Sennheiser CX300 User Review
I wrote a review on mine here
You may need to register to read it so I will copy the review in full. Should be OK as I have referenced the source and I am the author.
The CX300 are ear canal or IEM (Inner Ear Monitor). They were originally released by Sennheiser as pro equipment and are related in design to both the Creative EP630s and an earlier Sharp model the MD33. Sennheiser whilst using similar shells ensure that the drivers inside are made to their exacting standards.
This was my first pair of IEM as I was not sure that I could cope with something in my ear canal but unlike the more expensive offerings from Shure and Etymotic the Sennheisers do not penetrate as deeply.
As the drivers are very small these rely on only moving air in a very small space and so they must form a tight seal with the ear when in position. Three sizes of ultra soft medical grade silicone tips are provided for you to get the best match with your ears. Anyone used to wearing industrial foam ear plug ear defenders will find that these are so comfy you forget that you have them in. Once in position the outside shell of the CX300s fits inside the outer edge of your ear cartilage. Falling asleep in them is no problem irrespective of how your head meets the pillow.
They are small and lightweight, weighing next to nothing. The cord is a ‘J’ type with the right lead longer than the left. This design feature allows them to be run to your right ear around the back of your head. In addition, the 3.5mm jack is right angled, which means it is less likley to get damaged in your pocket as its profile is lower. If you prefer the ‘Y type cord, these are available on the similar but (less bass forwards according to some reports) Creative EP630 which are fitted with a straight 3.5mm plug
The Full cord length is 1m and ideal for use with an MP3 player in your pocket unless you are over 6ft tall and wear cargo pants
Sadly they are not supplied with a carrying case to keep them safe when stuffed inside a kit bag.
Attenuation of outside noise.
They do attenuate external noise very well and it is possible to still run them at medium volume settings when in a room full of people talking and a surround sound TV with active subwoofer working. On my full sized open back reference cans ( Grado SR60) I run with an average volume setting of 23 out of 25 on my Creative ZVM. With the CX300, the same song under the same external environment will only need a setting of 17. At this setting I can not hear people speaking directly to me in the same room unless they shout.
The flip side is that little noise leaks out and I can listen in bed next to a sleeping partner and not disturb them.
Care should be taken if jogging or cycling with these in place as you may not hear the approaching vehicle until it sounds its horn.
Owing to the design, if you want to jog or work out in them your will need to run the cords under a vest or tape them to your skin with a strip of micropore in order to stop micro phonic transfer of vibrations straight to your ear. All IEMs will do this as when they form a seal with your ear canal and ear drum they create a tin-can telephone effect.
Quality of Sound
In addition to the stock ear buds supplied with Creative and Sony portables, I have compared them with pro monitor full sized headphones such as the Sennheiser HD280 pro, noise cancelling travel headphones Sennheiser PXC150 and the prestige range open backed Grado SR60.
Bass is very easy to follow, they are more bass forward than any of the reference cans. Vocals are just a bit back in the mix and the very top end treble such as cymbals lacks the sparkle of my Grado SR60s. That said, I now use these CX300 even at home in quiet environments. They are a bargain for the price asked and will eat alive any stock buds that come with ipods etc.
Vocal tracks with strings such as Tori Amos, ‘Pretty good year’ pass on the full emotion of the female voice and the lower notes from the cello carry the full timbre of the instrument.
Bass driven tracks such as ‘Babylon’ by David Gray reveal just how low these headphones can go.
Vocal harmonies are presented in a layered and musical way on tracks such as ‘My Sweet Carolina’ by Ryan Adams.
The soundstage is less inside your head than you would expect and does have a front of the face presentation, the only area where they could be improved is in the very top end where they are not as airy and crisp as open backed full sized headphones, that said I find that I use mine more than my full sized cans. They are good enough to be used with a home Hi Fi.
Sennheiser offer these with a two year Warranty and in a choice of Black, Silver and now White.
These can be found in the High street at most outlets such as Dixon’s Digital, Comet, HMV in the UK for £39.
Online they are much cheaper, I bought mine from an Auction site for £18 delivered. Please take care buying this way as there are many cheap fakes around. Sennheiser never made OEM versions and so all genuine CX300s will come in full EU retail packaging. Make sure you know what this looks like. Summary: A genuine upgrade from stock ear buds.
Mine are still going strong two years on
I must add some notes about the 'wind whistling noise'. Since thses are semi-closed and have some form of vent system, when wearing them outside and walking into wind I have noticed quite an intrusive wind whistling sound. This would be a problem for jogging in the park or riding a bike. Not all users experience this, but certainly myself and WalkGood recognise the problem
'There is a fine line between clever and stupid'..David St Hubbins
Last edited by Aardvark; 12-02-2008 at 06:27 AM. Reason: Added last para owing to renewed interest in cx300
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