Klipsch has a long and distinguished history in the world of audio, but is a relatively new name in the world of iPod earphones. The Klipsch Image earphones are the first set we've reviewed from the company, and it's clear that Klipsch has dived right in at the deep end.
The Klipsch Image earbuds are sold as: "the world's smallest, lightest earphones". While we're not sure of the veracity of that claim, we can attest that they are indeed both small and light. The Image earphones are marvellously thin and fit in your ear almost horizontally (rather than hanging down).
The Klipsch Image command a premium price too, with an SRP (suggested retail price) of £199, but they do produce excellent audio quality. The package also includes a set of nice additions, including two good cases, a large minijack connector, airline adaptor and replacement buds and a cleaning pick.
Like the best earphones on the market, the Klipsch Image are canalbuds.
This type of headphone features rubber plugs that fit into your ear canal and block out all extraneous noise. Klipsch claims that its buds feature patented contour ear gel that: "accurately fits inside the human ear canal". While we can't physically observe any differences between these and other canalbuds on the market, the Klipsch Image certainly seemed to fit much better than other models we've tried. In day-to-day use, probably the most compelling feature of the Klipsch Image buds is their comfort factor (something sorely missing with many other canalbud models).
They also look quite sturdy. Because the Klipsch Image earbuds stick out horizontally and the wires don't have the traditional 45-degree bend, we'd hazard a guess that they won't suffer from the cable damage that blights most earphones.
However, the flip side of this is that the Klipsch Image suffer particularly from 'friction noise' (this is a noise you hear inside your head when you knock the cord). It's a common problem on canalphones and most manufacturers have had to address it (Shure by wrapping earphones above the ears, V-Moda by creating thicker cords, etc.).
Sadly, it seems to be a particular problem for Klipsch and makes the Klipsch Image earphones poorly suited to mobile use (walking around is difficult; running is nigh-on impossible). Hopefully this is something that will be addressed next time around because aside from that these are competent and well-built.
Two hundred pounds is a lot to spend on a set of earphones, and we're not wholly convinced that the Klipsch Image is the best investment. They are undoubtedly stylish and comfortable and the audio quality is, admittedly, very good. It's just not as good as our favourite set of headphones, the Shure SE530s (even though Shure's offering is even more expensive). If you're going to spend such a large amount on headphones, you might as well go the whole hog and get the very best on the market.