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Sony XBA-A2

12/9/2014 8:21:08 PM
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$339
Frequency response: 4Hz to 40,000Hz; impedance: 32 ohms; driver size: 12mm

I like the XBA-A2 so much that I revisited nearly every track of my music collection with it during the review - just to hear what sonic thrills I have been missing all this while.


 

There is much to like about these earphones, which sport a three-driver design. I heard accurate bass, clear mids and crisp highs without any harshness.

However, the best part about the XBA-A2 is its all-round ability. It will work well with just about any genre of music, whether classic rock, pop or jazz.

The XBA-A2 threw up a wide soundstage and there was a great sense of position, making it easy to locate all the different elements within a recording.

Singers, for example, can sound like they are right in front of you with the rest of the band behind them, a little further away.

Listening to the jazz track Stratus by jazz-fusion drummer Billy Cobham made me feel as if I was right in one of his studio jam sessions.

The earphones also shone with bass-heavy music. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to my deep house, dubstep, drum and bass, and hip-hop tracks. Yet, while sounding full at the low-end, things never got out of hand as the bass is tight and well controlled.

Take the track Staggered Dub by Breakage. Despite its insistent bassline and frenetic breakbeats, I heard no distortion or muddiness.

You will not turn many heads wearing the XBA-A2, which has a subdued industrial look. It is also bulkier than the average pair of earphones and can look a bit unwieldy.

But I find it attractive nonetheless. Build quality is good, despite the surfeit of plastic. It has a premium feel, thanks to the matte and soft-touch finish. The detachable and tangle-free cables snap on with a satisfying click.

It also fit well and it was easy to get a good seal. It is comfortable enough for all-day use, although the earbuds took some time to break in.

  • Excellent sound across all genres; great fit and comfort – pretty much perfect in my books.
 
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