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Universal Fit item created by jacksonchansf, Nov 14, 2012
Pros - Good build quality, GREAT fit, Comfortable, Great Isolation
Cons - V-Shaped sound signature, Narrow soundstage, Straight plug, Cable is short, Button is WAY too big
I recently bought a pair of Klipsch S4A because of their glowing reviews on certain tech websites. I figured I'd finally try out a Klipsch product to see what they sounded like. Overall, I don't mind them, but there are some LARGE issues with these IEMs.
I gave the S4s a 20-ish hour burn period before I began to analyze their sound quality. Before the burn in, I did a bit of introductory listening and fit test. At first, the bass sounded boomy and loose with a clear emphasis on the highs and lows. After the burn in, the bass shaped up and became much tighter and easier to handle. Even so, the bass frequency is still over exaggerated. In songs with ambient low-mid and bass notes (stuff like cello and bass pedal synthesizers) the bass completely took over, placing very little emphasis on vocals and higher mid range frequencies. In fact, I felt that vocals were almost always lost in the mix with these IEMs. The highs can get very fatiguing when you turn up the volume to normal listening levels. Cymbals, violins, and guitar "squeelies" often became harsh and sibilant. Cymbals and S sounds from vocals soon become extremely tiresome to listen to, and made me wonder why some people like a lot of treble. The soundstage is easily one of the biggest drawbacks of the S4As. It feels very cramped, heavy, and dense. It feels like the sound is coming from deep within my ear instead of around me or even just outside of my ears like most IEMs. This then leads to there being very little instrumental separation and clarity. Despite the obnoxious treble, Klipsch found a way to make the S4As sound as if all the instruments in music are melting and moulding into one sound emitting entity. This lends to their lack of clarity when things get muddled up with bass.
I do have to admit that the S4As have very good comfort and fantastic isolation. This may be due the odd way the actual bud is shaped. The tips have extremely small openings, which actually annoyed me when I tried to steal them to put on my Brainwavs M1s. Both sides of the tip are extremely small and they just weren't going to fit.
I was disapointed in what came in the box. Klipsch clearly doesn't care much about extra goodies. The soft case that came with them is very thin and seems extremely easy to rip in half. Only about three other pairs of tips came in the box, a large size, a small size, and a weird, very small biflange tip. The box also included a clip to tame the awful microphonics (did I mention that yet?). In conclusion, if you are someone who likes a very V-Shaped frequency curve and great quality, then sure, picks these up. But if you also value the mid-range, and instrument separation, and hate microphonics like I do, then maybe take a pass. If you ask me, they are a bit too overpriced at around 60 USD.