Just because the price of MP3 players is dropping faster than a rugby player’s pants at a stag do, doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of an upgrade. Take the iPhone 3G for example; it’s one of the best-sounding players we’ve heard and available for free on contract, but it demands to be paired with better headphones than the budget plugs it comes with.
You could go for a £20 upgrade, but for truly mind-blowing performance you’ll need to times that figure by ten and grab something like Klipsch’s Image earphones.
Headphones with a £200 price tag are often big, chunky and blinging, but the opposite is true here: the Images weigh just 10g and are so tiny, they won’t even stay in your ear without the use of the supplied silicon buds.
Once you’ve found the right-sized tips for your lugholes, the Images are (perhaps surprisingly) extremely comfortable indeed, and they easily block out ambient noise. Also, thanks to that lack of weight, they’re easy to forget about.
Big where it counts
Well, they would be if the sonic delivery wasn’t so darn exciting. Despite their diminutive size the Images have a lovely weight that sees chunky bass frequencies thump straight to the brain. Klipsch hasn’t overcooked the low-end though, so vocal performances and guitar riffs are clear and solid, too.
Detail levels are equally impressive, offering amazing texture and definition in individual instruments and voices and, although the Images burrow deep into the ears, the soundstage is absolutely massive.
Are there any problems? Well, the Images are so detailed that they easily expose overly-compressed or poor quality recordings, but that’s not their fault – it’s more of an advert for high-quality digital music.
Sure, £200 is a lot to spend on earphones, and in the case of the Images it doesn’t look like you’re getting much but, believe us, you are. In fact, you’re getting one of the best pair of portable headphones we’ve heard.