large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Klipsch T5 II ANC Review

Verdict

rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

The Klipsch T5 II ANC are great-sounding noise-cancelling true wireless earphones with advanced processing; but they’re expensive, and better-known pairs beat them for ANC effectiveness and battery life.

Pros

  • Engaging sound, with improved refinement
  • Dirac HD processing can make music sound more dynamic
  • Charging case is an ornament in its own right

Cons

  • ANC isn’t as effective as rival earphones
  • Battery life is on the short side
  • Very expensive at RRP

Availability

  • UKRRP: £299.99

Key Features

  • Dirac HDDigital signal processing that’s designed to add new dimension to the sound field of these earphones. It’s an interesting effect, and often a positive one
  • Active noise cancellationKlipsch’s true wireless earphones get active noise cancellation for the first time, and now offer the same core features as the most popular pairs
  • Bragi gesturesNot satisfied with a button-led operation, Klipsch adds motion gestures from Bragi, letting you control music and calls with a nod or shake of your head

Introduction

The Klipsch T5 II ANC are true wireless earphones from a classic name in American hi-fi. They’re the third set in this series, and the first to include active noise cancellation.

They come with all the features I appreciated in the Klipsch T5 II. You get unusually good mid-range reproduction for true wireless earphones, providing greater insight into vocals than the majority of pairs in this class. It’s matched with a modest bump in bass bump to keep the crowd happy.

While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the sound, the high £299 price makes them difficult to recommend when the key extra, active noise cancellation, is far from class-leading. They also lack the sensors that enable the buds to determine whether or not they’re in your ears, leading them drain down almost completely if you leave them lying around with ANC turned on.

The Klipsch T5 II ANC seem too expensive right now, a situation that may be compounded by partnerships with Dirac HD and Bragi, which provide some of the more techy features here. But if you find them selling for significantly less, then they’re worth buying.

Design

  • Appearance similar to previous model
  • Distinctive charging case

These third-generation Klipsch true wireless earphones look just like the last Klipsch T5 II. The earpieces are reasonably small, with no AirPod-style stems.

The charging case is the most eye-catching part of the package here. Typically, the charging case of a set of buds isn’t something that registers beyond the first five minutes, but the Klipsch T5 II ANC’s unit sticks in your mind because it’s design is a little like a classic Zippo lighter.

Klipsch T5 II ANC case held in hand

There’s a deliberate heft to it, a satisfying snap to the lid, with much of the outer a glossy layer of brushed aluminium. It even has a rubber base – more common in wireless speakers than wireless earphones.

There’s a solid argument that the best charger cases are small, light and unobtrusive. The Klipsch T5 II ANC’s case is none of these things, but it certainly leaves an impression, feeling but much better-made than almost all comparable cases. I just wish it wasn’t so scratch-prone. The finish is polished to a high shine, and any small scratches it picks up will be clearly visible – as I soon found having left the case in a coat pocket with some keys.

Klipsch T5 II ANC charging case
There’s a USB-C on the back for charging

The Klipsch T5 II ANC earpieces aren’t show-offs, but there are some neat touches here. An LED sits under a small frosted plastic panel, lighting up blue or red when pairing or charging. The thin, rounded metal cap has a lightly brushed metal finish, similar to that of the charging case. And the disc on which the Klipsch logo sits is actually a button.

Features

  • Supports gesture controls
  • IP rating down from previous earbuds
  • Not the longest battery life

In the first-generation Klipsch T5, the aforementioned button was difficult to press; but Klipsch has fixed that in the second-generation model. Presses on the left earpiece cycle between the ANC mode, the Transparency mode and plain audio. The right earpiece button is used for playback control.

The Klipsch T5 II ANC also introduce gesture controls from Bragi. The company made one of the first-ever pairs of true wireless earphones, but now licenses its technologies to more established names. Here, it means you can nod your head to accept calls and shake your head to either skip tracks or decline calls.

Klipsch T5 II ANC earphones lit up with Bluetooth connection

However, you have to shake or nod three times, which is to avoid accidental gestures being recognised. Using the more ordinary earpiece buttons feels better, though; but perhaps rock climbers and the bound-and-gagged will appreciate the flexibility.

The Klipsch T5 II ANC come with a lesser water-resistance rating than the standard T5 II: IPX4 rather than IP67. This means they’ll happily cope with rain and some sweat, but not submersion or a full rinse under a tap. When you add a bunch of microphones to a pair of earphones, it’s trickier to achieve high-grade water-resistance – and this pair has six mics.

Battery life is shorter, too, even if you switch off ANC. Klipsch says they last five hours with active noise cancellation (or Transparency mode), or seven hours without it. The Klipsch T5 II are rated for eight hours of use. The case provides up to three additional charges. Standard stuff, then, and perhaps slightly disappointing when that case is larger than the cases accompanying some other buds.

In a rundown test, I found that one bud lasted just 4hrs 14mins, the other 4hrs 25mins – which isn’t great.

Close up of Klipsch T5 II ANC housing and eartips

Note, too, that the Klipsch T5 II ANC don’t include a sensor to help them determine whether or not they’re in your ears. This typically pauses playback when a bud is removed from the ear – something I’ve never liked much – but it can intelligently manage when earphones enter a “sleep” state. As such, I’ve often suffered battery rundown as a result of taking the buds out and leaving ANC switched on.

A degree of customisation is possible through the Klipsch Connect app. From here you can change what button presses do, toggle those unusual Bragi gestures, and alter the level of active noise cancellation and transparency.

For those who haven’t used the latter before, transparency plays some ambient noise through the drivers so you can hear what’s going on around you. It sounds fairly natural, like in most good pairs with such a mode these days. It introduces a slight mid-range noise bed, noticeable when music is played quietly, but not if you’re in a noisier environment.

Active noise cancellation raises a more serious issue. The Klipsch T5 II needed ANC to remain relevant, but the effectiveness of its cancellation doesn’t stack up particularly well next to that of the Apple AirPods Pro, Sony WF-1000XM4 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. And all of those buds are significantly cheaper.

touch panels on the Klipsch T5 II ANC earphones

While ambient bass-register sound is attenuated by a decent amount, you don’t get the sense of being removed from the stress of a noisy environment. It simply stops that noise from completely trampling over your music.

This wouldn’t necessarily be a huge issue if the Klipsch T5 II ANC weren’t so expensive. Bose and Sony have spent years improving the cancellation in their earphones, and Apple must have spent a fortune on R&D getting the AirPods Pro ANC as good as it is, first time around. But as the buyer, that isn’t your problem.

In their defence, the Klipsch T5 II ANC’s cancellation is comfortable. There’s none of that sense of your eardrums being sucked outwards, which was common in older ANC headphones.

Sound Quality

  • Comes with Dirac HD processing
  • Enjoyable sound
  • Improved mid-range performance

The Klipsch T5 II ANC sound is somewhat similar to that of the T5 II, with one big change. These earphones can now use Dirac HD, a kind of digital signal processing (DSP) that attempts to improve clarity and the spatial aspects of sound.

This is much more interesting than DSP, which largely fiddles with EQ and boosts bass.

They also appear to have a new 5.8mm driver in place of a 5mm unit. Listening to the T5 II ANC and T5 II side-by-side, it’s clear that the latest buds deliver a superior setup. The mid-range sounds more refined and detailed, there’s greater depth to the sound field, and the tone is altogether smoother – it addresses the slight sibilance I mentioned in the review of the old pair.

ear-tip removed on left Klipsch T5 II ANC earphone
The Klipsch T5 II ANC use proprietary tips with a plastic rim that slots into the earpiece aperture. Don’t lose them.

This is without using Dirac HD, for the most like-for-like comparison possible. The Klipsch T5 II ANC name suggests these are simply theT5 II with noise cancellation attached, but there’s a bit more to them.

I also think these new buds have more noticeably boosted bass. You get better overall sound, but a somewhat less flat frequency response. And like the last generation, the width of the sound field is just okay.

Still, I find the Klipsch T5 II ANC a very enjoyable to listen. Their detail has the high-resolution sensibility I’d expect from an expensive pair, which is great if you want to listen to music actively, critically, rather than just use them to walk around with a soundtrack playing in the background.

The arrangement of the Klipsch T5 II ANC’s audio changes quite a bit when you switch on Dirac HD. Its perceptual effect varies between content, but with music it pushes central channel elements such as lead vocals more towards the centre of the sound field, pulling them closer to you – if you imagine a band as being arranged within a wide cone of 3D space that splays out from your head.

another shot of Klipsch T5 II ANC housing and ear-tips

Different instruments in the mix end up seeming less like they’re placed in some portion of a left-to-right stereo array, but gain a greater sense of being in front of or behind other elements. I’ve heard a similar effect in competing DSP modes that try to emulate the “live” music experience.

With purely spoken word content, such as a podcast, it sounds a little as if studio compression has been applied, and the bass tightened up. This isn’t what’s happening, but the effect is similar.

Switch between the Klipsch T5 II ANC’s two sound modes and it will initially seem like these earphones just sound better with Dirac HD switched on. But it isn’t quite that simple. While Dirac HD often makes tunes sound more dynamic and lively, it can cause slight modulations in low-frequency sounds, playing with how stereo elements are arranged in a mix. Its net effect is generally positive, but not 100% of the time.

Were I to use the Klipsch T5 II ANC as by everyday headphones, I’d probably keep Dirac HD switched on, but it’s a shame you can’t map this feature onto one of the earpiece button press gestures.

Latest deals

Should you buy it?

The two main draws here are very good overall sound quality and, for those who aren’t obsessed with the purity of the creator’s intent, Dirac HD processing. It can add depth and complexity to the sound field of music, often in a positive way.

These earphones are quite expensive, and you can get better active noise cancellation and battery life elsewhere. While I rarely give a “just decent” score to good-sounding earphones, there are several very compelling alternatives that cost less.

Final Thoughts

The Klipsch T5 II ANC are a tidy upgrade to the previous T5 II. As the name suggests, they come with active noise cancellation – a first for the series. Sound quality is improved, too, and some techy doodads have been added.

Dirac HD alters the sound field, and much of the time has a mostly positive effect, while Bragi gestures can control playback with a literal shake of your head. The T5 II ANC also sound great, although this is largely just a level-up on the fairly faithful sound we’ve heard in the series to date, but this time with a little extra bass.

However, these earphones are expensive, costing significantly more than almost all our top-rated pairs. Their active noise cancellation doesn’t get close to matching the Bose or Sony equivalents, and battery life isn’t that great in real-world use. The Klipsch T5 II ANC are good earphones, but you might want to wait for a price drop.

Trusted Score
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Sign up for the Trusted Reviews Newsletter

How we test

We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Tested over a few weeks

Tested with real world use

Trusted Score
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Sign up for the Trusted Reviews Newsletter

FAQs

Are the Klipsch T5 II ANC water-resistant?

They come with IPx4 water-resistance, which is a pretty low-end form of water-proofing. However, it’s enough to use them while running, in my opinion. Check out the Sports edition of the T5 II for full IP67 water-resistance.

What does the Klipsch T5 II ANC Transparency mode do?

It’s the opposite of active noise cancellation, playing some outside sound through the headphone drivers so you can hear your music and surroundings at the same time.

Do the Klipsch T5 II ANC support aptX?

While the older Klipsch T5 II could use aptX, this new pair only supports AAC and basic SBC. However, this is less of an issue now that Android phones can use AAC.

Full specs

UK RRP
Manufacturer
IP rating
Battery Hours
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Driver (s)
Noise Cancellation?
Connectivity
Frequency Range
Headphone Type

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.