Klipsch outed their Image headphones back at CES 2008, and since then the high-end noise-isolation buds have spawned a range spanning $130 to $350. Now there's a pair of budget options, the Klipsch Image S2 and Image S4 headphones, hitting the 449 and $79 price points but still offering the patent-pending ear-tips.
While it may be difficult to see the difference in photos, the difference between the Klipsch buds and typical rivals is that these are oval, not round. That apparently means they fit the ear canal more naturally, increasing both comfort and noise-isolation.
As for the headphones themselves, they have moving coil drivers with controlled damping, with the S4 getting a dual-magnet motor for increased damping and improved kick drum "attack". The Klipsch Image S2 and S4 will go on sale in July and April 2009 respectively.
New Recession-Proof Klipsch® Headphones Minimize Noise, Maximize Comfort
Patent-pending ear tips help Image S4 and S2 preserve hearing and outperform stock earbuds
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 11, 2009) — Imagine yourself on a loud, crowded bus or a stuffy airplane full of chitchat and all you want to do is phase out the public and tune into your own private world. The new Image S4 and S2 in-ear headphones from Klipsch are designed to make that vision an affordable, comfortable and safe reality.
The Image S4 and S2, priced at $79 and $49 respectively, open up new channels of distribution for the company, as its other headphone models range from $129.99 to $349.99. But what’s cool is that the S4 and S2 use the same proprietary ear tips as their pricier predecessors, continuing the company’s extreme comfort with superior noise isolation story.
“People have less discretionary income these days. Therefore, we felt it was necessary to develop reasonably priced, high-performance headphones that go above and beyond what you’d expect from the stock earbuds that come with your MP3 player,” said Mark Casavant, vice president of product development for Klipsch.
Unlike circular-shaped designs that put stress on the pressure points inside the ear, Klipsch’s patent-pending oval ear tips naturally fit the contours of your ear canals, providing comfortable long-term wear. These ear tips also offer superior passive noise-cancellation, blocking out almost all ambient noise and providing excellent bass.
“Once you have the right fit and seal, these headphones are virtually impossible to feel—letting you listen longer and better,” said Mark Blanchard, senior acoustic design engineer for Klipsch and inventor of the company’s oval ear tips. “When we began studying three-dimensional ear impressions, it was discovered that nearly everyone has an oval-shaped ear canal. We couldn’t believe that no one else had yet considered the anatomical shape of the ear canal when designing in-ear headphones.”
Blanchard also mentioned that when you wear Klipsch headphones, you don’t need to turn up the volume as loud because a good seal dramatically reduces background noise—a feature that could definitely help preserve your hearing.
Additionally, the Image S4 and S2 are moving coil designs with controlled damping, allowing them to deliver smooth, full-bodied sound that is similar to a balanced armature. In fact, the S4 has a “hot rod” dual magnet motor structure that increases the damping factor. It’s a feature that allows kick drums to “attack” and intermodulation distortion, or IMD, to be significantly reduced.
“We’ve been in the audio business for over 60 years and are continuously finding ways to value engineer our products without compromising our audiophile heritage,” said Casavant. “And our S4 and S2 are no exception—they are superior performers at everyday price points.”
The Image S4 will be available in a piano black and silver finish and include three different-sized oval ear tips (a small/medium dual flange design as well as medium and large single flange designs), an ear tip cleaning tool and a compact, crush-resistant aluminum case.
The Image S2 will be available in a piano black finish and include three different-sized oval ear tips (small, medium and large) and a cloth “Snap-tite” carrying pouch.
Both models carry a two-year warranty and work with the iPod, iPhone and other portable devices that feature a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The S4 and S2 will be available for purchase at klipsch.com and other retail locations worldwide in April and July respectively. Amazon.com, Klipsch’s online launch partner, will begin taking pre-sale orders for the S4 this month.
Founded in 1946 by Paul W. Klipsch, one of America’s most celebrated audio pioneers, Klipsch has long been a high-end name in speaker design. Today, the brand continues its success as a leading global manufacturer of premium sound solutions for home, personal and commercial use. From massive professional cinema speakers to tiny headphones, Klipsch remains committed to delivering the most powerful, detailed and emotional sound experiences. Family owned and operated, chairman Fred Klipsch and vice chairman Judy Klipsch set the vision and strategy for the brand as well as the entire Klipsch Group, Inc. organization. For more information, visit klipsch.com.