the dynamics of the sound expands but if the source and sound is clean, if it is warm, if the stage expands or deepens, better sound separation. Much better synergy over BA sound..
It is truly a marvel. When I go back and forth on my Sony dap the difference is less but when I use my much more powerful X3. The stage is not only wider but sound is much more dynamic, fuller, organic..For guys that own an amp and want to be able to hear what your amps do to your sources.. Get yourself a pair of S2s..I can tell the smallest differences between what all my sources do with this earphone. It is a very revealing and transparent sound yet far from being analytical.. If you love the sound signature of your XBA-3 but wanted that sound to be more expandable with more power. That is exactly what the S2 will give you.
Also I notice not only does the overall sound scale to your source like nothing else I have ever heard. The bass end also expands with more powerful sources. This is truly the best bass end for a neutral signature phone I can think of..So you may ask yourself I love my XBA-3. Will the S2 be something I need.
The answer is a resounding. YES. and here is why.. Wait till you get these nice n burned in and then throw them on your C5s, BnH, E12s and the like. You want to hear what your amps can do yet love the sound signature of the XBA-3. Give the S2 a shot. The night I got my NFB-5. I threw on my S2 and right away the sound seemed to expand into something I was not prepared for. I was slack jawed the whole day. One of them moments where I was relistening to my collection just dumbfounded...
Why would you not want the iem version of your X1? Lol. Actually there are clear differences from the X1s to the S2 but the S2 somehow is actually the more transparent sound over the X1. The X1 is like the grand version of these but I can get my S2s to sound very close to them or completely different depending on my mood just with messing around with eQ on fubar.. I want to say both phones don't sacrifice anything when it comes to sound.. I loved the M200s when I had them but really I didn't feel like I needed them or my life would be void of something and it is because of my more recent experiences of the S2 using much more powerful sources..My XBA-3 jives well with my Sony dap and not bad with the X3 but my S2 jives with everything I own and then shows me how my sources sound and then expands accordingly. That to me is priceless.
I think the XBA-3s limitations was just that. They are kinda useless using more power. They just don't scale. Guys spend $100s on amps to add to their sources but what good is that amp if your phones have limitations. So far and I am sure many seasoned guys will agree. Dynamics are the way to go when using amps. The S2 may sound somewhat boring to guys that are used to coloration in their sounds but wait till you unleash what they can really do on an amp. They are far from boring that is for certain. For chits and grins any of you guys own the MP8320??..Well if you can fit them in your ears that is. Try those on an amp. Your gonna wonder how those cost a mere $7.11..
The S2 is like a stupid high end refined version of the MP8320. You can only imagine how this will sound from that same amp..
Yes finally! Thanks D's for the detailed comparison.
You are right; the XBA 3 is simply one of THE best IEMs in an UN-amped setup. I use it directly plugged in to my iPod Touch 5gen and there's no other setup where I've heard it better. The XBA 3 is still, to this day my go-to IEM for portability. No hassles, no amp needed, plus i have the remote to control music without pulling out my dap!
In regard to the S2, I'm definitely getting them to pair with my HTC One - my music source when at work. I currently use the Basso but the absence of a remote is now starting to bother me. As much as I LOVE the Basso, I'll have to sell it to fund the S2. I'm just glad that the S2 has the same sound signature as the XBA 3 so there won't be a need to train my ears to them.
Thanks again D's! As always, your'e the man!
Yo Wayne! I guess we're on board the same ship again!
BTW I got the MH1c tips look alike. Unfortunately, they're not exactly the same as the original ones that are great in keeping a seal. So what did I end up using with the H200???
I got the Sony Hybrid noise isolating tips (with foam) that I got off the XBA1 i bought for $20! I'm using the large size and it's an excellent pair for the H200. Keeps an excellent seal for a shallow insertion type and they are also very comfortable. The best thing about them... they make the H200 sound at its BEST!!! I've used tonnes of other tips with the H200 and I can definitely say that the Sony Hybrid noise isolating tips are a MUST!
I have no doubts in my mind your gonna love the S2s. Wait till you get some power on these things. Your XBA-3s are gonna cry foul. I noticed that more neutral sound sigs play better with more powerful sources vs colored sounds.. I look forward to guys that will be new to the S2s as I have put them through their paces and in the end came out with one of the best dynamics I have ever put into my ears, and really knowing what I do about what these earphones can do..And at the price these are going for..
They absolutely belong as a headliner for the discovery thread..These are beyond bang for buck..These will teach you guys something about sound..Throw these on your powerful sources and you will know what I am talking about. I look forward to everyone's take on the S2.