Stumbling across my Phiaton friends at CES, they were quick to point out the new MODERNA MS 200 earbuds, which recently hit the market. The hot rod red coloring and genuine carbon fiber speaker wells were the first attraction, as they lay on the display table. Even in a crowded pre-convention party, they sounded like a winner.
Now, having listened to the MS 200’s from the comfort of my home, I can confirm my suspicions were true. With a racing red headphone cable matching a classic black earphone chassis, more than quality sound are the causes for head turning attraction. These half in-ear buds are quite the performers, with bass enthusiasts getting what they desire.
Gone are the days where bulky headphones were the only great way to hear the beats of your music. Take a look past the fold for a breakdown on looks and performance, while possibly scoring your own pair to take home…
I cannot remember any of my headphone reviews ever starting with a heading about sex appeal. Then again, not many headphone makers bother with carbon fiber and smooth black, shiny coating. Nor do they package their headphones in small matching pouches with red stitched accents. The MS 200’s certainly look the part. A fashionably conservative person, I would almost be embarrassed by how loud they scream, and I don’t mean the volume. Personally, I associate them with Ferrari-esque appeal, combining sporty accents with age tested allure.
In the box, Phiaton generously offers four pair of standard and one pair of RightFit (ear canal) silicon tips, in addition to a pair of Comply Foam (memory foam) tips. All of these customizing pieces fit nicely into the carrying pouch along with the buds. The set rounds out the red and black matching physique.
The MS 200’s utilize 14.3mm dynamic speakers to drive sound with a frequency range between 10Hz ~ 27,000Hz. The impedance is 32 Ohm and sensitivity is 100dB at 1kHz. Driving the low frequency and deep bass is a dual chambered system paired with five separate tuning points to increase airflow.
Now that the audiophiles have their specs, a quick jaunt through several genres is required. While testing the sound quality, I used all three tips to test performance, but in different situations, the wearer would use the appropriate tips based on the activity, or lack thereof.
Hip-hop/Rap: After rolling Wiz Khalifa and Lupe Fiasco around in my head, it is clear the true performance lies in the bass abilities. A rich full bodied bass defines this earbud and I would caution treble lovers from investing in this pair. The bass is not overly emphasized, that is, it is not so deep it detracts from the music, at least not hip-hop.
Rock: Considering a sampling of Pink Floyd, The Eagles, and Autograph, the guitar, especially acoustic guitar, seemed slightly flat. Lacking that crisp mid-tone sound I was expecting from a higher end headphone. The bass seems to cut into the range a bit as a slightly overpowering nuance.
Electronic: Being the dub-step dominator, I did not look past Skrillex. Again, really shining with the bass heavy genre, the buds plow through tracks at a throbbing pitch. While complimenting the bass, I pause. They are not quite deep enough to run the whole spectrum, missing the lowest notes my home theater can manage to drag out, but for headphones, these are still prime.
Pop/Top 40: As top 40 and pop music tend to combine a solid bass line hook with vocals and mixed instrumentation, the MS 200’s are great options. Again, bass heavy, but not over bearing in any way. Running through Katy Perry and Gaga, a fair shake was given to their poppy songs. The mids being blurred in the rock category are not a concern in modern pop music as the musicality of a crisp acoustic guitar is almost always forgone by the artists.
Classical: Almost unnecessarily tested, I chose to give classical a shot. The Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 which is heavily string laden with a bit of flute, sounded decent. The cello stood out, no surprise there. If you are going for classical, it is best to find a headphone with a higher frequency range to please your ears.
Ear tip assessment: The standard buds, seal better than RightFits, but the RightFits are arguably more comfortable. Standard buds provide a slightly fuller sound, mostly due to the complete seal. However, the RightFits embody the half in-ear design more than either the Standard or ComplyFoam options.
Different genres sounded better with different tips, allowing you to customize your experience based on the situation. All around, the ComplyFoam tips are the way to go. Providing what I now consider the definition of noise isolation, the ComplyFoam tips block all external noises and seal the ear canal ensuring the purest sound.
I appreciate the full range of ear tips, especially considering it is the widest selection I have personally received, in comparison to other reviews. While a thoughtful range of tips is included, Phiaton failed to make the in-line mic fully Apple certified, meaning you cannot change the songs back and forth.
Comfortability is middle of the road. I noticed a slight discomfort using the standard tip after prolonged listening. The double chambered design requires a larger housing and consequently extra heft. Certainly not the smallest earbud designed, I can definitely tell when I am wearing them, but not to the point of distraction.
Currently selling for $119 on Amazon, down from $150, I think these are a safe purchase, assuming you are in the mood for bass. The MS 200’s are decently balanced, but favor the lower frequencies. Especially with the ComplyFoam tips, a deep and rich bass is easily attained. If you are primarily an electric or hip/hop listener, these are definitely the headphones for you. Combining style and sound, the aggressively priced Amazon offer may be difficult to pass up.
What do you have to do to win?
We teamed up with Phiaton to giveaway these awesome buds! Sorry to our international readers, this one is for US and Canada residents only. One lucky winner who follows the next steps will be chosen to win a set in the color of their choice:
- Friend iDownloadBlog on Facebook
- Click the Facebook LIKE button at the top or bottom of this post
- Follow @iDownloadBlog on Twitter
- Click here to tweet this message
- Comment below: Don’t forget to put your Twitter handle in the comment!!! What is the most attractive feature of the MODERNA MS 200’s and where would you use them the most?
Thanks again to Phiaton for sending over the review unit and we look forward to selecting a winner by week’s end. You will be contacted via Twitter DM if you have won!
The winner of our giveaway is @ChildishMorgaan. The winner will be contacted with further instructions. Thanks everyone for entering the contest, and thanks to Phiaton for making this giveaway possible. If you haven’t won, don’t get too depressed. We have plenty more giveaways lined up with some more amazing prizes.
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