The entire Sony XBA Line is stunning: very sensitive and well executed lines, comfortable despite size, flat cable, nice case, a 90'plug. The first time I tried the Xba3 the sound wasn't appealing at all. Unnatural and spiky treble, (some people refers as metallic sound) and didn't cope well with my recordings. Nowadays I understand the praise and it has to do (IMO) with music genres: I find the xba-3 perfect for jazz recording, in fact I never hear anything closer in terms of overall satisfaction for Jazz, classical is also very enjoyable. I decided to mod them, I used micropore tape to reduce a bit the treble, although they lost a bit of detail they sound better for me. My main source is an Iphone 4s. The sound is quite melodic in my opinion. The sound changes a lot using a laptop/ipod/mp3 player or amps.