Sony's New 2014 flagship IEM - XBA Z5
Feb 1, 2015 at 12:26 AM Post #916 of 5,648

cuiter23

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These are probably the most beautiful universal IEMs I have ever seen! Definitely thinking of replacing my XBA4's with these. I can't stand the treble on the XBA4!
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 2:36 AM Post #917 of 5,648

BensonTT

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Hey guys I am really considering buying these Z5 and I was wondering how do they sound compared to the Audio Technica ATH-M50? I know its not a really fair comparison but I do not have any other headphones/earphones to compare too.. I love the sound of the ATH-M50 and I was hoping the Z5 would sound 10X better.. lol 
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 9:09 AM Post #918 of 5,648

feverfive

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I just ordered the single-ended upgrade cable from B&H Photo (their item number is wrong; B&H has it as MUCM125M1, but it SHOULD be MUCM12SM1).  I order from places like B&H so I won't have to pay sales tax (screw you government, you get enough of my money), but unfortunately, B&H advises a 7-14 day delay before this will be shipped to me; I'm in no particular hurry.
 
I don't mean to start a holy war, but I am dubious about spending significant amounts of money on cables (which I have done in the past), so I am not expecting anything earth-shattering when I receive mine.  I know I'll also miss using the shirt clip as the upgrade cable looks too thick for using the stock clip.
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 9:23 AM Post #919 of 5,648

davidmolliere

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  I was just curious of people's impressions with it. Interesting that it's virtually an unknown factor on this thread...


Curious too, I guess very limited availability of this cable and the scarce number of Z5 owners explains it...
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 10:10 AM Post #920 of 5,648

salanos

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These are probably the most beautiful universal IEMs I have ever seen! Definitely thinking of replacing my XBA4's with these. I can't stand the treble on the XBA4!

As I recall the XBA-4 is a slightly darker sounding and bassier IEM vs the XBA-3. The XBA-A3/Z5 have fairly similar, but similar treble signature, so if you dislike the XBA-4 you might not enjoy the A3/Z5.

Hey guys I am really considering buying these Z5 and I was wondering how do they sound compared to the Audio Technica ATH-M50? I know its not a really fair comparison but I do not have any other headphones/earphones to compare too.. I love the sound of the ATH-M50 and I was hoping the Z5 would sound 10X better.. lol

The M50 is a full-size headphone and shouldn't be really compared, but I have that too. I prefer IEMs inherently but also adore my M50's sound, so if you really like the M50's sparkly treble and airy sound, you ought to enjoy Sony's extremely airy and expansive sound stage offered by the second-generation balanced armature hybrid models. They are also slightly laid back in the mids just like the M50.
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM Post #921 of 5,648

gerelmx1986

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for those who have owned the H3 and got rid of them, how much an improvement is the A3/Z5 over the H3, detail the sound signature of what you found to be an imporvement
 
thanks
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 12:11 PM Post #922 of 5,648

davidmolliere

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I have been doing some more listening with the Z5, especially I gave a try at the FiiO E18 / Z5 combo just out of curiosity as the ZX1 sounded great already but not on all genres (bass sometimes too present)... and oh my the FiiO E18 is a great match!
 
Different than the PHA-3, imaging and detail retrieval are not as good, and bass is less tight, but the major point for the E18 is that it's a much more balanced sound. Bass are less tight but also less in your face than the ZX1, probably largely due to the medium being far lusher with the FiiO E18 and the bass are more nuanced and overall balanced with mids and highs. Soundstage is wider than the ZX1 and on par with PHA-3.
 
That brings an even better presentation IMHO (at least to my taste), everything is just more coherent. I don't get the feeling some genre are less fitting or that bass are too forward now. The highs are more natural sounding than from the ZX1 and you don't loose any detail. The Fiio E18 (w. TI PCM1798 burr brown DAC) pairs well with the Z5, a very euphonic combo! It's so full bodied it's very close to the PHA-3 / Z7 w Kimber Kables with that setup (minus the wider soundstage on the Z7 obviously, but not by that far...eerie) ... IEM bliss!
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 1:35 PM Post #923 of 5,648

dweaver

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The treble of the Z5 is much more natural sounding than the XBA3 and from what I have read the XBA4 has a similar issue as the XBA3 in this regard so I suspect the Z5 would be a good upgrade over the XBA4.

The Z5 pretty much improves on the XBA-H3 in every area. The bass is more controlled and detailed, the midrange is definitely more present and engaging, treble is more detailed.
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 3:45 PM Post #924 of 5,648

cuiter23

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As I recall the XBA-4 is a slightly darker sounding and bassier IEM vs the XBA-3. The XBA-A3/Z5 have fairly similar, but similar treble signature, so if you dislike the XBA-4 you might not enjoy the A3/Z5.
The M50 is a full-size headphone and shouldn't be really compared, but I have that too. I prefer IEMs inherently but also adore my M50's sound, so if you really like the M50's sparkly treble and airy sound, you ought to enjoy Sony's extremely airy and expansive sound stage offered by the second-generation balanced armature hybrid models. They are also slightly laid back in the mids just like the M50.


Thanks for the heads up although I highly doubt Sony will put an inherently flawed design over and over again in their flagship. If you have ever heard the xba-4 you find that the treble is insanely harsh! iirc this issue has been fixed on the xba-40s so I'm assuming that the z5s will be even greater improvement than the 40s. If the z5 still possesses that unbearable treble I reckon it should cost no more than $150.

The treble of the Z5 is much more natural sounding than the XBA3 and from what I have read the XBA4 has a similar issue as the XBA3 in this regard so I suspect the Z5 would be a good upgrade over the XBA4.

The Z5 pretty much improves on the XBA-H3 in every area. The bass is more controlled and detailed, the midrange is definitely more present and engaging, treble is more detailed.


This is my thought exactly! Although I never auditioned the z5s personally, from what I heard they are a huge improvement physically and sonically over the xba4s.
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 8:14 PM Post #927 of 5,648

cuiter23

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How does the XBA-A3 stack up? Can't seem to find any info on it...

Worth dumping the XBA-H3 for it?


If you want to check out lachlanlikesathing review on youtube you will find that the a3 presents a much better value and is almost the same to the z5. The z5s are better but not double the price better. You do get the beautiful magnesium housing though!
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 8:39 PM Post #928 of 5,648

jmsaxon69

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I saw it, he says they A3 is better then criticizes the "metallic treble" I don't know what to think, to top it off the H3 I have came with the filters removed, so I don't know how it originally sounded anyway...
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 8:51 PM Post #929 of 5,648

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

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Pretty sure lachlan said the Z5 has tighter bass, and smoother treble than A3. Still the Z5 is not very good value, but that can be said for any iems that cost over $300, even totl universals and ciems which I've had. Z5 can be found for $500, which isn't so bad really, its better value than IE800, SE846, W60 etc etc.
 

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