Sony XBA-4iP earphones

Macworld Australia Staff
5 August, 2012
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Sony XBA-4iP



Great sound; variety of ear buds; iPhone connectivity


Appearance; price



Sony’s XBA series of earphones ranges from the XBA-1 – which has a single Balanced Armature driver – to the four- driver XBA-4s.

We reviewed the XBA-4iPs which, unlike the straight XB- 4s, feature an iOS-compatible in-line remote and microphone.

This four-speaker system – full range, subwoofer, tweeter and super-subwoofer – delivers an excellent, full, rounded sound that seems to emphasis every aspect of the audio and promotes parts of the music we hadn’t heard before.

The clear and detailed audio came as a beautiful surprise, but we found the bass could be overwhelmed by the high- end, which sometimes led to an unbalanced sound.

The earphones are light and comfortable in the ear, but their appearance is a let-down – they look big and just don’t appeal to us. Of course that is different with everyone.

The XBA-4iPs are shipped with two different sets of ear buds; four pairs of hybrid silicon ones and three pairs of noise isolation buds. The latter contain a pressure-relieving cushion of urethane that moulds to fit your ear and prevents any disturbing external noise.

As we said above, the Japanese-made headphones are built with Apple users in mind, and are compatible with a host of iPod, iPhone and iPad models.

iPhone users are able to answer and end phone calls with the in-line remote, and adjust call and music volumes without reaching into the depths of their pocket. Pretty handy for those on public transport or walking.

When tested this worked extremely well, with the in-line microphone providing clear audio for the people on the other end of our phone calls.

The XBAs arrive with a couple of handy accessories to keep you organised: a sturdy, stylish carry case with a magnetic clasp; a nifty cord adjuster; and a well designed cord clip that keeps the cord out of harm’s way.

Macworld Australia’s buying advice.

Sony’s XBA-4iP in ear headphones offer one of the best sounds we have experienced, but the appearance and hefty price tag may put off some buyers. However, overall they are an excellent choice for music enthusiasts.

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