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

post #46 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

Just get both, and then write a big comparison!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalFreak View Post


Yeah get both and if you decide you don't want one you can just sell it to me for dirt cheap
100x90px-LL-760bcf1e_gros3d3.gif

And I wonder why head-fi is such a great place....... :-).

Maybe yes, but I think I will get the......
post #47 of 286
Hi a_recording, I just got the XBA-4 today and i'm very impressed.

I think it sounds better than the Sony MDR-EX1000.

Sounds great with trance/electronica btw...
post #48 of 286

yeah because the ex1000 doesnt sound good with trance/electronica

post #49 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by kameenadesi View Post

Hi a_recording, I just got the XBA-4 today and i'm very impressed.
I think it sounds better than the Sony MDR-EX1000.
Sounds great with trance/electronica btw...

 

 

Agreed!

post #50 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyaems View Post

yeah because the ex1000 doesnt sound good with trance/electronica

 

Certainly not it's strong point. Classical on the other hand...

post #51 of 286

Awesome piece of work, a_recording, truly i enjoyed the reading! A fine review even by old standards... wink.gif

 

So which fo you find has a more effortless presentation? Meaning transient speed and detail retrieval naturally. 

 

Also, would you say the EX1000's timbre is dryer than the Z1000's? Closer to SA5000 perhaps (though more natural)?

post #52 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyaems View Post

yeah because the ex1000 doesnt sound good with trance/electronica

Oh really? Y's dat?

post #53 of 286
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kameenadesi View Post

Hi a_recording, I just got the XBA-4 today and i'm very impressed.
I think it sounds better than the Sony MDR-EX1000.
Sounds great with trance/electronica btw...

 

Well, you would be the first person I've ever encountered on Head Fi so far who actually preferred it! I like them both, though for different reasons.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyaems View Post

yeah because the ex1000 doesnt sound good with trance/electronica

 

Hmm. I wouldn't say it doesn't sound good (I'd gladly take the EX1000 over many other options any day) but I think live, natural recordings do sound so fantastic on the EX1000 that a lot of synthesised music just sounds... synthesised. The XBA-4 because of its bass response can take electronic tones and run with them, but the EX1000 is a lot more faithful - and as a result bland at times with those tracks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amarphael View Post

Awesome piece of work, a_recording, truly i enjoyed the reading! A fine review even by old standards... wink.gif

 

So which fo you find has a more effortless presentation? Meaning transient speed and detail retrieval naturally. 

 

Also, would you say the EX1000's timbre is dryer than the Z1000's? Closer to SA5000 perhaps (though more natural)?

 

Thanks for the commens Amarphael!

 

In regards to the EX1000 and the XBA-4, I actually think effortless presentation and transient speed / detail retrieval aren't necessarily synonymous. It's strange, but here's what I suspect is happening:

 

The EX1000 sounds at first impression, hands down more effortless than the XBA-4. Because of its clearer tone, treble emphasis, etc, it sounds faster and more detailed. The XBA-4's tone makes it sound a little claustrophobic and muffled in comparison to the EX1000.

 

In very heavily layered / complex music though, I think the XBA-4's advantage in having 4 separate armatures starts to deliver an advantage in terms of articulation and instrument placement. Instruments all still sound incredibly clean even when a lot is happening at the same time, and I tend to associate instrument separation / instrument placing with good micro-detail.

 

That's probably why I prefer the EX1000 for acoustic music, where the passages tend to be simpler, and the XBA-4 for electronic/synthesised music, where the passages tend to be more complex. 

 

As for timbre, I would whole-heartedly agree with the sentiment in your last question - have you heard all three? :)

 

The EX1000 is dryer, though it still retains a lot of warmth by virtue of having a much better bass line than the Z1000. I think the EX1000 is definitely the better $300 product of the two, by far. Compared to the thinner SA5000 again it actually sounds more natural, again partly because of that fuller bass line. The SA5000 handily outdoes the other two in terms of soundstaging though, as you would expect!

post #54 of 286
EX1000 sounded good with trance but got boring at times, and annoying due to the wierd treble spike. I felt it was too smooth, laid back, or "romantic" for trance.

Out of all the trance tracks I have, there was actually only one or two trance tracks that sounded exceptional on the EX1000.

It was fun for the time being.

I'm currently burning-in the XBA-4, the treble is rather sharp and sibilant at this point.
DOES THE SIBILANCE GO AWAY?

And does anyone have any experience with XBA-4 and Fiio E5 amp?
I'm currently using XBA-4 with iPhone HO, I was wondering if E5 would help....
post #55 of 286
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kameenadesi View Post

EX1000 sounded good with trance but got boring at times, and annoying due to the wierd treble spike. I felt it was too smooth, laid back, or "romantic" for trance.
Out of all the trance tracks I have, there was actually only one or two trance tracks that sounded exceptional on the EX1000.
It was fun for the time being.
I'm currently burning-in the XBA-4, the treble is rather sharp and sibilant at this point.
DOES THE SIBILANCE GO AWAY?
And does anyone have any experience with XBA-4 and Fiio E5 amp?
I'm currently using XBA-4 with iPhone HO, I was wondering if E5 would help....

 

Just out of interest, which iPhone are you using? If its the iPhone 4 / 4S, its entirely possible that the E5 would make it worse. My advice would be for you to try other tip sizes or the foam hybrid tips to see if that changes the sibilance.

post #56 of 286

We have promotion for a 20% off trade-in for the XBA series, so i demo'd the XBA 3 and 4's. Ran them out the Walkman z, with and without the e17. 320kbps mp3 and FLAC.

Slightly harder to drive than the TF10's, i normally listen to the TF10's at around 20, ramped up to 25-30 for the xba's.

Mainly demo'd the 4's.

The bass was well tamed, i don't listen to much bassy music, but it was sightly too bassy for my liking. It wasn't bloated or muffled, there was just more than you'd expect from a BA, more than the TF10's.

Contrary to what some people say, i thought the female vocals were actually very well done and clear. The mids were well defined.

High's of my electronic music were very clear and crisp, maybe slightly harsh for some, fine for me, although there was slight sibilance.

In my personal opinion, the XBA3 lost to the 4's in sound individually, but it was somewhat less crowded than the 4's.

 

I asked the demo counter person how much usage they had from customer usage, approximately 6 hours on and off from people demoing.

 

For the XBA4's, I could not get over this sound, kind of like this residue from the sound being inside the shell. It was as though, the sound had bounced around the shell, exited the nozzle but didn't have enough room. This was also prevalent in the XBA3 but slightly less than the XBA4's. This was the deal breaker for me. For quiet songs, you can hear this hollowness, but on more lively songs, the sound disappears.

Compared to the TF10's the entire sound spectrum is much closer than XBA's.
The XBA4's were definitely more detailed than the XBA3, and were slightly harder to drive (XBA3's were quieter).

 

Perhaps, they needed a bit more burn-in. But generally i did not feel they were worth my money (NZD$320 for the XBA4, NZD$240 for the XBA3).


Edited by ThatNzGuy - 6/6/12 at 1:03am
post #57 of 286
iPhone4 here... I think im getting used to the treble sharpness, or maybe it kinda went away... Using TF10 tips and regular small sony hybrids (without the interior foam).

Complys and Sony hybrid foams work good to reduce the sibilance, but take away details, sparkle, and clarity.

TF10 tips are great, I think my brain has gotten used to the clarity and extreme treble details.

Sounds amazing.

Thanks for the help guys. (i'll stick with the iPhone 4)
post #58 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatNzGuy View Post

We have promotion for a 20% off trade-in for the XBA series, so i demo'd the XBA 3 and 4's. Ran them out the Walkman z, with and without the e17. 320kbps mp3 and FLAC.

Slightly harder to drive than the TF10's, i normally listen to the TF10's at around 20, ramped up to 25-30 for the xba's.

Mainly demo'd the 4's.

The bass was well tamed, i don't listen to much bassy music, but it was sightly too bassy for my liking. It wasn't bloated or muffled, there was just more than you'd expect from a BA, more than the TF10's.

Contrary to what some people say, i thought the female vocals were actually very well done and clear. The mids were well defined.

High's of my electronic music were very clear and crisp, maybe slightly harsh for some, fine for me, although there was slight sibilance.

In my personal opinion, the XBA3 lost to the 4's in sound individually, but it was somewhat less crowded than the 4's.

 

I asked the demo counter person how much usage they had from customer usage, approximately 6 hours on and off from people demoing.

 

For the XBA4's, I could not get over this sound, kind of like this residue from the sound being inside the shell. It was as though, the sound had bounced around the shell, exited the nozzle but didn't have enough room. This was also prevalent in the XBA3 but slightly less than the XBA4's. This was the deal breaker for me. For quiet songs, you can hear this hollowness, but on more lively songs, the sound disappears.

Compared to the TF10's the entire sound spectrum is much closer than XBA's.
The XBA4's were definitely more detailed than the XBA3, and were slightly harder to drive (XBA3's were quieter).

 

Perhaps, they needed a bit more burn-in. But generally i did not feel they were worth my money (NZD$320 for the XBA4, NZD$240 for the XBA3).

 

I do believe that the XBA-4's have been reported as not sounding very good with Sony players.

The XBA-4's are very source dependent and just do not sound good with some players. Rather odd, to say the least, that they would not sound good being played out of a Sony!

For me, they sound excellent played out of a Cowon J3 and the Rocoo BA.

post #59 of 286

As for burn in - yes in my experience the upper midrange sibilance does tame (but this could also depend on the output impedance of your source - so I could be imagining this also), and the excessive bass warmth which I noticed on the demo pair and when these were brand new is also less apparent.  Overall though I would not consider these earphones overly sibilant, that I would reserve for my EX700'sbiggrin.gif  For the use I have intended for these as a portable IEM used out of not-so-exotic sources and not on a regular basis, I think these will suite me very well.

 

@a_recording nice review!  Interesting graph with the frequency response tracking different output impedance - I wonder if there is a sweetspot in terms of frequency reponse, also it would be interesting to consider which portable players/amplifiers match well with the sound signature.  I certainly hope more people try out this earphone and at least burn them in for 200 hours or so.  


Edited by drez - 6/10/12 at 12:37am
post #60 of 286
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

@a_recording nice review!  Interesting graph with the frequency response tracking different output impedance - I wonder if there is a sweetspot in terms of frequency reponse, also it would be interesting to consider which portable players/amplifiers match well with the sound signature.  I certainly hope more people try out this earphone and at least burn them in for 200 hours or so.  

 

Thanks! It certainly appears from the XBA-3 graph that the higher the output impedance, the more V-shaped the sound gets. Since some people do complain of metallic or sibilant highs with the XBA-4, and the observation that high frequency becomes increasingly uneven as output impedance increases in the XBA-3, I think we can make a guess that the XBA-4 sounds less shrill with players or headphone amps with minimal output impedance.

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