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Klipsch IMAGE impressions

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
For the record, my only IEM experience so far has been from the UE super.fi 5 Pro (about a 10-minute audition) and the Audio-Technica ATH-CK7 (previously owned). In listening to the IMAGE, I'm drawing more from my experience of full-size headphones.

Isolation

If you take everyday real-world volume as 100%, passive attenuation takes this down to about 85% I'd say. So really not all that much, and almost in line with the CK7 which didn't have much passive attenuation either.

Start up the music though and of course the isolation increases by a lot. Working from the same 100% "input" of the world, isolation goes down to about 30%. However, you can kinda still hear the outside world even with music playing, if the background is loud.

I haven't tested on public transit or on a flight yet so I can't speak for these yet. If I had to guess though, these probably would merely muffle engine noise instead of blocking it out of mind.

Amplification

Almost all of my listening has been with the Arcam FMJ CD33 (CD player) feeding the HeadAmp AE-2 portable amp on Medium gain.

These are rated at 50 Ohms but I find them more efficient than the 32 Ohm Audio-Technica ATH-ES7. Volume doesn't need to be turned up as much to achieve a similar SPL.

Comparing the AE-2 with the Singlepower Square Wave, HeadAmp Pico, and RSA Predator affirms my opinion that this IEM benefits much more from the HeadAmp amps due to its frequency response. It benefits more from a clean-sounding, treble-focused amp. The IEM is also capable of achieving a certain level of soundstage which translates best on the AE-2.

Sound

I haven't burned these in much yet but so far they've shown themselves to be very mid-range and bass focused. Treble is decent but not really at my ideal level of providing fast, clean edges.

Overall presentation is very integrated, whereas the CK7 separated the elements more and had a more analytic feel. It was also faster. The IMAGE doesn't quite have the same sense of speed. If I had to compare the sound with a particular full-size headphone, it sounds like it's in the direction of the Audio-Technica AD2000 or the Sennheiser HD650. In other words, the mid-range is similarly warm, with a distinct lack of attention to the treble.

In comparing with my full-size headphones, I find the IMAGE to be pretty flat in the upper mids. The female vocal spike I've grown so accustomed to on the K701 (and previously on other headphones like the AD2000, DT880, and K271S) isn't here and makes them sound almost recessed in comparison.

Right now I find that the IMAGE's best qualities are its lower mids and bass. The lower mids are nicely brought out with a good amount of body and fullness, and it ends up working better for male vocals than it does female vocals.

Bass hits plenty deep and actually works well enough for electronica. It booms and thumps nicely. Very textural, as it differentiates between different types of drums well, and allows the slap to sound physical too.

Will add further impressions along with pics later.
post #2 of 21
Nice, would love to hear about the comfort, would love to see pics and stuff!
post #3 of 21
Nice. It seem that they have a very different sound sig than the etys.

If you like to tweak, have time to spare you might want to try an DIY pseudo ety P-S adapters to see if what it does to the sound. The P-S adapter is only 75 ohm resistors in series with the signal to bring ER4P from 27 ohm to ~ 100 ohm ER4S. Maybe 50ohm or ~ 30 ohm adapter.

The adapters usually clear up the highs a bit.
Not saying it will do klipsch any good since different headphones react differently.

Enjoy your new headphones and Happy New Year,

Cheers,

Dan.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
More Impressions

The bass on these is really impressive. I mean, really impressive. In some ways it's among the best bass all-around that I've heard, and that includes the K701, HD650, and AD2000. Klipsch crafted something really special with these. I haven't formally tested extension yet but from all accounts it goes plenty low. But that's not even the impressive part. You know what really blows me away with these?

There's a quality to the bass that makes it subwoofer-like. Not that it has as much boom & rattle factor as a subwoofer of course but there's a depth to it that makes it sound very similar. Low and hit-you-in-the-gut visceral like. Highly tactile. It's not all that fast (the AD2000's bass was faster) but there's tons of gut-level feeling to it, as if there's a sense of low-frequency explosion like from a pack of C4. Electronica is immensely satisfying on these. The most bass similarity I've heard is the K340 or DT770 which is saying a lot! (Only without all that excessive flabby boom.)

Pics





post #5 of 21
I'm looking forward to hearing more about these IEMs. Please continue to post your thoughts as you break these in. I'm currently happy enough with the sound and comfort of my Senn HD595s, but I'd really like more bass, and if these are comfortable enough wearing and taking them in and out somewhat frequently (every 10 mins or so), then I might be able to talk myself into them. I briefly had a pair of E4c's, but it took me forever to get a good seal, and then they weren't comfortable for wearing much longer than half an hour. How are the comfort with these for extended wearing (4 or more hours)? How does the sound change for you over time? Thanks!
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
The IMAGE is very easy to plug in and unplug, a lot more than the CK7 that I previously owned. The eartips fit snugly into the earcanal yet easily pull out. It takes only a few seconds to seal them in when inserting. I haven't worn these for more than a few hours yet, I'll get around to trying that eventually.

For the record I haven't been documenting sonic differences as burn-in progresses, I'm really not interested in doing so. My take on burn-in is that if something changes I should be able to notice it without taking notes, and I shouldn't have to stop it in intervals either. I prefer setting unattended burn-in for a day at a time, or longer.

Currently these have a very good frequency balance. It's not tipsy towards the treble at all. I'd say its focal point is on the lower mids. It delivers a clean enough sound that's not metallic or harsh and is much more in line with an integrated, musical presentation. Overall I'm not sure which full-size headphone offers a similar sound. It'd be closest to probably the AD2000 except without the mid-range coloration and less speed.

And the bass is still really nice on them. Of all the headphones I've heard, this one "thunks" probably the best. The kick drum on Massive Attack's "Teardrop" has a nice weight to it. However its lack of speed is a noticeable detriment on that track and there's a textural problem on the kick drum (as in, you can't really tell it's a kick drum with these, I only know having heard this track on the DT880 and AD2000).

Decay is really fast on them, highly noticeable with the belly drums on Massive Attack's "Inertia Creeps."

Finally, listening to Mezzanine has allowed me to formally test bass extension. In a word: oops. These drastically peter out after 40 Hz. I'll have to do formal listening later to find out where it finally goes completely inaudible.
post #7 of 21
those look stellar. if whilst playing music they provide the isolation of the er4s, i may have found something worth listening to. my atrio are my favs so far out of the wealth of iems i have heard, but... they take forever to insert and take out. bother
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Finally, listening to Mezzanine has allowed me to formally test bass extension. In a word: oops. These drastically peter out after 40 Hz. I'll have to do formal listening later to find out where it finally goes completely inaudible.
Nothing like a little Massive Attack to test out the bass of head/earphones.
post #9 of 21
oops, i forgot that i am allergic to armature drivers
post #10 of 21
pics of the iems?
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
I posted this in Klipsch's Premier Sponsor forum:

post #12 of 21
It doesn't give an idea of the real size, tho. At least to me. I'd like to see the IMAGE compared to other IEMs. Otherwise, beautiful review. It really makes me understand the overall sound of the Image.
post #13 of 21
how does subwoofer like bass impact the mids?? any reverb heard?
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
The kick drum on Massive Attack's "Teardrop" has a nice weight to it. However its lack of speed is a noticeable detriment on that track and there's a textural problem on the kick drum (as in, you can't really tell it's a kick drum with these, I only know having heard this track on the DT880 and AD2000).
Just a note of clarification after going back to listen to Teardrop again. The "textural problem" I mentioned actually has little to do with texture and more with the IMAGE's lack of speed. It doesn't quite get the movement behind the impact onto the membrane. Coupled with its fast decay it makes it sound ultimately not realistic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx20001 View Post
how does subwoofer like bass impact the mids?? any reverb heard?
No reverb. No interference of the bass with the mid-range.

I'm listening to The Crystal Method - Community Service II right now as another bass test and these things continue to provide excellent bass. The lack of ultimate extension is hardly noticeable. It's a fantastic low-level bass that works great, much better than the CK7, and from what I remember about the UE super.fi 5 Pro, much cleaner and less bloated. There's little sign that these weaken in the range of at least 40-80 Hz. When I say the bass is subwoofer like, I mean it's able to hit low while maintaining a visceral, inner-driven force. They do sound somewhat similar to Klipsch's ProMedia 4.1 in this aspect when I heard that system.

I realize bass is subjective but I'm highly critical on bass reproduction when it comes to my electronica, and literally the only full-size headphones I ever used with electronica were the DT770, DT250, K340, and AD2000. The IMAGE is right up there with them, I can see myself using these for electronica too. Very satisfying, the low-level lines on Community Service II kick ass on these. (Also one of the reasons I tossed the CK7 was because I couldn't listen to my electronica with them, too little quantity. The main motivator behind my purchase of the IMAGE was for a desire for ProMedia 4.1-like bass at least a little bit.)
post #15 of 21
You said the bass goes as low as 40Hz. Do you confirm this? I was expecting it to go lower.
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