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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sony XBA - 3iP
I am a very heavy user of inner ear headphones. Since I got my first iPhone 3 years ago I must have been through 2-3 pairs a year. I have spent everything between £20 and £150 before now and had some really good quality headphones. I have always liked the Sennheiser CX 300 for the price and I had a pair of Beyerdynamic MMX 101s which sounded brilliant but were incredibly...
Published on 27 Dec. 2012 by deadlybadger

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Purchased this in March 2013 sound was excellent but the button unit disintegrated in Feb 2014 after ...
Purchased this in March 2013 sound was excellent but the button unit disintegrated in Feb 2014 after very little use. Had to buy superglue in Barbados to try and hold it together. Now binned and have gone back to Klipish X11i's.
Published 4 months ago by Gordon


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sony XBA - 3iP, 27 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
I am a very heavy user of inner ear headphones. Since I got my first iPhone 3 years ago I must have been through 2-3 pairs a year. I have spent everything between £20 and £150 before now and had some really good quality headphones. I have always liked the Sennheiser CX 300 for the price and I had a pair of Beyerdynamic MMX 101s which sounded brilliant but were incredibly flimsy. My previous favorites were a pair of Shure SE 115s which isolated so well and had incredible bass.

I was a little skeptical about paying so much for these Sonys, especially as going on previous experience they won't last long!

Out of the box the Sony buds immediately give you a quality impression. They feel well made and have some nice details like flat cabling and the inclusion of a device to shorten the cable. They have a very wide range of silicone earbuds to help you find the right fit, which is essential to getting the best sound.

Thankfully the sound is excellent, they sound really controlled and precise. There are high frequencies audible I have never heard in my music with other brands. They are not as bass heavy as the Shures but sound so much clearer.

If you are a fan of really heavy bass check out the Shure SE 115s... for anything else these will do nicely!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fairly good but expensive, 10 Feb. 2013
By 
uumode (berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
This is rated by What Hi-Fi and over at head-fi.org which is why I gave this a shot.

I considered the other high end headphones £200-£300 but generally the life span of in ears don't seem to be that long, so spending £300 didn't appeal to me.
The Sony seemed to offer a quite good performance review Vs price ratio, with the added bonus of iPhone volume, mic and play controls. This also automatically dismissed quite a few of the other high end earphones.

Anyway I choose Sony because of it's mass production experience, economies of scale and minituration expertise. Other high end ear phones would inevitably be produced in lower batches and without Sony's extensive track record of making earphones.

I expected great things from the XBA 3 but when compared to the standard stock iPhone pod earphones that come with the iPhone 5, I really had to listen hard to hear the differences. I was expecting it to be night and day. It wasn't. Apple claim 'The audio quality is so superior, they rival high-end headphones that cost much more.' and I think I almost buy into that now.

At first listening Vs the stock Apple pod earphones the Sony sound less transparent, and congested - However this could be a trait of sound isolation buds in general as it is similar to having your fingers in your ears or underwater because the silicon seal in your ears is so much tighter and plugged. The Apple pods are just hard plastic, but the sound is more around you and open (and you get more of the environmental sounds).

Bass seems a bit deeper on the pods, but it is woolly and ill defined compared to the XBA3. Listening harder you'll find the instruments are better defined on XBA 3, the bass more controlled but with volume slightly quieter as they are harder to drive than the pods which are louder at the same volume level.

Bottom line they do sound better with more definition than the standard Pods if you listen carefully, as the difference is not night and day as I've mentioned. The bigger difference is the characteristic in sound, the XBA 3 can sound a little muddy / congested compared to the pods airyness.

If the XBA 3s were double the £25 of the pods I'd rate them 5 stars, but at £200 they are not 8 times better, more 2 times better. If the XBA 3's were £100 I'd rate them 4 stars, but at the current price I can only rate them 3 stars. If money is no object and your pockets are deep then 4 stars. They do come with a hard case and extra different sized ear plugs.

The wire is also not as silky smooth or crease resistant as the pods cables.

With extended listening the ear plugs start to feel uncomfortable (compared with Pod earphones) and the treble is 'recessed'. Treble is controlled and smooth, but perhaps it could do with a bit more 'edge' and crispness to liven up cymbals.

UPDATE

after more use and running in, they do appear to have loosened up a bit and sound better with more clarity. Though they still sounded 'congested'
I compared them instore with display headphones at John Lewis and PC World (as there are no inears on display) and the Philips L1 £230 and Beats MixR £230 had better separation and definition on my iPhone 5, but the Philips is so inefficient that the iPhone barely drives it and is only about 1/4 volume - so not very loud. The Beats MixR really does sound the best for iPhone 5 out of all the display models.

This 'congestion' was really bothering me, so I decided to splash out on a £140 Audioengine D1 DAC (digital to analogue convertor) http://www.amazon.com/Audioengine-D1-Premium-24-Bit-DAC/product-reviews/B006IPH5H2 and connect it to my Apple MacBook Pro Retina. (annoyingly the new iPhone 5's connector doesn't connect directly to any existing DACs)

Wow, the Audioengine D1 really makes the XBA3 shine. The soundstage opens up, the treble extends, the bass is deeper fuller and tighter.
I took my laptop and Audioengine D1 to the shops again, just to see how the display phones might sound. The Philips L1 is properly driven by the D1 and its headphone amplifier and sounds gorgeous - natural smooth but with slightly forward treble (XBA3 is more controlled). The Beats mixR now sound downright harsh. The cheaper Bose AE2 and Sennheiser HD449 sound pretty good now through the DAC, natural, smooth, treble reasonably controlled (Bose AE2 sound very aggressive directly from the iPhone 5). The HD449's (£70) sound great value compared to it's bigger brother the Momentums at £250 ish.

The XBA3s through the Audioengine D1 sounded better overall than all the display headphones I could get my hands on. The closest was the Philips L1 - but treble was slightly forward (bass was deeper and separation better though). If you want cheaper alternatives I can recommend the Sennheiser HD449 and Bose AE2, but both of these sound much thinner than the XBA3, which sounded more full bodied and substantial.

The D1 sounds better through my Mac USB port than it does from my Acer PC USB port

So there you go, unlock the potential of the XBA3 with a DAC! (and my DAC isn't run in yet)

If you have an iPhone 5, and can't afford a DAC, then the Beats mixR headphones will sound better than the XBA3 driven directly by the headphone socket
Also the standard iPhone pods do not improve in sound quality much when connected to the DAC, the XBA3 improves substantially.

In the light of these findings, I am re-rating the sonic qualities of the XBA3 from 3 stars to 5
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good sound quality!, 15 Sept. 2013
By 
Ray Harper (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
I have had many In-Ear headphones including: Klipsch 10 & 10i, Sennheiser IE8, Shure 530 and lesser models from Denon and Sennheiser. What I particularly like about the XBA-3ip, is the very good sound quality across the audio spectrum. If you like bass then you will find it here but not excessively so.

The build quality is very good compared to many of the one's I have had before. I certainly expect these to last for a while.

One tip for new users, it is possible to leave the (foam filled) ear tips in your ear if the headphones are pulled straight out too quickly, so pull them out using a twisting action prevents this.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Purchased this in March 2013 sound was excellent but the button unit disintegrated in Feb 2014 after ..., 5 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Purchased this in March 2013 sound was excellent but the button unit disintegrated in Feb 2014 after very little use. Had to buy superglue in Barbados to try and hold it together. Now binned and have gone back to Klipish X11i's.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't get these, newer model fixes flaw, 11 April 2013
By 
D. Barry (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
These IEMs are great but have a serious flaw, high level of sibilance which makes certain treble sounds very harsh, bordering on painful (see various threads online). I returned them for this reason and got the newer model, the XBA 30ip. These fix that issue and you're left with a beautifuly balanced, crip and detailed sound.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good sound, not so good microphone., 9 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
When sat properly in the ear, the sound quality is very good however even with the clip attached to clothing I find the buds easily fall out or get knocked which obviously affects the quality.

I have 2 main gripes with these earbuds however, the first is that the microphone and remote are on the left side. This has taken a bit of getting used as all my other headphones had this fitted to the right. the second is that the microphone isn't great, as people keep saying it is difficult to hear what I am saying when talking. This becomes very annoying and means I have to hold the mic close to my mouth. Considering having a mic connected is supposed to supply handsfree calling, this product seems to be falling a little short.

I have given this product 3 stars for the sound quality, I knocked 2 stars off for the problems above and the extra price you have to pay to add a mice which doesn't work very well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound quality, 28 Aug. 2013
By 
Mr. Steven Davies "Jed77" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Really good sounding in ear headphones and work well with Spotify on my Galaxy s4, they also sound great with my IPad. One slight criticism is that they could have slightly more bass but this aside I am now hearing new instruments in tunes that I have been listening too for years.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressed, 3 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
For me, having the addition of inline controls is a big plus for in ear phones which you intend to use on a mobile device. This for me rules out many other high end earbuds which may well be great but don't have the option for controls. This led me to try out the XBA3-ip's which I purchased last week from Amazon.

I highly doubt you would regret buying these earphones. I am still under 10 hours use and am already very impressed. They may well be expensive, but in true get what you pay for style the quality, packaging, design and fit is extremely good. These headphones will make you smile! Listening to music is a joy. The soundstage is great and with some personal equaliser tweaking the sound is evenly balanced and very impressive. My main use for these buds is on a Samsung Galaxy S3 using Poweramp music player and the result really is amazing, this setup complements each other brilliantly. With slight equaliser adjustments which for me involved a touch more bass you can develop your own sound. You will hear things you never heard in songs before, realise how terrible low quality files are and start to appreciate sound even more. The headphones also appear quite powerful compared to previous units I have tried, I find I am listening to music at lower volumes on the source device than previously which can only be a good thing for long term hearing! Also no doubt a testament to the very good passive noise cancelling from the comfortable fit of the earpieces.

I would highly recommend these to anyone. I can only imagine them getting even better as they bed in over 10 hours +

For anyone else wondering, the inline controls do partially work on android devices. the button for skipping track forwards or backwards works faultlessly but strangely I cannot get the volume to increase or decrease. I am ok with this because my device has hardware buttons for volume. The track skip is the important feature when your phone screen is off. Hope that helps anyone considering them. These earphones make my old Dr Dre diddy beats in ear buds I had with my HTC Sensation XE seem like a joke.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 8 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Best set of earphones yet. Need to upgrade my system to take full advantage. Very comfortable, and impressed with the selection of ear bud adaptors; luckily the smallest are a good fit. Good service. Look forward to long and continued use.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sony XBA3iP, 11 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony XBA3iP Premium Quality In-Ear Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
The sound quality and noise cancellation is excellent on these, unfortunately the remote control volume does not work on my samsung phone and the connector does not connect properly to my nexus. If they provided a connector which could adapt to my range of devices this would have received a 5 star.
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