Pros: Great Bass Response, Superb Clarity, Imaging, and Detail, Wide Soundstage
Cons: Lower-Treble Peak can be too harsh for some...
T-PEOS is back with their new flagship hybrid! The H-300 is getting heaps of mixed impressions from everyone who got their hands on them during the pre-sale promotion. Some ended up selling theirs in a few days, others are still figuring out if it’s a keeper, while a handful of people claim that they sound really good! My first impression of them was great that I ended up selling my beloved H-200. That is really a drastic move considering how much I value the H-200, my favourite IEM for heavy metal. Whether I'll end up regretting my decision or rejoice that I’ve finally bought myself a pair H-300 will be revealed at the end of this review. Special thanks to Kwon Sungoo and T-PEOS for making the Australian H-300 Demo Tour happen and @H20Fidelity for facilitating this.
SETUP: Colorfly C3 > JDS Labs C5
iMac 2011 > Stoner Acoustics UD110v2 > JDS Labs C5
16/44 FLAC, ALAC, and 256kbps AAC
Using the stock coloured cable + Comply TS200 foam tips.
BASS: WOW! WOW! WOW! I love the bass on these. Goes deep, with just enough sub-bass rumble that doesn’t linger too long with its decay. Punch may not be as hard hitting as the H-200 but it definitely has enough impact coupled with speed to keep you happy with your EDM and Metal favourites. Bass heads may not find this their ideal bass monster but the quantity is at a level where it can’t be ignored. Detail is the best I’ve heard so far… enough to make me forget the Astrotec AX-60 and KEF M200. Containing all that detail will need a lot of speed to avoid congestion and the H-300 delivers no matter what genre you use to put it to the test. It seems like all the boxes in the bass department are ticked; but wait, there’s more: TIMBRE! Bass that sounds so natural that it just keeps you wanting for more!
MIDS: At first I was like: dang! it’s a bit recessed... thanks to the emphasised lower treble, the mid-range gets left behind because that's just how it is with v-shaped sound signatures. Fortunately, only the vocals are greatly affected; making them sound a bit contained and weird like there's a very thin veil over them (not from the bass but from the treble). Despite the restrained vocals, instruments still sound excellent; full and rich especially when you listen at high volume levels to bring up the mid-range. Detail, timbre, and clarity is amongst the best I’ve heard. When volume matched, the mid-range is almost as good as the Noble 4. Yes ladies and gentlemen, pretty close to Noble 4! Now why would I get to that conclusion when the H-300 vocals sound a bit restrained? The answer is in the next section...
HIGHS: Oh how I wish this ended differently. The treble although not as extended as the Sony MH1 is still great because the roll-off is only noticeable beyond 14 kHz. Resolution is exemplary in the H-300; you get to hear micro-detail you’d normally miss with most average IEMs. Unfortunately, I hear a peak from 7 kHz to 10 kHz and its severity will depend on how the track is mixed/mastered. Reminds me of the Astrotec AX-60 but the H-300 is more refined and detailed. Tracks from artists such as Daft Punk, Avicii, Earth Wind & Fire, and Dream Theater don’t get sibilant at all. What’s disappointing is that it’s quite common to have bright sounding tracks in one’s library. Artists such as Van Halen, The Used, Train, Phil Collins, and Chicago can be too much for someone’s tolerance to cymbals shimmer or vocal sibilance. The peak also affects timbre and as a result cymbals sound a bit too thin for my liking.
Now here’s the kicker… if you can somehow get rid of that extra shimmer, edginess, and aggressiveness from the peak between 7 kHz and 10 kHz, the H300 can stand amongst the best out there. As a matter of fact, it sounds near perfect to my preference when the peak is tamed a bit. With the treble peak reduced, vocals will no longer sound restrained, cymbals will ring naturally, and clarity is better than ever. I’d be hard pressed to choose between the H-300 and Noble 4 because they compliment each other really well. Reducing the peak can be done in several different ways: one can use foam filter mod as a damper or do the old fashion EQ tweak. My preference is about 7db reduction from 7 kHz to 9 kHz which can easily be done with Parametric EQ or to a certain degree with foam filter mod + Comply TS200/TSX200. Just enough to get rid of the harshness without changing the tonality of the H-300.
IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Soundstage is really wide and can easily keep up against the Dunu DN-1000. Height is above average with sufficient depth yet not as expansive as the DN-1000. Imaging is excellent coupled with instrument placement that’ll immerse you into the music. Such an excellent presentation that can sound like its coming from a decent full-sized headphone.
CONCLUSION: So what does clarity, resolution, natural timbre, amazing bass, nice mid-range, and peaky lower treble compound into? It’s T-PEOS H-300: the could’ve been! It could’ve been one of THE BEST out there if not for the peaky treble. T-PEOS is getting there and hopefully will close the gap to perfection when they release their next flagship: H-400 maybe? For now I’m happy with the H300 but not rejoicing... not just yet.