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Sony XBA-H1 and XBA-H3 Hybrid Dynamic and BA IEM - Page 123

post #1831 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post

Does the tape mod reduce the amount of slam/impact in the bass though?

 

It basically increases resistance against driver extrusion, which results in slightly less slam and more damping / better control.

post #1832 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberto01 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by axismundi View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberto01 View Post
 

I burn my CDs into 24/96 WAV files and run them through foobar2000 with 45 equalization bands available to a E-MU 0202 USB DAC with 24 bit capacity.

 

You do realise I hope that this will not bring you any benefits at most, depending on the converter you use it may actually slightly degrade the audio quality - resampling is not trivial. All this combined with huge waste of space and processing power. That is if I read properly what you are trying to say - i.e. convert RedBook audio CD (16bits/44.1Khz) to 24/96

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by helljudgement View Post
 

Redbook disc stores 16/44.1 lossless and nothing more. Ripping at higher sample rate waste both time and space.

 

Sure and I had not doubt that someone was going to point that out quickly, just as it happened.  I realized that in the process of ripping my CDs.  Then, I ran a test that had to do with a 16 vs 24 bit rip of the same track and the 16 bit track ran into quite noticeable distortion much quicker when I tried to raise the EQ sliders up to the level that my ears wanted.  I don't remember exactly what the 16 vs 24 rip test consisted of.  So, I am going to rip a track at 16/44.1 and the same track at 24/96 and report back with the results.

 

Excuse me for using the word "burn" instead of "rip" in my original post.  Ha, ha.


Finally, I have a chance to report back with the results of this test.

 

I ripped two CDs at 16bits/44.1kHz and compared the tracks with the same tracks previously ripped at 24bits/96kHz.  I listened carefully and also did some blind tests.  Here are the results:

 

Short version:  On first listen they sound very similar or the same.  I picked the 24/96 tracks as sounding just marginally better.  The difference was so small that it could easily be due to confirmation bias.  And it was, because when running blind tests, I could not pick the 24/96 tracks as sounding better more times than I picked the 16/44.1 tracks as sounding better.

 

Long version:  Several years ago, looking for sound improvements I heard about 24 bit sound cards and external DAC units and the improvement that those made over the stock motherboard sound chips.  I thought that the main reason was their capability of playing 24 bit files.  I got an external 24/192 DAC and at the moment, I thought that ripping my CDs to 24 bits, would be the way to go to get the sound improvement over the stock motherboard sound chip.  At the time I had no idea how CD tracks related to resolution (bits) and sampling rate (kHz).  I did wonder that whatever the case was, if the CD tracks were not at a quality level equal or at the 24 bit depth, then a 24 bit rip was not going to take them to a 24 bit sound quality.  Over time, I realized that CD tracks had to relate to resolution and sampling rate just like any file stored on a hard drive.  Over more time, the 16/44.1 quality is what I thought about CD tracks.  That made we want to run this test and I was about to do so, when you made your comments about CD tracks having a 16/44.1 sound quality.  Your comments made me go ahead and not wait longer to run the test.  The results were as expected and my ears could not differentiate between the CD tracks ripped at 24/96 from those ripped at 16/44.1.

 

In my previous post I wrote the following:  "...Then, I ran a test that had to do with a 16 vs 24 bit rip of the same track and the 16 bit track ran into quite noticeable distortion much quicker when I tried to raise the EQ sliders up to the level that my ears wanted.  I don't remember exactly what the 16 vs 24 rip test consisted of.  So, I am going to rip a track at 16/44.1 and the same track at 24/96 and report back with the results."  The distortion mentioned here happened when comparing audio drivers and DACs.  There was no difference in distortion when comparing 16 vs 24 bit tracks keeping all other variables constant.

 

Now, I am piqued about how much better a 24 bit track sounds over a 16 bit track, knowing that most recordings are not sold as 24 bit tracks.

 

What about vinyl records?  How much better is the sound quality of those over their equivalent CD recordings?


Edited by Alberto01 - 4/13/14 at 12:29pm
post #1833 of 2450

Wrong thread bro.

post #1834 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkST View Post
 

Wrong thread bro.

 

Ha, ha.  All this comes from this post about waiting 400+ hours before passing a judgement on the XBA-H3's sound quality.

post #1835 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post
 

 

It basically increases resistance against driver extrusion, which results in slightly less slam and more damping / better control.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post
 

Review title: Sony XBA-H3: Crank it up to 11

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

 

 

 

 

Before I start, I'd like to thank James and Eke for letting me borrow these. James, whom I had never talked to before until recently, graciously let me borrow his gear for a week while it was touring in the states, on a tour managed by Eke.

 

I must also forewarn that I do not generally like Sony as a company for personal reasons. Regardless, I have tried to evaluate these with as little anti-Sony bias as possible. :tongue:

 

So, it seems like Sony's smartphones (along with most smartphones for that matter) have been getting bigger and bigger recently. Apparently, Sony thought they should do this to their IEMs as well. Welcome to the XBA-H3, by far the largest IEM I have ever worn. I don't think pictures quite do the H3s justice as to just how big they are. Regardless, they're pretty darn comfortable with a shallow insertion, and they don't feel like they're going to fall out of your ear anytime soon. After a couple hours of use, I'm now feeling slight pressure against part of my ears, with some redness, but nothing that hurts enough to make me want to take them out.

 

The cable is not the best in the world. The cable exits the IEM parallel to the shell, and then curves around and over your ear; they don't have enough memory to where you can form the cable exactly to your ears like you can with the "standard" Westone, UE, etc. cable, but don't have enough give to wrap around and conform to the ears on their own like the RHA MA750s did either. This weird cable makes it awkward to try and put away in the case, since you have to smash the cable so it's back to being completely parallel with the housings. I'm also not a huge fan of the cable either, but regardless it doesn't feel like it will break any time soon. I really, really like the strain relief on both the 3.5mm connector and the earpieces themselves.

 

While I'm around here, a quick word about the microphone. I talked to a few people with these in, and they all said the microphone's quality was pretty mediocre at best. One girl said it sounded like I was "mumbling through a tube". Compared to the Ultimate Ears UE900's microphone, where I could talk to people while standing next to a busy road and they could hear me clearly, this one sucks. Nobody is buying these for the microphone though, so let's continue.

 

The housings themselves feel like they are pretty nicely built, no ultra-thick bullet proof materials here, but they should withstand a good amount of wear and tear, probably more than most audiophiles will ever subject their gear to.

 

Because there are fairly large vents on the sides of the housing around the dynamic driver, the isolation with the stock hybrid tips is hideous, and with my franken-tips (Klipsch stems put on the nozzle, followed by Meelectronics tri-flange tips cut down to bi-flange) the isolation is better, but don't expect these to replace your earplugs anytime soon. I'm guessing I can get ~16dB isolation with this setup, maybe a bit more? Stock it's probably around 12dB. I didn't notice a massive difference between these and the stock hybrid tips sonically.

 

Now if you can't tell by now, I'm nitpicking the hell out of these IEMs, as I usually do with all the gear I try. If you've stuck through it this far (good job), I'll get on to the sound quality now where these really shine.

 

Upon first putting them into my ears, I was slightly disappointed by their sound. The bass extends into the lower midrange quite badly, making them initially sound a bit like some of those low-fi "enhanced bass" headphones that consumers buy like hotcakes. Despite this, the bass really isn't at basshead levels like some other IEMs I've heard. I would call the bass moderately elevated, with a bit of a mid-bass hump, slight sub-bass rolloff, and again, some bleeding. I get the feeling there is a slight disconnect from where the subwoofer/woofer/whatever ends and the BAs take over. Maybe enough to where there's a slight dip somewhere in the midrange that would match up with the crossover between the BAs and dynamic driver.

 

Oops, I've gone and done it again... I've sat here and complained about how bad they sound too. I must just hate the H3s, huh? Not at all. Absolutely not. Once I cranked up the volume and listened to the H3s even more, I became addicted to their sound.

 

The rest of the midrange is fairly uneventful, up until the upper midrange/lower treble where there's a slight emphasis that not only adds a bit of crunch/bite to recordings (which I think a lot of headphones seem to lack, as most headphones/earphones I've listened to as of late have a bit of a dip here) and emphasizes female vocals. The treble sounds quite smooth without being void of detail. These are no detail machines, but there seems to be a polite emphasis in the upper treble to give them a bit of clarity/detail and give cymbals a nice lively sound, without ever hurting your ears or sounding metallic like I've found all TWFK IEMs to sound to some extent or another. I love the treble here; it's incredibily rare for me to hear an IEM that doesn't sound painful or dull, but strikes a delicate balance somewhere in the middle. Usually this combination of a thick lower midrange, emphasized upper midrange and easygoing treble leads to an earphone that doesn't sound all that clear to my ears. However, the H3 defies this and continues to sound relatively clear given its overall tonal balance.

 

Presentation wise, the soundstage on the H3s is not too big or expansive, but the instrument separation is good. With the H3s, both male and female vocals seem to be put placed nice and forward, with instruments sitting close behind.

 

So what is my final conclusion on the H3? I absolutely love the sound of these, it's just too bad that the whole package is a bit disappointing. The poor isolation and wonky cable would probably limit my real-world usability for these earphones. This sound signature isn't for everyone, but I personally really enjoyed it. If they didn't bleed into the midrange as much, isolated better, and the housings weren't as long as my ears are wide, I would insta-buy these. I am still tempted at the current $249 sale price on Amazon though.

 

Good review. Generally a fair description of the sound, except that I think you will find the lower mids to be quite a bit cleaner with the tape mod and I for one really like the sound with the tape mod in place. At $250, it would be hard pressed to find something to get at that price range and it stacks well against earphones that are twice or more the price.

post #1836 of 2450

Thanks for the suggestion James and Ned. Do I need to use electrical tape, or can I use some clear scotch tape? I'm a bit reluctant to use electrical tape since it might leave residue and this isn't my set...

 

Edit: Tried some scotch tape, I can't really hear much of a difference to be honest.


Well, the $250 sale was enough to convince me to buy a pair. They will be on their way in 3-5 weeks from Amazon.


Edited by mechgamer123 - 4/14/14 at 12:31am
post #1837 of 2450
^ You can use duct tape on my set, no problem. Just make sure to poke only a very small hole with a needle, or else the effect will not be noticeable.
post #1838 of 2450

Got a listen to H3 and H2 on a Sony Center just a few hours ago. While the environment isn't ideal, I do get a farily good impression - unfortunately it is only the impression that is good, the SQ is however slightly disappointing. They ain't bad per se, but I kind of expecting a little more. Perhaps I have been spoiled by DUNU DN-900/1K/2K and FX850.

post #1839 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

Got a listen to H3 and H2 on a Sony Center just a few hours ago. While the environment isn't ideal, I do get a farily good impression - unfortunately it is only the impression that is good, the SQ is however slightly disappointing. They ain't bad per se, but I kind of expecting a little more. Perhaps I have been spoiled by DUNU DN-900/1K/2K and FX850.

Hi, what did you use as your source when you auditioned the H3 and H2?

post #1840 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicalViola View Post
 

Hi, what did you use as your source when you auditioned the H3 and H2?

 

Just my Xperia TX. Could have used the FiiO X5 which I have with me at the time, but I don't see the need to.

post #1841 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post

the SQ is however slightly disappointing. They ain't bad per se, but I kind of expecting a little more. Perhaps I have been spoiled by DUNU DN-900/1K/2K and FX850

Pretty much what I've been reading a lot of in a few threads. Anyone who's heard both the H3 and FX850 would inadvertently choose the latter, have yet to find one who would choose the H3 over it.
post #1842 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

 

Just my Xperia TX. Could have used the FiiO X5 which I have with me at the time, but I don't see the need to.

I see. I thought that perhaps the X5 would be more able to drive the H3/H2 as they seem to be more power hungry than the Dunu DN-900/1K/2K. Maybe you can try again the next time you pass by a Sony Center. :)

post #1843 of 2450

Unlikely I will try them again. They are only available on very few Sony Center here, and I don't expect to see another one anytime soon.

post #1844 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

Unlikely I will try them again. They are only available on very few Sony Center here, and I don't expect to see another one anytime soon.

If you're in KL, there are quite a few, but I guess there are not that many in Johor?

post #1845 of 2450

I was actually in Mid Valley, going home to Johor tomorrow though. 

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