Monday, December 15, 2008

Klipsch Custom-1 follow up

As promised, here is a follow-up post regarding the Klipsch Custom-1. I have been experimenting with different fits and have found that the large single flange gels works best on my ears. The double flange works good as well, but they go so deep I found them uncomfortable. Also, the Custom series works well with glasses, but then again I never had problems with other over the ear headphones anyway.

In my previous post I lamented on the lack of bass response, but have since discovered that it does exist. They are not more forward like what you tend to get with Sennheisers, and are more restraint. I can actually 'feel' the bass, perhaps surprisingly as I was led to believe this was not possible on balanced armature headphones (due to the lack of moving parts). Still the bass isn't as strong as the Sennheiser CX 95. Overall, the Custom-1 has good bass, but I still stand on my belief that bassheads or those who are into trance/dance music will be better off with Sennheiser or Denon.

Treble wise, the Custom-1 is a bit better than my CX 95 and considerably better than the Shure e2c's muddy highs. They are still pretty weak compared to the performance on the mids (which is awesome). This can be fixed by upping up the highs on your player's EQ. In my case boosting the 16kHz range helped a lot with the S639. This fix is only needed for complex music, where the single driver design works against it. As I mentioned before the Custom-1 highlight the mids more than others, which works rather well on instrumental solos. On the other hand instrumental separation seems to be rather average and can get a mid muddy...

The sound detail is amazing on such a cheap headphone and while the sound stage could have been better (they tend to go straight into your head), the clarity is amazing. The sound isn't as warm as other headphones, and no where near as 'fun' as the CX 95. Microphonics was initially a slight issue, but running the cables through the back all the way up will help a lot. Again, definitely worth £50 if you like this kind of sound, or whatever you paid for it during the recent sale ;). But then there's the Custom-2...

The Custom-2 is a considerable improvement over the Custom-1, and the list price of £110/US$199 highlights this fact even if the model number doesn't. At this list price its competitors includes Ultimate Ear's popular Super.Fi 5 EB, Shure SE310 and the new Sennheiser IE 6. It shares the same housing, cables etc. with the Custom-1, but the primary difference is its dual balanced armature drivers which offers greater frequency response particularly on the lows compared to the Custom-1.

As I have only recently tried the Custom-2 (and have a Custom-3 coming in from the US soon) and I haven't given it much listening, so I won't go into much detail. But my initial impression so far goes like this: warm, great mids, better bass and good highs - though still not as fun the cheaper CX 95, though definitely offering greater SQ. I probably won't give the Custom-2 a dedicated review, but I'll most likely write something about the Custom-3 and give an overall comparison between the three Custom models later during the New Year.

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