CES 2021: Sennheiser's latest in-ear headphones are made for audiophiles

sennheiser in-ear headphones
(Image credit: Sennheiser)

Sennheiser has a great reputation when it comes to audiophile headphones, and its latest earbuds prove that you don't have to skimp on the specs when it comes to the more compact form factor. 

The Sennheiser IE 300 are powered by a refined version of the company's 7mm Extra Wide Band transducer, which it says will deliver a well-balanced sound signature with excellent sonic accuracy.

Inside the transducer is a membrane foil that's designed to reduce natural resonances and harmonic distortion, a transducer back volume to minimize refection within the earbuds' housings, and a resonator chamber to reduce resonance in the ear canal, which should lead to more detailed treble.

A frequency response of 6Hz – 20kHz means that the Sennheiser IE 300 should deliver impactful bass – although frequencies below 20Hz are generally 'felt' rather than heard in the traditional sense.

Pristine sound on the go

Unlike wireless earbuds like the Apple AirPods and the Sony WF-1000XM3, the IE 300 come with a 3.5mm cable, with a gold-plated connector for durability. 

Sennheiser says you can also buy balanced cables with 2.5mm or 4.4mm connectors, which can reduce distortion – so if you're really serious about audio fidelity, the option to upgrade is there.

Available in Europe on January 19, the Sennheiser IE 300 will cost $299.95 / £259 – while global pricing is still to be confirmed, that works out at around AU$390. 

That's certainly pricey for a pair of wired in-ear headphones, though those audiophile-friendly specs may convince buyers to fork out the extra cash in the pursuit of pristine sound. 

in-ear headphones

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

Despite the perception that over-ear headphones always offer superior audio quality compared to their in-ear peers, we've seen an increase in audiophile earbuds in recent years, with companies hoping to tap into the trend for tiny, convenient-to-use audio devices without sacrificing the sound. 

It makes sense – many over-ear audiophile headphones are designed for at-home listening, with open back designs that leak lots of sound that could annoy people around you when you're on the move. They're also often quite bulky, with large cables that don't exactly lend themselves to listening on your commute. 

With more brands bringing their audio tech to the compact form factor, audiophiles no longer have to sit at home plugged into their Hi-Fi system to enjoy great-sounding music – especially when great portable DACs exist, too. Whether models like the Sennheiser IE 300 can live up to their expectations however, remains to be seen.

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Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.