Outstandingly realistic sound, once fit was dialed in (Comply TX-100 large)

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

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

Rated # 151 in Universal Fit
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Price paid: $126.18
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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.




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