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[REVIEW] XBA-3 VS XBA-30 VS XBA-40 - Page 9

post #121 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by canikickit1 View Post

Interesting.. tips definitely do change up the sound sig of different IEMS a bit.

 

Do you have a pic comparing the two tips? From the Amazon site it looks similar to the silicon tips provided with the 40s/30s (the non-hybrids)


Chengsta is correct that XBA-40 sounds much better with other silicon tips, as with my EX1000 the supplied hybrid tips did not bring out the best sound from these phones. I have tried many types and found the best ones are silicon replacement tips. I am using the replacement silicon tips for Phillips an Sony got from ebay.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

post #122 of 280
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaigonGrandFunk View Post


Chengsta is correct that XBA-40 sounds much better with other silicon tips, as with my EX1000 the supplied hybrid tips did not bring out the best sound from these phones. I have tried many types and found the best ones are silicon replacement tips. I am using the replacement silicon tips for Phillips an Sony got from ebay.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

 

Definitely trying this out!

 

Could you provide a link from ebay where you got'em?

post #123 of 280

Try this ebay seller link

Also after 50h+ burns-in, I found the 40s sound more smooth, improved timbre with minimal mid and high hats sibilance (XBA40 with silicon tips / HM602, using Sony supplied hybrid I could not pick up the mid and high hats sibilance).
 

post #124 of 280

I’m really interested in getting a good set of IEMs especially with the temperature finally slightly beginning to rise in the UK…! I do find that my VModa M100 do make my ears sweat and even though I love them I find that taking them off gives me considerable relief….

 

I have been looking into the Sony XBA series and contemplating between the XBA30 and XBA40. I listen mainly to rock, metal and soundtrack music out of my Ipod Touch 1G (impedance output of 32 Ohms unless mistaken). On a slightly unrelated note, when using my M100 and Ipod Touch 1G the maximum volume level I can listen to is about 80% whereas when using the IPhone 5  I have to go to nearly 100% to achieve similar volume level even though the latter’s impedance output is much lower…

 

Now logic tells me that that XBA30 should be a better match as it is has more forward mids, it’s easier to drive with or without an amp from any source but I am intrigued by the wider soundstage and more distinct instrument separation of the XBA40 and would like to try it out. I have to say that I do like the U-shape character of the M100s even though I think that sometimes the guitars could be a bit punchier so I’m wondering whether I should go for IEMs with a similar signature or opt for something a bit more balanced like the XBA30.

 

My concerns have to do with the higher impedance of the XBA40 combined with the high impedance of the Ipod touch and the resultant synergy. I have also been looking into the Meridian Explorer to be used as DAC only or DAC/Amp as well that their impedance of the newer revised model reported to be about 5 Ohms makes this even more confusing about the end result…. Would possibly a separate amp like the C5 (impedance of 2 Ohm)  theoretically yield a better audio result? Do you think that one of the two might be better in theory at least or that their use as amps should be avoided?  I recall for example that people have mentioned the synergy with the C&C BH is not ideal…

 

The price on Amazon Japan is indeed quite tempting but I was wondering whether anybody knows about their return policy and if I could return them for a full refund if I’m not satisfied with them?

 

Also somebody has mentioned in this or another forum that on the package of the XBA40 there is a list of compatible Sony players… Would somebody be able to list the recommended players as this might shed some light on what kind of impedance would have better synergy with the XBA40?

 

Moreover, what is people’s opinion on the microphonics of the XBA40? Are they tolerable for everyday use while on the move? What is the effect of the cables rubbing on jackets etc or when turning the head? 

 

Finally what is the general consensus on their comfort?

 

Many thanks for your input in advance guys, I know what I’m asking might be a bit complicated   bigsmile_face.gif

post #125 of 280

While the sound of the XBA-4 is among the best I heard and certainly unreal for their price, microphonics are just awful in my case. mad.gif

post #126 of 280
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkportent View Post

I’m really interested in getting a good set of IEMs especially with the temperature finally slightly beginning to rise in the UK…! I do find that my VModa M100 do make my ears sweat and even though I love them I find that taking them off gives me considerable relief….

 

I have been looking into the Sony XBA series and contemplating between the XBA30 and XBA40. I listen mainly to rock, metal and soundtrack music out of my Ipod Touch 1G (impedance output of 32 Ohms unless mistaken). On a slightly unrelated note, when using my M100 and Ipod Touch 1G the maximum volume level I can listen to is about 80% whereas when using the IPhone 5  I have to go to nearly 100% to achieve similar volume level even though the latter’s impedance output is much lower…

 

Now logic tells me that that XBA30 should be a better match as it is has more forward mids, it’s easier to drive with or without an amp from any source but I am intrigued by the wider soundstage and more distinct instrument separation of the XBA40 and would like to try it out. I have to say that I do like the U-shape character of the M100s even though I think that sometimes the guitars could be a bit punchier so I’m wondering whether I should go for IEMs with a similar signature or opt for something a bit more balanced like the XBA30.

 

My concerns have to do with the higher impedance of the XBA40 combined with the high impedance of the Ipod touch and the resultant synergy. I have also been looking into the Meridian Explorer to be used as DAC only or DAC/Amp as well that their impedance of the newer revised model reported to be about 5 Ohms makes this even more confusing about the end result…. Would possibly a separate amp like the C5 (impedance of 2 Ohm)  theoretically yield a better audio result? Do you think that one of the two might be better in theory at least or that their use as amps should be avoided?  I recall for example that people have mentioned the synergy with the C&C BH is not ideal…

 

The price on Amazon Japan is indeed quite tempting but I was wondering whether anybody knows about their return policy and if I could return them for a full refund if I’m not satisfied with them?

 

Also somebody has mentioned in this or another forum that on the package of the XBA40 there is a list of compatible Sony players… Would somebody be able to list the recommended players as this might shed some light on what kind of impedance would have better synergy with the XBA40?

 

Moreover, what is people’s opinion on the microphonics of the XBA40? Are they tolerable for everyday use while on the move? What is the effect of the cables rubbing on jackets etc or when turning the head? 

 

Finally what is the general consensus on their comfort?

 

Many thanks for your input in advance guys, I know what I’m asking might be a bit complicated   bigsmile_face.gif

I'll try to answer most of the questions:

 

The XBA40s have a zout of 8ohms. The higher the zout of the DAP or AMP, the more forward the mids appear to be. The XBA-40+E11 pairiing (Zout of <0.3) gives it the U-shaped characteristic. Different amps definitely give it a different flavor overall.

 

Microphonics is certainly an issue with the 40s. The huge housings exaggerate every sound hit by the cord. I play my music in a quiet setting, so my DAP never goes above 30-40% volume. However, anything higher, microphonics is reduced. The included shirt clip and cable holder helps as well.

 

Return policy in Amazon Japan should be the same as any regular Amazon. Shipping back, however, is a different story and varies depending where you live.

 

I'll be posting an E11,E12, and C&C BH amp pairing comparison with the 40s soon

post #127 of 280

Thanks for the input. 

 

I suppose that bad microphonics alone can be a deal breaker.... it is a more objective rather than subjective parameter so I would not think other users have had   better impressions.

 

with regards to the impedance synergy I gather that with a higher output impedance of the player or amp would provide a more balanced sound out of the XBA40 which would be desirable...it would certainly be interesting to hear your impressions on the impact of various amps....

 

wondering whether microphonics rather that the synergy issue is a good reason to steer me towards the XBA30 instead...unless there are indeed IEMs of similar sound signature and quality with significantly less perceivable microphonics when out and about... 

post #128 of 280

I've just got my XBA-40s through the door. Straight out of the box (and my iPhone 4S) they're a big improvement over the IE80s I've came from. Finally some extra high end to go with heavy bass. The microphonics are much worse than the IE80 (where they're practically non-existant) but at a decent volume level there's no real issue unless the track hits a quiet part (like a breakdown in dance music). 

 

Definitely looking forward to the E12 review as I was going to get an E11! In a nut shell is there much of a difference?

post #129 of 280
Any idea if XBA40 pairs well with fiio e07k? Since they pair well with e11...
post #130 of 280

I have the XBA-4 and even though the housings are big I don't find any issue with isolation or microphonics, these aren't meant to be listen with metal or fast hard rock, I love listening  Lady Gaga with them though.

post #131 of 280

Microphonics are no issue for me, for the xba 40.  I sit around at work and occassionally walk around and i don't notice any.  Although if you like to listen to soundtrack music and mostly metal and music that don't really need bass, I would probably go with an xba 30 if you were into the xba's.  You really don't need that sub bass on the xba 40.  The xba series gives the music a really warm sound which goes with most of the music I listen to.  However, for soundtrack music and metal/rock, I like a colder headphone like the sony mdr ex510lp.  I recently got it in the mail and I was extremely surprised at how crystal clear and detailed that thing is.  It really lets you hear the guitars, violins, and voices --the bass isn't bad at all either, but it only shows up on bass heavy music. 

post #132 of 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by chengsta View Post

Microphonics are no issue for me, for the xba 40.  I sit around at work and occassionally walk around and i don't notice any.  Although if you like to listen to soundtrack music and mostly metal and music that don't really need bass, I would probably go with an xba 30 if you were into the xba's.  You really don't need that sub bass on the xba 40.  The xba series gives the music a really warm sound which goes with most of the music I listen to.  However, for soundtrack music and metal/rock, I like a colder headphone like the sony mdr ex510lp.  I recently got it in the mail and I was extremely surprised at how crystal clear and detailed that thing is.  It really lets you hear the guitars, violins, and voices --the bass isn't bad at all either, but it only shows up on bass heavy music. 

Well I used to own the EX-310lp and even though it's a nice sounding iem (really beautiful and well made too) even the XBA-1 sounds better, for metal I do like my Brainwavz B2, those are really fast and clean, originally I bought the XBA-3 because I read that it was the best of the original XBA line, but the delivery company misplaced my package and Sony of Mexico refuses to acknowledge the issue but anyway I digress. The XBA-4 has a lot of soundstage and a good instrument separation but to me the bass is bad, even the more lean B2 have more bass, atleast with my sources.

post #133 of 280
Thread Starter 

E12/E11/C&C BH Comparison

320kbps on Rockboxxed ipod 5.5g 80gb
PURE SILVER LOD
No EQ - 
 
 
Kendrick Lamar- Real (Hip Hop)
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Great Bass, smooth vocals, detail in vocals. Wide soundstage.Great layering in instruments.  
 
C&C BH (LF On, SF Off, high gain) - Detail across the spectrum, maybe a touch thin sounding. Doesn't hit as low as the E11, bass hits but it doesn't HIT. Definitely present and clean. Clarity increased from E11.. removes smoothness in the process.
 
E12 (0db,Crossfeed off, Bass Boost on) - Clean and balanced sound, no Bass roll off. Bass feels like its between the EQ1 and EQ2 of the E11, like an EQ1.5. Clarity is similar to BH. 
 
Winner: E11 
 
 
Incubus - Adolescents (Alternative)
E12 (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Awesome timbre, and airiness. Vocals detailed and excellent. Balanced and clean. Wide soundstage, no sibilance. 
 
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Super detailed and increased clarity. Brightness makes treble a bit harsh. Sibilance present in the hi hats. Slightly bigger soundstage than E12.
 
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Widest soundstage, vocals a touch dark. signature U shaped of the 40s present. Layering and instrument separation awesome.Smooth all around. Loving the bass drum!
 
Winner: E12 then E11.
 
 
Ellie Goulding - Lights (Bassnectar Remix) (Dubstep)
E12 - (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Clarity and detail in Ellie's voice. Awesome balance and layering. Great highs, bassline envelopes you in song. Wide soundstage. Airy. Great.
 
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Highs and mids smoothed over from E12. Bass hits a teeenyny bit harder than the E12 (Surprising even with EQ at 2). Overall sound-sig back to the U-shape. Layering better than the E12.
 
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Largely increased detail and clarity over E11 and E12, making it a bit analytical. Less weight on vocals however.. Bass cleaner and same impact as E11 and E12 (!). Highs brighter. 
 
Winner: E12, then C&C BH.
 
 
Matthew Santos - Love Sick Fool (Acoustic)
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Clarity and detail, imagery in guitar. Slight sibilance. Crystal clear vocals. Analytical. Mettalic tinge slightly back.
 
E11 (EQ2, High Gain)- Vocals have more weight and velvety smooth. Bass on EQ2 more prevalent, almost overbearing. Bass on EQ1 perfect for this song. No sibilance. Touch of darkness.
 
 
E12 - (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Bass prevalance similar to EQ2 on E11. Clarity better than E11, but still maintains smoothness. Vocals are awesome with this amp. 
 
Winner: E12, then E11.
 
 
 
Foo Fighters - Everlong (rock)
E12 - (16db, crossfeed off, Bass boost on) - Wide soundstage, loving the bass drum. Imaging and layering superb. 
 
E11 (EQ2, High Gain) - Similar to E12, though a touch dark on the vocals and increased sub bass. EQ1 is perfect setting for this IEM. 
 
C&C BH (High Gain, LF on, SF off) - Largely increased clarity and detail. Imaging increased. Teeny bit sibilant. More balanced sound all around. Bass hits similar to EQ1 of E11. 
 
 
Winner: E12, then C&C BH.
 
 
Conclusion: Is the E12 an upgrade to the E11? It largely depends on what you're looking for. The E12 balances out the sound across the spectrum. The bass impact is akin to an EQ1.5 of the E11 (if it had one) and removes the touch of darkness the E11 is known for. Despite the darkness and U-shape, the E11 is definitely enjoyable to listen to when paired with the 40s. Is the E12 worth replacing the E11? Only if you are willing sacrifice slight bass impact to remove the darkness of the E11 (and drop the extra $60).
 
Regarding the C&C BH, it is largely a love-hate relationship with the amp. On one point, it reminds you about the BA in XBA. It truly brings out the clarity and detail in each song. On the other, it turns the 40s into an analytical IEM, removing the smoothness, and sometimes adds a bit of sibilance. Interestingly enough, the bass impact is similar to the E12 (EQ "1.5" of E11), but cleaner all around. To me, increased detail and clarity made the treb a bit fatiguing.
 
 
All in all you really can't go wrong with either amp. I do hold stance that the 40s do need to be amped to sound their best. Here is my overview of the three
 
E11 - Best bass impact and smoothest of the three amps. Smooth mids, awesome lows and highs. U-shaped, and a touch of darkness. Smoothness helps to attain better layering of the music. 
  • Best feature: EQ0, EQ1, and EQ2 settings help tune down (or unleash) the super-woofers of the 40s. 
C&C BH - Best clarity and detail of the three amps. Cleanest bass of the three as well. Low-end impact similar to the E12. Highs sound legendary with these. 
  • Best feature: 80 hours of playtime per charge?! Yes please.
E12 - Most natural sounding of the 3 amps. Clean sound, E11 darkness removed. Bass similar to EQ1.5. Levels out the U-shape of the 40s. 
  • Best feature: Awesome build quality all around. Future proof for any future full-sized can or powerhungry IEM purchase.
post #134 of 280
thanks, interesting review but i would recommend trying hires Wav or Flac and not 320kbs which sound congested on my c3 with BH. Frankly speaking i understand why you find highs bit harsh on BH with 320kbs material, i agree here, but once you put uncompressed music it starts to show opposite direction.
I had a chance to compare E11 to BH with c3 and E11 sounded just way less clean and i found its bass bloated. Cannot say anything about E12 since had not this for listen. i also find BH is a bit harsh sounding with iPods but then i do not have rockboxed iPod to compare but iTouch.

btw, what is 40s? sorry i am not knowledgeable. Ouch sorry, apparently Sony Iems :-)
Edited by Gintaras - 4/10/13 at 1:14pm
post #135 of 280

Welp, guess I'll wait for the next latest and greatest amp.  It's not worth it for me to spend another $130 for an amp that's slightly better in only some areas.  I don't mind not being able to play while charging because I don't use the e11 when I'm home anyway. 

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