ECCI PR300 Review

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Reviewed Aug 2010

Details: Flagship earphone from ECCI, the earphone division of Chinese amp manufacturer Storm
MSRP: $52 (discontinued)
Current Price: N/A (discontinued)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 32 Ω | Sens: 105 dB | Freq: 20-22k Hz | Cord: 4.2′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Narrow-tube stock single flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3.5/5) – Narrow-tube (3 sizes) and wide-tube (3 sizes) single-flange silicone tips, shirt clip, and large clamshell carrying case
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The gray metal shells are smaller and much lighter than those of the lower-end PR100/PR200 and feel a bit less solid. The sound tubes are protected by the same fine mesh filters as on the older earphones but the cable is a definite downgrade from the excellent silver cord used by the PR100/PR200. It is thinner, more rubbery, and far more prone to tangling. In addition, the sliding cord cinch is missing completely. The PR300 does feature larger and more flexible strain reliefs on either end of the cable but just doesn’t have the same ‘wow’ effect as the rock-solid construction of the ECCI’s two cheaper models
Isolation (3/5) – Average at best as the PR300s are shallow-fitting and vented at the rear for increased airflow. Wind noise can be an issue in extremely windy conditions
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Not bothersome when worn over-the-ear but quite annoying otherwise. The included shirt clip helps
Comfort (4/5) – The housings of the PR300 are extremely light. They are also quite small and tapered towards the rear. Wearing them either cord-up or cord-down is very comfortable and the soft and thin cord conforms easily in either configuration

Sound (6.5/10) – The two previous models released by ECCI – the PR100 and PR200 – were balanced and capable all-rounders – mid-centric if anything. As such, they were a bit bland and boring despite the slight bass boost and strong midrange presence. In a nutshell, the PR300 is a slightly V-Shaped version of the PR100/PR200 sound with a bit more clarity and air thrown in. As such, the new model reminds me of the company’s former glory, finally delivering some of the spark that made the PR1 Pro so endearing to me.

The bass of the PR300 is tight and punchy – not particularly powerful but very accurate and quite impactful. Extension is good and bass is tight and controlled. The midrange is free of bass bleed and quite smooth and pleasant overall. The older ECCI earphones had mids that were thick and somewhat buttery. The PR300 sounds much more airy and resolved without becoming thin or dry a-la RE0/Hippo VB. The treble of the new ECCI earphones is quite accurate and sounds much livelier than that of the PR100/PR200. Top-end roll-off is reduced and the listener is faced with plenty of sparkle. Those who find treble tiring in large quantities may want to give these a pass but for the average listener the PR300 provides a good alternative to the similarly-sparkly Brainwavz M1, which is slightly more mid-forward and boasts better extension on either end but has even more vigorous bass and treble response. In terms of presentation, the PR300 mimics the reasonably-sized soundstages of the PR100/PR200 models. The improved sense of air, however, helps the PR300 image better than the older models do. The presentation isn’t perfect and doesn’t quite give the same overall sense of space as the similarly-priced Brainwavz M1 and ViSang R02 but it is very good for the asking price.

Value (8/10) – The ECCI PR300 is the company’s latest and most convincing attempt at offering hi-fi sound for lo-fi money. Those who have heard the PR100 or PR200 will find the general signature of the PR300 quite familiar but should note improved treble response and better all-around clarity and resolution. While the new housings are not quite as impressive to the touch and the eye as the shiny shells of the older ECCI models, they are smaller, lighter, and tapered towards the rear, offering a more compliant and unobtrusive fit. All things considered, the PR300 is a noteworthy entry in the increasingly crowded and amazingly competitive <$100 price bracket. Highly recommended for those in search of a balanced IEM with a bit of bass punch and energetic treble.

Pros: Small and comfortable, lively but accurate and controlled sound
Cons: Cabling is a step down from the PR100/PR200, presentation not as spacious as some of the competitors


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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