Sennheiser PX 200-II Headphone and PX 200-IIi Headset
Life’s been interesting this past year. I left HeadRoom in April ’10; my daughter moved out and and I found myself in an empty nest; I rode thousands of miles on my motorcycle; met a lovely lady who rode her bike with me, and we married; constructed offices in my home to support my review work; and got my job here. Phew. In the process, I did a lot of organizing around the home, throwing out things I don’t need anymore, rearranging furniture, and ferreting bits and pieces into boxes. It felt good to reorganize my life; a tidy fresh start.
When the time came to start tweaking the headphone measurement system and it’s testing routines, I primarily used my Sennheiser HD 800 and Audez’e LCD-2 headphones with which I’m quite familiar. The test routines took shape nicely, but there came a point where I needed to test a wide variety of cans to check that all the data gathering and graph display ranges were wide enough to cover measurements from a variety of headphones. As I had been organizing through the summer, I found a number of small headphones and had been throwing them into a box on a shelf in the lab.
“Cool,” I thought, “I bet there'll be a nice batch of headphones in there to measure.”
I opened the box, and found a pair of InMotion in-ear headsets; an AKG K26P; and not one … not two … not three … but FOUR Sennheiser PX 200 sealed, ear-pad headphones.
“Geez, I must really like these things,” … and I do.
For the last 20 years I’ve been a professional headphone geek, but I'm also the dad of four children and three stepchildren. They’ve had a fairly typical turn-of-the-21st-century upbringing filled with Game Boys, iPods, long trips in the car, and backpacks filled with school and sleep-over necessities. And while I had access to virtually every good headphone on the planet, it seems that when it comes to buying headphones for my family's listening needs, I returned over and over to the rock-solid reliable and good sounding Sennheiser PX 200.
Like all small, sealed, ear-pad headphones it had its issues. The small sealed enclosure behind the driver is awful hard to tune --- almost all headphones of this type honk and squawk to some degree. The PX 200 was better than most … but still not great. Getting a good seal on the folds and ridges of your outer ear isn’t easy, and without a good seal a significant loss of bass response is experienced. The PX 200 had these problems.
On the other hand, headphones for kids and general portable use need to be small and pack away easily, and need to be able to take a beating. Here the PX 200 shines. They fold up sort of like sunglasses and pack away in about the same space, and Sennheiser’s outstanding quality of materials and construction made these cans virtually indestructible. Four pairs of still working headphones after a decade of family abuse is no weak testimony.
Not long ago, Sennheiser refreshed the PX 200, and released the PX 200-II (MSRP $119.95); a similar design, now with improved ear-pads to seal better; and slightly beefier construction. And a headset version, the PX 200-IIi (MSRP $149.95) with iPod/iPhone compatible remote and mike for headset duties.