Phiaton PS 200 Sound Isolating In-Ear Earphones with Dual Micro Transducers (Woofer andTweeter) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- Dual Balanced Armature drivers with passive crossover that provide stronger bass sounds and a wider frequency range than traditional earphones
- Constructed with aluminum which delivers an ultra lightweight design for maximized user comfort
- Superior Sound Isolating technology
- Included soft silicon ear-tips in the three sizes for the perfect fit
- Includes Carrying Case and Plug Adapter for Air Travel
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The Phiaton PS 200 earphone stands out from the crowd with its high-end sleek design that offers superior sound quality and provides the ultimate listening experience. The PS 200 is ultra lightweight due to it's aluminum structure. These sound isolating earphones, deliver great detail and spacious sound, while background noise just fades away. This makes the PS 200, perfect for your iPod, MP3 player, or other electronic device with a standard 3.5mm outlet. Soft silicon ear tips come in 3 sizes for the most comfortable fit. Specific features include: Dual balanced armature drivers with passive crossover network, Impedance: 39 ohm, Sensitivity: 95 dB, Max input power: 30 mW, Weight: .176 oz / 5 g without cord, Accessories Includes: Plug adapter for air travel, Set of silicon ear tips includes 3 sizes, Carrying case.
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Cons: Light bass and fatiguing treble with stock tips, poor cord strain reliefs, finicky ergonomics. One strain relief failed after 2 years.
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. 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.
Build quality/design: 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.
[Update 2014-10-11]: The right earphone shield braid failed at the strain relief/cord junction (-1 star). I attribute the failure to the non-molded cord jacket, which was loose and wrinkled soon after purchase, and the poor strain relief design. Still, they managed to last just under two years. Whomever said these were serviceable was most likely mistaken; I see no way to open these up to re-cable them. I'm going to try the OM Audio INEARPEACE hybrid IEMs.
I would buy them again if lost and I got a good price, under $150. I like earphones, have several different ones. I have slowly worked my way up to better quality ones. These make the sound of different instruments very distinctive, they don't muddle together. The result is a great sound stage which makes you feel inside the band making the music. Extremely immersive.
With the exception of bassheads I think that Phiaton has produced a truly unique pair of phones having tight and accurate bass comparable to the PFE. Slightly forward extremely clear mid range that isn't too thick and certainly not thin or dull (see RE0). High end treble is well extended and forward showing the capable abilities of a well built armature driver. And last but not least the soundstage on these phones is really remarkable, not overly exaggerated (see sm3) but very wide. I only used these amped out of my 7G Classic> Mundorf Gold LOD>P3+ BUF 634's so your mileage may vary when it comes to how well these perform for you out of your DAP of choice. Again these are bright sounding phones that may tend to sound cold to anyone used to an excessive amount of bass and give them time to burn in. I understand allot of people don't believe in burn-in on armature based phones but I heard a small increase in detail and smoothing of treble amount about 20hrs in...nothing after that.
Build quality and accessories are of what is to be expected for a premium iem, have no problems with cable noise and strain reliefs are sufficient. I use either the Comply foamies that come with the PFE, they have a wide nozzle compared to the T-100's(you can buy them separately from Phonaks website) and the included rubber's. Prefer the comply foams, they help with inceasing bass response and tame treble a bit.
Overall great buy for the price and highly recommended purchase for someone looking to upgrade to a top tier iem for CHEAP!