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Upgrade from Sony MDX-EX500, for more detail. Possibly Sony XBA2?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all

I'm looking for some advice on a new set of IEMs to get as I have been struggling for months now to figure out what will really work for me based on fit and sound.

What I've previously had is as follows:

Klipsch Image X1
Sony MDR-EX500
Sony MDR-EX300
Senn CX300
Senn CX400
Soundmagic PL50

I'll give a bit of info about what I found good/bad about these, in the hopes that someone with more knowledge/experience than me on such matters can suggest something suitable.

Klipsch X1 -
Fit - I found these fitted great as I could really bury them into my head, and there was no bulk to prevent them pushing right in.
Sound - I love the sound from these for the most part, except they seemed a little muffled at the high end, and seemed to be missing detail/clarity that I was used to from the MDR-EX500, and from the Soundmagics.

Sony MDR-EX500 - I really like these, and have had a couple of pairs of them now, but they're not built to last, and I've had bits come offboth pairs of them, annoyingly. I am careful with them too.
Fit - Not quite as secure as the Klipsch buds but still pretty good. They push far enough into my ears that they generally seal well and stay put.
Sound - I can't really fault the sound as such on these except that current 'quest' if you like is to have something with more detail and hopefully an improved soundstage than the Sonys have. The Soundmagics have more in this respect but the Sonys are my favourite all rounders currently.

Sony MDR-EX300 - Same as the MDR-EX500 basically except that the sound seems less clear/detailed.

Senn CX300/CX400 - They sound ok but are slightly bass heavy and don't stay in my ears or seal well unfortunately.

Soundmagic PL50 -
Fit - I struggle to get these to fit properly in terms of getting a good seal/isolation, and thus the sound suffers a lot unless I really push them in and stay dead still. I bought some fancy foam buds for them that were a lot longer (I forget the brand sorry), but even they don't seal well. I've a feeling if I got thinner ones they might be ok, so this could be worth trying I guess.
Sound - love the sound. Not loads of bass, but I love the mid & top end on these. Favourite sound of all the sets I've had, when I can actually get them pushed in enough to seal and stay there.

I don't have a big budget so would be looking at spending £100 max I think, and even at that price I'd be gutted to buy something & find it's not right. I realise you have to take a chance though.

I like varied music, but a lot of ambient/electronic, and a reasonable amount of rock/metal.

I'm not looking for ridiculous bass, but more detail & clarity than I've had from existing sets, or say on a par with the sound magic, but a better fit and seal.

Was considering Sony XBA2 for the fact they're BA rather than dynamic, but they look like they'd have a good chance of fitting well.

Appreciate suggestions, thanks!
post #2 of 10

I would suggest the following IEM:


  1. Vsonic GR07BE (excellent...just ordered them)
  2. T-Peos H-100 (current IEM, don't like it's V shaped signature)
  3. Dunu N1000 (brand new in the market with good reviews)
  4. Rockit R-50



or check out these threads:





post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Appreciate the suggestions and links thanks!

I will do some reading up on those and he links to the other threads cheers.

Much obliged smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Update - I've actually bought myself a set of XBA4ip IEMs that were used on eBay:



I hope they don't turn out to be fake ones or something horrible like that.  The guy explained to me that the plug had been replaced for him by a hifi shop, and his communication seemed entirely reasonable so hopefully it'll all be good.  Excited to find out how they sound. :D

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
And a further update, I received them today and have given them a little bit of listening before doing anything else except settling the kids to bed.

Well I'm sort of in awe of them and underwhelmed at the same time - they seem to be a mixed bag, but on reflection I rather suspect this all comes down to the production work on the music I'm listening to, and potentially the rip quality (since I've not checked any tracks to see what they're at).

Some tracks sound simply incredible. Excuse the lack of correct terminology with my description, but compared to anything I've had before these are a revelation when they are good. Some tracks have awesome projection (soundstage?), with the instruments' sounds appearing not in my ears, but somewhere behind my eyes, actually in the middle of my head. Wonderful.

And the bass is way more than I expected on a well recorded track. I'm not a bass junkie but I would be disappointed if they were too shy. Certain tracks though actually provide bass that I can feel in my body like I'm in a room with a decent active subwoofer. Again, I've never had this from headphones before no matter how low they've gone, and the punch from these can be very tight.

But on other tracks, there is an absence of solid bass or separation, with the sound muddled together, and slightly brash with a notable emphasis on mids being pushy - not a sound I like, and this being on tracks that have sounded better from other sources.

This is direct through my iPhone 5s, and no headphone amp. I've got a cheap amp (E5?) but it's for the old 30 pin connectors so not sure I can use it now.

I think the poor sound at times is as I say due to encoding and production so I'll have to experiment. Listening with triple flange tips as they get right into my ears and seal well.

Love them though, as when these are good they're incredible! And better after I removed the foam plugs too. smily_headphones1.gif

Happy buyer (although the remote on the cable doesn't work)
post #6 of 10

new xba4 would cost around £200. how's the item condition?

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

They're not perfect I suppose but in good condition.

The jack plug has been replaced with a higher quality item, and the remote on the cable doesn't appear to work (unless there's something I'm not doing right? but I'm certain they're legit ones and not fakes or whatever.

As I say when I get good tracks the sound is remarkable.


Other IEMs/buds I've had (by way of comparison are MDR-EX500, MDR-EX500LP, MDR-EX300, Senn CX300, CX400, Klipsch X1, but these Sonys smash the sound from all of those very noticeably in all respects.


I did have an unpleasant awakening at 3.30am though after falling asleep with them in, and waking up to find a triple flange tip embedded deep inside my ear.  Had obviously detached, and I had to fish around in my ear with tweezers for about 10 minutes before I was able to remove it!!


Might have to add a pin prick of superglue to them to stay in place....

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Actually, scratch that. The remote does actually work after all so I presume I hadn't pushed in the plug fully or something dumb like that when I first tried.

I get volume and play/pause functions, but I'm not sure if it is meant to offer any other control than this? Will google it and see.... I'm not even sure if it's meant to have a mic and do call/anwer etc of if it's purely for the bits I've tried!

The remote is annoyingly high up towards the left earpiece though. Never had one where it's so high up.
Photo attached (hopefully, if it works...)

You can see the plug that's been fitted to it, and the tips I'm using. Can't recall what those tips were from. They fit the earpieces nicely but come off too easily.
I'm thinking a tiny bit of silicone sealant should hold them on tightly, but still be easy to remove if I want to change them at some point.

Which leads me to a question (and possibly there's a more suitable place to ask?), but based on the size & shape/style of the tips I have got currently (ie that will push a long way into my head), is there a more solid alternative that I could try? Ie very long tips that will give a really good seal, and with some degree of taper to them?

Incidentally, I awoke again in the night with the left bud embedded inside my ear. Not fun, so I'll definitely have to do something to secure these better!


Excuse the bits of dust etc on them!
post #9 of 10

thats a great photo

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Sorry Zamorin - I just had them in the car without a cloth to get the tiny bits of dust & finger prints off them!

Was just my iphone so it's a bit poor, but is just to show the plug, general condition, and the tips I'm using. smily_headphones1.gif
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