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[REVIEW] XBA-3 VS XBA-30 VS XBA-40 - Page 11

post #151 of 278
Thread Starter 
I have since refunded my purchase of the digizoid and sold my e11. At the moment my portable rig stands at the iPod 5.5g --> pure silver LOD --> FiiO E12 --> xba-40.

Seeing as portable DACs are out of my budget, does anyone have suggestions on laptop dacs? I see the ELE DAC as a possible purchase.. Just want to know if there are any other suitors
post #152 of 278
I can understand you keeping the e12. The sound is very refined and pure. I have the ele dac and love it when paired with the e12, but there are a lot of great dac's out there that are debateably better for not much more (the discovery thread lately has been discussing).
post #153 of 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by canikickit1 View Post

I have since refunded my purchase of the digizoid and sold my e11. At the moment my portable rig stands at the iPod 5.5g --> pure silver LOD --> FiiO E12 --> xba-40.

Seeing as portable DACs are out of my budget, does anyone have suggestions on laptop dacs? I see the ELE DAC as a possible purchase.. Just want to know if there are any other suitors

Check Hifimediy Sabre DAC. 

post #154 of 278
I've put my brand new XBA-30 on sale on ebay in case any head-fiers in the UK are interested. After a few days I decided that I was happier with the sound of the XBA-40 plus e11 instead.... I found the e11 benefits the sound of the latter but maybe not to such a degree as anticipated so contemplating on the C5 before I return the e11 back to amazon...
post #155 of 278
Thread Starter 

So I managed to get a Headstage Arrow 3G. How does it fare against the E12 when paired with the 40s? Here are my quick impressions.

 

Source/Components

  • Ipod 5.5g Rockboxed --> Pure Silver LOD --> E12/Headstage Arrow 3G
  • 320kpbs MP3s

 

  • E12 --> 0db, Bass Boost On, No crossfeed
  • Headstage Arrow 3g --> Bass 2, Cross 0, Gain 1, IMP 0

 

1.Ab Soul - Book of Soul

The E12 manages to give a a full sound. The mids sing with this amp, great tonal balance all around. Bass sounds clean. Ab Souls voice a bit forward. Despite reports of the E12 closing soundstage, it remains unaffected. The Arrow pretty much sounds almost exactly the same, with the difference being the Bass set at 2 is more prominent. 

Winner: Tie

 

2. Daft Punk Digital Love: 

Starting with Arrow, lots of detail and the Bass boost really kicks in when the beat drops. Layering is superb and sound is fast. E12 offers a bit bigger soundstage, but the vocals seem a touch recessed. When the beat drops. the E12 offers a cleaner bass drum. Layering is almost on par with the Arrow. 

Winner: Arrow

 

 

3. Stevie Wonder - My Cherie Amour

E12 showcases great balance and a big soundstage. Instrument separation and layering on point. The Arrow slightly closes the soundstage a bit, and the bass 2 setting allows a more prominent bass guitar. Setting it to bass 1, makes the bass just right.

Winner: E12

 

4. Foo Fighters - Everlong

The Arrow, again, show cases the bass boost beautifully. The detail in the hi hats and drums sound great. Daves voice are smoothed over with the rest of the song. The E12 increases the soundstage and makes everything sound fuller. Imaging is superb with the E12, Dave's voice isn't smoothed over with the song but, rather plucked and placed right in the middle.

Winner: E12

 

5. Bass Nectar - Empathy (Original Mix)

E12 showcases clean bass and tonal balance all around. Vocals a bit recessed in this track, but I feel like it's produced in this fashion on purpose. The Arrow however... PERFECT for this track. Awesome submersive bass and balance. 

Winner: Arrow

 

Conclusion: The Arrow is a feature packed amp and the bass boost is great when needed, but sometimes a bit overbearing with the rest of the song. Setting the bass boost to 1 with the Arrow I feel takes a bit too much bass off. The E12 on the other hand can produce bass very cleanly and accurately, while giving that punch. Both amps perform exceptionally well, with the Arrow showcasing it's strengths with it's bass and multiple features, with slightly forward mids, and the E12 having the better mids of the two, and the better soundstage. I feel that the synergy of the E12 + 40s with the Ipod 5.5g sounds best to my ears. Still contemplating what to do with the Arrow...biggrin.gif

post #156 of 278

i got the XBA-40, and i really do love them 
for a $300 and under iem they're pretty good for the price 

post #157 of 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkportent View Post

I've put my brand new XBA-30 on sale on ebay in case any head-fiers in the UK are interested. After a few days I decided that I was happier with the sound of the XBA-40 plus e11 instead.... I found the e11 benefits the sound of the latter but maybe not to such a degree as anticipated so contemplating on the C5 before I return the e11 back to amazon...

 

If you have the money, the upgrade to the c5 is totally worth it for the xba 40.  Also, another great and very cheap upgrade which greatly improves your sound, is to buy some sony tips because the tips that came with the xba 40 basically suck, seriously.  They kinda veil the sound, and don't let any bass through so all you get is a very dark sounding iem.  Once you get some sony silicon tips, there will be less veil and if you have the right fit, they somehow enhance the bass as well, making it sound really good.

 

I too, also had the e11 and retired it as soon as I took a listen to the c5.  The c5 makes the music brighter than the e11, but doesn't make it annoyingly bright, it takes away 1 more layer of that veil from the xba 40's.  With bass boost, the C5 makes orchestral music come to life.  The large drums, trombones, and trumpets can be felt as well as heard.  Listening to Hans Zimmerman's pirates of the carribbean soundtrack puts you inside a large theater.  I noticed instantly that rock/metal sounded alot more lively on the c5 as well.  As I've said somewhere before on these forums, I kinda shyed away from strings and accoustics since getting the xba 40.  I really enjoy them now with the C5.  And lastly I feel that the bass hump on the c5's boost is alot lower than indicated (80hz).

post #158 of 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by chengsta View Post

 

If you have the money, the upgrade to the c5 is totally worth it for the xba 40.  Also, another great and very cheap upgrade which greatly improves your sound, is to buy some sony tips because the tips that came with the xba 40 basically suck, seriously.  They kinda veil the sound, and don't let any bass through so all you get is a very dark sounding iem.  Once you get some sony silicon tips, there will be less veil and if you have the right fit, they somehow enhance the bass as well, making it sound really good.

 

I too, also had the e11 and retired it as soon as I took a listen to the c5.  The c5 makes the music brighter than the e11, but doesn't make it annoyingly bright, it takes away 1 more layer of that veil from the xba 40's.  With bass boost, the C5 makes orchestral music come to life.  The large drums, trombones, and trumpets can be felt as well as heard.  Listening to Hans Zimmerman's pirates of the carribbean soundtrack puts you inside a large theater.  I noticed instantly that rock/metal sounded alot more lively on the c5 as well.  As I've said somewhere before on these forums, I kinda shyed away from strings and accoustics since getting the xba 40.  I really enjoy them now with the C5.  And lastly I feel that the bass hump on the c5's boost is alot lower than indicated (80hz).

The hybrids are THE sony tips, anyway I am using my XBA-4 with the stock tips of the pannasonic HJE-900 and they sound better no doubt, but my XBA-1 I'm using the smallest hybrid (the magenta one).

post #159 of 278

Every now and then I'd pop out the white sony tips that came with my 40's and sure enough, they suck.  I'm not sure if we're talking about the same tips, but the best ones I got was from buying a cheap sony mdr ex 58v for roughly $20 and taking those tips.

post #160 of 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by chengsta View Post

Every now and then I'd pop out the white sony tips that came with my 40's and sure enough, they suck.  I'm not sure if we're talking about the same tips, but the best ones I got was from buying a cheap sony mdr ex 58v for roughly $20 and taking those tips.

I'm pretty sure all of the sony tips are hybrids (two kinds of rubber, the outer one and the inner colored one) but I haven't seen the whites one in person, maybe those are different, anyway, my two pairs of first gen XBA came with hybrids (the same that came with my EX310lp). Those are really nice tips, but the bore is kinda small, the bore in the tips of my pannies is bigger. 

post #161 of 278

yea, i guess those are the right tips.  2 different types of rubbers.  The ones that came with my xba 40's however were thicker, and some had foam underneath.  For some reason none of them work too well, although I thought it should by their looks.

post #162 of 278
post #163 of 278

I guess, Currawong has reported that he received 12 Ohm XBA-40.

post #164 of 278
Thread Starter 
8 ohms per the box.. i was confused too. Some sites did say 12 ohms. http://www.head-fi.org/t/653564/review-xba-3-vs-xba-30-vs-xba-40#post_9232389 Also, as much as I love my 40s, they are definitely not worth more than $150 (even though I paid 170 for them lol)
post #165 of 278

As far as I can remember Currawong said that on his box is 12 Ohm.

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