Ultimate Ears 600(superfi 5) vs Sony XBA-1 and Ultimate Ears 700 vs Sony XBA-2
Dec 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


New Head-Fier
Dec 22, 2012
I am looking for a new pair of IEM's to replace my now broken Sennheiser CX300's. I'm looking to upgrade to a Balanced Armature design. My question is which out of the duel driver options and single driver options is the better one?
Is it worth paying an extra $25 for the UE600 over the XBA1?
Is it worth paying an extra $35 for the UE700 or XBA2 (same price) over the UE600?
Any help is appreciated.
May 30, 2013 at 7:59 AM Post #2 of 2


May 8, 2013
[size=medium]I’ve been keeping an eye on this post as I was in a similar position early this year contemplating to buy either a Sony or Ultimate Ears balanced armature IEM.  And since no one has replied I ended up buying 3 of the IEMs mentioned in the above post so I could compare them; Sony XBA-1, Sony XBA-2 and Ultimate Ears 700.[/size]
[size=medium]There is plenty of information in this forum regarding each of the IEMs but I could not find a direct comparison between Sony and UE.[/size]
[size=medium]The following is a brief summary in case anyone may find it useful without having to spend money purchasing each one to find out which one suits your sound preference.  I can post a more detailed comparison if there’s any further interest.[/size]
[size=medium]Sony XBA-2 (least preferred)[/size]
[size=medium]The Sony XBA-2 has bloated bass which bleeds into the mids thus causing a muddy sound signature that is not to my liking.  EQing by reducing the bass and increasing the mids/highs still resulted in a muffled sound.  I ended up returning these although I was impressed with their hard carry case and hybrid ear tips which have awesome isolation.[/size]
[size=medium]Sony XBA-1 (better)[/size]
[size=medium]Because I returned the XBA-2 with all the accessories I still wanted to have the Sony hybrid ear tips and since I could not find any Sony replacement ear tips in local shops I ending up buying the XBA-1 for the ear tips!  The XBA-1 has a more balanced sound and clarity compared to the XBA-2.  Although compared to the UE700, the XBA-1’s treble sounds slightly more synthesized/metallic and it has less bass than the UE700.  I still rate the XBA-1 as good value for the current market price of less than $50.[/size]
[size=medium]Ultimate Ears 700 (even better)[/size]
[size=medium]With bass boost EQ turned on and using the Sony hybrid ear tips, the UE700 has smooth highs, clear/forward mids and accurate bass with good impact.  It has an intimate soundstage with good instrument separation.  It’s my pick of the 3 IEMs.[/size]
[size=medium]As for a comparison between UE700 and UE600, it is unanimously agreed in the following thread that UE700 is a better performer than UE600 so I did not bother buying/testing the UE600.[/size]
[size=medium]The UE600 also had a larger housing compared to the other IEM.  Microphonics was evident on the UE700 so they need to be worn over the ears when on the move; doing this eliminated the microphonics.  It wasn’t an issue with the Sonys.[/size]
[size=medium]So it is definitely worth spending more money to buy the UE700 if you value good quality sound.  I wouldn’t consider the Sony XBA-2 due to its inflated price and poor performance.  Also, if your budget is less than $50 then the Sony XBA-1 would also be a good entry point.[/size]
[size=medium]Can your dollar be stretched further in the quest for quality sound?  Well that’s a question for another post as I’m just getting started with my induction to head-fi. [/size]

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