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MDR-7550 vs XBA4

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have been using a new set of MDR-7550 that replaced my Shures 320. I have to say that they are a definitive improvment and I can be happier with them.  Burn in is still under way though I have noticed the top end has smoothed out over time as most other users have commented.  I am very intriguied with the XBA4 as this uses different technology similar to the GR07. I wonder if anybody owns both these headphones and give me some insight as how they compare. I am about to get the XBA4 at a killer price but I am not sure the benefits will outweight the investment considering I already own the MDR-7550.

post #2 of 9

I have the XBA-4, XBA-40, 7550 and the EX1000 hehe.

 

I'm not sure where you heard the XBA-4 and GR07 are similar. The XBA-4 is a 4 driver balanced armature earphone, the GR07 uses a bio-cellulose (synthetic wood / paper fibre essentially) dynamic driver. The GR07 is actually much closer to the 7550.

 

I wrote a review comparing the XBA-4 and EX1000 here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/608553/review-comparison-two-flagships-pass-in-the-night-sony-xba-4-review-vs-the-mdr-ex1000

 

Also I made a video review comparing the 7550 with the EX1000:

 

 

You could try and watch / read all of this and try to triangulate the differences between them all, but here (in my opinion) are the broad strokes:

 

The 7550 is my favourite IEM. It has a balanced, natural sound without the shrill highs that the EX1000 can produce.

 

The XBA-4 can sound very muddy and congested, and at times there is a metallic sheen to the sound. It can be unpredictable with sources and will very sound different on different sources on account of its strange impedance characteristics. It does not sound balanced at all, but has an interestingly involving soundstage and works extremely well with electronic / synthesised music where you have no natural reference point.

 

The XBA-40 is like the XBA-4 but the metallic sheen to the sound is corrected. Bass also seems a little tighter. The end result is that the XBA-40 sounds even darker than the XBA-4. Again this makes it great for electronic or if you can't stand sibilance, but otherwise is far from balanced.

 

Generally the XBA-3/30 are recommended over the XBA-4/40 (I've only heard the XBA-3 briefly) but if you want something different, the XBA-4/40 is it! However in terms of quality I wouldn't really say it offers any improvement at all on the 7550 - it just sounds different. I suppose you get more isolation / practicality.

 

If you are curious... I am planning to sell my XBA-4s because I like the XBA-40 more heh.

post #3 of 9

The most annoying thing about the XBA-4 is the "metallic sheen" which a_recording has mentioned. I found that with EQ it could be fixed. It is much easier to find a good deal with XBA-4.

 

I don't own the 7550 but I do own the EX-1000 and I am one of those lucky dozen who does not find the treble harsh. The EX-1000 in my opinion is much more natural sounding IEM. It does the music just right however I found the soundstage and instrument separation i for XBA-4 to be better. 

 

I dont think I will ever recommend the XBA-4 to anyone, the only reason I kept it is because I have never spend so much time with an IEM in order to make it sound good. I have formed a so called "special bond" with it. I appreciate it for what it is and on a good day I will praise it but it should be avoided.

 

Not to make things more complicated but I have been testing the ACS-T15 and to my ears it shares a look of its SQ with EX-1000.Its bass and mids is very similar to EX-1000. It sounds great right out of sansa clip+. I think you should read about it, it might help.

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

The most annoying thing about the XBA-4 is the "metallic sheen" which a_recording has mentioned. I found that with EQ it could be fixed. It is much easier to find a good deal with XBA-4.

 

I don't own the 7550 but I do own the EX-1000 and I am one of those lucky dozen who does not find the treble harsh. The EX-1000 in my opinion is much more natural sounding IEM. It does the music just right however I found the soundstage and instrument separation i for XBA-4 to be better. 

 

I dont think I will ever recommend the XBA-4 to anyone, the only reason I kept it is because I have never spend so much time with an IEM in order to make it sound good. I have formed a so called "special bond" with it. I appreciate it for what it is and on a good day I will praise it but it should be avoided.

 

Not to make things more complicated but I have been testing the ACS-T15 and to my ears it shares a look of its SQ with EX-1000.Its bass and mids is very similar to EX-1000. It sounds great right out of sansa clip+. I think you should read about it, it might help.

Sounds like what I had to do with the 40s lol.

 

Once you get the best source for it, the 40s are brilliant.

post #5 of 9

i think it really depends on your taste. they are different animal.

but the EX series is something that really unique in the IEM market.

XBA is more leaning to today's consumer tastes.

 

for me, i definitely like the EX1000/800/600 or 7550 more. 

post #6 of 9

Different strokes for different folks as always :3

 

Personally I think the XBA-40 takes what was a coloured IEM with huge glaring flaw (the metallic sheen in the XBA-4) and simply makes it a coloured IEM. I have always compared it to something like the SM3 or ASG-1 because the out of box experience of the XBA's is literally to think, "This is awful".

 

The kind of instrument separation and layering on the XBA-4 / 40 is amazing. I really like it because it brings a etherality to a lot of music I listen to. But the source impedance issues are definitely a huge bugbear because its so impossible to predict for any one person how it might sound. I like the sound of my XBA-40 on the iP5 and Objective 2. I don't like it on my 4G shuffle, the metallic sheen returns.

 

The EX1000 / 7550 are just plain classic quality Sony, but they are also somewhat impractical as well.

 

That was the conclusion I came to in my review some time ago and it hasn't really changed since getting the 7550 or XBA-40.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well after some thought I think the XBA´s are more of an aquired taste than a top end model. So, I have disregarded the purchase.

Instead I have gone with the GR07 Vsonic Bass edition. I hope I spent my money right.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIQUE View Post

Well after some thought I think the XBA´s are more of an aquired taste than a top end model. So, I have disregarded the purchase.

Instead I have gone with the GR07 Vsonic Bass edition. I hope I spent my money right.

 

I think that you probably have! I love the GR07 myself... have been very much wanting to get the BE.

post #9 of 9
Do mdr 1000/800/600/7550 have enough sub bass rumble ?
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