Klipsch Image S3 In-Ear only Headphones - Perfect Pink

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Solid, No-fuss Intra-Aurals

Apr 24, 2011 (Updated Apr 27, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:More comfortable than cheaper products, great sound, many tips

Cons:Long-term comfort needs some getting used to

The Bottom Line: Good quality & fit, great sound, reasonably price... intra-aural nay-sayers, I dare you to try these!


The purchase of my Klipsch S3 was pretty much a spur of the moment thing. Two years of accumulated rage against the old Sony earbuds that I owned took its toll, I guess. I use full-sized headphones normally when I'm not in the gym, and rediscovering how crappy my old earphones were when switch between pairs was growing old. On my way to the gym one day, I decided enough was enough, and went to my local Futureshop to purchase some new workout earphones.

At first, I was considering ear-clip more than intra-aural design, as I have had many bad experiences with the fit and comfort of the latter. My ear canals seem to be difform; nothing would quite hold up. The salesman quickly questioned my initial purchase intentions, and showed me some higher end intra-aurals that, according to him, we're much more comfortable and offered a custom fit via different ear tips. Plus, he pointed out that they do a killer job of isolating noise, which is a plus in a gym like mine where the employees seem to enjoy 90's mainstream house music a bit too much. The Klipsch intra-aural S-series seemed to be the best bang/buck according to the salesman. Within the series I settle for something mi-range, the S3, since I didn't necessarily need the water-resistance, mic and controls found on the S4 and S5 models. 60$ later, I walked out with a pair of new headphone, gym-bound for immediate testing.

Unlike some of the other headphones that I have seen in this price  point, I really felt like I had gotten something worth my money. I work for a big-box retail, and headphones is one of these items on which we have a bit more margin, therefor paying top dollar doesn't necessarily mean getting a quality product. Klipsch has built a name for itself in audio, and clearly it doesn't want to lose it over 60$... at least according to what the build quality indicates. The body of these headphones is made of high density plastic that is light, yet feels solid, and even the ear tips don't feel or smell like cheap plastic or silicon. The finish is pleasing to the eye, has a kind of "auto paint" look to it. The cable is thick enough to be sturdy and resilient to twisting, yet it is not enough to add some unnecessary weight. The 3.5mm jack and the attachment points to the headphones look like they can stand up to some abuse, which has been confirmed after a couple of cable-snagging incidents.

Fitting the headphones to your ears properly really requires trying out all the tips. I personally have found the "Christmas tree" tips to be top notch. Initially, the earphones are very comfy, but you may experience slight pain in your ears like I did on the second and third use. After that, your ears seem to get used to the positive pressure of having something stuffed up there, and all is good. Just be sure to clean the tips often, specially if you do not have the habit of cleaning the inside of your ears regularly... ear wax is nasty and may compromise the fit of the ear-buds. Plus, nobody wants to get an ear infection from their earphones. Be sure to read the manual with these: the 180 degree flipped "sport" wearing mode is particularly useful when running, and makes the fit of the earphones paramount to having them bolted in your head.

The sound quality on these earphones is great considering the price. Isolation means the bass is amply present, and the tiny drivers can put out some serious high frequencies. Lots of other intra-aurals that I have tried have sounded way too bassy, whereas this set is much more balanced. I listen to electronic music mostly, and I enjoy precise, tight bass; while the S3s do not match my Grado SR60s when it comes to this, they do a very decent job nonetheless. Some rock listeners might find it necessary to play around with their playback device's EQ to get the sound just perfect, but for what I use these for (jungle, dubstep, garage & UK funky) and flat EQ gets the job done.

I'll be honest, I really would rather enjoy a full-sized open-diaphragm headset over than intra-aural earphones any day of the week. But when I just can't lug around a full-sized pair of cans, I'm very happy to have spent a bit a cash for a reasonable set of in-ear earphones like these. 


Recommend this product? Yes

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