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  #1  
Old 01-23-2014, 06:55 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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Default Sony XBA-H1 Review

I got these because I was dissatisfied with the way the XBA-2 sound. Whilst that iem does have the properties of a BA phone, ie. crisp highs, nice details etc. it falls apart on some tracks and the bass wasn't very good quality at all. It wasn't a cohesive sound and on some songs it sounded like I was listening to 2 tracks not one. And the treble, while good on some types of music, could be a little splashy on others.

The XBA-H1, from what I'd read, solves that problem by being a hybrid iem - it has both a dynamic driver and a balanced armature transducer.


I paid 100 for these from a shop - would've cost me 91 on Amazon but I didn't want to wait, plus I've got a 2 year guarantee. The RRP is $150 in the US.

Their specifications are -
-Type – Closed, hybrid
-Power handling capacity 100 mW
-Driver unit Hybrid 2-way (9mm dynamic + Balanced Armature)
- Frequency response 5-25,000 Hz
-Sensitivity 105 dB/mW
- Impedance 40 Ω (at 1kHz)
-Cord type Approx. 1.2m, OFC Litz cord (Y-type)
- Plug- Gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini plug
-Weight 7g (without cord)
-Supplied accessories – Hybrid silicone rubber earbuds (2SS/S/M/L), Foamed silicone earbuds (2S/M/L), Cord adjuster, Clip, Carrying pouch.






The cable is rather nice, flat and appears to be tangle resistant. The red and black seems to be emulating the look of some custom cables but is not replaceable.

The housing of the phones is quite large but not ridiculously so; they fit my ears with no issues. The jack is like that of the XBA-2.

One good thing is that Sony have got rid of the assymetrical (neck) cord which was a pain to use.






These sound amazing for the price. They have all the detail, clarity and highs of a good BA but also the deep timbre and rumble of a solid dynamic iem. And it sounds cohesive, not messy at all. I was surprised by just how high I could turn up the volume with no (at least to my ears) distortion. 'Musical' is perhaps how I'd describe them, but that term doesn't really mean much. Highly enjoyable is more subjective and apt.

The mids and treble are about perfect to me - I've never heard an iem with such good bass but which didn't overpower the rest of the frequency range. So far I've listened to a mix of rock, classical and vocalists and the XBA-H1 hasn't missed a beat.

In terms of what I've listened to before, these are the best without question. That includes various BA, dual BA and dynamic driver iems. I've found that I just needed hybrids.

When you think that Sony originally tried to sell the XBA-2 for 189 - and they are vastly inferior - I'd consider 100 or less to be great value and far more realistic from Sony.



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Last edited by Jeven; 01-23-2014 at 07:11 AM. Reason: added photos
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2014, 05:37 PM
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I recently bought the Sony XBA-H1 IEMs and indeed they are very good. They have much better sound quality than the XBA-1 and the bass on the XBA-H1 is very good which the XBA-1 lacked.
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2014, 04:22 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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I love them and have listened to nothing else - not even my full size headphones - for the past 10 days.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:32 AM
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Yeah, they are very good IEMs with good hi-fi sound. Another pair of IEMs I recommend are the Bowers and Wilkins C5. They have just as good SQ but the bass is more emphasised.
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2014, 02:09 PM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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Nice review. Some of us are very frugal though and would never pay $150 for an IEM. With IEMs, it isn't just the sound quality but the fit as well. I have some that sound great but are so uncomfortable I rarely use them. At least they weren't over $50 each. I don't want to risk $150, especially since IEMs are typically so difficult to return. Fit is such an individual thing though, and some IEMs may fit others great but not fit me well and vice versa. I guess my price limit for an IEM is $50.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:35 PM
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You made me hungry for a Sony XBA, so I bought the XBA-1. Not bad for $25. It's worth $25, however I am glad I didn't buy this two years ago for $65. Imo it isn't worth $65. Some people say the XBA-1 is lacking in bass. It isn't really bass deficient, but doesn't have great bass slam.

The big question is how much better is the XBA-2 or the XBA-H1 than the XBA-1?
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:45 AM
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I haven't heard the XBA-1 but I do have the XBA-2.

The XBA-H1 is leaps and bounds better than the XBA-2 - it's night and day to me.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:35 AM
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Jeven, have you tried the Shure SE215s?
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  #9  
Old 02-10-2014, 05:50 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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No, I haven't heard those.

The only dynamic driver iems I have are the Sony ex300s, and the XBA-H1 are a lot better than those too.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:43 PM
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What about XBA3's (that I have but gave to the wife)? I have tried XBA2's and tbh didn't notice a massive difference between the two. If you say the H1's are significantly better than a XBA2 I'm guessing also better than XBA3's..
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  #11  
Old 07-27-2014, 05:49 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
What about XBA3's (that I have but gave to the wife)? I have tried XBA2's and tbh didn't notice a massive difference between the two. If you say the H1's are significantly better than a XBA2 I'm guessing also better than XBA3's..

I never tried the XBA-3s - the main difference between the XBA-2 and the XBA-H1 is the vastly better bass on the latter, that and the wide soundstage (presumably because the housing is quite large).
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:45 PM
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I created a new post here, mentioned you briefly.
After a bit of preliminary searching I'm intrigued by the XBA-H3's, they seem to tick all the right boxes. Might grab em sometime soon...
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  #13  
Old 07-28-2014, 06:45 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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I'd love to try out the XBA-H3 sometime.

If you can get the XBA-H1 for a good price ie. a good bit cheaper than what I paid for a new product, I don't think you'll be disappointed the way you were with the XBA-2/3.
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:17 PM
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Preliminary searches have shown the H3's to be going for 250quid your way, but $250 USD and $270AUD which is significantly cheaper than 250quid. I'll likely grab them at some point unless someone else has a better recommendation in my other thread.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:02 AM
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They're 170 here from a few sites - that is about as much as I'd be prepared to pay.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:36 AM
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Yeh slightly too much, tho I have heard folk say that even at full RRP they are worth it.
I wonder, Sony USA website is selling them for $250, would they post internationally as well? Australia still hasn't got them up on their site (not surprising tbh, we're always late to the party).
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