Customer Reviews: Sony XBABT75 Balanced Armature Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon April 24, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I seriously questioned the price point of this Sony headset, and all the hype touting the advanced technology offering a superior listening experience. I watched the videos and read the in-depth product description here on Amazon, admittedly with a tad of cynicism. After all, it wouldn't be the first time a manufacturer over-hyped their design team's talking points. As it turns out, there may be something to it. I have tried MANY bluetooth headsets, and this XBA-BT75 is BY FAR the best with regard to audio quality when listening to music.

A First: I Actually Had to Turn the Volume DOWN!

I like to play my music loud. I also like audiobooks, which can be hard to hear at times. Anyone who has bought a headset of any brand in the past 10 years, has probably noticed that the volume on most of them doesn't go remotely loud enough. No, I'm not talking concert level decibels -- I mean no headset I've personally tried had enough gusto to block ambient noise and pump enough volume to be reasonably heard. This is especially true when listening to audiobooks in noisy environments, like a gym, or waiting for the bus as traffic whizzes by. Normally, I boost my tracks a few decibels with an audio program, but that can be time consuming. Then I found a cool app called Volume+ that I use on my android phone and tablet -- it automatically boosts the audio up to 20 decibels. Most headsets I've tried get shoddy at a 5 decibel boost. But this Sony BT75 held it together, even at full throttle of a 20 decibel boost; that's when my head started pounding, and I opted to drop it down to a more reasonable 10 decibel boost! Whew!

My Unscientific Field Test

My version of putting this Sony BT75 through its paces, was testing the high register with my favorite Native American flutist, Scott August, and checking out how the fidelity holds up while grooving to Michael Jackson. And I have to say, I'm impressed. The clarity and range was great, and I quickly got lost in the music and forgot I was theoretically putting a headset through its paces.

Great Fit

This is where a lot of headsets fall by the wayside. The Motorola S9 is a pain, because the wrap-around band is constantly hitting something and knocking the headsets off my ears. My Plantronics BackBeats lost their fit over time, and wouldn't stay in my ears. Arguably the best fit for me has been my Jabra Sport, which comfortably wrap-around my ears, have a thin pliable cable and can even be worn while dozing and lying on your ear. These Sonys wouldn't be very comfortable if you rested your ears against a pillow or sofa, and the cord joining the ear buds isn't as thin and pliable as the Jabra Sport. But they do plug my ears like a soft silicone cork, and block out most of the ambient noise in and of themselves. I've got my air conditioner running right now, but when I plug these Sonys into my ears, all I hear is my own voice muffled in my head. And that's without even turning the music on. Listening to MJ's vocals intimately enough to hear his voice echo and his lungs fill with air, adds a whole new dimension of enjoyment to listening to his music. On top of that, I swear I can almost hear Scott August's finger tips gently dancing between the holes on his flute!

Cool Charging Case - Wave of the Future? Hope so!

Cell phone manufacturers could learn a little something about Sony's innovative charging/carrying case -- I hate all these new 'smart' phones that do basically everything you could want, but only do it for 2 hours before the battery chokes under normal use. I see nothing smart in that; but those techorexic phones sure do look pretty sitting on your desk, drained and useless. I'll take a chubby extended battery with 24hrs of juice any day of the week; if only cell phone manufacturers were as smart as Sony to create an all-in-one charging/carrying case like the ones for these headphones... but I digress... Form follows function with the nifty little case for this BT75 -- the headsets fit snugly into it for charging, and the case has a battery of its own that can charge the headset on the go; or connect both via the micro USB cable and charge both the headset and the case at the same time. Smart thinking, Sony.

Large LED's Are Just Stupid

... thankfully, Sony is the latest manufacturer smart enough to put a small, understated LED on this headset. With all my little gadgets, and life support systems, I already look like I'm landing from the mother ship! I don't need a huge glowing LED on my bluetooth headset saying "Hey! Look at ME! I'm cool, 'cause I listen to my music wirelessly!" The LED on this Sony is plenty big to get the visual cues needed. It's also a nice touch that Sony put a shiny thin red racing stripe on the right ear bud, so it's easy to tell it apart from the lefty.

Multi-Touch Controls

Less is more, and Sony smartly combined functions amongst 3 physical buttons. The power button is also the call answer button & the pairing button, and the volume up and down buttons also double as the fast forward/reverse and next/previous track buttons. I hate it when there's too many buttons to keep track of. With these Sonys, at least if I forget how to do something, I only have to start pawing at 3 buttons to figure it out and make something go. I'm more than technically competent; I just don't think every little device is important enough to merit a learning curve.

Ear Hangers Could Be Designed a Bit Better

If this headset has a flaw, it's that the cable connecting the ear buds is too stiff in some respects, and not moldable enough in others. In theory, the wire is supposed to bend around each ear, to create a loop that helps hold the ear buds in place. The problem is, the cord won't lay right between my glasses and my hair that's getting a bit too scraggly. This is where the Jabra Sport fits a little better, but the sound isn't anywhere near as good. And the part of the cord that goes around the back of my neck isn't as pliable as the Jabra's, which adds to the cord not resting in place properly. However, this is a minor inconvenience, since the ear buds stay in my ears rock solid.

Call Quality

Yes, call audio plays in both earbuds. I would say these Sony's are on par with my other stereo headsets, with regard to cell phone calls. I think Sony spent their innovation on the music side of things, and didn't break any new ground as far as how well these double for phone calls. As it is, they're adequate, but nothing better or worse than any other headset I've got.

Bluetooth Range

Is quite good. I haven't exactly pushed the 30 foot range, but this Sony hasn't experienced any drop-outs for me as yet. And the wireless connection has been rock solid.

Names Matter

It's a personal pet peeve -- I'm not fond of devices that don't have a readily obvious name. Acronyms may have a pragmatic use for a product's engineering department, but it makes it much more difficult for a consumer to tell a friend about a great new tech device they've found. XBA-BT75 simply doesn't do this product justice. It needs a name. But sometimes, manufacturers' creativity stops short in the naming department.

Bottom Line

Overall, this Sony BT75 is quite impressive. I'd go so far to say that it's the first true audiophile bluetooth headset I've personally encountered; particularly impressive given the compact size. And while I still believe the cost is edging on exorbitant, this may well be a good example that sometimes you really do get what you pay for. The somewhat awkward cord connecting the left and right ear-buds has me on the fence on if this is a 4 or 5 star headset, but overall, the music quality is so good, and the charging system is so innovative, I think docking 1 star for the cord would be unfair. So, all things considered, this is a 5 star headset for me.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A Very, Very Tough Sell. Sony Wireless Headset #XBA-BT75: A Critical Review.

This would be a very tough sell even it went for half price at $150.

There are several major things wrong with this headset, not the least of which is price.

The set comes with:

Wireless Bluetooth headpiece
Additional ear buds
Hard case/ charging module
Cushioned carrying case
USB to Micro USB plug


Sony is headed in the right direction by focusing its energies in wireless Headset technology, however Sony made some very, very costly mistakes with this product.

First there's only one way to charge this Bluetooth headset and that's by a proprietary docking case. The earpiece sits inside the module where connectors initiate the charge. On the outer cover, a micro usb to usb plug connects to a computer.

In the event that you misplace, lose, damage this docking station, the headset is no good by itself and has no other way to function without replacing that unit. Sony has been playing these same games with many of their phones. If you don't have that specific charge cord that Sony, alone, designs then you're out of luck.

So, to get around this inconvenience, I brought along with me on a day out, a usb-ac adapter from another device I own.

This charge module has a rechargeable battery installed in case your out and you need a charge, but anyone who has those rechargeable batteries knows that the charge doesn't last. It's nowhere near the capacity of an alkaline battery.

*** The Fit ***

The headset is constructed with what seems to be a durable, but hard plastic casing. It took about a week to get use to the feel.

The connection cord between the left and right earpiece is very sensitive to touch. If this cord brushes up against any garment of clothing, it will amplify that vibration on top of the streaming audio or your conversation.

*** Connection ***

The device automatically connected to my smartphone but it doesn't have an audible monitor built-in to tell when a call comes in, how much charge the battery has or is left. A small indicator light on the earpiece, out of sight while wearing the device is the only warning system. It's both impractical and a design flaw to expect the wearer to spontaneously take off the earpiece to count some flashing lights to determine battery strength.

And, as stated on the box, the battery life is roughly 3.5 hours between re-charging. I found this to be accurate. But, two other wireless, stereo Bluetooth headsets Motorola 89553N SF600 Wireless Sports Headphones - Retail Packaging - Black and Jabra SPORT Bluetooth Stereo Headset - Black/Yellow both offer equal or better performance and are less than half the price of these Sony's.

*** Call reception ***

The biggest problem. Call after call, both sides of the call had a VERY difficult time hearing each other: indoors and outside. I was surprised how bad it was. My 5-mile walk, aka "test route" proved to be a disaster for conversations. This was never a problem for the Motorola or the Jabra.

*** Streaming ***

The main selling point is unquestionably the audio fidelity by way of the "Dual Armature', separate microprocessors in the earpieces.

Audibly-wise: the fidelity was nice. Various kinds of music sounded noticeably clean when compared to hearing it out my computer or smartphone speakers, but it was bit more robust than the Jabra and only marginally better than the Motorola.

If you're listening to streaming audio, especially at a max. 2 Mbps, you're NOT dealing with "high fidelity" from sources like Pandora, Amazon's or even iTunes. These audio storehouses have to use various file compression format in order to be able to send those files wirelessly. There's no comparison to a cd and certainly nothing to compared to DVD-audio or SACD.

So, the only benefit of this set is to have an external source playing audio through a device that has a bluetooth transmitter.

Now, does this last set-up justify the $300 price tag alone?

*** Comparison. ****

Jabra "Sport"-- Great.
Motorola SF600-- Good
Sony-- Poor.

Call Reception
Jabra-- Excellent
Motorola-- Very good
Sony-- Poor.

Audio fidelity
Sony-- Excellent, especially on HQ and home theater setup
Motorola- Very good.
Jabra-- Good.

Battery life
Jabra-- 6 hours
Motorola-- 5+ hours
Sony-- 3.5 hours

Motorola-- very comfortable
Jabra-- comfortable
Sony-- take some getting use to.

Noise interference
Jabra-- none
Motorola-- barely perceptable
Sony-- horrendous.

Sony BT75 is a rushed-to-the-market device. A lot more consideration should have gone into R&D. 2 stars
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on June 17, 2013
I have used before the LG- HBS730 bluetooth headset. The LG has an amazing battery and an acceptable sound quality. However, I had to wear a peace of plastic around my neck. Sometimes, i used to forget that I am wearing the LG around my neck.

I decided to upgrade to Sony XBA-BT75. which is a very good bluetooth headset. It was on sale and I got it for 112$ from a seller on amazon (The LG is around half the price). I received it fast. So far, I would say it is an upgrade in the sound quality and a much better sound isolation system than the LG. The comfort is the same as the LG.

If you are a heavy listener to music and care about the sound quality, i recommend the sony. If you just want something to have a voice call and office use, you can save your money and go with the LG-HBS730.

The portable charger is a great charger, so whenever i am not listening, it is charging.
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on April 30, 2013
Perhaps this review is a bit premature as I still have questions.
The sound on these is very good even with the stock tips. At the moment I have wireless cans from AKG, as well as wired phones from Shure, Beyerdynamic and Denon in rotation. Even compared to these great full size phones, these little guys do not make me wince, they make me smile.
The bass is a little weak with the stock tips, but otherwise the sound is good- open and extended.. I would estimate that you can be about 15-20 feet from your music source under most conditions. I can leave my phone on my deck and go into my kitchen and still get signal. I am finding that I have to pair the BT-75 each time I turn it on - this has happened both with a Galaxy Note 2 and an ASUS Transformer Prime. My BT device sees it but it does not connect automatically, like a bluetooth mouse or keyboard. This is a bit of a pain. Not exactly sure what I am doing wrong, if anything,
The other pain is the charging case. I wish they had just included a regular Micro USB type charger, with whatever regulation circuitry was necessary to work with these phones. I suppose the reason for the case is that the battery life needs to be extended for travel, but I would not use these on a plane. I think they are great for walking around town, in the subway, etc.. I do not find them secure enough in the ears to use them for strenuous exercise.
I would view these as a transitional product, and a step towards the great BT earbuds will be wearing in a few years when all the kinks are worked out. In the mean time these provide a more than satisfactory experience. I would mention that I paid $140 new for them through an Amazon seller and I would be far more critical at the $300 list.
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on February 8, 2014
bought these when they were 3 times the price and the bt offerings weren't very good. It did sound decent then but obviously the competition has caught up. In real world practice my one opinion was I didn't use them often because they were just too akward and uncomfortable. Better options out there.
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on June 10, 2013
I wanted to like this product so much. It delivered on the remote bluetooth capabilities but the fidelity is sub-par. I mainly purchased the BT75 for listening to tunes and podcasts while working in the yard with mowers, weedwackers, and hedge trimmers. I move a lot during these chores and my headphone cords were always getting in the way. Enter the BT75. It delivers on being able to the programming with minimal setup and charge time. But the sound quality is severely lacking. In a quiet environment, there is very little bass and high end. It seems to focus all of the sound energy between 600 and 2000 hz which gives a very mid-range heavy sound. This is great for AM and some podcasts but not very pleasing with most music styles. I use this with an iPhone 5 and even with the various EQ settings, it is impossible to get a deep and rich sound. On the plus side, the sound isolation is very good and outside sounds are very effectively muffled. Setup is fairly straightforward with quick ID of the device by the iPhone. Charged battery life is short at about 3 hours. Recharging is limited to the included storage "case" and is a decent solution as long as you don't lose the case. Features rate high but sound quality rates low, earning the BT75 a "3" rating.
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on August 15, 2014
Some trouble adding to windows 8.1 devices when you use a usb dongle for bluetooth. this device has been awesome I've paired with several devices. Ran into a problem and found its a common issue. If you have trouble with the device in windows 8.1 you probably just need to remove it and readd through device manager. Its tricky though because it creates a 'ghost device' so you need to "show hidden devices" in device manager and then remove the one that shows up in addition to the generic device that shows up.
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on October 24, 2014
Perfect for working out and fits well. I owned one prior to this and when the old one stopped working(or charging), i tried other products and ended up getting a new one instead. Sound is undeniably superb. Sony however, has discontinued making this product and have claimed that the product's life span is more or less than a year(or 300+ uses only). Nothing lasts forever so i'll be enjoying every bit of moment using it while it lasts...and get another one in the next year or so.
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on June 2, 2013
For me, this product emitomizes everything that is wrong with Sony these days. They put out nice-looking but untested and under-engineered products.

The problems:
1) Power/stop/play button is located right next to the point of pressure when inserting/adjusting the right earphone. Result: constant unintentional on/off/stop/play presses
2) The units are way too heavy to stay fixed in ears. They keep constantly falling out. This is by far the *BIGGEST* issue for me
3) The bulk of the unit weight is in front of the ear (unlike Denon's Exercise Freak model, where the unit except for the driver is BEHIND the ear), which keeps pulling the unit out of the ear
4) Volume buttons are on the wire behind the ear. As one would normally have no idea where the wire has moved, the result is constant disturbance to the right headphone (again, it keeps falling out)
5) The price. I was lucky to get them here on amazon for $170+. In-store pricing is a massive ripoff for $300!
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on April 26, 2015
As other reviewers have stated, the sound is on the "bright" side and there is slight distortion at max volume, however the sound quality is good and they are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. All in all I am very pleased with this product. =)
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