Pros: Nice style; sweet sound; very comfortable to wear; nifty carrying case.
Cons: Weak bass; pricey at retail of $249
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.
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 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.
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.