With Sennheiser’s IE 300, the focus is on sound enjoyment in a portable compact format. That’s exactly what this product delivers. The workmanship is top-notch, as is the wearing comfort, while the functionality is aimed exclusively and without frills at music consumption. The sound tuning is less analytical and neutral but is decidedly punchy, without skimping on detail resolution and transparency, which is to be expected given the price.
With the IE 300 model, Sennheiser launches a wired in-ear headphone in the around 300 euros price range, aimed at buyers who are looking for a compact solution for mobile use with superior sound quality. The product is technically positioned between the Pro models IE 100 and IE 400 Pro, but is listed in the audiophile consumer section of the manufacturer’s website. In addition to the high-quality, lightweight construction, they claim that the premium drivers provide a sonic bonus.
The functionality is completely straightforward. The IE 300 comes with a high-quality, fibre-reinforced connection cable with a 3.5 mm jack plug, which is interchangeable thanks to gold-plated and strain-relieved MMCX connections. Balanced connection cables with 2.5 and 4.4 mm connectors are optionally available.
Conceptually, the focus is on pure music enjoyment, which is why extras such as integrated microphones, a transport control or volume control have been omitted. To prevent the cable from wobbling back and forth during fast movements, the cable separation into the left and right sides can be variably adjusted via a sliding element.
The wearing comfort is good thanks to ergonomically shaped capsules that can rotate freely around the MMCX connection. The front six centimetres of the connection cable are reinforced with a sheathed wire that acts as a mouldable ear hook. The IE 300 uses a variably adjustable wire behind the ear cup, which has the advantage of providing a more stable placement that keeps the headphones in position even during active movements or sports. The disadvantage: the bracket-like design always involves some additional effort when putting them on.
Technically, Sennheiser relies on a specially developed dynamic 7 mm wideband driver (XWB) in this German-made production, which is supposed to provide improved impulse behaviour compared to the previous version due to a change in the material composition. According to the manufacturer, the sound is also determined by the tuned closed miniature chamber, which controls the airflow to create a balanced frequency response. Another detail: A so-called Helmholtz resonator is integrated into the IE 300, which is supposed to reduce disturbing resonances in the ear canal closed off by the drivers.
Once again, I realised how important it is to choose the right earpiece. As is so often the case, choosing from three silicone and three memory foam tips each, I initially went for the large silicone plugs – with unsatisfactory results. In contrast, when I used the memory foam plugs, it led to a significantly better result with better insulation from the environment. Fortunately, this also applies in the opposite direction, meaning the IE 300, which is quite powerful in terms of volume, does not disturb the person sitting next to you.
The headphones deliver a powerful sound image. As a wired solution, it is entirely immune to the sound losses caused by Bluetooth codecs and reproduces exactly what the player delivers. The basic tendency is consistent. In the bass range, the performance is powerful and a little overemphasised. However, this impressive low-frequency capacity, which descends playfully into the deep bass, shows clean contours, delivers the necessary tonality (Adel Tawil: “Katsching”) and dynamics.
The cleanly mapped midrange can be slightly over-emphasised, yet voices with their specific timbre and other central elements of the mix such as acoustic or electric elements as well as walls of distorted guitar are reproduced with confidence. From AC/DC’s “Fire Your Guns” to Whitney Houston’s “Until You Come Back” to the dynamically performing Esbjörn Svensson Trio on “Strange Place For Snow”, the results always deliver a successful balance between listening pleasure and detail resolution. Even classical orchestral recordings with their numerous nuances can be enjoyed in quiet surroundings with a natural sound result.
Finally, in the upper frequencies, the IE 300 shows itself to be open and refined. Harshness is not a problem, but it is equally highlighted, as is a lack of sparkle of certain mixes. The fast response ensures a high detail resolution. This also results in a broad and stable stereo panorama. Spatial information and effects can also be identified well. However, as with virtually all headphones, there is a lack of depth.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)6 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance16 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)(1 kHz/1 Vrms): 124 dB
- Weight without cable4 g
- Cable length125 cm
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- 3 pairs of memory foam ear tips (S, M, L)
- Cleaning tool
- Carrying pouch