Summary: After picking these up from the Sony Store about a year ago, I can say that these are definitely not worth the $350-$400 price tag. Luckily, I picked them up for around $180 and to me, this seems like a more reasonable price for the XBA-4.
Pros: Bass, detail, separation
Cons: Mids, build quality, and especially the treble, value
Samsung Galaxy S2 (International), IPhone 3GS, IPad 2, Macbook Pro > Creative Sound Blaster Digital Music Premium HD
Highs: Bright and detailed highs. Decay at a much later stage, and because of that, you can hear much more, e.g. like the end vibration of cymbals.
Pros: Sound stage, Separation, details, bass and price
Summary: Along with the summary below, I have a review thread comparing the Sony EX1000, 7550, XBA-4 and XBA-40 here:
The XBA-4 has quite a comfortable...
Pros: Good comfort, strong isolation, holographic instrument separation and uncanny imaging
Cons: Very dark, thick sound, metallic shimmer to the highs, hard to wear cable up, cable tangles easily, needs low impedance source
Summary: I have owned the XBA-3 and XBA-1 beforehand and now I own the 1 and 4 only. As far as multi-driver IEMs go I don't think you'll find a more consumer oriented set than the Apple In-ears and the XBA line.
Pros: Instrument separation, imaging, soundstage, clarity, sound quality under certain conditions
Cons: Size, thin and non-removable wires, short nozzles/tips, sound quality is heavily dependent on the source
Summary: To get the most out of these i use them with normal buds, as the foam ones reduce treble as per usual with foam, without foam in nozzle as it reduces clarity and with the cable over ear because it allows for the earphone to be in a better position.
Pros: Great treble, bass, vocals are pretty good, good isolation, very comfortable.
Cons: Treble can sparkle due to spike in frequency response at about 6-7khz*, build quality could be better, no shirt clip.
Summary: I'm no audiophile and these are my first audiophile grade headphone(Sony claim it so).
Comfort-It is amazing! I thought a 4 BA with such big housing will cause discomfort but no! I was wrong, it is very comfortable. It comes with 4 hybird eartips and 3 noise isolation.
Summary: Tested the XBA4 vs. the EX1000. So, this might be not the most fair comparison, but shows where (all?) multiway drivers lacks.
No doubt, there are highs, mids and deep tones, the only thing that's hard fo find is music.
Especially if you like voices and wide / open soundstaging.
Summary: If i rate the W4 is 10/10, Xba-4 is 8/10. The W4s are Ok at every expect but lie down a setback note from the W4s ability. Only one thing which the Xba-4 is better than the W4 that is: the Xba do not have the zz zzz sibilance sound..