Sennheiser IE 300 Review: Let No One Understand Why You Splurged On Pristine Wired Earphones
Wired earphones in the world of wireless earbuds just seem a bit out of the ordinary now, and in a good way. The Sennheiser IE 300 set a new benchmark.
Sennheiser needs absolutely no introduction in the world of audio. And what the German audio giant has done here isn’t anything out of the ordinary, yet in the grand scheme of things, it does stand out more than it normally might have. Wired earphones in an era when wireless earbuds are a rage. Premium wired earphones when people are willing to splurge a lot of money on equally premium wireless earbuds. But then again, the Sennheiser IE 300 that we refer to here aren’t just any wired headphones. These are the company’s latest in-ear monitors, meant for anyone who has a keen attention for pristine audio. But does the Sennheiser IE 300 deliver on the sort of exquisite audio that you’d expect from wired earphones that cost more than the likes of the Apple AirPods Pro and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 wireless earbuds?
The good news is, it not only delivers on that front, but I have to say this may very well be the best sounding wired earphones I have heard till now. And I have heard my fair share of wired buds. Let us get through the specifications first. What delivers the audio is the German made 7mm XWB (Extra Wide Band) transducer, frequency handling between 6Hz and 20,000Hz, an integrated resonator chamber that negates the masking that happens in ear canals, a new membrane foil and your choice between silicon and memory foam eartips. For starters, the audio experience on these Sennheiser IE 300 earphones is a bit different from Sennheiser audio products till now. The biggest change has to be the fact that this isn’t as neutral with the sound signature as some of its siblings but is a bit more V-tuned. That is not to say this is a hard V -shaped EQ with unnaturally powerful bass and sharp vocals, but there is clearly a bit more excitement to the sound than before.
Still, the warm-ish sound signature comes across as very welcoming, across different music genres. The dialed-up bass does not feel overdone or too powerful at any time and doesn’t take away from the mid and higher frequencies. It doesn’t linger on. But one needs to keep note of the fact that the V-shaped EQ means that the mids don’t sparkle as they would on a neutral sound signature, but to be honest, that’s just a slight dial down. Yet, treble and higher frequencies are reproduced in a really bright and cheerful way—even at higher volumes, at no point does it sound sharp or uncomfortable. Overall, what you hear is a very wide sound signature with very precise reproduction of the finer details, but then again, you wouldn’t expect anything else. Another thing about the Sennheiser IE 300’s separation is that music sounds a lot more natural even if there are certain instruments that prefer the left or the right channel, even momentarily. Whichever side the bias may be, there isn’t an artificial or forced dialing down of the same instrument’s strain on the other channel too. That is something a lot of earphones and headphones do, to make the sound shift between left and right more pronounced.
There’s another piece of smart trickery that Sennheiser have done with the IE 300, and that’s the management of the air flow. Basically, and without really complicating things, the way this works is that the air flow and volume is managed by what Sennheiser calls a chamber-within-a-chamber. The air that exits the transducer system has a huge bearing on the mid frequencies and also the definition of the bass, and often with the snug fit ear tips, there is significantly less air volume that is passed through—and that hides away the really fine details and also reduces the impact of bass. The thing is, you’ll not immediately notice this when you start using the Sennheiser IE 300 earphones. But you’ll immediately miss these finer elements of a track when you listen to the same stuff on earphones that aren’t as well thought out. In a way, it is this implementation that also allowed Sennheiser the luxury of a bit more of a bass and vocal focused EQ.
There is just something very different about how the Sennheiser IE 300 look. The colour is what I’d best describe as metallic black. It is not really a dark shade of black either. And then there are those flecks strewn all over, in what look like gold and silver. And if you look really closely, and under certain light conditions, you’ll even spot some blue ones. Having become quite used to wireless earbuds over time, the switch to these IE 300 earphones is a very pleasant refresher course for the past. These are much smaller in comparison too, because unlike wireless earbuds, there isn’t a battery taking up space inside the buds. The right bud has a red ring, and the left earbud has a black ring. These are detachable cables with gold-plated Fidelity with MMCX connectors and a really high-quality cable. The only real criticism I have with the Sennheiser IE 300’s build quality are the ear hooks which require some effort to get the perfect fit. But once these are set, they are really comfortable to wear for long hours. Particularly with the memory foam ear tips. Also, in a world where the chances are that your phone and tablet will not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, Sennheiser doesn’t bundle any adapters for the Apple iPhone’s Lightning to 3.5mm jack adapter or an Android phone’s USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter—at this price, one would expect that out-of-the-box convenience.
Wired earphones in the world of wireless earbuds just seem a bit out of the ordinary now, and in a good way. While it may be hard for you to explain to your friends exactly why you’d be spending Rs 29,990 on wired earphones when stylish wireless earbuds cost even lesser. But the thing is, what you get are absolutely pristine earphones that deliver the sort of sound that wireless solutions would struggle to. The Sennheiser IE 300 are well and truly excellent, and deliver on the design, sound and of course the comfort. A bit of the old world charm, a return to convention, isn’t really a bad thing. Particularly with the Sennheiser IE 300 wired earphones.