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[ REVIEW / COMPARISON ] Two Flagships Pass in the Night: Sony XBA-4 Review VS the MDR-EX1000... - Page 8

post #106 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

XBA-4 are truly a $200 worth both in terms of construction and SQ. I bought mine real expensive. I hardly use it and the only reason I dont sell them is because the loss is to much. Test it guys before you buy them! 

 

I think it depends if tonality is important to you.  I sold my pair to someone who only listens to electronic music, and for that I don think you can fault the XBA-4, except maybe if you would prefer a larger soundstage.  Personally most of my listening is classical, and I bought my pair on a whim without an ideal demonstration, so I guess I had the financial damage coming.

post #107 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

 

I think it depends if tonality is important to you.  I sold my pair to someone who only listens to electronic music, and for that I don think you can fault the XBA-4, except maybe if you would prefer a larger soundstage.  Personally most of my listening is classical, and I bought my pair on a whim without an ideal demonstration, so I guess I had the financial damage coming.

I listen to a lot of trance when I am on the road and I honestly did not like what they did to my Armin van Bureen collection. I bought the IEM simply because I was really excited about sony using BA drivers. I probably used it for maybe 60 hours and I bought it as soon as it came out in Japan. 

I really cannot figure this IEM out. They suppose to be easy to drive and be able to just plug and play into about any non fancy portable rig, yet I still havent found anything better than a Sansa clip+ to pair with them. I tried to use it with hm-601 and hisound, nothing seem to work for them! If how they sound at their best is what I hear from Sansa clip+ than they are truly not worth their original retail price tag. 

 

Unless other members had better expeirence with them while they used it with certain combination (which I will be more than happy to try it out) I will never recommend the XBA-4 to anyone. 

post #108 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

Unless other members had better expeirence with them while they used it with certain combination (which I will be more than happy to try it out) I will never recommend the XBA-4 to anyone. 

No I couldn't work them out either. They have a sony stand at the mall nearby and I tried them a month ago and was unimpressed. I tried them at the same place yesterday and had the same feeling.

post #109 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

I listen to a lot of trance when I am on the road and I honestly did not like what they did to my Armin van Bureen collection. I bought the IEM simply because I was really excited about sony using BA drivers. I probably used it for maybe 60 hours and I bought it as soon as it came out in Japan. 

I really cannot figure this IEM out. They suppose to be easy to drive and be able to just plug and play into about any non fancy portable rig, yet I still havent found anything better than a Sansa clip+ to pair with them. I tried to use it with hm-601 and hisound, nothing seem to work for them! If how they sound at their best is what I hear from Sansa clip+ than they are truly not worth their original retail price tag. 

 

Unless other members had better expeirence with them while they used it with certain combination (which I will be more than happy to try it out) I will never recommend the XBA-4 to anyone. 

perhaps you have to trust in Sony once again by buying their DAP Z-Series to get good synergy with XBA4

 

I like how Z-series handle EX1000, smoothen the high, complement the airy soundstage of it, nice bass punch and vocal presence. Unfortunetly I never try combo Z-series + XBA4.

post #110 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMiddleSky View Post

perhaps you have to trust in Sony once again by buying their DAP Z-Series to get good synergy with XBA4

 

I like how Z-series handle EX1000, smoothen the high, complement the airy soundstage of it, nice bass punch and vocal presence. Unfortunetly I never try combo Z-series + XBA4.

I wouldnt mind trying the z-series but where I live the z-series are limited to 16 GB which is NOT enough at all for me. I asked them if they ever going to at least release the 32 GB version. 

post #111 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMiddleSky View Post

I like how Z-series handle EX1000, smoothen the high, complement the airy soundstage of it, nice bass punch and vocal presence. Unfortunetly I never try combo Z-series + XBA4.

 

I have the EX600 and as of last week, a new XBA-4 too.  The EX was my favorite new IEM until the XBA-4 appeared.  The precision of the soundstage is amazing.  (OTOH, I mostly listen to Deadmau5 and Kaskade FLACs these days, and that music is incredibly, intricately processed to begin with.)

 

Either Sony IEM gives vastly more detail than my Shure SE535s, my Westone 4Rs, and my Sennheiser IE8s. (Yes, with Complys, foams, hybrids, multi-flanges, etc etc etc.)

 

It's possible that Sony killed the MDR EX line because of simple economics -- if they could make a profit on the XBA-4 at $205, why have the potentially flimsier dynamic 16mm membrane retailing for $100 higher?  I'm still looking for an EX1000 to supplement my EX600, but won't pay current Ebay prices for new old stock (NOS).

post #112 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by jginnane View Post

 

 

It's possible that Sony killed the MDR EX line because of simple economics -- if they could make a profit on the XBA-4 at $205, why have the potentially flimsier dynamic 16mm membrane retailing for $100 higher?  I'm still looking for an EX1000 to supplement my EX600, but won't pay current Ebay prices for new old stock (NOS).

I think EX1000 deserve to have higher price than XBA4. Other than isolation issue, EX1000 has better technicalities such as soundstage image,  extension, and bass texture.

 

I'm type of person who believe the amount of driver in an IEM is just a technology method that doesn't related with sound quality. So it's very possible for single driver IEM to beat multiple driver IEM and vice versa.  :)

post #113 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMiddleSky View Post

I think EX1000 deserve to have higher price than XBA4. Other than isolation issue, EX1000 has better technicalities such as soundstage image,  extension, and bass texture.

 

I'm type of person who believe the amount of driver in an IEM is just a technology method that doesn't related with sound quality. So it's very possible for single driver IEM to beat multiple driver IEM and vice versa.  :)

 

Two things -- (1), I just scored a used set of EX1000s from Ebay yesterday @ $250, so I'll have those to compare as of early next week.  (2)  Based on my experience with the EX600s I have now, the MDR-EX line is/was a higher level of build.  I hope I'm able to tell the improved difference with the EX1000s.

 

Now, zoom out to the macro business level, and forget for a moment about whether the EX series was "better".  (I think most people here agreed it was, at least compared to Sony's first generation BA models.)  We're all aware that Sony's been losing humongous sums each quarter lately, and is obviously looking to cut corners.

 

I was told directly by a highly-respected principal exactly what his distributor price was on the XBA-4.  There is a very good markup on that to arrive at the price which was posted a few comments ago -- at least by retail technology business standards.  But! -- that markup may be low for people in the musical instrument business, which doesn't rely so heavily on rapid product turnover.

 

If the vendor cost from Sony distribution is 50% higher for the EX1000 than the XBA-4, that means any retailer is not going to be able to carry so many units in stock.  A retail price $100 higher means the EX1000 has to be indisputably best of the premium universal IEMs.  Unfortunately, the Sony EX1000 didn't break out, at least among people in informed discussion forums like this.

 

And one thing the EX line always had against it was the wearing shape -- wearing an EX model, no matter how you candycoat it, is to your ears what a full set of braces is to a teenage girl's mouth.  You can't fall asleep with these on.  (I've slept two full nights with Kaskade playing on my new XBA-4s, and it's refreshing.  Err, if you like that kind of music, but that's a different discussion. :)

post #114 of 285
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMiddleSky View Post

I think EX1000 deserve to have higher price than XBA4. Other than isolation issue, EX1000 has better technicalities such as soundstage image,  extension, and bass texture.

 

I'm type of person who believe the amount of driver in an IEM is just a technology method that doesn't related with sound quality. So it's very possible for single driver IEM to beat multiple driver IEM and vice versa.  :)

 

I definitely think that even if the sound was of equal quality, the EX1000 should be of higher price considering the significantly more impressive build quality. Of course, this is ignoring aspects like isolation or wear comfort.

post #115 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post



I really cannot figure this IEM out. They suppose to be easy to drive and be able to just plug and play into about any non fancy portable rig, yet I still havent found anything better than a Sansa clip+ to pair with them. I tried to use it with hm-601 and hisound, nothing seem to work for them! If how they sound at their best is what I hear from Sansa clip+ than they are truly not worth their original retail price tag. 

Unless other members had better expeirence with them while they used it with certain combination (which I will be more than happy to try it out) I will never recommend the XBA-4 to anyone. 

They have extraordinarily low impedance which means a significant and negative interaction with sources of output impedance higher than 1 ohm. Older Iphones and ipods, for example. The clip+ has .5 ohm output. Effectively these phones shouldn't be used with high output impedance sources: they aren't playing how they were designed. The HM-601's 602 sibling is 11 ohms so I think we can reasonably guess that the 601 is a high impedance source also. At 11 ohms the effect would be catastrophic on these phones. Any modern device with an output impedance more than 2 ohms is not worth the money in my view, and already too high for these BAs. Interactions are also true of dynamic phones but somewhat less though there is also a loosening of the bass due to inadequate electrical tensioning/damping, so to speak, of the driver. You can;t win with high output sources other than by going to very high impedance phones.
Edited by lorriman - 7/9/12 at 2:47pm
post #116 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post

Two days ago I saw a set of brand new XBA-4 go for $117 Aus on auction - ebay. I can't believe I missed them. I had $110 bid down and walked up to the shops thinking there's no way I'll get them and missed out by $7.


Tragedy! 

Console yourself: the price they go at is not the max price the other bidder would have gone to. That you can't know without asking but that price was already ridiculously low so I suspect you had the bad luck of being in a two bidder auction: if the other guy knew the real price, as he probably did, then the max price was likely much higher.
post #117 of 285

Well!  Got my used MDR EX1000s as expected, and ... Wow!

 

They actually came a little early, tagged along with a Saturday FedEx delivery for something else -- I wasn't expecting the Sonys until Monday, so when I got home Sunday night, I was very surprised to see two packages on my doorstep.

 

And I have to say I was WRONG:  It is possible to fall asleep with the EX1000s on, although it's a little like sleeping with a football helmet on.  You want to turn over very carefully.

 

The bass texture and power is unbelievable.  I actually thought I had a set of haunted IEMs and/or there was someone talking in the next room of my house.  Things I've never heard before -- on Shure SE535s, Westone 4Rs, Sennheiser IE8s, the MDR EX600, and even the most recent XBA-4 -- all those didn't carry quite the signature of the EX1000s.

 

It's interesting that on the XBA-4, you talk of the "soundstage" -- being able to precisely locate all the instruments in the room around you (and how far away they are, etc.)  The EX1000 is nothing like that, it's more of a live performance kind of sound, where the "stereo effect" comes naturally.  (Sunday night we spent the early part at a Sarah McLachlan concert at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, so I had a very recent direct experience to draw on for comparison.)  The EX1000 is all about being an accurate, natural sound.  Yes, I got a few traces of sibilance, but not to the point of interfering with the music at all.

 

It will be very interesting seeing where the industry goes from here.  I will always treasure my EX1000s and the EX600s; I will probably use the XBA-4s in more instances where I go out.  And the three other IEMs I own are no slouches, either -- I wouldn't think of trading them away.  (But I probably won't update the Sennheisers to the newest IE80s -- not enough change to matter.)

 

It would be an interesting, wonderful thing if Sony had a limited-run return of the EX1000 line so people who missed it earlier could still have a chance.  I'm sure that's not economically sound, and the XBA-4 is fine as a future flagship.  Perhaps the next piece of news will be Sony's enhancements to the first-generation XBA-4?

post #118 of 285

I'm disappointed Sony discontinued the EX1000, at this point it is the IEM which is next on my list to try out.  Maybe VSonic will produce the next EX1000, who knows.  I think XBA is a bit of a risk in a market already flooded with very good BA IEM's especially given that the sound of the XBA-4 is no less polarising than the EX series was.

post #119 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

I'm disappointed Sony discontinued the EX1000, at this point it is the IEM which is next on my list to try out.  Maybe VSonic will produce the next EX1000, who knows.  I think XBA is a bit of a risk in a market already flooded with very good BA IEM's especially given that the sound of the XBA-4 is no less polarising than the EX series was.


Polarizing, perhaps.  But you would never confuse the sound of the Shure SE535 or Westone 4R (which, to me, sound nearly identical) with the XBA-4.  My Shures feel like there's a filter on when listening to the same music.  (OK, let's be specific and say I'm listening nonstop to Kaskade only this summer til I get good and sick of him.  This genre, or oeuvre, if you will, has been repeatedly diced and rehacked by many popular DJs to the point where you can easily find a couple-dozen versions of his most-popular songs; a 21st-Century Madonna without the pop aspirations.)

 

The Shure/Westone "filter", as I'm calling it, is almost a muddy imprecision to the sound.  Perhaps this is to disguise the transitions among the 3 or 4 armatures (respectively).  Recall how in some earlier discussion of the XBA-4, some people indicated it sounded like there was no glue between the armatures, that each began and ended at precise cutoffs without integration?  To me that now seems distinctly intentional, and for modern synthetic music (at least) you feel the digital consistency is preferred to an analogue-ish blending of timbres.

 

Sony betting on digitalism is a safer assumption than not, considering where they occupy in the global entertainment markets.  We will most likely be listening to more artificial music in the next 10-20 years than not, to put it simply.  (Or you could just say "Rock & roll is dead", but that is perhaps unkind. :)

post #120 of 285

Patrick: Nice job. I am not particularly interested in these two models (I haven't gotten into IEMs yet),  but I always admire your work. - Jeffrey

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