Many music listeners may have embraced wireless headphones over the last few years, but audiophiles aren’t ready to be untethered from their listening devices just yet.
That’s why Sennheiser’s newest in-ear headphones, the IE 900, include a feature that’s increasingly rare on high-end earbuds—cords. Aimed specifically at audiophiles, the new model promises the kind of premium sound normally reserved for over-ear cans.
Wireless earbuds are convenient, but no matter the brand—be it Apple, Bose or even Sennheiser—the sound will cut out or distort from time to time. This is a less frequent occurrence with newer models, but it’s just the reality of Bluetooth headphones in 2021. What is an annoyance for must of us is tantamount to a crime for audiophiles. That’s why so many have stuck with wired headphones even as AirPods have become near ubiquitous.
Sennheiser has placed an emphasis on audio quality over convenience with the IE 900. Sure, you’ll have to plug them into whatever listening device you’re using—the earbuds include an unbalanced cord with a 3.5mm connector and balanced cords with 2.5mm and 4.4mm connectors—but the music will never cut out.
That audio will also sound pristine thanks to the new X3R transducer. Based on Sennheiser’s 7mm audiophile Extra Wide Band transducer, it features a triple-chamber absorber system and a housing milled from an aluminum block. Combined with the brand’s XWB driver, the system strips away any masking resonances, delivering a natural high-end sound, where even the finest details and nuances are perceptible to your ear. And to ensure a perfect fit—which earbud veterans know is an absolute must—the headphones include adjustable ear hooks as well as three sizes of both silicone and memory foam tips.
The IE 900’s sound quality comes at premium, though. Sennheiser has announced that the pair will cost $1,295 when they go on sale next month. That may sound like a lot to someone who just wants to listen to tunes or a podcast on their way to work, but for someone who cares deeply about true sound quality, it just might be a bargain.