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Sony XBA-N3AP and XBA-N1AP — Impressions thread

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  1. Thesonofkrypton
    Is it time there will be a successor to this range? Expected Sony to release something by now but only the higher end options dropped.
  2. Hinomotocho
    As a fan of the A3, then Z5 and recently the N3 I was hoping for a new line of successors, but instead they came out with the M7, M9 and Z1R. I love the design and comfort of the new iems, something that I loathed about the XBA range, but tried the M7 and M9, as nice as they sound just don't have the impact of the dynamic driver (in my opinion).
    I think there are a lot of fans of the classic Sony sound of the hybrid dynamic/BA design for them to have come out with something using the design of the new ones at a pricing in line with what the N3 to Z5 were. Sure there are plenty of people on here who can afford the Z1R, but they've left a lot of people out. There seems to be a big price gap that is easily filled these days with the lower priced/great value for money range out there. After fit issues with the my beloved Z5 I had to find another brand option as the M7 and M9, even secondhand weren't something I wanted to stretch myself financially for.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  3. Thesonofkrypton
    Completely hear you. Not everyone can stretch to those numbers or willing to spend that much. Have always loved Sony's dynamic driver offerings, especially the EX90LP, XB90EX, EX500... think they were all big old 13.5mm drivers back then.

    Will probably wait a little longer see if anything drops, if not, will pick up the N3 again.
  4. Hinomotocho
    Usually there are rumours at least 6 months in advance of a new range so I'm not optimistic of anything soon. I'm surprised there is not at least one mid-range model catering to their dynamic bass fans. The M7 and M9 are not bass shy but they just don't out a smile on my face like the XBA's.
  5. kova4a
    Nothing will drop unfortunately. If there was anything new it would have been announced last week at IFA. This marks 2 years without a new xba model. I was hoping for a mix between hybrid drivers and the ier-m series design. Maybe the designers just couldn't improve on the sound and decided that they shouldn't release a new model that sounds almost the same. Who knows.
  6. nort ycagel
    how's the XBA N3 in 2019? Still the reference for midtier?
  7. daveyostrow
    Considering the sound and form factor, the N3 check all the boxes. No more awkward over the ear style sony was favoring, and the N3s are very light.

    There is always more, esp with all the chifi stuff about. With so many good options, it really depends on what you are looking for.
  8. Share2Care
    Hey Ladies & Gents!

    Help requied with some advice, guidance, thoughts on the XBA N3 in 2019 and if these IEMs are still the best £220 I can spend for listening to a wide canyon of music but with these being focused more heavily to all types of EDM music. I will not list all the genre as it is most lol :)

    So are the N3 the best IEMs for what I want to listen to with these IEMs?

    N.B - I have a MMCX cable from Forza Audio so if that could be factored, it would be much appreciated)

    Thank you for helping me out...
  9. nort ycagel
    I’m looking for a good mid tier (300 eur) all rounder with a dynamic driver as I’ve grown tired of only BA driver setups. My “benchmark genres” would be progressive rock / jazz / classical. But I also love big beat. That’s why I need an all rounder.

    I was looking at Oriveti OH300 but they’re a pain to get from europe.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  10. daveyostrow
    Well I don't know about the Oriveti, but I understand they would be a different sound sig. The N3 shine with a good source, but the highs won't excite and that may not be best for rock and such.
    nort ycagel likes this.
  11. Damz87
    I predominantly listen to EDM and the N3's are fantastic for it. They are my go-to IEM for general listening because of their great sound and form factor.
    Share2Care likes this.
  12. Thesonofkrypton
    I remember a while back I had the N3 (briefly) and the V-Moda ZN and the ZN were amazing for EDM.
    Share2Care likes this.
  13. Redcarmoose
    In the present time I’m not sure where the N3 stands? This post will be excessively lost, I’m sure!

    It’s not without it’s special qualities but it seems in a way that times have moved on.....though maybe not? :)

    On the plus side the N3 is incredibly forgiving yet still cohesive and fun. It is the missing unicorn even today for folks looking for a particular sound. I’m not sure there is anything out there that even today sounds like the N3? In comparison to the trials and tribulations folks went through with the crazy XBA-Z5 fit issues... the N3 rises on top as far as fit, comfort and ease of use.IMO

    Even today there in nothing out there that fits in such a magic way. And I’m pretty sure it’s able to fit most everyone. You just have to be on board for the sound signature. There is maybe even more bass than the Z5? Tons of bass, yet the signature still offers a politeness and well rounded-ness? And.... the Z5 has more bass than the new IER-Z1R.

    So it’s a confusing question today? And as with most recommendations here, listening is the number one suggestion! If you read this thread folks look at the N3 as a big improvement over the flagship Z5. But if anything the N3 is a little of a sleeper. It’s charms are not apparent on first moment, in fact it’s the kind of IEM where success happens after keeping it as your only listen for a few days at first. It takes time to reveal it’s cohesive magic. I’ve not heard the M9 or M7 but can imagine what sound all BA arraignments provide. And that’s the question?

    There are a number of multi BA IEMs in the same price range as the N3 and it brings up a good point. My suggestion is simply to go and listen to stuff. The big 5 or 6 BA groups are going to offer an expanded midrange experience that seems like more is going on harmonically? Though at what cost can we deal with it all. Surely the N3 is always going to win at this point for people who groove with it’s signature and understand it’s the style of response that you could listen to all day. While something like the Fearless S6Rui priced $389.00 is going to come off maybe more entertaining at first listen, it may not do quite so good in the long haul? Again it’s all about what your after. Normally I put the N3 on a lower tier of my list though it’s because I like a little more midrange. Having the N3, the Z5 and the IER-Z1R together shows many shades of the Sony House Sound. Each is different. And not to ever downgrade the Z5; with the right cable, amp and music it’s unique and amazing too! Obviously the IER-Z1R is my favorite but it’s expensive and really can’t go out of the house as well as the XBA-N3 can. Probably easier to get fit with the N3 for most too.

    Even now the N3 just is what it is. An amazing experience was using it with the new Sony Walkman firmware update 3.02. Basically 3.02 makes the Walkman 1Z into a more midcentric and airy DAP. The combo of 1Z... the new firmware and the N3 is an amazing experience. It’s the Sony house sound only the soundstage of the N3 is expanded as well as the bass has been reduced and made fast!

    So the N3 is still a value and just as unique as it ever was! Though maybe slightly boring and laid back? It’s the easy going way it has which is really a value too?
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
    Malfunkt, Damz87 and lazner like this.
  14. lazner
    The N3 has several qualities that are still hard to find today in one package. I think Redcarmoose is right in that the world has moved on since the N3 release. However these are still my go-to IEMs for the urban jungle. I like the Sony house sound, like the small size of these (no funny cable around ear required, as with the multi-BA monsters), like the fact I can listen to them all day without hurting my ears, love their bass and love their resolution and detail at the same time. The price is not bad either in times when flagship IEMs easily exceed $1k. I had them for 2 years and suspect I'll keep them for many more as their build quality is second to none.
  15. Redcarmoose
    It’s so funny how small they are. They sound big for how small they are?
    lazner likes this.
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