Updated: July 27, 2021 6:31:56 pm
The Sennheiser IE 900 could not have come to India at a better time, coinciding as it has with the launch of Apple’s lossless music services in India. In other words, there could not have been a better time for me to review what could be the best wired earphones money can buy.
The Sennheiser IE 900 is aimed at those who don’t want to lose out on audio quality and clarity just because they are on the move. These in-ear earphones are supposed to be the pinnacle of audio engineering and do not leave anything to chance. So it comes with three gold-plated connectors — 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm — allowing you to connect easily with the source you are carrying. It is very rare for a company to do this and the best I have seen is various plug adapters in the box, but not entire cords themselves. The earplugs can be easily removed and attached to the cord of your choice.
The IE 900 has a solid aluminium chassis that is large and indicates that this earphone means business. These are connected to ear loops that hold them in place. For a tight fit, you have six different silicone and foam tips in the box. There are no volume controls on the cable.
When you have Hi-Fidelity earphones, you have to go on a quest to find audio that is of the highest quality. Now, that quest ends with Apple Music which has moved over 7.5 million songs to lossless audio quality, which you can enjoy to its best if you have wired headphones. This is why I was saying now is the best time to review the IE900.
I started with my playlist of songs that sound best on headphones. The binaural recording of Amber Rubarth’s Strive blows me away every time. With the IE 900 I could feel her hands on the strings and space between each instrument.
Everything is so natural, so balanced. There is no excess bass or sharp notes, it is as if I was in the recording room. Also, earphones like IE900 makes you realise how much extra noise other headphones add to music. There are so many layers that end up being added though not originally intended, just because the earphones don’t have the space to play them out.
As I sunk into the melancholy of Farid Farjad’s violin almost singing Dokhtare Booyr Ahmady, the IE 900 showed how even a single instrument composition can fill your ears, almost as if you were in a concert. Also, as I swiped through Apple Music to find my favourite songs in lossless, I also realised that even with regular files the experience was quite good, though not as amped up as the former.
But when I discovered Eros by Nicholas Britell, a composition which as it hit the crescendos, it almost felt like enlightenment. On the earphones, the notes filled more than my ears, the music wrapping my head and lifting me up with some invisible chord. Bliss. Then came his Adante in C Minor, where the cello and violin seemed to be competing to mark me as one of their victims.
The IE900, thanks to its natural audio profile, works well with all kinds of music, though I found it a bit overwhelming while listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Also, when the recording is not that great, the noise seems to get amplified here. So I suggest you make a few playlists while using the IE900, especially on a phone. If you listening to this on a Hi-Fi music player you would obviously have saved the best files.
My only issue with the IE 900 is that I am not sure if I am spending so much for a pair of high fidelity earphones, I would choose earphones. My preference would be soft cushy over-the-ear headphones that will make me relax a little bit more. In-ear earphones like the IE900, for me, have a more sporty, urgent feel about them. But yes, large headphones can be a hassle when you are on the move.
Also, remember that if your source like mine is an iPhone or an Android phone, you might need adapters given that 3.5mm jack is not an option in most flagships phones now. That could take away the audio quality a bit as you don’t benefit from the gold-plated connector if you are going via an adapter.
If you think you an audiophile who will do anything and spend any money to hear music just the way it was created, then IE900 is among your best bets out there. But certainly, this is not for everyone, even among the audiophiles, you will be giving yourself a step up if you bought these, the very pinnacle of personal audio.
The IE900 for me is the best personal audio investment an audiophile can make. The only choice they need to make is whether they really need an in-ear model. For many that choice is already made, by the way, they use it. For them, this is a no-brainier, provided you love music enough to afford this.
Sennheiser IE 900 specs: Gold-plated Fidelity (+) MMCX connectors | Choice of para-aramid reinforced cables (2.5 mm, 3.5 mm, 4.4 mm) | Adjustable ear hooks and choice of ear adapters including memory foam | Frequency response: 5 Hz – 48,000 Hz | THD: 0.05% (1 kHz, 94 dB) | Impedance: 16 ohms | Transducer size – 7mm | 24g with cable
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