There is instant cynicism when it comes to in-ear headphones, many believe they can never be as good as their bigger audio brothers. Yet, it is possible for them to do the job of delivering high quality music to the listener, and at around $70 to $99, they had better do a damn fine job.
The Klipsch R6 models claim to isolate outside noise, and have a patented design. The company has a long history in audio reproduction, and they call these products “in-ear monitors” rather than “on-ear headphones”, but to the rest of the world they look pretty similar to the standard pairs that come with all manner of digital audio consumer goods.
Compatible with pretty much all smartphones, MP3 players and so on, they bring a new level of portability to your digital audio. Note that you will want the R6i model for iPhone and other Apple devices, and the R6m for Android devices.
So, what’s the difference and is there a noticeable improvement when using them? At least plug in audio is quick and easy to test, unlike wiring sets of speakers in and out.
Key Features of the R6 Headphones
The Klipsch R6 come in black or white, with an R6i model that has an inline control on the cable. Built from aluminum and elastomer plastic, they come with contour ear tips for a snug fit that should help keep out the noise of the outside world.
The soft silicon tips are also designed for comfort, so you shouldn’t feel any discomfort when wearing them for an extended period of time. Should you lose or tear one of the buds, replacements are easily available.
Crammed inside the headphones are a pair of moving coil drivers for realistic and dynamic sound across the range of frequencies. They offer decent bass response, although you may want to juggle the equalizer on your device for the perfect sound.
Pros of the Klipsch R6
On first impression, the R6 headphones really do offer sound that is a cut above the typical in-ear jobs. In some circumstances, they aren’t that far off the audio produced by some over-ear types.
They are comfortable to wear and do a decent job of cutting out background sound, but obviously aren’t a patch on noise-cancelling headphones. As long as you are sat somewhere fairly quiet then you can listen without distraction, but a street cafe really isn’t the ideal place to be trying to get some quality listening in.
The bass really does sound like it is coming from a decent set of speakers, but they seem to have a bit more bass than the previous R4 models, which some listeners might find a touch aggressive. So, you should dig into the equalizer settings to tone things down a touch and it is usually easy enough to find the perfect balance of sound.
That bass seems to come at the expense of a notch of mid-range performance, and perhaps a slight reduction in volume. But, again, its nothing that can’t be fixed by twiddling with the settings.
Cons of the Klipsch R6
Not Ideal for Outdoor Activities: A clear distinction of the R6 design over previous Klipsch models is that these are not rugged models, designed for on the go use. There’s a wide, relatively flat cable and if you’re running, or even walking and talking, the weight can pull the headphones out of your ears, no matter how snug the fit. Neither are they waterproof, so you can’t really go jogging or exercising in them.
That’s even more so with the i model with the control buttons, that are awkwardly placed at chin height, adding to the weight and making them a pain to use. So, these are purely for sitting still and listening to music or a movie, perhaps on a longer train commute, but they certainly aren’t for use on the street.
Might Need to Mess with Audio Settings: Also, if you switch music genres a lot, you might find yourself playing with the audio settings on your device a lot to find the sweet spot, which might come as an annoyance to anyone who just wants to drink in the atmosphere of their favorite tracks.
Poor Noise Cancellation on Calls: Finally, if you plan to use them for phone calls, then don’t as the noise cancellation is not a patch on previous models and the quality of the microphone varies from down-a-well to in-a-bath levels of poor.
Finicky Controls: Also, for such a price, you’d expect slightly better levels of control on the remote, but it doesn’t really do much for us, considering all the features buried into the new Apple Ear Bud controls.
Some Wire Breakage Reports: Add to that reports of wire breakages, and you might not get much joy from the one-year warranty. That’s something the company should improve if it has such confidence in its products.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Klipsch R6 Monitors
I’ve received questions in the past on these headphones, so I thought it would be helpful to list below:
Question: Can these work with both Apple and Android OS?
Answer: Yes, they work well with both!
Question: Can you connect to two devices at the same time?
Answer: Yes, however you cannot broadcast audio to both. A bit annoying, but you can easily cycle between them as needed.
Question: What is the range in relation to phone use?
Answer: I’ve found about 10-12 feet is the max you can be, but does depend on obstructions like walls (particular metal or dense concrete walls).
Final Recommendation: Would I Get Them Again?
Get yourself a pair of Klipsch R6 headphones if you’re going to sit somewhere quiet and enjoy some fine music without being weighed down by some costly set of cans, particularly for bass lovers.
They are seriously good quality compared to most in-ear audio products, and quite a few over-ear brands.
However, they are limited in use, do have some weaknesses, and do seem to be a step back from some of Klipsch’s more legendary in-ear products.
That said, since the older models are now largely discontinued, if you are going to bite the audio bullet, these are probably the ones to go for.
Strangely, we found them at their best when you’re lying still in bed, when you can focus on the music.
I was not sure how big that demographic is, but Klipsch should be doing some snuggly advertising to highlight this perfect scenario for its latest product. You can Klipsch R6 In-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones with Bluetooth 4.0 and Apt-X Streaming With Built in Mic, where they are frequently on sale.
A Good Klipsch R6 Alternative: I actually slightly prefer the Sony XBAH1 Hybrid 2-Way Driver In-Ear Headphones, given the issues that I identified in this review.