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8/10

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Klipsch Image X10 Noise Isolating Earphones

No matter what brand of MP3 player you favour, Apple, Sony, Creative, iRiver etc. one thing remains constant - the earphones that come in the box are, to all intents and purposes, rubbish! I still find it very depressing whenever I look around a tube train and see the vast majority of passengers sitting there with white Apple earbuds plugged into their head. The worrying thing is that in such an environment where the ambient noise level is ridiculously high, these passengers turn the volume on their players up to ear bleeding levels, just so they can hear their music!

Their answer is simple - get a decent pair of noise isolating earphones that seal into your ear canals. Once you have a good seal in place, the vast majority of ambient noise is blocked out, and since there's no active noise cancelling involved in the process, you're not affecting the sound quality of your music. Manufacturers such as Shure, Ultimate Ears and Etymotic Research have been making noise isolating earphones for years, all of which offer a massive step up in quality compared to anything you'll find in the box with your player. And now Klipsch wants a piece of that earphone upgrade market.
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Although Klipsch hasn't had a massive presence in the UK to date, anyone who has more than a passing interest in audio will have heard of the brand. Klipsch is keen to increase its profile in the UK, so you can expect to see a flurry of products in the coming months, ranging from high-end consumer devices, to audiophile gear. Kicking things off we have the Image noise isolating earphones, which Klipsch would like to think that all iPod (and other MP3 player) owners should be upgrading to, but there's some pretty stiff competition out there from the established brands.

Before I get into the meat of this review, I have to say that these are, quite simply, the most comfortable earphones I have ever used. It's true that Shure earphones are comfortable, and the foam tips create a great seal, but Klipsch has taken comfort to new levels. The silicone tips that are supplied with the Images are simply brilliant - they produce a stunningly effective seal with no effort whatsoever. And once these earphones are seated in your ear canals it really is easy to forget that they're there, they really are that comfortable.

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