Current testing methodology is v1.2
June 5, 2023
114 x 98 x 37 mm
One of the goals of the audiophile hobby, as with many, is to find the “endgame”. A common misconception about it is that endgame means “expensive”, which doesn’t have to be the case.
Sure, if you bought yourself a Sennheiser HE-1 setup for $60,000 (that’s just for the headphones and amp, by the way—once you’ve reached that point you’ve probably spent another ten grand on your source, DAC, and other components) that would be endgame by virtue of the fact that it’s literally the most expensive headphone you can buy.
But at least for me, a lot of the fun of the audiophile journey is finding endgame-worthy performance without an endgame-level price. In a way, the journey becomes almost like a maze of sorts; and the EW200 ‘Maze’ from SIMGOT seems the perfect earphone to use as a backdrop for this topic.
SIMGOT EW200 Maze
SIMGOT’s most compelling value option to date
Finding an endgame in the audiophile hobby can feel like wandering in a giant maze. The SIMGOT Maze, while it’s no flagship, offers a sound that’s satisfying enough to leave the hobby with a smile — and for just $40.
- Headphone Type: Closed-back in-ear monitor
- Driver Type: Single 10mm SCP (silicon crystal polymer diaphragm) dynamic driver
- Frequency Response: 10 – 50,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 126 dB / V
- Impedance: 16 Ω
What’s in the Box?
- SIMGOT EW200 Maze earphones
- Carrying pouch
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- 1.2m silver-plated copper cable (3.5mm to 0.78mm 2-pin)
Stuff I like
- Light, airy sound
- Excellent detail for the price
- Premium look and feel
Stuff I like less
- Sound might be too bright for some
- Low-end is a bit too lean
- Accessories are sparse
- Earpiece shape isn’t very comfortable
Disclaimer: This unit of the EW200 was graciously provided by SIMGOT in exchange for this review. They had no editorial control over this review and any thoughts are my own.
A Bit of Background
Based in Shenzhen, China, SIMGOT is an earphone maker I’ve covered a couple of times before—first with the $150 EN700 Pro and then with the $80 EA500. Both earphones were quite good in their own right partly for their sound but mostly for their looks.
Across their product range, the brand has been consistently great with their look and feel — and the SIMGOT EW200 Maze is no different even at its much lower price of $40.
Although the budget segment has seen an upward trend in looks and build quality over the years, this is partly made possible by compromising on other aspects. As expected, SIMGOT has done this on the EW200 Maze by skimping a bit on the packaging.
That said, we do still get a colored, printed box with inserts and a patterned slide-over cover with foil printing, similar to the EA500 I reviewed previously. Inside, you get three sizes of ear tips and a cloth carry pouch that I honestly think they could’ve just left out.
Even at its much lower price point of $40, the SIMGOT EW200 Maze still manages to be one of the better-looking earphones under $100. It takes a lot of styling cues from the EA500, mainly with its chromed housing finish and the very high-quality SPC cable. Especially considering how some people drop serious money just for cables, having an excellent one from the get-go is a huge value add for anyone who doesn’t want to get too deep into the hobby — not that there isn’t much of a reason to get an upgrade cable for a $40 earphone.
Although the glossy, reflective finish is a major smudge and fingerprint magnet, it’s surprisingly durable and can be cleaned pretty easily. The housings themselves are also pretty tough and should last you a very long time.
As it was with the EA500, I’m not a huge fan of the cable on the EW200. While they’re super pretty, I’m still a bit apprehensive of clear plastic sheathing as they will yellow over time and eventually crumble away. Maybe I’ll cover how they hold up in a future re-review.
Fit and Comfort
While the feel borrows from the higher-end EA500, the SIMGOT EW200 Maze shares the same housing design as the cheaper EW100P. While the more angular shape is more striking and distinct, I feel this move has also compromised the EW200’s comfort a bit.
To my ears, it mainly comes down to the more angular edges on the housings. The rather pointed bottom end was supposedly made to contour to the concha’s shape but it does dig in a bit too much when I have the earphones on.
I’ve also seen others have fit issues with the EW200 because of the “bulge” in the housing that holds the earphone drivers. This wasn’t a problem for me in my testing but it’s worth noting if you think you might have a problem with this.
The SIMGOT EW200 Maze impressed me right out of the gate with its light and airy sound signature. From first impressions, I thought it shared a lot of similarities with the EA500, an already great earphone in its own right. So to be able to pull off similar performance at just half the price was a very interesting prospect.
The low end of the EW200 Maze is probably where I feel a lot of listeners might be underwhelmed. There’s a decent amount of thump here, satisfyingly reproducing the thud of kick drums used throughout Tennyson’s “Slow Dance”, but I found it a bit lacking in impact for heavier electronic tracks like “DRUM GO DUM” by K/DA.
As someone who generally likes this leaner sound, it’s not a deal-breaker for me but I can understand how it can be one for those who have a more general listening preference and tend to want more bass power in it.
This lean-ness extends into the midrange, where a lack of spill-over from the bass produces beautifully clean and clear vocals that are one of the most impressive I’ve heard at this price so far. Like the EA500 before it, the SIMGOT EW200 Maze has a thin quality to it that makes female vocals shine but makes lower registers lose some of their warmth and weight. “Coming Home” by HONNE is a notable example that highlights this.
The EW200 also comes across as pretty forward in the midrange. There’s a bump around the 2 kHz range that makes vocals and guitars sound in-your-face and a bit shouty in some songs like “Dekada ‘70” by Zild. This frequency bump, however, isn’t a bug but a feature — something that SIMGOT directly acknowledges as part of its “target sound”.
Whether you agree with this sound comes down to your ears and your preferences. I personally don’t mind it too much.
The sound signature of the EW200 has so far stayed mostly similar to the EA500 — the treble response, however, is where things get markedly different. Where the more expensive model would come off as almost painfully bright at first listen, the EW200 is more restrained at the top end, softening the edge of things like the ride cymbal in Ben&Ben’s “Limasawa Street”.
To be clear, the EW200 still has a pretty bright sound even with this slight quirk, so it might still be a turn-off for some listeners.
The EW200’s soundstage is mostly unremarkable but expected for a budget earphone. Compared to the EA500, it definitely feels smaller, which to my ears is probably because of its more forward midrange and less extension in the top end.
As far as sub-$50 earphones go it’s one of the better ones but I’ve also yet to see anything especially amazing coming from this price bracket.
As with a lot of things, the value-for-money factor of the EW200 will mostly be dictated by how much you’re willing to spend on a pair of earphones. We live in a world where people easily fork over $150 for a pair of AirPods, after all.
At its $40 price point, the SIMGOT EW200 is a very strong contender in the sub-$50 space, with a price-to-performance that I feel puts it within spitting distance of the Moondrop Chu II. It’s 90% of the sound of the $80 EA500 for just half the price.
On that front, it’s an excellent pair of earphones — assuming you already like the bright, detailed sound of the EA500 in the first place.
The audiophile’s journey is usually long and winding, and can be extended ad infinitum if one finds more joy in constantly buying new gear than the intended goal of finding an endgame with the best way to enjoy the music you love.
This post was last updated on 2024-02-19 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.