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Sony XBA-N3AP and XBA-N1AP — Impressions thread

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  1. dimmockg
    Hi all, still hunting for 'the' pair of iems and keep coming back to this thread but possibly for the n1ap

    Any feedback on these compared to ibasso it01, final e4000 would be great

    I love the size of the Sony and think from this perspective they would suit me well

    Assume these are good for EDM? Bass controlled and not over the top? I found the final e4000 a little bass heavy

  2. WhatToChoose
    For high quality EDM, the bass is excellent. For most other genres, I find it quite overpowering. It makes listening to songs such as Kraddy - Heart Anthem an EPIC experience, but something like Two Steps From Hell - Pegasus sounds a bit average soundstage-wise, with recessed mids (though it keeps the details very well). Female vocals in that song sound somewhat distant with stock.

    I found these highly susceptible to tip rolling though, so YMMV. Due to the high sensitivity to tip configuration, you can easily tune the sound to your liking. For example, you can bring the mids forward, tighten up the bass (especially mid bass), expand the sound stage, increase imaging, and accentuate the highs with some metal tip mods.

    Stock N3 compared to the ER4XR: ER4XR has faster bass, but it has BA bass (AKA it is about as exciting as oatmeal...made with water). ER4XR feels less congested with the mids and highs. N3 has better extension up top. ER4XR is excellent in its own right, but the N3 brings some extra behind the scenes energy to make the music more exciting. N3 surpasses the ER4XR in all categories with the right tip mods.

    Good luck with your search
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    dimmockg and monsieurfromag3 like this.
  3. ThatAFKNoob
    So how would listening to something like Billy Joel or Chris Cornell, where you rly want the vocals to shine, sound on the N3AP?
  4. WhatToChoose
    Just listened to Chris Cornell - Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart (very nicely composed song btw)

    With the N3:
    The vocals are very holographic and detailed, but not as intimate as I would like vocals to be. The vocals mesh extremely well with the instruments to form a very convincing sound stage with excellent imagery and precision, very 3D and out of head. Vocals and instruments are all at roughly the same radial distance from an imaginary centerpoint in your head.

    With the ER4XR (for comparison purposes):
    Vocals are more intimate with the ER4XR, with more forwardness compared to the instruments. The vocals take more of the front stage with these.

    I would recommend these if the above description sounds appealing, but for intimate vocals (especially creamy female vocals), this ain't it chief. If you want IEMs for some well-balanced orchestral madness, and the occasional bass orgy that we all feel the need for every once in a while, these will do the trick.

    I can tell you that You Want it Darker - Leonhard Cohen sounds incredibly cool and sinister with these, but the singers voice is about 30 octaves lower than a normal person, so there is that.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  5. ThatAFKNoob
    Would you use the Tin T2 (and soon to be T3) for those intimate, excellent vocals?
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  6. WhatToChoose
    Apologies, I have not heard those IEMs before, I can't give a comparison. Perhaps some reviews and comparisons from other people can provide insight to their performance, but I would be surprised if they performed optimally given their price point
  7. duppex
    Just got the Sony XBA-N3AP, as a gift and they are great but I want something with a lot more Bass for my Deep House and Drum and Base taste.

    I listed them on ebay if anyone interested £160.


    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  8. cfc7
    Could you be more specific?
  9. Vitandus
    Agreed - between these and the FiiO FH5, I think the FiiOs are better for heavy metal. Compared to the Audeze iSine 20s, I find the FH5s have a little much separation but a lot more "sparkle". For more intimate music, like Adele - especially live - the Sonys are quite good. They also smooth out some pitchiness for live voices.

    I just got the Whizzer Kylin from @Hawaiibadboy so can't measure those yet as a comparison.
  10. Vitandus
    LOL - I could see that. Less likely to pluck off their hairs in your ear with how thicc the Sony sound is.
  11. WhatToChoose
    Sure thing man,

    Step 1) Cut a piece of metal (like coffee can thickness) to roughly the dimensions shown below (length should be about pi*5mm, height is up to you (can experiment: i found longer lengths made the signature sound more artificial)


    Step 2)

    Roll up the metal rectangle into a cylinder, as such (one for each side, should fit easily but not past the bump) - I used a ~4mm rod to create as circular a shape as possible


    Step 3) Obtain a pilot G2 refill (this is roughly the same diameter as the nozzle of the IEM


    Step 4) Stretch a sony hybrid or triple comfort eartip of your preferred size around the G2 refill


    Step 5) Place the metal cylinder at the end of the ink refill, as such.

    Important: Make sure there are no metal edges jutting out of the metal cylinder so it doesn't tear the eartip for step 6


    Step 6) Slide position the metal cylinder properly (as centered as possible) and slide the eartip over it. Done! As you can see, the metal ring is now inside of the eartip , holding it open.


    I found this mod to be quite effective in aiding the clarity of the audio by, say, 10-20% or so. I find these IEMs overall excellent for musicality, tonality, and timbre. Interestingly enough as well, I don't experience any post-high-volume session ringing in my ears after using these (something that I do experience with the etymotic ER4XRs).

    Regarding metal:

    I have yet to come across any IEM (either my own, or from reading reviews) that is able to deliver extremely fast, but simultaneously thick and timbre-rich mids and bass. My ER4XRs are faster in the bass department, but they sound relatively thin and boring in the low-mid to bass region. The N3s are slower (DD vs BA), but are more musical and timbre-rich. If I were to rate them:

    ER4XR bass speed: 10/10
    ER4XR bass musicality: 6.5/10
    N3 bass speed: 8.5/10 (could be faster and about 10% less quantity-wise)
    N3 bass musicality: 9.5/10

    ER4XR: 16.5/20
    N3: 18/20

    (These scores are just references to these two IEMs, by no means are they absolute compared to other IEMs)
    Thawk78 and Lohb like this.
  12. cfc7
    Thanks for the details...quite interesting tip mod.
    I would like the mids a bit forward and less mid-bass impact. I've tried different eartips and I found some bi-flange from Earsonics being the best for that...the problem is that they are too long and the earpiece sticks out of the ear too much with them.
  13. WhatToChoose
    From what I can hear, this mod does reduce the midbass, but does not bring forward the mids. It "un-recesses" the mids though in a way, such that vocals are more 3D but not intimate. For my tastes though, I could use more bass reduction, but I like the highs and mids presentaion a lot.
  14. Vitandus
    What are your EQ settings like for this IEM? For my FH5, I tick down the treble at about 2K iirc. This one needs a bump for my tastes.
  15. Feilong4
    Have you gotten your GR09? I'd be interested to hear how the GR09, GR07 37th Anv, and the N3 compare. Also, in terms of noise isolation as well.
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