Sennheiser IE 200 review-HydTech


The IE 200 are Sennheiser’s entry-level in-ear monitors. If you’ve ever felt envious of the company’s more expensive IE 300, IE 600, or flagship IE 900 models, then at $150, the IE 200 is a much easier pill to swallow, especially since the previous entry point costs twice as much.

With the IE 200, Sennheiser has a very clear goal; To provide an exceptionally neutral sound signature at an affordable price. This is a slight departure from the other models in the series, which are all known to be bass cannons. In that sense, it’s a bit of a role reversal. If you want the most accurate sound, you have to pay the least. It’s quite an interesting proposition and a good place to stop this introduction and start the review.

design and comfort

Aesthetically, the IE 200 are virtually identical to their more expensive siblings, at least as far as basic size is concerned. The main difference is in the choice of material; While the IE 600 and 900 are made of metal, the IE 200 uses plain old but reliable plastic like the 300. Also, the IE 200 lacks the texture of the 300, and instead, opts for plain black plastic to actually drive. The key takeaway is that these are the least expensive options of the four.

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

However, nothing gets that point into ground like the supplied cable. This is one of the worst cables I’ve come across on any IEM, and I’ve used quite a few at this point. It is thin with a feel roughly similar to a curtain’s drawstring, it retains all of its kinks and will basically never straighten out, there is a melted plastic wrapping to the splitter junction, the length of the split and excessive There’s another thin plastic wrapper to adjust the flexible earcups that you need to adjust the hooks every time you put the earbuds on. The cable also houses a lot of the microphonics.

The cable terminates in two MMCX connectors. However, while these may look like standard MMCX, you can’t fit any MMCX cables on the earbuds as the connector is recessed. This means you have to be careful in choosing aftermarket cables for Sennheiser IEMs.

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

The IE 200 also comes with two sets of earbuds. There are normal silicone tips in three sizes and foam tips in three sizes as well. The silicone tips are unusually thin and cheap. No matter which size I chose, I could not get a good seal from them. Even if they felt fine at first, just moving my jaw would break the seal.

Foam tips provide superior seal. I’m not particularly fond of foam tips as they are generally more of a hassle and can also be less comfortable over extended sessions as the foam expands and puts pressure on your ears. The foam tips that Sennheiser provides aren’t particularly great either; They expand quite quickly after being squeezed, so they’ll almost certainly return to normal size before you even put them in your ears. Sennheiser recommends waiting 15 seconds for the foam to expand in your ears but in my experience, they took less than 5.

One of the tricks of the IE 200 is being able to adjust the frequency response depending on how you attach the tips. You can attach either tip by fully inserting it into the nozzle. This produces a more bass-heavy sound. Alternatively, you can put them halfway on the nozzle; This will make an audible click and the ear tips will lock into place. This makes for a slightly less bass-heavy sound and seems to be the intended way to listen. This trick only works with bundled ear tips because any other tip won’t stay in half without coming off. You can still use them in the fully inserted position, at which point they function like any other tip.

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

In terms of comfort the IE 200 are great. The main shell of the earbuds is extremely small, the smallest on any IEM I’ve used so far. They basically fit perfectly inside your ears and weigh almost nothing. Most of the time, you’re feeling the cable or ear tips, not the earbuds. With a better cable and more comfortable earbuds, you’ll likely forget you’re even wearing them.

Of course, the small size has some disadvantages. The earbuds are somewhat tricky to hold and insert into your ears, as there isn’t much to grip with. Also, the cable constantly gets in the way and the earbuds often come apart if you try to adjust it. You’ll have to put the earbuds in, adjust the cable hook, then re-adjust the earbuds or else your seal will almost certainly have been broken with the cable adjustment. This isn’t a problem with larger, bulkier earbuds, but the IE 200 just get annoyed with their cables.

Overall, while the design and comfort are good, the cable is in dire need of user replacement. If the two-step nozzle trick isn’t important to you, you should also look into better quality silicone tips.

audio quality

Audio quality is a major focus of marketing for the IE 200, as it should be. After all, you’re only buying wired because you’re interested in audio quality. But more than quality, Sennheiser also pays special attention to the kind of sound you’ll hear. Going beyond simply saying that the sound is accurate and neutral, Sennheiser also mentions that the IE 200 is tuned for diffuse-field aiming.

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

Diffuse-field targets are not common for headphone tuning these days, let alone IEMs. Diffuse-field targets are based on the sound of loudspeakers playing a flat test tone in a reflective room, as heard through a dummy head microphone. Headphones tuned for DF targets have a very neutral bass and mid-range but fairly bright treble response. This is not something most people find pleasant to hear, which is why diffuse-field (and its cousin free-field) have been largely replaced with more traditional Harman target curves which are more consumer friendly. Are.

The IE 200 uses a single 7mm True Response dynamic driver, similar to that found on the IE 300, 600 and 900. However, the IE 200 is tuned very differently, which is important to consider as this sound is not for everyone.

At first, I didn’t particularly care much for the adjustable nozzle gimmick. Sure, you can use them in the extended position, which makes the sound follow the DF target more. In my experience, it didn’t make a dramatic enough difference and it was barely noticeable on most tracks. As such, I did most of my testing with the ear tips all the way up.

Moving on to frequency response and tuning, the IE 200 isn’t as neutral or precise as Sennheiser would like you to believe. There’s definitely a small boost in the low frequencies at reference levels, regardless of where you set the ear tips. This certainly stops things from becoming a bit too sterile and tasteless but if you want to use these for monitoring or mastering, it’s something to remember.

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

Having said that, the bass boost is very capricious and if you’re not used to hearing DF or reference-level bass, you might think that either the earbuds or your ears have stopped working. There’s more attention to quality than quantity, and low-end response from the IE 200 is decidedly measured and bordering on the warm, but for enjoying percussion and string instruments without the constant rumble and rumble Clear enough. Bass hits are sharp and articulate, with good detail in the low range. There’s zero risk of aural masking here as the bass tapers off well before the mid-range kicks in.

The mid-range is great on the IE 200. It’s extremely well balanced throughout the range, with great presence and authority in the mix. Timbre is particularly excellent, with most voices and instruments having an authentic, natural tone to them.

The treble is where the sound gets a bit spicy. The upper mid-range is a bit bright, which can make the sound sound a bit tinny at times. Some voices have a thin, sharp edge at the top as they move into the upper registers. There is also a slight sibilance in the S and T sounds. This is a classic pitfall of DF tuning and can make the sound a bit tiring to listen to on some tracks.

In terms of technicalities, the IE 200 is good but exceptional. There’s a good amount of detail in the mix, which sometimes comes to the fore. The drivers aren’t crazy-resolving, but they do a good enough job that you still feel like you’re getting the most from your source material, without being under a microscope. Imaging was above average; There’s definitely a much more distinct sense of layering and positioning than what you’ll find on cheap IEMs, but it doesn’t really wow you if you’ve heard the better stuff. The soundstage is spacious enough not to be claustrophobic but at the end of the day it’s still an IEM and there’s only so much space the earbuds can make.

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

The IE 200 doesn’t require a lot of power to get the best of it. I was able to play them just fine with an Apple Lightning to 3.5mm adapter and the headphone jack on the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite. Switching to the more powerful Shanling UA2 didn’t change things much when using the single-ended outputs. You can use a dedicated amp but it is not necessary.

Overall, I liked the sound of the IE 200. I’m a sucker for clean and accurate bass and mid-range and the IE 200 has enough technical chops to stand apart from some of the cheaper IEMs I review here. However, the treble is extremely bright and can be too harsh on many tracks. So while I also like loud noises, sibilance and hiss is something I cannot stand and the IE 200 has plenty of both.

As far as your choice is concerned, if you have a special affinity for bass then I would highly recommend you to stay away from it. While it’s not truly neutral, it comes pretty close and most people don’t really understand what it means until they hear it. It’s like ordering Neapolitan if you’ve only ever eaten deep-dish. Don’t do it unless you know what you are doing.


The Sennheiser IE 200 is a great sounding pair of earbuds for this price. The specific tuning won’t be for everyone, but those who know what they’re doing will be rewarded with a clean, engaging sound that gives a tiny taste of what it’s like to own truly high-end audio.

Sennheiser IE 200 Review

Sennheiser’s claims of accurate and neutral sound may be a bit far-fetched as these are no mastering monitors, but that just makes them more enjoyable for listening to music on. I wish the treble was less quiet sometimes but that’s an easy problem to fix with EQ. Technical performance is also good and sets the IE 200 apart from some of the cheaper options on the market.

The main bugbear with the IE 200 is the cable. While not completely unusable, it does bring down the experience of using the product by several levels and almost forces you to replace it, which then adds to the cost. The quality of ear tips could also be much better. These are very obvious cost-cutting measures but they do a great deal of damage to the overall value of the product.

If you’re into the type of sound described here, the IE 200 is a fine option for $150, but I’d strongly suggest taking into account the cost of aftermarket cables. Alternatively, you could look at something like the Etymotic ER2SE.