RebeccaWise

New Head-Fier
Sennheiser IE 40
Pros: Not much
Cons: Very thin sound, higher volume means even thinner sound, no lows, no mid-bass
I wanted to like these, I mean I really tried. I read positive reviews hoping and thinking it might cause some placebo effect, but nothing doing. At first listen I thought okay these do sound pretty clear, until I turned up the volume and by ears started to bleed. So I thought okay maybe they just need some breakin, or maybe my ears need to breakin to them. I tried and tried, listened to all types of music but everything sounds the same, very thin, and without substance, no mids no bass no heart. In fact the cheap ear-buds that came with my Samsung phone are more listenable. $80 test drive for me = Free gift to a friend...hope they will still be my friend after they use them:slight_frown:

Update:
After sending the pair I purchased to Sennheiser I received a new pair. These sound perfect, very much like monitors and do indeed produce bass and all the frequencies very even handed. Great for long term listening to any kind of music. Bravo Sennheiser and thank you!:relaxed:
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R
RebeccaWise
Yes I think they do have a counterfeit problem....don't know what they can do about that but for the sake of their reputation they should address it. Again the ones I got back from Senheiser sound great, very monitor-like.
Otto Motor
Otto Motor
You have to select the right-size tips and push the earpieces deep into your ear canal.
Sennheiser
Sennheiser
We do have a one-stop resource site to try and help with counterfeits, and we fully realize how frustrating it is to get a product that doesn't live up to your or our expectations. We absolutely are against counterfeits and how they damage the customer/Sennheiser relationship, even though it's 3rd party bad actors that are the cause. Please check our public counterfeits site here if you suspect an issue in the future: http://www.sennheiser.com/about-sennheiser-at-a-glance-counterfeit

Does the new IE 40 Pro that you got from us affect your review at all?

kmmbd

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Solid build quality
- Bass tuned for on-stage use with plenty of kick
- Natural timbre and tonality in the mids
- Great vocal reproduction
- Smooth treble with good enough sparkle
Cons: Mid-bass boost might be too much for the bass-averse
- Average resolution in midrange and treble
- Imaging and soundstage are average at best
- Smearing of hi-hats and cymbals in fast-paced drum tracks
The “Pro” moniker has become sort of a meme at this point.

Just look at all those phones flaunting “Pro” at the end for the sake of having a larger display, or an extra camera. What’s professional about that? Who knows.

Sennheiser, however, isn’t here to mess around. The IE 40 “Pro” is indeed meant for professional use, in this case: stage monitoring. The whole Pro lineup is actually quite interesting, with a number of innovations made exclusively for them. The upper end IE 400 and IE 500 models are a bit too detached from the budget realm, thus the IE 40 fills that lower-end gap.

So let’s get on with the review.

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(Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Definitely the expectations from a $15 IEM won’t be the same as a $150 one, and that’s the approach taken while assigning scores. I bought the IEMs with my own funds, still, Disclaimer)

Sources used: LG G6/G7, Questyle QP1R, Yulong DAART Canary, iPhone SE, Cowon Plenue D

Price, while reviewed: 99 euros. Specs can be found on Sennheiser’s website.

Build: The entire IEM shell is made out of plastic (presumably ABS), and while plastic IEMs are a pet-peeve of mine, there is a good reason behind this. These IEMs need to be lightweight, and should put up well with every day abuse. A plastic shell takes care of both as metal would definitely be heavier. In fact, the shells here are quite sturdy and unless you actually step on them I don’t see why they should break apart.
The IEM connectors are the first innovation Sennheiser has made for this new lineup. Their proprietary connector has an MMCX-like shape but it is elongated, resulting in a deeper, more secure fit and far easier cable-swapping. On the downside, the IEMs rotate easily on this new connector, but that’s a small price to pay for the added durability. Regular MMCX connectors get loose after a few months anyway.
As for the more minute details: there’s a vent-hole at the back that releases pressure. The cable itself is pretty sturdy and utilitarian, with ample strain-relief everywhere esp the L-shaped jack.
Now it’s time to highlight my biggest issue with these IEMs — the finish of the shells. The clear shell especially does not look premium at all with numerous molding marks around the driver housing. The black version fares better on that regard, but still looks cheap.
4.5/5

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Accessories: Sennheiser didn’t skimp on much in terms of accessories. You get 4 pair of eartips (1 pair of foams included), a soft carrying pouch and a cleaning tool. The eartips are made specifically for these IEMs and they have a very unique “double click-point” mechanism for fitting which allows for both shallow and deep fit. More info can be found here.
Another thing about the eartips that you should be careful about: they have (acoustic?) filters inside them. This is something I have never encountered before in eartips, and kind of caught me off-guard as I lost the foams on one of the eartips while trying to clean them (yeah, I know).
Needless to say, this makes using third-party tips a bit of a challenge as the IE 40 Pros don’t sound optimal with them. Something to take note of if you’re picky about eartips.
Other than that, my two nitpicks regarding the accessories: lack of a hard case and a 6.3mm adapter. The former would have been a better addition than the flimsy pouch Sennheiser has provided, and the latter would befit the “Pro” moniker of these IEMs.
4/5

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Comfort:
The IE 40 in general has a comfortable fit. It’s lightweight, the tips are of good quality and the IEMs are small enough to fit snugly in your ears and has no hard edges or protrusions to cause discomfort.
However, that memory wire might be a point of contention for some, as I am not a big fan of them myself. They tend to stay in place well once you’ve adjusted them, but it’s something you have to do every time you take them out of your pocket. A minor annoyance, but annoyance nonetheless.
4/5

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Now, onto the sound. Sennheiser is using a single 10mm dynamic driver here, unlike the usual hybrid/multi-BA IEMs available at this range, so it should be quite interesting.

Lows: The mid-bass boost is immediately noticeable in the IE 40, and it leads to a mild bass bloom that slightly bleeds into the lower mid-range. The sub-bass is not boosted to the same degree, however, and has a pretty noticeable roll-off around 30Hz. You do hear slight sub-bass rumble, but not to the extent of actual bass-head IEMs.
Bass speed is average with a rather natural attack and decay. The bass is not hyper-fast like the BA drivers, nor does it have the “tightness” of certain dynamic driver IEMs. It does add a nice body to the snare hits, as can be heard on Blackfield’s Once. And the extra mid-bass boost is quite useful in stage/commute scenarios, where the surrounding ambient noise drowns out those particular frequencies so due to that particular boost you can hear the bass notes even in noisy environments. That, however, might be a deal-breaker for those who prefer a lean, fast bass response.
4/5

Mids:
Upon first listen in a quiet room, the IE40 Pro’s midrange might seem “recessed” and “distant”. It’s mostly because of the bass boost, however, as the mid-range is not particularly recessed like the “v-shape” bass canons out there that completely ruins midrange tonality.
Sennheiser has gone for a rather unique mid-range tuning in this range. The lower mids are not as scooped as some other models (which usually leads to thinner sounding male vocals and gives a sense of “soundstage width” that is actually messing with the tonality) and there is a very smooth rise up until the 2KHz region. This essentially means that the IE 40 Pro does not focus on male/female vocals specifically and both sound homogeneous. Contrast this to the numerous IEMs out there with a sharp 3KHz peak to gain more female vocal presence (that often leads to shoutiness) and Sennheiser’s focus becomes apparent — they tuned it to have very lifelike vocal representation.
And the vocals indeed are mighty impressive. Damien Rice’s Sleep Don’t Weep has both female and male vocals and showcases this linear mid-range tuning rather well.
However, all is not perfect with the mid-range. The lower-mids sound a bit too full than neutral, so the low-growling vocals in metal tracks tend to sound compressed. Also the upper-mid region could have had 0.5dB or so boost as in stock form, the string instruments lack the initial “attack” or bite, which results in a slightly blunt sounding acoustic guitars, for example. Also, the midrange isn’t exceptionally resolving, so those looking for gobs of micro-details will be disappointed (though in this price-range it’s a bit too much to ask).
All that nitpicking aside — the midrange tuning here is really good in terms of both timbre and tuning and facilitates a laid-back listen.
4.5/5

Treble:
Sennheiser has gone for a very safe and smooth treble tuning with a couple dB of boost around the 6–8KHz range. This helps in saving the cymbal hits and crashes from the bass bloom, along with giving some sparkle in the upper regions so that the whole IEM does not sound dark. Also, during stage monitoring, the drummer can use them too and not have ear-fatigue later on.
The treble tonality follows the pattern of the mids: natural decay with a slightly blunted attack. It’s well-suited for extended listens.
The issue lies with the upper treble as I found hint of graininess in hi-hats and ride cymbals. For example, in Lamb of God’s Ruin, from 2:40 min onward, the rather brutal drum line doesn’t sound as resolving as it should with occasional smearing of hi-hats and cymbals. Also, as with the mids, overall micro-detail rendition is on the average to above-average scale at best.
4/5

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Soundstage:
Width and height is above average, while the depth is just average. It doesn’t sound congested, nor does it sound exceptionally wide. Do note that soundstage perception changes from one ear to the other, so your mileage may vary.
3/5

Imaging:
Central imaging and left-right separation is excellent. You don’t get holographic imaging due to the poorer “cardinal” imaging, i.e. you don’t get the sense of top-right/top-left that well and instrument placement is mostly flat. Instrument layering is above-average.
3.5/5

Bang-for-buck:
Sound-wise, these hold their ground solidly against the competition, especially given that there is a shortage of stage monitors in the chi-fi realm. The build is solid, so are the accessories for the most part. Sennheiser also backs them with 2 years warranty, and these should hold their value pretty well over the years as Sennheiser does not discount IEMs that heavily over time (unlike the chi-fi competition). Overall, a solid purchase given the price tag.
4.5/5

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Source and Amping:
Be careful about high output impedance sources as those tend to boost the bass even further, making it uncontrolled. Most sources/phones can run these just fine otherwise as the sensitivity is pretty high.

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Select Comparisons

vs
Shure SE215: Shure SE215 is (far) inferior in every single facet. Every. Single. One. Case closed.

vs Final E4000: The E4000 costs slightly more than the IE 40 Pro, but shares some similarities: both are single dynamic driver, both has fantastic tonality and timbre and both has a bass-boosted signature. The IE 40 Pro has a heavier bass focus, however. Build quality goes to the E4000, while accessory set is mostly a tie. In terms of comfort, I prefer E4000 personally.
I can’t choose between the mid-range performance here. E4000 is better with string instruments and female vocals on certain tracks, while the IE 40 Pro does male vocals and piano/keyboard better. Treble presence is more noticeable on the IE 40, but the E4000 treble is smoother and doesn’t exhibit the upper-treble graininess of the IE 40. E4000 is much harder to drive.
They are both good options in this price range so you can’t go much wrong with either if you are into that kind of signature.

vs RHA T20i: T20i costs slightly more, but considering the shell type it did feel like a good competitor.
The RHA model wins hands down when it comes to build quality and accessories. IE 40 Pro is more comfortable due to the lighter shell. Tonality and timbre goes to the Sennheiser, as T20i exhibits a metallic “sheen” to its timbre which is more noticeable in vocal-heavy and acoustic tracks.
In terms of bass response, T20i digs deeper with more sub-bass rumble, and has a leaner mid-bass (with the default reference filter). Mid-range tonality goes to IE 40 Pro, and it’s also more forgiving of poorly mastered tracks. T20i shines with well-mastered tracks but will heavily pick out flaws in the recording. Treble is even more extended on the T20i but the upper-treble “zing” can be distracting on certain tracks. IE 40 Pro in contrast has a smoother treble response. T20i outperforms IE 40 Pro when it comes to soundstage/imaging and general technical performance including micro-detail retrieval.
If you are into metal genre/sub-genres or synth-pop/pop, T20i will serve you better with its more v-shaped tuning. For commuting and extended listening sessions across a variety of genres, IE 40 Pro is the easier pick.

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Conclusion

Sennheiser has been out of contention in the sub-$100 space for quite a long time. I had my doubts with the new IE Pro series at the start, but the IE 40 Pro was a rather pleasant surprise. The tuning is very mature and definitely meant for professional stage monitoring, it’s comfortable, built well and comes with a great warranty, the cable is more robust than regular mmcx, and the tonality/timbre of these are some of the best under $200.

While neutral-heads and bass-averse ears won’t find ultimate sonic pleasure with the IE 40 Pros, those who listen to a lot of different genres will find a versatile pair of IEMs that is well-suited for using during commute.

It’s a return to form for Sennheiser, and I hope they take the budget scene seriously this time around.

#Recommended

Test tracks (as Tidal playlist): https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/04350ebe-1582-4785-9984-ff050d80d2b7



Test tracks (as YouTube playlist, often updated):

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Otto Motor

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Exceptional sound quality: cohesion, balance, and timbre; high-quality build; smooth, robust, full sound; great isolation and fit; outstanding value.
Cons: Grainy upper treble; flimsy pouch.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Sennheiser IE 40 Pro is a warm and cohesive sounding single dynamic driver (DD) monitor earphone that excels by its natural tonal quality. The image is built on a solid but never overpowering low end.


INTRODUCTION

My first headphone was a Sennheiser: I picked up the HD414 with its bright yellow pads from a flea market in Germany in the late 1970s — and listened to the Clash and Graham Parker & the Rumour, of course on vinyl. Heavenly! And since then, I have acquired another 7 pairs of Sennheiser headphones and as many earbuds and earphones.

Sennheiser is a company based in lower Saxony, Germany, that rose from the ashes of WWII. Founded in 1945 by Prof. Fritz Sennheiser out of Hanover University, they have been innovative mainly in headphone and microphone technology since. The very competent Tyll Hertsens of innerfidelity.com once ranked Sennheiser as the world’s best headphone maker (“despite the odd screwup”).


Sennheiser certainly did well with their headphones; for example, the HD600 has been a perennial favourite since 1998. With the appearance of smartphones, Sennheiser introduced the CX300 earphones as an alternative to the buds that came with the phones. I saw their follow-up, the CX300B MKII, ranked somewhere as one of the 10 best headphone/earphone buys below $500 back in 2013. These CX300s had great speech intelligibility but an overly muddy bass. The next generation of Sennheiser budget earphones included the very popular and praised Momentum in-ear, which disappointed me somewhat by its rather recessed midrange. In recent years, Sennheiser had been a bit complacent for my taste, missing the rapid developments in the in-ear sector. For example, they have never produced a balanced armature (BA) driver (earphone). Sennheiser claim that a single wideband transducer produces a more natural sound than an array of BAs that introduce a crossover effect…and they may actually be right.

And while holding on to the single dynamic driver designed in-house, the Sennheiser ie40 Pro is the lowest priced one out of a series of three: the ie400 Pro and ie500 Pro are due to release in May 2019. These are true monitors aiming to musicians but they work equally well for recreational listening.


SPECIFICATIONS (from the Sennheiser website)

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IN THE BOX…

..are the earpieces, a cable with proprietary connectors similar to MMCX that actually work (patent pending); 3 sets of quality rubber earth and 1 pair of foams, a cleaning tool (!) and a pouch that is too small for my liking.

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PHYSICAL APPEARANCE, HAPTIC, AND BUILD QUALITY

The earpieces of my black review unit are made of softish plastic, similar to the material used in Sennheiser headphones. It feels smooth and so does the cable that has just the right tension not to be springy. The ear mold (“memory wire”) around the ears is thick and soft and sturdy. The cable is detachable (bonus) but the connectors are proprietary (patent pending) — and as opposed to MMCX connectors they are reliable. The eartips are made of the usual thick high-grade rubbers offered in Sennheiser iems. Overall, all plastics and rubbers use are of good quality and I trust the Sennheiser engineers that the materials have the usual longevity. These monitors offer a truly functional design.



ERGONOMICS, COMFORT, ISOLATION, AND FIT

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The earpieces are small (7 mm in diameter) and rather shallow so that they fit perfectly into my ears without sticking out. The fit is terrific and the thick ear mold is not intrusive while holding the shell firmly in place. The cable has zero microphonics. Isolation is outstanding: if you don’t need these for your band, they will also work well on the city bus or a plane.


SOURCE AND EARTIPS

I did my listening with the iPhone SE and used the largest included rubber tips. At 20 ohm, the ie40 Pro are very easy to drive.


TONALITY

JK’s tonal preference and testing practice

The big picture:
The IE 40 Pro are warm and mildly bassy earphones characterized by their great tonal quality (timbre) and homogeneity. Gone are the dreaded Sennheiser veil and the associated darkness. The overall sound is extremely pleasant without any significant aberations.

The details: What stands out is the strongly reduced bass compared to previous Sennheiser budget models such as the Momentum in-ear, CX 5.00, and CX 300B Mk II. The IE 40 Pro’s low end has its biggest slam rather deep down between 40 and 100 Hz, and the frequency response remains almost linear and a bit forward inclined between 100 Hz through the complete midrange into the lower treble, where it starts dipping at 6 kHz but and it reaches its biggest peaks between 12 and 15 kHz.

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The slightly elevated sub-bass and bass form the solid foundation of the tonal image (“Klangbild”). This healthy but never thick low-end adds the volume that makes the IE 40 PRO sound like a headphone. The bass is medium-fast decaying which contributes to the natural timbre and it adds warmth to the image. It stays focused at this level into the sub-bass. The upper bass enhances and colours the lower midrange (male vocals) but at the expense of some clarity and transparency. For the listener, the bass appears to creep up subtly without the classic mid-bass hump. Very pleasant to my ears.

The midrange is not recessed. Both male and female voices sound full and natural. The upper midrange is actually below neutral at the expense of brightness and energy in guitars and female voices. Speech intelligibility is outstanding.

The lower treble is well-dosed and yet well extended without any peaks that could introduce sibilance, harshness, or hardness. The sound is smooth right into the upper treble that compensate for the flat upper midrange and lower treble by introducing some but not too much sparkle and air. The 12-15 kHz area is rather emphasized compared to other single DDs (including the ones mentioned below), which brings cymbals forward — they can sound a bit grainy in some cases. Several others reported this “upper” sibilance” that affects notes high above the voices. But because the treble did not pierce and the bass does not thump, I could turn the volume up on the IE 40 PRO without regret.

The soundstage is average in width but has a good depth and height. Instrument separation and layering are great – but, quite frankly, I don’t really care that much as the timbre is the delightful part: a saxophone sounds like a saxophone, a cello like a cello, and an acoustic guitar sounds like a…you got it.

In summary, the sound is like “aus einem Guss” (extremely homogenous), never fatiguing, and in the end addictive for me.


SELECT COMPARISONS

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear ($99):
This highly praised and by no-means bad single DD model has an overcooked, thicker bass that pushes its quality vocals into the back and produces a somewhat veiled and muffled sound. A simple mod [instructions] brings the midrange forward, recovers some transparency, and reveals its true quality, but still does not produce the depth of the IE 40 PRO. Midrange and treble are similar between the two models with the upper treble being more forward on the IE 40 PRO. Fit of the IE 40 PRO is also better. Overall, the ie40 Pro are a good step up from the Momentum in-ear.

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Brainwavz B200 v1 ($120; discontinued): The original black B200 with their 2 BAs are an underappreciated jewel and one of my all-time favourites. Although both are tuned very similarly up to 3 kHz the B200’s midrange and treble (and therefore the overall sound) is much leaner than that of the ie40 Pro and their low end is more focused on the mid bass. Where they differ substantially is from the upper midrange up, where the B200 starts dropping off at 3 kHz. Cymbals are less forward and voices are less full, more fragile, less three-dimensional and less natural in the B200 v1. The IE 40 PRO sounds fuller at higher volumes, where the B200 v1 get tinny. It lacks the full sound that makes the IE 40 PRO sound like a headphone. The Senns also handle dense instrumentations better. Nevertheless is the lean sound of the B200 v1. appealing. If asked which of the two I’d surrender, I’d say: none. Both are excellent and it is needless to rank them against each other (considering that one is off the market)!

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Focal Sphear ($129): This single DD has a similarly great natural sound, a thicker, less extended and less focused bass bleeding into the slightly recessed and thinner mids, and also more modest treble. The somewhat V-shaped Sphear is less dynamic and darker. Nevertheless are the differences not gigantic and the Sphear’s timbre makes it a great earphone.

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iBasso IT01 ($100): The single DD IT01 has a more extended bass, which is nicely textured, but also a tad too strong for my liking. It smears into the lower midrange at the expense of clarity – which bugs me every time I use them (as they are very competent earphones in most other aspects). The vocals department of the Senns is cleaner, richer, and more homogenous wheras the iBasso’s may have more depth but it is also more recessed. In terms of natural sound, there is not much between them. The iBasso’s shells are much bigger and its fancy braided however heavy cable may be more appealing to some. Again, the Senns are more streamlined and pragmatic in this respect: everything works well together.

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CONCLUDING REMARKS

I have rarely had a product come through my hands that was so well thought out and balanced as the Sennheiser ie40 Pro, from the haptic, isolation, comfort, and fit to the sound. The IE 40 PRO’s strength is that it is just really good in most respects — and it hits a sweet spot, price wise. This is the rare case where I consider going out and buy myself a pair for the commute.

Es lebe das dynamische Treibersystem | Long live the dynamic driver!


DISCLAIMER

The review unit was a loaner sent upon my request with Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co KG in Wedemark, Germany, through Sennheiser USA. Dankesehr and thank you everybody involved! The sole purpose of this review was my independent evaluation of the IE 40 PRO’s technical and sonic qualities.

My generic standard disclaimer

About my measurements

This review has been clipped out of a double review from https://www.audioreviews.org/sennheiser-ie-40-pro-review/
If you want to see the second opinion by a non-Head-Fier, you will find it there.




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yong_shun

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Good Fitting
Lightweight
Detachable Cable
Good details presentation
Cons: Proprietary connector
Might be bright for some people
Introduction
Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co. KG produces a lot of high fidelity products which impressed audiophile community since 1945. Being a family business, the legacy is built and passed down generation to generation without compromising the details. Sennheiser HE-1, the most expensive headphone system is a status that show where Sennheiser stands in this audio market - king of the kings.
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During 2018 4th quarter, I had the opportunity to attend grand opening of Sennheiser HE-1 Experience Center in Singapore. The CEO of Sennheiser, Mr Daniel Sennheiser flew all the way from Germany to Singapore to attend this memorable event.
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When Sennheiser is mentioned, people will immediately think of their TOTL such as HD820, HD800s and IE800s. Indeed, being TOTL, these gears created high benchmark for competitors to follow their footsteps in the market. Sennheiser does not forget those who do not have deep wallet to invest on the TOTL. Last year, Sennheiser launched a consumer range IEM, IE40 Pro. It is retailing at SGD159.00 in Singapore - attractive right? In this review, I wil slowly introduce the greatness of this underrated gemstone to you in this review!
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Packaging
  • 1 IE 40 Pro
  • 3 Silicone Adapter (S, M, L)
  • 1 Foam Adapter (M)
  • 1 Soft pouch
  • 1 Cleaning tool
Specifications
  • Impedance: 20 Ohms
  • THD: < 0.1 % (1kHz, 94dB)
  • Frequency response: 20 - 18,000 Hz
  • Cable length: 1.3m (4.3 feet)
  • Attenuation: < 26 dB
  • Sound pressure level (SPL): 115 dB (1kHz / 1 Vrms)
  • Transducer principle: Dynamic
Build, Fit and Isolation
The shell of IE40 Pro is built using plastic. I got the black colour variant which the finishing is a little matte - giving an expensive looks although it is built using plastics. This results the IEM to be lightweight and does not ‘carry any weight,’ even during lengthy sessions. This small housing IEM does sit well in my ears and create a good isolation. I believe the fit will be good for most of the people because of its small form factor.
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The cable of this IEM is detachable but as usual, Sennheiser chose a proprietary connector for this IEM like what is done on IE80s. As mentioned by Sennheiser, the cable is deigned with innovative internal cable duct (patent pending) which is fit for stage use. Cable upgrade will be difficult for this IEM now but I hope cable manufacturer can take this connector into consideration.
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Pairing
I used one of my favorite music players, Opus #3 for this review. Cable and eartips are original from the box.
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Test Track
  • Hotel California (DSD) - 90/160 on high gain
  • Somewhere, Somebody (DSD) - 90/160 on high gain
  • Billie Jean (24 bit/96 kHz FLAC) - 80/160 on mid gain
  • Misery (16 bit/44.1 kHz FLAC) - 80/160 on mid gain
  • Perfect (24 bit/ 44.1 kHz FLAC) - 80/160 on mid gain
  • Don't Know Why (16 bit/44.1 kHz FLAC) - 80/160 on mid gain
  • Red (16 bit/44.1 kHz FLAC) - 80/160 on mid gain
  • Hello (16 bit/44.1 kHz FLAC) - 80/160 on mid gain
Sound
This IEM can be easily driven by DAP or phone. Opus #3 is not a powerful DAP so I need high gain to be triggered for DSD files. Soundstage is always the secret weapon of Sennheiser. Without any disappointment, Sennheiser ace it in IE40 Pro. I think this is the widest soundstage I can get in this price range. It is wide at the X-axis and sufficiently deep at the Y-axis. Impressive! This IEM is sitting in between neutral and bright. I would say it might be described as bright. As a bright signature lover, this fulfill my desire.

Lows
I am really impressed by the performance of this mighty IEM at the low frequency region. Solid bass with sufficient depth and it is well controlled. The lows attack fast with synergy and decay fast without bleeding to other frequency region in the spectrum. This is what I describe as quality bass - presence when it is needed, leave when it is not the right time. The DAP I used to review this IEM is not the most bassy one but I believe the lows of this IEM can feed the desire for those bass heads.

Mids
For those who read my previous reviews will understand how much I appreciate mids as a pop songs lover especially mandopop. As a matured listener, I believe the mids can be recessed because of the positioning of the staging but the quality should be preserved always. IE40 Pro hits the sweet spot for mids - neither forward or recessed. Nicely sit in the center of the stage, being the star for the stage. Now the show is for the vocalist. Male vocalist like Ed Sheeran sounds full of energy and emotions. When reviewing this IEM, I hesitate to pause the music because I am too into the quality which is presented. The upper mids are breathy and spacious. When I am listening to Jennifer Warnes’s Somewhere, Somebody, the layering is done flawlessly. Her vocal is silky smooth with soul. Very neutral.

Highs
Being a bright IEM, the highs are definitely more prominent. A great space is designed for the highs - Spacious and airy without any congestion. The cymbal sounds crisp without distortion. Within this price range, a lot of IEMs have difficulties to present the highs with low noise content but Sennheiser manage to overcome this general issue. It extended well and rolled of well too which results a gentle presentation. It will not torture your eardrums - no piercing highs.

Comparison
Shure SE215 Speical Edition

SE215 Special Edition is a warm IEM which is one of the favorite for beginners. I like the presentation of SE215 - silky smooth but in term of details presentation, IE40 Pro does a better job. The soundstage is wider and deeper with more space and air. One winning point for SE215 is the use of MMCX connector - easier to find a replacement cable for this IEM.
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FiiO F9 Pro
This comparison is a slight disadvantage for IE40 Pro because of the retail price. F9 Pro is in the SGD200 price bucket. F9 Pro utilised three drivers which attracts a lot of beginners - the more the merrier. In term of details presentation, F9 Pro does not perform a lot better as compared to IE40 Pro - both IEMs are on the same par. F9 Pro is a more neutral IEM as compared to IE40 Pro. If you not a fan of bright IEM, F9 Pro might be more suitable for you.
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RHA MA750
This IEM might be rare for a lot of beginners. I like how RHA build their IEMs - rigid and sturdy. The finishing is supremos. In term of sounds, I find MA75o is colder as compared to IE40 Pro. The emotions presentation is better on IE40 Pros. This is no longer a fight on quality but feel. Colder IEM does ace better in details presentation but MA750 is not far ahead in this region as compared to MA750.
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1More Triple Drivers
One of the favorite IEM by beginners - 1More Triple Drivers wins a lot of beginners' hearts. Again, the more the merrier. This is always a misunderstand. I always find the presentation of 1More Triple Drivers is a little bit noisy. The overall presentation is sweet but the distortion is killing me sometime. IE40 Pro presented the music in a leaner and cleaner way which should be appreciated by the community. IE40 Pro is easier to drive as compared to 1More Triple Driver too.
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Symphonium Audio Mirage
Symphonium Audio, a Singapore company created 2 IEMs last year. One of them is Mirage. Mirage utilises one B.A driver. Is it another underrated gemstone? Not really. The presentation of Mirage is darker and I always find it blanketed. When my ears are used to the presentation of IE40 Pro, I find Mirage presentation is muffled. This is a clear win for IE40 Pro.
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Conclusion
As mentioned in the title, IE40 Pro is really an underrated gemstone within the SGD200 bucket. Clear presentation with proper bass management, IE40 Pro will not disappoint you no matter which genre you are listening to. At the same time, your pocket will love this IEM because you do not need to burn your pocket a hole when you decide to purchase it.

Well done Sennheiser!
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Reactions: hqssui and volly
volly
volly
Really enjoyed this, good read and very nice pictures! For the price, I think Sennheiser are going to sell a lot of these! I want one now. LoL
yong_shun
yong_shun
@volly thank you for your support! Yea I highly recommend this IEM! :)

iems0nly

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Comfort, ease of use; clean sound; easily likeable tuning; very monitoresque presentation
Cons: Laid-back mids and vocals (possibly essential for the pursued signature); Micro-definition could be better
Simple Man’s review – Sennheiser IE 40 Pro (~100 USD)
This is called simple man’s review because they are based on the sound of these earphones directly from my mobile phone (HTC 10), using 320 Kbps mp3 tracks. No expensive gears nor lossless tracks,no EQ, and all that hi-fi stuff.

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Product Specs :
Driver: 10mm “broadband transducer” Single Dynamic Driver
Impedance: 20 Ohms; Sensitivity: 115dB/mW
Weight: 18g
Cable: 1.3m; proprietary detachable cable (they call this stage-proof cable with break-proof connection)
Note: The IE 40 Pro cables cannot be used with the higher models IE 400 Pro and IE 500 Pro.
Shell: Hard Plastic Shell
Nozzle: ~5mm
Release year: September, 2018

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Build – 5/5
These earphones are beautiful to behold. The housings are made of hard plastic which is unbreakable for all practical purposes. The cables are really thick, supple, flexible, feel good to touch, and are detachable. They come of rather easily with a slight pull and can be as easily fastened. They hold secure and I don’t see them coming off on their own. Being meant for on-stage PROfessionals, these can’t be worn straight-down and must go around the ear. The thick memory guides also feel good over the ear and are very comfortable, albeit slightly shorter in length. The nozzles are stuffed with foam which act as filter instead of traditional filters stuck to the nozzle openings. The Y splitter is compact and houses a neck cinch as well. The cable ends in a nice L-shaped 3.5mm connector with solid strain relief there. Anywhere the wire comes protrudes, there is a small strain relief placed. Excellent quality all around. Extreme attention to detail. Can I give a 6 here?

Accessories – 5/5
The unboxing experience is premium. It feels like a treat to open these. The IEMs are seated majestically between cozy cushion cavities. Excellent presentation.
A small soft leather pouch is provided which is just enough to hold these earphones. They could have been slightly bigger. Squeezing the earphones in the pouch might take a few seconds.
Tips. 3 sizes silicon ear tips provided, plus we also get one pair of medium foam tips, non-comply which rebounds very fast. All the eartips also have some foam fillings that act as additional wax guard.
Plus we also get a cleaning tool.

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Fit – 5/5
Fit is excellent. Over ear universal fit can’t get better than this. The slim housing sits very comfortably and seamlessly in the ear concha. Sleeping with this won’t be a problem at all.

Isolation and leakage – 3.5/5
Sound Attenuation is rated at <26dB, and they are OK with music ON. Perfect for indoor use, however, if you are talking a walk outside, outside noise tends to creep in letting you know of your surroundings. The earphones even allow you to have a conversation without taking them off when no music is playing, as would be preferrable for on-stage musicians to get together for a small chat between tracks. Sound leakage is very minimal at normal listening levels and shouldn’t bother a loved one trying to sleep.

Microphonics – 3.5/5
Present, only if you can manage to rock the wires. Being not very light, it does a good job of staying in place during minimal activity.

Drivability – Easy to drive with a smartphone. With my HTC10s i need only 40-50%, being a low-volume listener :wink:

Before we get to the sound:
You must know that i don’t listen to trance, EDM, or bassy stuff, no metal stuff, so, take my opinion about the extremes of the sound spectrum, and speed,etc., with a grain of salt, as they are just based on the kind of music I listen to- namely Jazz, blues, some progressive rock from the 70s/80s. However, to give a fair review, i include some of my favourite Daft Punk, Tool, NIN, and some Pop songs among my test tracks.

Eartips: I’m using the stock tips, which have some foam filter in it. These tips are right in between Final E tips and JVC spirals in terms of bore width. I think the stock tips works as good as any.

Sennheiser Germany provided the IE 40 Pro in exchange of my honest review and opinion. The impressions and comparisons are all my own and not driven by any external party.

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Sound –
The general signature balanced, tending towards a (not steep) U-shaped presentation nudging emphasis on extremes of the spectrum, with a bass boost and a little peak for the cymbals at around 6-7Khz (thereabouts). The overall output is very musical and enjoyable without going overboard in any direction. The intention seems to be to sound correct rather than exciting, which is a very commendable way to go.

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Soundstage:
Being created for the Pros, especially on-stage musicians, the IE 40 Pro presents music in an impressively wide stage stretching from left to right, displaying decent height as well. The left right separation is considerably wide, significantly more than your average IEM in this price range, it’s really impressive. In this wide stage, all the instruments are positioned laterally, which helps to focus easily on one band of the spectrum. You will hear the band playing at a short distance away from you, as opposed to intimate sounding.

Bass:
Sennheiser IE40 Pro has a very authoritative bass. It gives good impact quantity, and also provides a satisfying rumble wherever applicable. It is not bass-heavy per se, in fact a bass-head would find them lacking here, but the sub bass is boosted a bit above mid bass. A little mid-bass tightness would have made the bass even greater in quality. As a result these would not be remembered for it’s speed. However, they’re no slouch as well and one would be hard pressed to call them bloated. Being slightly U shaped, they don’t shy away from throwing the bass when the record demands, like with EDM, dance, etc. Bass guitars deliver good impact, and display good definition as well. The bass delivered is also quite detailed, and they do this without sacrificing much quantity. The broadband drivers appear to deliver this with surprising ease and effortlessness. It has a certain refreshing quality to it.

Mids:
The mids are slightly pulled back in the soundstage, and this gives a perceived depth to the soundstage. With busy and exciting music with bigger bass and treble, the U shaped signature shows itself obviously. However, they retain a certain airy quality to them and are able to present a lot of detail easily. In bass heavy music, the bass shoulders the mids and comes to play up front. However, the mids retain their intelligibility and play faithfully at a deeper level in the soundstage. The wide soundstage really plays in favour of the signature. With a smaller soundstage this would have sounded messy with the bass walking all over the mids, overlapping and what-not. The width accomodates everything rather nicely. The mids also retain some warmth from the bass which help to carry a realistic tonality and authentic timbre.

Treble:
The treble splashes atop and paints the IE 40 Pro bright. If they were laidback these would have been warm sounding earphones. The hi-hats and cymbals strike with shimmery presence and help to add a little height to the soundstage. Not overly so, but still a little to not appear so 2 dimensional. I wouldn’t call the highs airy as they do carry some weight, which brings them down to stage level and lets them hang in there. This affects the positioning of the sound as they gather a certain smearing effect. The cymbal crash hits and kind of spreads a little in the soundstage, lingering for an extra couple of milliseconds. It is quite apparent initially and gets a little better with burn-in. However, separation is impressive aided by the wide soundstage, and the treble also comes across as detailed for a dynamic driver.

Comparisons

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Round 1 – Sennheiser IE 40 Pro vs Advanced Model 3 (~79 USD)

A warm-up round for the Senns. Comparing these as they have a similar structures, and are priced not very far apart. Will also help to give you an idea of where both these earphones stand. The Model 3 from Advanced, reviewed extensively here, have a very commercial sound to them, have a signature close to V shaped with a bump in the vocal range. They are pretty decent IEMs.

Comparing side by side, we can see that the Model 3 suffers from a narrower soundstage although they have better height. Model 3 comes across as warmer sounding, and many of the details that the Senns easily present to the listener are muffled in the constricted puddle that is presented by Model 3. Intelligibility and instrument definition is lacking in Model 3 in comparison. The mid bass has a more noticeable hump in Model 3. The treble of the Model 3 is similarly enhanced, but presented well and stands alongside the bass comfortably. Model 3 lacks the splashy attitude of the Sennheisers and their shimmery presentation. The mids are also better with the Sennheisers in terms of detail retrieval and cleaner presentation. The one place where the Model 3 scores some points is with male vocals where they come more up front and intimate to the listener and have greater body.

A walk in the park for the Senns this round, which is no surprise considering the cheaper price.

Round 2 – Sennheiser IE 40 Pro vs Audio Technica ATH E40 (~99 USD)
This is the most important competition for the Sennheisers, if they beat them, then they would take the cake for the best sub 100 monitoring earphones in my book. It’s a tough one, but let’s see how this goes.

A-B ing these and watching them trade blows one after another was really interesting. I would really like to read different people's opinion comparing the two.

Before we get to the sound, a word about the build and comfort. The Sennheisers are significantly more comfortable on the ear and are super easy to wear and start listening to music. Switching to the ATH E40 took me some fiddling around to get the fit right every time, whereas when i move to the Senns it takes about 3 seconds to push play. Wearing comfort and ease of use go to Sennheisers with no contest.

Now for the sound.

They are tuned differently, which makes my job harder. Looking at the soundstage and presentation, we can see that the ATH E40 have a more rounded soundstage in comparison, ATH E40 has greater height and almost equal width (slightly lesser) comparitively. ATH has a more intimate presentation and the mids are considerably forward. So, everything is up-front and makes for a more immersive listening experience. Vocals are louder, and guitars sound more authoritative with the ATH E40s. The bass is very tastefully tuned in the ATH E40, with slightly extended sub-bass and a mid-bass that is slightly behind the sub. This gives a greater impact and they also come across as tighter than the Sennheisers. Ath E40 also has a thicker presentation whereas the Senns comes across as airy and have a lighter feel to the music.

The Sennheiser IE 40 Pro, on the other hand, has a wide soundstage with lesser height. In my opinion they work better for monitoring. Instrument separation is better in the Sennheisers as there is more lateral clarity in the Senns. The vocals sits slightly behind, and don’t try to grab the attention of the listener. The chimes and the hi-hats are sharper in the Sennheisers compared to the thicker presentation of the ATH E40. The sub-bass is lesser than the ATH E40 in terms of impact, but the bass in general have good presence in the Sennheisers. The mid-bass plays a prominent role in the Sennheisers’ bass department. The IE40 Pro comes across as the cleaner IEM of the two due to its leaner presentation and lesser intimate nature.

A tough call, if you want more mids in the music and prefer a lush(er) and intimate presentation, then ATH E40 would better suit your taste for musical enjoyment. The Sennheiser IE 40 Pro would suit you better if you want better instrument separation and prefer a leaner presentation of music. Fit and comfort goes to Sennheisers without doubt. Did they beat the renowned ATH E40 ? That depends on your priorities.


Round 3 – Sennheiser IE 40 Pro Vs Ultrasone Pyco (120 to 170 USD)
Two top German brands fight it out this round. The Pyco is Ultrasone’s dynamic driver IEM released back in 2013, priced significantly higher than the new IE 40 Pro. Let’s get to it.

Switching from Pyco to Sennheiser, i could perceive immediately that the Pyco is a touch darker and intimate than the Senns, and comes across as very slightly warm. The male vocals sound thicker with more body compared to the Sennheisers. The Sennheiser, in comparison, have slightly recessed mids and present a U shaped signature. The IE 40 Pro spreads the music nicely in a lateral manner and avoids sounding too intimate and cluttered, whereas the Pyco is little more up front and gets closer to the listener. The Pycos have a more rounded soundstage with better depth. The Sennheisers dig deeper into the sub-bass regions and the bass presence is better with the Senns. The Pyco goes for greater impact quantity with decent quality, still delivering a quicker attack than Sennheisers. In bass, especially sub-bass, heavy passages the Senns let the mids take a back-seat. The Senns also have a slight edge with presenting micro details and its wide stage aids the user to pick out certain nuances in the music. There’s more space between instruments in the Senns and comes across as cleaner, whereas Pyco has stronger instrument positioning in it’s layers. Pyco sounds like the ATH E40 with a smaller overall soundstage size.

Intimate vs distanced presentation. Pyco is more mid forward. Otherwise both stand shoulder to shoulder and present music in a balanced manner.

Round 4 – Sennheiser IE 40 Pro vs Final Heaven IV (~130 USD)
Ok, this round let’s try to make it harder for the Sennheisers. Final Heaven IV sports a tastefully tuned BA that are super detailed and also carry some warmth to the tuning. I didn’t choose the E4000 here since they are very mid focused and super-lush, and these would make a better comparison.

The Heavens are very appropriately named, they sound like it. The BA drivers extract more micro details than the broadband transducer employed by the Sennheiser IE 40 Pro. The vocals have a special thick quality to them in the Heavens that can’t be beat really, and the IE 40 Pro plays the vocals a little deeper in the soundstage and lack the thickness of the Heaven IV presentation. Bass is more apparent with the Sennheisers and they also go deeper into the sub-bass range compared to the lighter impact produced by the BA driver. The heaven IV also has a more tighter bass presentation which serves mainly to add body to the mids. Bass definition is better in the Senns which is served with extra meat. Again, the Heaven IV goes for a more intimate presentation where the Sennheisers are comfortable with a slightly distanced representation. The IE 40 Pro has more shimmer to their treble but lacks the definition and timbre of the BA driver.

It’s really impressive that the Sennheisers can stand it’s ground alongside the acclaimed Final Heaven IV. This is no small feat.

Overall Sound rating of Sennheiser IE 40 Pro: 8.9/10
Vocals 4/5
Soundstage 4.5/5
Instrument Separation 4.5/5
Positioning/localisation 4/5
Details 4/5
Timbre 4/5

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Conclusion –
Sennheiser got everything right with their new model IE 40 Pro. The unboxing experience, arrangement, build, comfort, ergonomics, aethetics, everything screams meticulous attention to detail with an unwavering focus on comfort and quality. They feel great and sound great, and present music in a monitoresque manner where the music plays out at a certain distance from the listeners head. The wide soundstage accomodates all the musical nuances graciously with enough room to spare, and they do it effortlessly. In my opinion, they serve the intended purpose and are rightly priced.
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