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Cranking things up a little, I moved onto some Foo Fighters to find out how the Images coped with Dave Grohl's, shall we say, powerful vocals - OK, so he screams a lot, but he's still a genius! Monkey Wrench is a pretty tough test for any earphones - the full on aural assault can often deteriorate into a messy cacophony if the earphones aren't up to the job. The Images did a very good job of keeping things together, but as things got louder and harder, they started to fray at the edges, especially with the volume pumped up. That said, I'm not surprised by this - after all these are single driver earphones that are absolutely tiny.
The Klipsch Image earphones can be had on the street for around £169, which is roughly the same price that the Shure SE420 dual driver earphones are going for. With that in mind I plugged a set of SE420s in to see how they compare to the Images, and was surprised by how good they sounded. I remember being very impressed with the SE420s when I reviewed them a year ago, but I'd forgotten just how good they sound. When it comes to pure fidelity the Images can't really compare to the SE420s - the dual driver Shures manage to pump out effortless bass without compromising the clarity. In fact listening to the SE420s made me realise that the bass response offered by the Images could sometimes muddy the overall clarity of the sound.
You're probably thinking that my advice will be to buy the Shure SE420s instead of the Klipsch Images right? Well it's not quite that simple. Despite the fact that the Images can't really compete with the Shures when it comes to pure sound quality, they still sound pretty damn good, and they offer many advantages over the SE420s. I can't stress enough how comfortable the Images are, and how light they are in your ears. They're also very unobtrusive, and if you saw anyone wearing a pair it would look as though the wires were running directly into their head. I have to say that there are instances where I would rather be using the Images than my own Shure E500s, despite there being an even bigger gap when it comes to sound quality. On the whole a very impressive effort from Klipsch and I'm looking forward to auditioning the rest of its earphone range.
For anyone that wants a set of earphones that sound infinitely better than the bundled set that came with their player, the Klipsch Images will do the job. Not only do they sound good, but they're beautifully constructed, amazingly comfortable and incredibly light. Yes, there are better sounding options out there for the same money, but if you're looking for a killer combination of comfort and sound quality the images are hard to beat.
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