Not a frequent poster here. 35 years of critical headphone listening behind me, sennheisser/AKG/Beyerdynamic/STAXen/Koss ESP-950/HiFIMan HE-500/Etymotics/Sony IEMs like ex-90 and ex-700.
I have a preference for clarity and resolution, coupled with smooth, liquid midrange and bass heft.
My impression of the XHA-H1 is that it is quite modern in its presentation. It goes deep in the bass, no problem reaching below audible range, without roll off (I tested this with test tones). Really low bass pulses in trance or other genres are present, and contribute to the musical presentation. In terms of tonality, standing bass for instance does quite well. The lower registers feel somewhat emphasized, but not disturbingly so. This seems to be in vogue, and I personally think it is a reasonable trade-off since the physical experience of the bass is absent with headphones.
The midrange is good. Really good. Voices, woodwind instruments, acoustic guitar et cetera sound well articulated.
The treble is smooth. Too rolled off in my opinion. Trumpets lack blare, cymbals lack crash, violins lack incisiveness in the attack. A bit. It should always be noted that the treble is where the individualities of the pinna (outer ear) is the largest, differences can easily be 10dB between individuals. For my ears, this makes the HBA-1 very easily listenable, never sharp, but then again a bit a bit lacking in air and attack. Tyll Hertsens would love it. :) Your ears WILL be different in this range.
Overall the presentation is smooth enough that the listener will likely be able to tune in to them and adjust to their peculiarities.
They do offer good transparency and insight into complex music, implying that there are no major issues with IM or other distortion.
So resolution is good, but not, compared to the highest end, outstanding.
Overall - pretty damn good and great value for money in my experience. Not quite my cup of tea in the treble, where my ears would simply have preferred higher mid-treble levels in order to open the presentation up a bit more.
Caveats - I haven't tried the phones with the different supplied tips since I got great isolation with the default ones. I'm curious about what benefits the foamy tips bring, if any. I'll experiment a bit to see what happens but do not expect the sound to change all that much given that I already have a good seal.
Edited by EntropyQ3 - 11/5/13 at 8:39am