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Klipsch Image S4 - Where's the treble?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello all,


My Apple ear buds gave out on me, so I decided to purchase a new set. Went out on a limb to get a more expensive pair of ear buds, and based on different reviews and my budget, I went with the Klipsch Image S4s off amazon for ~50 bucks.


I'm not sure if there is a break-in process or not, but I've found the sound to be very 'muffled'. The cheap Apple ear buds are certainly not awesome, but they had very bright treble. These S4s, though the bass sounds TONS better than my Apple ear buds, seem to lack treble like crazy. It's like I'm listening to music through a wall. Even using an equalizer in iTunes it's the same result.


Anybody know what the deal is? Should I use them for a while and see if they get better? Should I send them back for a refund?


Thanks for the help!!


post #2 of 12

The S4's are horribly bass heavy IEM's.  There is huge bass boost from 10 - 250 Hz ( almost 12dB ) which is not a good sign for any headphone / IEM.  This almost always means that the rest of the curve and thus audible spectrum will suffer.  Another thing to mention is that the S4 along with any IEM audibly suffers if they do not seal correctly.  They will sound really dry.  You need to make sure they fit and seal into your ear canal not just sit inside your inner ear loosely.  Try this first and take another listen.


My suggestion would be not to bother listening to the S4 any longer and return them.  There are many better IEM's within the $60 range.  Below are my suggestions:

MEElectronics M6 / M6P ( $22 )


Xears Bullet XB120PRO ( $25 )


Brainwavz M1 ( $40 )


Brainwavz M2 ( $60 )

post #3 of 12

The deal is, the S4 aren't that good of an earphone by today's standards. Unless the sound signature really blows you away, which it obviously doesn't, there's no need to keep them around. Return them. For what it's worth, you'll probably get recommendations for the Meelec CC51. The CC51 is undoubtedly better than the S4, but it has a similar signature that is really displeasing to my ears like the S4 are.


The Apple IEMs (the ones that retail for $80, but sell on eBay for $30) have good treble, but they're a "laid back" kind of IEM and for a budget of $50-60 they can probably be bested. Maybe something by Soundmagic?

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

It seems like it *really* depends on the song. Particularly rock songs, with stringed instruments, seem like the guitar is way in the background and muffled. Rap songs generally sound good, as the vocals seem right up 'in my face'. But I guess I was expecting to be 'wowed' by the clarity and crystal clear highs and punchy bass, given all the reviews I read and watched. Don't know if that makes sense. But it could also be my expectations of a $50 earphone - I don't want to go through the hassle of returning, ordering another one, waiting, etc. over and over.


Granted, I am listening to music via Spotify (on the highest quality setting, and offline mode which is 320kbps AFAIK).

post #5 of 12

I seriously would return them and get the Brainwavz M2's.  I use them at work all of the time and really like them.  If you do not return the S4 you are going to have the same issues with them forever and basically be stuck with an IEM that you do not like.


It is in your best interest to return them if possible.  Your ears deserve it!

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

How is the treble with the M2s? I like the bass I'm hearing with the S4s, it just sounds like the treble/midrange is 'muffled. 


The M2s look like they are on preorder right now.

post #7 of 12

The bass is great on the M2's so no problem there.


The mids are clear so vocals will come through clean and up-front.


The highs are slightly weak, but honestly I listen to them over the three other pairs of IEM's I currently own.   It is not as if the highs are missing and from what you describing the highs are going to be much better than the S4.


Take a look at Joker's quite impressive IEM review list here.


post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ordered the M2s. Here's to hoping they live up to expectations :).


How do those hold up in the ear? I'm going to be using these primarily for when I go running.

post #9 of 12

The M2s may work for running, but that will be dependent on how they fit for you.  I had a little trouble with them so I went for the new SoundMagic e30s instead for gym/running use and they are perfect.  The over the ear design is good for running...a lot harder to get them to fall out.  So if the M2s don't work for you, definitely give the SM e30s a look.  A bargain at around $45 just a little harder to come by than the Brainwavz or the Klipsch.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Got my M2s today, and this is exactly what I was looking for! Plenty of bass (granted not as much as the S4s - seems like they go a little less low?), but the mids and treble sound perfect for my music. No 'muffled' sound at all.


Thanks again for the recommendations!!

post #11 of 12

the s4's have relatively calm and recessed treble until it spikes where sibilance is the most prevalent (mid treble freq), pretty annoying sound sig if you ask me. They sound muddy and sharp at the same time.

post #12 of 12



since you r the only person who s online rite now(in this email chain),i would like to ask you,,,,i have ordered an klipsch image s4i from ebay,,,they have great reviews all over the internet!!

..are they overhyped...???:(

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