Budget headphones with a budget sound
- Low cost, decent mid-range
- Lack of bass, distortion, lack of detail, shrill highs, difficult to position properly
This is a fairly uninspiring set of headphones. While the price tag is extremely low, the sound quality and build are less than impressive. It's tough to recommend them, even over stock MP3 player headphones.
Price$ 9.95 (AUD)
Like the EB-300 headphones that we reviewed a little while back, TDK's EB-200s are nothing special. As their low price tag indicates, they are designed as a basic alternative to your stock MP3 player earbuds. Although they do have some redeeming features, overall we found the sound quality was quite lacking.
The biggest issue with these headphones — and it is one that is detrimental to both sound quality and comfort — is their design. Unlike the EB-300, this unit isn't an In-Ear Monitor: these headphones are standard earbuds. This means they don't slip into your ear canals, and simply rest in the outer part of the ear.
This style, coupled with the large bud design, makes it very difficult to seat the headphones properly. We often found they slipped out of position, which caused a sharp drop in audio quality. If the buds aren't resting right next to the ear canal the sound becomes weak and tinny with no bass and a fairly hefty loss of clarity. Every so often we would position them just right, but even then some slight movement made them slip right out again.
As is the case with most earbuds, the bass isn't all that great to begin with. It's tough for such a small driver to produce strong, deep low register notes; this was the weakest element of the EB-200's performance. The bass lacked power and depth and was generally quite hollow and empty.
Fortunately, the mid-range was relatively pleasing. It was a little distorted and harsh, lacking the detail of more expensive headphones, but overall it was quite rich and sweet and gave electric guitar strings a pleasant sound.
The highs were a little shrill with the same harshness mentioned before, but they were passable. The soundstage is fairly poor, but that is to be expected from entry-level earbuds. There is little in the way of three-dimensional layering or proper separation, but less discerning users will probably not notice.
Overall we wouldn't recommend these headphones for piano-based tunes or heavy bass tracks, but guitar-oriented genres such as rock and heavy metal will be adequately recreated.
As mentioned earlier, the large bud design means that comfort wise the EB-200s can be a little irritating. They move around a fair bit; however, if you can handle that or remain relatively motionless then they are fine even for long listening sessions.
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