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Old 05-26-2012, 12:49 PM
JSBach JSBach is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Mexico
Posts: 120
Default Sony XBA-1 FULL review after 5 day of use

I did a mini review before of the sony XBA-1 now after 5 days after use let me write down my toughts

The package comes with the basic accessories: the hybrid silicone tips, foam filled noise-isolating tips, a cable winder, a carrying pouch made of cloth and oddly but well, an instruction booklet [ plug headphones and use them].

The tips isolate well and are comfortable, ideal for long periods of use. Normal tips come in 4 sizes SS, S, M and L. Noise isolating come in the 3 standard bundle-sizes S,M and L. The best fitting (my ears) are the M and L, they produce a good seal, and as the audiophiles say, good seal = good sound.
The S and SS are the hardest to put on the headphones nozzles as well all of the noise-isolating, like the insertion receptacle is made of hard silicone or the nozzle is a little bit big.

Now the XBA-1:
the build quality is good, WalkGood told me that his headphones use Ferrofluid for shock resistance (Edited, see post #10 here), sony claims those have liquid crystal polymer casings for vibration reduction, however I don’t know if this also is for shock resistance.
They are slim, of course sony decided to coat these too with their shiny silver paint, I hope it doesn’t degrade over time like some sony players. Plug is a 90 degree one with a rounded tip, the cable is flat style and yes it doesn’t memory-tangle I love it altought it is a J-cord
Now here goes the icing on the cake, the sound quality:
The sound is pretty natural, I feel the sound to be like “I am at the concert live”, it has a balanced frequency spectrum, instruments sound so natural, for example the Harpsichord doesn’t sound so metallic like on most dynamic drivers. I can feel playing it. Overall warm sound.
Sorry for the bassheads out there…. The bass is present, it makes presence but it is not the kind of bass you get from a dynamic driver or a monster beats by dr dre, it’s pretty balanced punchy at times.
They reproduce the most subtle detail sounds, for example the mellow French horns or the wood flue pipes of an organ supporting the chorus, including room reverberation [more on this later]. Some harpsichord sound too weak when paired in an orchestra like in bach’s harpsichord concerti, those headphones can reproduce this weak sounds and pianissimos at even low volumes. I can hear the harpsichord mechanism being released after a thunderous chord or passage. The 4 antiphonal organs played by E power Biggs sound astonishing good you can hear them in melody each subtle sound.
The instrument separation is good as mentioned above I can hear instruments I never heard before unless I turned up the volume on a dynamic driver, it gives the impression of a immersive experience without any fancy surround or 3D thingies, for example in most of the Bach Canatas conducted by Helmut Rillig you can I could hear a virtuoso violin passage along with a soprano singing or horns, oboes, trumpets.
The reverb of a room [echo] decays at proper time, you can feel being at the hall [church/cathedral] specially organ works or harpsichord works you feel the sound decaying slowly after the relase of the keyboard, some instruments have internal reverb, namely violins, cellos, harpsichord, specially the lute-harpsichord [ a harpsichord with gut strings] the sound of this lute-harpsichord wow amazed me the decay of the internal resonance is pretty accurate you can feel those bass strings punch and resonate as well those 2’ strings decaying more rapidly yet sound charming and pretty warm.

Overall sound quality is a top notch, something I never heard from $20 [usd] headphones, and for being a single BA damn every single detail reproduced with such an accuracy is worth the price of 80 USD, warm sounding headphones. I recommend them for an entry level audiophile

Some remarks on this review:
Music collection is MP3, Frauhoffer encoded @ 192kbps using DB powramp

All collection is classical music [from renaissance to romanticism]

Listened to a variety of instruments from Pianos and fortepianos, diverse harpsichords [French, german and Flemish], German harpsichord being a warmer cembalo sound, different orchestras from modern with HV Karajan to Historical performance like English concert w/Trevor pinnock… [classical is not only orchestra or piano]

Rig used ipod classic [late 2009] 160GB, no EQ no sound enhancing stuff, just plain as-is

Some of the recordings used were Bach complete edition, Haenssler Klassik, Helmut rilling 170 CD conducting the cantatas and Robert hill using a Lute-harpsichord on the keyboard works section

, Haendel chamber music English academic ensemble. Pierre Hantai Golberg variations [1993 recording] using a copy of a Michale Mietke German harpsichord

HV Karajan Beethoven symphonie No. 9 and Mozart symphonies 35-41,

Philipps Mozart edition 180 CDs

Deutsche harmonia mundi Louis Couperin : L’integrale d’l’Oeuvre de clavecin, davitt moroney Flemish harpsichord

Archiv blue series , Kenneth gilbert, Bach Well tempered clavier Books 1 and 2, French Tasking/ruckers harpsichord

Trevor pinnock conducts the engish concert on original instruments, bach complete harpsichord concertos

Yo-yo ma, Bach the cello suites complete Sony BMG 1988 the pink version, there’s a white booklet version

Naxos Mozart clarinet quintet K 581,

sony BMG E. Power Biggs JS BACH The great Four Toccatas and Fugues
BMG BACH/vivaldi concertos for 2 violins Isaac stern and Pinchas zukermann

Last edited by WalkGood; 06-01-2012 at 11:47 AM. Reason: styling issues
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