In a headphones market that revels in progressive options resembling true wirelessness, energetic noise-cancelling and voice management, the spec sheet for a pair of wired earbuds can appear reasonably prosaic – like a Henry vacuum cleaner in a subject of cordless Dysons.
However such options have little to do with sound high quality, and within the context of performance-per-pound worth, wired fashions normally have the benefit over their wi-fi friends.
The Sennheiser IE 300 are the most recent wired earbuds from the German model, and regardless of not ticking among the bins by way of in style options, there’s loads to speak about the place technical design and efficiency is anxious.
Construct and luxury
Sennheiser says each element inside these light-weight (4g with out cable) in-ear headphones has been rigorously tuned to provide optimum efficiency, from a low resonance membrane foil to the resonator chamber, which is designed to compensate for the masking results of trapped air within the ear canal with the buds in use.
Sennheiser IE 300 tech specs
Cable size 1.25m
Eartips 3x reminiscence foam, 3x silicone
Weight 4g (with out cable)
The corporate has refined the 7mm ‘Additional Huge Band’ drive unit additionally discovered within the IE 800, in addition to the chamber-within-a-chamber construction that helps handle airflow in an effort to provide an outlined bass and equally satisfying midrange.
Its professional audio-inspired design is most blatant within the high quality of its removable cable; the inclusion of reminiscence foam eartips along with silicone (three sizes of every are offered); and the provision of non-compulsory balanced (2.5mm or 4.4mm) cables. All the things from the earbud casing’s glitter-speckled end to the thick 1.2m cable, which has been bolstered by para-aramid fibre for its sturdy attribute, is an illustration of the IE 300’s construct high quality, too.
Whereas the compact, hard-shell carry case doesn’t exude fairly the identical luxurious because the earbuds, it’s pocket-friendly and hardy, and undoubtedly a sensible accent. The identical might be stated for an in-line distant, the absence of which is a small detrimental mark right here.
The earbud housings are virtually compact too, and whereas somewhat fiddling is required to bend the thicker prime a part of the cable round your ears, once they’re in, they keep in – and also you’d be simply as more likely to take away them out of your ears on account of interruption from a pure catastrophe than due to any discomfort. In relation to bodily construct and ergonomic consolation, Sennheiser’s formidable popularity has been maintained right here.
What’s much less sure with Sennheiser earbuds is the sound character we’re going to be met with. The corporate has nailed class-leading perception and tonal neutrality in numerous fashions, however has additionally proven an inclination in direction of richer, fuller and never so universally interesting sonic signatures. Sadly with the IE 300, it’s extra a case of the latter.
The IE 300 make a fantastic first impression, producing the depth of bass, frequency-wide solidity and basic scale of sound that’s arduous to not be impressed by from such tiny models. We play Mogwai’s Ceiling Granny and there’s meat and grubbiness behind the oppressive guitar traces, to not point out hefty sting to the blistering electrical squeals. The Sennheiser’s low-end weight, which isn’t notably agile however not precisely ponderous both, can actually anchor a tune that warrants it in methods earbuds hardly ever do, resembling LNZNDRF’s Barton Springs At Nightfall.
The lows are reasonably overstated, although, stealing the highlight like a lead singer in a band and relegating the treble to the function of the drummer in the back of the stage. The numerous instrumental that rides above the bedrock of deep, uncompromising bass within the 20-minute observe – the keys, percussion and sequence of kaleidoscopic synths – is considerably muted as compared. Richness on the low-end comes on the expense of some midrange crispness, shedding pleasure as a consequence.
In the meantime, the category leaders at this stage, the Award-winning Shure Aonic 3 (£179, $199), set a greater instance, buying and selling the Sennheiser’s spectacular richness for a extra agreeable impartial tonality. They could not match the IE 300’s bass depth or the midrange solidity – these Sennheisers sound splendidly full and easy with voices – however they provide larger readability, crispness, agility and, in flip, a snappier presentation.
Play the vocal-led Cassandra Jenkins’ Michelangelo, and whereas the Sennheisers showboat with a daring soundfield stuffed with lush-sounding acoustic guitars and heat, strong vocals, the intricacies of Jenkins’ supply and the nice instrumental textures are missed as compared.
The Shures are notably extra rhythmically and dynamically proficient. Taking part in the primary observe of Black Nation, New Roads’ debut album, Instrumental, they provide the extra compelling pay attention; cymbals are convincingly reducing versus softened, there’s larger texture to the oboe and trombone melodies, and the drum rhythm is tighter and sooner, propelling the observe’s rightful frenetic vitality.
They deal with each musical strand, whilst new ones are available. It could be unfair to name the Sennheisers boring or obscure, however they’re notably much less astute and extra subdued than their extra proficient, extra reasonably priced rival.
With out having to concern itself with modern options, Sennheiser has been capable of prioritise the basics for the IE 300 – construct and sound high quality. It nails the previous, and there’s loads to love within the latter: they’re bolder and extra authoritative-sounding than most, with majestic bass depth and splendidly wealthy vocals among the many highlights.
Nonetheless, they aren’t convincing all-rounders, and simply fall in need of the transparency and leisure of the extra reasonably priced, class-leading competitors at this stage.
Learn our information to the best earbuds
Learn our Shure Aonic 3 review