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You’ve seen it earlier than: A singer on stage sticks a finger of their ear forward of some insane vocal gymnastics that tumble by pitches usually reserved for sirens and fancy birds. The digit is now plugging up an earhole as a result of stay exhibits are loud, chaotic soundscapes, and if a singer is to remain on key, they want to have the ability to hear the sounds popping out of their mouth. That’s the place in-ear displays come into play. They’re the massive brother of earbuds that exchange these fingers to fill the ear canal with a sound combine particularly tailor-made for particular person musicians throughout a efficiency. And so they can attain into the a number of 1000’s for the form of custom-designed indulgences you’ll see on high touring artists. The Sennheiser IE 100 Professional in-ear displays provide this service at a worth that appeals to native storage bands. And so they’re suitable with an optionally available $50 Bluetooth module that makes them extra handy to make use of on the best way to and from observe (or after the band breaks up). So long as you don’t anticipate the Sennheiser IE 100 Professional that will help you ship a Mariah Carey-level octaves run, you’ll be pleasantly shocked by these entry-level however nonetheless skilled in-ear displays.
What’s the Sennheiser IE 100 Professional?
The Sennheiser IE 100 Professional is essentially the most reasonably priced mannequin in a line of common in-ear displays, or IEMs, from the long-respected microphone, speaker, and headphone firm. The German producer’s professional audio merchandise are present in studios and on phases worldwide, and audiophiles use Sennheiser skilled headphones to benefit from the recordings these mics seize. IEMs, in the meantime, are extra usually the territory of performers and audio purists due to each worth and expertise. As a result of IEMs have been initially developed for musicians needing to dam out all of the sound onstage and from the viewers, the earphones can insert deeper in your ear than, say, a pair of Apple AirPods Professional 2 true wi-fi earbuds. And that feeling of isolation isn’t to everybody’s liking (for some individuals, it could possibly even have an effect on equilibrium).
These Sennheiser in-ear displays, nonetheless, are a lighter, unobtrusive design comfy for hours-long listening and jam periods. To command top-tier costs and a focus, producers could shove every kind of expertise into these tiny equipment. It’s not unusual to seek out IEMs with 5, six, seven, or extra tiny audio system per ear, and the extra you shove, the bigger the value tags, which leads many musicians to maintain them hidden away in secured street circumstances when not at a gig. The Sennheiser IE 100 Professional options only one transducer per ear, a 10mm dynamic driver—a conventional woofer shrunk to magic bean dimension. The result’s distortion-free sound that may work with a smartphone in a espresso store virtually in addition to in a rehearsal or public efficiency house. Plus, you received’t really feel as dangerous if one thing occurs to them.
The Sennheiser IE 100 Professional’s design
For this evaluate, we examined the 2-in-1 combo package deal in matte black plastic (crimson and clear are additionally accessible). Out of the field, the Sennheiser IE Professional 100 wi-fi in-ear displays come hooked up to the Bluetooth module. The thin black module is on one facet of a brief cable draping across the again of your neck, whereas mobile-device controls (plus a microphone for calls) are on the opposite. An ordinary 1.3m wire to hook the earphones to gadgets with a 3.5mm headphone jack is saved in a tiny black satchel together with further silicone eartips for establishing a safe seal (a should for isolation and good bass response).
In-ear displays want to perform 4 issues effectively to be thought-about for stay efficiency: produce high quality sound, scale back exterior noise, be comfy, and keep within the ear no matter on-stage antics. Out of the field, the Sennheiser IE 100 Professional slid simply into my ears and stayed put because of the eartips and the hooked up malleable plastic hooks routed excessive of my ears. So, match was not a problem. Passive noise resistance—old school plugging up the ear, no ANC circuitry concerned—was stable. As for sound, we’ll get to that quickly.
The IE 100 Professional’s wi-fi cable options Bluetooth 5.0, and the setup was a snap on a number of gadgets. Press and maintain the facility button till the earbuds inform you that the system is in pairing mode, and simply seek for them in your smartphone or laptop. Supported codecs embrace common SBC, AAC for iPhones, and aptX Low Latency for Android gadgets.
To change to a wired connection, customers simply must delay one cable and snap within the different. The connections are straight on the earbuds, with each the wires and the suitable earphone accented in crimson for the suitable facet. Lining these up assures the wearer accurately has correct stereo sound each time with out second-guessing. My private, custom-molded IEMs that price greater than I’d prefer to admit don’t inform me left from proper out of the field.
A profit of getting each wired and wi-fi cables is that Bluetooth headphones and earbuds are practically nugatory for music creation on a pc. The wi-fi latency makes including further stay devices to a monitor inconceivable since you’re virtually at all times a few sixteenth of a beat off. Past that, even the most effective Bluetooth connection introduces compression to the sound, which isn’t one thing you need when hitting the suitable be aware is crucial.
And there are just a few different drawbacks to the Bluetooth cable. The space between the earbud and the Bluetooth module is barely too quick and hangs awkwardly behind your head, with the controller and battery factor dangling behind your ears like massive earrings. Additionally, the four-button management system may do with extra variety between the buttons to assist the wearer decide which button they have been about to push. I basically needed to memorize the places of the buttons from high to backside and rub my finger up and down the controller till I knew which button I used to be pushing.
As a commuter companion, nonetheless, the IE 100 Professional will block out the cacophony of public transportation sound. On the similar time, your cellphone sits securely in your pocket because of the comfortable match and Bluetooth audio. Plus, there’s multipoint assist in case you wish to hearken to tracks from two sources and don’t wish to fiddle with settings again and again.
Sound high quality
The audio from the Sennheiser IE 100 Professional earbuds was higher than anticipated for the value tag. The frequency vary of the displays is 20 Hz to 18 kHz, which is just about what most people can hear with a little bit shaved off the highest and backside. The sound strain degree (SPL) for these is 115 dB, which suggests they’ll get loud sufficient to drown out different noises on stage. Fortunately for the sake of my listening to, I by no means needed to flip up the amount sufficient to come back near the edge at observe, the place the IE 100 Professional held its personal in opposition to the wailing guitar to my proper and the piercing keyboard amp to my left. The thunderous roar behind me is courtesy of a drum equipment helmed by a person who has by no means met a cymbal he can’t strike with the power of Thor. Regardless of that tsunami of sound barreling down on me in our cramped house, the IE 100 Professional carried out valiantly. I doubt I’d have any points listening to my voice or synth on a really loud stage whereas conserving the IE 100 Professional at an affordable degree.
The sound the Sennheiser in-ear displays did produce was heat, well-rounded, and delivered crisply each as displays and Bluetooth headphones. Sennheiser gear, usually, is understood for wealthy midbass and clear midrange, and it’s right here. The highest finish and low finish do undergo some, although. Deep bass and pinpoint highs are squelched sufficient that musicians and DJs in search of a punchier, airier audio expertise ought to look elsewhere and anticipate to shell out severe money for that additional dynamic vary.
For these that may use these extra to hearken to music than make music, the audio tuning of the Sennheiser IE 100 Professional is quite flat, with out as a lot of the wealthy, full-bodied midrange you’d discover within the extra consumer-focused IE 300. There’s no low-end push such as you’d discover on a pair of Powerbeats Professional or the dynamic vary of the Sony WF-1000XM4 in-ear earbuds (which we reviewed). For musicians, it’s necessary to listen to what’s taking place because it sounds with out digital processing. There could also be a little bit power lacking for everybody else, however the readability is sweet.
The remainder of the specs
In keeping with Sennheiser, the IE 100 Professional’s Bluetooth module has a battery lifetime of 10 hours. My battery assessments practically match that, with it being only a few minutes beneath the mark when the headphones shut down. It’s sufficient for the commute to work on the prepare, tuning out your coworkers, and returning residence at night time. Plus, you may at all times swap out the cable to plug the earbuds straight into your gadgets, assuming they’ve a headphone jack. And if you end up again close to an outlet, charging the Bluetooth cable requires a USB-C cable (included) and about two hours.
So, who can buy the Sennheiser IE 100 Professional?
It’s very simple to suggest these to musicians or DJs with out the good thing about high-paying jobs, a belief fund, or a document deal. On stage, they sound much better than anticipated. They’re comfortable, comfy, and the “acoustic stress” (aka noise) discount signifies that on the finish of an evening with these in your ears, you received’t have that acquainted, unlucky ringing that, in the long term, can destroy your listening to. The additional benefit of the Bluetooth module signifies that the cash spent on the Sennheiser IE 100 Professional IEMs may even pay dividends once you simply wish to pay attention on the go however not at a gig. And the cash saved can go towards one other case of musician-powering, sodium-rich Cup Noodles. And doesn’t getting extra worth sound like music to your ears?