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Sony's New 2014 flagship IEM - XBA Z5 - Page 37

post #541 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by qsk78 View Post
 

Interesting. What was the source?

Sometimes people insert very expensive headphones into iphones or similar and say that it does not sound as expected.

To get a really great sound out of H3 I use a portable amp, for instance.. 

if you refere to my post of the xba-H3 my source is a FiiO x3, feeding the H3 via headphone-out

post #542 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerelmx1986 View Post
 

if you refere to my post of the xba-H3 my source is a FiiO x3, feeding the H3 via headphone-out

Ok. Thanks!

post #543 of 3808

 

 

 

Have got the XBA-Z5 for a week and have my pair burn-in for nearly 50 hours so far. Here is my review:

 

Workmanship:

 

In my initial impression I posted in the beginning of this thread, I am not that satisfied on Z5's earphone body as I thought its workmanship does not meet the standard and quality of IEM costing HK$5,000/US$ 699. However, when I got my hands on it and have a detail look, I start to feel it is really metallic and it has a little bit weight of metal, and the earphone body is nicely built and very sturdy. I went to local Sony store again and grabbed an A3 demo then compared, conclude that A3 earphone body is really 'plastic', but Z5 is built with more detail, texture and quality.

 

Sound:

 

My source is ZX1, driving the Z5 with my preset EQ settings, direct phone out without amping, playing various English/Canton Pop.

 

 

Bass: Strong, puncy, well textured and control. Definitely high quality bass expected to be heard from this rank of IEM. Not overwhelming to mids even playing songs with strong bass. Can confirm that the quantity of bass diminishes a bit after 50 hrs of burn-in. It is now well controlled(definitely not to the extent of bass head level, but still very punchy and powerful).

 

Mids: Very detailed. It is on par with UM Pro 30. With some songs I even hear more details than UM Pro 30! It is rich and revealing lots of musical instruments playing, at different positions and distances.

 

Highs: It is not bright, but the highs is re-produced in a way of airy and clarity, a soft approach with excellent micro-details, smooth and not cold. Overall the highs are really wonderful. I really love this presentation! I want to mention one more thing which might catch your attention. It is about the 'mechanic' sound in the highs which is heard in previous XBA IEM models, including H3. I am glad to tell you that this sound is gone! At least when pairing Z5 with my ZX1 I do not hear any of them. Magic from the re-designed 'T-shape' BA drivers and magnesium HD super tweeter BA drivers really work!!

 

Vocal: This part might disappoint some of head-fiers who prefer strong and forwarded vocal. Vocal presentation is a bit behind musical instruments. This is not the strength of Z5. On the other hand, it somehow reflects Z5 is more suitable to someone who likes to listen musical instruments more than vocals.

 

Soundstage: This is my most favorite part! Its special soundstage! its width and depth is an enhancement to provide three-dimensional soundstage, a very strong surrounding feeling, and airy. Z5 has a dark sound signature. As mentioned above, not bright, but with excellent extension on highs and excellent micro-details. If compare to the superb, super-wide soundstage of IE800, Z5 still loses, but I am already satisfied.

 

Comparison:

 

Compare with impressions of my Westone UM Pro 30 which I have listened for 3 months, and my H3 I owned before in the first half of year 2014.

 

H3 is definitely not at the level of Z5, Z5 wins a lot on all aspects, of course, it costs almost 2 times than H3. I read some of the forums, many users need an amp to squeeze the most from H3, not ideal to listen with direct phone out. When pairing H3 with my ZX1 before, its soundstage is congested and dull, no fun at all. After I got my UM Pro 30, I sold my H3 right the way. UM Pro 30 has showed me how ZX1 should sound. Now Z5 sounds similar to UM Pro 30 but more refined on every aspects.

 

- Bass: Z5 > H3 > UM Pro 30(but I reckon the bass BA driver of UM Pro 30 is already one of the best among all BA drivers IEM, it can re-produce 80% of 'dynamic drive-like' bass, powerful and punchy indeed)

 

- Mids: Z5 = UM Pro 30(Z5 is slightly better) > H3

 

- Highs: Z5 >> UM Pro 30 > H3 

 

- Soundstage: Z5 > UM Pro 30 > H3 (UM Pro 30 is airy, but not as airy as Z5, I start to feel it fits Sony's slogan: 'Feel the Air')

 

Also, most of the users have revealed that to unleash 100% power of Z5 is to install the balanced connection cable(MUC-M20BL1) and pair with PHA-3. I cannot imagine how good it will sound! It is already excellent now!

 

Thanks for reading!

post #544 of 3808

excellent review .. can't wait to try them for myself when I go to HK in Dec .. I'm planning to get them but really need to try them first.

post #545 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by lomenhk View Post
 

Soundstage: This is my most favorite part! Its special soundstage! its width and depth is an enhancement to provide three-dimensional soundstage, a very strong surrounding feeling, and airy. Z5 has a dark sound signature. As mentioned above, not bright, but with excellent extension on highs and excellent micro-details. If compare to the superb, super-wide soundstage of IE800, Z5 still loses, but I am already satisfied.

 

...

 

Also, most of the users have revealed that to unleash 100% power of Z5 is to install the balanced connection cable(MUC-M20BL1) and pair with PHA-3. I cannot imagine how good it will sound! It is already excellent now!

Ah... Was really afraid of hearing that. Only thing keeping me from considering these is whether or not Sony releases a player with the balanced connection. I don't want to have to change cables when commuting, otherwise I may as well save up for their Z7 and amp. 

 

Thanks for the review.

post #546 of 3808
 

 

Soundstage: This is my most favorite part! Its special soundstage! its width and depth is an enhancement to provide three-dimensional soundstage, a very strong surrounding feeling, and airy. Z5 has a dark sound signature. As mentioned above, not bright, but with excellent extension on highs and excellent micro-details. If compare to the superb, super-wide soundstage of IE800, Z5 still loses, but I am already satisfied.

 

 

 

It seems like Sony won't ever be able to beat their own soundstage record - EX1000 (this is all from reading reviews, not experience). 

post #547 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by uli87 View Post
 

 

It seems like Sony won't ever be able to beat their own soundstage record - EX1000 (this is all from reading reviews, not experience). 

 

In my memory, the width of Z5's sound stage is as wide as EX1000, or near. I listened to EX1000 4 years ago and my memory has become blurred...

post #548 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by uli87 View Post

It seems like Sony won't ever be able to beat their own soundstage record - EX1000 (this is all from reading reviews, not experience). 
Soundstage is only one aspect. Some people think the DITA Truths are better than the EX1000, even though the soundstage is smaller. Hifiguy thought that Z5 is the best universal he's ever heard (Although that was with the balanced cable and using the pha-3).

http://www.head-fi.org/t/695872/dita-the-answer-truth-edition/45#post_10328423
post #549 of 3808

Finally, a proper burn in review! Great stuff. Is it worth more than 2x the price of the H3?

post #550 of 3808

Nice review, lot of information plus I really liked the comparisons! :o

 

The Z5 and even the A3 are way out of my price range so I am looking at the A1 and A2.

 

 

Being a bit of a basshead (but I do like my mids) do you guys think the A2 with its bigger driver and vent has a much better sub-bass performance compared to the A1?

 

I much prefer sub-bass to mid-bass as I listen to a lot of DnB and Deep House. Also I would be driving them from an E18 dac/amp.

post #551 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackson 6 View Post
 

Finally, a proper burn in review! Great stuff. Is it worth more than 2x the price of the H3?

Hard to say. I got Z5 because I am addicted to the Hybrid IEM structure (BA + Dynamic drivers) and it is hard to find in the market, and Sony has made the sound tuning and engineering of Z5 mature. Of course if the price can be reduced a bit would make me and everyone happy, It is expensive indeed. I think if the price drops under US$490 it will become a great deal.

 

I reckon Z5 is not a level up, but more level up than H3 on every aspects, it wins a lot. Z5's sound signature is like H3, but to a very, very refined level. H3 definitely does not have the soundstage of Z5. From the experience of auditioning for a week, I begin to feel Z5 is at a total different high level that H3 cannot compare. In fact, H3 did not make me happy even I had 500+ hrs of burn-in. It ended up only with a general wide sound stage, that's it, highs and mids are congested, bass was good but sometimes found it muddy with some songs.

post #552 of 3808
There was a used Z5 for sale, I think $475.
post #553 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrior1975 View Post

There was a used Z5 for sale, I think $475.

Just about.

post #554 of 3808
I was close.
post #555 of 3808
Quote:
Originally Posted by lomenhk View Post
 

Hard to say. I got Z5 because I am addicted to the Hybrid IEM structure (BA + Dynamic drivers) and it is hard to find in the market, and Sony has made the sound tuning and engineering of Z5 mature. Of course if the price can be reduced a bit would make me and everyone happy, It is expensive indeed. I think if the price drops under US$490 it will become a great deal.

 

I reckon Z5 is not a level up, but more level up than H3 on every aspects, it wins a lot. Z5's sound signature is like H3, but to a very, very refined level. H3 definitely does not have the soundstage of Z5. From the experience of auditioning for a week, I begin to feel Z5 is at a total different high level that H3 cannot compare. In fact, H3 did not make me happy even I had 500+ hrs of burn-in. It ended up only with a general wide sound stage, that's it, highs and mids are congested, bass was good but sometimes found it muddy with some songs.

Thanks for that. I'm still very happy with the H3, but it seems the Z5 might be matching the ie 800, so it will be very tempting if I upscale my downloads and the price reduces.

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