Rated 4 out of 5 by DragonLight The Journey Begins
Let me begin by stating I'm not an audiophile. I'm your average customer, spoiled with the purchase of AIWA HP-D9 which had a 60-mm U-bass flute headset design, Amorphous Diamond Coated Diaphragm, 15mm diameter Neodymium magnets driver units, back in the early 1990s. I loved that ear-phone. However, time took its toll and the protective coating cracked, exposing its linear crystal oxygen-free copper cord. Its end was in sight. Unwilling to settle for second best, I searched the Internet for a replacement and found the XBA-4. I won't reiterate its specs as I'm certain you know them well by now. Let's just say they're revolutionary. But what about the sound? I tried the demo at a Sony store in the mall, and initially my heart sank. Although the treble and mid-range sounds were all there, the bass was noticeably missing. Perhaps, I wasn't wearing the ear-buds properly. Hey, this is my first in-ear phone! The store manager was kind enough to explain that the noise interfence from TVs and others probably drowned out a lot of the bass notes. At home, I discovered all the bass notes I had with my old AIWA HP-D9, and more. The XBA-4 is now my new baby. We will share many years of life experience together, and our journey has just begun.
May 24, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by SoundMattersToMe Rediscover your music
So finally I got the chance to own these heaven-sent earbuds. I have had my eye on these earphones since the beginning of the year and did a lot of research on it. The reviews do not lie and I'm glad the community is honest about the sound quality. The sound is simply amazing! Full range, well rounded and as the product name suggests it really is "balanced". When I put them on, I was blown away by the HUGE sound difference these earphones deliver. This year alone I had purchased several earphones looking for that "oomph!" in my music until I finally convinced myself to settle for Beats. But now with the XBA4 it is clear that there IS a difference and don't be fooled otherwise. The XBA4s, with the right earbuds (the right ones come in the box), have solid, full bass, crystal-clear highs and lows. Beats only have amplified bass; the bass pretty much compensates for everything it lacks so you're really not getting the true nature and definition of your sound and if you are a true audiophile you will know the difference. The XBA4 has it all, the bass is not the only thing you hear, you hear everything! It lost a star on the Design category as I think the buds are big and the L-plug is as well but non-issues I assure you. I wrote "none" in Cons unlike most of the reviews for now I can hear that the sound quality is there and it is only right that I pay that price for something this good (in return they can research and produce the best products) although as of today the XBA4s are on sale. I did not buy it for the original price at first because I wanted to hear for myself if this is what it claims to be, I'm not about to pay dollars for something that isn't good based on my previous earphone purchases, well, it really is what it claims to be and for the original price it only makes perfect sense. If you really care about the sound quality of your music, if you are in the market and in doubt, purchase these and your doubts will be laid to rest. This is the cure for audiophilia. Finally I can stop looking to upgrade my earphones. These are simply the best!
May 29, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by SenZen Great
These weren't even on my radar because of the price, but I managed a very good deal... And my ears are so glad I did! The sound is really good, on par with my decent headphones which I find astounding, very detailed, you feel like you're surrounded by the musicians.
Many of us might realize our ears have been spoiled by too much emphasis on bass, while the xba-4 sound more true to life... But still manage not be to clinical... These really do help me enjoy music more, even music I didn't really like before... Electronic music in particular will make you grin.
Fit is important, I'd always used medium sized tips but changed to the large ones (although not the ones with foam) and it's amazing. You must use them over the neck, which I don't really like, otherwise the y intersection *will* snag on your shirt...
If you enjoy music give these a try, at least you'll have a point of comparison. I play these with an old A818 Walkman with 320kbps mp3s.
October 10, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Wildcat96 Great Earbuds!
Just received the XBA-4 earbuds for Christmas. The sound quality for this earbud is excellent and in my opinion is better then some noise cancelling headphones on the market. I have not listened to the XBA-1, 2, or 3 yet, but the XBA-4 provides good highs and a warm bass - very happy with the sound quality. The overall size of these earbuds is large compared to other earbuds, but they are light weight and comfortable to use. For convience, Sony provided a carry case and a spool to reduce excess wire. The reason this earbud was purchased is due to previously using full size noise cancelling headphones that were a pain to use when traveling due to their excess size. Because of the bulk of full size headphones, I wanted a high quality earbud and the XBA-4 offers a nice alternative. Happy with the purchase.
January 1, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Stuck Look no further
If you're considering these IEM's - seriously considering them - odds are you're familiar with other entries at this price point, such as the Sennheiser IE8s or Sony's own EX1000s. I own all of these, and even in such company the XBA4s excel. It unites the best features of all of them in one item.
Balanced armatures are typically known for being detail oriented with lean bass, and that's where these stand apart. With a proper seal (the right size silicone tip is simply essential with these# the bass of the XBA4's woofer and super-woofer drivers deliver. Punchy, well extended, yet not exagerrated. I'd say they are a bit above flat around the 50hz mark, but this is far from headache inducing. These also deliver the smooth mids and articulate highs one would expect from balanced armature IEMs. High frequencies are very detailed and well, without sounding shrill. Great seperation.
I could attempt an even more analytical breakdown of the overall sound but I think it's easier and more telling to just say these guys have a very fun, engaging sound.
I find these to be excellent for any bass oriented music #rock and electronic being my favored two), and their overall neutral response, clarity and smooth detail make them more than suited to orchestral music as well. These are versatile phones.
As to the physical design of these, they isolate better than any other IEMs I've used. I've had more than one friend immediately ask if they were "noise cancelling" after putting them on. I've worn these while mowing lawns and found I didn't need to increase the volume above my normal listening level to enjoy them, though bumping up 10% or so did effectively mute out the sound of the mower engine almost entirely. For travellers, I think these isolate effectively enough to not bother with the noise cancelling model in this line, even if you prefer to listen at low to medium levels.
Overall, I think the XBA4's are a hit. I can't even truly complain about the price, as all in-ear monitors of this class typically *start* at the price of the XBA4's. If you like a punchy, full sound, you definitely want to investigate these. The low-end these offer is surprisingly hard to find.
April 17, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Tassos Astonished!!!
Recently I bought Sony XBA-i4 (the XBA-4 made for i - devices) in ear headphones in my quest to find the best in ear headphones. I heard the same tracks I always to compare headphones...
A revelation!!! The piano was a real piano, all instruments were real instruments and the human voice was warm and moist in all frequencies. I heard from Jazz to Pop to opera to instrumentals... It was like I heard new recordings without the muddling and the cloud ..
The 4 balanced armature drivers (tweeter, bass, super bass and full spectrum) gave a wide sound stage with real presence of the orchestra without deficiencies in all frequencies... Definitively recommended!!!
September 13, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by jcmusicman Excellent earbud-type headphones!
I bought these when they came out, andt they are the best earbud-type headphones I've used. They sound and fit well, too.
September 14, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Audiovideogeek Very nice IEM's
It is difficult to write a review for any audio product, as audio listening is very subjective. After all, an audio product is only as good as each particular listener's ears. That is, if you’re half deaf, there’s no sense investing in expensive IEMs when any Skull Candies headphones would do. With that said, however, I'm quite impressed with the XBA-4.
Let's first talk about bass and the dual woofers this baby delivers in each of your ears. The bass is very punchy and very clean. However, if your idea of music is techno or hip hop, then you may opt for those Monster Beats headphones or IEM's with the exaggerated, artificial bass at the sacrifice of mid-bass, mid-range, mid-high, high and anything else above the artificially-created bass. I believe that the real reason I could not actually hear more “punchiness” (is that a word?) from my XBA-4 was that all the other higher-up frequencies got in the way. On the other hand, with the Monster Beats, there is nothing else to hear but bass; thus, one can truly realize the artificial thumping that they produce.
Let’s now talk about mid-range and high-end frequencies. They are all there, and I'm nowhere fully breaking in these babies. I listen to all of my music in lossless wav files, not mp3 (hence, my 32GB iPhone); thus, I can hear all kinds of frequencies in my music with the XBA-4. If you prefer to listen to mp3, there may not be much sense investing in high-end IEMs like the XBA-4. Just remember: garbage in, garbage out - no matter how good your audio product may be.
May 11, 2012