Chester Tan tries an inexpensive new pair of in-ear ‘telephones from this revered German model…
IE 300 In-Ear Screens
AUD $479.95 / NZD $509.95 RRP
It is perhaps exhausting for some individuals to grasp, however there’s nonetheless a giant marketplace for wired, in-ear ‘telephones. Though not particularly trendy proper now, for many individuals these merchandise make good sense; there is not any recharging or syncing, and the sound might be noticeably higher for a lot much less cash than wi-fi varieties. All of it will depend on your priorities…
Presently, all of the razzmatazz centres round wi-fi designs, so it is comprehensible that Sennheiser has been following this market carefully, no less than on its client aspect. Consequently, maybe, it has been reasonably muted concerning wired in-ear screens for audiophile fans. Even through the firm’s illustrious seventy-fifth anniversary in 2020, Sennheiser didn’t launch any noteworthy new merchandise.
Wired headphones have been catered for; the brand new HD 560S was introduced in September 2020 (keep tuned for our upcoming assessment) and attained on the spot success, partially as a result of wallet-friendly worth level. There have been additionally a number of seventy-fifth-anniversary restricted editions of current fashions, just like the HD25, HD 800 S and Momentum True Wi-fi 2. I couldn’t resist getting the HD 800 S in a gold colourway with a restricted run of 750 models; one thing that represents an incredible milestone for Sennheiser. These unprecedented occasions have precipitated many manufacturers to exit of enterprise, however alternatively, the lockdown measures enforced in lots of nations have precipitated individuals to spend extra time at residence. Shopping for goodies like premium headphones is nice retail remedy, and listening to them is not too unhealthy both!
At the beginning of this 12 months, Sennheiser lastly introduced its new IE-series earphones – on the primary day of (digital) CES 2021. The IE 300 you see right here is touted as a next-gen high-fidelity design. Asia is privileged to be one of many first few markets globally to obtain ample retail sale models, whereas the US ought to have them by March 2021.
It guarantees loads of effective element, spectacular stereo imaging, excellent treble readability and responsive bass. To attain this, a refined model of the corporate’s Further Extensive Band (XWB) 7mm driver – made in Germany – is used. Sennheiser says that greater than a dozen parts within the chamber additionally create the sound signature.
The IE 300 physique resembles the IE 400 Professional, distinguished by a shimmering coat of silver and blue glowing mud. It makes use of the Constancy+ MMCX cable connectors which are extra recessed, so not all normal MMCX cables can clip on. When buying cables, be sure that the male connectors protrude a bit extra. The Shure newest AONIC sequence (three/four/5) MMCX cables snap properly with the IE 300, whereas the Shure TW1 true-wireless adapter couldn’t connect.
The para-aramid strengthened cable feels a bit sticky and generates noises when ruffled, travelling in the direction of the earbuds. It implies that it’s important to hold very nonetheless to take pleasure in minute musical particulars, which is such an inconvenience for the reason that ear suggestions truly hold out fairly a good quantity of ambient noise, solely to be disrupted however an inner noise. There are not any in-line microphones or playback controls, which the AONIC sequence affords. Given all this, it might be smart to get third-party cables in an effort to benefit from the IE 300 on the go.
Different equipment within the bundle embrace a sturdy carrying case, three pairs of silicone ear suggestions and three pairs of reminiscence foam suggestions, and a cleansing software that allows you to attain into the crevices of the earbuds. The ear suggestions are purposefully designed with grille sample and a layer of froth pad inside, making it the ultimate component that controls the way in which sound travels from the transducer to the ear.
Certainly, whereas Sennheiser re-uses a few of the current design components from earlier fashions, there are tweaks to form the IE 300 sound. The 7mm Further Extensive Band (XWB) transducer, identified for its element, velocity and accuracy, is housed in a newly-designed miniature chamber-within-a-chamber that helps handle the circulation of air. The course and total quantity of air is managed with precision because it travels via and exits the acoustical system. A frequency absorbing resonator chamber is utilized to beat masking results that always happen within the ear canal and buries some nuanced audio particulars. The IE 300 has a low profile and sits inside the ear concha.
To my ears, the brand new IE 300 brings a formidable listening expertise that stands out amongst consumer-grade earphones. Sennheiser has appropriately categorised it as a “high-fidelity” IEM, as a result of it delivers excellent treble element and responsive bass that reaches down low. What struck me once I heard it for the primary time through the launch occasion was the soundstaging. Though not utterly out-of-the-head just like the Audeze Mobius, it locations the instrumental sources in the direction of the entrance at an arm’s size and achieves satisfactory separation and layering.
My second fast impression is how clear the treble is. Many earphones try to present the impression of readability by boosting the treble ranges, however as a rule, they lack refinement. The IE 300 presents the upper-frequency area with out undesirable harshness and fatigue. Though tonally ahead, it is like sharpening the music into a superb shine with out blinding the listener. For instance, percussion is so exact you could even discern the differing tonal patinas of assorted percussive devices.
The bass performs a balanced position countering this glistening treble, filling the aural house to achieve a fuller sound. The low frequency doesn’t bleed into the midrange however as a substitute achieves a clear transition. It is outlined sufficient to listen to minute variations of bass resonance from completely different musical notes. This made it enjoyable to run the gamut of my music assortment, with a purpose to expertise my favorite tracks in a brand new and fascinating manner.
The pure sonic stability of the IE 300 implies that it is a lot of enjoyable, no matter the kind of music being performed. For instance, this IEM was impartial sufficient to inform me that Dire Straits Cash For Nothing is blended and mastered in a usually dry rock manner. Meaning the bass is taut and managed, which stands in dramatic distinction to Billie Eilish’s Unhealthy Man, which has a extra fashionable, in-your-face manufacturing. On The Eagles’ Lodge California, the bass guitar resonated politely whereas the kick drums delivered extra oomph.
Midband is basically clean too; percussion sounded clear, but vocals did not scream at me. On listening to Hiromi’s Alive album, these drum strains had by no means been so outstanding, whereas bass strains have been carried with grip and bounce. I used to be stunned to listen to the piano relegated in the direction of the rear of the combo although, which is not what I would anticipated. On this respect, I believe the Shure AONIC 5 sounds extra musical, with a extra enclosed stage that units the devices across the listener. Though the drum sparkled much less, the piano took its rightful place of prominence. The general combine appeared a bit hotter and extra – dare I say it – analogue.
General, I actually loved listening to the IE 300 – each critically and for enjoyable when ‘off responsibility’. However while its energetic sonic stability positive perks you up, it is a bit ahead within the treble, which detracts from the pure sense of stability that I search for in an in-ear telephone. On this respect, it reasonably jogs my memory of the high-end stablemate IE 800, albeit at a fraction of the value, which isn’t a foul factor.
Sennheiser’s new IE 300 in-ear telephones made me take heed to my music assortment from a special perspective. This design brings out many musical particulars which are usually obscured by devices which are extra ahead within the combine. It could be tonally ahead however affords up a lot so that you can absorb. Instrumental timbre is resolved very properly and infrequently with uncanny readability. As such, I would recommend you give it critical consideration, particularly when you’re a fan of the famously crisp and clear Sennheiser sound.