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Review: Sennheiser IE200 IEMs Earphones

Disclaimer: I would like to formally thank Sennheiser for graciously providing us with the IE200 for review. I am not affiliated with Sennheiser, and the views shared below reflect my honest thoughts surrounding the product.


  • Class-leading comfort and ultra-lightweight frame
  • Ultra-defined treble presence and extension sans the unrefined shoutiness
  • Impressive microdynamic resolution
  • Strong technicalities in layering and height across the frequency band
  • Satisfying sub-bass rumble and low-end punch


  • Included cables are frequently susceptible to tangling
  • Proprietary collared MMCX connector limits the ability to fine-tune the IE200’s sound with aftermarket cables
  • Sennheiser’s proprietary tuning port (switching tips to the second notch) ruins the IE200’s bass response
  • Subpar lateral soundstage width heightens the perception of congestion amidst a narrow field


The German audio behemoth, Sennheiser (now owned by Sonova Acoustics), is a masthead of the global audiophile enterprise — the Apollo 11 of the hobby we wear proudly on our lapels. Sennheiser crawled so new brands could walk.

Mention “Sennheiser” to diehard headphone enthusiasts, and you’d attract a chorus of undulating praise for the universally lauded (well, mostly) HD series of headphones (HD650, HD580, HD600) tuned by Axel Grell — a legendary audio engineer amongst mere mortals!

While the state of the audiophile nation is characterised by a “churn-and-burn” business model, with fresh products flying off the proverbial shelves on a bi-weekly basis, Sennheiser is a nostalgic constant that has refused to budge, only launching new products when it sees fit!

But what of their earphones? In the early 2000s, Sennheiser had indeed released not one, but two IEMs — the IE80 and IE800s. Needless to say, the buzz surrounding them was not overly enthusiastic (lukewarm at best). They weren’t necessarily “bad” IEMs, but they lacked the pizazz of its torch-bearing headphone division. Their early releases were more consumer-oriented, and less so tailored to audio purists.

Today, it’s patently clear that Sennheiser had been slaving away in their audio laboratories for a decade, meticulously engineering a revolutionary IEM to extricate itself from its past laurels — The flagship IE900. Boasting a humble single dynamic driver topology, the $1299.99 IE900 grabbed the attention of our hobby’s prominent reviewers and influencers.

Breaking away from the beaten path, The IE600 was launched as the spiritual albeit cheaper successor (at $699.99) boasting the IE900’s internal DNAs with some minor differences. However, it was the IE600 that found itself encircled by a tornado of attention.

The IE600 was the proverbial buzz of the town, making waves and riling up feathers in the Head-fi grapevine — and all of it overwhelmingly positive. Today, we’re reviewing an even littler brother to the IE900, an offshoot of an already iconic IEM: The IE200. At $119.95, there are going to be evident downgrades as corners are cut to even peddle a profitable product at the sub-$100 bracket.

Now, the saturated Chi-fi marketplace has showered us blessings (pun-intended) plentiful in the $100 price range — like the Kinera Gumiho and Moondrop Lan. Will the IE200 be able to compete in today’s dynamic audiophile environment?


The Sennheiser IE200 is the partial culmination of the fruitful research conducted by Andre Michaelis and the acoustics division. The True Response transducer is the impetus in which sound is propelled in the IE900, IE600 and IE200, comprised of a 7mm proprietary microdynamic driver with a custom magnet array and triple ventilation.

With zero crossovers, the entire frequency band is solely relegated to one piston driver for end-to-end cohesion. While its older IE900 sibling does integrate three carefully machined resonance chambers (or X3R for short) within its chassis, this technological innovation is exclusive to the IE900. The IE200 sticks to the plain rudiments.

It’s also worth noting that the IE200, unlike the IE600 and IE900, is manufactured and assembled in China (and understandably so, given its fair asking price).


If you’ve seen any Sennheiser package, you’ve seen it all.

The IE200 comes packaged in an oblong rectangular box, adorned with the accompanying “Sennheiser” company colours of slate grey and electric blue. In typical fashion, the IE200’s render is printed right smack in the centre of the outer sleeve, along with its accompanying specifications on the opposite end.

Underneath the sleeve, you’ll find the IE200s seated snugly amidst a plush foam insert with its 3.5mm terminated right-angled jack cable attached to it. The included jewellery-pouch style case can be found hidden beneath the QR-code printed cardboard insert on the lower half of the box.

Unique spiral-nozzled ear tips in both silicone and foam in S, M, and L, are conveniently stowed away in the included snap-style pouch. From an experience point-of-view, the IE200 unboxing experience, while uninteresting, equips users with the pre-requisite accessories for day-to-day usage.

Design, Comfort, and Durability

The IE200 is a downsized replica of the IE900. Yes, it shares the bent L-shape with gentle contours, albeit in a diminished footprint. And unlike the IE900 and IE600 before it, the IE200s chassis is fabricated from black ABS plastic (no solid aluminium or ZR01 amorphous zirconium to be found here). The collars on each MMCX end are colour-coded in red and black respectively for users to distinguish between the L and R channels. Sennheiser’s “iconic” logomark is printed onto each shell in a glossy veneer, with a rectangular vent positioned behind it.

The preceding IEMs before the IE200 each embody Sennheiser’s Bauhaus-like minimalism for a non-intrusive IEM in terms of appearance and fit. The IE200 continues that tradition but in a jet-black frame.

However, the IE200 is not faultless when it comes to its build quality. The IE900 and IE600’s robust physicality felt impervious to hard tumbles, ready to brave the elements of the outdoors — a quality attributed to its metal makeup. Sadly, ABS plastic lacks the resilience and sturdiness that machined metal exudes. If more affordable alternatives like the Moondrop LAN can boast full-metal jackets, so can the IE200.

But what it lacks in outright build quality, it makes up for in long-term comfort. The IE200’s ABS plastic frame is featherlight, sitting in my ears for hours straight without a detectable ounce of discomfort in my outer ear. Thankfully, outer-ear comfort carries over into the conchas, with the IE200’s middle-length nozzles providing enough insertion depth for a relaxed vacuum seal. The rectangular vent discussed above does not mitigate the IE200’s capacity to shut out audible distractions or ambient noise in the surrounding environment, making it a worthy contender for an “EDC” style IEM.

Interestingly, there is a secret seam/vent running lengthwise of each nozzle, each completely covered by the default ear tips. This deliberate feature forms the basis of Sennheiser’s dual-tuning system, which involves manually adjusting the ear tips to the “open” or “closed” positions on the vent to negatively or positively attenuate the IE200’s bass cliff.

Cable Quality

The IE200’s default cable features a copper-meets-grey colour scheme with tightly machined braids, finished with a right-angled unbalanced 3.5mm termination. The cable is adequately supple and memory-resistant, avoiding the curse of retaining awkward bends and unwanted creases when compressed.

However, it does have an annoying proclivity for tangling when pocketed away, making it difficult to unfurl quickly for immediate use. The cables’ rigid outer sheathing also appears to be microphonic-prone, picking up discernible cable noise levels when it rubs against my clothing on my daily commute.

Historically, memory wire has drawn widespread condemnation from the most ardent of audiophiles, but the IE200’s included memory wires weren’t as bad as I anticipated. The flexible rubber jacket that surrounds the ear hooks is fairly gentle on my outer earlobes, tugging ever so gently without pressure.

While the included cable is serviceable, this is undoubtedly the IE200’s biggest design flaw vis-a-vis the tough competition already floating around in the saturated IEM marketplace. A few years earlier, this problem would’ve been excusable. These days, it’s a tough sell.

Onto the next page for details on sound…



Picture of Kevin Goh

Kevin Goh

Raised in Southeast Asia’s largest portable-audio market, Kevin’s interest in high-end audio has grown alongside it as the industry flourishes. His pursuit of “perfect sound” began in the heydays of Jaben in Singapore at the age of just 10 years old. Kevin believes that we live in a golden age of readily accessible, quality audio.


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