Very soon after getting my iPod it became painfully obvious that, whilst the Apple-supplied earphones sounded good, they were bloody uncomfortable and had a habit of falling out of my ear now and then. I put up with it for a couple of months but in the end it became far too annoying to continue with.
I’d been bought a pair of Sony MDR-V500’s as a birthday present a couple of years ago so I thought I’d give these a go. Whilst they didn’t sound too bad and had a closed back design (to avoid disturbing others in the room), things weren’t helped at all with the very long cable attached to them – this made them too heavy for more than about half an hours use. Also, when I tried listening to them in bed, the coiled cable got tangled in itself too easily and I ended up spending all my time untying myself.
The answer was obvious: I needed a new pair of ‘phones to use with my iPod that were suitable for prolonged use in bed.
After doing a bit of research and reading plenty of user reviews on various websites (surely the best part of any purchase?) I decided on a pair of Sennheiser PX 200’s. It was more or less a foregone conclusion that whatever I bought would be from the Sennheiser product line as I’ve never heard a bad word sad about them and every pair I’ve ever had the chance to listen to have looked, felt and sounded excellent. Would the PX 200’s live up to my expectations?
Apple themselves were selling them for 40GBP excluding postage but, as usual, I managed to find them cheaper somewhere else: Digital Direct were selling them for 33GBP including delivery, so I ordered them.
When they arrived, the plastic packaging was easy to get into (a bonus when you’re a crip) and the headphones themselves were in a hard plastic sunglasses-type case – I opened it and took out the PX 200’s which were folded up nice and small, but a few simple clicks later and everything was how it should be:
The first thing I noticed was how comfy they felt – much better than the Apple ear buds and nicer still than the Sonys (even though those fitted around the ear!). They were also very light, as the specification on the Digital Direct website stated. But, how would they sound … ?
I plugged them into my iPod and felt a sudden pang of panic that they were going to sound crap – they were cheap so of course they’d sound bad. As it turns out, I was being stupid: they sounded pretty damn good! The music was very clear and I could hear everything – I skipped to a few of my favourite (and more familiar) tracks so I could listen to the individual instruments … I wasn’t disappointed.
I swapped back to my Sonys and listened to three of my favourite “reference” tracks: Stripsearch by Faith No More, Paranoid Android by Radiohead and Chateau by Rob Dougan. Afterwards, I put the Sennheisers back on and played the same three tracks … and was well pleased! Whilst the Sonys had a slightly stronger bass, the Sennheisers were far, far clearer and I swear I could here a few things in those tracks that I hadn’t heard before. After a few more comparisons I came to the conclusion that I preferred the Sennheisers’ lighter bass as it allowed the mid-range and treble to come through clearer and as it was they weren’t lacking in bass, they just had less than the Sonys.
And as a final point in the Sennheisers’ favour: they must be really comfortable because that night when I got into bed and was listening to the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring … I fell asleep still wearing them.