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Phiaton PS 200 Sound Isolating In-Ear Earphones with Dual Micro Transducers (Woofer andTweeter)

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #79 in Universal Fit

Posted

Pros: airy and wide soundstage, great speed and detail, well built and cool looking

Cons: slightly large, bass isn't very powerful, may be too bright for some

Fit and finish

The PS200 fits well in my ear canals, although the body is on the large side. Because of this, they constantly push against my antitragus, making it sore after a while. However, I doubt this will happen to other users. Isolation is quite good; they isolate about as well as my ER6s, despite using single-flange tips. However, the tips are quite thick, and don't squish down quite as easily as the ones supplied with my other earphones. I haven't tried Sony's 'hybrid' earpieces, but I would assume those are softer and thinner.

The earphones’ build is no less than what I would expect for $250. The ‘jet engines’ are solid aluminum, and the cable is mostly well relieved, except for the Y junction. However, although it hasn’t caused me trouble, the strain reliefs aren’t molded directly onto the cable. Nonetheless, the cable feels very strong, and is not likely to fray. In addition, the microphonics are very low. With the cord hanging down, I get about as much cable noise as the Monster Turbine, with the cord over my ear.

Sonic impressions

The source I'm using for this review is my NuForce Icon Mobile's DAC, connected by USB to my ThinkPad, with Foobar2000 - not Windows Media Player, of course, which applies some nasty compression. My ever-expanding music collection is, as of now, 100% rock and variants of rock, from Vampire Weekend to Franz Ferdinand to Queens of the Stone Age. Sorry that there's little genre diversity here, but if anyone wants to send me test tracks in other genres they enjoy, I'd be happy to add my impressions with them to this review.

Detail, clarity, separation

I'm quite satisfied with the PS200, as they do exactly what I was looking for, as they manage to combine most of the merits of my other two earphones: more bass while preserving detail and clarity. Details are easy to distinguish and well-resolved, just as much as the ER6s. Instruments playing harmonies in the background are easily distinguishable. I can easily tell exactly which notes pianos are playing, which is no small feat as they’re buried under guitars and vocals. Individual strokes on a drum are each nicely separated as well. No attribute of the music is overemphasized, unless it was mastered accordingly. I haven’t heard the ER4s, which are renowned kings of detail retrieval, but the PS200s are no slouch in this area – actually, they’re very good.

Separation between instruments is also good, and it is easy to pinpoint the source, even during busier sections. That being said, though, I actually think the ER6s have even better separation through an amp. The detail and speed Etymotics produce is simply phenomenal, but it’s not a huge difference that I miss much. Being a balanced-armature earphone, the PS200s’ transient response is very fast; however, it’s not the fastest. While they’re definitely more responsive than the Turbines’ dynamic driver, there are still my ER6s and the breathtakingly fast Klipsch X5s, which I tried at a store. (As for the X5s, though, I believe the PS200s give better sound for the same MSRP as I disliked the X5s’ treble rolloff.)

Soundstage

As other owners have also reported, the PS200s throw a very good soundstage for an IEM. It feels quite wide, not to mention outside of the head, creating more of an atmosphere than the Turbines or the ER6s can muster. Music is less boxed in, with space created between instruments which goes a long way towards making music sound more alive. Although I’m not big on movies, I found that during various clips the broad soundstage really helps improve the experience. However, although the soundstage is wide, its overall depth is somewhat lacking. The PS200s don’t seem to extend to, say, the far reaches of a concert hall.

Frequency response

Moving on to the frequency response, I would say the PS200s are a fairly balanced-sounding earphone overall. That aside, though, they’re quite a forward sounding pair as well.

Starting with the low frequencies, the bass is definitely noticeable, but isn’t over- or underemphasized in any way. In short, it fittingly provides a base for the rest of the music. Several earphones have been described as such, and the PS200s are no exception. That’s not to say the bass response is uninteresting, though; there’s a good deal more than the ER6s for sure, making the ER6s sound piercing and dull. Notwithstanding, the bass is still much lighter than dynamic earphones, although transient response is much faster. If you like hip-hop, don’t get these; the deep beats of hip-hop need slow decay to truly settle in. As for rock, the bass is superb; quick successive bass drum hits, especially those of Neil Peart and Dave Grohl, are easily defined and inuntrusive. The PS200s’ bass detail does not disappoint either; bass guitar is easily discernible, despite being buried under other harmonies. One complaint is that compared to the Turbines, bass instruments and drums have less body and fullness; this is especially noticeable in Rush’s “YYZ,” I might add.

The middle frequencies of the PS200s are quite pronounced compared to other earphones, but nothing like the SE530s, another mids-loving earphone. The former tends to emphasize crispness and edge over the latter’s smoothness. Vocals are a real treat with this earphone, and sound airy and natural, but never forced. The PS200s are not forgiving towards sibilant vocals, despite handling them better than the ER6s. With midrange instruments like guitars more prominent in rock music, the sound is more vivid and active, but can be fatiguing as well. Despite very limited time spent with Grados, I would say they have a fairly similar sound signature – but don’t take that for granted.

The PS200s’ treble definitely has a lot of energy, making cymbals sizzle and hi-hats sparkle. In rock music, there aren’t a lot of instruments in the upper treble, which is mostly dominated by percussion. However, I feel the treble definition is especially good at this price point. This, and treble extension, are where the Turbines suffer the most. They sound dead and bloated compared to the PS200s. In addition, the treble is much better controlled. Whereas the ER6s had a tendency to ‘spike’ the treble at odd points, creating what I can only describe as aural pinpricks, the PS200s do not. Everything sounds very accurate and true to the music. I should add that the PS200s prioritize the snap of percussion over the succeeding resonance, some may not like.

I especially enjoy Vampire Weekend, Rush, and the Hush Sound with the PS200s. This review might be somewhat biased because I only used rock music, so those of you reading this, please don’t hesitate to send me other genres.

Overall, I believe Phiaton has hit the nail on the head with the PS200s. I haven’t heard any more expensive IEMs, but notwithstanding, there’s nothing the PS200s really do wrong, and a lot of things they do right.

Posted

Pros: Nice style; sweet sound; very comfortable to wear; nifty carrying case.

Cons: Weak bass; pricey at retail of $249

Design

A silver housing, accented by a black nozzle and a black "fan blade" back, gives the PS200 a unique look.  The fan blade back has a look similar to a jet engine (although this visual cue has no real impact on the acoustics of the earphones).  I rather like the design as it sets the earphones apart from generic looking earphones, without looking gaudy or ostentatious.

 

At the heart of the PS200 are dual BA drivers with a passive crossover network.  A silver housing, accented by a black nozzle and a black "fan blade" design, set the PS200 apart from generic earphones.  I like the design and color scheme, it looks sleek without looking overly flashy.

 

Sound Quality

The sound quality performance evaluation of the Phiaton PS200 earphones was performed exclusively by listening to MP3s and FLAC music stored on my Sansa Fuze.  I listened to a number MP3s with bit rates of 128kbps and 320kbps, as well as lossless audio tracks in FLAC format.  A wide selection of rock, alternative, classical and hip-hop music was used in the evaluation.

 

My initial listening sessions with the PS200 revealed an incredibly detailed, while still quite spacious, sound signature.  I was impressed by the soundstage produced.  The PS200 are a very airy and wide sounding set of IEMs, especially when you move up to higher quality recordings in lossless or high bit rate MP3 format

 

High frequencies are more forward sounding than most other earphones I have heard, perhaps a bit colored toward the high-end of the audio spectrum, and this suits my sound preferences quite nicely.  Other users may find the highs too overbearing. 

 

The mid-range and vocals were forward sounding, and not at all veiled.  They are not nearly as warm as many other earphones I have tested, and in this respect they sound similar to the Sennheiser HD428s that I recently reviewed.

 

Where the PS200 falls short – quite a ways short – is in the bass department.  Bass notes lacked thump and the low-end of the spectrum lacked texture.  I am by no means a basshead, but I really missed the lack of low frequencies.

 

Isolation

Isolation was quite good in comparison to other earphones and I was completely satisfied with how well the PS200 blocked out external noise.  Using the small sized eartips produced a tight seal in my ears, and I did not need to crank up the volume level in order to keep noise from creeping in to disrupt my music listening.

 

Cable / Cord Noise

Cord noise was a minimal problem and this is one area where the earphones aren't particularly impressive.  With the cord moving around, wearing them either straight down or over-the-ear resulted in a noticeable amount of noise. The included slider along the cable allows you to loosen or tighten the amount of slack, which helped to minimize cord noise.

 

Conclusion

The PS200s are probably the best sounding set of earphones I have tested up now, with the only exception being the bass.  They produce a very detailed and fast presentation – while still retaining an open soundstage.  Without a kick down low in the bass department, though, they are tough to recommend at $249 retail.  If you can find them for less money than retail, they are definitely worth a listen.

Posted

Pros: Natural soundstage & imaging, good treble extension, smooth midrange, great for jazz & classical

Cons: Light bass and fatiguing treble with stock tips, poor cord strain reliefs, finicky ergonomics

Disclosure: my hearing is not the greatest. I find myself tweaking equalization to around +3 dB starting at 8 kHz, and up to +8 dB at 10 kHz. I still have somewhat critical tastes, but not what I'd consider "audiophile-level". That said, I'm looking for realism, and a good match with my ears, spectrally and ergonomically, for long listening sessions. I listen to a wide range of music, but wanted a new set of IEMs for jazz/classical critical use, without spending too far into diminishing returns, considering my short-bus audiometric deficits.

 

Other IEMs in my possession: Shure E2c, Jays d-JAYS. Those two did a passable job, and got me through many a trans-Pacific flight, but I found that neither had the kind of transient response in the mid-bass and treble to get me anywhere close to a "live", or truly involving, sound. 

 

Thus, I was looking for something for portable or home use, with good instrument separation, and enough treble emphasis and to keep me from having to fiddle with a lot of eq for every amplifier source in my current rotation (Penguin Caffeine, FiiO E10, Schiit Magni, iPhone 4S, iPad 3). And relatively cheap.

 

Pros: I think I found all that with the Phiaton PS 200.

 

Got these on sale for $126 on amazon.com, after spotting a deal curated by the head-fi.org forum; I couldn't resist, with a fresh gift card in hand. I took Amazon reviewer Ravi Dondapati's advice, and purchased the Comply TX-100 tips (S, M, and L kit), as well. $158.37 out the door, all new.

 

Cons: It took some effort to get these to seal properly. The ear phone bodies do not have much in the way of self-alignment or ear retention features, and they lack, as many do, anything to physically differentiate left from right; I have to read the tiny letters near the strain reliefs to get that sorted. Also, the strain relief design quality and cord durability are way below what you'd expect at this price level. Even my Yuin PK3 cord is far superior to this one in that regard. After 1 month, I've noticed a few severe kinks in the left/right cords at the strain relief interfaces that are worrisome — the worst performance I've seen in an earphone cord jacket to date. I may attempt a warranty replacement, before it's too late. Luckily, I've heard that these are serviceable, if I'd want to solder on a new cord in the warranty-less future. The lightness and flexibility of the cord are an advantage, as you want to avoid stiff cord stresses from pulling the phones out of alignment or contributing to microphonics, but it could use more graduated strain reliefs (like those perforated/ribbed molded-on designs) to protect them from those nasty deflections.

 

For my ears, the small and medium "isolation plus" Comply tips helped quite a bit to smooth out the treble, which did seem almost Sony-dynamic-harsh. It wasn't until I donned the large TX-100 tips that any lower bass extension showed up to the party. Isolation is average, and you have to insert the tips pretty deeply, but I'll trade that in a hot second for the wide soundstage these cans possess.

 

Success!

Posted

Pros: Sparkling highs, excellent mids, good bass and beautiful soundstage

Cons: too much highs (for some) especially at high volumes

Recommendations: TX100 Comply foam tips (MUST), wear it over-the-ear

Avoid: Too high volumes, default tips
 
Out of the box they sound a bit harsh, but we can feel its pleasant soundstage. After 20 hrs of burn-in (driver) harshness reduced significantly but it bothered in quite a few recordings. Before returning them back I want to try them with Comply foam Tx100 tips which might increase the base and reduce high peaks to certain extent. Once I replaced with comply TX100 foam tips these headphones began to SING...REALLY TRUST ME. Typical sonic character: decent bass, excellent mids and excellent highs all together clubbed with BEAUTIFUL SOUNDSTAGE. You should listen to them to believe me. No mid bass hump...beautiful sound. It might not suit for people who require thumbing bass or cannot bear crisp highs. It has nice bass which flows with the music but nothing on your face bass. Try them...you might fell in love.
 
sound (with TX100 comply foam tips):
* good bass (will be lacking for some)
* excellent mids
* excellent highs (might be too much for some but I enjoy them)
* beautiful soundstage (very pleasant...no in your head sound anymore)
 
comparison:
with Ultimate Ears Triple-fi10: property's has more pronounced base especially mid-base and mids are clearly recessed in comparison. Both these earphones has top notch clarity. I prefer PS200.
 
with Monster turbine pro copper: if you like a bassy sound with crisp treble then choose coppers. But if you prefer more balance than bass then go for PS200. You don't get the low rumble in PS200.
 
with Sony Ex1000: Ex1000 has beautiful sound (music). Everything sounds as it should be. No traces of harshness which you might feel sometimes with PS200. I prefer ex1000. But be aware initially out of the box ex1000 sounded amazing. But after few hours of listening (burn-in) like 60hours I did miss something in the sound that was present out of the box (sparkling highs I suppose). But ex1000 sound very natural. I prefer ex1000 (if cost comparison is ignored).
 
Positive:
* excellent sound with loads of sparkle (with TX100 tips)
* beautiful soundstage.
* very light. Fit is alright with TX100 foam tips.
* good carrying case.
 
Negatives:
* with default tips provided, sound feels dull in bass and sharp highs. tips should be deeply inserted to really feel the base, otherwise everything will sound lifeless and baseless, harsh.
* highs can be bothersome at high volumes to a few who like less emphasis on treble.
* not for bassheads. It definitely has decent amount of bass but some people might needs more.
* with default tips fit can be an issue for people with medium to medium large sized ears. TX100 comply ear tips will be decent. Intact to enjoy the sound of these earphones TX100 comply foam tips are mandatory not even t100. Tx100 has extra ear wax guard layer which will remove slight harshness.
* no Mic or volume control buttons.
 
I really enjoy the sound coming out of these PS200 earphones. For people who like interesting treble with sparkle (like CK10, Triplefi10, dba02's) will be definitely on this list for recommendation. At times highs can peak. But don't worry you will be rewarded with excellent sound quality with beautiful soundstage (pleasing). Hear it to believe it. But mind you these earphones are not without any cons. I would recommend TX100 comply foam tips to get the best out of these PS200 earphones and wear it over-the-ear.
 
Note: To enjoy PS200 earphones to its full extent don't often switch between earphones for comparisons as these does not have boomy bass and they might feel anemic for initial period.
 
My collection: Ultimate Ears triplefi10, Monster turbine pro copper/gold, Sony Ex1000, Sennheiser ocx880, AKG Q701, Grado SR60i.
Sources: Apple ipod classic, Apple iPhone, Sony A818, cMoy, PA2V2.

 

Phiaton PS 200 Sound Isolating In-Ear Earphones with Dual Micro Transducers (Woofer andTweeter)
Description:

The Phiaton PS 200 earphone stands out from the crowd with its high-end sleek design that offers superior sound quality and provides the ultimate listening experience. The PS 200 is ultra lightweight due to it's aluminum structure. These sound isolating earphones, deliver great detail and spacious sound, while background noise just fades away. This makes the PS 200, perfect for your iPod, MP3 player, or other electronic device with a standard 3.5mm outlet. Soft silicon ear tips come in 3 sizes for the most comfortable fit. Specific features include: Dual balanced armature drivers with passive crossover network, Impedance: 39 ohm, Sensitivity: 95 dB, Max input power: 30 mW, Weight: .176 oz / 5 g without cord, Accessories Includes: Plug adapter for air travel, Set of silicon ear tips includes 3 sizes, Carrying case.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandPhiaton
EAN0884481000021
FeatureIncludes Carrying Case and Plug Adapter for Air Travel
Height4 inches
Length4 inches
Weight0.01 pounds
Width3 inches
LabelPhiaton Inc.
List Price$249.00
ManufacturerPhiaton Inc.
ModelPS 200
MPNPS 200
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherPhiaton Inc.
StudioPhiaton Inc.
TitlePhiaton PS 200 Sound Isolating In-Ear Earphones with Dual Micro Transducers (Woofer andTweeter)
UPC884481000021
Batteries Included0
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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