Last year I did a glowing review of Sennheiser IE600. It was made of rare and expensive material using 3D printing to boot. It looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, and has all the characteristics of a proper audiophile fare should have.
Just last week I received Sennheiser IE200. An entry level IE series prices at merely US$150. It looks identical to the IE600 but of course not made of Mars Rover materials but I’m a fan nevertheless. It’s finished in black and has an understated look… which again, I’m a fan. It sits nicely in my ears with the supplied silicone earpieces and I can wear it for many hours without any discomfort. Being featherweight and having a perfect balance helps immensely. It contains Sennheiser’s usual 7mm True Response driver with nearly zero THD and a fairly flat frequency response thanks to its diffuse-field equalization. The impedance is only 18 Ohms but it seems to require more power to drive it dynamically. Not a problem at all, just an observation.
For my tests I used the IE200 with iPhone 13 ProMax and FiiO BTR7 bluetooth DAC with THX Technologies AAA headphone amp. The files are lossless files downloaded via iTunes through my music subscriptions.
Of course, compared to the US$600 IE600 the IE200 at the aforementioned US$150 is no comparison. But it’s impressive nevertheless. Soundstage is ample although the layers of songs with high instrumentation complexity can be a tad jumbled at times while surprisingly still have plenty of details. Playing back Netflix various movie soundtrack in Spatial Audio (developed by Sennheiser using Ambeo technology) such as the opening scene of “6 Underground” was quite a spectacle whizzing around and above my cranium. The spaciousness is wonderfully accurate (when compared by playing the soundtrack in my THX-equipped reference home theatre in Dolby Atmos reproduced by the industry-standar MKSound S150 monitors and V12+ THX Certified speakers and sub). Something that my Airpods Pro 2 can’t do albeit already using Apple’s Spatial Audio technology).
While the bass is not as deep as I wanted it to, it’s still very punchy and tight. There is a slightly boosted mid-bass but never to the point of sounding boomy. Be it in playing back movie soundtrack or lossless music ranging from Bach to Michael Jackson, from Run DMC to MKTO. And the obligatory Judas Priest’s “Johnny B. Goode” from their album “Ram it Down”, and a slew of music I commercially produced in my studio are part of my usual repertoire, of course.
Vocals are clear with slight boosts in certain vocal regions which is actually welcome for pop music target audience where the vocals are usually mixed too low for my liking. The IE200 makes the modern pop music sounding more pleasing to my ears. Surprising enough, listening to the obligatory Diana Krall and Anne Bisson, while having the IE pushing the vocals region higher, does not make these audiophile albums sound too warm either. Me likey!
The only quibble I have is in the treble that can sound a teensy bit harsh at times. Again this is simply a quibble as I’m so used to the IE600 more natural sound. It’s not a problem. Especially if you’re listening to the IE200 in public transport or while cycling where there is a lot of sound surrounding you. For some people they may even like the sparkle of treble in the recording considering how much high frequencies are lost in lossy compressed music, which the target demographic of the IE200 usually use.
All in all, the IE200 is a very pleasing set of earphones. It fits the target audience to the T and priced accordingly so. For its price, the IE200 is highly recommended.