Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › klipsch Image S4 - really that good?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

klipsch Image S4 - really that good?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
CNET rave about them, average rating on Amazon is excellent, but I can't find much about them on here. So what's the deal with these earphones - worth the $80? Better than anything else in the price range?
post #2 of 38
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/h...ontrol-446028/

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f95/im...review-422054/

For $79, they are a clear-cut bargain. I have the UM3X and owned the X10s. I like the S4s as much as the latter (not the former, of course).

Better is a very relative term, they are an excellent value, but they NEED 60+ hours of burn in, the more the better. Dynamics need it. These in particular. I found them harsh at first, but no longer.
post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info.

The other headphones I'm considering are the AT CK7 and the Denon C551. Would you say the S4 trump these? I listen to a lot of electronica and ambient so I like bass and a nice warm sound.

The S4 do have a Y-cable, right?
post #4 of 38
tstarn06,

Serious question -- as you may know, I am skeptical of the burn-in effect. I am wondering why it would be that, if the physical properties of a dynamic driver phone significantly change as you say they do, why does that always make the sound better? Shouldn't there be a significant number that get worse with the burn-in?

Related question -- do you think the manufacturer actually designs the phones so that they will have a certain sound signature, but knowing that they do not have that signature when they leave the factory?

It just doesn't make sense to me.
post #5 of 38
Thread Starter 
Regarding burn-in, I'd be interested to see if any research has been done on this.

I'm a researcher in speech acoustics and it would be fairly easy to construct an experiment to test for it. I'm sure the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America would publish such work if ever carried out.
post #6 of 38
Take several sets of dynamic driver earphones and conduct double blind studies. For each model, take one right out of the box and "burn in" the other one for 100 hours. See if there are any discernible differences, and if so, what they are.
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott549 View Post
Take several sets of dynamic driver earphones and conduct double blind studies. For each model, take one right out of the box and "burn in" the other one for 100 hours. See if there are any discernible differences, and if so, what they are.
That won't work well. With many models of headphones, there are significant differences between pairs of the same type.
post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by peli_kan View Post
That won't work well. With many models of headphones, there are significant differences between pairs of the same type.
I doubt that, but even if it were true, you would have a comparison between burned and not burned.
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott549 View Post
I doubt that, but even if it were true, you would have a comparison between burned and not burned.
Sample variation...

Going on a slightly different tangent, that is why Etymotics ER4 line has each drive unit serial numbered... so that if one side dies, they can be re-matched with another drive unit from the same batch / FR sweep findings...
post #10 of 38
If you are suggesting that manufacturing/sample variation accounts for differences on a similar level as burn-in, there would be no point talking about burn-in to begin with, because you could just randomly get a bad pair.

I think you are WAY overestimating the effects of sample variation. The bottom line, of course, is that you could include this as part of the study also.
post #11 of 38
There has been thread after thread on the burn-in debate, mainly related to dynamics (in-ear and on/over-ear). I don't know why, but when I got the S4s, I felt the treble was "off" and harsh, I put them on my extra notebook for 3-4 days, and now they don't sound off or harsh. What can I say? If you don't believe it, fine with me. I can only report what my ears tell me. And the listening gap indicates it was not my brain adjusting.

To the OP, the S4s are light years ahead of the 551s in my view. Can't speak for the CK7.

The dynamic IEM burn-in issue, at least to me, is based on experience, not stats/tests. It has happened with other dynamic phones (Denon 710s, for example), and usually it's either the bass settles down a bit or the treble loses its harshness. Why? Have no idea. Why doesn't it sound worse? I have no idea.

To paraphrase a character in a great Woody Allen film (the character was Allen's aging dad), "I don't how the can opener works, how the hell do I know why there is burn-in?" In the film, the phrase was "how the hell do I know why there were Nazis?"
post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott549 View Post
Take several sets of dynamic driver earphones and conduct double blind studies. For each model, take one right out of the box and "burn in" the other one for 100 hours. See if there are any discernible differences, and if so, what they are.
You'd have to test for differences in the output of the headphones before/after the burn in using acoustic software. Frequency range, spectral tilt, etc, could all be measured after the burn in to see if there are any significant differences.

Thanks tstarn06 - I think I'll go with the S4.
post #13 of 38
Just be sure to give them the burn-in they need. Skepticism aside, all I know is I was ready to give up on them (I had given them to my wife anyway, because the small gels are so comfy). Now, I find myself "borrowing" them for dog walks (when I do most of my listening) and enjoying their sound immensely. I think I noted it, but I listened to them over two days last week in a poker tournament, and came away very impressed. Great sound, no fatigue. I use the large single flange gels. But at first, I thought they sounded "tissy" out of the box. I mean, the highs just were too sibilant, but that is only an issue now if the track is sibilant to begin with.

I am not alone in liking the S4s, so I feel pretty good recommending them now.

Oh, I also favor them over the Denon C710s, which are getting much praise (I had them and found them good, but ended up selling them to finance a pair of UM56 sleeves for my Westones). Now, after the fact, I like the S79 sound more.

Finally, they only come with the small and medium single flange gels. I love the large, because they seal off my ear better. I had some from my X10s. Ask Klipsch for a free pair, as they used to give you a free pair when you registered your Klipsch phones. Otherwise, they do sell them now, but you have to buy like 4-5 pair, which you probably won't need.

On the other hand, maybe the mediums will be fine for you.

Update: Just checked, and the Klipsch site says they come with SML gels, so I was wrong. I guess I must have lost a pair of larges, because I can't find them. I had a black pair, which I like more than clear anyway.
post #14 of 38
The large Klipsch gels are the best I have used.
post #15 of 38
This is my first post, been lurking for a bit. I don't have the aforementioned others, but I do have an Image S4, and I love it. I think it sounds pretty darn good, and I am still in the burn in process (doing it with actual use). I have SE 530 as well, and I find the S4's to be vastly superior in comfort. They are my "getting around" headphones. The Klipsch gels seem to be the most comfortable universal tips I have experienced.

I also find that they hide some of the sound I don't like from my nano and shuffle, while the 530s come alive out of my itouch. Not experienced enough to get to detailed with the sound quality, but I can say I like em, and for the price, they sure seem like a great deal.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › klipsch Image S4 - really that good?