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Klipsch Image X10 Noise-Isolating Earphone

  1. Vatnos
    Still looking for better IEMs
    Written by Vatnos
    Published Oct 19, 2016
    Pros - Sound quality, portability
    Cons - Reliability
    Smooth, good detail, a playful "warm neutral" sound. Not boomy or bloated like Klipsch's lower end IEMs. Quite pleasant. No they're not analytical headphones. No they're not reference headphones. These are not for studio work, they're simply for enjoying music on the go. They will faithfully enough render good recordings with great positional accoustics, and they'll make something salvageable and listenable out of poorly recorded albums and low-fi old mp3s too. Klipsch have carefully removed every frequency that could be irritating, so even Merzbow sounds like puppies licking your ears.
    Comfort is great. I love the gel tips on the Klipsch headphones.
    The downside:
    This cable is thin, knots and forms elbows easily, feels really fragile. For the price, I expect better from a cable. I've seen better cables on stock ipod earbuds. My X-10 broke just months after buying them. One channel crapped out, most likely because of the terrible cable. If you're a psychopath and you like sending in $100 headphones for repairs shortly after buying them, then you'll enjoy that feature.
  2. ryanjsoo
    Digital Quality Meets Analogue Charm
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Apr 4, 2016
    Pros - Bass extension, Bass impact, Warm laid back midrange, Non-fatiguing, Unbeatable comfort, Isolation, Unique tonality
    Cons - Treble extension, Strain reliefs split, Cables too thin, X11 and X12 too expensive, Microphonic

    Introduction – 

    The x10`s are Klipsch`s former flagship earphone that continues to hold a special place in my audio arsenal. I`ve owned them for over 6 years and continue to enjoy their smooth sound no matter how much I upgrade. While they are certainly not perfect, the x10`s provide an impeccably sculpted and addictive sound combined with the most comfortable design of any iem I`ve tested.

    They have since been replaced by the x11`s and x12`s, however these earphones are acoustically identical with small upgrades in build such as a new square cable and new colour schemes. The x10`s can be found for well under $100 USD and represent great value at that price, however both the x10`s and x11`s seem to be affected by the infamous strain relief split issue, it`s still too early to talk about the x12`s but I suspect it will be the same story.


    About Me – Some background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases

    I generally prefer a slight v-shape to my sound, but still closer to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound such as that on the X10`s. I prefer a more neutral midrange within a relatively tight tolerance, but I`m probably more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I`m not particularly treble sensitive and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, though too much ruins the enjoyment. If I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review I will note that and describe the sound changes.

    Read More


     Accessories – 



    The x10`s come in a small gold box that is a step up from the s4`s and other consumer earphones. The earphones are nicely displayed in a small textured box that also contains 5 pairs of eartips, two of which are dual flanges, a shirt clip, carry case and cleaning tool.




    The case is of the faux leather variety and closes via a magnetic clasp. It is thick and protective while remaining very portable, but it should have a compartment for extra accessories. Overall it`s a nice package, less comprehensive than some Chinese buds, but Klipsch`s oval tips are very ergonomic, avoiding the need for an abundance of different shapes and materials.



    Design – 

    The x10`s are claimed to be the lightest earphone on the market. While this may no longer be accurate, they are pretty much the only earphone I could forget I`m wearing. They have feather weight housings coupled with a very lightweight and supple cable that makes for easy wear. The teardrop housings are reminiscent of Etymotic`s famous ER-4, however, the shorter body and soft, sculpted rubber strain reliefs are far more ergonomic.




    The comfort of these earphones is helped in part by Klipsch`s patented oval ear tips, one of my favourite small bore tips that is up there with the sony hybrids and spinfits for sure. They are made of a soft silicone but have small molded supports that provide the perfect mix between seal, isolation and comfort. Perhaps my only complaint is that the sound outputs through a very small opening which is easily blocked, if you have troubles with this, then the CP800 spinfits are worth a look.


    Despite their light weight, the earpieces themselves inspire confidence. They impress with a machined copper housing with a ridged concentric finish that feels just a little more solid than aluminium. The seamless rubber strain reliefs are very soft and seem well designed to absorb stress.


    The nozzles are ridged and hold the tips well, they allow the tips to rotate a bit for an optimal fit. I would have preferred for Klipsch to have added a filter to either the tips or nozzle, but the opening is so small that it shouldn`t be too much of a concern. The earphones have a deep fit and isolate very well, just shy of over ear monitors such as the Westone W30`s and Shure range, but far more than most cable down earphones. They are fully sealed and don`t leak sound at all. With foams, they have fantastic isolation that rivals NC headphones during flights, though comfort is partly compromised. They are completely symmetrical and differentiating between right and left can be difficult, with only small characters on the bottom denoting orientation.


    The cable has a very smooth texture, resisting tangling better than most and complying well to winding. It is thin, but fabric reinforcement indicates some added strength.


    Mine still work after dozens of plane trips, years of sleeping with them, running with them and general listening which is a testament to this claim, just always use a carry case when not in use. The earphones have a well-molded y-split, but “i” models have a remote instead. They terminate in a well-relieved right angle plug that is very low profile and flexible for smartphone use. It should probably be a little more beefy and it can be hard to grip at times, but it functions well enough in day to day use.




    As a result of the deep, cable down fit, these earphones are microphonic… very microphonic. In fact, the x10`s have the loudest cable noise of any earphone period, a much-debated issue among owners. It sounds terrible, but it`s well managed by Klipsch through the long strain reliefs that prevent the cables from ever touching the face. If used with a cable clip, they are silent and the cable is long enough that they can be worn over the ear. The small housing are not stable in this fashion however and it seems Klipsch has traded low cable noise for comfort. In application, they actually produce less cable noise than my ie800`s through sheer design, if the cable contacts anything it does make a louder thud, but this is much less frequent and they are actually not too bad.


    Sound – 

    The earphones use a custom BA driver design by Klipsch (KG 926) that works in tandem with a bass reflex system (couldn`t find any more details, perhaps like a passive radiator?). They have an impressive claimed FR spanning from 5Hz- 10KHz, but I`ll leave end to end extension for later. Aside from that, they have a 50-ohm impedance and, given that they are a single driver earphone, they aren`t affected much by output impedance. The earphones have a very lush, warm consumer sound with good body and impressive bass quantity for a single BA. It sounds very dynamic but detail retrieval is only reasonable. Strong isolation in culmination with meaty bass performance means that the earphones are well suited for transit and should appeal to pretty much anyone except purists. They are well shaped, not too bassy but still bass orientated. They are the next step up in quantity from my W30`s mid-bass wise, but lower mids are equally prominent. They gently slope downwards as they head towards the upper mids, where the treble rolls-off. They have a very intimate soundstage and can get overwhelmed. Imaging is decent but instrument separation is just ok. In this sense, the earphones are very analogue, with a tube amp inspired sound that is both smooth and warm, laid-back and a very easy listen. They are great for study, relaxation and recreation, which mixes well with their perfect comfort and small size. The earphones don`t benefit too much from amping but pick up hiss on almost every source, it`s never loud like the se535`s and some other monitors but it`s almost always present.

    Bass –

    The X10`s actually have very extended bass for a BA earphone, even more than some multi-driver setups. The sub-bass is punchy with impressive impact, it`s about neutral in quantity compared to my Oppo PM3`s and the reflex woofer system appears to be working well. The mid-bass is a emphasized a good amount, shy of bass-head levels, but it`s erring more into consumer territory than audiophile tuning. The upper bass is also emphasized, although to a lesser degree, giving the mids a moderately warm sound. The bass is overall thick and very lush, it is on the slower side and can over simplify complex bass lines. I enjoy the bass a lot, it doesn`t resolve a lot of detail but it`s easy and smooth. Bass is very well textured and remains impressive quality wise despite the quantity.

    Mids –

    The mids are warm as aforementioned, lower mids are slightly forward and upper mids just about neutral. Through this unorthodox, bass-forward, mid forward tuning, Klipsch avoids clouding the midrange with the strong low-end response. Vocals sound great, very natural with good body. They never sound overly thin or thick but can rarely sound congested. Despite their smooth, more laid back sound, the upper mids can be slightly metallic sounding, especially evident with piano-centric tracks and during older recordings. Clarity is above average and they have a nice balance between dynamics, punch and raw detail. There are many earphones in this price range that are more detailed, the re400`s, for example resolve much more, but the x10`s are more versatile on a whole. The midrange and bass performance is perfectly suited for pop music, and although it is not technically proficient as the best in class, they are very well tuned.

    Highs –

    This is the obvious limitation of the single driver setup employed in the x10`s. The highs are lacking extension to quite a degree, perhaps even more so than my Bose QC20`s and se535`s. Hi-hats can sound more like wood sticks and lack any sparkle. There is no sense of air, not helped by an intimate soundstage. Treble is at least smooth and isn`t fatiguing at all, but a little more extension wouldn`t be a bad thing. Quantity wise, they are just about neutral but roll of strongly after that. The treble is unremarkable overall, it holds the earphones back and dulls the sound.


    Verdict –

    I might have sounded negative during this review, but the the x10`s are a strong earphone, they just have a confused identity. They are clearly not tuned for an audiophile sound but are priced too high for the average consumer. The warm caramel sound is well suited for pop music, but it also works well elsewhere. They are in a word, versatile, combining supreme comfort with a well-rounded sound (apart from the treble) and impeccable passive noise isolation. Overall performance is this earphone`s main selling point, they have few deficiencies and at a discounted price can even be considered good value.


    I had put my set to the side for a few years since my ie800`s are better suited for home use, but coming back to them has been quite nostalgic. They`re not as flawless as the Sennheiser`s and not as robust as the Westone w30`s, but they are also much older and much cheaper with few compromises compared to either. Other companies such as Dunu, Vsonic, Hifiman and even Xiaomi are catching up fast, offering superior sound at the same price or cheaper, but none offer the design or ergonomic refinements and, perhaps more importantly, unique tonality of the Klipsch x10`s.

    Accessories – 9/10, Klipsch`s silicone tips are great, one of the first oval tips on the market and a success ever since their inception. There are double flanges for extra isolation and enough sizes for anyone. A few foams would be good, but the earphones are already comfortable and isolate very well. The included case is good, solid and compact but there is no space for accessories. The included cleaning tool and shirt clip are a nice touch.

    Design – 10/10, Unbeatable comfort and ergonomics. Absolutely no fatigue after hours and hours of listening. Extremely portable and easy to coil, the cable is well suited for mobile use, fabric reinforced and super supple, but perhaps too thin. The x11`s and x12`s have an improved square cable that performs equally well. The copper housings feel very solid, but the rubber strain reliefs are too soft and prone to splitting. Klipsch has been good with their aftermarket support, offering some customers the newer x11`s in return. Some buyers have complained about longevity, but mine are still going strong after over six years and this is a review based upon my personal experiences.

    Bass – 7.5/10, Sub bass rolls off at the lowest of lows, but extension is impressive for a BA earphone. Bass is not focused on slam, but is rather more organic and laid back. The large mid-bass hump can muddy the sound, but generally, it`s very well tuned. It`s not the fastest bass performance and the earphones can skim over some details. Bass is great quality wise despite quantity, with good impact and impressive punch.

    Mids – 7.5/10, Warm and smooth, but not overly so. Prominent, full bodied and reasonably detailed vocals in addition with no sibilance produce a very enjoyable listen that excels especially with pop, but still has enough clarity for any other genre. Resolves plenty of detail but doesn`t throw it at the listener.

    Highs – 6/10, Quite rolled off, but it`s not jarring. The treble is otherwise smooth with good texture. Suited for easy over analytical listening. Could be improved.

    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation – 5/10, The intimate soundstage is better for studio songs over live recordings, it`s just enough, but I would definitely prefer more space. Imaging is solid but instruments can get meshed together. Contributes to the more laid back sound, its easy to zone out and enjoy in the background, doesn`t draw too much attention or awe.

    Value – 8.5/10, The x10`s, x11`s and x12`s are all worth a look as an entry level audiophile earphone, but are not worth their RRP. The x10`s are well worth their current ~$110 price tag, but I would wait for the x11`s and x12`s to go on sale.

    Overall – 8.5/10, The Klipsch x10`s provide a very nicely tuned analogue sound perfect for pop. They can be used for extensive periods of time on account of their non-fatiguing sound and comfort. They are great for travel and will sound nice from all sources. The x10`s, x11`s and x12`s are all worth a look as an entry level audiophile earphone, but are not worth their RRP. The x10`s are well worth their current ~$110 price tag, but I would wait for the x11`s and x12`s to go on sale.

    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this review, please have a look at my website for more just like it:
      H T T, Wilderbeast and hqssui like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Butter123
      My biggest complain about this earphone is that the driver cannot keep up after 50% volume from my iphone. Everything sounds congested when the volume gets high. And the cable strain relief broke after just 1 week of use.
      Butter123, Apr 10, 2016
    3. defbear
      I bought a pair when they went on sale with the introduction of the x11's. The cable is microphone can. But the sound is fantastic. Yup a little dark. Mine are in mint shape after years of use. Always use the case.
      defbear, Apr 11, 2016
    4. ryanjsoo
      The y-splits on my x10 split very quickly as well, after a few months, but it didn`t seem to impact their longevity. They`ve been working since the end of 2012, just use the included case and they`ll hold up well.
      ryanjsoo, May 14, 2016
  3. DivineCurrent
    Amazing little IEM!
    Written by DivineCurrent
    Published Jul 27, 2015
    Pros - Unbelievable bass, perfect treble, not siblilant, fits pretty much any ear size.
    Cons - Nothing really, pressure on ears feels weird.
    This is my second actual IEM purchase, and I have to say, I'm very surprised. These have a more enjoyable and pleasurable listening experience compared to the Shure SE425, which sounded dry and lifeless in my opinion.
    The Klipsch X10s have bass extension to die for. These things pack a bigger punch and impact than the Sennheiser HD650s. They are perfect for rock, pop, and pretty much anything else. One thing these really shine at are binaural recordings. Ive noticed with listening tests that IEMs do a better job recreating a binaural experience than open back headphones, at least for me. This is probably due to the way binaural is recorded, with the mic near or inside the ear canal. So, they sound extremely realistic, and very balanced.
    Some people complain these have too much bass, but for me they are absolutely perfect in that regard. They resemble the overall sonic signature of the Sennheiser hd 650, which i love. The only thing i would list as a con is the pressure you feel when getting a seal, but thats for every other iem i suppose.
    Even for $200, these are worth it. I got them for $125 on Amazon. Highly recommended!
  4. rob2ski
    X10I The comfort and sound quality of these are fantastic and they are cheap for as good as they sound
    Written by rob2ski
    Published Apr 23, 2013
    Pros - Very detailed balanced good sound, extremely comfortable. I can wear them for 6 hours at work without knowing they are on, great noise isolation
    Cons - some microphonics, had a few pair develop shorts in the wires.
    I have some current Senn IE80s and I think the x10s sound better and are far more comfortable IMO. These are underated. I like them enough that I have bought 6 pair due to losing them or wear and tear and I buy the X10i with iphone controls @ $200+ a pop. Thats how much I like them.
    1. reddragon
      they are comfortable but they sound a bit harsh to me
      reddragon, Apr 23, 2013
  5. Techno Kid
    Very solid single BA performer
    Written by Techno Kid
    Published Jan 8, 2013
    Pros - great bass, smooth detailed mids and highs, good soundstage width and 3D presentation and good isolation
    Cons - none that I can find for a $85 IEM
    5 Sets of Tips
    Protective Case
    Airplane Adaptor
    Ear Tip Cleaning Tool
    Build Quality / Fit,
    On the build quality the X10 is very well built imo.  The housings are made of aluminium and I also think because they're so small that they'll last longer.  They have a good strain releif coming of the housing into a good splitter that has a neck clinch.  On do the cable is pretty much your standard cable that most IEM's have with the plasticy feel to them.  The jack has the gold plating with the same kind of strain relief as on the housing.  Over build quality is very good, I'd say some of the best of and IEM I've had.
    Fit can be described in one word, "perfect".  These things fit me perfectly with the Klipsch patented oval shaped tips that I've also found to be some of the best fitting and isolating tips you can get.  The size of the IEM make so you don't even really feel them after awhile, these truly are some of the most comfortable IEM's you can get imo.  The isolation as I mentioned is outstanding, I'd say its almost as good as the Etymotics which are considered to be the best.  I can't say it enough these fit really good and I can't see anyone have a problem with them at all.
    Sound Quality,
    Bass - The bass is one of the strong points of the X10's presentation.  They have a very good amount of impact in the mid-bass and as for depth they're no slouch either with plenty of sub-bass imo.  Its well textured with good speed and decay times.  For the EDM I listen to the X10's bass is more than sufficient and I think even some bassheads would enjoy the X10's low end.  I think they out perform the FAD Heaven in the bass, the Heaven I feel still has a bit more impact and depth over all but not buy much and the X10's bass sounds cleaner with better texture over all, they're just a solid performer in that area.
    Mids - The mids are probably what I like most with IEM's as I've become a pretty big mid-head and the X10's midrange like the bass doesn't disappoint.  They're on the warm and smooth side and are also a bit forward but nothing I'd call mid-centric.  The have good detail but are missing some of the micro detail of other high end sets like the SM3 but it doesn't take away from the SQ imo.  They do an excellent job of isolating the vocals and dare I say almost as good at that as the BA200 thought they're not quite that good at it but still better than many other higher end IEM's I've heard.  I think the mids of the X10 are a lot like the Sony XBA-1 but better at isolating vocals.
    Highs - Not much different from many other warmer mid forward IEM's in that they're laid back and fatigue free.  The have a decent amount of sparkle, just enough to get the detail you want from the treble.  So I'm not going to go into more detail as the highs sound a lot like the highs of the BA200, SM3 (though not quite as good) and other warm sounding IEM's.
    Soundstage - This part surprised me because I wasn't expecting the soundstage to be as good as it is.  What surprised me the most was how good they portrayed width, the sound much wider than what I was expecting and they also have a fair amount of height along with good depth.  As for the separation and imaging they're both good but not quite to the level of the SM3 or BA200 but I wouldn't expect them to be though at the MSRP price of $350 you'd want better separation and imaging.
    Conclusion - So the Klipsch Image X10, its a very good IEM for the price they're going for now which is around the $100 mark.  Very clean and impactful bass, warm and smooth mids and highs along with a very well rounded soundstage makes these a very nice bargain imo, so if that sounds like something you'd like I say don't hesitate to get a pair.
    Rating - 9
    1. omasciarotte
      Yup, got to agree. I reviewed the X10s for blogcritics and, they have become my preferred set of cans for day-to-day use. The ovoid tips are incredibly comfortable, and allow me to place them well into my ear canal, resulting in no bone conduction noise. the shape is excellent for inserting and removing, and they work equally well around the ear or down. As a bonus, the mic is quite flat. Though not the last word in fidelity and linearity, they are darn good and fun to listen with...well worth the price.
      omasciarotte, Jan 8, 2013
    2. reddragon
      cant stand the fit of my ultimate ears trifi10, just bought this. hopefully it will satisfy my needs before i get my ciem. cant wait for my x10 to arrive!!!
      reddragon, Feb 25, 2013
  6. dayh8
    Great for sitting
    Written by dayh8
    Published Sep 4, 2011
    Pros - Isolation, sound quality
    Cons - cord, cord, cord.
    I am not going to try to describe the sound of these IEMs. I am new to the audiophile world, and don't have the appropriate training to give anyone a good description of their sound. I am sure that there are plenty of posts out there that can help with that! [​IMG]  That being said, I love the sound of these phones, but I hate everything about the cable. It is very stiff (a property that has only gotten worse in the years that I have owned them) which either 1) Transfers horrendous amounts of noise into the ear from ANY movement against clothing, etc or; 2) Causes them to come unseated in the ear canal which causes noise leakage and immediate loss of sound.
    If you are looking at these for noise isolation at the gym, I recommend going somewhere else, since within two steps you will be peeved, and a lap around the track will have them dangling from your neck while you mutter obscenities under your breath at the wasted money.
    That being said, these are great on a plane. They are so small that even in their carrying case they are smaller than a deck of cards, and in your pocket they are hardly there at all. They Isolate noise very well if you seat them correctly, and any sedentary 'activity' like flying minimizes the cord's negative qualities.
    Overall I am happy, and will not buy another pair of IEMs to replace them until I go custom, and that won't happen until I either lose them or break them.
      EasySounds likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dayh8
      Haha! Very true. I have had some cracks in the black part of the actually housing (not the cable) for a long time now, but they seem to not be growing so hopefully they keep on keeping on. :)
      dayh8, Sep 4, 2011
    3. Fatmangolf
      You've probably done this already... you could try taking the cables tight under your chin or backwards over your neck and using the pinch to fix them there. I've found that makes the cable hitting my shirt or jacket less noisy when walking. I suspect with such a light earpiece the cables are more prone to microphonics and easily dislodged by more vigorous exercise. Great on trains and planes though.
      Fatmangolf, Sep 5, 2011
    4. dayh8
      Thanks for the comment. I have tried the behind-the-neck mount, but can't get the earpiece angle right when i have the cable routed this way. As you mentioned, high under the neck it really the best/only way to try to minimize the cord's issues. I jsut don't use them when I am doing anything really vigorous.
      dayh8, Sep 5, 2011
  7. Fatmangolf
    Image X10
    Written by Fatmangolf
    Published May 31, 2011
    Pros - Great sound, tiny, like the look
    Cons - -
    I carry these everywhere with my IPOD Classic. It's hifi on the move, especially on trains. They give a clear full-range sound and the isolation from the double flanged tips is very good. They are very comfortable to wear compared to the Senheiser and Bose IE's I had previously.
    It's a lot cash for something so small but I'd buy them again if I lost mine.
    1. Currawong
      I tried these out in-store, and thought they have a very smooth sound with nice mids, but too much (mid-)bass. Was a pity, as they fit me wonderfully, being Ety-like small in their design.
      Currawong, Jun 1, 2011
  8. yliu
    Klipsch X10
    Written by yliu
    Published May 11, 2010
    Pros - Amazing bass, nice smooth highs, small, very comfortable, block out lot of noise
    Cons - Lack in mids, feels fragile, no foam tips.
    Those earphones are very nice, strong tight bass, mids are detailed but a bit lacking, highs are very smooth. Soundstage is ok, but I don't have much experience on it (worse than IE8 for sure). I love the warm sound, and it really reveals low quality compressed songs. The build fells fragile. I mostly use it at home, and I had no problems with it. They are very comfortable, but they stick out from my ears when I wear them, so you can look a bit funny. The isolations is also very good, for me the X10 were almost as good as my Etymotics!
      Ixeling likes this.
    1. Ixeling
      Have they got a big quantity of bass or is it just good bass?
      Ixeling, Sep 28, 2014