The Beyerdynamic IDX 160 iE is an in-ear headphone packing a punch. But at $135, how does it stack up to the competition?
Beyerdynamic IDX 160 iE Review
The IDX 160 iE comes with seven pairs of rubber eartips, as well as one pair of foam Comply eartips. There’s an adapter plug for sharing music, two detachable extension cables, a cable clip, and a carrying case.
The earpieces feature an all-metal construction that cuts down on a good deal of distortion. The cable is a classic y-shaped design, and just after the split the cable ends in a 3-channel 3.5mm stereo plug. Attached to the plug is one of the included extension cables, giving you a fairly standard length of 4 ft (1.2 m). While the cable is flat to cut down on tangling, the connection below the split can be troublesome at times; I noticed that during my first listening session, the connection could lose some sound if not checked beforehand. While the earphones are comfortable, and the cable doesn’t tangle, the connection issue is BS. But maybe this headphone can still impress me.
|Headphone design (operating principle)||Closed|
|Headphone impedance||47 ohms|
|Headphone frequency response||10 – 25,000 Hz|
|Nominal sound pressure level||107 dB (1 mW at 500 Hz)|
|Remote||3-button Apple remote|
|Cable & plug||0.30 m straight flat cable / extension cable 0.90 m with mini stereo jack plug 3.5 mm / 1/8”|
|TRRS standard||CTIA (adapter cable for OMTP included)|
|Net weight without packaging||53 g|
Thanks to the specifications, we can see that this headphone offers a pretty decent frequency range, as well as a fairly high impedance (fairly high for an earphone, that is). Sound pressure gets pretty high at 107 decibels, so we can expect it to be pretty loud even at a respectable volume.
The low end on the IDX 160 is decent. It’s not something that will rock your world, but it’s a definite edge over the low end of competing models, like the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear. Where the bass is punchy, the details are just okay. You can pick out some details, but don’t expect these to resolve finer nuances where a lot of low-frequency action is going on. Male vocals, especially, may suffer.
The mids aren’t bad either. While the details are there, they’re also getting a little lost in the IDX 160’s slightly compressed, canned sound. Playing through some acoustic and classical music, you can get a sense of the music, but not the true picture of all those instruments coming together. Here, the competition might have Beyerdynamic beat; you could get better mid-range performance from the Westone UM Pr0 10 or the Audio Technica ATH-IM01 – both being priced just a little bit higher at $149.
About the same as the Sennheiser Momentum M2 in regards to high-end detail, the IDX 160 iE delivers an acceptable amount of contrast and articulation. Highs are never too uncomfortable, but that may be due to some clipping in there. Compared to some higher end stuff from Audio Technica and Westone, the 160 may not sound as clean, but for it’s price point, it’s pretty middle-of-the-road.
There’s a little soundstage to the Beyerdynamic IDX 160 iE. Not much, but still some, and its still better than most if not all of the competition. Of course, the little bit that is there will be a breath of fresh air for anyone upgrading from the standard earbuds that came with their phone. Compared to industry bulldogs, however, the IDX 160 still has us on the fence.
It’s not too expensive and delivers a decent sound. It’s better sounding than anything at $99, so it may be worth the extra Simolions. It’s got some detail, it’s got some soundstage, and in all it doesn’t sound half-bad. There might also be some cabling issues, though, so it’s very much a mixed bag.
For those seeking a relaxed and detailed sound – especially for classical music – potential buyers could also consider the Westone UM Pro 10 or the Audio Technica ATH-IM01 at $149. For those seeking bass, treble, and detail, though, the IDX 160 iE is probably the best choice sound-wise.
Of course, the cabling issues need to be considered, and if you tend to abuse your headphones, we recommend doing the unthinkable and sacrificing a little bit of quality by going with the Momentum In-Ear from Sennheiser instead. While you’ll save a cool $35, you’ll also be getting a stronger, elliptical audio cable that doesn’t feature a faulty connection halfway down the cable.
FYI, this earphone has been discontinued by Beyerdynamic, but is still available on the market and on Amazon. Before purchasing verify that your retailer is authorized.