“Speakers from Europe, and electronics from Japan” is a long-held truism that has taken quite a kicking lately, with the likes of Apple and Cambridge Audio showing that other countries can do electronics too.
However, German company Sennheiser is looking to reassert their dominance in this new marketplace, by providing a whole slather of headphones designed for cutting edge electronics – no matter which country it comes from.
The PMX200s are the newest addition to the well-received PX line of portable headphones, and are essentially a neck-band version of the PX200s. But unlike that model, they’re actually good headphones.
The PMX200s are quite stylish looking phones, with their metallic blue cups, and they fit snugly over the ear, but, for pure vanity, they can tend to make your ears look slightly pointed as they don’t cover them entirely.
Like the PXs, they also fold up, or flatten, for easier transport.
Sound is exquisite, incredibly detailed and with the bass punch the PX200 phones lacked. Spin the New Pornographers and the complex layers of The Bleeding Heart Show from Twin Cinema are lovingly unraveled with the vocals and acoustic guitar sounding immediate and joyous. Bass is tight and the songs urgent dynamics are handled with finesse, though a tendency for edgy treble is waiting in the wings.
Though they’re a closed design,the Sennheiser’s noise-canceling abilities are rather pedestrian, and serve only to hold the bass in than keep the world out. If there is a loose thread in their knitted woolen vest it’s aggressively-mixed rock – the PMX200’s tendency to boost treble can make some music quite hard and irritating. Especially at volume. Hip hop, on the other hand, enjoys tight, though not incredibly extended, bass.
We tested them with a Sony NW-HD5, but the Senny’s would be more suited to a mellower player such as the iPod or Zen Vision:M.
The legacy of the Sennheiser line is very apparent in these new cans, but when it comes to a pecking order, the PX100s are still on top. They boast better bass, and are not as shrill as the PMXs can be. For a better closed option, try AKG’s beefy K26P’s. Still the PMX200s are a good choice if pop or acoustic rock is your thing.
Sennheiser PMX200 | $129 |
For: Excellent styling; detailed; punchy bass
Against: Tendency toward shrillness
Verdict: A great set of phones with a tight and open sound, but partner carefully.