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4.0 out of 5 stars28
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2014
I normally don't leave product reviews, but I feel these earphones are being poorly rated for all the wrong reasons.

If you have read all of the negative reviews, most complain of a lack of bass. This is not strictly true since the bass delivered by the Sony XBA1 earphones are quite different to conventional earphones. Conventional earphones are mostly bass-heavy and because of this, the treble comes across very "muddy" and "muddled". The XBA1 delivers the content exactly as it was intended i.e it does not exaggerate any aspect of the music.

If you use the correct size ear buds provided (VERY IMPORTANT! Otherwise external noise will leak in) to form a good seal in your ear, the sound is very good. The bass is there, but it's not overpowering. Instead it is very controlled and not "mini-earthquakes". The vocals are very clear and instruments sound wonderful. Sony even provide you with ear tips fitted with foam, and these make a huge difference in isolating the outside noise and make the music listening experience much more immersive.

My girlfriend tried these earphones and she hated them, citing a lack of bass "ruining her music". Conversely, I tried her Marley Midnight Ravers earphones and equally hated them due to the bass being so overpowering. If you like big bass, then you will hate the XBA1. You will be better off with BEATS or JVC, both of whom are known for producing earphones that are for bass lovers.

These are very good earphones and absolute an bargain at £21.50. I love mine and currently rediscovering my music collection since the XBA1 makes me hear little details I couldn't hear before. Definitely recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2013
Some reviews complain about the tinny sound. I think it's more a product of the headphones producing much better controlled sound, rather than the bass skewed alternatives. I quite like the clarity, I miss the lower frequency response, but at £29 I don't think you can get much better in terms of overall sound, fit and comfort.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2012
I previously had some Sony MDR-EX71 which had lasted me several years and only needed replacing because the membrane fell off leaving them sounding very tinny (understandable). So, I replaced them with some Sennheiser CX300 which were awful.

I actually bought these to replace the Sennheiser which gave up after two months. These earphones are a revelation compared to the Sennheiser ones, and they only cost £10.00 more.

They come with a carry case, a set of four standard ear piece covers and a set of three noise cancelling ear piece covers so you will find some that fit. I'm using the medium size noise cancelling ones.

They do take a little bit of getting used to as the ear pieces are a lot longer than ones I've owned previously and at first they feel like they are sticking out of your ears a bit but you soon forget about that once you start realising how wonderful they sound. The sound is crystal clear - you can hear every little thing. It's just perfect - well it is for me, it might not be the case for bass lovers but for me it really is perfect.

They are also extremely comfortable - I've been sat with them in all day and can't feel them.

I love these earphones. If you are debating whether to buy these or Sennheiser, buy these. Trust me, I've had both and there is genuinely no comparison.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2012
Overall: When I first listened to it, to be honest, I was surprised! The highs and mids were clear and natural but the bass response was a little bit too weak for first time use. Kinda disappointed tho. After a few days of using, I begin to fall in love with this earphone because I find that the sound is natural and accurate, including the bass response. It really brings the listening experience to a whole new level. I don't know whether it was the placebo effect or what, the sound became much clearer and the bass did improve after a period of burn-in. I do know the fact that Balanced Armature (BA) IEM doesn't need burn in at all but what's the harm of doing that, so i did the burn in for quite some time with medium volume. For the eartips, it fits perfectly into mine and the noise isolation is pretty perfect as well. In order to get the best sound experience with this XBA1, make sure you have a nice and tight eartip fitting otherwise you will get very inferior sound. Very! Besides, I love the overall quality build of XBA-1. I love its glossy look and flat cable which I believe reduce the risk of tangling. One word, stylish!

**BASS Review: I wouldn't want to compare this to other dynamic driver IEMs out there in the market, I am sure their bass responses would be so much better and punchier than this. I would describe the bass as natural, nice and not so overwhelming! I wouldn't recommend this to those who demand the deep and punchy bass response, you might wanna go for XBA2 or XBA4 which features BA woofer driver and BA super woofer driver respectively!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2014
The Balance Armature Drive Unit originally introduced by Shure in high end models is not a panacea.
It has a very immediate, fast and precise sound that brings music to life. But it needs a perfect seal from the outside world as the ear canal acts as the resonant tube for the bass. If the fit isn't right there is no bass whatsoever, and due to the small size of the driver even then, the bass isn't that much.
However the same failings are true of the Shure SE530 which costs a few hundred pounds, yet these are on offer here at a measly £21. So despite their obvious flaws they are the bargain of the century, giving a taste of that high end immediacy and 'involvement' so craved by the Linn/Naim 'flat earthers' way back in hifi's prehistoric era (ie the 1980s).
Yes the sound is hard and tinny at first but they mellow as they run in, and that lack of bass 'slam' can be cured by tweaking the EQ controls on your ipod or whatever. So at this price what's not to like?
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on 30 March 2014
- clear, transparent, natural sound,
- just enough bass to suit my needs (I'm not a basshead),
- excellent bass definition, good depth and impact (considering these are single-driver IEMs); I wouldn't say there's something missing there, the bass very nicely supplement the overall listening experience without drowning out any details,
- the mids sound transparent and detailed,
- little or no audible noise even at higher volumes.
- very little microphonics,
- good sound isolation,
- great efficiency.

- treble roll-off (however this couldn't be avoided when using a single driver).

Bottom line:
These earphones are exellent for the price. I was absolutely astonished that such performance can be achieved at this price point. They are much better than the Philips SHE9850 that I had some time ago. They are light-years ahead of: Creatice EP-630, Sennheiser CX300 and several other dynamic-driver IEMs. I would describe these Sony IEMs as being refined and very vell designed with attention to every detail. I couldn't find anything wrong with them.

I'd also like to thank Amazon for a swift delivery.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2013
I've been a long term fan of Sony headphones for a while now so when i recently left my MDR-XB40EX at work and needed some phones for the weekend i popped into my local Sony shop and bought a pair of these. Initially i was disappointed in how lifeless they felt. I tried a variety of buds on them and left them running for 24hrs to try and break them in a little. It is now a month later and, try as i might, i can not bring myself to say a good thing about these. The mid and treble are pretty average really but the bass... What bass? Don't get me wrong, i'm not looking for headphones to play the latest phat beats, as i believe the youth of today might say, but i just want a little life in my music. Yes the XB40EX are quite a bassy phone so you may think i'm just comparing the XBA1 to those but i also use a Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Mini and some Beyer Dynamic phones, both of which sound lovely without a particular emphasis on bass.

I genuinely can't try and dissuade you enough from buying these. I ran a few tests with friends whereby we listened to four sets of phones. They weren't informed of the price and had no preconceptions. The XBA1 came out of the test far worse than any other set. We even agreed that a set of 5 year old Sony over ears with foam pads that cost £12 sounded better.

I normally read many reviews of items i buy before i make the purchase but on this occasion i foolishly rushed in due to a faith in Sony. That faith is now long gone and i certainly shan't make the same mistake again.

I hope this is of some help.
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on 22 September 2014
I have read plenty of reviews good and bad ,and after long long time I have decided to buy this item ,but NO .
I have tried a lot of Sony , Sennheiser, Panasonic earphones until now and with a great regret I can say that these earphones are not satisfy me.
The sound is lifeless not even very clear how I have written in different reviews it's clear or seem to be clear because there is NO BASS .
To be honest I would say that on a scale from 1 to 10 , these earphones not deserve more than 4.
It was a big disappointment for me when I tried this product, for premium quality I have expected something else from Sony.
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on 20 January 2014
I love the cable, which is neck-chain style, which is so much better than the Y-cord!

Very clear and scrips sound. Mid-range sounds are fantastically accurate, especially considering the pricing of these in-ear headphones. Great design, comfortable, quite sturdy.

However, I like a deep base and the MDR-range from Sony cater to that need much better. I would have given it 5-star rating if the bass wasn't so flat.

If classical and jazz is your type of music, these will do a very good job. For pop, rock, house and hip hop these are not your best friend.
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on 10 September 2014
Thought they sounded extremely tinny when fresh out of the box. Turns out you really have to jam them in your ear and get a VERY good seal. When inserted properly, they sound amazing. Get a pair, then get a pair for your friends.
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