Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Sony Announces New XBA Series
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sony Announces New XBA Series

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
On August 27, Sony announced the upcoming update to their balance armature earphone series. The new XBA series, which includes the single armature XBA-10, the dual armature XBA-20, the triple armature XBA-30, and the quad driver XBA-40, along with their iPhone compatible variants, will be released in Japan on October 10. It is unclear what improvements have been made to the earphones other than new cables and ear tips, but prices seem to be in line with their predecessors; the XBA-10 will retail for ¥7455, while the range-topping inline-mic-sporting XBA-40iP will have an MSRP of ¥32235.


The XBA-10 is available in either silver or gold


The XBA-20 is also available in the same two colors


The triple-driver XBA-30


The XBA-40

XBAシリーズ | 商品ラインアップ | ヘッドホン | ソニー

ソニー、BAユニット採用カナルの新モデル4機種 -AV Watch
Edited by kjk1281 - 8/27/12 at 7:05am
post #2 of 15

It doesn't seem like there are any real changes, with the exception of the cosmetics, and a change of cable material to PCOCC.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

It doesn't seem like there are any real changes, with the exception of the cosmetics, and a change of cable material to PCOCC.

I'm surprised why Sony is essentially re-releasing the same earphones (apparently) without retuning the sound. It's been less than a year since the original XBA series was released, so maybe what we're seeing here is just a result of cost-cutting and/or refinement of the manufacturing process, as I see no other reason to change the model number.
post #4 of 15

There may be tiny tweaks to the sound, but I don't think it'll be much (or perhaps at all) different. AFAIK the sensitivity/impedance ratings are identical (didn't double check, just went off memory). The basic design of the XBA series is the same; they can only tweak things with the front acoustic damper, with an acoustic horn, or with a Helmholtz resonator. Judging from the identical looks, I doubt they changed anything.

 

Remember, lots of manufacturers do this, e.g. Klipsch S4/S5/S4 Reference/New S4, Shure 530/535, and I'm sure I'm forgetting many others.

post #5 of 15

I hope they retune the XBA-4, that was the worst IEM I tried in a very long time. They had very weird mids and sound unnatural, the XBA-3 did better but otherwise wasn't fantastic at all.

post #6 of 15

It would have been nice if they'd included replaceable cables...

post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

It doesn't seem like there are any real changes, with the exception of the cosmetics, and a change of cable material to PCOCC.

 

Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

/ they can only tweak things with the front acoustic damper, with an acoustic horn, or with a Helmholtz resonator. Judging from the identical looks, I doubt they changed anything.

 

Why so pessimistic?

 

You know very well they could change a lot within the internal drivers themselves (since Sony make the drivers themselves (which I recall several doubted)), they could add crossovers in several variations, they could add a micro DSP, they could add a layer of LCP to the inner walls to reduce resonance (like in the XBA-1), etc. etc.

 

If it's only a new colour, or slightly different cable, with a different model number and different price, isn't that then a first from Sony, and a little dishonest?  I haven't seen anyone dismiss the new Audio Technica AD2000X as only cosmetic differences and "they can only tweak the front acoustic damper", prior to any first-hand impressions or comparisons?

 

You doubted the JVC's were the real deal in CNT, you doubted the Green House IEM could be the real deal for under $100, then you doubted it's any different than the DBA-02 apart from cosmetics, even when I've let several people listen to it.  I don't get it.

 

 

 

Originally Posted by firev1 View Post

I hope they retune the XBA-4, that was the worst IEM I tried in a very long time. They had very weird mids and sound unnatural, the XBA-3 did better but otherwise wasn't fantastic at all.

 

I didn't like the XBA series at all either, they have issues but I admired very much that Sony make the drivers themselves in Japan.  There is a lot of room for technical improvement, which makes it even more clear the arrival of the new models should more than likely have some necessary technical improvements in them.

 

It's not like this is a "Hatsune Miku" edition PS3 to increase sales.  If it is then the Sony audio marketing of 2012 will only lose a lot of respect in Japan.

 


 

Here is a comment from the Z1070 thread to me - http://www.head-fi.org/t/584479/new-sony-walkman-z-series-mini-review/2670#post_8887385

 

Originally Posted by Jeremypsp View Post
The Sony XBA series might have been a big disappointment, although the new XBA-10, 20, 30 and 40 seems to fix that, I would definitely recommend to give that a try, although I only had a short time to listen to them.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post


Why so pessimistic?

You know very well they could change a lot within the internal drivers themselves (since Sony make the drivers themselves (which I recall several doubted)), they could add crossovers in several variations, they could add a micro DSP, they could add a layer of LCP to the inner walls to reduce resonance (like in the XBA-1), etc. etc.

If it's only a new colour, or slightly different cable, with a different model number and different price, isn't that then a first from Sony, and a little dishonest?  I haven't seen anyone dismiss the new Audio Technica AD2000X as only cosmetic differences and "they can only tweak the front acoustic damper", prior to any first-hand impressions or comparisons?

You doubted the JVC's were the real deal in CNT, you doubted the Green House IEM could be the real deal for under $100, then you doubted it's any different than the DBA-02 apart from cosmetics, even when I've let several people listen to it.  I don't get it.

Pessimism is the theme of the day. redface.gif

It's possible they made changes, but do they really need to? Even though the head-fi community practically described the XBA series as a failure, I'm sure it sells fine in Japan and overseas.

The thing is that they have identical sensitivity and impedance specs, so changes to the drivers are unlikely. Crossover changes, acoustic or electrical, are thereby unlikely also. You're right though that they could improve resonance damping of the housing walls, though. Perhaps that is what they changed, similar to how they made the EX600 from the EX1000/800ST.
post #9 of 15

It appears like the new XBA-40 comes in either gold / white (ゴールド) and black / silver (シルバー).

 

Is Sony really re-releasing an IEM for only this very slight cosmetic difference?...

 

3115bz8Vo3L._AA300_.jpg31u3sYdAuRL._AA300_.jpg
 

Clearly, they would go with pink, purple, neon blue and J-idol editions if this was a cosmetic advancement, and they would keep the XBA-4 model number, attaching "XBA-4JIDL" to the lettering, if that was their intent.

 

...

 

There are internal changes.

post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post
It's possible they made changes, but do they really need to? Even though the head-fi community practically described the XBA series as a failure, I'm sure it sells fine in Japan and overseas. /

 

We all have similar hearing.  The XBA series is a 'fail' in Asia as well, for the people which are experienced in IEM's.  It sells fine (and sounds perfectly fine) to those which have never heard an IEM before, which is 90%+ of the customers I'd imagine.

 

Sony, along with a lot of Japanese and European companies have usually put technology first, selling later.  I'd like to think they haven't changed that recently to different ideals.  Though some of the recent marketing has that feeling a little.

 

Sony invented a lot in portable audio, without them hardly anything we have today from other companies would exist, since they've mostly focused on 'copy and improve' techniques.  They kept to their ideals by making their own BA drivers from scratch for the XBA series, but they need to keep working on them.

 

 

Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post
/ The thing is that they have identical sensitivity and impedance specs, so changes to the drivers are unlikely. Crossover changes, acoustic or electrical, are thereby unlikely also. You're right though that they could improve resonance damping of the housing walls, though. Perhaps that is what they changed, similar to how they made the EX600 from the EX1000/800ST.

 

Sometimes specs are very lazy, so you never know.  If the only improvement is LCP on the inner walls and higher purity Copper in the cables then I think I'll skip these.

 

I'm not really trying to defend Sony, like I wrote in the other thread they handed over their TV title to Sharp and Pioneer, and they've handed over their portable audio title to Audio Technica and JVC.

 

If they've lost themselves to marketing and weak financial tactics, the only 'real' Sony IEM left now is the Ocharaku Flat 4.

post #11 of 15
I'll try to find some time to compare the XBA-n against the XBA-n0 series... I certainly hope you're right.
post #12 of 15

Sounds good, let us know!

 

If the improvement is only cosmetic, or 'only' like from EX600 to EX800ST (5-10%?) then the XBA-n0 is a little lame.  If they improved the actual drivers (diaphgram material, magnet, vent?), or added crossovers (?!), and are keeping it secret (in the marketing / specs) so the rumour will naturally spread the golden edition is much better, then that's a good move.  Just my point of view of course.

post #13 of 15

Anyone managed to compare the XBA-4 vs the 40?

 

While it seems to have been discontinued, lots of the old XBA stock remain in the system and Sony Australia are still keeping the website for this series live.

 

Local stores have started deep discounting them from their ridiculously high RRPs. So much that I'm tempted by the XBA-3 or 4 as a replacement to my long-gone ER4P and TF10s!

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn_low View Post

Anyone managed to compare the XBA-4 vs the 40?

 

While it seems to have been discontinued, lots of the old XBA stock remain in the system and Sony Australia are still keeping the website for this series live.

 

Local stores have started deep discounting them from their ridiculously high RRPs. So much that I'm tempted by the XBA-3 or 4 as a replacement to my long-gone ER4P and TF10s!

popcorn.gif

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn_low View Post

Anyone managed to compare the XBA-4 vs the 40?

 

While it seems to have been discontinued, lots of the old XBA stock remain in the system and Sony Australia are still keeping the website for this series live.

 

Local stores have started deep discounting them from their ridiculously high RRPs. So much that I'm tempted by the XBA-3 or 4 as a replacement to my long-gone ER4P and TF10s!

I did not find their RRP high.

In fact it's a 4 driver MIJ IEM.

 

The problem is the crossover design.

 

And from what i've read, they did indeed improve on the XBA-4.

meaning there should be difference between xba-4 and xba-40 and not just cosmetic.

However do not quote me, as this is a impression from someone else from another forum.

 

Nonetheless, i'm waiting for more impressions too.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Sony Announces New XBA Series