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Sony XBA-3 vs Yamaha EPH 100 (Added into the mix: BA-200, HF5, SM1 and GR07)

Poll Results: What's Your Preference (feel free to comment below)

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 28% of voters (6)
    Yamaha EPH-100SL
  • 23% of voters (5)
    Sony XBA-3
  • 19% of voters (4)
    TDK BA-200
  • 4% of voters (1)
    Earsonics SM1
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Etymotic Research HF5
  • 23% of voters (5)
    VSonic GR07 MK2
21 Total Votes  
post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Another rookie who just joined looking for some feedback.  I have been looking at IEMs with a ceiling of $150 and have narrowed my choices down to the XBA-3 and EPH 100.  There is a $15 difference in price so am not concerned with the latter being a little more expensive.  I'm looking for a brand that has a good reputation for producing a durable product and ideal for a fairly broad range of music from the likes of Tool, AC/DC, Rush to something on the oppisite end like Jeff Pearce (ambience/chill).  I don't have the lingo down, so please forgive me, but beyond versatility, I am looking for the following sound characteristics: warm, depth, detail/instrument seperation, good sound stage (maybe the same as depth) and good bass without being predominant.  


If anyone has experience with either of these, or even better both, please share with me your pros and cons.  I did a search on here and mostly read good things about both, but nothing yet that has swayed me.  The best thread I found was a three IEM comparison with these being two of them and they tied 34-34 in the poll.  Maybe I can't go wrong either way?


Oh yeah, I am also open to suggestions.  After reading what I'm looking for if something else comes to mind, feel free to share.



Edited by ScaldedDog - 2/22/13 at 6:25pm
post #2 of 11

I haven't tried the XBA-3, but I did have the Yamaha EPH-100SL. It is an IEM that is warm, with decent soundstage and fairly powerful and tight lows. The one major con (in my experience) has been the peculiar shape of the inserts. Since it is cylindrical, rather than conical like most IEMs, they can be quite uncomfortable if they don't fit properly. Also, by virtue of it's shape you can't use other tips with the EPH-100SL. 


My ear canal is fairly narrow, so it tended to be fairly uncomfortable. I gave it to my dad and he likes it much better. :Pp

post #3 of 11
The Yamaha EPH100 are better in imaging, instruments separation, tight punchy bass and overall good soundquality, XBA3 are slightly higher resolution but not much and has smaller sound stage with average imaging, instruments separation.
Edited by ZARIM - 2/21/13 at 8:10pm
post #4 of 11

I had the EPH100. Though I never had the XBA-3, I do have the improved version in the XBA-30. FWIW I find the Sonys quite better than the Yamahas. Both have a warm smooth sound. However the XBA-30's resolution is on a higher level. The bass has much better definition and texture. The mids and highs have more presence and are more resolving too. In comparison the EPH100 sound boomy, not as clear, less detailed, and too soft. Both have equally amazing instrument separation. The stage on the XBA-30 is about the same size, but taller.

post #5 of 11

I had the EPH-100 and have listen to the XBA-3 and I like the EPH-100 better.  It does have better imaging and separation and I like the bass better also but I felt both have a spacious soundstage.  The XBA-3 is a nice IEM and for the price they go for now isn't a bad deal but I just felt the EPH-100 is a little bit better over all.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all the responses so far.  Am guessing this is pretty normal, but the more I research the more possibilities I see, and therefore the more difficult the decison.  

A few I've added since the original post: TDK BA-200, Etymotic Research HF5; VSonic GR07 MK2; Earsonics SM1.

I'm doing research but inviting as many current comments as possible.

Thanks again.

post #7 of 11

I currently have the EPH-100 and have the TDK IE800, the BA200's dynamic driver brother. I gotta say, the IE800 is a much better all rounder. The EPH-100 is definitely warmer with great bass impact and smooth highs. Instrument separation is great with good soundstage. The sound is very detailed but still forgiving of bad quality files. I do prefer the IE800 though even though I've only had it for a few days. It's a step above the EPH-100 I feel with very intimate mids and still smooth highs, but not overly so like the EPH-100. The highs are much more detailed as well but the bass has a bit less impact. Perhaps it's due to the fast attack and speed, like you I'm quite new here so forgive my inability to describe sound well. The bass is more detailed in the IE800 too. Instrument separation is just a bit better with the EPH-100 sounding a little muddy sometimes, due to the great bass impact. Soundstage is the same to my ears. Detailing is also a bit better due to the highs not being as smooth. Hope this helps redface.gif

post #8 of 11

The Ety HF5 aren't warm, especially not compared to the other IEMs listed. The VSonics are well regarded but I don't think they're what you're looking for. You were originally right on the money considering just the XBA-3 or EPH100. The TDK BA200 and IE800 are worth checking out too. I don't think you can go wrong with any of those 4.

post #9 of 11

I have XBA3 , GR07 MKII, and ER4-PT (in this case would be similar to HF5). 


I am voting for GR07 MKII, hands down. I do love my ER4-PT as well. XBA3 is not worth $150. Maybe $120. I sold mine for $100 and I don't know who I should sorry for - me or the buyer. 

post #10 of 11

can't go wrong with the eph-100. From Jazz to trance..

post #11 of 11

xba3 will be more refined than the eph100, if you want more kick then go with eph100.

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