Sony's New 2014 flagship IEM - XBA Z5
Jan 24, 2015 at 6:45 PM Post #856 of 5,670

Sprkd1

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I currently have a Titanium HD in my desktop computer. Could I power the Z5 or Z7 without an amp with the Titanium HD? Thinking of using one or the other for PC gaming. Will the Z7 have a better sound stage than the Z5 when it comes to PC gaming?
 
Lastly, is it possible to connect the PHA-3 to my Titanium HD? If yes, how?
 
Jan 24, 2015 at 7:37 PM Post #857 of 5,670

T.R.A.N.C.E.

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^ Z7 will destroy the Z5 for PC gaming. Yes your Titanium HD,will be fine, and yes you can connect it to you PHA3 as your sound card has optical output, and PHA3 has optical input. You will need to get an optical cable that is toslink on one end for PHA3 and mini optical on the end of sound card.
 
Jan 24, 2015 at 7:58 PM Post #858 of 5,670

dweaver

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I actually find the Z5 almost more 3D than the Z7 but also smaller in sound stage. But I don't game a lot so can't speak to how they compare. Musically speaking I love both Z's just about equally. When I start to think I prefer one over the other something comes along that changes my mind.
 
Jan 24, 2015 at 9:13 PM Post #859 of 5,670

Oracle

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So my work setup is complete (for now) Schiit M&M 2 Uber / Sony Z7 / Sony Z5.  I've own the Z7 for a month and the Z5 now for a week and I have to say what an excellent job Sony did in trying to match their sound signatures. 
 
The Z7 has a bigger soundstage with some boomer bass and the Z5 a smaller soundstage with punchier bass and a little more forward in the mids.  They both have their settle differences, but I'm amazed how well they both perform.  I recently sold my Shure SE846 in favor of the Z5 because I found the Sony's to be much more enjoyable and comfortable to my ears.  I like that the Sony's have a clear upgrade path with the Kimber cables and potentially the PHA-3, however I'm completely satisfied with my Schiit stack for now.  I would highly recommend either Z7 or Z5, and I've been through a lot of different IEM's and headphones to get to this point (see profile for the list).
 

 
 
Jan 25, 2015 at 12:54 AM Post #860 of 5,670

T.R.A.N.C.E.

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I actually find the Z5 almost more 3D than the Z7 but also smaller in sound stage. But I don't game a lot so can't speak to how they compare. Musically speaking I love both Z's just about equally. When I start to think I prefer one over the other something comes along that changes my mind.

 
An enjoyable Music sound stage is different to the type of sound stage needed for gaming. Yes, Z5 has more depth and layering in its sound, makes it 3D like, but gaming doesn't need any of that. Gaming needs accurate directional separation, along with large sound stage and accurate depth portryal (the 3D sound in Z5 is actually a disadvantage in gaming). Z7 does all these things better than the Z5 and by a large margin (the advantage is more obvious if you test it in games, with music its different story). Using any iem whatsoever is a disadvantage for gaming, you really want a full size headphone, preferably open back, but not required, and Sony's larger 70mm drivers [size=12.7272720336914px]are actually in my opinion the best in the industry for gaming, even bettering Audio technica's famous AD900. So basically the best gaming headphones around imo are all Sony's: XB1000, MA900, Z7. All of them are close enough to be considered equal for gaming and better than the competition, but Z7 is the best for music out of these, and depending on your tastes, Z5 may be even better than Z7 for music.[/size]
 
[size=12.7272720336914px]I'm a gamer btw. I've tried many headphones and iems for gaming.[/size]
 
Jan 25, 2015 at 12:59 AM Post #861 of 5,670

qsk78

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I actually find the Z5 almost more 3D than the Z7 but also smaller in sound stage. But I don't game a lot so can't speak to how they compare. Musically speaking I love both Z's just about equally. When I start to think I prefer one over the other something comes along that changes my mind.

The same story I have. 

I listen to mainly the z5 during the working week travelling from home to the office (by metro). After 5 days, I start thinking that the Z5 is better and I love them more. However, after 2 weekend days when I have time in the evenings to relax with my Z7 - I change my mind and start thinking the opposite way.
wink.gif
​Therefore, to me they are equally great. 
 
Jan 25, 2015 at 5:25 AM Post #862 of 5,670

T.R.A.N.C.E.

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I always wondered why the outer stem of the Z5 was made so much thicker than the EX1000, now I know. It houses an impressively beefy crossover circuit! Quite interestingly, Sony made use of a chunky metal film resistor, these are the best possible, and I doubt any other iem in the world uses them in their crossovers, so very nice work Sony!
 

 
Jan 25, 2015 at 1:52 PM Post #863 of 5,670

Spamateur

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  I always wondered why the outer stem of the Z5 was made so much thicker than the EX1000, now I know. It houses an impressively beefy crossover circuit! Quite interestingly, Sony made use of a chunky metal film resistor, these are the best possible, and I doubt any other iem in the world uses them in their crossovers, so very nice work Sony!
 

 
Am I right in thinking that the H3 had no crossovers, just that the BAs and driver were tuned for different frequencies? Interesting that Sony went with a crossover here then.
 
Jan 25, 2015 at 3:51 PM Post #864 of 5,670

dweaver

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The same story I have. 



I listen to mainly the z5 during the working week travelling from home to the office (by metro). After 5 days, I start thinking that the Z5 is better and I love them more. However, after 2 weekend days when I have time in the evenings to relax with my Z7 - I change my mind and start thinking the opposite way.:wink: ​Therefore, to me they are equally great. 
LOL, that sounds familiar :). I also wear the Z7 laying down as I primarily sleep on my back.
 
Jan 25, 2015 at 5:21 PM Post #865 of 5,670

Sprkd1

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^ Z7 will destroy the Z5 for PC gaming. Yes your Titanium HD,will be fine, and yes you can connect it to you PHA3 as your sound card has optical output, and PHA3 has optical input. You will need to get an optical cable that is toslink on one end for PHA3 and mini optical on the end of sound card.

 
You sure the Titanium HD will power them sufficiently? I currently own the XBA-3 IEMs and they are recognized as "easy to drive". However, if I connect them to the front-panel headphone jack on my desktop computer's case (which is connected to the Titanium HD and I don't think it matters if I connect them to the front panel audio jack on the case or directly to the Titanium HD because the Titanium HD does not have built-in amps), the sound is quite flat (meaning as if they are lacking power). If I connect them to my un-amped 5th generation iPod touch, the sound is much better but the sound-stage is not very three dimensional. However, if I connect them to my Sony VAIO Pro 13, wow the sound-stage expands immensely and it sounds as if I am listening to much larger speakers in a bigger room. Because of this I am unsure if my un-amped Titanium HD will drive the Z7 adequately.
 
Jan 25, 2015 at 9:17 PM Post #866 of 5,670

davidmolliere

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Oh my, reading all this feedback, especially in comparison to Z7 and SE846 (and some feedback on IE800) made me jump on Z5 I should get them wednesday (coming from HK), can't wait ! 
 
Quick question : it seems that the Z5 don't come with LL tips, looking for reference to get some... am I wrong or can I only get them as part of EP-EX10A package ? Thanks !
 
Jan 26, 2015 at 3:34 AM Post #867 of 5,670

salanos

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How is everyone's views on the A3 vs the Z5?
I just got an A3 over an ATH-IM04 (Z5 is a bit too exclusive for me, pricewise) to replace my XBA-3 (which cable broke, again...) and I like it as I'm in tune with Sony's style of high-end sound (the A3 is pretty much a bassier sounding XBA-3 at the most basic description for me). The A3 just suits me more than the IM04 in terms of sound (even if its 3~40,000Hz response specification sounds unlikely). The IM04 I believe uses a complex crossover system, and it sounds great and smooth while organic despite its crowded intimacy, but Sony sets a dedicated tweeter on their armature models that hits the mark for me.

Also I understand the A3 uses an aluminum-coated armature super-tweeter unlike the Z5's magnesium based armature, but I recall when demoing them back at the Hi-Res audio launch event the Z5 wasn't much different from the A3.
Also it's interesting if they use crossover circuitry now; it used to be that Sony did a full-range, a tweeter and a woofer. Admittedly though the tweeter has always crossovered into the high end of the full-range driver while the woofer crossovers into the low end of the full-range.

Right now still driving it from the ZX1 straight.

To give a quick refresher for everyone who is new;

XBA A2:
12mm liquid crystal polymer diaphragm dynamic driver
1x full-range armature
1x "HD super" tweeter armature
Straight upright shells

XBA-A3:
16mm liquid crystal polymer diaphragm dynamic driver
1x full-range armature
1x "HD super" tweeter", aluminum alloy diaphragm
Over-ear bendable hooks

XBA-Z5:
16mm liquid crystal polymer diaphragm dynamic driver
1x full-range armature
1x "HD super" tweeter", magnesium-based diaphragm
Over-ear bendable hooks
 
Jan 26, 2015 at 4:33 AM Post #868 of 5,670

T.R.A.N.C.E.

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Am I right in thinking that the H3 had no crossovers, just that the BAs and driver were tuned for different frequencies? Interesting that Sony went with a crossover here then.

 
Nobody really knows, the H3 may or may not have used a crossover. But we know H3 and Z5 both use "Beat response control" which is the weird air tube thing around the 16mm driver to tune the bass.
 
and I found this close up picture with description on SonyPremiumHome:
 
 
"A network circuit with specially-developed film capacitor, paired to the Super Tweeter ensures delicate high-frequency response through minimized vibration and electrical interference."
 

 
Jan 26, 2015 at 8:01 AM Post #869 of 5,670

BRCMRGN

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  Quick question : it seems that the Z5 don't come with LL tips, looking for reference to get some... am I wrong or can I only get them as part of EP-EX10A package ? Thanks !

Size LL seems to only be available as a spare part. I have ordered them several times:
 
 
 Thank your for placing your order. To check your order status, please go to www.sony.com/accessories or contact Sony Parts and Accessory Sales at 1-800-488-SONY(7669).

Your order contains the following item(s) :

Item No Requested : 327525801
Item No to be Shipped : 327525801
Description :  PIECE (LL)  EAR
Quantity Requested : 10.000
Quantity Backordered : 10
Unit Price(USD):  1.32
Extended Price(USD): 13.20


Parts Subtotal: 13.20
Shipping and Handling: 0.00
Tax: 1.16
Recycle Fee:  0.00

Order Total:  14.36
 
 
Jan 26, 2015 at 8:24 AM Post #870 of 5,670

davidmolliere

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  Size LL seems to only be available as a spare part. I have ordered them several times:
Item No Requested : 327525801

 
Thanks for the item number reference :)
 
Just out of curiosity, would the XL Westone Star Tips work with the Z5, I used them with the SE846 but not sure it would fit ?
 
Edit : Answer already provided in the thread 
 
  The best ear tips for me (by far) are the old gray Phonak silicones (large size).  A shame they went out of business.  I also have some black Phonak/Audeo silicones, but they are for slim-barrel; much too narrow to fit on the Z5 (like my Westone Star tips).
 

 

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