Klipsch X7i Review

AnAndroidDroid

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Mar 8, 2013
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Well this sub-forum is gathering dust, so thought I'd write up a quick review of these badboys I've been using for a little over a year now.

Design
Quite frankly, these are the best looking in-ear headphones I've ever seen personally. The earbuds themselves have a very small profile and are made with ceramics. They definitely have a unique look and feel that both scream quality and elegance. They come with a flat cable design that has become very popular, and the only design note here is that one side is black, the other dark gray, which gives it a somewhat unique look. The only complaints with the exterior appearance, is that the lower part of the cable (below the in-line mic/remote, before the cable splits into two) are just a touch too wide for my taste. The wire and the in-line also look and feel substantially less premium than the earbuds (but not quite cheap). One final nitpick is that the in-line is fairly big, even for one designed for iPhones/iPods and therefore has 3 buttons. In spite of the small negatives, these are still the best looking earphones I've ever laid my eyes on.

Comfort
These come with a variety of ear-tips of different sizes, including ones I can't see fitting anyone but newborns. Only one size fit me well, but thankfully they were the Mediums, so they're easily replaceable. I have lost 2 and purchased a replacement pack which, brace yourselves, will run you $20 for an 8 pack (4 pairs). Granted, this is Canada so those stateside could probably get it for 10-15. Still pricey, but I wouldn't use these with any other ear tips, even if you could find ones that fit. Klipsch claims wonders for these patented oval tips, and they are by far the best I have used. Extremely comfortable and create a very nice seal. Your experience may vary depending on the size of your ear canals, none of the other sizes fit me at all. But with the medium tips, I can listen to music for hours without any discomfort whatsoever, something I couldn't ever say about any other in-ears I've had.

Audio Quality
I do appreciate good sound quality, but I'm not going to go into specifics on balance, the highs, the lows, or whatever else because I'm not an audiophile and this is not an audio forum. I will say the sound is very clear and detailed and overall listening experience is quite pleasing, without being too sharp or harsh. The only potential downside, the bass isn't overwhelming, but I prefer my bass to be controlled, so not a big deal for me. Overall, unless you're an audiophile or bass lover, these do very nicely.

In terms of noise cancelling, they actually do a surprisingly good job for in-ears and I'm sure that's due in large part to the oval tips providing an excellent seal. Again, the seal would depend on your ears, but for me, the seal is perfect and the noise cancelling is the best I've had in an in-ear set.

The biggest downside in terms of audio (although this could very well go under design or comfort), is the microphonics (wire noise). Even for a flat cable design, the microphonics are very substantial. You do get a shirt clip which all but eliminates the noise on the part of the cable below the clip, but obviously not an ideal solution. I find that looping these over and around your ears do a somewhat better job of reducing microphonics, but a the cost of comfort. Pick your poison.

Android Functionality
These are Apple compatible. That means the volume down and up buttons will not work, even with 3rd-party apps. The center button works well for play/pause/answer, or whatever you assign it to do using 3rd-party apps (I use jays headset control). The mic, interestingly enough, never worked for me when I first got it...now it does, go figure. Since then I've changed my phone from the S3 to the N5, and the software has gone from JB/KK (can't remember) to Lollipop, maybe related, maybe I just missed something back then. Since discovering that the mic works, I haven't used it during phone calls, but Google Now picks up the mic audio quite well.

Durability
On other sites, people sure seem to have a lot to say about the durability of these. Even though Klipsch claims that ceramics are more durable, some (but not many) mention that these earbuds are not very durable and chip over time. I've had mine for around 14 months, and I haven't exactly been gentle with them. Yet, I don't see any chips or even scratches on these, so I'm not sure what these people are doing with them. In my own experience anyway, the earbuds themselves seem quite durable.

The wire is another matter altogether, with complaints from a lot of people. Not an uncommon issue for earphones, but for a premium pair, I would've expected better (the wire in KlipschX11i, for instance, is lined with Kevlar). For me, the sound in one ear started to go after 9 months, I believe, and the other one a month or two after that (the second one probably because I kept playing with the connector to get the sound temporarily back in the first one). As I said, I haven't been too gentle with these, and 9 months is pretty decent for me. The only pair that's lasted longer is my Bang & Olufsen, still going strong after around 2 years of continuous use and another 3 years of on and off use.

So overall, perhaps questionable durability, but at least Klipsch offers a 2-year warranty.

Value & Final Thoughts
These babies have an MSRP of $200 in the U.S., but you can shop for deals. I bought mine for just over $100, albeit open packaged. If you can find it for sub $150, I think this is a great value. Even at full $200 I would consider this a decent buy, however. Overall, you really can't go wrong with these in my opinion, very solid in every aspect, really the only big downside, as far as I'm concerned, is the microphonics. One last thing of note, these have been out for about 2 years now, so not sure how much longer it'll be on the market. Since the release of the X7i, Klipsch has already replaced the X10i with the (minimally) upgraded X11i.
 

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