Sony's New 2014 flagship IEM - XBA Z5
Sep 9, 2021 at 12:50 AM Post #5,646 of 5,658

YamaVega

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Got a used pair for $80. Aesthetics looks bad with generic cable, but the sound is still awesome, just like how I remember the A3s sound but better. PRAT is so energetic I cant help but dance to the songs, but I do miss my RE600's good mids. Back reading now to get a good source
 
Sep 9, 2021 at 8:33 AM Post #5,647 of 5,658

TheRealDz

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Got a used pair for $80. Aesthetics looks bad with generic cable, but the sound is still awesome, just like how I remember the A3s sound but better. PRAT is so energetic I cant help but dance to the songs, but I do miss my RE600's good mids. Back reading now to get a good source
Aesthetics be damned - that was an epic steal! Congrats!
 
Sep 19, 2021 at 8:01 AM Post #5,648 of 5,658

ranfan

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The Z5 have surprisingly one of the best fit to my ears despite their odd shape. They sound incredible too. Solid deep bass, with clear non-fatiguing treble. Mids are on the thicker side though. High high resolution :) I'm planning on getting one soon to add to my collection
 
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Oct 9, 2021 at 2:22 PM Post #5,649 of 5,658

Kozwoz

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Do people really find the Z5 to have smooth treble? I couldn’t disagree more... the Shure 846 have smooth treble. The Z5 is very different in that regard. Clearly a lot of presence, shimmer, air and significantly brighter treble on the Z5.
 
Oct 9, 2021 at 2:36 PM Post #5,650 of 5,658

RikudouGoku

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Do people really find the Z5 to have smooth treble? I couldn’t disagree more... the Shure 846 have smooth treble. The Z5 is very different in that regard. Clearly a lot of presence, shimmer, air and significantly brighter treble on the Z5.
Thats because you are comparing it with something like this

graph - 2021-10-09T203504.530.png



graph - 2021-10-09T203548.739.png
 
Oct 9, 2021 at 7:27 PM Post #5,652 of 5,658

redrol

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I do agree that the Z5 has too much treble to run really hot volumes for long. I can handle it for like 10 mins at high volume and then down to medium-high or medium. To counter this I usually raise the subbass about 5db @30hz and 2.7k by about the same.

As far as smooth treble? Yeah its pretty smooth for me. Sony BA do not sound like knowles or similar.
 
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Oct 20, 2021 at 5:28 PM Post #5,654 of 5,658

Charlie Norwood

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Alright... regardless of the graphs play any modern drum and bass or house on the Z5 without EQ and preparer to develop tinnitus and blow your ears.
Whenever I see disagreements about whether an iem is too bright or peaky in the treble, it’s often revealed that person on the hot side listens to a lot of electronic music. And I think this makes sense. Electronic music is made purely digital so you can do a lot more in the upper treble regions than recorded music, or music with vocals as the primary instrument. And the diy-ness of electronic music also lends itself to poorly mixed and mastered tracks - where a loose low end and a hot high end are common traits. Tin HiFi P2 is a perfect example of this: I think it sounds great and doesn’t come off as bright at all to me when properly powered, unless I throw on some
EDM as a test, then all those treble spikes you see in the graph that aren’t audible for a majority of music start to show themselves. I’m sure the z5 has long been recommended for electronic fans because of the bass, but give me a single DD for electronic music any day.
 
Nov 8, 2021 at 9:38 AM Post #5,655 of 5,658

qba3d

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Hey!

I dont write to often here. There are many reasons, but mostly, I am focused on music consumption. Just recently... I decided that maybe its time to expand my hardware... my Z5's right piece started to break up. Eventually I lost it 4 months ago. My basic setup was MW-ZX507 -> Kimber Sony cable balanced -> XBA-Z5.

I went wild and bought Focal Clear, IE300, then borrowed some other multi DAC Dap, Final Audio A8000 and finally IER-Z1r. All that to finally move on from my old love. Z5's were dead. I spent weeks listening to that equipment. I learned a lot about my self, but also about the whole thing I call a hunger for more. More of something. So here are my thoughts.

Focal Clear, at least connected to what I have is... fine I guess. Its very organic sounding headphones, with some frequency issues, and a bit of muddy mid-tones and lack of lower end. I did listen to it attached to 507, H6, Atom, Arche ( in shop, best case so far ), Ipad, Dragonfly. Whats amazing that it sounds totally different with any source. Stage is hyper small, but its an ok headphones. Not epic though. I will get back to it. I love their physical form though...:) Never, ever I got so hooked up to music with those though. Never. They are... fine , but I always feel them as a transition to music. They don't disappear and fact that they are open, is not helping much. Could be my source.

IE300, my daily headphones, apart from Momentum TW, are a very very comfortable headphones, with somewhat recessed midtones, and rather dead and yet bright highs. By dead I mean they dont resolve a lot, and yet they do shout a tiny bit. As an outcome, I like them a lot but feel they dont got my heart as most of Sennheiser headphones, like Momentum IE, Momentum 3 or TW. And all of them are "more mainstream". Odd. Still, I use IE300 but they are really far from what I was getting with Z5.

Final a8000 are very interesting, as , as super bright as they are, and totally different than Z5's as they are, they do have one common thing to Z5's, they do feel super coherent. They are not my cup of tea, but I respect them a lot, for being full on with fast, bright presentation, though heavily lifted to my ears. Lack of base foundation meant I did not get in to film scores at all.

Finally, Z1r. I had an option to buy them, with a great price as a second hand. I did listen to them a LOT out of 507 via balanced. I was instantly blown away by highs, amazing fluid highs. And that stage... holographic stage.. INFINITE one!!! In comparison with Focal its like... ice vs lava. Incredible Highs!!!!
There are many reviews of Z1r... mostly saying how amazing these are. I honestly felt I am being fooled by them a bit. They do have that stellar technical capabilites in highs, with hyper smooth , organic highs, and amazing base performance. All that plus stage makes it feel ... surreal. Hyper realistic at times... but when I do listen to tracks I know well from many sources, and have that.. sort of avarage perception of track.. I feel I am missing something with Z1r.. they are hyper real and yet not realistic. I felt that I do miss a weight of mids, but not in Freq response, I tried that, I felt that they do not go from mid tones to highs the right way. They dont feel coherent, I do feel , apart from stellar details in highs and again that stage <3 !!! , the gap. All, hidden behind that sweetness of the technical capabilities ( even after many weeks I was always overwhelmed ). That made a lot of my tracks stellar, but not really emotional. On a positive side, they do sound energetic, but never harsh. I would call them slightly shouty at time to me , but always classy.

I was hours before getting in to : I buy Z1r, and maybe Sell Focal. And then, I took my old Z5, plugged Kimber to them one last time, and tried to play the same song I did kill with Z1r.. and when I felt it will not work, for a brief moment my broken earpiece started to work ( Bent head .. dont move mode ).... and I felt it.... stage felt considerably smaller, highs, lost a bit of presence, decay and fluidity, but mids got back right were they were missing... and suddenly Z1r sounded artificial i comparison, Focal great but kind of dead and muddy, IE300 cool but soulless... Yes Z5 's are not on the same technical level as Z1r, but I really would say they sound more coherent, more organic, and more musical than Z1r to my ears. Maybe I am not super in to highs? I did have a long break , few months break and almost 6 weeks with Z1r.. but in a blind test I would pick Z5 any day...regardless of price.

I did buy a new Z5 on Ebay for 500Euro and plan to sell almost new Focal Clear if anyone os interested.... just saying.. that in my eyes, resolution or technical perfection is not what makes me happy listening to music. Another thing that hit me is that reviews, as good as they are...should always be a hint, not a whole truth in buying decision. I was lucky enough to be able to test its. Z5 rocks. They really do rock. ( and all other genres if needed).
 

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