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Onkyo IE-FC300 Review & Appreciation Thread

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

   Onkyo has been a force in consumer audio for a long time but the IE-FC300 is their first venture into earphones.  I've always liked Onkyo receivers and in the past have owned a few (and a CD player) so I was interested to see what they could do in the world of portable audio.  Initially I was planning to buy the KEF M200's but my smaller ears and narrower than average ear canals meant I'd likely be struggling with fit issues so I sprang for the Onkyos instead.  Now it's time to break everything down into relevant categories.

 

Build Quality:  It's excellent.  The earpieces themselves are heavy and solid made of a combination of aluminum and ABS resin.  They are detachable and there are four cable options with gold plated MMCX connectors.  You can choose between white, red, violet and silver; the latter being more expensive and of supposedly higher quality (for a 30% premium).  I opted for white as in photos the red appears pinkish and the violet also seems more than a little feminine (though don't get too excited about buying a pair for your girlfriend, mine thought these were damn ugly).  The cable itself is flat like linguini with a rubbery, springy feel that helps to avoid tangles.

 

Also included is an excellent, spacious oval hard case and some of the worst silicone ear tips you'll ever encounter which leads to...

 

Fit & Comfort:  I was expecting canal phones and I'm used to pushing tips deep into my ears.  The Onkyo housing are huge and initially I was frustrated, trying tip after tip and not getting a comfortable fit.  Normally the smallest silicone tips provided with most earphones work for me but nothing Onkyo supplied even came close to being comfortable.  Part of my problem lay in my expectations; the truth is the Onkyo is not so much an in ear as it is an ear bud.  Once I switched to larger tips (eventually settling on medium silicone from UE) they sat in my ears with no problems.  They are definitely comfortable and people who don't enjoy deep IEM insertions or fans of earbuds will raise a cheer.  Of course the price for shallow insertion is....

 

Isolation:  Definitely well below IEM average.  Even worse if you plan to move around as these are heavy and hang in your ear, so a slight pull on a cable can easily shift them.  But if you're not looking for complete aural separation from the outside world and like an IEM that's quick to remove and insert the Onkyos will work for you.  Provided you enjoy the...

 

Sound:  Bass lovers rejoice.  The sub-bass here is big, thick and definitely the IE-FC300's defining sonic quality.  With trance and deep house music the Onkyo provides a satisfyingly deep thump.  There isn't a large mid bass hump but there is some bass bleed into the mids rendering them very slightly veiled.  Normally this is a deal breaker for me but the truth is the Onkyo handles mids very well, voices have good clarity and decent (though not wonderful) texture.  Highs are smooth and roll off gently without providing much air.  Treble heads will be left wanting more.

 

I compared the Onkyos with the excellent Hifiman RE-400s; they're priced the same but take very different sonic paths.  The Onkyo is tuned to sound like a set of speakers with a subwoofer; presentation is softer with more rounded notes and slower decay.  The Onkyo sounds bigger than the RE-400 and has much more bass.  The RE-400 is more precise with melodic mids and a better ability to create a sound stage.

 

Think of the Onkyos as fun earphones that punch at the level they're priced at but not above.  It's also good to be aware that they enjoy a little amping and sound much better/tighter out of a better than average source.  In my case they sounded good out of the HRT Microstreamer and iBasso DX50 but lost definition out of the Sansa Clip Zip.

 

Buy these if you want: Big sub bass, solid construction with detachable cables and a fun full sound.

 

Avoid these: If you're looking for the ultimate in clarity for your dollar, expect isolation and like a bright treble rich signature.

 

Overall I like the IE-FC300.  I'm not a bass head and I still find it easy to enjoy their laid back big sound.  I'm using them far more than I expected so despite some initial reservations I'm happy with my purchase.


Edited by Deviltooth - 10/22/13 at 11:46pm
post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post
 

   Onkyo has been a force in consumer audio for a long time but the IE-FC300 is their first venture into earphones.  I've always liked Onkyo receivers and in the past have owned a few (and a CD player) so I was interested to see what they could do in the world of portable audio.  Initially I was planning to buy the KEF M200's but my smaller ears and narrower than average ear canals meant I'd likely be struggling with fit issues so I sprang for the Onkyos instead.  Now it's time to break everything down into relevant categories.

 

Build Quality:  It's excellent.  The earpieces themselves are heavy and solid made of a combination of aluminum and ABS resin.  They are detachable and there are four cable options with gold plated MMCX connectors.  You can choose between white, red, violet and silver; the latter being more expensive and of supposedly higher quality (for a 30% premium).  I opted for white as in photos the red appears pinkish and the violet also seems more than a little feminine (though don't get too excited about buying a pair for your girlfriend, mine thought these were damn ugly).  The cable itself is flat like linguini with a rubbery, springy feel that helps to avoid tangles.

 

Also included is an excellent, spacious oval hard case and some of the worst silicone ear tips you'll ever encounter which leads to...

 

Fit & Comfort:  I was expecting canal phones and I'm used to pushing tips deep into my ears.  The Onkyo housing are huge and initially I was frustrated, trying tip after tip and not getting a comfortable fit.  Normally the smallest silicone tips provided with most earphones work for me but nothing Onkyo supplied even came close to being comfortable.  Part of my problem lay in my expectations; the truth is the Onkyo is not so much an in ear as it is an ear bud.  Once I switched to larger tips (eventually settling on medium silicone from UE) they sat in my ears with no problems.  They are definitely comfortable and people who don't enjoy deep IEM insertions or fans of earbuds will raise a cheer.  Of course the price for shallow insertion is....

 

Isolation:  Definitely well below IEM average.  Even worse if you plan to move around as these are heavy and hang in your ear, so a slight pull on a cable can easily shift them.  But if you're not looking for complete aural separation from the outside world and like an IEM that's quick to remove and insert the Onkyos will work for you.  Provided you enjoy the...

 

Sound:  Bass lovers rejoice.  The sub-bass here is big, thick and definitely the IE-FC300's defining sonic quality.  With trance and deep house music the Onkyo provides a satisfyingly deep thump.  There isn't a large mid bass hump but there is some bass bleed into the mids rendering them very slightly veiled.  Normally this is a deal breaker for me but the truth is the Onkyo handles mids very well, voices have good clarity and decent (though not wonderful) texture.  Highs are smooth and roll off gently without providing much air.  Treble heads will be left wanting more.

 

I compared the Onkyos with the excellent Hifiman RE-400s; they're priced the same but take very different sonic paths.  The Onkyo is tuned to sound like a set of speakers with a subwoofer; presentation is softer with more rounded notes and slower decay.  The Onkyo sounds bigger than the RE-400 and has much more bass.  The RE-400 is more precise with melodic mids and a better ability to create a sound stage.

 

Think of the Onkyos as fun earphones that punch at the level they're priced at but not above.  It's also good to be aware that they enjoy a little amping and sound much better/tighter out of a better than average source.  In my case they sounded good out of the HRT Microstreamer and iBasso DX50 but lost definition out of the Sansa Clip Zip.

 

Buy these if you want: Big sub bass, solid construction with detachable cables and a fun full sound.

 

Avoid these: If you're looking for the ultimate in clarity for your dollar, expect isolation and like a bright treble rich signature.

 

Overall I like the IE-FC300.  I'm not a bass head and I still find it easy to enjoy their laid back big sound.  I'm using them far more than I expected so despite some initial reservations I'm happy with my purchase.

i think you might be understating the features, it has detachable cables for what 99? thats pretty good in itself assuming it doesn't short out when you turn it or if the cable is bumped

 

the shure se215 is another one in that category

 

i can't think of another in that category. That in itself is worth quite a bit imo, you don't have to throw the entire iem away if the cable shorts out, just buy a extra one and leave it at home and one day it shorts, you just plug those new ones in and your ready to go

 

the connectors seem pretty solid too, more so than even the shures but just seeing pictures

 

and on its convenience, i think its good because u can pop em in and out easily

 

and most consumers usually like earphones that can be easily popped in, they're not gonna do the ear pull or check if their in properly or not (like most of us on head-fi)

 

and often when they take em off they pull on the cable to take em off  (not a good habit, but just something i notice) (so i think the replacable cable is perfect for them) 

 

but the lack of isolation is a big concerning for a supposedly "consumer" product, the general public will not know any better and just blast them at ear deafening levels to drown out the ambient sounds (most of the time on the subway/train/ bus) and too "feel" the bass

 

i think onkyo personally did more than wrong on this design

 

plus they look very nice especially with the silver and white cables imo

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom22 View Post
 

i think you might be understating the features, it has detachable cables for what 99? thats pretty good in itself assuming it doesn't short out when you turn it or if the cable is bumped

 

the shure se215 is another one in that category

 

i can't think of another in that category. That in itself is worth quite a bit imo, you don't have to throw the entire iem away if the cable shorts out, just buy a extra one and leave it at home and one day it shorts, you just plug those new ones in and your ready to go

 

the connectors seem pretty solid too, more so than even the shures but just seeing pictures

 

and on its convenience, i think its good because u can pop em in and out easily

 

and most consumers usually like earphones that can be easily popped in, they're not gonna do the ear pull or check if their in properly or not (like most of us on head-fi)

 

and often when they take em off they pull on the cable to take em off  (not a good habit, but just something i notice) (so i think the replacable cable is perfect for them) 

 

but the lack of isolation is a big concerning for a supposedly "consumer" product, the general public will not know any better and just blast them at ear deafening levels to drown out the ambient sounds (most of the time on the subway/train/ bus) and too "feel" the bass

 

i think onkyo personally did more than wrong on this design

 

plus they look very nice especially with the silver and white cables imo


I did state that build quality is excellent and that's taking into account the good quality detachable cables. 

 

You may be right about the average consumer but perhaps Onkyo was thinking of those people when they designed an ear bud style earphone.  It's definitely superior comfort wise to the average ear bud and sits nicely in my smaller than average ears.  However users wishing to wear their phones over the ear to reduce microphonics are completely out of luck with this design.  Between that, the shallow seal and heavy housing these aren't designed for the gym or active use.

 

With the proper tips the Onkyos do seal, so excessive volume isn't necessary.

 

I like the IE-FC300 but they exist in a very competitive category of earphones.  For $99 you can also buy the less physically robust but better sounding RE-400s.  For a little more (the same amount as the Onkyos with an improved cable) you can get a Vsonic GR07 MK2 or an Etymotic HF series IEM.  All three offer a more precise audiophile style balanced sound.  The Onkyos supply more bass than the aforementioned competition but don't offer a lot more to convince a buyer to choose them over these others.

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post
 


I did state that build quality is excellent and that's taking into account the good quality detachable cables. 

 

You may be right about the average consumer but perhaps Onkyo was thinking of those people when they designed an ear bud style earphone.  It's definitely superior comfort wise to the average ear bud and sits nicely in my smaller than average ears.  However users wishing to wear their phones over the ear to reduce microphonics are completely out of luck with this design.  Between that, the shallow seal and heavy housing these aren't designed for the gym or active use.

 

With the proper tips the Onkyos do seal, so excessive volume isn't necessary.

 

I like the IE-FC300 but they exist in a very competitive category of earphones.  For $99 you can also buy the less physically robust but better sounding RE-400s.  For a little more (the same amount as the Onkyos with an improved cable) you can get a Vsonic GR07 MK2 or an Etymotic HF series IEM.  All three offer a more precise audiophile style balanced sound.  The Onkyos supply more bass than the aforementioned competition but don't offer a lot more to convince a buyer to choose them over these others.

for sure ! i find hybrid iem- earbuds feel oh so comfortable but maybe the fact that their so heavy plus the shallow seal= prone to popping out?

 

i'm interested in the vsonci gr07 mk 2 as well but i'm having a hard time justifying on a iem that expensive when it doesn;t have a detachable cable, i have no knowledge on how to recable and don't know who in toronto can recable them, so its a no for me, for now at least

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom22 View Post
 

for sure ! i find hybrid iem- earbuds feel oh so comfortable but maybe the fact that their so heavy plus the shallow seal= prone to popping out?

 

i'm interested in the vsonci gr07 mk 2 as well but i'm having a hard time justifying on a iem that expensive when it doesn;t have a detachable cable, i have no knowledge on how to recable and don't know who in toronto can recable them, so its a no for me, for now at least


It depends on your intended usage.  If you're in front of your computer or doing something else not particularly active the Onkyos will function well.  If you're thinking of using them in the gym I'd say look elsewhere.

 

As to the GR07 MK 2, I have one and the cable appears excellent.  I wouldn't be too concerned about it breaking, by the time it does you'd likely be interested in a new IEM (a reasonable Head Fi assumption).

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post
 


It depends on your intended usage.  If you're in front of your computer or doing something else not particularly active the Onkyos will function well.  If you're thinking of using them in the gym I'd say look elsewhere.

 

As to the GR07 MK 2, I have one and the cable appears excellent.  I wouldn't be too concerned about it breaking, by the time it does you'd likely be interested in a new IEM (a reasonable Head Fi assumption).

thats horrible thing to say!!! i agree with you but my wallet doesn't haha, still breaks my heart if it shorts out though

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 

Newsflash: The IE-FC300 is fantastic for industrial music.  It works brilliantly with this genre.

post #8 of 28
I appreciate the thoughtful review.

But one point of clarification. You need to listen to some good subwoofers. They don't have slow decay. Slow decay = cheap subwoofer driver smily_headphones1.gif
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I appreciate the thoughtful review.

But one point of clarification. You need to listen to some good subwoofers. They don't have slow decay. Slow decay = cheap subwoofer driver smily_headphones1.gif


I absolutely agree.  A good subwoofer should be able to reach deep,  moving a lot of air but still sounding tight and textured.  I meant to say that the Onkyo designers prioritized bass first.  The quality of the bass is good (not great) in that it's very full but only moderately tight and textured.  For the asking price of $99 it's a solid presentation.

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post


I absolutely agree.  A good subwoofer should be able to reach deep,  moving a lot of air but still sounding tight and textured.  I meant to say that the Onkyo designers prioritized bass first.  The quality of the bass is good (not great) in that it's very full but only moderately tight and textured.  For the asking price of $99 it's a solid presentation.

Sorry if I was being picky. I've just seen similar language in reviews before. smily_headphones1.gif
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Sorry if I was being picky. I've just seen similar language in reviews before. smily_headphones1.gif

I understand.  I've owned REL, Paradigm, KEF and Mirage subwoofers.  I'm familiar with the real thing and no C/IEM can compare.  A good earphone can give you the musicality of the bass and the texture and the sound but never the whole body physical impact.  The IE-FC300 is the earphone bass equivalent of a good speaker manufacturer's cheapest offering.  It's fun but doesn't provide the sonic ideal that can be reached when you spend $800 and up on something better (tighter, deeper, clearer texture and definition).

 

On the other hand it doesn't weigh 50 pounds, your wife/girlfriend won't complain about the big ugly box and it's $99.  :etysmile: 


Edited by Deviltooth - 11/6/13 at 7:11pm
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

On the other hand it doesn't weigh 50 pounds, your wife/girlfriend won't complain about the big ugly box and it's $99.  etysmile.gif  
LOL

I only have an ex-wife. So I have dual 18" sealed subs in my living room. It sounds awesome with this unbelievably clean bass biggrin.gif

And they are big black no fancy finish CHT subs (here, pictured next to my Outlaw LFM-1 EX big 12" sub):



I'm sure if I was dating someone long enough, I'd be catching flack for them. smily_headphones1.gif
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


LOL

I only have an ex-wife. So I have dual 18" sealed subs in my living room. It sounds awesome with this unbelievably clean bass biggrin.gif

And they are big black no fancy finish CHT subs (here, pictured next to my Outlaw LFM-1 EX big 12" sub):



I'm sure if I was dating someone long enough, I'd be catching flack for them. smily_headphones1.gif

Now those are bloody sexy!  It's amazing women don't understand the beauty and power of full sized speakers.  I'm living with my girlfriend now and she thinks anything that isn't small and sleek doesn't look modern/good.  Also, wires MUST be hidden... don't ask me why.  Sighs.

post #14 of 28

I think These are unbelievable value for Money,the cables are even copper ,normally this Standard is only seen by extreme expensive in ears. I europe they are a bit more expensive at 130 Euro(official Price) but alone in Terms of material their worth it.

post #15 of 28

Just got a pair of these at some discount (out of control, can't keep track of what I've gotten where...), I think, unburned in, they sound better than described. Bass is indeed nice, full, mids/vocals sound rich to my ears, good treble extension, though somewhat tizzy right out of the box. Haven;'t done head to head at this point, but I've been less impressed by many iems I've heard than these.

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