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HDNumpty's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 17/01/2008 - 23:27
Posts: 274
Review - Sony XBA3 and others

Hi all

I thought it useful to share my recent experiences.  As an owner of an iPod Classic 120GB and iPhone 4 8GB (currently with Spotify Premium) I have a fair few 'mobile' devices to have a go at.  I'm also heading toward an iPad 4 after Christmas.


My headphone collection has consisted of Sennheiser CX300s (lost/stolen), Goldring in-ears (given away), Sennheiser MM50 (good but call quality and build quality rubbish).  Over-ears:  Sennheiser PX100s (wore out), Sennheiser PX200s (not great), Grado iGrado, AKG K450 (don't rate), Audio Technica ES55s (stolen).


I fancied a good pair of in-ears and a good pair of over-ears for my players.  I bought:


Audio Technica ES7

Sony XBA3 (not iP versions), Japanese import


The ES7s were bought over the counter at Richer Sounds Prestwich, very happy with them (though not with the recent £10 price reduction :exmark: ) excellent detail, bass and midrange.  A cut above my stolen ES55s which I really loved, but perhaps a little bulky on the head - this related to the headband as the earcups are very light and double as earmuffs in very cold weather.  They're a good portable headphone as long as you're not bothered about appearances or the size when carrying them.


The XBA3s were purchased following the WHF award-win.  I made the mistake of ordering them via eBay on an apparent 'bargain'.  I then waited almost 6 weeks for them to arrive and even this following 3 chase-up emails.  When they arrived I found they attracted small additional charges, pushing the price up, but also that they were not the iP versions I thought I was ordering.  They have no microphone and for some reason the cable is ridiculously short, suitable for a breast-pocket only.  The included extension gives the 'phones a useful 1.5m length.  In summary of these headphones:


Detail - excellent with a bit of running in

Atmosphere/soundstage - ditto

Bass - not a patch on a good pair of on-ears like the ES7s

Comfort - lot of care needs to be taken with the earbuds, the bodies are heavy and you feel this in your ears


The XBAs are definitely an 'audiophile' in-ear option, they sound great, but don't expect the bass levels of any over-ear from even 3-way drivers and don't expect the same level of comfort.

Also, don't bother buying abroad via eBay - just days after these arrived I found some XBA3 iPs for just £35 more with a full UK warranty and these were available for £19 less on a 'fire-sale' day - just £16 more!!  Shop around, sure, but avoid buying from abraod IMO.


If any members have had similar experiences with buying overseas I would be interested to hear.

Hi-Fi: WD NAS, Naim ND5 XS, Naim Supernait, B&W PM1   HC:  LG OLED, Denon 1611ud, Humax YouView, Sony DA2400ES, MS surrounds, REL sub