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Sony XBA-N3AP and XBA-N1AP — Impressions thread

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  1. BigAund
    Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced, available in UK, replacement cable for the n3? I really don't like the cable that came with them because of the mic and remote.
  2. Redcarmoose
    Since changing out the Z5 cable to the Sony MUC-M12NB1 Headphone Cable 4.4mm Pentaconn-MMCX made in China, I’m getting more use at home with the Z5. It’s not that the XBA-N3BPs are bad in any way, but with the cable change out the Z5s are simply a dream.

    The Z5s cost 2X more and if you factor in the extra needed cable that’s even more $.

    But the Z5s are simply a more dynamic sound. That said I can’t imagine someone wanting to stay with the N3BPs listening at home if you had the Z5s laying around. That’s why you’ll have some folks listening to the N3BPs on the run and the Z5s at home.

    The sound from the Z5 is the typical Sony new house sound. It’s polite and reserved yet fun and exciting. I only really listen to Rock, Metal, Movie OSTs and EDM and both IEMs do the genres excellently well.

    The Z5 is like the N3BP on steroids. Just more of everything. More detail in the highs, more soundstage, more bass presence and a seemingly faster response. There is nothing not to like about them other than the supplied cable system.

    My mini review here done with 4.4mm balanced with Walkman 1A and 1Z.
  3. IcedTea
    I know this may be off topic, but would you happen to have listened to the Z7 or Z1R? I'm wondering if those headphones also have the Sony sound signature. I'm very tempted to save up for the Z5, but was curious on how the full sized headphones in the Sony line are like.
  4. Wiz33
    That's what I do, Z5 at home and N3 on the go. Another reason to use N3 while on the go is that most portable device does not have balance output (most phones and Sony's A series walkman) and they also don't have enough power to drive the Z5 to it's full potential even running in SE.
  5. Redcarmoose
    First off, if you start to read the Z5 thread, there are all kinds of references about the Z5 sounding like full-size headphones.....well....they really do sound great but not exactly like full size headphones. Only full size headphones sound like full-size headphones. Though it may be the authority and resolution that go to make the owners feel that way? Still it’s a pretty common term with the Sony Z5 crowd to enjoy defining their IEMs so wildly.

    Have not heard the Z7, though the Z1R is a whole different animal. It’s a very place where the term night and day difference could be used. The full-size Z1R is a whole new experience. Mountains more definition and detail in comparison to the Z5. Though as far as comfert goes the XBA-N3BP has them all beat. Simply speaking the fit as ease of use is where the form-factor of the N3BP wins, especially with something like the double flange RHA tips.

    But for the ultimate ride, the Z1R is the audio microscope. Still I could see some preferring the Z5 as the Z5 signature has more of a well rounded sound. The Z1R is over the top. After a day of listening and getting used to the Z1R you can find all three share the same character in a way. The three monitors are tuned the same. But the king obviously goes to the Z1R. Massive bass response along with so much transparency that it almost sounds like it’s a lower midrange response. No clunky low bass to smear the detail, but fine extension and speed. It’s almost like listening to great 100K speakers in a room, and Sony has gone and put in the room reverberate response. Believe me that’s not a bad thing, solid detail but a nice floor foundation for everything to sit on top of, separating the headphone from all other headphones on earth. All this and the highs end up silky smooth with no strident edge. A warm nice treble edge.

    The Z1R ends as an experience like no other. Now it’s not perfect as even the Z5 does make male vocals better, the Z1R does everything else better. There is just a slight missing weird frequency left-out where male vocals are a step back. Once your used to that, you simply don’t care as everything else is spectacular. It’s like a small mole on a foxy gals face, it’s beautiful personality. Big treble though layered and smooth, spectacular easy listening with profound buttery warmth, which almost seems like too much, but never really is.

    Still as with most reviews, take this all with a grain of salt. And DACs and amps are important. Even the Z5 sounded good out of a phone but never got going till you give it good power and resolution in a signal. I suspect the Z1R would be the same becoming slighly lackluster being pushed with inferior equipment. All this said I just spent the last two days only using the N3BP in 4.4mm pentaconn mode with the 1A, and it was spectacular. I have found they first don’t seem tip dependent but they are. The Sony hybrid tips work great, and the second generation of the tip, comes off slightly more thick and robust. The RHA double flange work great with them also.


    What I called 2nd generation of the Sony Hybrid Tip is actually called “ The Triple Comfert Tip”.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
    mredmond and monsieurfromag3 like this.
  6. Jackson 6
    Small world,I'm doing the 1A dance too.
  7. Redcarmoose
    It’s maybe a regular thing here with Sony affectionately abound.
  8. Jackson 6
    Sony and mids, at two desert islands opposite the globe from each other for so very long, finally met.
  9. daveyostrow
    The N3 is great when it comes to fit. Not quite on the refinement level of the A3, or A2, but just much more convenient. Some may prefer the sound on the N3 but the XBA series seems to really bring it. The cable on the N3 is pretty nice as well. Very different feel from what I usually see.
  10. Alex1145
    Hi. Can anyone had the opportunity to compare, Sony xba-n3ap sound darker than ostry kc06a?
  11. FunkeXMix
    Has anyone had the opportunity to compare the Sony N3 to top chinese budget models like KZ ZS6,
    TIMMKOO C630 (also called E-MI CI880). Or any other model that comes close or better?
  12. daveyostrow

    The ie800 is definitely the more adult sound between the two. The N3 is sony taking their usual over the ear of the XBA line and trying to make it simple. The N3 are super comfortable, but sloppy in the base compared to the A3. 3D is not as good as the A2/3. The ie800 are more polite and balanced compared to the sonys in general. The size is what is most impressive about them.

    The XBA A3 is an amazing value, and the A2 if you want that some extra bass. The N3 is a downgrade from the A2 in sound, both being on the bassy side, but the fit is just great with the N3. They are also very light, almost makes them feel cheap. That and the removable cable... they have a lot going for them

    Also, some people may prefer the warmth of the N3 over the A3. The N3 juts loses in spaciousness and gains in intimacy. I should add, that changing the cable on the N3 can slightly improve the sound, cleaning up the midbass. I am not a huge cable person but some people swear by it.
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  13. jonathane40
    I currently have the N3 and love it. I was wondering if the Z5 or the EX1000 would represent an upgrade or more of a side grade from the N3. The Z5 is around $500 with a balanced cable included with the 4.4mm jack. The EX1000 is around $400 but I would have to buy a balanced cable with the 4.4mm which puts it on par with the Z5. I like the N3 so far but have EQed it for added treble. I would like for them to be more analytical. Which of these two do you think would be better?
    Wiz33 likes this.
  14. FunkeXMix
    Just in case you didn't know. The tips matter a whole lot more than any EQ. I was downright dissapointed with the N3 for the money I paid. Until I tried a tip from another IEM, then it was beauty and worth every cent. Moral of the story, buy every model of tips you can find in aliexpress or something. Small changes in tip design, big change in sound. And it's worth it cause every IEM in combination with your ear requires a different tip shape. And if you like treble use silicone tips.
  15. Wiz33
    FYI. The Z5's included balance cable is not 4.4mm but of the older 2.5mm style. The Z5 does sound noticeably better than the N3 but does require a decent amount of power. What are you driving your N3 with. If you have a PHA-2A or ZX300, then you will seea noticeable improvement but you would have to buy a new set of balance cable for it.
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