Up for this review is the Sennheiser CX200 in ear headphones. Sennheiser is one of the most well known and respected brands in the headphone arena, and for a good reason. Sennheiser makes a wide range of headphones covering every aspect of the headphone spectrum from budget headphones all the way up to audiophile grade. The CX200’s are on their budget end of their lineup and I thought it was worth trying them out. Read on past the break to get our detailed breakdown of the Sennheiser CX200 in ear headphones.
Build Quality – 7
The CX200’s seem to be rather sturdy. The 1/8” connector is solidly built and has a 90 degree angle to assist with tight spaces. The 1/8” connector clicks into
my iPhone’s headphone port solidly and doesn’t feel loose like some headphones do. The cables are standard fare for lower cost headphones although the lack of a sliding clip of some sort is a little frustrating. The cables are the same length for both the left and right ears with a decent amount of relief so you can move your head without yanking out your headphones, but without the ear clips, these aren’t useful for much more than just casual listening at a desk or a slow walk.
Comfort – 7
The Sennheiser CX200’s are about average in regards to comfort. These are very small headphones and thus don’t really intrude on my average ears (I assume they’re average because the medium tips that are the most common fit me very well). I am able to wear these for hours at a time without any discomfort and that’s really what you want out of a set of in ear headphones. The only gripe I have at all, that I’ve mentioned with my Hippo VB headphones, is that these have a tendency to build up a bit of pressure when inserting them in your ear canals. These aren’t as bad as the Hippos, but they do take some working around to relieve the pressure.
Microphonics – 5
The Sennheiser CS200 headphones microphonics definitely aren’t great. If you’re moving around quite a bit, you’re going to have to find a way to clip these down to minimize the noise traveling up the cables. Also, this is one of the few pair of headphones that I can’t seem to wear around the top of my ears to help
reduce the microphonics – I believe this is due to the fact that they’re so small and that there is no included clip to pull the snug behind your ears. So again, these can transfer quite a bit of noise up through the cables, but as long as you’re using them in a casual setting, this shouldn’t be a huge issue – if you’re looking for exercise headphones, you might want to look elsewhere.
Isolation – 8
The CX200’s do a good job of keeping outside noise out and your music in. You can’t hear anything outside of the person wearing the Sennheisers so they are ideal for a work environment where you want to keep your tunes to yourself. They do filter out quite a bit of noise so if you need to be aware of what’s going on around you, then there might be another set of headphones you’ll want to check out.
CX200 Sound Quality
Volume without Distortion – 8
One thing I’m going to start including in my reviews is how loud the headphones will go without distortion when played through a standard MP3 player (specifically my iPhone). Yes, there are a number of quality MP3 players out there that are much better than an iPod or an iPhone, but let’s face it – pretty
much everyone, their brother, sister, mother, father, cousins…well, you get the point – they ALL have iPods or iPhones. I think it is only fair that I use a nice baseline standard as opposed to going and buying a $500 MP3 player that nobody else will be able to compare to. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, the Sennheiser CX200’s did a nice job of converting the power the iPhone provides into nice useable sound a fairly high volume levels. I’ve not felt the need to amp these at all. They’re not the loudest headphones I’ve listened to, but they do go pretty loud without distorting. In this regard, you can definitely get that bass pumping in your ears without the need to invest in some additional equipment.
Bass – 7
There’s no question that Sennheiser built these headphones for people who love bass with a little extra oomph. These heapdhones are given a noticeable boost in the bass department and they tend to overpower the mids and highs in most types of music. Some people love that type of EQ curve to their music, and while that used to be all I wanted to hear, my tastes have changed over the years and I actually appreciate a more natural frequency curve for my music. Now, all that aside, the bass is pretty accurate and the notes are distinguishable, as opposed to the Beats Studio headphones I reviewed recently where all the notes sounded the same. If you’re a fan of hip hop, pop, or any electronic music with driving bass lines and minimal vocals or instrumentals, then these may be just right for you. I would describe the bass as fun and energetic if not a bit overblown.
Midrange – 6
If there’s one place where these headphones sound thin, it’s in the midrange frequency band. Vocals tend to sound recessed and a tad underpowered. This might be partly due to the overwpowering bass, but it’s noticeable regardless. Guitars and pianos lose a bit of that body that makes them such beautiful instruments to listen to, and vocalists don’t come through with that chilling, hair-raising experience that can be found on other higher quality drivers. But again, if pop or rap/hip-hop is your thing, this may not be a big deal. These aren’t terrible at the mids, rather they just don’t give you a sense of full bodied sound.
Treble – 7
The treble in the CX200’s are not bad at all. They won’t have you turning around to see where that sound originated from, but they seem to have a decent balance with the bass. At no point listening to these did I feel fatigued from the treble and even turning the headphones up, they never became shrill or piercing. Where the mids sounded recessed and a bit absent, I never felt that way with the treble. It’s not as revealing as some other headphones, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing all the time.
As with most sets of headphones I pick up, I like to throw a little bit of everything at a new set of headphones to see where they shine and where they falter. It
didn’t take long with these to find out that my favorite vocalists weren’t given the full-bodied sound I needed to thoroughly enjoy. The likes of Josh Groban, Adele, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Celine Dion, etc. These are all artists that have given me chill bumps when experienced on a quality set of speakers or headphones. While there was nothing wrong with listening on the CX200’s, the thinner midrange definitely detracted from the usual intoxicating experience that gifted vocalists provide. Where these things did shine was on hip-hop and the latest pop music. Eminem, Lady Gaga, Rhianna, Flo Rida – all these tracks sounded lively and bass-filled. Many youth will love the sound signature of these because these headphones have a definitely bass boost in the popular 80Hz range – that boom boom sound that many of us know and love from our younger years. If you primarily listen to genres that have driving bass lines and vocals aren’t quite as important, then these may fit the bill nicely for a great street price.
Sennheiser CX200 Conclusion – Recommended, if the Price is Right
Now, if you’ve made it here, you’ll know that there are some minor flaws with the Sennheiser CX200’s, but when you consider that these things can be purchased on Amazon consistently for $15 with free super saver shipping (or free 2 day if you’re a Prime member), then there’s no question these are a bargain and most certainly an upgrade to any stock buds that shipped with your mp3 players. These aren’t my best set of headphones by far, but I’ve never had any
issue with picking them up and listening for extended periods of time. They’re a fun headphone to listen to with the right genre of music, they’re comfortable, and they’re inexpensive. That’s a pretty tough combination to beat. If you can get your hands on these for the $15 street price at many a retailer, jump on it, however, if you start creeping up into the $30 range and above, there are other headphones out there that are much better.
Sennheiser CX200 Pricing
Street Price: $15 (Amazon)
You should consider the Sennheiser CX200 headphones if…
- You are looking for an inexpensive replacement for your stock ear buds
- You like pop, hip-hop, trance or other electronic music with driving bass lines and little need for vocals are lead guitars
- You need a set of headphones for casual listening or low activity music enjoyment
You should look further if…
- You require a balanced sound that’s not bass heavy
- You live for full-bodied vocals and the strum of a guitar
- You need a set of headphones for exercise or intense activities
- Monoprice headphones