Pros: Bass, soundstage, transparency, imaging, timbre, details...oh did I mention the KILLER BASS???
Cons: Midrange, comfort when wore straight down, incredibly bright and crisp treble might offend some people
First of all, a big THANK YOU to @svyr and @H20Fidelity for organising this Australian tour. It is much appreciated, and my humble ears are feeling so incredibly honoured to be included in this tour.
This is the third hybrid IEM from T-Peos that I’ve heard, the first one was H-100 which I loved, then H-200 which I don’t really like.
Apologies for the lack of quality of the photos. I have to be honest these are taken late night, with lack of lights, and tired eyes, as I just realised before I sent it off to the next reviewer that I have yet to take some photos
The components that I used for this review are as follows
- iPod Classic (straight, and through C&C BH)
- Sansa Clip+
- Desktop (through Aune T1)
- MacBook Air (straight, and through E10)
Packaging and accessories
The packaging of the H-300 is pretty much the standard these days. Hard carton outer, thin carton dividers, and hard foam where the unit itself sits in the box.
Tips wise, you get the black, round, Sony-style silicones with small-ish bore size (S/M/L), grey longer, olive-style silicone with medium bore size (S/M/L), Flat, wide dual-flange silicone with large bore (S/M/L), and a pair of foam. Also in the box is the 6.5mm adaptor and a zip pouch. You also get 2 different cables, black with microphone, and a multi-coloured without a microphone.
Unfortunately none of the included tips give me a good seal, except perhaps the large dual flange (only shallow fit though), so for the purpose of this review, I reach straight for my trusty UE large silicone with large bore, and a pair of Comply TS-200 medium
Build Quaility and Comfort
The body is barrel type, similar to H-200 and DN1k. Feels incredibly solid and can withstand some rough treatments
The weight and the size of the barrel-style body, as well as the non-rounded rear outer body make it rather uncomfortable for me to wear straight down beyond 30+ minutes. Wearing them over ear however, has no problem whatsoever. In fact, it is rather comfortable, despite the rather long strain relief/connector parts. You can fit it deep or shallow; there is minimal difference in the sound, so long as you have a very good seal
Unfortunately, for those of you who has a large and deep canal like I do, none of the included tips will seal well if you wear over ear. I settled with Comply TS-200 at the end, though UE’s large silicone will do the job too, however, I will lose seal if I push it in too deep.
OK so where do I start here? To say the bass is superb, is definitely an understatement. To illustrate how good it is, listen to Beyonce’s new track ‘Partition’, the first time the bass hits about 6 seconds in, right after “Say heeeyy…Ms Carter…” then BOOOMMM!!!...deep rumbles and vibrations fill your head, in fact, right after I received H-300, this was the first track I played, and I almost fell of my chair.
I would say the tuning of the dynamic driver is simply done to almost perfection, and I would go one step further to say that H-300’s bass, extension, impact, depth, and texture, is definitely one of the best, if not the best bass I have heard in an IEM, period. It is hard hitting, thick, and goes incredibly deep down low (down to about 16hz) without any bleed whatsoever to the midrange.
Quantity and impact wise, I would say this is probably borderline bass-head level, with only the most extreme bass-head will demand more. There are only 2 other IEM I’ve heard that output bigger bass than this in quantity; the good old Hippo VB, and Atrio MG7/MG5. Quality wise however, those two are definitely not in the same league.
There aren’t a lot of IEM that I’ve heard and/or own so far possess bass that put a smile on my face every single time, UM Merlin definitely does, UM 3X and Dunu1k do too, but this, this puts a smile so big that my jaw hurts after a while
One thing I didn’t like about H-200 is its upper-mid peaks, and unfortunately it is still present here. Call me softies but upper-mid peaks are something that I am very sensitive in. I do agree that it has improved to some degree compared to H-200, but on some certain type of vocals, and certain tunes/tracks, they are borderline bearable to me. The worst range that I hear is around 9khz – 12khz.
Some vocals feels restrained, like it wants to break out, but couldn’t. Think The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), if he has to wear a small-sized T-Shirt, those guns biceps would want to break free from the cotton (maybe not the best analogy, but you guys get what I mean J). That’s how the midrange and vocals sound to my ear. The multi-coloured cable helps to ease the peaks and strain, to my ear, the midrange sounds better compared to the black-with-mic cable.
Besides that, the midrange also sounds a little recessed/behind the bass and treble. Listening to vocal tracks such as John Legend’s “All of Me”, and Diana Krall’s “Live in Paris” album, their vocals sit behind the instruments. The midrange is rather thin, and not as thick nor as full sounding as DN-1000 or UM 3X.
On the other side of the coin however, the details level are just incredible, especially the micro-details, I am hearing things that I haven’t heard before with other triple hybrids
The treble is…well…quite phenomenal. To be honest I was pretty concerned at the beginning, reading the early reviews and impression, most of which pointed towards “bright and analytical with big bass”, while I have no problem with bright and analytical treble (though in general I prefer the warmer and smoother treble), I do think that most of the “bright and analytical with big bass” IEM I heard so far tend to be sibilant, and the cohesion between the bass and treble is not so good. This however, is nothing like that, the treble itself, clarity, details, and resolution is just absolutely superb.
Cymbals, bells, and high-pitched synthesizers sound exactly the way they should without any distortion whatsoever. I don’t hear any noticeable early roll off in the treble, until after about 14khz before rolling off.
However good the treble is, it’s not without flaws, such power up high can leads to an extreme fatigue. Personally, I am not too sensitive to bright and sparkly treble, and I can listen to it straight for around 2 hours, but then the ear fatigue starting to set in. Treble-head need not worry, however, for those who prefers the darker/warmer signature, this is something to consider before purchasing
Soundstage, Transparency, Imaging, Timbre, and Amping
Soundstage is big, wide, and 3D. It’s not as airy as H3, but it is ever so slightly bigger than DN1k, UM 3X, and AX60
Transparency and Imaging are excellent, in my opinion, this really excels in live music where there are a lot of instrument playing at the same time to really show its ability. Take for example “I Love Being Here With You” from Diana Krall’s Live in Paris, all that instrument playing without any congestion whatsoever, you can picture the expansive stage, and picks out what is playing where, and when, it’s quite sublime really, though unfortunately due to the midrange, when she starts singing she sounds pretty ordinary.
Timbre is also brilliant, tracks such as Jack Johnson’s “What You Thought You Need” and Maroon 5’s “Secret” sound unbelievable. The transparency and imaging are also on show here, as H-300 makes you close your eyes and feel the tunes in your head, just superb.
Amping is not necessary for H-300, to me, it is as good coming straight out of my iPod Classic/MacBook Air, or through C&C BH and Aune T1. While I did not notice any improvement in sound, using an amp does help slightly in improving the fullness of the sound.
Comparison to Other Hybrids
Dunu DN-1000 (Triple Hybrid)
Straight of the bat, overall, Dunu sounds quite dark compared to a very bright H-300. Soundstage is almost on par here, as good as each other; H-300 however, holds the edge in treble and bass. H-300’s treble is a lot crisper, and has better extension, while the bass, well, you know what I feel about H-300’s bass, if not, scroll up a bit
Midrange, to my ear Dunu holds the edge here, it is smoother, more forward, and more detailed, a lot easier on the ear to listen too, and overall less fatiguing. H-300 also holds the edge in timbre and imaging, musical instruments sound a lot natural, especially things like bass guitar and snare drum. Separation and transparency are also on par
Unique Melody 3X (Triple Hybrid)
One of my recent favourite, the 3X’s treble sounds a little veiled and sibilant next to H-300, as well as a little splashier. Midrange is about on par, as both are prone to peaks, though 3X’s peaks are a little easier to my ear. Bass wise, impact, quality, and quantity are also on par, however, H-300’s is more controlled and sounds more natural, as 3X’s bass sounds a little loose next to it. Comfort wise, 3X is a lot more comfortable to wear over long sessions.
Sony H3 (Triple Hybrid)
Another decent triple hybrid with its unique ‘Sony’s house sound’, first of the rank is the bass, Sony’s a little loose, warmer, and not as quick in comparison to H-300’s. Due to the warmth, Sony’s bass could be perceived as slightly thicker and more in-your-face. Impact and extension wise, H-300 has the upper hand here.
Moving on to the midrange, H3’s is smoother without any peaks, however, it is much more recessed, little veiled, and not as detailed. However restrained the vocals with H-300, with H3 the vocals sound further and more distant, again, H-300 holds the edge here
Treble wise, both of them have similar extension and detail level, though H3 is grainier, and H-300’s is crisper and slightly brighter
Rooth LSX5 (Five-drivers Hybrid. Universal)
Straight away, H-300 sounds incredibly bright and piercing compared to the much warmer LSX5, before I auditioned H-300, I always thought that LSX5 is rather bright, but, after a week with H-300, going back to LSX5, I do feel a little bit of ‘comfort’, especially from the highly energetic treble.
In the bass department, H-300’s has bigger impact, larger soundstage, thicker, and longer decay, while LSX5’s goes down slightly deeper, quicker and sounds a bit more natural. Midrange wise, there is no competition here, LSX5’s is a lot easier on the ear, smoother, thicker, and sounds fuller. Though LSX5’s is a little bit peaky in some tunes, the peaks are nowhere as ‘annoying’ as H-300.
Moving on to treble, LSX’s extends further and overall is warmer and smoother, though it requires bigger power to drive it.
I was pretty sceptical about this before I even hear it. The fact that I don’t really like its predecessor, H-200, plays a lot in my mind, as well as most of the impressions from the first few reviewers which pointed this towards a very bright IEM. After I received my turn, all my worries, concerns, and doubts were simply wept away
Almost everything is done close to perfection; from treble and bass, to separation, imaging, details, tonality, and timbre, all are top notch. It’s really hard to fault it, though to my ear, the midrange is its weakest point, and could be the deal breaker for mid-centric people. Something to improve in H-400 perhaps?
I have to applaud T-Peos here in creating something that is very close to a ‘masterpiece’, at $300 MSRP, this is one of the ‘must-have’ IEM of 2014. I have no doubt that if there is a ‘Hall of Fame’ of IEMs/headphones, this will no doubt be the first few inductees.