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Klipsch S4i lacking bass, looking for alternatives, please advise

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

 

Hello everyone, my name is Matt and I am new here to head-fi. I have been reading the forums for the last few days but felt the need to post a new thread with some questions. I apologize if this is only a slightly different version of a question you are sick of hearing.

 

A few years ago my dad handed down his Bose IEMs to me. I realize Bose are far from laudable in audiophile circles, but having never heard high quality IEMs I was pretty blown away. They crapped out on me awhile back and I finally decided I was tired of using $30 Sony buds and the like. Wanting to try something other than Bose, I did a lot of research and decided the Klipsch S4i sounded like a great investment.

 

First let me say that I am impressed with the Klipsch mids and highs. I forgot what it was like to hear details in the music that you have never heard before. However I have been disappointed in the bass. I gathered from reviews that these had nice beefy levels of bass and of course it is all subjective but I am not hearing it like I want to. The largest stock tips give me the best isolation/fit/bass response but it is still lacking IMO. The bass is certainly present, it is tight and clean, but I just really miss the lows. I like a sound signature with a little extra bass emphasis, to me that is what really makes me feel enveloped in the music.

 

I have about 50hrs of burn-in on the phones, and while I understand the opposite is supposed to occur, it seems the bass has opened up a little bit. However I feel like it’s still just not where I want it. I don’t want my head to explode but I do really like some oomph to my music, especially when listening to hip-hop/rap/techno/industrial etc. When I crank the volume on my iPod to get the bass closer to where I like it, the mids and highs get too loud and I can’t listen for extended periods of time. EQing for a bass boost doesn’t bump the bass at all, it just drops back the mids and highs, taking out the clarity that I do appreciate.

 

Then there is the fit. When worn the old fashioned way, with the cable dropping straight down from the phone, I constantly feel the need to readjust position. When worn using the 180 degree method, they fit much more snugly, however I have a somewhat large noggin and this brings the Y junction up the point that its catching on my neck and jaw when I move my head around, subsequently driving me crazy. I understand comply tips may help me to achieve a better fit wearing them in the traditional fashion, eliminating this problem?

 

This is not a knock on the S4s. In all honesty the S4s are probably giving a very accurate representation of the recordings, but I guess had I mixed the recordings, I would have bumped the bass

 

That all being said, I have done a lot of research on what IEMs may give me what I am looking for. I feel that the more I read, the more options I find, and the more confused I get. Hence my appeal to the head-fi community for some guidance. I really want to get a set that I will be happy with for a long time. I am looking for something with more low end than the KS4s while still achieving the same or better clarity. I would prefer to stay ~$150. My absolute limit is ~$300. I am a student and any more than that means I will have trouble sleeping at night, no matter how great my music sounds.

 

Some IEMS I have been eyeing (though of course I am open to other suggestions):

 

- Sennheiser IE6 ~$100

 

- UE SuperFi 5 EB ~$150

 

- Future Sonics M5 ~$180

 

- Klipsch Custom 3 ~$100 (not sure if these will give me what I want with the bass or not, but I included them due to steal of a price and my enjoyment of mids/highs in the S4)

 

- Monster Gold Pro Turbines ~$250 (the weight of these scares me a bit, afraid they will not stay snug in my ear but they are getting great reviews I love the lifetime warranty)

 

- Sennheiser IE8 ~$400 (from what I’ve read, this sounds pretty perfect, but the price is preventing me from pulling the trigger)

 

Like I said before, the lower the price the better, but if I can’t have my cake and eat it too, I will spend more $ for a high quality IEM with big bass that does not muddy up the mids and highs.

 

I listen mainly from an iPhone 4, iPod classic 120GB, and MacBook Pro 13. My files are encoded at various qualities no lower than 128kbps, mostly 256kbps, and some Apple Lossless. I am in the processes of re-ripping what files I can to at least 256kbps. I listen to damn near everything – rap/rock/alternative/classical/acapella/acoustic/hip-hop/techno/industrial/metal

 

Well, alright, hopefully I covered it all. I apologize for the length. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this and give any advice you have. I look forward to hearing your responses.

post #2 of 43

 It seems that the ie8 will satisfy your bass needs. From what I read and my brief experience with the S4, I thought the bass there was plenty, but still, ie8 bass is thumping. You can usually find used ie8 around low to mid $200 range. Just be sure to make sure they are authentic as there are a lot of fakes still being produced.

 

 

post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input j57park. The ie8 is at the very top of my price range. I'm afraid to try and buy it on the cheap from somewhere as I do not want to get a fake (seems to be tons out there). I've seen refurbs on eBay for ~$230 that apparently are under warranty. Also, there is a 30-day cash back return policy. Think it's a bad move to go with a refurbed model?

Here is the listing:

http://cgi.ebay.com/SENNHEISER-IE8-IE-8-NOISE-ISOLATING-HEADPHONES-W-WRNTY-/380279371708?pt=Other_MP3_Player_Accessories&hash=item588a6ab7bc#ht_2354wt_1141

 

If I should skip the refurb and buy them brand new, is it worth it to jump all the way up to the ie8s given that they are nearly twice the price of the other headphones listed?

 

It's strange, the more I listen to these S4s, I feel like the bass might finally be coming in strong like I want it, but it either just doesn't quite get there, or I go to a song I know has a strong bass track and it's just not coming forward like I would prefer. Talk about uncertainty/frustration 

post #4 of 43

Well, I read that S4 take quite a long time for burn-in. So maybe you should leave it with music on for a day or two and see if that changes anything.

 

I suggest staying away from ebay unless you know the person is authorized reseller. I forgot the name but I think razordog (?) has the ie8 for less than $300 and it's authorized reseller so you might want to check them out.

 

I read couple weeks ago about JR having ie8's for around $280 USD although that's now over. But if you keep an eye out, you might come across these deals. I don't know if I'd pay $400 for ie8 (I am a broke university student) and at $400 other people might suggest better iems (although I'm not sure with better bass).

 

But ya, first thing you should do is let S4 play out for a couple of days. If you plan on returning it anyway, it couldn't hurt and maybe you'll grow to like the sound it produces. Also try fiddling around with the EQ settings to see if that improves the bass response

post #5 of 43

I agree, the S4's are lacking in deep Bass, and Treble for that matter. They are decent, but I found myself going back to my V-Moda Vibes for the bass I was looking for. The S4's do fit very well in the ear though. You sound like you want prodigous Bass, so I would go for the Monster Golds, and the Custom 3's a close 2nd. 

post #6 of 43



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxer757 View Post

 

Hello everyone, my name is Matt and I am new here to head-fi. I have been reading the forums for the last few days but felt the need to post a new thread with some questions. I apologize if this is only a slightly different version of a question you are sick of hearing.

 

A few years ago my dad handed down his Bose IEMs to me. I realize Bose are far from laudable in audiophile circles, but having never heard high quality IEMs I was pretty blown away. They crapped out on me awhile back and I finally decided I was tired of using $30 Sony buds and the like. Wanting to try something other than Bose, I did a lot of research and decided the Klipsch S4i sounded like a great investment.

 

First let me say that I am impressed with the Klipsch mids and highs. I forgot what it was like to hear details in the music that you have never heard before. However I have been disappointed in the bass. I gathered from reviews that these had nice beefy levels of bass and of course it is all subjective but I am not hearing it like I want to. The largest stock tips give me the best isolation/fit/bass response but it is still lacking IMO. The bass is certainly present, it is tight and clean, but I just really miss the lows. I like a sound signature with a little extra bass emphasis, to me that is what really makes me feel enveloped in the music.

 

I have about 50hrs of burn-in on the phones, and while I understand the opposite is supposed to occur, it seems the bass has opened up a little bit. However I feel like it’s still just not where I want it. I don’t want my head to explode but I do really like some oomph to my music, especially when listening to hip-hop/rap/techno/industrial etc. When I crank the volume on my iPod to get the bass closer to where I like it, the mids and highs get too loud and I can’t listen for extended periods of time. EQing for a bass boost doesn’t bump the bass at all, it just drops back the mids and highs, taking out the clarity that I do appreciate.

 

Then there is the fit. When worn the old fashioned way, with the cable dropping straight down from the phone, I constantly feel the need to readjust position. When worn using the 180 degree method, they fit much more snugly, however I have a somewhat large noggin and this brings the Y junction up the point that its catching on my neck and jaw when I move my head around, subsequently driving me crazy. I understand comply tips may help me to achieve a better fit wearing them in the traditional fashion, eliminating this problem?

 

This is not a knock on the S4s. In all honesty the S4s are probably giving a very accurate representation of the recordings, but I guess had I mixed the recordings, I would have bumped the bass

 

That all being said, I have done a lot of research on what IEMs may give me what I am looking for. I feel that the more I read, the more options I find, and the more confused I get. Hence my appeal to the head-fi community for some guidance. I really want to get a set that I will be happy with for a long time. I am looking for something with more low end than the KS4s while still achieving the same or better clarity. I would prefer to stay ~$150. My absolute limit is ~$300. I am a student and any more than that means I will have trouble sleeping at night, no matter how great my music sounds.

 

Some IEMS I have been eyeing (though of course I am open to other suggestions):

 

- Sennheiser IE6 ~$100

 

- UE SuperFi 5 EB ~$150

 

- Future Sonics M5 ~$180

 

- Klipsch Custom 3 ~$100 (not sure if these will give me what I want with the bass or not, but I included them due to steal of a price and my enjoyment of mids/highs in the S4)

 

- Monster Gold Pro Turbines ~$250 (the weight of these scares me a bit, afraid they will not stay snug in my ear but they are getting great reviews I love the lifetime warranty)

 

- Sennheiser IE8 ~$400 (from what I’ve read, this sounds pretty perfect, but the price is preventing me from pulling the trigger)

 

Like I said before, the lower the price the better, but if I can’t have my cake and eat it too, I will spend more $ for a high quality IEM with big bass that does not muddy up the mids and highs.

 

I listen mainly from an iPhone 4, iPod classic 120GB, and MacBook Pro 13. My files are encoded at various qualities no lower than 128kbps, mostly 256kbps, and some Apple Lossless. I am in the processes of re-ripping what files I can to at least 256kbps. I listen to damn near everything – rap/rock/alternative/classical/acapella/acoustic/hip-hop/techno/industrial/metal

 

Well, alright, hopefully I covered it all. I apologize for the length. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this and give any advice you have. I look forward to hearing your responses.



Hello Matt, it seems to me that you're not getting a proper seal with the S4's.  These are meant to be worn in your ear canal, not just in your ear.  If they don't penetrate your canal, the bass will be weak.  When inserted properly the bass is there I promise you that.  Go down in size to medium at least and gently work them deeper into your ear.  You'll feel the pressure change when they are in and the bass will come forward.  There's no repositioning required with these once they're in your canal.  Give that a try.

post #7 of 43

yeah, these should fit firmly if you haev them in properly.  I have dangled my Sansa clip from the S4's...not on purpose of course.  They have an angled barrel and they should be pointed up to go into your ear canal. 

post #8 of 43

This is almost certainly a fit issue. The special klipsch oval tips must be lined up correctly in your ear and they should go deeply in to the canal. You own voice should sound strange and the isolation from outside noise should be quite strong. The s4 have bass well up to balance with the mids and highs (plus some), with a good fit.

 

Other than that, the new mg7 upgraded driver Future Sonics Atrios are very close to coming out (they were supposed to come out this week, delays shouldn't be long).

The Monster Turbine pro gold are not heavy in the ear at all. Anyone who says that is talking garbage. They are heavy in the hand, not in the ear.

 

No in-ear-monitor (which is all of these earphones) will have bass without a good fit. It's as simple as that.

 

post #9 of 43

agreed. the S4's will have plenty of bass when fitted properly. unless the OP is used to 140+ db of sub bass from a car stereo or something.

 

but seriously the S4's are very bass heavy especially in the upper bass. my problem with them was the sibilance that never went completely away. i hate sibilance, i gave them a very fair chance though and i actually did like them for some music, just not enough to keep them.

post #10 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZV3 View Post

I agree, the S4's are lacking in deep Bass, and Treble for that matter. They are decent, but I found myself going back to my V-Moda Vibes for the bass I was looking for. The S4's do fit very well in the ear though. You sound like you want prodigous Bass, so I would go for the Monster Golds, and the Custom 3's a close 2nd. 


Yeah, the bass isn't bad on the S4s, it just isn't present enough for my taste. I am strongly considering the Monster Golds. Have you gotten a chance to listen to them? Any chance for a quick comparison to the S4?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunlun View Post

This is almost certainly a fit issue. The special klipsch oval tips must be lined up correctly in your ear and they should go deeply in to the canal. You own voice should sound strange and the isolation from outside noise should be quite strong. The s4 have bass well up to balance with the mids and highs (plus some), with a good fit.

 

Other than that, the new mg7 upgraded driver Future Sonics Atrios are very close to coming out (they were supposed to come out this week, delays shouldn't be long).

The Monster Turbine pro gold are not heavy in the ear at all. Anyone who says that is talking garbage. They are heavy in the hand, not in the ear.

 

No in-ear-monitor (which is all of these earphones) will have bass without a good fit. It's as simple as that.
 

 

I found your thread on the new Atrios and I will be checking back in for the review!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeyRusso View Post

 

Hello Matt, it seems to me that you're not getting a proper seal with the S4's.  These are meant to be worn in your ear canal, not just in your ear.  If they don't penetrate your canal, the bass will be weak.  When inserted properly the bass is there I promise you that.  Go down in size to medium at least and gently work them deeper into your ear.  You'll feel the pressure change when they are in and the bass will come forward.  There's no repositioning required with these once they're in your canal.  Give that a try.


I understand that proper fit/seal is crucial to achieving good bass. I have tried all sizes of tips and different methods of insertion. I definitely think I am getting a proper seal. Noise isolation is good even with no music playing. By all means, the bass is there, just not as much as I would like.

 

jasonb I do have some nice subs in the car  but I also have high-end mids/tweeters to compensate for the bass. I understand there is no way to get the same bass in an IEM that I get from a couple of properly set up 10" subs but I know I've got to be able to get more than this. I agree the midbass is pretty good, I think what I am really missing is the low stuff (forgive me if that statement is wrong, I am an avid music listener but by no means a legitimate audiophile so I don't have as strong of a grasp on the terminology). I think we just have different definitions of "plenty" of bass which is understandable given its a pretty subjective topic 

 

 

Right now it looks like my short list is Monster Turbine Pro Golds, Sennheiser IE8s, and perhaps the redesigned Atrios...

Obviously I like the price on the Atrios if they fix the issues I have read about the lack of treble/mid clarity. As far as MPTG vs. IE8s I have read a lot of mixed opinions on which is best. From what I understand the MPTGs are great "out of the box" i.e. they don't require EQing and are forgiving of lower quality files while the IE8s require proper EQing and possibly an amp to get an ideal sound. Given the EQ options on apples portable audio players are limited, that is a concern if it is true...

post #11 of 43


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxer757 View Post




Yeah, the bass isn't bad on the S4s, it just isn't present enough for my taste. I am strongly considering the Monster Golds. Have you gotten a chance to listen to them? Any chance for a quick comparison to the S4?

 


I understand that proper fit/seal is crucial to achieving good bass. I have tried all sizes of tips and different methods of insertion. I definitely think I am getting a proper seal. Noise isolation is good even with no music playing. By all means, the bass is there, just not as much as I would like.

 

jasonb I do have some nice subs in the car  but I also have high-end mids/tweeters to compensate for the bass. I understand there is no way to get the same bass in an IEM that I get from a couple of properly set up 10" subs but I know I've got to be able to get more than this. I agree the midbass is pretty good, I think what I am really missing is the low stuff (forgive me if that statement is wrong, I am an avid music listener but by no means a legitimate audiophile so I don't have as strong of a grasp on the terminology). I think we just have different definitions of "plenty" of bass which is understandable given its a pretty subjective topic 

 

 

Right now it looks like my short list is Monster Turbine Pro Golds, Sennheiser IE8s, and perhaps the redesigned Atrios...

Obviously I like the price on the Atrios if they fix the issues I have read about the lack of treble/mid clarity. As far as MPTG vs. IE8s I have read a lot of mixed opinions on which is best. From what I understand the MPTGs are great "out of the box" i.e. they don't require EQing and are forgiving of lower quality files while the IE8s require proper EQing and possibly an amp to get an ideal sound. Given the EQ options on apples portable audio players are limited, that is a concern if it is true...



nice. i also have a good sound system in my car. i have good bass in my car, but i also have strong mids and highs as well. i actually have just as much power going to my mids+tweeters as my sub. 600 watts rms on a single ten, 200 on each mid and 100 on each tweeter, all run active. strong bass, but overall its a balanced sound.

 

anyway, i'd investigate the Hippo VB's as well. i have read time and time again that they have very strong low bass, and are actually adjustable as well. i have never used them though. when i had a pair of S4's i thought there was just the right amount of bass, i feel the same about my current Brainwavz M2's.


Edited by jasonb - 10/17/10 at 8:42pm
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxer757 View Post




Yeah, the bass isn't bad on the S4s, it just isn't present enough for my taste. I am strongly considering the Monster Golds. Have you gotten a chance to listen to them? Any chance for a quick comparison to the S4?

 


I understand that proper fit/seal is crucial to achieving good bass. I have tried all sizes of tips and different methods of insertion. I definitely think I am getting a proper seal. Noise isolation is good even with no music playing. By all means, the bass is there, just not as much as I would like.

 

jasonb I do have some nice subs in the car  but I also have high-end mids/tweeters to compensate for the bass. I understand there is no way to get the same bass in an IEM that I get from a couple of properly set up 10" subs but I know I've got to be able to get more than this. I agree the midbass is pretty good, I think what I am really missing is the low stuff (forgive me if that statement is wrong, I am an avid music listener but by no means a legitimate audiophile so I don't have as strong of a grasp on the terminology). I think we just have different definitions of "plenty" of bass which is understandable given its a pretty subjective topic 

 

 

Right now it looks like my short list is Monster Turbine Pro Golds, Sennheiser IE8s, and perhaps the redesigned Atrios...

Obviously I like the price on the Atrios if they fix the issues I have read about the lack of treble/mid clarity. As far as MPTG vs. IE8s I have read a lot of mixed opinions on which is best. From what I understand the MPTGs are great "out of the box" i.e. they don't require EQing and are forgiving of lower quality files while the IE8s require proper EQing and possibly an amp to get an ideal sound. Given the EQ options on apples portable audio players are limited, that is a concern if it is true...



I have heard the mtpg and the s4, from what I remember, the golds have better quality and extention of low bass (and better mids and treble, too), which is what it sounds like you're looking for. The golds will do well on a 5th gen ipod (what I heard them on) without an amp at a volume of 60% or better, however for low-volume listening, an amp would be needed. The Atrios, from what I understand are designed not to need an amp even at lower volumes. Whenever Future Sonics gets their Atrios from the company they now probably regret sending them to for green packaging, I'll receive a pair and review them. They should have more low-bass than just about anything in-ear.

post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 

Alright friends, so after much deliberation I have decided to pull the trigger on the MTPGs. I'm going to order them on Amazon @ $250 which is really the best price I can find on a new pair from a legitimate seller at this time. From all the reading I've done it just doesn't seem that the ie8s have $150 more sound to them (once again, $399 is the best price I can track down from a legitimate seller). I really like the warranty on the monsters and overall it seems to be the sound quality I am looking for.

 

If worse comes to worse, and I am disappointed, I can always invoke the 30-day return policy and go with the ie8s or look at the new Atrios.

 

I'll let ya'll know what I think when I they get in. Thank you for all your opinions and help!

post #14 of 43
post #15 of 43
Thread Starter 


Would it still be covered under the monster warranty since it is already opened and not being sold by a certified monster retailer? The lifetime warranty is a big reason I chose the MTPG.

 

EDIT: I did find the Coppers on overstock for $260, from what I have read it seems the Golds would be more my taste but the similarity in price is making me second guess myself...


Edited by Boxer757 - 10/18/10 at 8:46pm
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