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Sony XBA-N3AP and XBA-N1AP — Impressions thread

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  1. Leetransform25
    I don't have the N3s but I can assure you they'll sound better through the ZX300 than the A55
    Audiophile2019 likes this.
  2. jonathane40
    The N3BP (with 4.4mm cable) sound great with the zx300! I have only tried them with the included 4.4mm balanced cable. The cable is quite sin but it’s very comfortable. Since these don’t have an extremely low impedance, better cables might not change the sound as much as with iems with low impedance like Andromeda.
    Soundizer likes this.
  3. Audiophile2019
    Definitely ZX300 sounds better - it's is in different league.. With the balanced 4.4mm pentaconn jack, aluminium-milled build design, etc its sonic quality is much closer to that of WM1A & WM1Z..
    Soundizer and Leetransform25 like this.
  4. Soundizer
    XBA-N3BP does not seem to be available in uk. I will call Sony center tomorrow.

    Also-only the silver NW-ZX300S is available in UK. IS the only difference between the black version the colour?
  5. Leetransform25
    Yeah, apart from color the black and silver models are identical. You should be able to purchase the N3 and the black ZX300 from Accessoyjack which I tried suggesting eariler, though
  6. kova4a
    Well, you can just use any mmcx balanced cable. Another thing to consider is that this or next month (probably at IFA) Sony will be revealing its new products, including the new walkman models (nw-a100 and zx500) and most likely new iems too.
    Leetransform25 likes this.
  7. Soundizer
    Thank you. I don’t have experience buying from that site which is why i am cautious. Returns policy
    Leetransform25 likes this.
  8. kova4a
    Not just return policy but customs taxes if you're in the UK as it can end up costing you 90-100 pounds more than buying it from Europe and just getting a better balanced cable. For instance, on the French Amazon currently the n3 is discounted to 213 euro (~197 pounds/ $239) and the shipping to UK will probably be circa 10 euros. Also on several occasions it has been down to circa 185 euros
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  9. Reeshar
    OMG, the A55 and ZX300 are like night and day. I have done side-by-side comparisons as my wife has the former and I have the latter. I can do nothing to the A55 to get the sound quality as good as the ZX300. I genuinely thought the difference would be imperceptible but in fact it isn't. And that's using the 3.5mm jack. The balanced output on the ZX300 is even better.

    AFAIK the N3s are only available from Sony Centres in the UK which is where I bought mine from mail order. They seem to be permanently listed as "not yet available" on Amazon despite having been out for 2+ years!
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
    Soundizer and Audiophile2019 like this.
  10. mredmond
    I also was split between the FH5 and N3 as they seemed to be two of the only well-reviewed warm, colorful, bass-boosted IEMS that were still considered all around good performers (both earning B from Crin as you mentioned) in the $200-300 range (also the Final E5000, but reviews seemed to indicate that it was perhaps too dark and the bass too thick for what I wanted). I've been comparing them side-by-side over the weekend. I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile, so take this with a grain of salt as the quick impressions of an ordinary guy who appreciates good music and quality sound but has average ears.

    Overall the FH5 seemed more forward and weightier. This seems largely due to the mids having a greater presence than in the N3. They are a bit too forward for me, which seems to shrink the staging some, making the FH5 feel slightly narrower and more in your head than the N3. It is not objectively bad, but you notice it when you go back and forth between the two. Male vocals also do not always seem nearly as clear or natural as they do on the N3. The highs roll off a little quicker than on the N3 but are still decently detailed while remaining smooth. Bass is excellent on the FH5, especially the sub bass everyone talks about. It seemed to have a little more rumble and weight at times than the N3, and occasionally the mid bass seemed to have ever so slightly greater punch, but it was hard to tell as they were very close. The bass was very responsive too, but in certain metal songs it seemed to fall just a tad behind the N3.

    Overall, the N3 seemed to have greater detail and to feel more spacious and natural, feeling less in your head. The mids on the N3 seemed much cleaner and more natural. Highs had more sparkle and detail without ever feeling sharp. The bass, though perhaps just slightly less weighty in the sub bass than the FH5, felt equally deep and strong overall, but also seemed to be much more responsive and clear. A note on bass: both of these respond quite well to EQ, and if you really want to drop everything else and boost the bass, you can make both of these feel like little subwoofers in your ears while still retaining plenty of detail and clarity throughout the rest of the spectrum.

    They're both excellent IEMs, and if you handed me one and I never knew the other existed, I would've been very happy. I wanted to like the FH5 more due to its build quality, over the ear format, and lower price, but the N3 was what I gravitated more towards when I had to pick up a set to listen for almost all use cases. I just wish I could get it in the form factor and build of the FH5, but there are always compromises.

    Edit: Cut length. I can provide further comparisons on build, comfort, and other details if needed later.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
    Raketen and aisalen like this.
  11. Raketen
    I guess everyone else disgarees but FWIW I quite like the N3AP w/ my A55. Adequate source for these IEMs IMO. I haven't heard zx300 to compare- however, though I have a few higher end sources I don't find N3 hugely variable across sources.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  12. Lohb
    What would be the output in mWatts on A55 ? I'm trying to estimate the minimum headroom for N3s.
    Fiio has a new BT LDAC balanced dongle coming that does 160mWatts into 32-Ohms without hooking into an external amp.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  13. kova4a
    It's 35mW per channel at 16 ohms, which is around the minimum for the n3, so 160 will be more than enough
  14. Raketen
    IIRC it's 35+35 mw into 32 or maybe just 16 ohm.... I guess if you were doing some crazy bass EQ it might not be enough, but that Fiio dongle should be plenty considering max input of N3 is 100mW (according to amazon listing) and sensitivity is 107db/mW.
  15. cfc7
    Sennheiser IE800S could be an alternative.
    Better resolution, instrument separation, more details, better bass - tighter, clean and not so bloated, great coherence and tonality...but they may lack the impact and fun of the N3.
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