NINE (9) years have passed since I bought the CX300 in Europe, 9 years serving almost everyday. They gave me thousands of hours (and miles) of music, movies or simply isolating the airplane noise. I've had some Sony, Samsung, Philips and all of them ended in the botton of some drawer of broken in hands of one of my children. I've always returned to the beloved CX300 and in the last 3 years I completelly forgot the idea of buying any new pair of IEMs. Why? Because the CX300 demonstrated me why it is one of the most successfull IEM in history. They come with the following factors:
TOUGH: CX300 demonstrated me they are tough. Not many IEM whistand years in my pocket without any protective case or pouch.
SOUND QUALITY: I am not an audiofile, but I listen different kind of music, and movies. their bass is immersive, deep and outstanding to my ears. It is not saturated by any means and treble is crystal clear. When listening to movies, they are wide and immersive, these IEM put you in the middle of the action.
BASS: I have to double this feature since I like powerful bass in EDM and action movies. It is difficult to hear real deep and immersive bass while enjoying the rest of the spectrum.
SLEEP: Their housings are so small that you can fell sleep on it. And this is important since In an airplane or in the bed they provide just sound to your ears, not any pressure due to big housings between your ear and the pillow.
NON INTRUSIVE ISOLATION: The isolation is better than average with the simple but effective isolation silicon. You do not feel them deep inside and they are really comfortable for wearing them on long flights of more than 10 hours.
It is clear that I have been more than satisfied with the CX300, my only issue what the plating of the connector. Last year (and after 8 years of service) the connector started to make some creepy noise when it was moved in the socket, but I can understad that after carrying them in my pockets for years without any case or pouch. They are tough and I do not have any doubt about this. The bad news for me is that I have lost them.
It was time to get something else, after 9 years I think that maybe it is time to look for something even better. I know that CX300 are mainstream and not very appreciated by quality listeners around here, but I really like their sound. I am sure that I can find something for everyday use for less than $120. I know that the sound of most of current IEM is OK so I think that my 3 limiting factors are: SLEEP, TOUGH and BASS, all without sacrificing SQ. In other words, I was looking for IEM with small housings, good construction and deep and immersive bass while maintaining fair mids and good treble.
I started with the evolution of my original IEMs, my personal baseline. I will use it to compare the rest of the units. It will help other users like me coming from the excellent CX300:
- $25 Sennheiser CX300-II (Is it my best option? after 9 years there should exist something better!!!)
It is basically the same unit. There is a little modification of the housings. The old CX300 were completely hemispherical, new CX300-II have a round cut where the brand logo is located. The L connector has improved and seems even more reliable than the previous version. It is gold plated. The cable is still asymetric but the point where both cables split is more tough and has the model on it. I prefer to have the cable on one side than in the middle. It took me a while to find the benefits of an asymetrical cable.
Sound quality is the same. Strong and inmersive sound with high levels on the full spectrum while providing extra deep bass for the joy of my ears. Videoconferencing is really natural with these IEM. Isolation, comfort and spectral response is the same. Regarding accesories, the new version comes with a carrying pouch along with 2 additional sizes for the isolation silicon.
OK, now that I can have a baseline I will take a cheaper one and a pricier one:
- $9 - Philips SHE3590: In these forums I have found that the Philips SHE3590 have a similar sound signature and in other places I have found the same positive reviews. What I found is that these IEM have a V shape spectral response. Good bass, low highs and very, very low mids. The sound is nothing close to the CX300 and I need to EQ the signal in order to hear all the details of the music, specially new age. Regarding the construction, the isolation silicon is harden and not as comfortable as the CX300. For that price it comes without pouch and the straight connector is not gold plated.
I found these IEMs a complete failure since the SHE3590 are not even close to the CX300 sound quality, nonetheless I will burn in these IEM for 2 days. Maybe they need it. Should I go and try other one in this under $15 league?
I understand that all CX300 users would like to know whether to go to a more expensive pair of IEMs. So I am going to buy one of these:
- HiFiMan RE-400 (Will it have SLEEP and BASS factors? It seems that they are not very tough, left channel is failing at the connector according to some comments in Amazon)
- Velodyne vPulse (Will it have SLEEP, SQ and ISOLATION factors?)
- Vsonic VSD1 (Will it have SLEEP and ISOLATION factors?)
- Klipsch S4 (Will it have SLEEP, SQ and ISOLATION factors?)
- Fischer Audio Enigma (Will it have the ISOLATION and SQ factors?)
- Hisoundaudio Crystal (Will it have the BASS and SLEEP factors?)
- SHURE SE215 (Will it have the BASS and SLEEP factors?)
I am completely open to suggestions, so I´d appreciate your feedback if you have any experience compared to my CX300 baseline or a personal positive or negative comment.
Regards and thanks for reading. In case you have suggestions I will take them into account to buy the next