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XBA-3/ XBA-30..The Appreciation thread. - Page 30

post #436 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsnuts View Post


I am reading the XBA-30s improved the sound on the XBA-3. Thicker sound with more control in the highs. That is good news. I will have to get one soon myself.

 

Where did you read that?  I read they are simply cosmetic differences...

post #437 of 1168
Thread Starter 

Copy paste from review on Amazon

 

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5.0 out of 5 stars XBA-30iP: Improved XBA-3iP for sure January 9, 2013
Note:
I initially published this review mistakenly on the XBA-30iP Gold page, but I have the silver. My guess is they sound exactly the same.

Last year Sony released a new lineup of in-ear phones, XBA-1, XBA-2, XBA-3 and XBA-4. The number indicates the amount of balanced armature drivers with each phone (they also come in iP versions, which has iPhone mic/controls, at a higher price).

I recently bought the XBA-3s (second time I owned them but they were too expensive the first time so I returned them) for $129 via a special purchase and I really found them to be excellent, though not perfect. The treble, while good, was the weak spot. It sounded a little off, perhaps a bit harsh at times. But all in all, I really did like them. They also require a shirt clip for walking, since they are not over the ear designs. The microphonics were a bit off-putting, but with the shirt clip, it was tamed for the most part. You can wear them over ear, but you really have to swap L to R, because of the way they are designed. You also have the iPhone controls a bit higher up, though that's not a major issue.

So I recently learned how to buy direct from Japan via Tenso (a forwarding company) and decided to try out the XBA-30s, which are not available in the U.S. (only the XBA-3s). For some strange reason, the XBA-3iP is $149.50 on Amazon, but the regular XBA-3 is listed at $278. Go figure. I have no idea why the difference.

Today the package from Tenso arrived and I took out the XBA-30s (Sony also has much better packaging for its Japanese customers. The XBA-3 packaging had to be pretty much destroyed to get the phones/case. Not so with the 30s. Brilliant design).

I picked one of the toughest tracks in my collection, a cover of the Stones' Gimme Shelter by Djin Djin, and did a quick A/B comparison. All I can say is the different cable (the only actual difference I believe) really does create a different sound, a bit fuller, more robust. The bass is thumping but not mushy or loose, the mids and highs are there, not overpowered by the bass. So it's a pretty balanced phone with a bit of warmth, which is exactly what I prefer these days (not more Etys, too analytical, and no more Westones, too warm). The Sony XBA-30 strikes the perfect balance.

Getting them from Japan the cost was $184 plus shipping. So they are more expensive than the XBA-3iP. But the #35 difference is well woth the price.

The cable difference? The 30s are PCOCC (Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting) while the 3s are OFC (oxygen free copper). I am not going to get into the differences because they are way over my head. Also, I know there are people who are going to dispute that different cables create different sound. Not interested in the debate, I just know that I prefer the 30s over the 3s listening to at least my first trial track. Of course, Sony might have done something internally with crossovers and such (both have 3 BA drivers. No idea. All I can trust is my ears, and the ears prefer the 30s. Could it be because they cost more? Possible. But I have a relatively decent experience level so I don't believe so in this case.

As for things other than sound, I like the fit/comfort, but they are pretty much the same as the 3s. The cable texture on the 30s feels a bit more rigid (if that's the right word), maybe more substantial. But not miles apart. The case is fine, and the tip selection is a bit better as the 30s have the yellow and purple sleeved tips (shades of the EX600) but the 3s do not. So you get more sizes/choices with the 30s. I really liked the yellow with the EX600s, so I am happy to see them again.

All in all, if you are deciding on whether to get the 3s at $150 or the 30s at $185 (really about $200 with shipping via Tenso), for me it was an easy decision. I am going to sell my XBA-3s, no regrets.

I went back and listened to a selection from my headphone "audition" playlist, which includes different genres, styles and such, and the XBA-30s sound fantastic no matter what I throw at them. And this is with my iPhone 5 HP out using 192-320 AAC rips, not the tube amp I have on my desktop or my Arrow/iPod Classic combo with lossless. If they improve via amp, all the better. I expect they will.
post #438 of 1168

http://www.head-fi.org/t/641530/sony-xba-4-vs-new-xba-40

 

 

"As shown, pretty much the same..."

 

That is the xba1 and xba10, but the commenter says they're all comparatively the same (3/30, 4/40).

 

There are variances in every set, even of the exact same model, and that graph shows the variance is no more than a normal set of the same exact model.  There are other factors though that could affect the sound such as cable impedance like the reviewer mentioned, etc., that might boost treble (as is the nature of the xba series with higher impedance).  However,the graph seems to show otherwise.

 

I'm not saying they're 'not' different, but I've read reviews that state they are the same and that graph looks the same.  That's all. :-P

post #439 of 1168

I can vouch, with my own ears, that the xba-4 and the xba-40 ARE NOT the same. The 40 is slightly more refined, but the big difference is that the bass is really there on the 40's, much more so than on the 4's. Listening to club music with the 40's one really feels the intensity of the bottom end as if one is inside the dance club.

post #440 of 1168

Great review from that guy on Amazon. I'm more convinced than ever that the XBA-30 improves on the sound of the 3. I've read impressions of the XBA-3 and I haven't found any of its weaknesses (metallic timbre, harsh highs) in the XBA-30. In fact the XBA-30 has some of the smoothest and best controlled highs I have ever heard. Never hear any sibilance, even on poorly recorded tracks that I knew to have some.

post #441 of 1168

S4s sh*tting all over XBA-3s. LOL, can't get over that troll post. 9/10

post #442 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Click View Post

S4s sh*tting all over XBA-3s. LOL, can't get over that troll post. 9/10

I doubt its a troll post. He/She prefers S4's heavily coloured sound to xba3's BA sound. My roommate has an image S4 and he says that he likes it better than my xba3s. Its not completely unimaginable, I doubt its a troll post. 

They listen 'for' something different in their iems.

post #443 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by tquickbrownfox View Post

I doubt its a troll post. He/She prefers S4's heavily coloured sound to xba3's BA sound. My roommate has an image S4 and he says that he likes it better than my xba3s. Its not completely unimaginable, I doubt its a troll post. 

They listen 'for' something different in their iems.

 

To each his own.  I still have the sony ex85lp, and while they are very very bassy, if I eq the bass lower I think they hold up "extremely" well against even the top tier universal iems.  Are they as good?  No.  They lack certain frequencies that can't be eq'd back, they don't have the same resolution or depth or smoothness between frequency ranges.  However, with the bass eq'd properly they are a very large percentage 'close' to the high end IEMs.  I wouldn't pick them over my 4Rs, but just saying, it is possible to have a $20 (originally $80) IEM that sounds very good with eq.

 

I think it goes back to two things, first the law of diminishing returns.  Yes, $400 IEMs are better, but they aren't 4x better than every $100 IEM.  Also, it comes down to personal preference of a sound signature.  While some things can't be recreated in an inexpensive IEM, yet anyway, most people might not mind if the sound signature is suitable to them.  If he prefers the S4, awesome. They are NOT technically as good as the XBA3.  However, you can argue the sound signature isn't as "neutral" or "reference", but you can't really argue it "isn't as good", because one person might "want" more bass and hotter treble, etc.  Another person may want flatness all around.  To each his own.  Enjoy your IEMs, but unless someone is specifically asking for opinions on something or specific quality traits, I don't see any point in bashing another IEM.

 

I've tried a lot of IEMs in the last few months, and there are some upwards of $150 that I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, but I wouldn't say they are bad or dissuade others from them.  I would tell them why I don't like them and let them make a decision.  Some people might like the things that I didn't like about them.  :-o

post #444 of 1168

I don't have much time to really read all responses, but great to see some, so thanks.

 

 

Like I was saying I am not here to start arguments, I am generating discussion and feedback so other potential purchases can read.

 

 

I am not quite convinced quickbronfox, I actually see way more praise than actual if any at all talk of disappointment in this entire thread. I should of know better though myself, just reading this thread (coming across), I should of known majority of posters here probably own XBA 3, it is the appreciation thread. It should be called the "XBA Appreciation thread" imho, removing the "Overlooked", as that word alone makes it appear like it is a hidden gem amongst IEMs.

 

 

I agree daveyostrow and thanks, that was the word I was looking for, intimate feeling into my music which the image s4 definitely gave me.

 

 

Why would one consider this a troll post? I am trying to help others and being honest. Click based off your response it seems like I have clearly hit some truth and you probably own the xba 3 now and fight every natural instinct in your mind, denying what anything negative that can be said towards said IEMs. I am sorry if I said the image s4 5hits over them (I really was just angry at the time with the XBA while I was listening to them for the first time while posting), but how about I say I prefer the s4 over the weaker xba 3. What made it worse was I could of got the UE tf10 for 20 dollars more, so it just rubs salt in the wound.

 

 

Now after some time I have still not hit any miracle in terms of euphoria, it only shines through on live music played on live acoustic sessions (but so did my image s4s). This really limits my music choices in terms of portability as most of the indie/folk music I listen to is not in acoustic sessions, unless on vimeo hd or youtube 1080p live performances.

 

 

Funny though these IEMs are quite nice for electro more than anything, knife party, Dubfire and definitely minimal electro shines through. For indie/folk music, it still feels weak all around, great sound separation is all I can give it, but everything else... things just feel all "balanced", many songs the vocals don't shine through which is what I was actually trying to buy for.

 

 

I personally think it is definitely safe to say probably these IEMs are good for classical music/movie soundtracks, as for indie, idk maybe if less instruments were played, I miss the feeling of being attached to strong shining vocals.

 

 

I am now stuck with them anyway, might as well force myself to like them, I would lose if I tried to sell them.

 

 

I play my music on my ipod, but I also have an xperia arc s, I'll try that once I put music I have been listening to for years to compare.

 

 

Once again (fellow onlookers), I will say it TRY THESE BEFORE YOU BUY PLEASE.


Edited by meepmeep - 2/2/13 at 8:53pm
post #445 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by meepmeep View Post

I don't have much time to really read all responses, but great to see some, so thanks.

 

 

Like I was saying I am not here to start arguments, I am generating discussion and feedback so other potential purchases can read.

 

 

I am not quite convinced quickbronfox, I actually see way more praise than actual if any at all talk of disappointment in this entire thread. I should of know better though myself, just reading this thread (coming across), I should of known majority of posters here probably own XBA 3, it is the appreciation thread. It should be called the "XBA Appreciation thread" imho, removing the "Overlooked", as that word alone makes it appear like it is a hidden gem amongst IEMs.

 

 

I agree daveyostrow and thanks, that was the word I was looking for, intimate feeling into my music which the image s4 definitely gave me.

 

 

Why would one consider this a troll post? I am trying to help others and being honest. Click based off your response it seems like I have clearly hit some truth and you probably own the xba 3 now and fight every natural instinct in your mind, denying what anything negative that can be said towards said IEMs. I am sorry if I said the image s4 5hits over them (I really was just angry at the time with the XBA while I was listening to them for the first time while posting), but how about I say I prefer the s4 over the weaker xba 3. What made it worse was I could of got the UE tf10 for 20 dollars more, so it just rubs salt in the wound.

 

 

Now after some time I have still not hit any miracle in terms of euphoria, it only shines through on live music played on live acoustic sessions (but so did my image s4s). This really limits my music choices in terms of portability as most of the indie/folk music I listen to is not in acoustic sessions, unless on vimeo hd or youtube 1080p live performances.

 

 

Funny though these IEMs are quite nice for electro more than anything, knife party, Dubfire and definitely minimal electro shines through. For indie/folk music, it still feels weak all around, great sound separation is all I can give it, but everything else... things just feel all "balanced", many songs the vocals don't shine through which is what I was actually trying to buy for.

 

 

I personally think it is definitely safe to say probably these IEMs are good for classical music/movie soundtracks, as for indie, idk maybe if less instruments were played, I miss the feeling of being attached to strong shining vocals.

 

 

I am now stuck with them anyway, might as well force myself to like them, I would lose if I tried to sell them.

 

 

I play my music on my ipod, but I also have an xperia arc s, I'll try that once I put music I have been listening to for years to compare.

 

 

Once again (fellow onlookers), I will say it TRY THESE BEFORE YOU BUY PLEASE.

 

hey! did you find the sound quality lesser while using the xba3 with a smartphone alone (no amplifier)?

because i am expecting that these 12 ohm power hungry earphones to be technically more challenging to tweak for average users like me.

post #446 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by meepmeep View Post

 

I am not quite convinced quickbronfox, I actually see way more praise than actual if any at all talk of disappointment in this entire thread. I should of know better though myself, just reading this thread (coming across), I should of known majority of posters here probably own XBA 3, it is the appreciation thread. It should be called the "XBA Appreciation thread" imho, removing the "Overlooked", as that word alone makes it appear like it is a hidden gem amongst IEMs.

 

 

 

 

Why would one consider this a troll post? I am trying to help others and being honest. Click based off your response it seems like I have clearly hit some truth and you probably own the xba 3 now and fight every natural instinct in your mind, denying what anything negative that can be said towards said IEMs. I am sorry if I said the image s4 5hits over them (I really was just angry at the time with the XBA while I was listening to them for the first time while posting), but how about I say I prefer the s4 over the weaker xba 3. What made it worse was I could of got the UE tf10 for 20 dollars more, so it just rubs salt in the wound.

I think it's not polite to come to this thread (an appreciation one) and tell everyone that the klipsch image s4 "5hits" the Sony xba-3, this IEM is overlooked mainly because everyone was expecting the XBA-4 and many bought the XBA-1 because it's the cheaper. I think this IEM it's pretty good given that many have writen that is the best of the original XBA line. You could like the klipsch more and that's ok. BTW do you know as a fact that the UE Tf10 are better than the XBA-3 or even your Klipsch?

post #447 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokpokgei View Post

 

hey! did you find the sound quality lesser while using the xba3 with a smartphone alone (no amplifier)?

because i am expecting that these 12 ohm power hungry earphones to be technically more challenging to tweak for average users like me.

 

Or more specifically, the xba-3 is negatively affected by higher impedance output sources.  So, if you used these on your computer sound card that is 10-20 ohms, the bass will be a lot lower than a new 1ohm ipod, and the treble will be boosted in an unnatural way.  This might explain why you don't like it if you're into the s4 bass.  With a low impedance source the xba-3 has awesome bass AND equally awesome depth.  As a matter of fact, one of the things that impressed me about the xba-3 was the level of depth, and how you hear into things.

post #448 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by meepmeep View Post

I don't have much time to really read all responses, but great to see some, so thanks.

 

 

Like I was saying I am not here to start arguments, I am generating discussion and feedback so other potential purchases can read.

 

 

I am not quite convinced quickbronfox, I actually see way more praise than actual if any at all talk of disappointment in this entire thread. I should of know better though myself, just reading this thread (coming across), I should of known majority of posters here probably own XBA 3, it is the appreciation thread. It should be called the "XBA Appreciation thread" imho, removing the "Overlooked", as that word alone makes it appear like it is a hidden gem amongst IEMs.

 

 

I agree daveyostrow and thanks, that was the word I was looking for, intimate feeling into my music which the image s4 definitely gave me.

 

 

Why would one consider this a troll post? I am trying to help others and being honest. Click based off your response it seems like I have clearly hit some truth and you probably own the xba 3 now and fight every natural instinct in your mind, denying what anything negative that can be said towards said IEMs. I am sorry if I said the image s4 5hits over them (I really was just angry at the time with the XBA while I was listening to them for the first time while posting), but how about I say I prefer the s4 over the weaker xba 3. What made it worse was I could of got the UE tf10 for 20 dollars more, so it just rubs salt in the wound.

 

 

Now after some time I have still not hit any miracle in terms of euphoria, it only shines through on live music played on live acoustic sessions (but so did my image s4s). This really limits my music choices in terms of portability as most of the indie/folk music I listen to is not in acoustic sessions, unless on vimeo hd or youtube 1080p live performances.

 

 

Funny though these IEMs are quite nice for electro more than anything, knife party, Dubfire and definitely minimal electro shines through. For indie/folk music, it still feels weak all around, great sound separation is all I can give it, but everything else... things just feel all "balanced", many songs the vocals don't shine through which is what I was actually trying to buy for.

 

 

I personally think it is definitely safe to say probably these IEMs are good for classical music/movie soundtracks, as for indie, idk maybe if less instruments were played, I miss the feeling of being attached to strong shining vocals.

 

 

I am now stuck with them anyway, might as well force myself to like them, I would lose if I tried to sell them.

 

 

I play my music on my ipod, but I also have an xperia arc s, I'll try that once I put music I have been listening to for years to compare.

 

 

Once again (fellow onlookers), I will say it TRY THESE BEFORE YOU BUY PLEASE.

 

Just a tip before I get into my reply: Please don't try and bypass the swearing filter. Thanks.

 

I've posted it before, but the reason I liked the new Sony IEMs compared to most IEMs I've tried is that they seem to be good at actually portraying instruments, especially percussion realistically. Most I've tried either have screaming sibilance (a large treble peak at around 6-8 kHz), way too much bass and drums and whatnot sound like someone whacking a table, not hitting a drum. Another member said it well when he described the sound as more "3D".

 

Now the thing is, whether or not we will like a pair of headphones or IEMs is most likely connected to whether their frequency response suits the kind of music we like at the volume we like to listen. Really that's 90% of what Head-Fi is about and the rest is fine tuning and/or technical stuff.  Of technical stuff, the XBA series are a nuisance, as their have a very non-flat impedance curve. If you plug them into an amp with a high output impedance or other linearity issues the treble becomes very bright and everything sounds rather off. Luckily for us, recent Apple devices tend to have a good ability with IEMs in general. I like the XBA-3s out of my iPhone and not with any special amp or anything else because the overall frequency response is nicely balanced with them, for the music I like and they do anything particularly wrong all things considered. 

 

Other than that, I like the Klipsh X10s and dislike just about all other IEMs for one reason or another with the exception of a couple of recent, Japan-only models.  Ideally everyone would have access to stores like we have in Japan where just about everything is available to try. Since most people don't, a mixture of experience and advice is necessary to get good results. Not ideal, I realise. 

 

Sorry about your wallet. smile.gif

post #449 of 1168

meepmeep, sure you're just trying to be helpful, but you're basically unfairly singling out the XBA-3 because it didn't suit your preferences. You seem to like an intimate sound which the XBA-3 does not have. You should've been aware of this since no one has described it as such. The XBA-3 is smooth and balanced, which is in the other direction of what you like. Whose fault is it that you ended up buying them anyway? Plus you yourself are misleading onlookers in warning them to try these out, as if these are terrible. If someone reads and understands the impressions of the XBA-3 and likes everything they hear, they shouldn't have any doubts in buying them. Well anyway, hopefully you'll be more careful about your next purchase. If you're interested in the TF10 then I think you should get them, since they have an upbeat intimate V-shaped presentation like your S4s.


Edited by mugen3 - 2/3/13 at 10:54am
post #450 of 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

Just a tip before I get into my reply: Please don't try and bypass the swearing filter. Thanks.

 

I've posted it before, but the reason I liked the new Sony IEMs compared to most IEMs I've tried is that they seem to be good at actually portraying instruments, especially percussion realistically. Most I've tried either have screaming sibilance (a large treble peak at around 6-8 kHz), way too much bass and drums and whatnot sound like someone whacking a table, not hitting a drum. Another member said it well when he described the sound as more "3D".

 

Now the thing is, whether or not we will like a pair of headphones or IEMs is most likely connected to whether their frequency response suits the kind of music we like at the volume we like to listen. Really that's 90% of what Head-Fi is about and the rest is fine tuning and/or technical stuff.  Of technical stuff, the XBA series are a nuisance, as their have a very non-flat impedance curve. If you plug them into an amp with a high output impedance or other linearity issues the treble becomes very bright and everything sounds rather off. Luckily for us, recent Apple devices tend to have a good ability with IEMs in general. I like the XBA-3s out of my iPhone and not with any special amp or anything else because the overall frequency response is nicely balanced with them, for the music I like and they do anything particularly wrong all things considered. 

 

Other than that, I like the Klipsh X10s and dislike just about all other IEMs for one reason or another with the exception of a couple of recent, Japan-only models.  Ideally everyone would have access to stores like we have in Japan where just about everything is available to try. Since most people don't, a mixture of experience and advice is necessary to get good results. Not ideal, I realise. 

 

Sorry about your wallet. smile.gif

 

Yeah, that's exactly what I've been saying everywhere.  They're great with the right source.  Ipods sound awesome.  Higher impedance and they are not just bright, but so overly bright I don't see anyone liking them much past say 20ohms.  It would be like cutting the bass of a neutral headphone by 2x.  Yuck.  Ipod is very good curve-wise though.  I say this is a portable use headphone only, unless you have a mini amp between other sources to take down the impedance.

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