Klipsch has been at the forefront of audio technology for nearly 80 years. Audiophile designed, Klispch has delivered quality sound and quality design without a hitch. Now they are back with the X12i headphones, the smallest headphones on the planet (6mm) but promising that same great sound. But do they hold up to the name and the promise?
Shipped, the Klipsch X12i headphones will set you back $349.99. This price is more expensive than most of the market, even topping a lot of the market’s premium over the ear headphones. This price is clearly set for a power user, an audiophile and not a day to day listener. So nitpicking the price point is not something most should do, and something Klipsch does not hide behind.
Regardless, Klipsch presentation, the box, and packing, is underwhelming. No, not a lot of stake or review will be put into the box it came in but some thought should be put towards this. Most companies come shipped with a fancy box, reading material, etc. The box here is small, ridiculously small, with the headphones being the primary focus, a set of headphone tips and a nice leatherette headphone case. This disappointing set-up led me to a quick suspicion that these headphones might be disappointing.
I was wrong.
Klipsch’s X12i headphones are phenomenal. Once you get them out of the horrible packaging, the light, small but rugged design is almost breathtaking. This is it? Immediately their presence feels featherweight, unnoticeable when you put them in and do your day to day activities. You will ask yourself, “Wait, I have headphones in?” Again, with every string, one side pulls. If they are this light, surely, they cannot be that durable, right? Wrong. Durability was never a question, neither was build quality. They feel well crafted, designed to take a decent, day to day beating, without becoming junk drawer headphones.
The X12i do their best work in the mid’s, with crisp, well sculpted sound that make today’s best music sound so organic. Does that mean the bass is lacking? Absolutely not, but instead of over powering you with bass to over compensate for the lack of quality in the ranges, they use it as they should, feeling more fluid, actuated to the song rather than forced. These are the first headphones I’ve experienced in a while that actually sound great through a variety of music, rather than just today’s pop music. Thanks Klipsch, rock sounds good again!
Certain songs take advantage of the sweeping profile the X12i have. Kid Ink’s ‘Money and the Power’ is one of my favorite for the different uses of beats, timed differently, layered specifically. Most headphones miss this articulation but not here. The X12i catches every siren, every beat, channeling it with its own oomph that is awe-inspiring.
Jay Z and Kanye West’s ‘No Church In The Wild’ is another impressive song. Its performance in the low’s, is the most noticeable. At times the headphones over perform, washing out some of the lyrics, but this feels more related to the song’s sound mixing than anything else. Regardless, audio performance is stellar, easily topping cheaper price points (as it should). The primary beat in this song, pounds through the headphones, with a texture behind it that is distinct, unheard in other headphones (especially in over the ear headphones).
Audio performance was the biggest worry here, especially at $349.99. That is a lot to ask for anybody, but it doesn’t, and it shouldn’t matter. Headphones rarely ever sound this contained, this crisp and accurate. The fluidity of sound is organic, so rich, its like going from eating a McDonalds cheeseburger to a five star chef burger. The quality cannot be missed.
Overall, Klipsch X12i underwhelmed at first glimpse with a forgettable packaging set-up. But, as the childhood rule goes, never judge a book by its cover. The craftsmanship, technology and intelligence is at play here, with a fantastic core package of incredible headphones. The design is remarkable, feather light and perfect in the in-ear fit. Sound is rarely delivered this smooth, this clear, and balanced. The X12i’s deliver music the way most want it, with attention to detail customers want. These are at a high recommendation.