Sunday, November 9, 2008

Earphones: CrossRoads MylarOne XBi (Ruby Red)

The Korean earphone brand CrossRoads and their Singaporean distributor Jaben gained quite a good reputation for their MylarOne line of IEM's in the past. The now sadly discontinued X3 and XB phone variants are said to be among the really good choices in the $60 price range of IEM's that had been around for some time. CrossRoads upgraded their product line with the newly introduced X3i and XBi models. The X3i is the more "natural" sounding model, while the XBi is the bass heavier one. The model I have is the XBi as I wanted heaver bass. Dealing with Jaben is a pleasure and they will always aim to please their customers.

I think one really does not have to go into much detail about the mid and upper range reproduction as it is the same outstanding performance the the previous models excelled in. Where these small rubies shine are in the bag end - the bass, they produce thundering well controlled bass better then any other IEM I have yet heard and the bass is always tight and never muddy. Without a doubt the XBi is my favorite IEM thus far for super bass extension and practically beats all. There is a slight exageration of bass at first but this will tame with burn in.

Soundstage and imaging are the strongest points of the MylarOne XBi. They provide an excellent, almost 3D image of the musical instruments on better quality recordings. The XBi sounstage is probably amongst the best in IEM's.

Impressive performance earns a 4.95 out of 5.

  • Driver: 10mm dynamic Mylar driver
  • Sensitivity: 95 +/- 4dB/mW
  • Impedance: 16 Ohms
  • Frequency response: 20Hz - 22kHz
  • Cable: 135cm, Y-style, straight 3.5mm gold plated stereo plug
  • Accessories: case, cable wrapper, shirt clip, silicon sleeves (S, M, L, double flanges), airline adapter

Reviewing gears:

Source: 4GB MP3/4 Player; 8GB 2.8"LCD TOUCH SCREEN MP3/4 VIDEO PLAYER; EPC-303 MP5 8GB 3.0 Inch TFT LCD Screen Player - Red / Black; Oregon Scientific Music Orbit & Station; Denon CDR-W1500 HDCD Recorder/Player.

Head Amps. & DAC: Little Dot MKI Portable Headphone Amp Amplifier; Cmoy headphone amplifier with Bass Boost Setting in a custom made exotic padauk and zebra wood case (opa2227 opamp); Xiang Sheng 708B Tube Headphone Pre Amplifier; Go Vibe mini USB Audio DAC (Burr-Brown PCM2702).

Reviewing CD and Tracks: Custom made by ripping songs to FLAC than normalized/burnt via Nero9.

CD Tracks: Esteban - Norwegian Wood; Everything But The Girl - I didn't know I was looking for love; The Corrs - Runaway; Acoustic Alchemy - Mr. Chow; The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony; Willie & Lobo - Amsterdam; Tim Weisberg - Party of One; Sleep Station - There She goes; Seattle Symphony Orchestra - Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Scherzo); Sim Riney - What was I to you; Rebecca Pidgeon - Spanish Harlem.

Rating: From one star (★, lowest rating) to five stars (★★★★★, highest rating), including half a star (☆). Criteria include [Packaging / Build Quality / Accessories / Isolation / Microphonics / Comfort / Soundstage / Sound Quality / Value] Note: The rating is based on comparison b/w the IEM listed below and not on absolute term. There might be better / worst IEM that are not listed in this review.

★★★★★-The best
★★★★---Really good
★★-------Just OK
★---------Not worth it

Earphones: CrossRoads MylarOne XBi
Transducer: drivers are made from Mylar
Spec: 16Ω | 20Hz~ 20kHz | 95dB +/- 4dB/mW | Cord Style: 135cmY-style, straight 3.5mm gold plated stereo plug.
Mini Jack Style: Gold plated, med. build.
Eartips Used: Case, cable wrapper, shirt clip, silicon sleeves (S, M, L, double flanges), airline adapter
Packaging: ★★★★★
Build Quality: ★★★ (delicate build)
Accessories: ★★★★★ (everything you need is included, A+, even airline adapter)
Isolation: ★★★★
Microphonics: ★★★ (earbud style)
Comfort: ★★★★★ (cable fitted with shirt clip)
Soundstage: ★★★★★ (3D soundstage presentation!)
Sound Quality: ★★★★★ (very musical, extremely good bass extension and mids - treble sweet and detailed)
Value: ★★★★★ ( best sounding for its price/a high performance IEM at around $60)
Remarks: The sound quality of this IEM is superb and out classes many in the bass extension handling department. Good value IEM's.

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