Sennheiser IE 300 InEar Review

Sennheiser IE 300 InEar Review

When it comes to high-end in-ear headphones, there is no getting around Sennheiser. Despite the current trend towards more and more drivers, their InEar IE800S plays in the absolute TOP class. But now, the traditional manufacturer is attacking – and with the IE 300 has developed a new InEar with only one dynamic driver. With MSRP, you are now targeting the ambitious consumer and still position yourself in a position that still leaves space for an IE600 or even IE 900. But this is first about the new IE300. What it can do and how it sounds – that’s what we listen to here.

PROS:

  • Punchy bass
  • Highly detailed
  • The sound is vital and clear
  • Easily portable
  • Durable built quality

CONS:

  • Not tonally neutral or flat
  • A tech-free zone in 2021 terms
  • Not good for low-level sounds

The Sennheiser IE300

I’ve been using the IE800S for quite a while now – and time, and again, I see in direct comparisons with equally expensive or even more expensive multi-driver systems how competitive a single dynamic user can be nowadays. Even more: you can now even see a certain trend. More and more companies are experimenting again with the simplicity of single-driver systems. With success: Sennheiser IE800, Beyerdynamic Xelento, DUNU Luna and ZEN, Final Audio A8000 etc.
And after ages, Sennheiser is finally bringing out another high-end in-ear device in the form of the Sennheiser IE300 in addition to the flagship IE800 / S.

The shape of the Sennheiser IE300 is a classic around-ear in-ear, i.e., the cable is worn over the ear. Sennheiser uses a 7mm XWB driver already known from IE800 and manufactured in Germany as a driver. The principle of the resonator chamber is also used in the IE300. This is to prevent masking resonances.

The cables are finally removable and of great quality. The IE800 had to take a lot of criticism regarding the firm stripping. Since the IE300 now has a larger housing, it was finally possible to install a socket and thus enable a replaceable cable.

Scope of delivery and packaging

Sennheiser delivers the Sennheiser IE300 in the familiar packaging design. There is a product photo on the front and technical data on the back. Sturdy cardboard and an attractive design – just like we already know from other Sennheiser products.

In addition to the IE300, Sennheiser naturally packs the detachable cable and a small transport case. There are also various attachments: The scope of delivery of the IE 300 includes three pairs of silicone ear adapters in different sizes and three pairs of visco-elastic adapters made of memory foam of different sizes. The scope of delivery is rounded off by a cleaning tool.

Technical specifications

For the bean counters, here are the technical data…. 😉

Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency range: 6 Hz – 20 kHz
THD at 1kHz <0.08% (1 kHz, 94 dB SPL)
Sound pressure level at 1 kHz: 124 dB (1 kHz / 1 Vrms)
Cable length: 125 cm
Weight without cable: 4gr !

Design and quality

The shape of the housing of the Sennheiser IE300 with a cable worn over the ear is nothing new for Sennheiser – the IE100 / 400/500 Pro already exists. However, these are aimed at professional musicians. In this respect, the IE300 is the first InEar intended for the consumer sector with this widespread form.

InEar

The design is simple but tasteful. The anthracite-colored plastic is silver glitter, which looks much better than on the first renderings. Here, as so often, Sennheiser has shown a lucky hand and created a timeless design that should please most users. In addition, there is nothing to complain about when it comes to processing. It is solid as always and seems to be just as durable as other Sennheiser products.

Cable In

terms of cable technology, the IE800 (s) received a lot of criticism. Many complain that the cable is not detachable. In addition, the path from the splitter to the in-ear is too short, preventing strong people from wearing it over the ear.
The IE300 cable fixed all of this. It is detachable and very comfortable in length at 125cm. The cable, reinforced with kevlar, is also great to the touch, feels very robust and valuable. The slightly set-back MMCX sockets ensure a centered introduction of the plugin to protect the connections but make it difficult to choose a standard cable in the accessory market.

Comfort

The Sennheiser IE300 are unbelievable – really unbelievable – light due to the plastic housing – and that, of course, fully contributes to the wearing comfort. Of course, with the cable over the ear, you have more “contact points” with the body, but the in-ear can no longer be felt after a few minutes – also mainly because of its lightweight.

But since the IE300 has a relatively short nozzle (sound tube), it sits a little diagonally in my ear for the right seal – but that doesn’t bother me and looks a bit stupid and requires some fiddling when inserting it.

Incidentally, my test copy no longer came with any foam attachments. Although not tragic, I wouldn’t say I like to use these tips anyway, and with the silicone tips, it works wonderfully.

The insertion and the correct choice of the tip are not so easy. For me, only the middle silicone tips have a real seal. With the S & L, the Senni sounds broken to me. So: experiment with the tips and don’t stop if none of the enclosed ones fit. It seems like the IE300 are real divas for that. Mark von Miniklangwunder has packed the Xelentos on it, for me the Spinfits or the Final E.

Sound

Sure, that’s why you’re here, right? How does that thing sound?
You can hear immediately that it is a Sennheiser. The sound is smooth, balanced, and, above all, one thing: extremely universal. Airy, clear, light. This is typically Sennheiser – sound on the safe side, a shot of warmth – fits! Boring? Maybe, compared to a specially tuned InEar, yes.
But on the other hand, that’s exactly why the IE300 is so brilliant. So everybody’s darling? Yes, it seems like that to me, but to be understood positively. Tonally, you could almost say it is the HD660S for in the ear.

Oh yes, this time, the Questyle CMA400i, the if audio DSD Signature, and the Cayin N3 Pro served as feeders. The Sennheiser IE300 does not need a lot of power, and it hardly scales either. Even a moderately potent DAP can get the most out of this.

Bass

The bass is extremely powerful and grippy. The deep bass is there – if required. You can already hear that you are dealing with a dynamic driver—this organic, powerful. In addition, it is remarkably fast for a dynamic person, even with explosive transients, and is always wonderfully fully textured. The bottom line is that the IE300 has rich, clean bass. Very differentiated and controlled from the very bottom to the punchy upper bass.

Mids

Very pleasant and, above all, beautifully multilayered and detailed mids for voices know how to convince in every type of music. Full voices, fat metal guitars, brilliant strings – everything is great—outstanding naturalness with the typical Senni touch of warmth – but always very subtle.

Treble

Typical soft Sennheiser treble. The pleasant smoothness is bought here and thereby the lack of the last shimmer. But the same applies here: The IE300 remains unassailable. You (at least me) can’t find any criticism there. Very pleasant, never shrill or annoying.

Separation & stage

Wide stage, very beautifully diversified music scene. The little brother of the HD800S? Yep, you can almost say that. But, if you devote yourself to the music collection for hours, you ask yourself: Are these in-ears, or are the floor-standing speakers running?

Isolation

It could be better, depending on the seal, of course. But even if it fits, more can still come through from outside than, for example, with the iBasso IT07.

Comparison of IE300 vs. IE800S

Seriously? The IE300 costs 1/3 of the IE800S. Does it make sense to compare these two? But yes, because Sennheiser itself says that the driver of the Sennheiser IE300 is a further development of the 7mm driver of the IE800 (s). But even if the driver technology inside is possibly related – both in-ears then have different coordination. The further development of the driver is even more balanced in the IE300. Where the IE800S is a bit “shouty” in the range of (presumably, only estimated) 4-7khz, the IE300 retains a more pleasant sound color. Especially when it comes to cymbals, the IE300 mMn is easier to consume because it is more discreet. The IE800S, with its comparatively more raised bass and treble, is more likely to be assigned to a V-signature, while the IE300 tends towards the more modern W-signature, ie.

On the whole, the IE800S still sounds more spectacularly tuned to me, but unfortunately, this can sometimes backfire – and then quickly drift into the artificial. The IE300 is much more relaxed and balanced. I also like the bass texture and punch better with the IE300.

As far as stage and separation are concerned, both are very similar and play extremely high for InEars. Whereby the IE800 (s) is again something ahead in terms of resolution.

From these subjective statements, I deduce that the IE300 is the better in-ear for hard metal and fast things, but the IE800 has the edge in Rock & Pop & Classic because it sounds a bit more pompous there.

Comparison of IE300 vs. FiiO FD5

The FiiO plays in the same price range and uses the same single dynamic concept as the Sennheiser. Here, too, only a single dynamic driver provides the sound. The concept of the two could not be more different. It starts with the design. The FiiO relies on fine aluminum, the Senni on light plastic. Both are processed equally well. The Senni is much lighter, but the FiiO still sits better in my ear. The cable on the IE300 is good, and the FD5 cable is better. The fact that you can choose and change the plug to match the socket speaks for the FiiO. The sound of the FiiO can also be adjusted a little through exchangeable sound tubes. The selection of ear tips is almost twice as large.

And sound? Well, this is where things get interesting.
I don’t want to anticipate too much. The review for the FD5 is yet to come. Just very close:
The FiiO is at least as good technically – but is tuned differently. In short: while the Sennheiser IE300 is inconspicuous and pleasantly tuned, the FiiO FD5 lets it crack with more flavor.

The Sennheiser IE300 is much more linear in the bass than the FiiO, which plays thicker in the upper bass and is not quite sharp in the contour. The Senni plays more relaxed in the bass without sacrificing depth, pressure, and punch. The FiiO is stronger in the bass, is thicker.

I find both quite similar in the middle, although the FiiO pumps a little more juice into rhythm guitars. I like singing better with the Senni because it is more homogeneously integrated into the instrumentation. But, on the other hand, it is a little too much in the foreground with FiiO.
In the heights, I find the Senni more natural. The FD5 sometimes has more restrained cymbals and tends to be more sensitive. The Sennheiser IE300 is airier, lighter, and has a larger platform. Both can separate at roughly the same level.

There is no tonal winner for me here. With everything else, I like the FiiO better as an overall package.

Conclusion

The Sennheiser IE 300 is a rock-solid single dynamic. This InEar impressively shows how competitive such systems can be with skillful coordination compared to multi-driver systems or generally a BA driver with a single dynamic driver.

With the IE 300, Sennheiser has created an unbelievably good and universal InEar in terms of sound and is thus in direct competition with the IE800S in-house. And it’s not just the sound that is convincing: design, quality, and cables are also fun. What it lacks, however, is character. It can do everything, but nowhere does it stand out. But he doesn’t want that either. And that’s exactly what makes it something special again.

Sennheiser IE 300 InEar Review
Sennheiser IE 300 InEar Review

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