Klipsch X5 v X10 v Sleek SA6 v UE SuperFi 5 v2
Nov 13, 2008 at 3:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

sophrosune

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Heard good things about all of these and am currently leaning towards the Klipsch X5's for reasons of comfort, ease of use and price. The X5 and the SuperFi are somewhat cheaper than the Sleek and X10 (at least here in Australia) in the order of about AUD100.

My current gear is all Sennheiser (HD650, HD580, PX100) and I'm keen to get a different, less dark, perhaps more neutral sound from the new phones. I'll be using them unamped from an iPhone 3G as well as amped via a Corda Move.

A couple of questions:

- which one sounds least "fullsize Sennheiser"? (if that makes sense)
- is the extra AUD100 worth it to go from the X5 to the X10?
- is the SuperFi 5 v2 in the same league as the others?
- hoe does the SuperFi compare to the Klipsch for comfort/ease of fit?
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 5:52 AM Post #2 of 23

ADD

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Hi,

I can't comment on anything apart from the X5 and X10, however my personal viewpoint is that the X10 is a huge step forward over the X5 in terms of sonics. Of course this is personal opinion and I have read posts from others who say there is a very small difference between them and some who think the X5 is the better earphone. I previously wrote here that I would not be surprised if the X5 and X10 were designed on different planets, such is the huge difference between them.

I found the X5 to be clear and reasonably smooth, but very emasculated in the bass and top end. Especially as a result of the top end, it did not do any favours to recreating with any credibility the timbres of instruments known to have strong harmonics at high frequencies (i.e violins). They also seemed to be compressed dynamically and just lacking in any sort of toe-tapping listening involvement. It was lacking in both detail retrieval and soundstanging, making listening a rather boring experience. It was the auditory equivalant of watching paint dry. Mind you, most IEMs I have ever heard sound pretty awful, including the Shure SE310 and Westone UM2.

The X10 to me is a totally different product. Extremely well balanced, smooth, extremely clear with very good detail retrieval, a top end as good as any in ear design I have ever heard and excellent imaging.

Where the X5 wins out in my experience is comfort. I do actually find the X10 pretty uncomfortable for anything other than short listening sessions (i.e less than 40 minutes), whereas I could have worn the X5's all day. The problem is that the black tails on the X10 curve round in a shorter distance than they do on the X5 and as a result of this they make contact with my outer ear. There is no way to avoid this contact unfortunately and it results in discomfort after around 45 minutes. The tail on the X5 however, is larger and does not make contact with my outer ear because the "bend" radius is larger.

I am not happy with the durability of the X10 - already after only two months the rubber on the tail has slightly deteriorated, even when taking extremely good care of them. Again the X5 has an advantage here because the black tail is larger and thicker and therefore I would imagine more robust.

All said and done, I doubt anything I have written here will be of much help to you, since for every comment I have made, there will be many people whose experience is completely contradictory.

Perhaps one thing to consider is to buy from somewhere overseas such as soundonearphones. If you are not happy with the X5 you can then return them for the X10, or vice versa. I realise with the very weak dollar buying from the US is not attractive these days, but if you by in Australia you will be stuck with whatever you buy (and Klipsch prices have just gone up quite a lot in the last month too). You then have to weigh up what you will get for them if you put them up for sale versus the extra cost of having bought from a place that allows exchanges.

BTW, neither the X5 nor X10 remind me in any way shape or form of the full size Sennheiser house sound. Whilst I would say the X5 is furthest away from the Sennheiser sound, that is like saying Russia is further away from Australia than Japan is. The exception is that I consider the X5 reminds me a lot of the full size PXC450 with the noise cancelling turned on. I suppose I would call the X10 a bit darker and warmer than the X5, though only because I find the sound of the X5 to be rather sterile (in other words the X10 to me sounds completely normal).
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 10:11 AM Post #3 of 23

sophrosune

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ADD /img/forum/go_quote.gif
BTW, neither the X5 nor X10 remind me in any way shape or form of the full size Sennheiser house sound. Whilst I would say the X5 is furthest away from the Sennheiser sound, that is like saying Russia is further away from Australia than Japan is. The exception is that I consider the X5 reminds me a lot of the full size PXC450 with the noise cancelling turned on. I suppose I would call the X10 a bit darker and warmer than the X5, though only because I find the sound of the X5 to be rather sterile (in other words the X10 to me sounds completely normal).


Thanks for the comments. From reading the various opinions on the X10s I was getting the impression that they had a, dare I say it, veiled presentation which is what has been a slight niggling issue I've had with my HD650s. There does seem to be a common thought however that the X10s have a distinctive (coloured?) sound signature, while the Sleeks are more neutral and analytical.

The X5s do seem to be an enigma - its hard to find anyone on the forums whose provided any detailed thoughts on them (apart from yourself) and as you suggest its hard to extrapolate from one data point.

Would love to hear from anyone who's had experience with the SuperFi 5 v2 as I haven't seen it directly compared to the others and would like to get some idea where it sits compared to the others. From EdWood's thread it seems that while it may lack the top and bottom ends, it may have the flatter presentation I'm looking for. I think the TechPowerUp review rated it higher than the X10 but behind the Sleek, but I think that took into account value for money which tends to hurt the X10s.

BTW, the relative pricing between these phones is looking like:

Klipsch X5 - AUD250
UE SuperFi 5 v2 - AUD260 (AUD300 for the 5vi)
Klipsch X10 - AUD350
Sleek SA6 - AUD380

It won't take a genius to work out where in Aus. I'm thinking of getting these from and am happy to hear about cheaper options. However, I think the exchange rate at the moment limits my overseas options somewhat, particularly wrt the Klipsch.
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 10:36 AM Post #4 of 23

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Are you the guy on whirlpool.net.au?
You could also try getting the SA6 from soundearphones.com one of our sponsors. Approx 310 aud delivered but u will have to wait 5-10 days. You could also get express shipping but it would be hell expensive. I doubt they are worth $200+ well to me they are only worth 150-200 AUD. THE SA6 and klipsch x10 are the only ones that impress me over $200AUD. Personally I have the ER4p which I bought used on these forums for 140 usd shipped.
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 10:40 AM Post #5 of 23

sophrosune

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Quote:

Originally Posted by 2162 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Are you the guy on whirlpool.net.au?


If there's someone posting on whirlpool.net.au about headphones right now, it's not me. Is that what you meant?

Thanks for the tip on the Sleeks. I take it you prefer the ER4Ps to the Sleeks and the Klipsch. I'm not sure I want to go with that kind of sound, plus the Etymotics look a little intimidating with regards getting a good fit. Although I think they can be had for around the same price as I was looking at for the Sleeks.

P.S. This is turning into an Eastern Australia convention...
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 11:36 AM Post #6 of 23

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sophrosune /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It won't take a genius to work out where in Aus. I'm thinking of getting these from and am happy to hear about cheaper options. However, I think the exchange rate at the moment limits my overseas options somewhat, particularly wrt the Klipsch.


OK, I am a bit slow on the uptake and I had been looking at Wicked Digital. I had seen that Minidisc were starting to stock the Klipsch X10 about a month ago but did not realise that unlike Wicked Digital, there has not been a price increase. That certainly takes overseas buying out of the equation if they stay stuck at the $349 price. I have always maintained the X10 are pretty good value at $349 despite my misgivings about durability, but not at the price Wicked Digital is asking. I'd want something weighing more than ten grams for nearly half a grand!

I suppose you could call the X10 coloured in the same way you might say an LS35A speaker is coloured because of the tubby upper bass and slightly recessed upper mids that help to give a smooth, valve-like, unfatiguing warmth to the presentation. Possibly the X5 would measure technically "superior" but to me the X10 is far more musical. I have always maintained that due to the fact that speakers vibrate air and surfaces in the actual listening room and you also hear speakers via bone conduction, that headphones really need a substantial lift in the lower frequencies to provide compensation for that and to give the impression of speaker-like balance. So to me, the much warmer and more masculine bass presentation of the X10 does nothing more than bring it more into line with what you might get from a pair of speakers.
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 1:42 PM Post #7 of 23

sophrosune

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ADD /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I suppose you could call the X10 coloured in the same way you might say an LS35A speaker is coloured because of the tubby upper bass and slightly recessed upper mids that help to give a smooth, valve-like, unfatiguing warmth to the presentation. Possibly the X5 would measure technically "superior" but to me the X10 is far more musical. I have always maintained that due to the fact that speakers vibrate air and surfaces in the actual listening room and you also hear speakers via bone conduction, that headphones really need a substantial lift in the lower frequencies to provide compensation for that and to give the impression of speaker-like balance. So to me, the much warmer and more masculine bass presentation of the X10 does nothing more than bring it more into line with what you might get from a pair of speakers.


This seems to fit with what others (and I believe Klipsch) say regarding the X10s - that they are "speaker-like". Are the X5s a different creature in this respect? Does this speaker analogy extend to "airiness"? I really enjoy the quite expansive presentation I get out of my HD650s and while I realise I'm not going to be able to replicate that, I'd prefer not to short change myself in that area.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 2:12 AM Post #8 of 23

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Well I have had an extended audition with the HD650 using the same amp I use with the X10. I would take the X10 in a heartbeat over the HD650 because it is just as smooth and warm as the HD650, but clearer (zero veil) and much less fatiquing to listen to.

I would say the X10 is almost as airy as any high quality standmount - the way I have things setup at the moment they are sounding very much like a pair of LS35A with a properly calibrated subwoofer.

As I say, I find the X5 extremely sterile sounding and not at all reminding me of any speaker. It is all but completely devoid of airiness so far as I could hear and seems just as badly rolled off at the frequency extremes as other horrid sounding IEMs I have tried such as the UM2 and SE310. Attempting to EQ it is hopeless - it does nothing at all, unlike the X10 which responds magnificently to even extremely subtle EQ adjustments. The only thing the X5 has going over other bad IEMS I have heard are that it is still smooth, clear and relatively grain free and unbelievably comfortable. But it completely and utterly fails to capture at all the timbre of acoustic instruments - something which the X10 is extremely good at.

But as I say,I have heard opinions that are the complete opposite to mine (i.e subsitute X5 for X10 in my comments above and vice versa).
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 1:23 PM Post #9 of 23

sophrosune

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You're certainly making an argument for the X10s.

So where are the dissenters?
smile.gif


Anyone willing to jump in with X5 or SuperFi 5 v2 impressions feel free. The Sleeks seem to get a unanimous thumbs up and the only reason I'm holding back on them are issues with QC, fit/comfort and (belive it or not) aesthetics.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 2:51 PM Post #10 of 23

Ice Nine

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I have the X10's and the durability is horrible. The rubber tail has split on both sides and continues to lengthen. Eventually there will be no strain relief and the cables will come loose from the driver housings. I resorted to wrapping a thin but long strip of electrical tape to both tails on the driver housings. Ugly as hell but they do sound very nice.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 7:27 AM Post #12 of 23

sophrosune

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Nine /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How much are Triple-Fi's over there? They are still my go to IEM's.


I can pick them up for around AUD430 (so not *that* much more than the Sleeks) and I was pretty interested in them, but the way they look like they sit in the ear puts me off. The new SuperFis appear aesthetically more subtle. In the end I'm not sure the "over the ear" style is going to be my thing.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 7:28 AM Post #13 of 23

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Nine /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have the X10's and the durability is horrible. The rubber tail has split on both sides and continues to lengthen.


So much for Klipsch's durability testing. Mine are headed the same way. Klipsch say they placed strain on that area of the earphone repeatedly thousands of times in pre-production durability testing. It probably would have been better if they also sent pre-production headphones out to headphone veterens who could have told them in 5 minutes that the joint was never going to be durable in the real world. OK, well it would have taken me three weeks to tell them that
wink.gif
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 2:31 PM Post #14 of 23

sophrosune

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It's coming down to the X5 or the X10 for me. The SuperFi's seem to get good marks for their price. But I don't see them being compared to the Klipsch or Sleek in same way I keep seeing those compared to each other (even if the Klipsch don't generally carry the day). The Sleeks lose out for reasons I've stated before, leaving the Klipsch.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 3:46 PM Post #15 of 23

ThePandemonium

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Get the x10.. I bought the x10 although I can't listen to them because they are a Christmas present for me. From what I heard though, is that the x10s are very fun to listen to and very comfortable.. It apparently sounds like there is a sub woofer in the room the bass is so strong. I just heard the x5 is good, but it has a very sterile sound to it thats not very exciting.
 

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