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on August 7, 2009
This will be an ongoing review for Klipsch Image S4 ear buds.

Upfront info: I plan on using these headphones primary to work out with, for approximately 1.5 hours, 5 times a week. Also, I have largish ear canals, and I sweat alot, so good fit is important and can be difficult. They will also be used to listen to music just sitting around, but I use my speakers more frequently.

Other headphones used: various included with mp3 player (clip, clix2, iPod, zen), several Sony, JVC, and Samsung over-ear and in-ear buds in the 40-50 dollar range. Later I will also compare them to my 'cans (Sennheiser HD-280 Pro's)

7 Aug 09 - First Day of use, initial impressions (used with Clip 1Gb, large tips):
In a few words: lightweight, very clear sound, decent seal, but right ear didn't stay while running
In a few more words: Other reviews have commented on the cord being thin, it didn't really seem overly so to me but I will take care not to catch it on anything. Very simple to put in and get a good seal (while sitting still). If you're having trouble, remember that they are angled, so they should be inserted at a slight angle. The right ear kept falling out while running but I think the large ear tip was a tad too large, I will try using the medium ear tip on Monday. Sound reproduction is clear, although I wasn't really listening to anything to push the 'buds (Revis, Seether, and some Flogging Molly). Sound isolation was excellent (when sealed), I could only hear the noise in the gym if I wanted to.

7 Aug 09 - First Day of use, sound testing (computer, with Creative X-Fi sound card)
In a few words: awesome sound clarity and response, extremely comfortable
In a few more words: Pushed them a bit more: Diva Dance (Fifth Element), Battlestar Galactica Season 4 soundtrack, Nightwish, Blue Man Group, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Blues Traveler, and Nickle Creek. Overall sound was crisp, and I heard elements in almost all of these bands that I didn't realize existed before. With no equalizer or sound effects the bass was acceptable, but for true bass addicts it will be light. However, if you set the equalizer to emphasize the bass a bit more than standard, you should be happy.

First Day Overall: excellent buy at $80, very comfortable to wear for several hours, cannot say enough about sound clarity and response, case is useful for gym rats, easy to seal, you will tell the difference between poorly encoded music and lossless formats (not a con for the 'buds). Bass can be light, cord is no thicker than cheapo ear-bud cord and could be nicked easily

I will update this review again on 14 Aug

Okay, so it's a bit later that 14 Aug, decided to do a two week review instead.

Put many hours on these headphones already and I continue to be impressed. I'm still having trouble with fit while running, I'm going to try buying some additional tips for them. Comparing them to my Sennheiser, the sound quality and comfort is nearly identical, the biggest difference is the bass and the warmth of the music. The Sennheiser cans have a deeper bass and make you feel like the bands right there. Of course, their MSRP is double the S4's, so I would expect that. My only real compliant is the lack of a clip on the cord. Part of the problem while running is the weight of the cord pulling the headphones out, a clip would fix this, but they don't have one. Going to see if I can adapt a clip from something else and see how it works.
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on May 27, 2009
So I just got my Images S4's in the mail and I must say, me gusta. They were a little smaller then I was imagining, but that is definately not a bad thing. In fact, i'd say it's a plus. The first thing I notice is the beautiful styling of the earbuds. They look and fell well made, which I'm sure they are. They fit comfortably in the ear and don't move around during some headbanging :). Now for the best part: the sound. It's incredible. The sound is clear; not at all drowned out by the bass, like some others out on the market. But that's not to say there isn't much bass, there is. It is that the bass is in the perfect amount. Anyway I think I will cut this review a bit short so I can enjoy the S4's a bit more. I would recommend these earbuds to anyone who likes clean, crisp sound with plenty of bass. That's all for now.
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on September 17, 2009
Based on the reviews here, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the Cnet review of the Klipsch Image S4 raved about how great they sounded, so I ordered them anyways. They're pretty hard to find in stock sometimes, so I guess everyone else wants them too.

First impression: the sound clarity is fantastic. Using the medium (default) silicon buds, the seal in my ears was good and the sound stage was better than I've ever experienced from any headphones.

I tried the other included silicon buds to see if they would fit better, but they did not. The small ones are super uncomfortable for me and never sealed, and the large ones kept sliding out of my ears. The medium ones really were the best.

Unfortunately, even the medium buds don't stay in perfectly. I can't use these while exercising without having to re-insert them every once in a while. Also, the in-ear seal is a little too good, it completely drowns out the outside world. While this may be preferable for getting the best sound quality, it's not so good when I'm biking and need to hear what's going on around me. Even lowering the volume doesn't help. So these headphones are really only good for listening to music while not moving.

The Cnet review noted that these headphones looked flimsy and might not last very long. I don't agree at all, they look sturdier than most headphones I've seen. Especially better than the ones that were included in my Cowon S9 media player. The included tin case is a great bonus, too.

If you're a discriminating audiophile but can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a set of headphones, then these are definitely for you. If you're looking for something to use while out jogging or biking, you may want to look elsewhere.
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on November 2, 2012
I had high hopes for these, based on all of the glowing reviews. I decided to order four pairs of earbuds - the Ultimate Ears UE600 and UE500, the Shure SE215's and the Klipsch S4's, with the hope of finding at least one pair that's a keeper. I was looking at the under-$100 price point. Like most people, when buying something new, I read a bunch of reviews, compare specs and usually choose the one with the highest number of good reviews. With something subjective like sound quality however, it's a good idea to listen to a few choices before reaching a decision.

After hearing the S4's, I'm surprised that they have such a large following. What a letdown. They sounded very average, with exaggerated, boomy bass and rather harsh (sibilant) highs. Just shows you what one CNET review and an effective marketing campaign can do. For the current price of $49, however, I'd say they're worth it if you need some loud earbuds with good sound isolation to use in noisy environments, like on a motorcycle, commuting on a train or bus, while working out, etc. The sound isolation is excellent.

The UE600's are great and blow the S4's away, as far as clarity and detail. The balanced armature driver provides amazingly detailed vocals and instrumentals. The only thing is they don't provide very deep, extended bass. However, the bass is there. They do have some punch and seem to handle lows accurately. But if you're a 'bass head' or listen mainly to hip hop and prefer accentuated bass, the UE600s aren't your best choice.

But the pair I'm going to keep are the SE215's. They are awesome and put the S4's and UE500/600's to shame. Smooth, balanced, warm, distortion-free sound from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. The bass is not only strong, but tight and controlled. The highs are never harsh. They sound great with all genres. At $100, they do cost quite a bit more than the S4's are currently going for, but if that's within your budget, you should check them out. I've heard that they sometimes go on sale for around $70.
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on December 21, 2010
First and foremost, these are excellent earphones. In terms of dollar-to-quality value, it's hard to beat them. They offer a crisp, clear sound that lets you enjoy bits of music that you had listened to dozens of times without ever hearing some of the detail. One of the first songs I listened to was the Beatles song "In My Life," which features a harmony that is typical in their music. While on my other earphones, I can hear the harmony clearly, these allowed me to pick up on all three different voices distinctly. These add value to anyone who is going to be actively listening to music (if you're only going to listen to tunes passively, you probably don't need phones this nice)

However, there are a couple of minor quibbles. These are not major, but they are notable and could affect your decision to buy.

1. The cords are skinny and could be prone to damage. These need to be treated with care, and I think they are probably decently fragile. If you aren't prepared to treat these with care, or if you haphazardly break things, you might not want to spend this much.

2. The fit isn't perfect. I have large ears, but even with the largest included tips, these have a habit of falling out of my ears after a while (usually after about an hour or so of listening). This is a relatively minor thing, as I often adjust them long before they are in danger of coming out, but for some this might impact the listening experience. Again, my ears are shaped kind of funny, but the grip on these could be better for staying in. If I was a jogger, this would be a major problem.

3. They need burn-in time. If you're not familiar with the concept of burn-in, it's the process of letting the earphones play music for anywhere from 24-75 hours before they are at full quality (I left them playing music at a comfortable volume on my MP3 player). I found that these needed about two days to warm up for about 2 days before they were really ready. This is not uncommon in high-end phones, but it was definitely annoying when I put them in just after getting them and couldn't enjoy the full quality of the product. There was a very appreciable difference after the burn-in, so be ready to do so or it will take you a while to listen to these enough to get them up to snuff.

Again, I am being nitpicky here, but for $80 earphones I think I ought to be. These are a solid set for anyone who wants to hear their music reach its full potential without needing the full audiophile experience.
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on June 22, 2012
After a few months, these noise-isolating headphones could be labeled as noise-preventing (or music-enjoyment-preventing).

After 4-5 months, one ear or the other would stop working, then restart off and on. (Testing with other headphones and earbuds did not have the same issue, so it's not my ears.) I purchased replacement Klipsch MD CLR Medium Size Replacement Ear Tip: no difference and no help.

6 months in, the headphones stopped working.

I followed up with Klipsch and they responded very quickly to replace the defective headphones (as the 2-year warranty is still in effect).

Follow-up: Klipsch replaced the first pair and the 2nd has been going strong ever since. Great to see some good customer service!

2nd Follow-up: 2nd pair died in the exact same fashion in about 6 months. One earbud just stopped working. Sigh.
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on March 17, 2011
I purchased these earbuds about a month ago, so have had time to use them in various situations. For sit-down, no motion types of situations the sound is OK. It is clear but the bass is surprisingly lacking. I have tried dthe ifferent size ear inserts that come with the buds and none of them work well. The best insert is perhaps but mid-size unit, but to get acceptable bass I have to really push them in hard. To the point where it is not at all comfortable. And even then the bass is just so-so. There is no real depth, defintion or clarity.
Where these really fail is when I use them for jogging. As some previous reviewers have noted, they tend to fall out very easily. I can definitely confirm that occurs for all 3 sizes of the inserts. In summary, these buds are VERY disappointing considering their price and the fact they have received some favorable reviews. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to test these prior to purchcase. I would either try test these somehow before buying or just simply avoid them. There are other much better and cheaper choices I have found.
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on December 23, 2009
Much of my dissatisfaction with this product relates to who I am as a music listener. A reader of this review should similarly take into account their specific needs and habits when choosing this product.

I listen to a lot of music (read: hours per day) across many genres, but I am not an audiophile (read: not pretentious about equipment and not going to use a lot of jargon). I owned a pair of Shure E4c earbuds (~$170) that I loved, but had slowly destroyed their wires over 3 years of use. When it came time to buy a new pair of earbuds, I found a glowing review of the Klipsch Image S4 on CNET. At $80, they seemed like an obvious choice given the reports of great fit and sound quality.

The "great fit" part was true. The buds had an oval shape that was super-comfortable in the ear canal.

In terms of sound, I found that excessive bass ruined much of the music that I generally listen to. For example, much of the indie music I listen to (e.g. Belle & Sebastian and Sufjan Stevens) sounded strange because the bass drum suddenly became such a prominent (and distracting) feature of the songs. Clearly, neither this sort of musician nor their producers intended to have this much bass in their songs. I have similar feelings about classical music on these earbuds.

That being said, because the problem was excessive bass and not sound clarity, some genres seemed to sound better on these earbuds. In particular electronic, dub, and hip-hop had a lot of oomph in their sound. Groups such as Junior Boys sounded better on these earbuds when compared to the lighter, crisper bass of the E4c buds.

Because I wanted earbuds that were great across a wide range of music I sent back the Image S4 buds. Instead, I bought the Shure SE310 (~$170), which are more or less the equivalent of the E4cs I had before. I have been quite happy with them for a few months now.

As a side note, I believe that if you really want strong bass that does not overwhelm the higher pitches in music, you should consider on or over-the-ear headphones. For example, I was impressed by my friend's Sennheiser HD 25-1 II headphones (~$200). If you like bass and can't afford to drop $350+ for really high-end stuff, consider switching away from earbuds.
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on March 10, 2011
I wish I could give this a 0. Like others with customer service woes with Klipsch, I encountered the same problem. The sound completely cut out of the right earbud in 5 months (I got them the 1st week of October, they died the first week of March), rendering them completely useless. I called product support and they told me to send an email to technicalsupport@klipsch.com, which I did. I received no response, so I went into the live chat a few days later and was given a new email address to try (promedia@klipsch.com). I forwarded my email to that address and within a couple minutes I was told they can't do anything for me and I needed to contact the seller directly for a warranty. I bought them right here on Amazon. I replied to the email asking for clarification and why they would turn me away when I bought an expensive product of theirs that malfunctioned after only 5 months; I guess it should be no surprise that I have received no response. Back to Shure it is.
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VINE VOICEon August 13, 2012
I bought these because of the good reviews here on Amazon and because they looked like good workout headphones. They are mediocre for running/jogging. Why? Because when I start sweating, the earpieces fill up with sweat and stop working. They sound great when I'm not sweating. These $11 Sony MDR-ED12LP Earbuds (Silver) do a better job during long runs/jogs than the Klipsch S4's. I am at a loss. If I wasn't in Afghanistan I would probably return these for a different design.

If you never plan to exercise or break a sweat with these in your ears, they sound great otherwise. Additionally, if you clip your music player to your shirt (I do) the straight out design of the 2.5mm plug is not ideal. Most in-ear phones have an L shaped plug to keep the wire from crimping. For some reason, these earphones do not. I get the feeling the wire is going to get damaged sooner or later as a result.
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