- Sturdy design, smooth sound
- Poor detail, mid-range muffled
TDK's ST-200 headphones won't blow your mind with their sound quality, but they offer an affordable upgrade from your stock ear buds and are nicely designed as well.
Price$ 29.95 (AUD)
TDK seem to be attacking the headphone market with force in the last six to 12 months, releasing a slew of new models. Offering an affordable option with decent but uninspiring sound quality, their ST-200 studio model is a somewhat attractive offering for users wanting an over-the-head alternative to their iPod ear buds at a relatively low cost.
Of course in the audio world you typically get what you pay for, and thus these headphones don't offer incredible quality audio. That said they'll do the job for most casual listeners.
The sound is extremely smooth, with all the different musical elements flowing together very nicely. This is great for simple music, but it leads to a fairly hefty loss of detail that means more complex tunes don't sound as impressive. It was hard to pick out the individual notes and guitar plucks in many of our test tracks.
Bass is the dominant element of the ST-200s, with a warm, rich tone and fairly slow decay. They do however drown out the mid range, which is quite recessed and dull at times. Meanwhile the treble notes are quite sweet, with impressive range, but they do verge on harsh at times. The sound stage is fairly two-dimensional, but that is to be expected from headphones with this price tag.
They are fairly comfortable to wear even over long stretches, although the design does put quite a lot of pressure on the sides of your head. It has an adjustable headband which can be altered to fit comfortably on your head.
As they are described as studio headphones it comes as no surprise that a cursory effort to close the design and block out external noise has been made; however, it does a relatively poor job. People talking in the background sounded slightly muffled but you'll still hear most things while wearing the ST-200.
Aesthetically they are fairly interesting. Our test model had a camouflage colour scheme which certainly is quite striking. Other colour combinations available include blue and white, and black and white. The build quality is fairly good; they definitely feel more sturdy than most other cut-price models we've seen recently.
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