While it's obvious to most that in-ears are far different than on-ears, but there are some differences beyond that worth pointing out: namely that the Klipsch S4i/as have a remote to enable smartphone use, and that they are less durable, but more portable than the s.
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You know, it looks bad at the higher end, but it's really not that terrible. Sure, it strays outside of our ideal limits in the upper end of the mids and highs, and yes: it is very erratic in the highest end. Overall though, the frequency response is relatively even, save for several errors, and most listeners will not be able to hear anything wrong with their music.
Still, audiophiles will be quick to point out that the response in the highs is not something that they would like, and that's fine: this is a pair of sub $50 headphones. They're not supposed to be a high-end set of cans.
Most headphones at their price point are essentially the basic, bare-bones cans people buy to fit mobile listening, and it shows with the s. Sporting a standard 3.93-foot cable terminated with a 1/8th plug, the will work with just about any mobile device. Keep in mind, however, that there is no remote or microphone, so smartphone users beware.
Overall there isn't much to report in terms of distortion, save for a tiny, sub-1% peak in the mids. You won't hear it unless you're a finely tuned robot, so don't worry too much.
The Cassettes have a higher overall level of distortion, but the s have only a couple inaudible blemishes.
Lovers of loud music should be reassured that the s can hang with the best of them up until about 115.73dB, which is more than your typical iPod can output. Still, if you manage to max out your volume, we caution you to keep your sessions to a minimum, as damaging your hearing is a very real possibility.
No contest here: the Apple earbuds are flat-out terrible when it comes to distortion, while the s are pretty okay.
Neither set of headphones has an audible level of distortion, but they both have their minor blemishes.
Entry-level headphones typically do not offer much in the way of maintenance options, and the s are very much the same in this regard: should something break, there isn't much that can be done except throw the s away and buy new cans.
Oh, there's lots to see here! To the uninitiated, the backs of the s look downright bizarre, but they have their own sort of 80's charm to them, complete with near-useless switches and an odd chrome angular design.
While there is a general 2dB channel preference to the right, it's an error that will not be prominently audible, and is actually not all that bad, especially considering how even the line is.
s seem to have a slight channel preference to the right, but it's an inaudible blemish. The Cassettes, on the other hand, have very good tracking indeed.
The Klipsch S4is are nearly perfect in this regard, while the s have some problems.
Neither set of headphones attenuates much noise at all.
Sitting at 3.93 feet long, the cable of the s is composed of a relatively thin wire, and equally thin insulation. There are no in-line accessories on the .
Terminating that bland as heck cable is an equally bland 1/8th inch plug. Nothing much to see here.
Neither isolate well, but the Cassettes technically block out more sound.
Because the S4is fit inside your ear canal, they block out a bunch more noise by virtue of the fact that they can physically prevent it from reaching your eardrum. The s on the other hand, attenuate almost no noise.
Both sets of headphones are extremely comfortable, but the Cassettes can also be placed in different holding mechanisms, which can take all the pressure off your head as well. If you're using headphones to bomb down a mountain on skis or a snowboard, you're going to want the Cassettes.
While comfort is a largely subjective measure, there are those out there who can't use in-ears because jamming bits of plastic and rubber into an orifice that was never meant to play host to a foreign object is painful for them. The s are very comfortable, but you'll have to try both out in order to determine for yourself which is the better set of headphones in this regard.
This one appears tough to compare at first, because many people like the Apple earbuds. However, for a lot of people, they fall out of your ears the second you do anything requiring moving, slide out of place, and tug at your tragus. The s do not, and are so light that you can basically forget that they're on your head.
Upon tearing open the package, you will find the headphones, assorted documentation, and a carrying pouch.
Despite the fact that the s are made of a light plastic and metal construction, we don't get the feeling that they will suffer much if they're dropped, knocked off the table, or jammed in a bag. Just be careful not to tug at the cables, and your s should last you a while.
If you're looking for an improvement over your iPod's included headphones, the s are absolutely a large step up. Not only are they on the more affordable end of the spectrum, but they do provide decent audio quality, where the Apple earbuds do not.
The Klipsch S4is offer a sound quality bump for the extra money you'd pay, but they're still very affordable at a sub-$100 price point. They're not as durable or comfortable as the s, but they are more versatile, as they can be used as a headset as well. If you don't mind spending the extra money for a bump in audio quality, the Klipsch S4is (or S4as for Android users) are a great buy.
Honestly, it really depends on your intended use to say for sure which headphones are better. The s are better if you're looking for audio quality at a low price point, and the Cassettes are better if you're into extreme sports, or need a stupidly-durable set of cans at the expense of audio quality. Both are around $50.
The s are certainly something. Made with a combination of black plastic, chrome patterning and a metal band, they definitely look like they are from the early walkman era in the 80s. For some people, this is a desirable aesthetic, but it isn't for everyone.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Imaging@cthomas8888
A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.
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