Sony XBA-H1 Headphone Review

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.

IMG_1107

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.

IMG_1108

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.
IMG_1109

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!

23 comments

  1. Sorry to reply to an old thread, but basically i can get either for the same price, but which would you choose?

    XBA- H1 (hybrid9 9mm + balanced armature), or XBA-2IP (dual balanced armature), the first retails for £100 the latter for £200, but i can get both for same price, sound alone or from experience it is much appreciated guys, I have searched endlessly and can not find an answer?

    Much Appreciated!

      1. Wow that was quick, I listen to a range i guess, majority RNB, I do like my bass, but sound-stage, and separation and quality come first, for example speakers at home, not the usual 2.1 set up, but a amplifier with 2 wooden bookshelf speakers, but i only appreciate if it can handle bass.
        All music at 320kps MP3, haven’t felt the need for FLAC.

        Once again much appreciated!

      2. I would go H1 route rather than total armatures. Balanced armatures are good but the new combo from Sony is my preference.

        Can you buy via Amazon the H1’s as Amazon has a 30 day return period for the UK. Not sure about other countries.

      3. Brilliant just what i was thinking, sony must of released the hybrids for a reason, after there balanced armatures! Thank you! They Have been ordered for £79, but I have got a £60 off from Sony from a complaint I made of my MDR EX310 jack breaking, I will keep them and solder a new jack on to them. So now ive got 2 awesome headphones!

        Thanks,

  2. Hey they have arrived, on first impressions build quality was brilliant, but bass was lacking and sounded very tinny, but i believe this is for 2 reasons, they still had the normal sized buds on, despite having big ears, i find if i switch to smaller ones, and push them in further i get a better seal, but for now i just pushed lightly on standard buds, and they sound better.
    I also believe in burning in, the 9mm driver in my opinion, sounds like its holding back a tiny bit, but believe me im not much of a bass head. So imma leave them playing for a while!

    1. Get the ear seal right. Makes a huge difference. I found the standard tips better than the hybrid tips. Once you get that right the bass will be excellent.

      They don’t need a long burn in. 20 hours Max.

  3. Hi, I have a ipod-touch 5gen. Does someone know if the sony xba-h1 is compatible with the ipod-touch 5gen?
    At this moment I am using the standard earphones from apple. They just fit horrible and the sound is not that great.
    The problem is that I have had used old sony earphones(the cheaper er models) and the sound was distorted. It sounded like underwater sounds.

  4. hello?
    I just get impressed by your review
    now i have some question
    many people saids h1 has 3k deep and masking phenomenon.
    so it’s level of tone seperation is not good
    what do you think about this opinion?

    1. what is “3k deep and masking phenomenon” ?

      I have the headphones – used them for 6 months and they are great, no probs with sound separation. I suggest you try them and see what you think. The H2s cost nearly twice as much if you REALLY want to get a little bit better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s