WHAT: Klipsch Image S4 Headphones
COMPARE TO: Shure SE110, Sony MDR-EX300
FUN FACT: Company founder Paul Klipsch (1904-2002) started the company in 1946 out of a tin shed in Hope, Arkansas.
WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT: We're accustomed to seeing demand outpace supply when it comes to limited-edition toys, or Air Yeezys, or even Palm Pres—but mass-produced headphones? That's a first. But ever since we tested the Klipsch Image S4 Headphones a couple of months ago, we've been waiting to tout these excellent earbuds to the masses—waiting, that is, for the product to go back in stock at online retailers. Well, the S4s are still completely sold out at most stores, but our friends at Klipsch assure us that they will become available in the next week or two. In the meantime, here are four reasons why you need to get your back-order on...
#1) THE SOUND QUALITY IS SUPERB.
Meaning the highs are high, the lows are low, and all that other stuff you audiophiles care about. Look, none of us are trying to be Young Guru here, but anybody who owns an iPod should be a veritable expert on headphone sound quality. The S4 headphones deliver the crispest, sharpest, bassiest, and overall best sound of any earbuds we've ever tried—and as NYC commuters (and habitual earbud misplacers), we've tried a helluva lot. When compared to other headphones in its price range (and even some more expensive competitors), the S4 is at the top of the line. You'll never listen to Soulja Boy's Gangsta Grillz tape the same way again.
#2) THE EARBUDS ARE COMFORTABLE...AND THEY WON'T GET LOST.
The earbuds themselves come in three different oval-shaped sizes to contour to your ear; when you settle on the right fit, they are super-comfortable and minimally obtrusive in your ear canal. (No more of those uncomfortable post JFK-to-LAX earaches.) Another great aspect of the S4 is the actual construction of the earbud foam—unlike the foams on most Sony models, the S4 foams are firmly connected to each earbud piece, meaning they won't come loose in your backpack or fall off during your commute. Losing those earbud foams renders your headphones useless, and Klipsch has helped ensure that you'll avoid that frustrating-as-fuck experience. There has been some concerns over the thinness of the S4 cable, but we didn't have any problems with splitting or breakage. Our advice is to stick with the generic iBuds when working out and doing anything that might cause cord-yanking.
#3) NOT ONLY DO YOU BLOCK OUT NOISE, BUT YOU WON'T CREATE AMBIENT NOISE EITHER.
Hey, not everybody wants to hear Soulja Boy's Gangsta Grillz tape with you, right? The S4s are considered "passive" noise-cancellation headphones, but suffice to say that you will not hear shit when you are using them. Better yet, nobody else will, either; there's nothing more annoying than the dude who terrorizes his fellow commuters with the ambient noise of his asinine iPod playlist. Don't be that dude. With the S4s, you won't.
#4) THE PRICE IS RIGHT.
There was a time when you could drop $20 on headphones and call it a year, but these days, the market is absolutely flooded with choices in different price ranges. At $80, the Klipsch Image S4s are priced in the middle of the pack, but take it from us: You won't need another set of earbuds anytime soon. If you'll use them as much as we do—i.e., everyday—they are well worth the investment. Plus they come with a special earwax cleaning tool! We've been waiting for one of those, really.