Today, you set out to buy a pair of headphones and you’re bombarded with features like Bluetooth connectivity, active noise cancellation, capacitive touch controls, waterproofing and voice activation. What good is a new pair of earphones if your favourite songs don't hit you better than before?
Priced at ₹29,990, it would only make sense for the Sennheiser IE 300 to have more features than the truly wireless OnePlus Buds Z that costs as low as ₹2,699. Unfortunately, they do not have any of the aforementioned features which, to the average consumer, would instantly be a deal-breaker because we all expect more for our money, but don’t sell these earphones short just yet.
What you get
In the box, you get different sizes of rubber and foam earbud sleeves so you can choose what best fits your ear size. It also comes with a small pick to keep those sleeves clean. The earphones themselves are extremely light. Connected to them is a flexible wire that goes around your ear and retains its shape. It also has MMCX connectors which gives it the manoeuvrability needed to get that right fit.
If you’re an audiophile, you should be able to make sense of the 16 Ohms impedance, 6Hz - 20,000Hz audio spectrum, SPL (sound pressure level) of 124dB, and THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) specifications. If you're new to this, Sennheiser wants you to blast the volume at higher than average decibels because unlike any other pair of earphones, these will not distort across your bass, mids and treble bands.
Sennheiser also boasts that they have a 7mm XWB transducer and a special chamber built inside. So if you ever felt uncomfortable wearing earbuds because it feels unnatural like there's air trapped in your ear, the chamber will negate that feeling and the transducer will help provide a natural and balanced sound.
How Does it sound
Listening to electronic music, rap and pop, I could feel a taut bass that lays a solid foundation for the sonic presentation. However, unlike a Beats earphone, they don’t have overstated low frequencies and it's quite well balanced with the mids.
While listening to artists like Kygo who use reverb in their productions, the IE 300 gave me a clear sense of depth. The spatial reconstruction of a song's production is exceptionally replicated by these earphones. They are high on transparency and detail, but for the extra-sensitive ears, they could prove to be a bit overbearing at the frequency extremes.
Vamp by Trentemoller is reproduced with a powerful ferocity, akin to standing in front of bass bins at a concert. While it does help get you heady in no time, it may also lead to listening fatigue if you prefer a more neutral tonality. Similarly, the high frequencies tended to get sibilant on any recording that was less than perfect and that could keep you away from long hours of listening.
The IE 300 makes for a fun pair of in-ears that will work well for a wide range of musical tastes and the included ear tips should be experimented with to control its aggressive side. But, if you like your music like your early morning coffee, the IE 300 will definitely put a smile on your face.
The IE 300’s focus is on providing you with the best quality of sound possible, even if that means marketing a pair of headphones that are wired and have no in-line remote or mic. See, no matter what Apple or Tidal’s lossless audio endeavour is, Bluetooth connections cannot provide you with truly lossless audio, which is why they connect to your device through a gold-plated 3.5mm audio jack.
The IE 300 is basically like a car built for drag racing. These cars are fast in a line, but not around corners. To keep the weight low, they also don’t have fancy OLED dashboards and surround sound systems. These earphones are built for the agenda of a higher level of audio quality and so they sacrifice all the gimmicks which disable them from becoming the best all-round earphones.
Many affordable headphones today can produce a quality of sound close enough to these, are packed with features, and are more rugged. The lack of features also limits its uses and the margin of clarity does not justify its price point. But if you are an audiophile who isn’t satisfied with the current average quality of audio then these may be for you.