My first experience with great sound was when I bought the original Sennheiser Momentum (or HD1) earbuds. I was immediately blown away by the deep bass, warmth, great balance and overall richness of the sound signature. Since then, my tastes may have become more expensive, but I continue to be utterly impressed by the sound quality that Sennheiser offers for the price. The IE 200 is a perfect example of this high standard. What can you expect in terms of sound signature and performance?
In the Box
- Sennheiser IE 200 Earphones
- Braided Cable with MMCX Connectors and 3.5mm Plug
- Silicone and Memory Foam Ear Tips (S, M, L)
- Leatherette Pouch
- User guide
The over-ear IE 200 appears very unassuming, The simple black shell is nothing to write home about compared to all the fancy IEMs out on the market today. But once you listen to how they sound, it’s hard not to dig Sennheiser’s no bull-@#$% approach to designing their products.
The IE 200 sports a detachable cable with MMCX connectors. I appreciated the thick malleable plastic used for the over-ear wire. It made the earbuds super easy to put on and kept them securely in place. The braided cable is quite thick as well, with a sturdy, well-insulated 3.5mm plug. The earbuds felt very snug, light and comfortable in the ears. The IE 200 employs a 7mm dynamic driver. Impedance is 18 Ohms, so the IE 200 is easy to drive.
There’s a good sense of scale and broadness to the soundstage. And the imaging is notably accurate for an IEM selling at this price. The sense of depth was mostly felt from in front of the head, but there was plenty of movement across the entire vertical axis. And overall, you’ll hear clearly spaced out gradations in both height and depth, making for an impressively immersive and multidimensional listening experience.
Like all of Sennheiser’s IE models, you’ll hear a warm, thick and punchy bass when listening to pop tracks. At the same time, the bass avoids bleeding into the higher frequencies. So, although the low-end feels meaty, it’s never muddy. The substantialness of the bass also lends tons of majesty to acoustic instruments in this range, giving cellos and double basses plenty of gravitas. The sub bass frequencies fall just short of feeling visceral, but are still significant enough to give plenty of weight to the sound.
The IE 200 perhaps gives slight favor to the upper midrange, but also manages to bring out some generous low mids, giving the sound a fleshy, yet spirited feel. Though the overall profile feels warm, the IE 200 quite evenly balanced in this range. Vocals shine through the mix just enough to give dynamism to the mix, while never nearing any edginess or harshness. In fact, like all of Sennheiser IE models, the IE 200 approaches instruments with a soft, fluid touch, while still being able to maintain a great amount of detail. Listening to string instruments in this range, the IE 200 brings out a skillful balance between texture and graceful flow, producing a highly expressive sound. I was also impressed with the speedy transient response, which lent plenty of energy to pop and funk tracks.
Despite the weightiness of the overall sound signature, the highs give off a good amount of snap, again highlighting the impressive speed of the IE 200. Still, vocals take on more of a velvety, fluid quality, rather than light and airy, underscoring the richness of the overall sound signature. At the same time, even though the IE 200 doesn’t present an extremely sparkly profile, there is nothing rolled off about the highs in this range. And it certainly can reach the highest treble frequencies. Finally, transparency remains admirable in the highs, especially given the modest price of these buds.
Sennheiser rarely fails to perform. There’s no question that in terms of skill and character, the IE 200 is one of the best IEMs on the market today for under 150 bucks. If you lean towards a brighter, particularly buoyant sound signature, these earbuds may not be for you. But if you’re looking for something well balanced and detailed, yet warm and rich in tone, you will undoubtedly be pleased by the unmistakably Sennheisery sound of the IE 200.
You can buy the Sennheiser IE 200 at Audio 46.