The Sennheiser IE 200 is a wired earphone with an excellent sound that meets high audiophile demands. Nevertheless, the headset is also affordable for smaller budgets.
With the Momentum True Wireless 3, Sennheiser has proven that Bluetooth earphones can also sound great. Nevertheless, they do not (yet) come close to the possibilities of wired headsets if they offer the appropriate quality and music is played in high-resolution formats.
Normally you have to shell out a lot of money for audiophile headphones, so far Sennheiser's cheapest earphones in this category have been the IE 300 for around 300 euros. But now the German manufacturer is bringing the IE-200 onto the market, which is also said to meet the highest demands for 150 euros.
In order to come down to the price, Sennheiser left out everything that is not absolutely necessary. Among other things, there is only a simple pouch instead of a robust transport box, and the headset is not officially protected against dust or moisture. microphones? No chatting here, just listening to music! Except for the cable ends, there is no metal anywhere on the in-ear headphones.
Despite the consistent use of plastic, the workmanship makes a high-quality impression, especially the gold-plated MMCX connectors to which the exchangeable cable is flexibly attached. The individual earphones are light as a feather at 4 grams and thanks to the flexible brackets that are placed around the ear cup, they sit securely and extremely comfortably.
It is particularly important that the plugs seal the auditory canal well, otherwise the IE 200 cannot demonstrate its audiophile qualities. And because subtleties are important, Sennheiser has given the earphones silicone and memory foam attachments in three different sizes. The differences are huge. With just almost matching attachments, the IE 200 sounds little better than run-of-the-mill earphones, with the right pair they'll put a smile on music lovers' faces.
But first you have to decide whether you prefer a warmer sound with more pronounced lows or whether you prefer a bright sound with accentuated highs. Sennheiser has equipped the earphones with a kind of mechanical two-stage equalizer in which the attachments can snap into two different positions. The first is dominated by the treble, the second by the bass.
The former is particularly suitable for films and series if you want to understand voices well. Most users will probably prefer position 2 for music playback. The sound then delivers powerful basses that reach very far down. But they don't dominate the picture. As promised by Sennheiser, the earphones deliver a very balanced, neutral sound with a natural frequency response.
Even the heights don't tear out, but are just crystal clear and enormously detailed. The mids define the wide and airy stage with precisely placed instruments and voices. Also impressive is that there is practically no distortion, even when you push the volume to the pain limit.
The IE 200 owes its excellent sound to the special 7 millimeter driver called TrueResponse converter. This is basically not only used in the IE 300, but also in the IE 600 and 900 earphones, which cost 700 and 1400 euros.
What the Sennheiser IE 200 offers for 150 euros is impressive. The sound is so good that even die-hard Bluetooth fans accept the cord with pleasure. It's perhaps different when you're on the go, because cables produce noise when you move, and there's not much left of the hi-fi sound on a noisy street. But if you don't consume music on the side, but listen carefully in a quiet environment, the IE 200 are an experience.