Top positive review
53 people found this helpful
Wow, abolutely stunning!
on December 12, 2011
My dad introduced me to Klipsch speakers at a very young age, and since then I've bought nothing else when it comes to audio products. Headphones are no different: I got a pair of Klipsch S4's not long after they came out, and the S4i's basically the day they came out. They've been fantastic for me, they sound like headphones that should cost hundreds of dollars more. Once I used them once I could never go back to the crappy headphones iPods come with. The only problem I had with the S4 and S4i's are the slightly overpowering bass. I say slightly, because it's very slight and not noticeable to most people, but me being a self-proclaimed audiophile, I notice. The stronger bass makes sense for pop and hip-hop music, which is the music most of the target audience of the headphones listen to, but for jazz, classical, and even rock, the bass can be a little overpowering at times. I love bass, but I love treble just as much, and I would like both to be balanced out equally.
That's where the Reference S4i's come in. The headphones are re-tuned to sound more like the Klipsch Reference speaker line, and speaking as an owner of these very speakers, they achieve it. If you love hearing subtle things in a song, these headphones are fantastic. Soft symbol and tom hits on the drum track while playing jazz are clearly heard; something I couldn't always say with the S4i's. Strums of individual strings are heard with vivid detail. Even egg shakers in the background can be heard! It's amazing what new things you'll hear in your favorite songs with these headphones!
The aesthetics of the headphones enjoy an upgrade as well. I want to note that I immediately switched the included ear tips with foam ones, which I prefer, so I won't comment on the included tips other than that they're the same that comes with the S4 and S4i's. The earbuds themselves have copper accents rather than the chromatic ones in the S4's. They're made to match the Reference series of speakers (hence the name), and they look fantastic. I really prefer the copper look over the chromatic one, it makes them unique and gives them the Klipsch flavor. The cable is upgraded as well, and it's also for the better. If you've ever handled speaker wire, that's what you can imagine when you think of the cable. Though it's still the same thickness as the S4's, it's much more durable, and I'm not afraid it's going to break on me like I was with previous models. They also chose to have a clear cable, showing off the twisted copper wires inside. It's a good look, and personally I like it a lot. One more thing I'd like to note, though the 2.5mm connector isn't an L-shaped connector, the top of the connection has been upgraded to be much more flexible than the S4i's. As this was one of the main problem areas of the S4i's (I've had to replace two because the wire was stripped at this spot), this small upgrade is very much appreciated.
But at the end of the day, sound quality is king when it comes to earbuds, and as I've said earlier these don't disappoint. The bass being slightly turned down can be a pro or a con to some people. For me, it's a huge pro, since I found the S4 and S4i's bass to be a little punchy. Many people like this, and to those people I say buy the S4's, you most definitely won't be disappointed. With that being said, the bass is still very much present in these headphones (I love bass as much as anyone), but just slightly subdued, opening up other sounds to be heard. If you're the type of listener who appreciates the subtle things, then these headphones are perfect. You'll be shocked at how much music you're missing.
I've only been testing these for a few hours, and they already sound better than the S4i's I came from. With a work-in period, they should only sound better. I'll upgrade the review in around a month's time to comment on that as well. If I haven't made myself perfectly clear by now, buy these headphones! Even though they're not cheap, they'll be the best thing you've ever bought.
UPDATE: After using these for a solid two months, I can say that the sound has gotten even better. Sound-staging is much more open than when I first got them out of the box. I feel like the music is more in front of me, rather than in my head. Earbuds usually have a touch time getting this effect, but the Reference S4i's do it effortlessly. Audio doesn't go out of date like most technology does, so if you treat these right, these headphones should last you a long, long time. Conclusion: buy these now, you won't regret it.