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Sony XBA Series Review and Comparison (XBA-1, 2, 3, 4) - Page 7

post #91 of 131

i run mine direct offa a Clip+ &or a Sony E465 & the XBA3 sounds great offa either. slightly smoother sounding with the sony dap but less bass. regardless, i didnt bother with ext amp - seems pointless when it sounds this good without. darn good deal at $99!!!

post #92 of 131

I've been looking at the XBA-3 model now for some time, and the only thing stopping me pulling the trigger on these is that I can't confirm for definite if they are a J cord only or is the standard Y option available also?

The 3SL seems to be J shaped, but the Sony Japan site lists the 3iP as being a Y cord but I want to be certain before buying...

 

To clarify - I hate J cords, so want to avoid buying via Amazon until I can confirm the cable layout, any input appreciated as always.

post #93 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by majiktripp View Post

I've been looking at the XBA-3 model now for some time, and the only thing stopping me pulling the trigger on these is that I can't confirm for definite if they are a J cord only or is the standard Y option available also?

The 3SL seems to be J shaped, but the Sony Japan site lists the 3iP as being a Y cord but I want to be certain before buying...

 

To clarify - I hate J cords, so want to avoid buying via Amazon until I can confirm the cable layout, any input appreciated as always.

       ip versions are all Y corded . dont worry .

post #94 of 131
My XBA-i3 story

Been a user of seinheiser cx-200 for a good 1-2yrs til the connector sorta cracked (to my surpris of poor design and quality). But it's still usable actually. Until the day I realised someone took it at my workplace. 

So, the hunt for a new one began. While trying about, this XBA series really caught my attention! Nonetheless, the retail list price gave a quick 'no way'. Hence, 3 months ago, I've settled for a Klipsch S4 (reference) about S$110 at a trade show here. Very happy with it since. Better than cx-200, imo. 

2 days ago, I went to get my AVR. Stumbled upon Sony shop having discount off all headphones/earphones. Long story short, impulse buying got me the XBA-i3! Tested between the 3 & 4, think 4 is kinda too big. 

Now, 2 days of cycling through my songs. (I listen to wide choices). And by comparing the S4, my brief summary is...

XBA3 is good to listen instrument that I've not notice before. Treble and mid is punchy, at times overwhelming. Hence, classical, instrumental, jazz, soft rock, will benefit most. 
Major down is for bass heavy fans. Easy proof would be Bruno Mars' Grenade. Via my iPhone, XBA3 suffers from 80% volume up. Everything just falls apart with distortion. Between 50-80%, the thumping bass couldn't match the cheaper S4 at all (which was able to take it up to 100% volume!). Perhaps XBA4 wouTld be a better match?

So, I started my tweaking and investigation. Yes, perhaps need time to burn in (as I've used the S4 for a good 3 months now). Perhaps it's a case of BA vs diaphragm. Or simply only XBA4 subwoofer is needed. 

Overall, I'm happy with it. Except one critical point... I'm struggling with the ear tip! Had me swapping around between sizes and types. Til now, still can't find a good comfy fit. Now I'm wondering if it's the larger size (vs S4). Any advise?
post #95 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkming View Post

My XBA-i3 story
Been a user of seinheiser cx-200 for a good 1-2yrs til the connector sorta cracked (to my surpris of poor design and quality). But it's still usable actually. Until the day I realised someone took it at my workplace. 
So, the hunt for a new one began. While trying about, this XBA series really caught my attention! Nonetheless, the retail list price gave a quick 'no way'. Hence, 3 months ago, I've settled for a Klipsch S4 (reference) about S$110 at a trade show here. Very happy with it since. Better than cx-200, imo. 
2 days ago, I went to get my AVR. Stumbled upon Sony shop having discount off all headphones/earphones. Long story short, impulse buying got me the XBA-i3! Tested between the 3 & 4, think 4 is kinda too big. 
Now, 2 days of cycling through my songs. (I listen to wide choices). And by comparing the S4, my brief summary is...
XBA3 is good to listen instrument that I've not notice before. Treble and mid is punchy, at times overwhelming. Hence, classical, instrumental, jazz, soft rock, will benefit most. 
Major down is for bass heavy fans. Easy proof would be Bruno Mars' Grenade. Via my iPhone, XBA3 suffers from 80% volume up. Everything just falls apart with distortion. Between 50-80%, the thumping bass couldn't match the cheaper S4 at all (which was able to take it up to 100% volume!). Perhaps XBA4 wouTld be a better match?
So, I started my tweaking and investigation. Yes, perhaps need time to burn in (as I've used the S4 for a good 3 months now). Perhaps it's a case of BA vs diaphragm. Or simply only XBA4 subwoofer is needed. 
Overall, I'm happy with it. Except one critical point... I'm struggling with the ear tip! Had me swapping around between sizes and types. Til now, still can't find a good comfy fit. Now I'm wondering if it's the larger size (vs S4). Any advise?

 

Thanks for the feedback. I have a 5th generation/latest iPod touch on the way with the XBA-3. You said that the XBA-3 distort at 80% and higher volumes on your iPhone. Is it because the XBA-3 is reaching its limits or because the iPhone amp is reaching its limits? I listen loud, nearly always at 100% or close to it on my current old iPod touch. I need something that can keep up. I had the MDR-NC22 and they never distorted (or had noticeable significant distortion) even at high volumes when powered straight from an iPod touch or my desktop PC.

post #96 of 131
Don't think it's iPhone/iPod limitation.
As said, S4 handles it at 100% no issue.
Same source used.

I'll be using more of XBA3 than S4.
It's a more balance one.
S4 will be used when I need to get some deep bass in.

Still, I'm still struggling with the fittings.
Am on the smallest size now.
I'm thinking that I would need a tight fit to get the bass kick in.
By doing so kinda hurt my ear a bit now!
Hmmm.
post #97 of 131

I find it strange that a higher-end IEM distorts at high volumes than a "lower"-end one. My MDR-NC22 (which was half the price of the XBA-3) didn't distort when maxed out on the iPod touch. Is there a reason for the distortion or is it just a limitation of the XBA-3?

post #98 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkming View Post

My XBA-i3 story
Now, 2 days of cycling through my songs. (I listen to wide choices). And by comparing the S4, my brief summary is...
XBA3 is good to listen instrument that I've not notice before. Treble and mid is punchy, at times overwhelming. Hence, classical, instrumental, jazz, soft rock, will benefit most. 
Major down is for bass heavy fans. Easy proof would be Bruno Mars' Grenade. Via my iPhone, XBA3 suffers from 80% volume up. Everything just falls apart with distortion. Between 50-80%, the thumping bass couldn't match the cheaper S4 at all (which was able to take it up to 100% volume!). Perhaps XBA4 wouTld be a better match?
So, I started my tweaking and investigation. Yes, perhaps need time to burn in (as I've used the S4 for a good 3 months now). Perhaps it's a case of BA vs diaphragm. Or simply only XBA4 subwoofer is needed. 
Overall, I'm happy with it. Except one critical point... I'm struggling with the ear tip! Had me swapping around between sizes and types. Til now, still can't find a good comfy fit. Now I'm wondering if it's the larger size (vs S4). Any advise?

When you say "Between 50-80%, the thumping bass couldn't match the cheaper S4 at all", do you mean that the xba3 has more bass or less?

I listened to that song (cool song btw) with my xba3's on my Samsung Galaxy S2 and my laptop as loud as I could bear without hearing impairment, and the bass sounds good to me. I compared to my jvc fxd70's which are brighter and have less bass, and the big difference was the increased sub-bass with the xba3's which to me sounds great (ie results in more "thumping"). No "falling apart from distortion" though - just more sub-bass.

Fwiw, I also tried my R1's, and they also sounded fine, but the bass was inferior to the xba3's. Then I tried my S500 headphones which have a fair amount of bass and sub-bass, and they sound much like the xba3's but with even more sub-bass. Perhaps you are mistaking sub-bass for distortion?

Ear tips and a great seal are important though. I am using the light blue hybrids (without foam) to get a great seal. For me, those also enhance the bass (which I like). If you want the bass to be decreased, try finding some wider bore tips.

Anyway, I wish you luck!
post #99 of 131
Hi Wayne,
Much appreciate your feedback.
Now it got me thinking if mine is a broken unit.
Distortion means sounded like low end speakers that couldn't hold up heavy bass.
Since you're referring to same song, I'm now very curious. Especially that the S4 is holding up well.
What I could do is drop by a Sony store and try on their display unit.

Totally agree on having a good fit.
Makes a world difference on bass and sub bass.
Hence my current struggle with it - which I find it really odd.
post #100 of 131
You're welcome. Also, make sure that you don't have "bass boost on" or something like that (I did my above testing with flat EQ).
post #101 of 131

yup...

at times, due to the overwhelming puncy treble, i need to tweak the EQ so that it doesn't hurt my ear! (at louder vol)

juggling between flat, acoustic and bass boost.

post #102 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkming View Post

My XBA-i3 story
Been a user of seinheiser cx-200 for a good 1-2yrs til the connector sorta cracked (to my surpris of poor design and quality). But it's still usable actually. Until the day I realised someone took it at my workplace. 
So, the hunt for a new one began. While trying about, this XBA series really caught my attention! Nonetheless, the retail list price gave a quick 'no way'. Hence, 3 months ago, I've settled for a Klipsch S4 (reference) about S$110 at a trade show here. Very happy with it since. Better than cx-200, imo. 
2 days ago, I went to get my AVR. Stumbled upon Sony shop having discount off all headphones/earphones. Long story short, impulse buying got me the XBA-i3! Tested between the 3 & 4, think 4 is kinda too big. 
Now, 2 days of cycling through my songs. (I listen to wide choices). And by comparing the S4, my brief summary is...
XBA3 is good to listen instrument that I've not notice before. Treble and mid is punchy, at times overwhelming. Hence, classical, instrumental, jazz, soft rock, will benefit most. 
Major down is for bass heavy fans. Easy proof would be Bruno Mars' Grenade. Via my iPhone, XBA3 suffers from 80% volume up. Everything just falls apart with distortion. Between 50-80%, the thumping bass couldn't match the cheaper S4 at all (which was able to take it up to 100% volume!). Perhaps XBA4 wouTld be a better match?
So, I started my tweaking and investigation. Yes, perhaps need time to burn in (as I've used the S4 for a good 3 months now). Perhaps it's a case of BA vs diaphragm. Or simply only XBA4 subwoofer is needed. 
Overall, I'm happy with it. Except one critical point... I'm struggling with the ear tip! Had me swapping around between sizes and types. Til now, still can't find a good comfy fit. Now I'm wondering if it's the larger size (vs S4). Any advise?

 

I just received my latest/5th generation iPod touch 32 GB and the Sony XBA-3. While the songs were syncing to my new iPod touch, I tested the XBA-3 with my uncle's first generation iPod touch. I think it has the EU volume limit. The first thing I noticed was a very clear sound. The highs do have this metallic sound to them, but it does sound clear and clean. Bass was not bad too. When I then tested the XBA-3 with my new iPod touch, the sound VASTLY improved. Much more bass and just simply a "bigger" sounding sound. Seems like they really have been improving the sound quality of the iPods over the years.

 

Now, the bad part. I too notice a lot of distortion on loud bass-heavy songs at 90%+ volume levels on my new iPod touch. The sound really does fall apart like you said. There was no distortion at max volume on my uncle's first generation iPod touch but I think it has the EU volume limit so I can't really get very loud anyway. I researched this on the Internet and found this: http://www.sony-europe.com/support/en/product/XBA-3/tips-and-solutions

 

Could what has been said in the link also be true for the Apple devices? Or is this just the limit for these IEMs? Would an amp cure the distortion problems by providing more current?

post #103 of 131
There's nothing wrong with either the iPod or the XBA.

What are you guys doing listening to loud, bass heavy songs at 90% volume? You'll damage your ears in minutes. They're likely already damaged if this is a regular thing.

Balanced armature drivers have more inherent distortion in the bass region than do dynamic drivers, but the most likely culprit is poorly mastered music along with more revealing earphones.

Bruno Mars' entire album has utterly horrible mastering. It's rare how terrible that album's mastering sounds.

Stop listening to earphones that loudly.
post #104 of 131

When I increased the volume with the xba-3, the only thing that kept me from going higher was possible hearing loss and some dislike of how the high frequencies sounded.

No distortion with the bass. In fact, I use about a 6 db boost in the 32hz band and there is absolutely no distortion.

 

Either the song you are listening to is lacking in quality, or you're beginning to hear the limits of the ipod's sound.

I lean towards the first because I used to like that song when played in my car's stock speakers but couldn't stand it listening through higher quality headphones/iems because the mastering is horrible as tom mentioned.

 

It is also highly likely that it's a combination of both. The newer ipods are said to have bad audio chips compared to the first generation.

This article might help: http://macintoshhowto.com/itunes/which-ipod-has-the-best-audio-quality.html

post #105 of 131

same theory i had in my mind as mentioned here: low quality sound reproduction and BA technology

don't worry. i don't listen to 80-100% volume. it's only done to push the limits and checking for defects.

much appreciate the sharing of distorted low bass at loud volume - at least i'm not too worried about defects now.

interesting info on audio chips use in iphone/ipod.

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