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klipsch s4 vs sennheiser cx300

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I spent a long time reading here before committing to a pair of klipsch s4 for my girlfriend. I read a lot of posts recommending them as a decent budget iem. up until 2 weeks ago i've never used anything but sennhesier cx300, and now i can compare these directly to the klipsch s4 for people who are now in the position that i was a few weeks ago.




the klipsch s4 wins here no doubt. they come in a metal tin whereas the cx300 just come in a blister pack.




the klipsch s4 came with one medium set of buds already attached, along with a slightly larger set and a set of the 'ear plug' style buds that you get on some shure iems. the ones that were attached fit just fine. i'm sorry but i can't remember what buds come with the cx300s but i do know that they fit me just fine from the off.




this is where i start to frown. the cables on the klipsch phones are absolute rubbish. they are coated in a cheap shiny plastic that does not bend with ease at all. the cables are easy to get tangled and rub on your clothing when you walk. i can't imagine what they were thinking choosing a cable like this for some semi decent phones. the cabling on the cx300, by comparison, is rubbery and maliable and good at not tangling itself up. the sennheiser cabling wins hands down.


sound quality:


the important stuff i guess. now, i'm no audiophile but my ears work well and i am very particular about the kind of sound that i like. i am impressed with the sound of the s4 but after a burn in period i did some back to back comparisons with the cx300 and found the following:


compared to the cx300 the treble on the s4 is clearer and sounds sharper by a small margin. this is nice in some music but i found that it begun to sizzle in some metal and dance music (rage against the machine, fear factory, corrupt souls, black sun empire) and i found myself reducing the treble on my EQ to compensate.

the mid tops are better on the s4, the cx300 seem to lose some clarity around here and in complex metal music with a lot going on you suffer a murky mess in the mid tops. the s4 cope with it marginally better and i enjoyed fear factorys "archetype" a little more because of it.

mids i found fairly hard to distinguish between the 2 sets. both represent them well.

the bass on the s4 is sadly lacking. i find the bass on the cx300 too heavy and muddy at certain frequencies but i prefer this to the lack of kick that the s4 provide. whilst the bass that is present is clear, sub basses found in dance music are not represented well in the s4.


i do like the s4 but given the price difference i would not purchase them over a pair of cx300s. after reading threads here i was under the impression that the difference between them would be immense. colourful descriptions of the s4 and a "look down your nose" attitude towards the cx300 lead me to believe the s4 would blow me away compared to my "ultra budget" cx300, but i was wrong. whilst i don't regret the purchase, and my girlfriend likes them a lot i would not recommend them over a pair of cx300. perhaps if they were £5-£10 more expensive than the cx300 i would consider it, but not at £60.




to summarise:


high end is sharper almost to a fault on the s4 for most music. you may suffer sizzling effect in some (this is not an mp3 compression issue, i tested all with flac) which begins to fatigue after a while.


mid tops are clearer on the s4. they don't get muddy in some music like the cx300 do.


mids are pretty much even on both sets of phones. can't really fault either pair here as i have never used anything that can show me a better representation of mids.


bass is preferable on the cx300 if you enjoy dominant bass. the s4 fails at reproducing sub bass levels very well and overall bass level is too low for me, but the cx300 i sometimes find too much.


all testing was done on my meizu m6 ts.

Edited by mammoth1981 - 12/29/10 at 4:00am
post #2 of 9


I previously owned the cx300 and currently own the S4.  While I couldn't do a side by side, your review seems spot on.  

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks man, I tried to be as open and honest as possible. Sometimes it's hard to admit fault with something you spent a lot of money on but I think it's worthwhile to help others make the right decision.

post #4 of 9

Mammoth, have you tried out the other ear pieces on the s4? I'm a big person at 6.1 but I found I needed to pop on the smallest size ear pieces. Also I don't get the full bass unless I angle the buds forward a little (I need to wear them over the ear so gravity dosn't pull them straight down).

post #5 of 9

Have you tried comply foamies?

post #6 of 9

Well justified. Now i'm even more convinced that the cx300 that i own is satisfactory.

post #7 of 9

CX300 > S4 any day, I've used both and the CX300 are way more balanced and clearer than the S4.

post #8 of 9

I'm a fan of the Sennheiser CX series and the CX300 is my benchmark. I am very careful about authenticity so I only buy from authorized sellers (not amazon marketplace).


I found the CX400 (reportedly the CX500 without volume control) to be a noticeable upgrade to the CX300 in bass quantity (both the CX300 and CX400 have great bass quality to my ears).


Now, the frequency response graph of the Klipsch S4 looks almost identical to that of the CX500:




So I don't understand how you perceive the Klipsch S4 to lack bass.


I'm worried because I am buying the Klipsch S4 next--I want to buy the CX500 to compare it with the CX400 but it's already discontinued and there's only fakes left in the market, so I thought I'll just get the S4.


I compared multiple IEM's and put them to a simple bass test here, and the CX400 is still the best in my list. The CX870 follows, almost tied to the CX300.


I got the S4. You guys were absolutely right.

Edited by PocketSmiley - 2/14/13 at 10:56am
post #9 of 9

I can confirm that the CX300 > S4 bass-wise.

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