We’re going to be looking at today is the Sony XBA-1 balanced armature
earphones. Now, what’s a balanced armature. It’s a really cool piece of technology that you may not have heard of. Now with most earphones, speakers and headphones, they use what’s called a dynamic driver to make a sound. An active driver is basically this unit here. It’s a speaker diaphragm that is pushed back and forward by a set of magnets.
A balanced armature works on a different principle a balanced armature suspends a piece of metal and armature between two magnets. The change in the magnetic field is what causes that piece of metal to oscillate. That produces the sound. It used to be that you would only find balanced armatures in much more expensive earphones.
And they would put several balanced armatures into the same earphone, and the reason for this is as follows. A stable armature driver because it uses such a small moving element can really accurately and precisely reproduce the sound wave. But because the armature is so tiny, it’s not able to really convincingly move enough air to produce a lot of frequency
So what they would generally do is that they would use several armature drivers and they would get a crossover to send the high-frequency sounds. The treble to one driver and the base frequency sounds the low rate to another driver, or they would even add more drivers onto that. Sony has come along and said that they’ve designed their balanced armatures from the ground up for high-end audio and not for hearing aid applications which is what a lot of balanced armature drivers were initially designed for.
And so they say that they are able to get around a lot of limitations and make one balanced armature driver produce an extensive range of sound. The Sony XBA-1 sits at the bottom of Sony’s Xperia lineup with one single full-range stable armature driver. There are ex PA twos reason XBA-4 switch add more balanced armatures to the bottom and the top just to fill in that extra space. But Sony says that the full-range driver in the XBA-1 carries through the entire range and it’s a foundation of their sound.
This is a pretty big claim for Sony who’s just started making balanced
Armature drivers. They’ve traditionally been associated with making excellent dynamic private earphones. The 7550 and the EX1000 and personal favourites of mine but the balanced armature line does appear these Sony’s planned going forward with their any headsets.
It’s worth a look to see whether their claim of being able to produce a good sound. Out of a single balanced armature driver is true now taking a closer look you can see that the XBA-1 is a tiny earphone you get Sony’s beneficial silicon hybrid tips, and they’re really soft and comfortable. The great thing is that they come in many sizes in the package and they’re colour-coded. So that because all Sony’s earphones use these hybrid tips able to know what’s your size in a Sony earphone.
Basically, we have here a plastic buddy it’s pretty well built but not as lovely. As some of the other earphones that I’ve seen in this price point which use full metal construction. That said they’re very light and comfortable. That’s really nice they had this elliptical cable. It’s not entirely flat; it’s not quite round. It’s like linguini. It’s pretty good; it doesn’t tangle very easily. And then you just have this 90-degree plug here, which is fresh, beautiful and straightforward.
They’re pretty well built one thing to note is that there isn’t a great deal of strain relief. At the EPS side of the cable, so that’s a bit worrying, I guess the other thing. To note about the xB ones is that the version will bad the microphone uses a j-type cable and that means that one side of the cable is shorter than the other side. Now some people hate j-type cables. I personally quite liked them in that you can wrap the earphone around the back of your neck and you can wear them like that.
This is really nice the problem the J type cable is that they’re slightly more heavy on one side than they are on the other. That means you get a somewhat uneven amount of pressure on your ears, and that can be irritating for some people. Now the XBA-1 s– the question is how do they sound? Well, they seem pretty good. They’re able to do what Sony claims. They’re able to produce a pretty wide range of frequencies out of a single balanced armature driver.
There’s still a lot of information missing in the bass that doesn’t give it that punch that visceral response. There’s still quite a lot of sparkling air missing in the highs, but overall they’re warmish. They are very relaxing to listen to, and they’re excellent. The main problem with their sound is that they have this kind of fuzziness and this haze, which means that they really lack clarity. They’re not able to produce a tremendously accurate soundstage as a result compared to a lot of dynamic driver earphones around the price point.
They’re not the greatest in terms of clarity. So he’s an advantage with
the XBA-1 is that it’s a light, comfortable, easy to live with earphone and because they’re a big name. It’s effortless to find the XBA-1 all over the place I like the exterior ones. I keep them in my bag as a spare backup earphones just in case I’ve forgotten to bring out my other pairs. They’re not my leading listening earphone, and I don’t consider them anything special for their price point. If you want something special, I suggest you look at the new HiFi Man RE-400 or the JVC fxd80.
What Other Have to Say
I enjoy using them but, like many reviewers, I found the lack in bass fairly noticeable and almost annoying at times.