Pros: Bass, Detachable Cables
Cons: Midrange, Hot Treble, Price
First of all, I’d like to thank T-Peos and H20Fidelity for including me in the tour and making this review possible. Now, I’m not going to dwell too much on the accessories, packaging and stuff and go straight on to the sound. For the review, I ran them off my iBasso DX90 and I also used it with the O2, which synergised quite well. On we go with the mini-review then.
The H200 received quite a of praise about how it sounded but I never actually heard it. I was really looking forward to hearing what T-Peos would be able to do with their new flagship. When I first heard it, quite frankly, I was shocked. It was in one word, dreadful. The bass was nice, but everything else just sounded plain wrong and unnatural. Now, over the time I’ve had it I’ve warmed up to it a little, and even considered buying one, but I still don’t think it is an IEM that I can recommend.
If you have been following the tour thread, you will have heard people say that the bass from the H300 is absolutely awesome and I would be lying if I said that they were wrong. The bass is exceptional both in impact and quality. It has a very solid thump to it, but it is still quite fast and it doesn’t ever bleed into the midrange. I would classify the H300 borderline basshead, but it doesn’t quite have as much bass as the DN-1000, but definitely more than the DN-2000. The texture of the bass is very nice as well, being very well extended and having good rumble in the sub-bass. If I had to judge the bass quality of the DN-1000 vs H300, I would easily give it to the H300; the DN-2000 comes closer but I still think the H300’s bass is more detailed and has a more satisfying impact. This was a great start for the H300, but unfortunately, for me, the positive impressions end here.
The midrange hit me hard. It was absolutely not what I was expecting. This is perhaps the part that let me down the most. It is a little bit more recessed than I prefer, which means that you have to turn it up to higher volumes, but then other problems arise such as vocal sibilance and the treble becomes rather unpleasant. I like vocals that are neutral and I don’t mind it they tilt to either side a bit. However, the H300 has an odd upper midrange spike that just makes female vocals sound very unnatural and a little bit nasal. Male vocals are definitely less affected, but at times they can sound a little off too. For me, the midrange either sounds veiled or overly bright (if that even makes sense?) depending on the volume and I just can’t find the sweet spot for me.
Those who have read some of my other reviews will know that I generally tend to like a slightly brighter treble and when I heard that the H300 would have a bright sound signature, I really thought that I would like it. I wished I would say that I loved the treble, but I just can’t. It is overly bright and at higher volumes (around 155 on the DX90) the treble becomes a little piercing and actually hurts my ears. Now, I’m pretty sure that people listen significantly than I do (from meets, I listen at 9-10 for my HM-700 and RE-400 but others were listening at 15) and the treble could be a large problem for them. The treble can actually cover details and on some songs all you can hear in the background are the crashing of cymbals and personally, I just cannot stand this. Unfortunately, the treble is probably the worst part of the H300 and it affects every song I have almost always in a negative way.
Imaging & Soundstage
Finally, something positive to report J. The imaging is quite good, though not quite up there with the DN-2000 yet. It is clear step up from the DN-1000 and it handles most of my tracks with ease, even the ones that the DN-1000 showed signs of congestion. Overall, I am quite impressed with the H300’s imaging.
The presentation of the H300 seems to be more up front and aggressive rather than that of the DN series, which seem to be more spacious. It is really had to describe the soundstage, because most of the instruments are in your face, but the vocals are pulled back and there are some tracks where there are segments where there are cymbal clashes further out. There seems to be most of the instruments right in from of you, some space, then some others on the side. The soundstage is quite capable, but I personally prefer the DN-1K & 2K’s soundstage over this, but it’s more of a preference issue. Grado lovers should like this.
Separation & Detail
The separation of the H300 is something that I have to applaud. T-Peos have really done well here. Although the bass is hard hitting, it does not affect the separation one bit. It one of the best areas of the H300. Everything is so clear, and it really does compete with the likes of the Noble 4 and the DN-2000. This a step up over the DN-1000 in terms of separation for sure.
Ah, here is something that I’m not entirely sure about. It seems like a very detailed IEM, but not unlike how the DN-1000 masks some of its detail because of its bass, the H300 has a similar issue with its treble. The treble I very emphasized, too emphasized IMO, and it gets in the way quite a lot of the time. The H300 is very capable in terms of detail, if only the treble wasn’t so bright…
From what I’ve heard, the H300 is certainly a very technically capable IEM, but I am left wondering what in the world was the designer thinking when he/she tuned them. It reminds me of the Rhapsodio RDB 2v1 I heard a while back. It was very technically capable, but because of the tuning, it was deemed by me to be the worst IEM I have ever heard. The H300 is a lot better, but I really do wonder what I could have been if it was tuned better.