Klipsch XR8i HYBRID High clarity Headphone

General Information

Klipsch XR8i HYBRID High clarity Headphone As one the most affordable hybrids on the market, XR8i combines the best of both worlds of drivers - dynamic and balanced armature. XR8i features a true downward-firing subwoofer to extend authentic bass into the single-digit frequencies. If you like lots of bass but can't sacrifice on clarity, this is the in-ear for you. High clarity and full bass hybrid design. A home theater in your eyes.

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Pros: Bass, Build Quality, Unboxing Experience, Cable
Cons: Mids, Highs, Soundstage, Detachable Cable

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Klipsch is a company that really doesn’t need an introduction.  From its beginnings in the loudspeaker business to its entry into the IEM market in 2007, Klipsch continues to produce some of the most popular and well-received audio products in the consumer market today.  For this review, I’ll be looking at the XR8i, a hybrid earphone from Klipsch’s fairly new Reference X-series of in-ear headphones.  This lineup of 4 new earphones will be replacing the previous X-series, with newly redesigned bodies, upgraded build materials, and most importantly, updated sound signatures.  In short, a very interesting new lineup that seems to have the trappings of an audiophile-grade products. 
Before I go further, I’d like to thank Klipsch for helping to coordinate this review and for providing me with a sample of the XR8i.  As always, I am neither an affiliate nor an employee of Klipsch.  All the media seen in this review is owned by me.  If you’d like to reproduce and/or use any part of this review, just drop me a line and I’d be happy to help.  Once again, I hope you enjoy reading this review!

TYPE: Hybrid (KG-2365 AcuPass(R) Two-Way Hybrid)
IMPEDANCE: 50 ohms
WEIGHT: 25 grams


The XR8i comes in one of the most elaborate packages I have ever seen.  The earphones are suspended in the air through the use of transparent plastic props, and showcased in a clear plastic display case.   Opening up the box, one finds a carry case, several eartips in a well-designed holder, and some product literature.  Overall, it’s an excellently thought out package that demonstrates a clear design philosophy and refinement in execution.  The carry case is far too small to carry the earphones meaningfully though, and I felt that an Audio-Technica style EVA case would've been better.  Perhaps it would’ve been nice to have some Comply tips included, but I’m not that huge fan of the foam tips anyways.​

The XR8i is a very big earphone.  Combining a die-cast zinc front housing with a co-molded elastomer rear housing, the result is a build that is nothing short of being absolutely amazing.  The soft-touch elastomer feels great in the hand, and the earphones feel like they could very well last a lifetime.  The one thing that holds the XR8i from receiving a perfect build quality is the fact that the cable is not detachable.  Especially since it has a mic and volume control attached to it.  Many similarly priced (and even cheaper earphones) like the IM02, SE215, all feature detachable, albeit in some cases proprietary, cables.  That said, the cable that comes on the XR8i has very little memory and microphonics, and is an absolute joy to use.  The mic is of good quality and the Y-splitter is solid.  However, a cable cinch would've been a nice addition.
I had some trouble with the fit of these earphones.  Using the same patented oval eartips found on other Klipsch earphones, I found that only the large eartip would give me an adequate seal, and even then it was one that was not particularly strong.  The problem arises from the fact that the XR8i, unlike it sleeker cousins, is a shallow fit earphone, making the smaller oval eartips an imperfect fit.  I’m sure there are some DIY solutions that might be able to remedy this, but I think a simple widening of the existing oval eartips by Klipsch would do just fine.  For the record, I’m not aware that I have particularly odd shaped ears.             


The XR8i is a hybrid design featuring an Acupass unit comprised of two modified Sonion drivers –a KG-065 Dynamic Woofer and a KG-723 Balanced Armature Tweeter.  Designed to bring “room-rattling home theater sound” through powerful bass while still maintaining clarity in the mids and highs, it is clear what kind of sound Klipsch aimed to create with the XR8i. For reference, I did have the chance to briefly audition the rest of the X-Series lineup at Canjam Singapore 2016, and I can tell you that the XR8i is perhaps the most “Klipsch-sounding” of the entire lineup.  It does what it promises, delivering rumbling bass, albeit at a cost.
The XR8i has bass with great potential.  In terms of subbass extension, the earphones reach very deep, and at times even rival the ER4.  There is texture and detail in the subbass, and on certain bossa nova tracks this becomes fairly evident.  The midbass is a heavier than I’d like it to be, but has good punch and presence.  This can occasionally become problematic as the midbass does overshadow the subbass on certain tracks.  Overall speed is moderate.  The end result is a visceral bass section with significant power, but one that occasionally feel bloated and slightly uncontrolled.  In addition, the lower frequencies often bleed into the lower mids, a point that I will come to later.  I feel that the XR8i with a tightened bass section would be truly impressive.  A point to note is that the XR8i’s subwoofer driver is somewhat insensitive to volume control, meaning that at lower playing volumes it scales rather poorly and the bass has the tendency to become significantly over-emphasized.  Just something to note for those who listen to music at lower volumes.
The mids are somewhat recessed and glossed due to the bass section.  Listening closely though, I do have to say that the mids are very smooth and generally quite comfortable to listen to.  Though there’s no hint of sibilance, there is enough texture to provide an enticing bite to the XR8i’s sound.  I feel that perhaps the XR8i could have benefitted BA driver, like the DN2000, as this would have improved the mid-range presence and generally made for a more “balanced” sound.    
The XR8i’s highs are somewhat weak in terms of presence.  Given the strong bass section on this earphone, I would’ve expected the earphones to be tuned to a “v-shaped” sound signature.   However, the highs instead roll-off, and don’t quite provide enough contrast to the lower frequencies.   That said, the highs are very organic sounding, and what is there is very good. There’s absolutely no artificiality, and I feel that with more extension and emphasis, the upper registers would be a sure hit.  Soundstage is kind of small on these earphones, lending a very intimate feel to the SQ. Imaging is okay, but hampered by the small soundstage.  Overall, these aren’t the right IEMs for those looking for an airy and neutral sound.  



The Klipsch XR8i is a very well-built earphone with excellent materials and packaging.  Personally, the XR8i user experience was one of the best in my opinion, as everything leading from the unboxing to general use felt well thought out and refined.  However, the sound quality of the XR8i wasn't exactly my cup of tea.  These are some powerful and bass-emphasized earphones that do sacrifice some performance in the mids and the highs to achieve visceral lower frequency performance.  If you are into bass and like the Klipsch sound, then these are the right pair of earphones for you.
Happy listening and thanks for reading,
@NA Blur Fairly standard -it'll be fine I think.
@Muralidharan Yes it has some pretty sweet packaging.
@Voyageur Thanks!  Yes it's an interesting lineup.  If you like the Klipsch sound this is going to do it for you.
Great review. Yes the packaging looks awesome!
Can you please compare the bass with the Klipsch X10? Especially the sub-bass in terms of extension and quantity?
X7i was my favourite, basically the X10 with sensible bass.


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