Are my earphones blown? (Sony XBA-1)
Dec 26, 2012 at 7:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

rroflyc

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I've recently purchased a pair of Sony's XBA-1, after going through some reviews on them. Decent set given the price, very interesting sounding for a non-audiophile like myself. However, noticed some "problems" lately while listening to Alt-J's "An Awesome Wave".
It seems that on a particular song ("Something Good"), my earphones gives out these noises from the right channel. I don't have a clear idea how to describe the noises, which only happens during the bridge right before the chorus. Something like an electric guitar's amplifier feedback maybe.
At first, I thought this was an extension from the distorted guitar that forms the background for the track. But then I haven't been able to replicate this noise on any other headphone or earphones I tried. Been through a few, namely Sony's MDR-EX300SL and some higher range a-Jays. Mostly dynamic drivers I must say, I haven't had the resources to test it against other pairs of balanced armatures.
Never experienced this sort of thing before, so I have no idea if my earphones are blown. They seem fine on everything else though. Hoping the mass of experience here can help me out. Much thanks in advance!
 
Here's some further information that could help.
Source: FLAC transcoded to Apple Lossless, played through an iPhone 4S direct. Volume set at 70-75%.
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 9:02 AM Post #2 of 16

goodvibes

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They are not 'blown'. Get a different copy of the file as transcodiing different compessions, though rare, can have issues. Play at a reduced volume and on other sources as well. If still there, it's likely just somehing you happen to notice more on these. If not, you've found an achilles heel that you will choose to live with or not.
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 10:22 AM Post #4 of 16

rroflyc

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They are not 'blown'. Get a different copy of the file as transcodiing different compessions, though rare, can have issues. Play at a reduced volume and on other sources as well. If still there, it's likely just somehing you happen to notice more on these. If not, you've found an achilles heel that you will choose to live with or not.

You mean this is a somewhat known issue, in that certain earphones have "weak points" to them that specific frequencies or sounds can't be reproduced accurately? I'd try to re-encode the song, to confirm the source.
Playing at a lower volume, the sound isn't present from what I can hear. Upon turning the volume up it's as overwhelming as ever. A hiss which is strong enough to put pressure on my ear. It seems to stem from the strange percussion in the background, for my untrained ear. Not particularly sure though.
Could this means the song is clipping my earphones? Why only on a single channel though?
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM Post #5 of 16

nihontoman

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please tell the exact location of that distortion sound and I may have an idea if it is the song or your headphones. there is something like that from the right side at about 2:11, are you referring to that?
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 1:09 PM Post #7 of 16

nihontoman

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Obvious section for the distortion would be from 1:27 up to the 1:37 mark, and the first bridge before the chorus. Are you using XBA-1's as well?


aaah, you mean these strange ticking/clicking noises from the right side? I think that's just the keyboard noise. I'm not sure if the piano in this piece is accoustic or electric but it has something to do with piano notes, be it action noise (if it's acoustic) or some artifacts from the synthesised signals...
 
edit: I heard those on my desktop speakers as well as my xb90ex iems...
 
nothing wrong with your phones. just some detail that you didin't notice ith other gear
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 6:43 PM Post #8 of 16

rroflyc

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My XBA-3 also makes a weird sound from the right ear piece at certain parts of certain songs.

Weird as in how? Are they clicking noises or distorted frequencies? For my case it tends to be overwhelming, fortunately it only affects a specific song that I know of.
Quote:
aaah, you mean these strange ticking/clicking noises from the right side? I think that's just the keyboard noise. I'm not sure if the piano in this piece is accoustic or electric but it has something to do with piano notes, be it action noise (if it's acoustic) or some artifacts from the synthesised signals...
 
edit: I heard those on my desktop speakers as well as my xb90ex iems...
 
nothing wrong with your phones. just some detail that you didin't notice ith other gear

It isn't the ticking/clicking noises, those are present in every earphone I've tested so far so I assume they're a part of the source.
The sound I'm referring to is a lot louder and more obvious than that, you'd know when you hear it since it practically overwhelms the whole channel when it happens. 
I don't think it's the source upon further listens, the file doesn't seem corrupted and playback through other IEM's doesn't yield the same result. Only with my Sony XBA-1. Got me wondering if I'm the only one, or does other XBA-1 users experience a similar flaw.
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 9:32 PM Post #10 of 16

Sprkd1

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Weird as in how? Are they clicking noises or distorted frequencies? For my case it tends to be overwhelming, fortunately it only affects a specific song that I know of.
It isn't the ticking/clicking noises, those are present in every earphone I've tested so far so I assume they're a part of the source.
The sound I'm referring to is a lot louder and more obvious than that, you'd know when you hear it since it practically overwhelms the whole channel when it happens. 
I don't think it's the source upon further listens, the file doesn't seem corrupted and playback through other IEM's doesn't yield the same result. Only with my Sony XBA-1. Got me wondering if I'm the only one, or does other XBA-1 users experience a similar flaw.

 
It's like a faint buzzing sound.
 
Dec 27, 2012 at 6:39 AM Post #11 of 16

rroflyc

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Nice song BTW

You should check out the album if you're into their sound, "An Awesome Wave". I personally think it's very interesting, lots of things going on behind the songs. Lots of quirky sounds.
Quote:
 
It's like a faint buzzing sound.

Does this only happen at low volumes? How about when you turn the volume up?
The distortion I mentioned can be perceived slightly in lower volumes around 75%, but really overwhelms at a few notches upwards. Very imbalanced, odd dynamics.
 
Dec 28, 2012 at 9:53 PM Post #12 of 16

Sprkd1

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You should check out the album if you're into their sound, "An Awesome Wave". I personally think it's very interesting, lots of things going on behind the songs. Lots of quirky sounds.
Does this only happen at low volumes? How about when you turn the volume up?
The distortion I mentioned can be perceived slightly in lower volumes around 75%, but really overwhelms at a few notches upwards. Very imbalanced, odd dynamics.

 
The louder I play the XBA-3 (right earpiece), the louder/more noticeable the buzzing. I think that at 65% or lower volumes (using 5th generation iPod touch with no amp), there is no buzzing. Note, this only happens on bass-heavy songs at certain parts.
 
Dec 30, 2012 at 10:44 AM Post #14 of 16

rroflyc

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The louder I play the XBA-3 (right earpiece), the louder/more noticeable the buzzing. I think that at 65% or lower volumes (using 5th generation iPod touch with no amp), there is no buzzing. Note, this only happens on bass-heavy songs at certain parts.

I take the buzzing you hear is linear with regards to volume with a cut-off at 65%. The noise on mine doesn't seem to be proportionate. At 75% it's a slight imbalance to the sound, and at 80% static takes over the channel completely. 
 
Dec 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM Post #15 of 16

rroflyc

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There may be a rattle or rubbung somewhere but that's not 'blown'. Still should get replaced if it's obviously the phone at normal listening levels.

So it's probably a mechanical flaw? A frequency/sound aggravating the "out of place" components and creating the noise? Sounds very plausible. Unfortunately, there's no chance for a replacement or refund in the case of Sony here. 
Is there any way I can fix this on my own? I might have on hindsight caused this problem, as I have a habit of tapping the back-end of the earphones to get/check a seal sometimes.
 

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