Klipsch Image S4 Headphones

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Klipsch these into your ears ~ a sound investment ~ UPDATED

Jan 13, 2012 (Updated Apr 2, 2013)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Fairly comfortable; let you listen to your iPod with background noise.

Cons:Do not completely cancel out background noise. Can sound muffled sometimes. Broke eventually.

The Bottom Line: Overall, I've been happy with my Klipsch S4 headphones. They seem like a sound investment, but they were pretty expensive and don't have separate volume controls.


I am known as the headphone mangler. I've broken pretty much every pair of headphones I've ever used, including several pairs of iPod ear-buds, as well as dozens of airline pairs and more. I've even tried reinforcing my headphone wires with duck tape, but to no avail. After a few weeks or months, they always break ~ either the earpiece, or the wires, or the jack. So, when I was shopping for holiday gifts, I decided to treat myself to a new pair. One thing about these Klipsch S4 headphones caught my eye at Best Buy. "2-year replacement warranty" is written on the box. That was all I needed to know ~ I plunked down a small fortune (around $70) for these "amazingly comfortable, noise-isolating, in-ear headphones with enhanced bass." So, was it worth it?

COMFORT

These are pretty comfortable, mainly because of the two piece construction. The hard plastic earpiece and separate silicone cup fit into your ear pretty snugly, and don't hurt like my hard apple ear-buds did. I think the earpiece is bigger than it needs to be, but not enormous. It took me awhile to figure out the best way to fit these into my ear ~ I need to turn them slightly to stabilize them. These s4 headphones stay in my ears pretty well, even at night and while working out. I do have to readjust them every once in awhile. One thing I'm not sure I like is that the right and left earpieces are not interchangeable. These fit into my ears only a certain way, and if I'm listening to my iPod at night, I sometimes can't discern the left from right. Another thing which isn't ideal is that they protrude just enough that I can't always rest my head on the pillow comfortably. But, overall I can't complain about the design.

These headphones came with a carrying case that I've never used. They also come with two extra pairs of silicone buds (one smaller and one larger), which are the part that fits in your ear. I like the medium size  buds which came on the headpones, so I haven't tried changing the buds; but in case they ever come off, I am glad I have some replacements.

SOUND

These headphones sound clearly. Mostly, I listen to news and special interest podcasts with these headphones. They don't crackle or lose sound, like other headphones do. The right and left convey equal volume. When they are inserted correctly, the sound is very concentrated and I can't distinguish right from left, the sound seems to converge (which I like). I don't really notice the "Deep Bass", but I don't listen to music often enough to discern that. Occasionally, when I'm walking around with them in my ears, the sound gets a little muffled sounding. It's as if the "noise isolating" properties, which are supposed to block out background noise, make the headphones sound seem muffled. I can re-adjust them to fix the problem, but I do notice it mostly at the gym. I hear plenty of background noise at the gym, so don't expect total quiet from your surroundings when you're plugged in.

I also wonder if I should have bought the more expensive model, which has a separate volume control. These headphones don't have a volume control, and I find that my iPod can get very loud, but doesn't offer much range in the "soft" tones. So, these headphones don't offer any tools to control my iPod's volume.

DURABILITY
I've had these over a month, and so far they haven't broken. The cords are different than other cords, being round and sturdy feeling. The weakest links in cheap headphones seem to be located at the connection points, and the connections on these S4 earbuds are protected by rubber gaskets that (so far) have kept the cords from ripping out. These Klipsch headphones also don't get tangled up as much as other pairs I've owned.

The main reason I bought these was for the warranty, which I hope I never need to use. The terms of their warranty are listed on the Klipsch website, but after reading them, I'm not convinced that it would really do me any good. Here are two provisions which sound cautionary:

"This limited warranty does not cover failure of the product resulting from improper installation, misuse, abuse, accident, neglect, mishandling, or wear from ordinary use or environmental deterioration.

This limited warranty does not cover cosmetic damage, including paint damage, or consequential damage to other components or premises which may result for any reason from the failure of the product."

In my experience, the main reason headphones break is from handling or mishandling ~ they get tugged on or pulled, dropped, sat on or underfoot. So in case these ever do break, I'm not positive that they would accept my claim.

These appear to be solid and well made. They are definitely much better made than a standard pair of airplane headphones, and my apple earbuds. But, I've seen similar headphones for much less money ~ I am not sure what exactly makes these so expensive, but if they last me for more than a year I will know my investment was SOUND.

UPDATE: These lasted for quite awhile, but definitely not over a year. After awhile, I was worried that the cords would get ripped from the ends, so I duct taped them together for protection. Gradually, the earbuds stopped transmitting sound, one at a time. I did not feel I could take advantage of the warranty, however, since the warranty precludes physical damage. So, these are good headphones, but they are not immune to tugging, pulling and tough wear. I'm removing a star because I was hoping they'd last longer.


Recommend this product? Yes

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