Before earphones really blew up, I publicly flirted with a number of then-obscure Japanese earphones. FitEar was my biggest break. Final Audio was on its heals. In 2008 I snagged the HP-FX500, JVC’s first wood-dome earphone. I loved it. I hated it. Eventually I broke it. In its wake I was left with an FX500-shaped hole, defined by out-of-head staging and other wordly texture detail. I was also left with a weariness for its piercing highs. More than that, I was left with an ardent dedication to the dynamic driver. I’ve since scoured the market for dynamic driver earphones as impactful and detailed as the FX500. Sadly, not even JVC’s follow ups: the HA-FW02 (which I reviewed here), and the like, did the trick.Read More
- Wide sound stage
- Good high frequency extension
- Powerful, well-resolved 30-50Hz detail
- Great sound balance for a hybrid dynamic / balanced earphone
XBA-H3 Highlights: porridge
- Vocals should step out further
NOTE: MMCX connection
XBA-H2 Highlights: porridge
- Balance is poor
- Same confused high range as EX1000
- Cloudy high range of Sony's previous XBA series
- Too much bass for such confused high range
NOTE I: Sound that mimics the worst of the EX1000 and the worst of the previous XBA series.
NOTE II: Earphone geek notes NO good points.
XBA-H1 Highlights: ohmage
- High range is a clear improvement to the cloudy presentation of the previous XBA series
- High range still not perfect; some defects from the XBA series remain
- Beautiful bass reproduction
- Most mature-sounding of the new H series
NOTE: Among the new, bass-blessed H series, this model has the best cost/performance ratio.
Again, Earphone Geek's review is here.
Fujiya-Avic released the details and pre-order info for three new large-driver hybrid earphones: XBA-H3/H2/H1 as well as the new PHA-2 portable headphone amp/DAC which will support 24/192 PCM and 2,8/5,6MHz DSD. Yes, DSD audio.
Sony EU have more details about the new XBA series.
Here is the PHA-2's page.
PHA-2 should retail for 55.000¥. Its predecessor, the PHA-1, bookmarked the entry of mainstream audio companies into a market that, largely, has been controlled by a number of feisty boutique manufacturers. I was ecstatic about the PHA-1. If Sony has addressed the so-so performance with low-Ω earphones, the PHA-2 should kill its target market.
XBA-H3: 16mm dynamic driver + 2-way balanced armature unit
XBA-H2: 13,5mm dynamic driver + single balanced armature unit
XBA-H1: 9mm dynamic driver + single balanced armature unit
This new line of portable products will debut and be ready for purchase in time for Fujiya-Avic's 2013 Fall Headphone Festival.
Sony is back.
At e-Earphone's 2013 Spring portable festival, Ω met a number of interesting companies. One that really caught my eye was Chord & Major, a new earphone maker from Taiwan. What set them apart from other manufacturers was their attention to logical design: fit, ergonomics, ease of use were obviously important in each of their products.
Their debut series, Major, are badged 'Tonal Earphones', and feature earphones tweaked for rock, jazz, and classical. Their prices should hit north of 120$ and south of 150$, region-dependent.
Ω's got them in the review queue for the week of Canada Day, so expect fireworks, booze, drunk loyalists, and plenty of good music.