After experiencing the absolutely stunning sound signature of the Sennheiser IE 900 (review), I was curious if Sennheiser could possibly pull off the same feat in a more palatable price range. Enter the Sennheiser IE 300, which costs less than 1/4th the price of the IE 900, and aims to appeal to the frugal audiophiles among us. Let’s review.
Design, Fit and Comfort
The only difference between the Sennheiser IE300 and the IE900 is the material used in the construction of the earpieces. While the IE900 has an aluminium housing, the IE300 is made of plastic. But, this is really tough plastic and the design is pretty attractive too. As for the size, it is extremely tiny considering there are only two 7mm drivers, one inside each housing. Therefore, you can wear it for longer listening sessions without any fatigue.
As for the quality of the cable, the build quality is absolutely fantastic and it doesn’t tangle at all. Furthermore, the cables have an MMCX termination and are, therefore, replaceable. In fact, if you have the source for it, you can get replacement cables with 2.5mm and 4.4mm terminations too. This flexibility is absolutely useful for the more entrenched audiophiles.
But, do note that finding the right seal and fit with the bundled foam tips will take some effort from your end. Here’s a small tip: always squish any foam tip before you insert it inside your ears. This way, the foam will expand inside your ears and you will get the tightest seal. Overall, the Sennheiser IE 300’s build quality is as premium as it gets in this price range.
One thing’s for certain, Sennheiser is a huge proponent of carefully tuned single Dynamic Driver setups for its audiophile-grade IEMs. Apart from the German-made 7mm transducers inside the housings, you get a bunch of other tech to remove masking resonances and to minimise natural resonances. Too much tech mumbo jumbo? Well, all you need to know is that you get a clean reproduction of sound across frequency ranges with minimal distortion. This is the IE 300’s biggest strength. Otherwise, the sound signature is decidedly V-shaped and one that will probably appeal to general consumers more than audiophiles.
Also, there’s a lot of bass on offer so much so that it ends up masking the lower mids. It is overbearing if you ask me. It is particularly irritating when listening to Rock music. However, the tonality and resolution of sound is pretty good for the price. But yes, an IEM like the Moondrop Blessing 2 ends up being far more revealing of the softer sounds in a well produced track. For example, when I A-B tested any Rahman album from the early 90s, I always wanted to go back to the Blessing 2. Similarly, the highs are better extended too with the right amount of restraint and detail retention on the Blessing 2.
The IE 300 doesn’t offer a very wide soundstage either, at least not as wide as some other IEMs, some that cost much lower. But, the layering and instrument separation is not too bad.
Overall, with the V-shaped sound of the IE 900, I was quite literally moved to tears. However, with the V-shaped sound of the IE 300, I didn’t move anywhere. I just sat in my chair wondering why Sennheiser pumped the pedal on the bass to such an extent that it ends up overpowering every mix.
Should You Buy the Sennheiser IE 300?
If we had to look at the IE 300 in isolation, it has a fairly engaging signature albeit with a bloated low end. And considering the fact that Sennheiser is targeting the audiophiles here, I am not sure if they’d find this product particularly exciting. Primarily because products like the FiiO FD5, Moondrop Blessing 2, and 7Hz Timeless are tuned way better.
In fact, if you have a budget of Rs 30,000, strongly consider the Blessing 2 instead. It offers a wider soundstage, better dynamics, better layering, and a nearly neutral sound with a slightly extra emphasis on the highs to make it sound more exciting. The only advantage that the IE 300 has over the Blessing 2 is that most people will find it more comfortable for long listening sessions because the Blessing 2 has huge housings which could be troublesome for folks with smaller ears.
Let me know what you folks think of the Sennheiser IE 300 in the comments below.
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