Klipsch Custom-2 earphones

David Holloway
30 July, 2008
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One of the most common accessories we all own are earphones or headphones. I’ve always preferred headphones – I find earphones too intrusive and uncomfortable. That’s why I was interested in having a look at Klipsch’s Custom-2 earphones – at $299.00 these can be considered high-end and thus I wanted to see if they could convince me to throw away my headphones.

The first thing that stands out is the shape of the earphones themselves – they look more like aural probes than listening devices. The reason for that are the countoured ear gels that are designed to provide a full seal in your ear canal. Five washable ear gel sizes are provided and it’s worth experimenting with the sizes until you get a true seal. Their shape also made inserting them a challenge for me – I ended up asking my wife to assist me the first time. Once I’d achieved that, the external noice reduction was astounding. If you’ve ever used industrial ear plugs you’ll appreciate how much ambient noise they block – the Custom-2′s do the same thing but they’re a sight more comfortable than the industrial variant. These are earphones I can imagine having in situ for hours without the discomfort I currently get with the bog standard iPod earbuds I was using previously. The other benefit is in volume – I found I was needing around a third less volume with the Custom-2′s compared to my earbuds. This is directly related to how much more deeply in the ear canal they insert.

Sound quality is what it’s all about and Klipsch deserve some kudos. On my very first listen I was underwhelmed and actually thought they were inferior to my earbuds. I then spent some more time tweaking their position in my ear and ensuring I had the right size ear gels and it changed my perspective pretty quickly. These are mighty fine sounding earphones – the response across the whole spectrum is excellent. With my earbuds, if I turned up my iPod to full volume, some songs would distort. Not so with the Custom-2′s – your tolerance for the volume runs out a long time before any distortion occurs – in fact I wasn’t able to cause distortion via an iPod, iPhone or my MacBook Pro.

As far as accessories go, you get the different sized ear gels, a plane adapter, an ear tip cleaner and a very nice looking hard vinyl case that will hold an iPod or iPhone in addition to the earphones themselves. There are two small gripes I do have. The first is with the cabling – it seems to tangle much easier than my iPod earbuds. The second is the toggle on the cabling that allows you to adjust the spread between the two buds themselves – the Custom-2′s one gives you around 10cm less flexibility than the standard earbuds which I found annoying.

If you’re a true audiophile, the Custom-2 earphones are probably not quite there – the Custom-3 ($399) or Image ($499) may cover your needs more fully. If you’re a die-hard daily music listener with an ear for quality, then you may want to fork out the considerable amount of money for these for the comfort factor alone. A casual iPod user won’t be able to justify the expense. These aren’t cheap earphones by any means – whether the enhanced audio quality is worth the price is a very individual decision. For me, the jump in quality is worth the price differential due to the amount of listening I do. Have they convinced me to throw away my headphones? Aside from some specific recording purposes, I actually do think I’ll be using the Custom-2 earphones in place of headphones as they match them on quality and improve on them in relation to comfort.

Klipsch Custom-2 earphones

Pros External sound blocking, highly comfortable, sound quality
Cons Cord tangles easily
Distributor Powermove 03 9464 4999
Type Earphones
Rating 4
RRP $299.00

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