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Earbud Review: Sennheiser CX-300B Mk II Precision
Detail of Sennheiser CX-300B MKII Precision Earbuds
Another package arrived in the mail a few weeks ago: A small box from Amazon, which contained a pair of Sennheiser CX-300B MKII Precision earbuds, my latest pair for review. After a month of use, here are my thoughts and opinions.
Sennheiser GmbH &Co is a privately owned German company, in business for over 60 years. They produce a well-known and thorough lineup of audio equipment, from consumer to professional grade, including speakers, microphones, headphones and even avionics. Suffice it to say, they know a thing or two about recording and reproducing sound.
The Sennheiser CX-300B MKII is one of the lower priced earbud models available from Sennheiser, (just a step above their CX-200 model) and is priced at $59.95 retail. Competitors in this price range include the ubiquitous Klipsch Image S4 and the NuForce 700x, among others - and the Sennheisers do indeed give them a run for their money. Simply but neatly packaged, the CX-300 features an asymmetrical cable, roughly 1.2m long, with a fairly robust, L-shaped plug at the end. The cable feels somewhat rubbery and is reasonably resistant to tangling. The cord design is asymmetrical, designed so that the cord leading to the right earpiece is routed behind the neck when worn. Although this has been confusing to some, it is designed as a safety and ergonomic feature, to minimize the amount of cable in front of the wearer. The earbuds themselves are relatively small and light and sit well in the ear, with very little protrusion. Because of this, they are comfortable to wear for extended periods. Also included with the CX-300B MKII are three sizes of eartips to help find the best fit to the individual wearer, as well as a small, soft-sided vinyl pouch for storage when not in use.
All of this is well and good, I hear you thinking, but how do they sound?
Well, I'm glad you asked. The answer, I would say, is very good! After a short burn-in (during which the sound did seem to improve noticeably), they performed very well. The original CX-300 was reportedly well-known for its strong bass performance, at times being accused of being a bit too bass-heavy. Sennheiser apparently heard these criticisms and tuned this newer model towards a slightly more balanced sound profile. The bass is still there, and it is still full and rich, but not at the expense of other areas of the music. These are not bass-heavy, "Beats wannabes" but they do produce enough bass to make music fun. Mids are full and warm and highs are clear and clean, but did not overpower the mids and low frequencies. Overall, a very enjoyable, listenable pair of earbuds, capable enough to handle most types of music. I tried them with jazz (Hancock, Marsalis and Coltrane, among others), rock (Aerosmith, The Cure, Foo Fighters, etc) and classical, as well as some contemporary country and ambient music and these seemed to handle just about anything I could throw at them. I noticed virtually no sibilance or distortion, even at higher sound levels. Speaking of which, the CX-300s are quite sensitive, producing a good level of volume from a moderate input level, their sound being noticeably louder than say, the JVC HA-FX3X. Soundstage was decent too, with good separation, clarity and detail without lacking in warmth.
The build quality seems plain but sturdy, with a thick, angled plug that seems more than able to standup to abuse.
Specifications (for all you tech-heads out there - and you know who you are) are as follows:
Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency response: 19 - 21000 Hz
Sound pressure level (SPL): 113 dB
Cable length: 1.2 m
Transducer principle: Dynamic
The CX-300B is a very capable performer and a definite upgrade from the stock earbuds. Well worth the money!
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© 2013 Daniel Petreikis