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IEMs to replace Klipsch X20i

  1. rpk5000
    Hi, I recently lost my Klipsch X20is due to a series of unfortunate events :/. I am looking for a replacement, which might be to get a new pair of X20is, but because of the price I thought I would ask for advice.

    Budget - I'm fine spending in the range of the X20is, up to ~$200 more if there is a good reason to do so.

    Source/Amp - These IEMs would mostly be for portable use, so plugged into a phone (Pixel XL 3). I also frequently listen on a MacBook Pro. I don't carry an amp. The primary thing I am hoping to improve is sound quality without an amp. I felt that on the x20i I really enjoyed the sound, but it was better when plugged into my macbook pro over my phone's usb-c adapter. I suspect that the phone wasn't pushing enough power through the device. I am willing to get a lower end pair of IEMs if that means that it will sound better when listened to through my phone / macbook pro.

    How the gear will be used - I use comply tips (the Comfort Ts-100 and Isolation T-100). As I mentioned above in source / amp, I mostly listen through a usb-c adapter attached to my Pixel 3XL, as well as my laptop. I often listen for upwards of 6 hours at a time, so the comfort of the x20is was important to me.

    Preferred tonal balance - I really liked the sound of the x20is. I also previously owned x10s.

    Preferred music genre(s) - I listen to a good deal of EDM. Sometimes very pop-edm with clear vocals, as well as trip-hop / tribal sounds (think Clozee), and edm with clear notes. I sometimes listen to EDM with decent bass, but generally exhibit a preference for more restrained EDM. Other representative music would include Volo which is more on the pure electronic side.

    Past gear experience - X20is, X10, shure SE 425. I liked the how full the Shure sounded even from a phone, but was not a fan of the tips in my ears. I can't remember if I had tried to comply tips with them. Due to the amount of time I spend listening uninterrupted while working (can be ~10 hours on a longer day), I found it to be very important that the IEMs don't become uncomfortable. The weight of the Klipsch helped in that regard I think.

    What aspect of your current listening experience would you like to improve? - I would like IEMs that sound as full featured as possible with no amp from my phone and macbook pro. At home I tend to listen on speakers instead of IEMs, so my main use cases are commuting, traveling, and at work.

    It is possible that the best IEMs are to rebuy the X20is and that would be fine, but since it is a significant purchase for me I wanted to make sure that it was the right thing.
  2. serman005
    Have not personally heard the X20i and so don't really know about its signature. That said, I do like the IT04 in this price range and have found it to be overall fairly easy to drive. Might read about it and see what you think. There are lot of other options in this price range, though.
    PaganDL likes this.
  3. rpk5000
    Thanks a ton for the recommendation. I've read a bunch of reviews on these over the last day and will probably pull the trigger on them later tonight once I get home!
  4. serman005
    Let us know how they work out.
  5. rpk5000
    I ordered them last night and they should come tomorrow evening.

    I just realized that I also lost the usb-c to 3.5mm adapter that let me plug my headphones into my phone since it was attached to my headphones at the time. I used to use the usb-c adapter that came with my pixel 3.

    When I was looking for a replacement on Amazon, I noticed that you can get a usb-c adapter that has a dac built in. Is this something I should get instead? The it04 also has a 2.5 mm output with a 3.5mm adapter - am I better off getting a USB c to 2.5 mm like the one ibasso sells (the dc01?)? Or is it fine to use the 2.5 to 3.5mm adapter and get a usb-c to 3.5mm adapter? Should I prefer to buy the DC01 from ibasso, or is there a better usb-c with dac adapter to get?
  6. serman005
    With the Pixel 3, I believe you are going to have to have some kind of a DAC to convert the USB-C output digital signal to analog before that signal arrives at the headphone transducers. I have not personally heard the DC01, but it has been favorably reviewed by some good people. It would appear to be a very good value for the money. Seems like a solid move to me.
  7. pbui44
    serman005 likes this.
  8. PaganDL
    Hi @rpk5000,

    Apologies for being late to the discussion.

    I own IT 04 & agree with @serman005, you can't go wrong with IT 04 so hope you enjoy it when it arrives...

    As a side note, I have heard the X20i extensively in demo & it tempts me every time though given all the options nowadays in IEMs which come with detachable cables, I have to sadly make a hard pass, not to mention a high exchange rate doesn't help.
    Aside from that, personally & subjectively, sound is definitely better on IT 04 overall though your mileage will definitely vary.

    Hope you have a great day !

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