Sony XBA-1 – In ear headphones – review 

Welcome to my review of the Sony XBA-1 in ear headphones. 

  

The Key Specifications 

– Type Closed, Balanced Armature
– Driver Unit Balanced Armature

– Sensitivity 108dB (150mV)

– Power Handling Capacity 100mW

– Impedance 24ohms at 1kHz

– Frequency Response 5-25,000Hz

– Cord OFC litz cord neck-chain

– Cord Length 1.2m

 – Plug Gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini plug

– Weight (Without Cord) Approx. 3g

– Supplied Accessories Hybrid silicone rubber earbuds* (SSx2, Sx2, Mx2, Lx2), Noise isolation earbuds** (Sx2, Mx2, Lx2), Cord Adjuster (winds cord up to 50cm) x 1, Carrying Pouch x 1

* Hybrid silicone rubber earbuds (SS (Red) x 2, S (Orange) x 2, M (Green – attached to the unit) x 2, L (Light Blue) x 2)

** Noise isolation earbuds (S (Orange) x 2, M (Green) x 2, L (Light Blue) x 2)

The Audio Quality & Experience 

The Sony XBA-1 in ear headphones are known to lack bass. That statement is definitely true if you don’t use a £300-£500 DAC/Amp as a minimum to drive them. If you plug these into your smartphone directly they sound fairly neutral and lacking bass. I really didn’t enjoy the sound from these from the start. 

However after plugging these into the Pioneer XDP-100R Digital Audio Player these headphones came alive. They suddenly have the ability to deliver loads of bass but strictly only when the bass is present on the track. The mids and especially the treble are able to reproduce some fairly clear sounds with a splash of warm in their sound signature. The soundstage is not expansive. This is likely due to the closed headphone design.

Due to EC regulations new headphones sold in the Europe have the maximum volume level capped to protect your ears. I bought these from a Sony Centre who were clearing old stock for about £45. As these headphones were made prior to the changes you can reach decent volumes. 

Conclusion

These sound signature of these headphones will not be welcome by many and probably because they are not being driven by decent hardware. With the correct quality hardware powering these they truly are splendid to listen too. Not recommended for general use.

Info on Sony XBA full range of headphones

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