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Sony's New 2014 flagship IEM - XBA Z5

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  1. Damz87
    Completely agree, I’ve had a similar experience when comparing Z5 with BL-03. The BL-03 is great, but not Z5 great :smile_phones:
    Redcarmoose likes this.
  2. JoshG1217
    For sure, but for $40 and to be that close is pretty amazing.
    Damz87 and Charlie Norwood like this.
  3. redrol
    To me they both have approx the same bass response with small differences. The Blon pulls away in sound stage, 3d effects, and overall enjoyment factor. Don't get me wrong, both IEMs are excellent, I find the Z5 to just be a different signature rather than less good.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
    Charlie Norwood and mochill like this.
  4. JoshG1217
    The Z5 is wider and has more treble extension and detail, but the Blon are amazing for $40. They work for me for now until I can get the M7/M9
    Damz87 and Charlie Norwood like this.
  5. asquare3376
    Ak Jr paired with the XBA-Z5 on IER-Z1R 3.5 stock cable is one of the best I have heard on such portable setup. Ofcourse, there is the NWZ-A17 to try out here but Jr sounds pretty full bodied.
  6. gerelmx1986
    A17 with the low power ourpur doesbt cur it get eithwr a A55 or zx300
    asquare3376 likes this.
  7. asquare3376
    Thanks, own the ZX300. Most of the time, it goes with PHA-2A.
  8. AltoBajo
    Has anyone compared a Senn. ie80 or ie80s with an xba z5?? I'm intrigued by the z5,and very interested in buying one.My worry is that ie80s,which is a very much improved ie80,could be very close in tonality to the z5.Thanks!
  9. Malfunkt
    I've compared to the original ie80 and imo, it isn't even a contest. The Z5 is much better. The balanced-armatures of the Z5 render a higher quality of detail and depth. The bass driver of the Z5 is more controlled while still retaining a BIG sound. The Z5 tuning is remarkable. I've listened to many headphones, and the Z5 is one of the smoothest sounding of any type. The mid-range is present, the treble a bit subdued though the detail remains.

    Couple additional notes on Z5 vs H3

    Been also enjoying my XBA-H3 increasingly. I now value them as much as the Z5. They have an entirely different presentation with significantly more treble and 'air'. It makes the H3 more realistic with a range of material - and just gives it a higher extension. In testing binaural nature recordings, the H3 presentation has more realism but with a tinge of sharpness. The Z5 in contrast sounds a bit too muted for such recordings if realism is paramount. Both are spacious, the Z5 is just 'dark, organic, and atmospheric' the H3 is very present and alive, but can be a bit harsh (on some recordings) and little less refined.

    With how good both of these are, I just can't ever seeing myself fork over $$$ for the new Sony flagship models. Just seems like it makes sense to go with one of these or comparable and get a high-end over ear for their own benefits. At the same time, I can see if one wants one ultimate headphone, maybe the IER-Z1r is it. Certainly my IEMs are getting more and more of my listening time, even with the Utopia in hand. The portability, comfort, and general high quality of sound is more than good enough for almost all purposes. Hard to beat.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    Damz87 and redrol like this.
  10. redrol
    Excellent Review. I think the Sony XBA N3 is in my future for Xmas. It almost matches the Blon 03 tuning which is my favorite right now.
    Malfunkt likes this.
  11. AltoBajo
    Thanks lot,that's seriously encouraging!
    Malfunkt likes this.
  12. Redcarmoose
    Thanks for that cable idea, I have the IER-Z1R 3.5mm cable but have not tried the combo? I’m guessing the cable may be on the bright side; adding slight XBA-Z5 upper boosts? Guessing it may add a slight bass attenuation too?
  13. asquare3376
    If you compare the IER-Z1R 3.5 stock with XBA-Z5 stock, the boominess in the bass is gone with the Z1R cable. It's worth a try. You'll notice slight upper frequency move as well.
    Redcarmoose likes this.
  14. asquare3376
    If comfort is what you seek, stay away from the IER-Z1R. Though it has the best sound money can buy.
  15. Redcarmoose
    The IER-Z1R can fit some people though.
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