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Sony XBA-N3AP and XBA-N1AP — Impressions thread

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  1. larzy
    Multiple headphones and DAP: Sony ZX300 and WM1Z and Z1R + Z7M2.
  2. Redcarmoose
    • 4mm balanced input and output, current-mode operational amplifier diffused output, using 2 micro-tubes to amplify
    • Charging for 3 hours, battery life for about 7 hours, built-in lithium polymer rechargeable battery.
    • This unit does not set the volume control, the overall gain +3DB, to improve the output amplitude of most front ends.
    • Superior battery management ensures overall performance.
    • The signal is amplified by the bile duct, which satisfies the user's different sound experience.

    Note last description, I always laugh at these translations from Penon Audio.
    WhatToChoose and monsieurfromag3 like this.
  3. Redcarmoose
    Congratulations, keep the Sony Z7 in mind, though the previous posts are correct about it not being the best portable. They are not that big but probably only portable for extreme people. Also new they don’t come with the 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced, but rather the 3.5mm X2 balanced method. Still with an amp they do sound pretty good, also straight out of a DAP they are nice. With the new S7MK 2 out the prices have dropped. I just picked up a new pair for $360 USD. Though it’s funny, as they have the Sony house sound, but in many ways the N3 is actually more lovable; amazingly enough. The original Z7 actually has a fairly polarized opinion here. Though they are nice when amped right. The Kimber cable helps to iron out some of their slight issues, too.

    But a logical change for many have been the Sony Z5 IEM. Typically now they are found for $460 USD. The only thing is most folks change the cable right away due to ergonomics and again they only come with the 3.5mm X2 balanced plugs and a 3.5mm single ended. Sometimes you will read about fit issues too with the Sony Z5. Adding Sony the N3 Triple Comfort Tips really helps to make the Z5 special. I like both the N3 and the Z5 but I would have to say the Z5 IS the upgrade, if your into the Sony sound.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  4. Nostoi
    Great, thanks. This is helpful. I hope to try out the Z7 soon. I was listening to the N3 today in comparison to a bunch of other headphones/iems - including my Audeze LCD2s - and they continue to please me. My only complaint is that with the Kimber cable, they tend to slip out my ear quite easily. I'm currently using JVC Spiral Tips medium size, the sound of which is superb. Any recommendations on a better sealing tip? I tried some Spinfits, and while a better fit, they thinned it out too much. I also have some spare tips from my Aurisonics Rockets - which have best fit of all - but they sound a bit iffy with the N3s.

    I was in the US last week and looking at the Sony Z5. I may still get a pair out of curiosity. I'm tempted. How does the fit compare to the N3?
  5. Redcarmoose
    There can be a scale-ability in sound which still has users preferring the Z5; but truth to be told, the N3 fits 100X better. The Z5 gets fit improvement with the Triple Comfort Tips, and a different cable. The original included cables are rubbery and can swing out of place randomly. I use the MUC-M12NB1 cable with the Z5. But you may want a different aftermarket cable as taking the Kimber off your N3 often causes too much stress on the MMCX connectors. Most really try to limit the change of cable cycles with MMCX.

    The Z5 was designed to hang out in the middle of the ear with no sides touching, and that’s what it feels like. Where the N3 gets an insertion better due to shape and has areas which lock it in place. A basic ergonomic win on all levels is one reason why people love the N3.

    As far as tips, I use the RHA double flange, but everyone is different. You will also find users of the N3 in this thread actually preferring the N3 tone over the Z5. So in some ways the Z5 could be considered a side move. Though the bass is different with the Z5; especially in detail over the N3.

    The treble is different too than the N3, but both IEMs could be considered the new Sony house sound.

    Last night I used the Z5 with the Sony TA amp and it was truly special.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
    Nostoi and monsieurfromag3 like this.
  6. CyberAthlete
    Just picked up a pair of N3 from Bic Camera in Tokyo. I didn't have time to really figure out the difference between the N3 I bought and the N3BP the store also had. We are leaving in a couple of hours back to Chicago thus just had to go in and get out the store with the headphones asap as my wife was waiting for me outside and we also had to finish up on last minute purchases.

    The associate said that the BP has a different connection that is made for compatible mp3 players or receivers with that Jack.

    In case you were wondering it was $230 out the door for the N3.

    The N3BP was being offered for $260

    I was very pleased with the sound of the N3. But I'm wondering if that was all to it.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  7. udesign48
    How would you guys compare XBA N3AP to MEE Audio P1?
    I find P1 to be incredible.. I'm curious if buying N3AP will be an upgrade.
  8. nineteenth
    I have a question about Sony XBA-N3BP headphones. XBA-N3BP model is the XBA-N3P model, where the cable is replaced with a balanced one. Is this balanced cable the same as Sony MUC-M12NB1, or is there another cable model in the box (simpler / worse)?
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  9. Nostoi
    The 4.4 cable that comes with the N3BP is not braided like the MUC-M12NB1 cable. It is a thinner and likely not of the same quality. I use it as a back-up cable, having upgraded to the M12SB1 cable.
  10. Nostoi
    I have both of these. I was quite attached to the P1s for a while - they're very comfortable, very well made, and provide excellent isolation. But the overall quality always felt lacking to me. Detail retrieval is pretty good, but the sub-bass in particular is more or less absent. The N3AP/N3BP is a much better pair to my mind - far more musical, far better balance, excellent soundstage and very tight sub-bass - forgiving but neither muddy nor "bloomy." Connected to my WM1A with the M12SB1 cable, I'm more or less totally satisfied. I now use the PI for sleeping or popping out to get some groceries.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  11. Love Music
    How does the n3 compare to the ath-im04? Looking for something with good bass and vocals.
  12. udesign48
    I bought N3AP. I will try to listen to it using dual 3.5mm balanced cable with Pono player. I will post a review soon.
  13. Nostoi
    I hope you enjoy, they're a great set. And I think I was being a bit tough on the P1s. I've been listening to them in the last few days, having changed the tips and EQ'd them; they can be warm and detailed, indeed, though the N3AP/BP remain far more refined.
  14. udesign48
    P1 is already amazing indeed.

    I ordered P1 universal cable to test P1's balanced sound.
  15. audiohurric4ne
    hi there. i believe u also have the dm6 with you ? can you compare the n3 and dm6 ? is it comparable ? im deciding to get either since i can get it at the same price. have tried the n3 for around 30 mins and really liked the sound.
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