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Sony XBA-4iPs distorting and clipping with iPhone output if not on high volume

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-Fi-ers.

 

Having been around the forums a good number of times over the last few years I finally have a question that I hope you of more knowledge than I can help me answer.

 

I bought a pair of SONY XBA-40iPs IEMs and firstly, they sound great, a real step up from my usual earbuds as I finally have a job and I splashed out a bit.

 

However, my first listen struck me with nothing but horror.  On my iPhone 4S they sound great, but only at high volume.

 

when the volume dips below around 8/10 (too loud for me to listen to at any length) the clarity stays crystal clear for a few seconds before suddenly distorting and introducing a great deal of 'fuzz' and apparent low end clipping.  As soon as I push the volume back up again the clarity snaps back and they sound fantastic again.

 

I cannot replicate the issue on my MacBook, on which they sound great at any volume.

 

Could my iPhone's jack/sound chip be failing?  Is it a burn-in or impedance issue?  I have heard Balanced Armature monitors only need a very short burn-in.

 

It would be great if you guys could shed some light on the situation, as my primary music player at work is my iPhone!

 

Cheers In advance!

post #2 of 4

I can't say if it is a problem with your iPhone jack or sound chip failing. I can guarantee that it is not an impendence issue or burn in issue. I have the XBA-4iPs myself and have used them with iPods, iPhones, HTC One, Fiio X3, Sansa Clip and my laptop. I have always been able to listen to all levels of audio without what your describing. I still don't have a definite judgment of burn in with headphones, I think it has changed my AKG Q701's a tiny bit but I never noticed anything with my XBA-4s. I would seriously consider having your iPhone checked out and wouldn't be surprised if there is something wrong there. 

 

Have you tried other headphones on your iPhone and does it produce any problems?

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi, thanks for the response.

 

I have spent all day trying to get to the bottom of the issue, i fished out a number of my old iPod and my girlfriend's iPhone 4, all drove them with a a rich, detailed dynamic.  SO the conclusion I've arrived at is that, as my iPhone can still drive my older headphones without distortion and sounds great at the 'slightly-higher-than-bearable' volume (and for a number of seconds before the fuzz kicks back in) it seems like the integrated amp is on it's last legs.

 

I went ahead and ordered a Fiio E1, I'm hoping that by bypassing the integrated amp and driving the XBA's with the Fiio amp circuitry from the Line-out I'll bypass the troublesome component.

 

Frustrating, but hey, a small price to pay for the amazing improvements over my previous kit (five year old beats - yes I was young and Naive) :P.

 

As for the burn-in, I'm also on the fence, but I'm slipping down.  Start of the the day they were ok, a little too mid heavy, lacking a little high end, but during the playtime today the sound just feels different, a lot more detail in the bass and sparkle in the high end.

 

... this could become an expensive obsession XD I feel at home here already.

post #4 of 4
I really like the line out sound much better. Initially I was using the fiio E07 and to me they sound much cleaner.

I also also agree that it can get expensive, I have a few higher end headphones and I still always have my eyes peeled for a good deal on a new set. Each headphone sounds different and depending on the music, how I'm playing it and even mood I chose different ones.

Welcome to the disease.

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