So I received my H3 today. Here are my initial impressions:
I still need to wrap my head around the XBA-H3 some more, but I was expecting quite worse than what I'm hearing. I can't say this is the heaviest earphone I've heard note-wise (it's definitely is 3-Dish and has weight in the sound, but I've heard other earphones with weightier notes in the 3-D realm), but the combination of weight and wide soundstage I will have to think hard about what I've heard to match it. Also, to be such a bassy earphone, this is one of the most detailed universals I have heard in vocals. And I do mean DETAILED vocals!! Sounds great to me, although some may think it's too much. The bass sounds a touch muddy to me (I went straight to the new Sony foam/silicon hybrids), but I do expect that to clear up with burn-in. The bass is enough to satisfy a basshead, but it's not in the far reaches of of being a basshead earphone. This is another full sounding earphone - like the ATH-IM70 - that is super rich and refined. Yes, much more refined than the IM70 (and I still love it's sound), and richly detailed. I can say right now this is what I dreamed for the EX1000 and EX600 to sound like in some sort of weird combination. The highs extend beautifully with none of that stabbing my eardrums with daggers sound. Lots of space around the instruments. Look this earphone, I think, will have too much bass for audiophiles, but will be perfect for audiophiles (like me) who love bass (if that makes sense). I'm using the X3 DAP, and I can say even right now this is the best Sony earphone I've ever heard! I still own the Sony XBA-4 (paid quite a bit more for it than I paid for the XBA-H3). The XBA-H3 absolutely destroys the XBA-4 to my ears. Well done Sony! More solid impressions to come later, of course. Before you ask me what is the sound signature comparable too, I don't know. It sounds like a mixture of top tiers I've heard. Then it sounds uniquely like itself to me. I need to sort this signature out, but I like it. I initially was going to say the mids are recessed, but they aren't. There's just so much space between instruments. In case you're wondering, I'm digging this earphone already ... big time.
Oh, as for fit. I had major problems with the fit of the EX-1000, EX-600, and 7550. All three felt heavy in my ears and tended to sag and feel like they wanted to pop out. The body of the H3 - I believe - is bigger than the EX-1000, but somehow feel more comfortable and stable. I'm thinking this is because it's made with a light material (not the metals that made up the EX-600 and EX-1000) and a bit difference in the shape of it. Also, the new hybrid foam tips are holding it in place inside of my ears, so far so good.