🕬  Save 10% off eligible items with sitewide code PRIMEDAY10. Discount restrictions apply.


Sennheiser IE 200 Review

by: Staff Audio 46
  | Press Ctrl+D to bookmark this page Link copied to clipboard

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

Sennheiser's IE line if earphones have garnered quite the reputation. The IE 600 was released last year in 2022, and offered highly articulate and revealing qualities that, to our pleasant surprise, came pretty close to the top-of-the-line IE 900. Going for $149.95, the IE 200 is now the cheapest entry point in the Sennheiser IE series of earphones. Will the Sennheiser IE 200 still offer us the same impressive scale of value that came in the IE 600? Let's take a look at some of its physical and technical qualities before we jump into what the IE 200 sounds like.

What's in The Box?

Sennheiser IE 200 Box, 3.5mm unbalanced cable, eartips, headphone cable, carrying pouch

  • Sennheiser IE 200 Earphones
  • Braided cable with MMCX Connectors and 3.5 Unbalanced Jack
  • 3 Pairs of Silicone Tips
  • 3 Pairs of Memory Foam Tips
  • Carrying Pouch
  • Safety Guide

Look and Feel

IE 200 earphones

Nothing unfamiliar here. Like the 600 and 900, the IE 200 has a slanted “L” shape. It rests along the bottom of a listener's concha and finds ample passive isolation once snug in it's proper position. Continuing along its similarities with other IE series earphones, its exceptionally tiny and lightweight, coming in at only 4 grams. I'm a big fan of the absolutely minimal fit, though some people may actually find it a little too small. I find going a size up from my usual ear tip size is helpful in getting a little extra grip on the tiny fit.

Sennheiser has also finally made some changes to the MMCX cable, which is now soft and braided. The cables that came with the other IE series earphones generally had a stiff, PVC-like texture, and were a little underwhelming comparatively to the high quality earphones they attached to. A bit ironically, the IE 200 seems to have the most premium cable in the entire IE series.

Sennheiser Ear tips

 

Technical Design and Specs

The Sennheiser IE 200 shares the same 7mm dynamic True Response transducer as the IE 900, 600, and 300. Though the frequency response appears V shaped on paper (heavy on the lows and highs), Sennheiser says the following about their tuning:

“Die-hard audio fans have little patience for “bathtub” sound: that’s a profile that rises dramatically at the bass and treble ends (the frequency response curve looks like a bathtub!) You’ll find nothing of the sort with the exquisitely neutral IE 200. In tuning these in-ears, our engineers pulled out all the stops to achieve a diffuse-field equalized response that comes exceptionally close to the ideal. It’s quite an achievement for in-ears. Now you can take real audiophile sound with you everywhere.”

Sennheiser offers two tuning variations for the IE 200 that are determined by two alternative ear tip positions. One of these positions is called “analytical” and the other “reference.” Reference listening offers significantly more bass, a little more mids, slightly slides the high-mid boost in its frequency response from a 7 kHz peak back to a 6 kHz peak.

Driver: 7mm Dynamic True Response Transducer

Impedance: 18 ohms

Frequency Response: 6 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity: 119 dB/SPL

IE 200 Review

Soundstage

There are a few points at which the IE 200 reminded me that it’s the cheapest option in the IE series - but imaging and soundstage is not one of them. I struggle to think of an in-ear unit that goes for $150 and features such an ethereal and vivid stage (perhaps Final Audio’s E4000 comes to mind, but not much else). I started with the album Here Comes the Cowboy by Mac DeMarco, which is mixed in a sort of classic rock style where instruments are panned as they would be placed on a live stage. It didn’t take much imagination to hear that stage as if it was right in front of my face.

Sennheiser’s IE 200 seems to have it all when it comes to its imaging. Beyond the considerable width and depth of its stage, I experienced a sense of height from vocals and cymbals that was entirely unexpected, while bass lines sat firmly beneath my jaw. The level of spatial separation I experienced throughout my listens was a constant reminder of its IE lineage, and left me perpetually impressed.

Lows

I found more reminders in the low end, particularly that I was listening to the same 7mm dynamic transducer that Sennheiser uses in the IE 900, 600, and 300. In usual and welcome IE style, subs and mid bass are boosted, detailed, punchy, and fast. The low end can flip on and off as quickly as a kick drum comes to pass.

A lot of bassy in-ear units suffer from masking issues - lower frequencies that cloud and cover the rest of the balance. I detected no such issue with the IE 200. Its emphasis on the lowest areas of the bass region resulted in moments of accentuated low end impact rather than a persistent low end hum, thus leaving the rest of its sound character crisply in tact and articulate. Trebly high mids are the most consistent element of the IE 200’s timbre, making the IE 200’s bass response all the more striking when it kicks in. It isn’t quite as head-rattling as the 600 or 900, but it still packs the punch.

Mids

As I mentioned earlier, Sennheiser criticizes ”bathtub” tunings that disproportionately boost bass and treble. I would politely propose that while the IE 200’s frequency response may not be bathtub shaped, it is “V” shaped, and this is somewhat reflected in what I heard in my listens.

Generally speaking, I think the 200’s V shaped tuning is tasteful, not extremely dramatic, and pretty fun. Most importantly to a strong mids profile, vocals retain a realistic balance between their fundamentals and their overtones, and provide a natural character. High mids are the heavy favorite, which I prominently heard amplifying the snares on snare drums and the crunchy character on distorted guitars. Low mids seemed to find the greatest amount of attenuation - and I have to admit, I missed them a little bit. On the one hand, I think low mids are frequently home to some of the ugliest and muddiest timbres, and that the IE 200 seriously benefits in the way of clarity and balance separation from this tuning style (I would choose low mids that are too quiet rather than too loud any day of the week). However, the IE 200’s balance seemed clean enough to afford a little more low mid warmth; just enough to return some chug back into electric guitars and thump into snare drums.

Highs

The IE 200 has ample high end to expose details in cymbals and vocal air. Percussion had excellent separation, and higher pitched transients had a nice heady click to them. A recurring grievance many listeners had with the other units in the IE series was their heavily boosted and extended treble; Sennheiser must have taken this feedback to heart when they were tuning the IE 200. Though I would still describe the IE 200 as a moderately trebly earphone, I, for one, miss the intense lift and sparkle I heard in the IE 600 and 900; the boost in the IE 200’s high mids and highs rolls off more dramatically than other IE earphones, and lacks the bold amplitude of its predecessors. It’s this (somewhat) more cautious high end that contributes to the Sennheiser IE 200 having a flatter, more balanced sound than other earphones in the series. I admit that this safer, more reserved high end is closer to being a universal crowd pleaser, and that’s fair enough for a casual and accessible earphone with a $150 tag.

Overall

The hype over the Sennheiser IE 200 has not been in vain. It boasts seriously impressive 3D qualities in its sound stage and imaging, and stays true to the rest of the IE series with its crisp, trebly timbre that is contrasted and complimented by its tight and impactful bass. It’s a different take on what the IE series can sound like, but it will sound familiar enough to those who have tried the 300, 600, or 900. Surprisingly premium at $150, the IE 200 is primed to bring HiFi to the masses - and/or a fun new toy to the collectors.

 

The Sennheiser IE 200 is available to purchase here from Audio46.

Get the Latest Headphone News and Reviews in Your Inbox

🕬  Save 10% off eligible items with sitewide code PRIMEDAY10. Discount restrictions apply.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published



Loading...

Your cart