james444, thanks for the pics and the further impressions.
But Houston, we've got a problem.
kind of hard to believe that the Japanese let XBA-H3 go to production knowing that its downgrade. Could be that the first batch production have some tuning issues and sound completely off compare to test model?
Well, there's always the possibility that my old ears are WAY off the mark. I haven't seen these impressions btw, do you have a link?
More XBA-H3 sound impressions and a short comparison to the XBA-3 after 20 hours of "burn-in":
I don't think these have been changing much since yesterday, bass is still boomy and dominant no matter which test track I choose. Trying to get a better idea of their tonality, I bring the XBA-3 into the mix... and sure enough, these are even closer to the H3 than the XBA-4. There's nothing of the XBA-4's strangely skewed upper frequencies in the H3 and in fact I'd say the latter's mids and highs sound pretty darn close to the XBA-3's. Their bass, however, is good deal more bloated and obnoxious, so I try to equalize it down to XBA-3 levels.
EQed down by -4db @ 80Hz , the H3's bass quantity starts sounding about on par with the XBA-3's and I can finally try to compare their quality, which, to my ears, is somewhat of a mixed bag. On the one hand the H3's dynamic driver adds slightly more natural timbre and effortlessness to the bass range, but strangely enough, even at comparable amplitudes, the H3's bass sounds a tad worse defined and slightly more blurred than the XBA-3's. There's seems to be something odd going on down there, maybe some kind of interference between DD and BAs, idk, but the H3's low end doesn't sound entirely clean and well controlled to these ears.
Once again bringing the EX1000 into the comparison, it's so immediately apparent how different these are to me, much more linear and controlled in bass and overall just leaner, cleaner and more sophisticated.
That said, for those who love the XBA-3 sound, but would like significantly more bass, the XBA-H3 may be the ticket. As someone who thinks the XBA-3 have more than enough bass punch and would rather trade some mid-bass for a little more deep bass extension, I'd say the XBA-H3 are barking up the wrong tree, as they just add an evenly distributed heap of bass on top of what's already there in the XBA-3.
Sounds disappointing. I was picturing something more along the lines of the 1Plus2, ASG-2, or whatever else has a hybrid design. It's fairly delusional, but you get the idea. The review by other members gives a different impression, though:
It would be nice if the H3 does give that "soundstage" and "front row" feel that's been described. That's what I want out of my music right now.
I'm all into slabs of non bleedin' bass, as the 90 seems to be the current champ, and I think I've mastered the H art; put yer 90 into the deep freeze, dominate your Walkman with the little weed, the XBA-1, totally for a few days, learn to like it through gritted teeth and brainwash yer bonce with it's, er, signature, and Mr H will sound like Mr JH 13. At max volume my E 475 'man should get a tolerable sound body, and a reviewer elsewhere liked the H1 through an Ipod 5, and my amp is superior.
And if it's headphone amp time, fair enough, I've been perusing them for awhile as it is. The F886 is in my sights as well.
The Big Earphone lobby strikes again!