Sony XBA Headphones are World’s First with Balanced Armature Tech

Sony has a new line-up of in-ear headphones to announce here at CES 2012, but don’t let their looks fool you – these are no ordinary pairs of in-ears. That is because instead of using dynamic driver technology, this new line-up are the first headphones to use balanced armature technology. Balanced armature is the technology that is actually found in hearing aids. When it comes to size, balanced armature drivers are much smaller than dynamic drivers. The technology also helps maximize comfort, sound insulation, sound leakage prevention, and waterproofing. The result here is a line-up of in-ear headphones that pack in tons of detail along with great sonics.

The new XBA lineup starts with the $79.99 XBA-1 in-ear headphones. We were able to briefly try these on and were very impressed with the amounts of detail that this budget pair provides, as well as their noise-blocking aptitude. The headphones also proved to be very lightweight and comfortable to wear.

At the high-end of the line-up is the $369.99 XBA-4iP. This pair provide even more detail, along with plenty of bass and treble. They are also very lightweight.

The line-up also includes a pair of wireless bluetooth headphones, the XBA-BT75. These box-less headphones come with a neat case to hold the headphones, that also provides two extra charges for the headphones while you’re on the go.

The $89.95 XBA-S65 headphones are a pair of rinsable headphones designed for sports.

And finally, the XBA-NC85D headphones are a pair of box-less voice canceling headphones. These headphones don’t require any annoying AA batteries. Instead they charge via USB and will last of up-to 20 hours on a charge.


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  1. How are these the first to use balanced armature technology? Etymotic Research released their first balanced armature earphones in 1984 and searching ‘balanced armature’ on amazon today brings up several dozen products, some <$50. 

  2. There’ve been many, many mainstream earphones with balanced armatures on the market for decades.  ReportingFail.

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