We like it when we get to listen to Klispch headphones. It seems the company just doesn’t make duds. Not even close – every pair we’ve had in seriously impresses us.

So let’s not beat around the bush: the Image S4s are another excellent pair of sound-isolating in-ears. The best we’ve heard at their not insubstantial price, in fact.

However, first impressions of the S4s aren’t universally positive. They’re well equipped, with loads of comfortable tips, but when you prise them from their neat metal case you’re likely to be underwhelmed.

Plastic sub-fantastic

Unlike their pricier, aluminium X5 and X10 siblings, the S4s are made of a glossy plastic with silver plastic detailing that serves to make them look a bit cheaper. To be fair, it’s no big deal – it’s just that we’ve seen better-looking in-ears (Sennheiser CX 55s, for example) at this price.

The benefit is that the S4s are nice and light, and thanks to Klipsch’s downy-soft silicon tips, they’re comfortable, too. You can wear them for hours without earache, and they’re superb sound isolators, so great for flying.

But forget all that. What really matters is how the S4s sound, and the news is very good.

Sound to astound

Most headphones at this price augment the sound for the casual listener. Generally, bass and treble are upped to make tracks sound more exciting.

While the S4s aren’t 100% neutral, they provide the insight and detail mid-range headphones normally lack, sharing more in common with high-end in-ear monitors. But they still sound huge. They make music great fun to listen to, with spectacular scale and dynamics and thundering bass.

They can do subtlety, too, sounding excellent with acoustic and vocal-heavy tracks. By our count, that makes them pretty damned good at everything. Like we said, these are the best headphones we’ve ever heard for under £70.

So, we can cope with the slightly unsightly design. If you can’t, spend another £60 and get the Image X5s instead.

Stuff says... 

Klipsch Image S4 review

Another in-ear masterclass from Klipsch. You can’t get better at the price