Sony has just released the XBA-H1 in ear headphones. They retail at a recommended £99 although you will find them for less on amazon for around £79. Below is photo showing wire and clip holder, pouch, box and optional hybrid foam ear tips.
Their specification are -
-Type – Closed, hybrid
-Power handling capacity 100 mW
-Driver unit Hybrid 2-way (9mm dynamic + Balanced Armature)
– Frequency response 5-25,000 Hz
-Sensitivity 105 dB/mW
– Impedance 40 Ω (at 1kHz)
-Cord type Approx. 1.2m, OFC Litz cord (Y-type)
– Plug- Gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini plug
-Weight 7g (without cord)
-Supplied accessories – Hybrid silicone rubber earbuds (2×SS/S/M/L), Foamed silicone earbuds (2×S/M/L), Cord adjuster, Clip, Carrying pouch.
The packaging of the headphones is excellent. You feel as if you are getting a premium product. You also have 2 types of ear tips in 3 sizes. The hybrid foam silicone tips offer more comfort. However, I found the bass was reduced. For some people this might be a preference but not me.
Ok, so you may be asking is there anything special about these headphones. The answer is yes. These are part of a new range of hybrid headphones from Sony. There is also the H2 and H3 in the range. The H3 cost over £200. So the H1 are the lowest priced in this new range. As I mentioned they feature hybrid drivers. That means they have a balanced armature and a dynamic driver. The principle is balanced armatures produce more accurate mid and treble tones but are not heavy on bass. For some this is fine. In fact, Sony surprised the world when last year it brought out a range of pure balanced armature in ear headphones. These received wide praise.
So the H1’s take the best aspects of a pure balanced armature design but you a dynamic driver for the bass. Dynamic drivers can offer much lower and more dynamic bass. If you look at the specs of the H1 you will see they drop low down to 5 Hz.
So using these headphones with my iPhone 5S was a real treat. Irrespective of genre these headphones displayed clarity , precision, soundstage and attack. The bass was precise and deep. But overall it is the sheer musicality and tone that leave you speechless. They are crazy good to the point you wonder how Sony produced them and at this price point. It also makes you wonder just how much better the more expensive versions in the range can be. Or even more to the point, why bother spending more.
I have used and owned a number of different headphones small and large, but in my book these are one of the best. And it is not just myself who thinks this. There are a number of people who has just bought these who are equally amazed.
Clearly there are better headphones at a much higher price point. But are they worth the extra money? That is the million dollar question!