The Best Earphones for Your iPhone? Klipsch X4i Earbuds Review

(Last Updated On: March 1, 2017)

Klipsch generally don’t do small, but the recent Quintet home theater system looked pretty diminutive compared to the mighty Reference range. However, in the era of smaller is better, the company isn’t going to miss out and offers a dedicated set of X4i earbuds for iPhone, iPad, and iPod-loving audiophiles.

The $149 in-ear buds are designed for a comfortable fit, to deliver clear sound and come with an in-line remote to control music and let you interact with Siri for voice control. Aside from that it is increasingly hard for any vendor of earbuds to really make them stand out,

The company sticks with premium materials and design ideas when it comes to the X4i earbuds, check out our review to see if that hefty price tag makes them worth the investment.

Key Features of the X4i Headphones

Made of aluminum, the X4i are light yet sturdy with premium-grade armature drivers crammed into the tiny space to provide high-quality sound and good frequency response. Down the wire is the X4i three-button remote and mic, it is designed for Apple users, but you can use the volume control on any device. Still, iOS owners get the most benefit, with a phone call and music control and clear voice through the built-in microphone. 

When it comes to earbuds, Klipsch goes with oval tips for a better fit and increased comfort, and better soundproofing, to a degree. The x4i comes with a pack of four different sized buds to help find the right size for you, and replacements are relatively inexpensive ($9.99 a pack).

Even though they may be sturdy and well designed, most headphone users live in fear of the cables fraying, getting crimped or simply coming apart. Thankfully, the Klipsch models come with a two-year warranty, which should keep you calm when you feel that horrible moment of tension when the cable gets trapped.

Pros of the Klipsch Quintet System

With the trend toward bass-heavy units, you might be a bit surprised about the quiet, almost calm tones coming from the X4i’s buds, initially. The makers claim they produce a warm sound, and there is certainly not much in the way of aggression, whatever your choice of music.

They are certainly comfortable in the ear, and if you’re on the commute, do a reasonable job of providing you with a quietish listening environment, but noise-cancelling, they are not. Compared to a selection of cheaper sets, there is certainly some extra clarity to be found with good sound space that can help you find new features among some of your favorite songs, but any earbuds, no matter how well designed, can only provide so much magic.

Cons of the Klipsch Quintet System

Naturally, you’re not going to find much wrong with the sound quality of the Klipsch x4i buds. As discussed, some might not find them loud or provide enough bass, but that might come as a pleasant surprise. While you can hear listenable, thud-laden, music through any cheaper pair, you still might want to test the X4i before committing to buy, to see if they really make a difference to your ears.

Note, that some users reckon they need a day or two of burn-in before they sound their best, so if you don’t think the audio is great out of the pack, then give them time to attune, before sending them back in a huff. If that doesn’t work, then you’re probably not going to love your Klipsch, no matter how much you try.

Also, quite a few online reviews report having to send them back due to poor wiring, backed by that two-year guarantee. That might be an inconvenience if they go wrong, with the company’s slow customer service coming in for some heavy criticism.

Just one general warning. If Apple adds its recently-patented smaller 2.5mm headphone port to the next generation of iOS devices, in its quest to shrink things down even more and make its phones even thinner, then you’ll end up with an ugly adaptor sticking out of your phone to convert any standard headphone jack. If you value aesthetics and plan for long term use, then you might want to wait and see if Klipsch will be among the first to offer a 2.5mm version next year.

My Final Recommendation

In short, yes these are good earbuds, but it is hard to find some magic element of their output to rave about. There are also concerns over the wiring reliability, and if you’re going to end up replacing them frequently anyway, then why burn the money?

“With so many decent over-the-ear headsets on the market, and people not afraid to wear them out in public, earbuds seem to be a less common sight.”

This makes it hard to find a good use case to recommend them for.

If you’re sat at home, you’ll have your big comfy headphones on. And, you can’t use these for jogging, so if you’re going to spend $150, why not go a little higher and get a decent set of headphones that can truly put you in a magic place with your music?

So, while these might be good earbuds, despite the brand and the quality, it is becoming increasingly hard to recommend the type, unless you have long commutes, with very little space to carry a decent set of cans.

Juan Alexander

Juan is a self-professed sound-nerd and the webmaster / lead author & tester for AllSoundLab. You might literally walk into him on the street because he's tuned out to the world and tuned into his beats...

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