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Sennheiser IE 40 PRO Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed May 16, 2019 at 10:44 am
Sennheiser IE 40 PRO Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
5.9
Mixed Usage
7.1
Neutral Sound
5.5
Commute/Travel
6.5
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
4.1
Wireless Gaming
6.1
Wired Gaming
2.4
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO are well-designed in-ear headphones that have an acceptable sound signature. They don’t have the same comfortable fit as some other similarly designed headphones, but they still block a good amount of ambient noise, especially work environment noise. They're also well-built, though their detachable cable is fairly loose and comes off easily. The IE 40 PRO are decent wired headphones but won’t be the best option if you can’t find a good fit.

Our Verdict

5.9 Mixed Usage

Okay for mixed usage. These small earbuds have a passable sound quality for critical listeners, but they lack sub-bass which won’t be ideal for bass-heavy genres. They are decent sports headphones thanks to their small build and ear-hook design, but these in-ear monitors weren’t really designed for this use. They can be used at the office since they block a decent amount of work environment noises. However, they won’t be the best for watching TV or gaming since their cable is very short and they don’t have a microphone for online games. On the upside, their wired connection will be good for watching video content without a delay.

7.1 Neutral Sound

Acceptable for neutral listening. The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO have good bass, a well-balanced and even mid-range, and a fairly flat treble. However, they might feel light on thump and rumble and their bass is slightly boomy. Also, sibilants (S and T sounds) may feel overly sharp and piercing on certain bright tracks. Overall, they won’t be the ideal choice for bass-heavy music with lots of sub-bass like dubstep and EDM, but can be a good option for vocal-centric music.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
5.5 Commute/Travel

Okay for commuting. These headphones are fairly portable and easy to carry around when traveling. They have a decent isolation performance, but they don’t do much against the deep rumble of bus and airplane engines, which won’t be great for commuting. They can be a good option if you want to watch TV shows during your commute, as their wired connection won’t have any latency issues.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
6.5 Sports/Fitness

Good for sports. These headphones are very easy to carry around to the gym and they are stable enough for you to work out with thanks to their ear-hook design. They don’t move around too much with head movement if you can find a good fit. Additionally, you shouldn’t sweat more than usual if you workout with these headphones.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
5.7 Office

Okay for the office. These in-ears are not the most comfortable headphones, and if you’ve had comfort issues with other in-ears, you’ll more than likely have some with these. They won’t be the best option to wear for multiple hours during a work day. On the upside, they block out work environment noise well and you won’t have to manage a battery life, which some may prefer. However, this means they won’t offer the versatility and freedom of a wireless design.

See our Office recommendations
4.1 Wireless Gaming

Poor for gaming. The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO won’t be comfortable for long gaming marathons and won’t offer the customization options of most gaming headphones we’ve reviewed so far. They also lack a microphone, which isn’t ideal for online games.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
6.1 Wired Gaming
2.4 Phone Calls
  • 5.9 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 5.5 Commute/Travel
  • 6.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.7 Office
  • 4.1 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.1 Wired Gaming
  • 2.4 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Durable build with detachable cables.
  • Good isolation performance.
  • Acceptable sound quality.
Cons
  • Loose earbud connectors.
  • In-ear fit won’t be comfortable for everyone.
  1. Update 3/26/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO are low-profile yet fairly stylish in-ear headphones. They have an ear-hook design and don’t have a typical in-ear style. They have a more professional look like most in-ear monitors. You can get these headphones with a transparent clear casing on a black color scheme.

6.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The IE 40 PRO have a similar design to the Shure SE215, but they sit differently inside the ear. They enter your ear canal fairly deeply and they feel more like typical in-ears. If you dislike the fit of these kinds of headphones, you'll likely experience similar discomfort with the IE 40 PRO. On the upside, they come with 3 tip sizes and one foam tip option as well, which some people may find more comfortable. If you can achieve a good fit, they are very lightweight and you can barely feel the headphones sitting inside your ears.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones do not have an in-line remote with controls.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 C

Like most in-ears, these headphones don’t trap heat inside your ears and they stay fairly cool during long listening sessions. This makes them a decent option for sports as they won’t make you sweat more than usual. You shouldn’t notice a big difference in temperature when wearing them.

9.2
Design
Portability
L 2.0 "
W 2.1 "
H 0.8 "
Volume 3 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These headphones can easily fit in pockets or a bag, like most in-ears. They also come with a small pouch that doesn’t add too much bulk and can fit in most pockets.

6.0
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones come with a small pouch that resembles that of the Jaybird X4 and Jaybird Tarah Pro. It slightly protects the headphones from scratches and minor water exposure, but won’t protect that well against physical damage from falls.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO are well-built in-ears, but aren’t quite on par with the Shure SE215. The buds are dense, but the material used doesn’t feel as durable. Also, even if their cable is detachable, it is fairly easy to accidentally disconnect it from the earbuds when not around your ears. This gives it a cheap feeling since the connection doesn’t feel secure and you might easily lose the earbuds. They still feel durable and sturdy, but they aren't the best-built option.

7.5
Design
Stability

The ear-hook design of the IE 40 PRO helps with their stability. They shouldn’t fall to the ground when using them for running. However, head movement might make the buds move inside your ear a bit. They should be fine for the occasional jog, but this wasn’t their intended use. Although the cable could easily disconnect from the earbuds, they are more secure (and won't detach as easily) when wrapped around your ears.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sennheiser IE 40 PRO headphones
  • 3x tip sizes
  • 1x foam tips
  • Cleaning tool
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.26 db
Treble Amount
-1.73 db
8.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.27 dB

The frequency response consistency is excellent. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.8
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.86 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
45.55 Hz
Low-Bass
-4.91 dB
Mid-Bass
0.07 dB
High-Bass
2.93 dB

The bass performance of these headphones is good. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 45Hz, which is decent. This and the 5dB dip in low-bass indicates that they might be lacking in sub-bass and thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres like dubstep and EDM. There’s a tilt favoring higher bass frequencies, making the overall bass light on thump but slightly boomy.

8.8
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.63 dB
Low-Mid
2.45 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.01 dB
High-Mid
-0.09 dB

The mid-range of the IE 40 PRO is very good. The 3dB bump in low-mid is actually the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis. This tends to thicken the vocals and lead instruments and make the overall mix sound slightly cluttered. However, mid-mid and high-mid are much better balanced, meaning the upper harmonics of vocals/leads will be reproduced properly.

7.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.97 dB
Low-Treble
-3.52 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.15 dB
High-Treble
-1.34 dB

The IE 40 PRO have a decent treble range. The response throughout the range is fairly flat and even until 10kHz. There’s a small dip in low-treble that will negatively affect the detail and brightness of vocals and leads. The high peak starting at 9kHz will also make sibilants (S and T sounds) overly sharp and piercing, especially on already bright tracks. However, not everyone will hear this as intensely.

8.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.02 db
Dips
1.21 db
8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.24
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.9
Weighted Phase Mismatch
1.44

The stereo imaging performance is great. The weighted group delay is at 0.17, which is very low. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (instruments, voice, footsteps) in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours might perform differently.

1.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
3.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.9

The soundstage is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because these headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods 2 2019, Google Pixel Buds, or the Bose SoundSport Free.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.135
WHD @ 100
0.046
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
No Microphone
Isolation
6.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-16.82 dB
Bass
-2.43 dB
Mid
-17.96 dB
Treble
-31.63 dB

The isolation performance of the IE 40 PRO is decent. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they isolate by about 2dB, which is negligible. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they reduce outside noise by 18dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, and fan noises like A/C systems, they achieve more than 32dB of isolation, which is also good.

9.2
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
26.01 dB

The leakage performance is excellent. Like most other closed-back in-ears, these headphones don't leak in the bass and mid-ranges. The significant portion of their leakage is in treble in a very narrow range. The overall level of the leakage is very quiet too. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 26dB SPL and peaks at around 44dB SPL, which is lower than the noise floor of most offices.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

These headphones don’t have a battery.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

There is no companion app for the IE 40 PRO.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

These headphones are not Bluetooth-compatible.

Thanks to their wired connection, these headphones don’t have any latency issues and will be great for watching video and gaming.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.3 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The IE 40 PRO are wired headphones and don’t have an in-line microphone, meaning you will have audio support via their 1/8” TRS connector.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

These headphones don’t have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO are decent in-ear headphones with decent sound quality, but they won’t necessarily be a better option than other similar in-ear monitor headphones. They offer good value overall, but they aren’t as comfortable as other options on top of not having a great noise isolation performance. See our recommendations for the best wired headphones, the best earbuds and in-ears, and the best cheap earbuds.

Shure SE215
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Shure SE215 and Sennheiser IE 40 PRO are pretty similar in-ear headphones, but each are slightly better in different categories. The Shure are better-built as their detachable cable isn’t as loose as the IE 40 PRO’s, and the buds feel a bit better-made. Also, they fit better inside the ears, making them more comfortable and creating a better seal for excellent isolation. On the other hand, the IE 40 PRO have a better treble range reproduction as the SE215 have a broad dip that affects the detail and brightness of those frequencies. However, the IE 40 PRO have a significant lack of low-bass.

Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear / Momentum In-Ear
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO are slightly better critical listening in-ears than the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear. They are better-built than the Momentum and have slightly better audio reproduction. On the other hand, the Momentum might be more versatile for casual listening thanks to the in-line remote, and their fit blocks more ambient noise, which will be better for commuting and traveling. They also have an in-line microphone for calls that the IE 40 PRO doesn’t have.

1More Triple Driver
SEE PRICE
B&H

The 1More Triple Driver are better critical listening headphones than the Sennheiser IE 40 PRO. They are slightly more comfortable thanks to their angled design, but they don’t have the detachable cable of the IE 40 PRO. Sound-wise, they are noticeably more neutral, especially since they don’t have a bass roll-off in low-bass. Their fit isolates about the same amount of noise as the IE 40 PRO too. They have a microphone and in-line controls, which is more versatile for everyday casual use.

TIN Audio T3
Unavailable
B&H

If you like bass-heavy music, the TIN Audio T3 will be a better choice than the Sennheiser IE 40 PRO. Their sound profiles are fairly similar, but the low-bass of the T3 is more accurate and doesn’t lack thump like the IE 40 PROs. The TIN Audio T3 are also better-built and feel more durable. Their bud design creates a better air-tight seal and will isolate against ambient noise very well.

Sennheiser IE 40 PRO Price

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