The Most Affordable Sennheiser Earphone Ever - IE 200
Sennheiser has been knocking it out of the park with their IE series IEMs. After the success of IE 600 and IE 900, Sennheiser looks to scale back a bit with their IEMs and focus on a more budget-friendly product. The new IE 200 is the latest set of IEMs from Sennheiser that sets a new benchmark for the price-to-performance ratio. Combine that with the same style of fit and design from the IE 600 and IE 900, and you’ve got the perfect IEM to rediscover your music.
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Today we're looking at a very special IEM that we've just unboxed - The Sennheiser IE200. Now it's been a while since we've spoken about Sennheiser's IEMs, I think it was a while back and was looking at the Sennheiser CX 180 which was a very cheap entry level In-Ear earphone. That was insanely popular here in India a few years back and obviously that video was a video where I spoke about how bad those earphones sound and honestly why it does a lot of disrespect for a wonderful audio brand like Sennheiser to have cheap entry-level models. Here is the kicker, today's video is also about a relatively affordable entry level In-Ear Monitor but the IE200 is anything but bad sounding. It is the most affordable IEM of Sennheiser's IE lineup. A few years back we saw Sennheiser release the IE300 and the IE900 which were insane sounding IEMs which really really got out the very best of Sennheiser's audio engineering legacy to create IEMs which audiophiles all around the world love. The IE600 released a few months ago are easily one of my favourite IEMs from Sennheiser. They are fun they are detailed, they're analytical and every audiophile around the world will swear by how great they sound.
Perception About Audiophilia
Here's the problem with audiophilia in general, there's a perception people have that good sounding earphones cost a lot of money, that you get into this hobby you're gonna have to splurge money to get something expensive for it to sound good. The IE200 changes that. It's very similar, very similar to the other models of the IE series. It has the same sound signature, the same philosophy but tuned to make it a little bit more accessible and a lot more cheaper. This is priced at only 13000 rupees and it's the kind of IEM that everyone who's getting into the audiophilia hobby needs to have. Why? One it's German, it's manufactured in China but it's distinctly German. There is nothing Chinese about these earphones, they are superbly well engineered, they look fantastic, they're incredibly lightweight and comfortable. It sits on everybody's ears well and it's very distinctly a Sennheiser IE series IEM and it's got the same form factor and shape as the one and a half lakh rupee IE900 but made with much lesser cheaper plastic materials that feels premium for the price point but the fact is you're getting a superbly premium audiophile experience in the build quality and the design for a supremely affordable price. It comes with detachable MMCX cable something that we've seen from other Sennheiser IEM models as well and it comes with a range of different silicon and foam ear tips all of which are things any audiophile IEM should have, You can swap these cables out, use your favourite MMCX aftermarket cable and use this along with the balance cable to really make a big difference to the sound quality if you're using a Hi-Res audio player or a DAC that has a balanced output.
IE200 Vs IE300 - Sound
Okay if I can really talk about the sound of the IE200 it's a little hard to come up with a lot of different adjectives except to say it's superbly well balanced. I had to compare it to the IE300 which is just a little bit more expensive at about 20,000 Rupees to really give you a relative comparison between the two. The IE300 too is a superbly well balanced IEM but the IE300 seems a little bit more technical, a little bit more analytical, it has a little bit more details, a little bit more resolution and the IE200 is just made to be slightly more fun. There's a little bit of a bump in the mid-range there's a little bit of a bass extension, there's a little bit of sparkle that's there in the treble and it's made to be something that someone who's looking at buying the first serious IEM is going to be blown away by. For me the one thing that you're going to hear on this IEM that you probably haven't heard from a lot of the cheaper products is a lot of width and layering in The Sound Stage. You'll hear instruments which are very well separated forming a really beautiful virtual stage in front of you where different instruments are placed in different places. To find this at this price range is difficult and to find that in an IEM that looks and feels this beautiful impossible until now. The earphones themselves uses a single seven millimeter Dynamic driver and for those of you who are big chi-fi fans out there who have been following this channel can easily say “Hey listen there's this other IEM and this other IEM has four and six and eight different drivers packed into each side and this just have one”. What I'm going to remind you is that the IE900 which costs a lakh and a half also has just one Dynamic driver but sounds absolutely insane. So it's no surprise that just one seven millimeter Dynamic driver can do great justice to a wide range of frequencies and have virtually no distortion on them at all.
Tweaking The Sound Signature
Something Sennheiser would want me to talk about in this video. They have come up with with a really ingenious and very simple way of allowing you to tweak the sound signature on the IE200 just a little bit to suit your tastes. Now something that a lot of us who have been in the hobby for a while will tell you that if the IEMs are pressed closer to the ear, the bass just sounds fuller and if you use your ear tips to kind of space your earphones out a little bit it cools down the bass little bit and giving a little bit more emphasis on the treble and the mid-range. You can do that with a lot of ease and simplicity on the IE200 because the design allows you to change the placement of the eartips just a little bit. You can either pull them out thereby moving your earphones further away and reducing the bass, giving you a very analytical sound or you can push them in moving the earphones closer to the ear giving you a thicker fuller bass. Now here's my advice for someone who is listening to music at home with their player with their DAC and wants a fun musical experience, you're going to push the earphones all the way in to get that thick bass. If you're someone who is going to be using this on stage, as an In-Ear Monitor while performing and you really should do that If you're a performer, you can pull the ear tips out a little bit to just get a much cleaner flatter sound that's going to give you a great idea of what the music sounds like to the crowd.
Pairing With A DAC Or DAP
Now to really use your monitors like this I have to remind you guys again and again and again that you don't want to be plugging in these earphones into your phone or laptop and hitting play. It's just not going to do it justice. Number one you need to be using high resolution or lossless music from your favourite streaming service something like apple music does that. It's inexpensive and it does a great job of it. The second is that you can't be using the inbuilt digital to analog converter or DAC on your phone, it simply cannot play high resolution music and sounds terrible so using a dongle DAC to play the IE200 is going to make a huge difference to the listening experience. You can plug the DAC it into Android using USB-C and iOS devices using lightning adaptor and it drives the IE200 beautifully, improving the sound quality in virtually every way. DAC are also supremely inexpensive and you can get one for less than 5,000 rupees and it completely elevates what your 13,000 rupee IE200s can do. So I highly recommend that you get yourself a dongle DAC or a dedicated hi-res audio player. The cheapest ones are as cheap as 10,000 rupees like the Shanling M0 Pro. So for less than 25,000 rupees you have a complete audiophile setup. Audiophiles are just normal consumers listening to music on the go.
Everyone knows the Sennheiser brand name it's synonymous with German Precision, Engineering, high quality, great service and ultimately known for making cutting-edge products across the world. The IE200 is now the most accessible, affordable, high-end audiophile In-Ear Monitor that's made for everyone. There are several reasons I really like this product. I don't need to tell people that this is a good sounding earphone. The Sennheiser brand name does that. I don't need to tell people that this is very very different from every other Wireless and True Wireless earphone that's out there. The fact that it's a premium wired earphone tells everyone there.
Here's what I want you to walk away with from this video then listening to music on high quality gear and really pursuing audiophilia as a hobby does not have to be expensive. So guys if you are in and around Mumbai drop by experience Studio come listen to the IE200s for yourself and if you're from any other part of the country join us at a headphone connect event that's happening near you where you'll get to meet us and the entire team and the Sennheiser IE200 is definitely going to be there on the IEM bar for you to listen to.