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Sony XBA-N3AP and XBA-N1AP — Impressions thread

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  1. Redcarmoose

    It probably should be noted now about the two N3 models one is 3.5mm single ended and the other comes balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn.

    Sony has named the product :

    And yes, one of the issues with the Z5 is getting to balanced as they come with the double 3.5mm cable which is almost not supported.

    With the Z5 you really have to change from the included cables as the stock cables are a little hard to control and don’t have a good way of connecting balanced. The Z5 comes with an over ear 3.5mm single ended and a balanced 2X 3.5mm big rubber cable.

    You need something like this.

    Though I use this $124 cable with my Z5 and love it.


    The above cables may actually improve or degrade the N3 sound, though due to not wanting to stress the MMCX connectors, I haven’t tried the changeout.

    The Z5 IEM is a pretty big upgrade but the cable issue is really something for them straight out of the box. You’re best ditching the included cables and using aftermarket cables with the new cables running straight down.

    Also amazingly the Z5 IEM works really well with the N3 included Triple Comfert Tips. The Z5 simply comes with regular Sony Hybrid Tips. The main plus with the N3 is how they fit into your ears. The N3 is simply smaller and lighter and rest on the side of your ear. They are actually a miracle of ergonomics. Where the Z5 IEMs are big and were originally designed to be held with these giant rubber cables sticking directly out of your ear center, floating.

    The N3 IEM kind of comes off as a little underwhelming at first but just keeps getting better at what it does as your ears/mind adjust to it. Where the Z5 takes more juice to get going and excels with all the juice to an amazing level. The Z5 holds more high end sparkle and detail, plus combine that with the extended low end and it’s pretty entertaining right from the start. The N3 comes off almost as a sleeper, being reserved and polite from the start, but still holding the new Sony signature sound.

    It’s hard to judge the Z5 as analytical as there are way more detailed headphones out there. But what the Z5 does is offer a cohesive playback where everything seems natural and in place. There is also this amazing soundstage that some hear, where all the musical elements are isolated and become “viewable” around outside your head. It’s that single quality to maybe explain why the Z5 sound is sometimes interpreted as full-size headphone sound stage. But it has a very reserved V shape signature. It is detailed but maybe the term balanced and natural are a better term.

    If someone could get the Z5 for $500 it’s a pretty good deal. Keep in mind though that many have had issues with the finish scratching and chipping when kept in a pocket or knocked around. Also keep in mind the cost of the cable upgrade......then Z5 does have a much more added cost than the N3 series.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  2. rodel808
    Nooooooooooo! :triportsad:
    Was swapping cables and this happened.
  3. Wiz33
    Ouch!. Is it still under warranty?
  4. nintendoo
    Very much looking forward to hearing about
  5. Redcarmoose
    Sony XBA-N3BP dcdc.jpg
    monsieurfromag3 likes this.
  6. Feilong4
    Anyone heard the N3 and the Final E5000?
  7. Feilong4
    Anyone here in the US willing to loan their N3 to me for measuring and comparison to the Final E5000? I'll pay for shipping from and to you.

    I've read very similar thoughts between the two and they're both around the same price (on Amazon US), so I thought it'd make for an interesting comparison.

    In case if anyone was interested, here are the measurements of the E5000 (on the MiniDSP EARS, MiniDSP In-ear diffuse-field calibration)

    monsieurfromag3 and jant71 like this.
  8. nevrsumr
    I switch from the standard gel tips I have been using since I purchased the IEM's to the comfort tips and can now notice a difference in SQ that I didn't pick up on before. The bass is way more controlled, tighter, and no boomy sound to it anymore.
  9. BlinkST

    About two weeks ago, my go-to earphones, the JVC HA-FXZ200s, became too damaged for mobile use. Many times, the cord had been yanked out of my phone after getting caught on something. Eventually, this took its toll on the jack part of the cable — sound would cut in and out. So I ordered a replacement. While waiting for those, I used the JVC HA-FXT200LTD as a backup. I was unsatisfied however, because of the 200LTD’s comparatively weaker bass, and brighter sound. I did not want to continue my commute and daily listening with those. My plan was to purchase some AirPods for mobile use, so as to reduce the chances of damaging my earphone cables again, and use the FXZ-200s while stationary. The FXZ-200 was personal endgame stuff for me. Not to say that they couldn’t be better, but to say that if I was going to spend money on something, it had better be leaps and bounds ahead. I wasn't convinced that I needed to spend on another pair of earphones and an amp. Just give me my phone and the 200s and I'm good. However…

    The Sony XBA-N3AP caught my eye while I was browsing Amazon. I had owned the XBA-H3 previously, which I gave away because the FXZ-200s sounded superior to me in every way. While I waited for the new JVC HA-FXZ200s to arrive (which may take as long as the first of August), I purchased the N3, and here they are two days later.

    On first listen of the N3, they get plenty loud with a lower amount of volume. As for the quality of the sound compared to the FXZ-200? These are slightly behind on the bass, but other than that, you’d have a tough time even telling them apart. Highs are the same. Details are the same. I’ve tested them with a variety of songs that show different things. For example:

    Bob Marley — Waiting In Vain (Depth)
    Coldplay — Clocks (Layering)
    Beegees — Night Fever (left-to-right channels)
    Kenny Lattimore — For You (Airiness)


    They sound so similar to me that it’s almost unremarkable. Keep in mind that this is without any burn-in. I've spent close to an hour going back and forth between the two. I wouldn't really mind if the N3 never changes over time, because they are practically 90% of what I wanted. The FXZ-200s still has that "special something" to the sound that I’m not getting at the moment with the Sonys — something that made me want to keep using them. Nonetheless, I'm no stranger to patience burn-in — the FXZ-200s changed remarkably over hundreds of hours of use.

    As I listened to the N3, I began to notice the strengths. The song that did it was "I'll be alright without you" by Journey. From the way it opened up, there was no denying that the N3 has the larger soundstage of the two, because of the highs.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
  10. rq1111
    Sometimes, life is funny. I have N3 for quite sometimes and i do enjoy it. But i keep on wanting something better so i have not stop chasing more iem in my collection which each iem is costing more than previous iem.

    I know synergy is important too. So just today, i come back to listen to N3 with sxc24 cable using fiio x7ii. I am so amaze by the sound again. I was thinking why am i buying so many iem which cost more than N3 as N3 still an amazing iem.

    I do learn something from each iem i bought like Hyla CE-5, i learn how different is bass from dynamic and BA driver. The bass from CE-5 is the best that i have heard. I also bought Sony Z5 to compare with CE-5. Now, i really appreciate bass from dynamic driver. BA driver still cannot deliver the kind of bass which dynamic driver has. After all the purchase of my iems, i learn how to appreciate the N3 even more.

    I feel N3 can compete with totl iem. I have tried those iem which cost thousand of dollars but those expensive iem does not mean it is a better iem than N3. Now i really appreciate N3

    The bass from N3 is very good and it is one of the best. The vocal is very good. Articulate and clear vocal. Not every expensive iem have this vocal performance. Timber is very accurate for N3. The soundstage is wide and deep. The high is clear and crispy. N3 is simply worth more than the price is command.

    Today experience have make my quest for better iem is less now. Now i left 1 last target for my iem collection and i hope it will be the end of my journey.

    Enjoy my N3 now. :)
    monsieurfromag3 likes this.
  11. Wiz33
    Yes, Dynamic driver is great for bass as it move more air mass than a BA driver ever can which let you feel in addition to hearing the bass. I have stopped looking for newer IEM since I got the Z5 and player that can drive it properly in balance mode.
    rq1111 likes this.
  12. Redcarmoose
    I’m so happy I found Sony again. Their house sound is simply breathtaking nowadays. Just picked up the older 2014-2015 full-size flagship called the Z7 for $360 as an open box special at Sony. I was surprised to find the same house sound as the Z5 IEM. The Z7 is a difficult headphone to get to sound correct but it’s possible. It responds to juice and balanced mode just like the Z5.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
    rq1111 likes this.
  13. Lohb
    Yep, loving my XBA-N1s out the HiFiMAN SuperMini balanced out.
    N3 again soon.
  14. JustJoseph
    Hi, I have said before that the N1s have a dark sound with recessed and smooth treble. However, after listening to my Andromedas with foam tips, it made me feel that the N1s have very harsh highs. The N1s have lots of bass, but not much subbass rumble too. Or maybe because the Andromedas are just too good
  15. Wiz33
    Are you trolling? you're comparing a $1K 5 BA IEM with a $200 single BA set. That said, the bass on the N1/3 will kill the Andro as there's no way the andro can move the same air mass with 2 BA driver vs a Dynamic. As to the high and mid, I'll put my Z5 up against the Andro any day!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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