Added Mar 2013
Details: Previously popular model from Sennheiser’s original IE series
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $299.95)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 120 dB | Freq: 10-19k Hz | Cable: 4′ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock short bi-flanges; MEElec balanced bi-flanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear
Accessories (5/5) – Single flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange (3 sizes) silicone tips, foamhybrid tips (2 sizes), cleaning tool, over-the-ear cable guides, shirt clip, and storage case with integrated cable winder
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The housings are made of sturdy plastic and the kevlar-reinforced cable is light, smooth, and strong. It is not detachable like that of the pricier IE8 and the L-plug is not gold plated, so rotating it can cause a bit of static
Isolation (2.5/5) – As with the IE8, the IE7 is a shallow-fitting earphone with below-average isolation
Microphonics (5/5) – Pretty much nonexistent
Comfort (4/5) – The housings are large but lightweight and surprisingly ergonomic. They sit flush in the ear and are not overly sensitive to insertion depth, so the IE7 should be comfortable for all but those with small outer ears
Sound (8.2/10) – Part of Sennheiser’s original IE-series lineup, the IE7 provides a somewhat different sound signature than the more bass-heavy IE6 and IE8. The sound of the IE7 is more mid-focused, though bass is still plentiful. The low end is both impactful and full-bodied, and bass power should be ample for all but die-hard bass fans. Control is a bit disappointing, however – the IE7 suffers from a mid-bass lift and its low end is neither as tight not as quick as those of more modern dynamic-driver designs. The Monster Miles Davis Trumpet, for example, makes the IE7 sound boomy and bloated in comparison and offers up better detail and texturing throughout. The Atrio MG7, too, easily beats the IE7 not only in bass depth but also control, and the JVC HA-FX500 has a flatter, more realistic low end that causes it to sound more even-handed and natural compared to the IE7.
The midrange of the IE7 is warm, yet forward – those who find the IE8 veiled and recessed in the midrange would probably enjoy the IE7 more. The earphone sounds lush and smooth but lacks the detail of most BA-based and many dynamic-driver sets in its price range – the mids simply don’t have the best definition, especially down where the bass bleeds over. The JVC HA-FXT90 and Yamaha EPH-100 are two lower-priced dynamic driver earphones that have cleaner-sounding mids compared to the IE7.
The treble of the IE7 has good presence but isn’t very refined, lacking the delicacy, effortlessness, and detail of sets such as the HiFiMan RE-ZERO and Sony EX600. It can be a little edgy but doesn’t have a whole lot of sparkle and liveliness. The presentation, too, impresses with its spaciousness but boasts only average separation. The IE7 maintains the excellent soundstage and headstage size of the higher-end IE8 model. It sounds more expansive than competing sets such as the Monster Miles Davis Trumpets and even the open-backed JVC HA-FX500, but doesn’t have the imaging to compete with even the cheaper Yamaha EPH-100. The Sony EX600, which has a similarly large presentation, sounds cleaner and less congested, with more convincing layering and a coherent, versatile presentation.
Value (6.5/10) – Sennheiser’s now-defunct IE7 is a unique earphone – with a mid-forward signature, large headstage, and powerful bass, it would have a place on the market today were it not for the somewhat disappointing clarity and resulting lack of refinement. Like the higher-end IE8, the IE7 does not offer much isolation but boasts good ergonomics and an excellent cable, making it an easy earphone to use out and about. Its sound, too, works well on the go – it just isn’t as “Hi-Fi” as one might expect from an upper-tier Sennheiser product.
Pros: Excellent cabling, no microphonics, lightweight and comfortable, large soundstage
Cons: Mediocre isolation, lacks transparency and refinement