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 Klipsch 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.
Specs And Features
What’s In The Box
The Klipsch 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 ear-tips 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 carrying the earphones meaningfully though, but I’m not one to really take my headphones anywhere that I’d need a carrying case. What I do love is the various tips that are included as I say it in pretty much every earbud/headphone review that I have smaller ears, so the tips that usually come on the headphones out of the box are often too big for me.
The Klipsch 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 Klipsch 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. This isn’t really a big deal to me personally, but I know there are a lot of people who prefer a detachable cable. That said, the cable that comes on the Klipsch 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.
The Klipsch 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.
The XR8i has bass with great potential. In terms of sub-bass extension, the earphones reach very deep, and at times even rival the ER4. There is texture and detail in the sub-bass, and on certain tracks this becomes fairly evident. The mid-bass has good punch and presence. Overall speed is moderate. The end result is a visceral bass section with significant power, but one that occasionally feels bloated and slightly uncontrolled. In addition, the lower frequencies often bleed into the lower mids, a point that I will come to later. The sounds are really crystal clear and very pleasing to listen to regardless if it’s your favorite tunes via Spotify or in my case where I use them while streaming video games to my Twitch channel.
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.
Overall I really enjoy the Klipsch XR8i’s as I’ve been using them when I stream to Twitch playing video games such as The Division, Destiny and other games. They are very comfortable which is something that is very hard for me to say about in-ear headphones. Most brands bother me in some way or after a short period of usage. The Klipsch XR8i’s haven’t done that so far. The price is a bit expensive for my personal liking, but with the quality that you get it’s not surprising and in the long run it’s worth it.
If you’re looking for a pair of headphones for your kid or just toss around headphones, then the Klipsch XR8i’s aren’t what you want. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that will last you a long time, that you want to use when watching that favorite movie, or just like I do when playing and streaming your favorite video games, then these are definitely worth stopping to look at. As mentioned they are a bit pricey at $278.99, but they are Klipsch, and that name alone doesn’t come cheap, but for good reasons.