Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision In-Ear only Headphones - Silver

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Sennheiser CX 300 Headphones - Excellent Bass, Insulation and Price

Sep 14, 2009 (Updated Sep 14, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Price, good bass, overall sound, insulation and comfort

Cons:Treble could be better

The Bottom Line: The Sennheiser CX300 headphones sound very good, are stylish and feature excellent noise insulation. I recommend them for use in a gym or in other areas where noise insulation...


I have to admit that to some extent I am a compulsive buyer of inexpensive headphones. One recent addition to my "collection" (Sennheiser HD201, Sennheiser HD202, Koss KSC75, Koss SparkPlug, Philips HS500 and more) is the Sennheiser CX300. Similar in appearance to the Creative EP-640, the Sennheiser CX 300 are in-ear headphones that have no ports and therefore provide excellent insulation.

After a nonstop 60-hour burn-in in my iPod connected to the AC jack with a power adaptor, I was ready to be impressed (or possibly disappointed) by the CX300.

About Sennheiser CX300

The Sennheiser CX300 are non-ported in-ear headphones. They come with three types of ear pads (medium size installed on the headphones, small and large supplied). The headphones are black, look stylish and have replaceable ear pads (see above) that seal the sound really well.
 
The replaceable silicone pads are of different sizes to fit your ears (I used the ones that the headphones came pre-attached with).

Some specs: 18-21,000 Hz frequency response, impedance of 16 Ohms, 112 dB sensitivity, 2.79 ft Y-type cord with a 3.5-mm plug for use with portable gear. Bass-driven sound was promised (and, in fact, delivered).

Performance

The first thing that immediately attracted my attention was how similar the CX300 looked to the Creative EP-640. One of the features of the EP-640 and the SX300 is the absence of ports on the headphones. The previous in-ear headphones I used had ports that improved bass, but made it less "tight", reduced overall sound clarity and reduced sound insulation. Covering ports in those headphones produced better sound overall and tighter bass, but much lower bass output.

The lack of ports does not prevent these CX300s from delivering good bass. And it probably helps with overall sound quality and noise insulation. If you need excellent noise insulation, these headphones work extremely well. They are also much more stylish than the Koss Sparkplug and feel more comfortable, very similar to the EP-640.

It is difficult to have compact headphones with powerful bass. Some manufacturers (e.g. Koss with their SparkPlug) employ ports to make bass more powerful, but this makes bass less "tight". Same applies to iSolate headphones I used for a while. The claims of bass-driven sound in case of the CX300 do not lie. The bass is in fact powerful yet precise. It is "tighter" than ported designs mentioned above. There is, in fact, a bit too much bass comparing to the rest of the sound spectrum. The midrange seems to be well-reproduced, and the treble is decent but not great. So the sound is bass-biased overall with a slight treble deficiency.

The imaging and definition are quite good. Electronic music and (surprise) some simple (fewer instruments) classical music (e.g. E. Bloch Piano Viola only) sounds great. And if you like lots of bass, these will not disappoint.

The CX 300 have very good instrument separation in the mid-bass to midrange area. There is some congestion in the upper midrange and the treble is pretty uneven.


For comparison purposes, I also played some Preludes and Overtures of Richard Wagner through my Panasonic SA-XR57 receiver and its headphone jack and compared the CX300 with Koss KSC75 and Sennheiser HD202. Overall (taking the different sources into account), the Koss KSC75 sounded the best with open sound, good frequency response and warm sound. The CX300 did not sound as open as the other two, but had less hollow sound then the HD202 and better lower-end definition.

So, to summarize among these three very different headphones (aside from the similar price range):

Sennheiser HD202 sounds the most open, but a bit hollow and compressed.
Sennheiser CX300 sounds least open (not surprise since they are in-ear), has best lower end definition and good sound balance and excellent insulation.
Koss KSC75 sound the best overall, with better definition in the mid to upper range and warm overall sound.

The headphones are well-made and should be durable. The volume was pretty loud comparing with some other headphones I have tried. This means CX300 can play loud with portable gear (I used them with my iPod Nano). Overall, with excellent noise insulation, these are good headphones to use in a gym, on a train/plane. When it comes to the in-ear insulating headphones, I prefer the sound of the Creative EP-640 better. And overall, I prefer the sound of Koss KSC75 or KTX PRO. But when more bass is needed in the in-ear (insulating) design, e.g. when I use my rowing machine at home (it is moderately noisy and I used Sennheiser HD202 in the past, but they are too bulky and not really designed for working out), I will use the CX300.

Bottom Line

The Sennheiser CX300 headphones sound very good, are stylish and feature excellent noise insulation. I recommend them for use in a gym or in other areas where noise insulation is important or elsewhere. I am impressed with their bass, imaging, frequency response and sound insulation for the price.


Recommend this product? Yes


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