It seems hard to believe that it has been five years since Klipsch released the Image X10 in-ear headphone, the world’s smallest and lightest. Shortly after its release came the slightly larger and $100 cheaper Image X5 for $250 and then the Image X10i which added a remote and mic at $350. However there was never an Image X5i for people with iPhones
Enter the Klipsch Image X7i, a high-end, uniquely designed iDevice ready headphone for $200. Not only cheaper than the Klipsch Image X5 but beating it in features and style at the same time. You can expect to see these on sale sometime in August, just in time for your iPhone 5 buy. Meanwhile, check out my Klipsch Image X10i review.
The Klipsch X7i features a ceramic build that, as far as I can decipher, should provide a rigid and durable cavity for the balanced armature driver. Rigidity in speakers and headphones prevents sound/air leakage and internal cabinet resonance issues. This is mostly important with large speakers but the rules of physics still exist with headphones.
A few companies market wood headphones for a “natural resonance” or metal for increased bass response. All other Klipsch headphones under the “X” moniker are made with metal bodies. The “S” line of Klipsch headphones are plastic which is pretty much par for course. This is the first time any headphone I can think of was made of ceramic materials. Hopefully it doesn’t shatter if dropped on concrete. Considering how light and small these headphones are, they should be just fine.
There was a relatively popular ceramic speaker on the market some years ago by Joey Roth that caught my attention and the attention of many other audio nerds.
Of course Klipsch is also famous for their ceramicmetalic speaker cones:
Klipsch Cerametallic™ [cones are] made of anodized aluminum. The anodizing process converts its inner and outer surface to ceramic. The result is a rigid cone with superb damping characteristics that will not flex or resonate…ensure efficient, reliable operation and, in combination with the mechanical characteristics of the cones, remarkably low distortion.
So perhaps they’re simply using ceramic to pull their Reference speaker owners over to their headphones, just like they did with the copper trimming on the “Reference” line of existing Klipsch headphones. I am still not certain that there is any aural difference between the “Reference” headphones and regular ones.
Next up on the announced features that has me excited are the all new cables and remote control. My Klipsch X10i headphone cable ends and remote control are wrapped in heat-shrink tubing. The earbuds and the plug both have exposed or nearly exposed wires while the remote control has popped open and will not stay together. Here’s hoping these changes provide a better durability and I’ve gotta say, the remote looks fabulous.
Everything else pretty much stays in line with the other Klipsch headphones. You can be sure I plan to get a set of these as soon as possible to review. Get yours in August!
Description from Klipsch:
Available this August!
With a ceramic design that’s as sleek as it is strong, the Image X7i headphones offer legendary sound that’s built to last. Full-range armature drivers deliver deep bass, clear mids and crisp highs straight to your head. A three-button remote and mic let you control phone calls and playlists with the push of a button or the sound of your voice. Complete with five sizes of our patented oval tips, you can customize your fit and connect with your favorite artists on select Apple products.
Ceramic design offers elegance and durability
3-button remote for full music + voice control on select Apple products
Patented oval ear tips provide comfortable wear and enhanced bass
Full-range balanced armature drivers deliver deep bass, clear mids and crisp highs
Perfect seal keeps your music in + blocks outside noise
New flat, tangle resistant cables
Directional mic for hands-free, crystal clear phone calls