Is the Klipsch S4 that bad?
I was looking at buying a sub $80 pair of IEMs, and browsing about ABi and HFi archives, bumped into reviews of Klipsch S4, Denon AH-C551 and Hippo VB. The latter two aren't available in my country, nor are they available on eBay (not sure if Amazon ships to India) and that leaves the Klipsch S4 my only choice of the lot.
I see not a lot of people favour the S4. I see mixed reviews- either people hate it, or people love it.
Are they that bad? Should I seriously look into buying them?:(
Heya man...I have heard the Klipsch S4, quite a bit actually. They are NOT terrible. A few people have 'em/had 'em around here and they sound pretty good, at least to my ears. The sound sig if I remember right is very full, strong bass, good mids and good highs without being shrill. Klipsch makes pretty good stuff overall - have been at the audio game for a long long time.
The issue is one of bang for the money I believe. I have a pair of Maximo i590s that I have loved for over a year+, 30 bucks less than the S4 and quite frankly, I feel the i590s sound pretty close to the S4 - the S4s are a bit crisper and cleaner than my i590s, but again, pretty similar otherwise.
hen there have been reports of not so great build quality - issues with the wires into the housings, stuff like that. Though to be fair, this kinda of thing can happen pretty much anytime to any IEM, regardless of price - how you take care of stuff and whether you got a top notch built pair can also have an impact, but you can only control the former.
What kinda sound signature do you like? I would personally categorize the S4 as a slightly more bass-oriented IEM. Nowhere near the Hippo VBs for bass, but in the same neighborhood more or less.
What kinda music do you prefer? There are lots of great IEMs out there sub 75USD, especially of late. Meelectronics is getting strong user feedback as are some Soundmagic stuff. I also am planning to buy a pair of Nuforce 700x IEMs [shaped like a bullet and made of metal]. I recently heard them and was pretty damm impressed in the store.
hth, FWIW and cheers,
Thanks for the reply lestatar. As for the sound sig, I prefer something that has a well defined bass-heavy thump thats doesn't compromise on the soundstage as well. I never had anything that's expensive. I had a Creative EP-630 that ran for 2 years before it popped out; always felt it was muddy but with reasonable bass. Really cheap though.
Well, I don't have a loose budget, and I've to get something that lasts for a long time. Seeing that the Klipsch has bad build quality, I guess I have to negate it.
I just checked out the Maximo IM-590, and its available here for quite a decent price- Indian currency Rs4035 which translates to $90. Quite a bit cheaper than the Nuforce NE-700X (which I've been looking at but, budget) which is Rs5036, thats $113.5. So a few dollars up is a big jump for us here. :( There's Meelectronics A151 BK that retails at Rs5733 which is $130 and that's way WAY outta hand.
I see the NE-700X is garnering a lot of attention- should I try and save up for it?
As for music, I listen to a quite a wide range of genres, but tend to listen to a lot of Porcupine Tree, Lights, Coldplay etc. Mixed actually.
No worries man, we are all here to help and learn from each other on ABi :D
Maximo bass is pretty well defined to my ears, not overly deep in your chest, but with a good seal from the biflange tips low end sounds punchy and deep enough for me most times. The cables on the Nuforce are OK, certainly nothing like the uber good quality on the Pana HJE900, but they seemed fine - the stress relief on the jack end is also very Pana HJE900-like [brushed metal, superior looking strain relief].
There are a ton of IEMs that I want to get, mostly stuff that people here have had good experiences with, and especially some quaility Balanced Armature IEMs. But the Nuforce stuff came out of left field for me. I was just in a small shop that actually had a ton of IEMs available for me to try on my gear [luckily I had my Fuze/Rockbox with me] - I sample a bunch including some very pricy ones and gotta say the Nuforce left the biggest favorable impression.
Back to back, the Nuforce is the stronger IEM over the i590s Maximos to me, period. I was very impressed with the bass and the rest of the frequencies and felt the soundstage was also quite good without being overly wide and airy [not sure I like that kinda thing]. They seemed to me to be a slightly less capable all around IEM to my ears than my personal fave Pana HJE900s. This is not to say the Maximos are bad - I still think for around 40USD the i590s are a steal. But the Nuforce is like a better i590 to me.
The Nuforce 700x look awesome as well though not so crazy about the free advertising I will give them [though the logo is simply N U and does look nice as these things go]:
The strain relief looks interesting and hopefully durable. The IEM housing is running a pretty close second to me with my Pana HJE900s in terms of visual coolness and possible indestructibility factor.
They are reasonably priced in Hong Kong - that store had em for like 60USD, a bargain I am thinking based on what I heard and saw. Prolly pull the trigger on them in next few weeks while I ponder the need for another pair of dynamic IEMs.
I listen to a ton of stuff, including all Porcupine Tree. Bass is important for me, but I am not a true basshead like dfkt and others around here. But like dfkt and other guys whose opinions I respect and consider, I personally want quality mids and highs as well, especially for guitar and vocal stuff. Strong detail, good soundstage imaging and crispness is also what I like and expect. For me, the Panas are pretty much ideal.
But I really was impressed with the Nuforce 700x as you can tell - so much so that I pretty much am gonna grab it myself like I said.
I ain't no pro with this stuff - but I know what I like and I liked the Nuforce a good deal. They not only look like they ooze quality, I was pleasantly surprised that they sounded great to me as well. Yeah, I think I got a new IEM to talk up now. :) Think I gonna call the Nuforce my "Mini Panas" because that's what they seem to me to be at this moment. We will see after I have em for a few weeks.
best I can suggest my friend...
did you also look here?
and this invaluable, epic thread from that other site:
As for the Creative EP630. I own 'em, had them for years. They are OK, but pretty much as you described. With the exception of the Meelectronics, I have heard or own every IEM mentioned on this thread.
Trust me: every single one of those offered me a noticeably better sound experience versus the EP630.
Wow, that is quite a detailed reply! I think your interests are pretty much the same as mine, and from your scans, guess that the Nuforce would be great for me. I've never used any other of these expensive IEMs (apart from some Skullcandys, which I felt that looked and sounded like crap) and probably any IEM marginally better than 630 would sound like heaven to me :)
Bass is important to me too, but I'm not sure I know what real or better bass is, since like I said, I thought 630s had some thump to them. What proper bass I've experienced are through speakers, never IEMs. I do like whats there on my Senn HD 202s too, but I doubt its too much.
I'm not sure I like what the Nuforce IEMs look like, but the sound is more important to me right now, and I havent found anything close to this range in my country.
Eitherway, I guess I'm gonna dart for the 700x. I don't want the mic version, that's like 1000rs more. By the way, I checked the Panas you mentioned about, and got, with the price of that thing, I could buy 2 700xs!
EDIT: I just checked out the Epic thread, and seems he complains about the annoying microphonics thats consistent with the 700xs. I used to have an issue with my ep630s horrible microphonics, but over time I got somewhat used to it. I didn't really enjoy it though.
You can't get a Hippo VB in India? I was under the impression that Jaben shipped almost everywhere...
If you are not averse to getting stuff online, you can get most of MEE stuff for cheap when MEE conducts one of their discount sales. There's also another distributor for MEE now in India - http://www.jseindia.com/. I think they distribute only through retail channels, but you can ask them.
I've heard only NE-7m, based on which I'd say NE-700X should be good. Other choices (sub-$100, good bass)
1) MEE CC51 (From http://www.meelec.com/category_s/345.htm. Mee ships it via Express shipping which adds $19 to the cost, but recently they had 4th of July sale at 33%. Wait for another sale and you could pick up for cheap)
2) Xears TDIII v2 (From http://www.xears.com/en/. Not so great build quality, but you can pick one for 30 Euros + 8 Euro shipping using a coupon code - KLANGFUZZIS, I think. RMA is also easier as you need not send it back to Germany, just cut the cable, take the photo and send it to Thomas. I've done that!).
3) Hippo VB (From http://jaben.net/shopping2/Hippo_VB.html. Free shipping as far as I know. Great, clean, quality bass with variable bass plates. I might check out this one out of curiosity ;))
4) Fischer Eterna v1 (Source is the issue here. I bought from GD-Audiobase. But there have been numerous complaints against it of late. Lynx India is the Indian distributor, but as with most things Fischer, it is never in stock. Like VB is to sub-bass, Eterna is to mid-bass)
5) Monster Turbine (Need to get from US. Build quality is so-so. Sound is a little fit dependent, but nicely balanced and among the very decent $100 and around IEMs I'e heard. But, it's worth only if it goes on sale for $70-80 or so)
... That's a short list from among the ones I've heard
I had checked out the Klipsch S4s earlier and liked the sound, but found that the rubber tips were slightly rough on my ears--it was odd. If I had kept them, I would replace the tips. Also, the thinner cord to each bud concerned me--time will tell if they last or cause issues. (And the tin carry case is just silly, waiting to be banged up.)
But a good value for the sound, it seems to me.
Hey man, I really hope you enjoy em if you get the Nuforce. Like I said though I only had a chance to sample them in the store...yes for like 30 minutes with my own music, but that is not the same as owning them. Just don't wanna feel bad in case you don't like em. ;)
Thanks for the info on the microphonics possibly with the Nuforce - I didn't know that they had been reviewed on that other thread. :) Not really an issue to my ears unless it is super-horrible. And to be fair, the Maximos do exhibit some noticeable microphonics at times.
Buying IEMs like pretty much everything in life can be a crapshoot. What you like I might hate and vice versa. Trial and error sucks, but only thing we can hope for is to make the best, most considered decision possible.
Good luck man and keep us in the loop! :)
EDIT: The guys have all come up with some great suggestions for you as well!
Confusing, ain't it? ;) :D
So does this mean that MEE ships worldwide, albeit a little higher price? I read around in most of the other threads that the CC51 fares better than the NE-700X (doubt it will make a huge difference to my ears though, as is the case with hardcore audiophiles).
Several other threads praised the sq for the value, but the build quality doesn't seem to be that great. I'm a student and money doesn't always come my way, so I do odd jobs to nab a jab at these babies. I just want to get something that worthwhile and doesn't taint my conscience if not my need for some great sq :)
Buying headphones is the same as building a new rig. Damn. But I'm lovin' the experience so far; learning quite a bit of new stuff I wouldn't otherwise :)
EDIT: I just checked the MEElectronics CC51 from their website. The whole package including shipping (FedEx) came up to $120, which is equal to the price of the NE-700X from eBay with shipping. Not a bad deal I guess. :)
I buy almost all my IEMs from international locations. So, don't worry! MEE ships worldwide. MEE uses the cheaper option ($7) for all other IEMs except their premium IEMs (A151 and CC51). If I were you, I'd not choose the FedEx option. You'll get it fast, but you'll surely be slapped with customs duty up-to 33% (depending on the officer's mood), something you should be careful about. Choose Express / Priority mail USPS instead. Both these would save you shipping costs and still provide full tracking. FedEx / DHL packages are always charged customs duty. What's worse - if you ask the shipper to declare a very low value, customs official would charge duty on double the declared value as they think that you'll not use premium courier services for cheaper products.
Second thing you got to think about is local warranty. In case of MEE, buying locally at a higher price would mean that you send the IEM only within the country. But in the rest of the cases (NuForce for instance), you'll need to send it back to the US in case of any faults.
Think both these aspects over before buying.
The S4 are not bad at all, they just aren't even close to the best you can get in their price range, and the sub $100 range of IEMs is HUGE.
The S4 however could per perfect for someone as well since we all have different preferences for sound signature, but i had to EQ the crap out of my S4 to make them sound halfway decent, something i don't need to do with the VB.
The S4 sucks so does the S2.
I'd suggest the Panasonic HJE900, Eterna, Hippo Vb also SonyEx600 because if it does even 75% of what the SonyEx1000 does its worth it. That is if your willing to extend your range.
The Panas., which I also would recommend, just aren't generally available nowadays (at least at non-high prices), apart from one-off sales (you could keep your eyes open ...).
Thanks for those tips- I'll keep them in mind. I probably will be looking at the CC51 more seriously than the Hippo VBs, since I'm worried about the build quality that people say it lacks. As I said, I'd like this pair to last quite long, say maybe 3-4 years at max.
I'm a little behind in this segment, but you did mention about local warranty with the CC51s. I'm not sure I've understood, but if I'm buying these straight off MEE's website, then how do they have local warranty applied? Or do they have units in India?
From the price of the HEJ900s over at some places online (for some reason, its not available over at eBay.in) the quotes are exactly double than that of a single MEE CC51 or NE-700x. I don't think I can stretch my budget that far- especially now since I also want to buy a guitar, my old one sucks.
MEElectronics products are available through two distributors in India - Lynx India and JSE mentioned in my previous post.
Lynx does not enjoy a great reputation when it comes to service (Also here), but you can buy CC51 for around Rs. 4800-4900 locally (after adding VAT of 5% and shipping charges of Rs. 85) and you'll only need to send it to Chandigarh in case of issues. I was informed that JSE distributes their products, but not sure how one can buy from them. Will update you once I get a reply.
Considering the INR-USD equation, CC51 above $100 is not great value for money going just by SQ, even though the Ceramic seems nicely built and all.
Cheaper options (but no local availability):
NE-700X can be had from Amazon for about $92 shipped.
Hippo VB from Jaben at $80 shipped is not a bad option at all compared to CC51 - but purely when it comes to SQ. I have mine for over a year now, but it has not developed any issues so far.
Or take a chance with Eterna (Lynx mentioned that they might get it back in stock sometime. Price is around Rs. 3300 shipped. Not sure you can wait for a month for delivery from GD-Audiobase or the trouble with delays in RMA).
Of my list, you can leave Xears out if you want build quality that can last 2-3 years.
But, if you want to stretch the budget...
HJE900 is certainly better than CC51. But then, there are many alternatives you can look at in the $150 range if you want to stretch the budget - Atrio MG7, Radius DDM-1 (No isolation), JVC FX500, JVC HA-FXT90 etc., come to mind.
It would be great if I could buy the CC51 locally. That would mean a serious dip in shipping charges and ofcourse, warranty. $100 does seem too much considering it performs similar to the Eternas. Thats no fair comparison, and its like allowing myself to get ripped.
I searched around, plus my mates also said that Amazon doesn't ship to India. Do you have any experience with buying from Amazon? Where do you live exactly? Cause I did see the 700x available there before, but like I said, didn't know Amazon works for us Indian citizens.
I wouldn't be able to stretch my budget by any means; else I'd have to wait for a while longer (probably like 5-6months). I checked out the Eternas, they seem like a fine pair. 3300 seems like a good deal.
I still find myself wanting the 700X over CC51 or VBs though. Perhaps its the looks; seduced me with prolonged staring :) And if I come to learn that Amazon is a choice, then no doubt, I'll be buying the Nuforce.
Amazon does not ship most electronics, just books, CD and DVD. I have bought NuForce uDAC-1 and the uDAC-2 upgrade board through Nuforce eStore. But, their eStore no longer ship to India. But, Amazon storefront still does. FYI, Nuforce had a local Indian distributor, but he cheated them by not paying for the countless uDAC-1s he got. The remaining stock of that uDAC-1 is still being sold in India via other dealers. So, not sure NuForce would have an Indian distribution in place anytime soon.
That figure of $92 shipped comes from the screen shot attached :).
You may need to pay customs duty because it seems like they'll use Priority International USPS. So, it may end up being $30 costlier. For Indian customs, duty is levied on the landed cost i.e., Price of item + Shipping costs up-to the point, which in this case is $92.
As an alternative, there's a guy on TechEnclave called Faheem, who can arrange NE700X for less (I guess he still is in touch with NuForce after arranging for a few people initially).
Hmm, I still don't see any options for shipping to India though :( Too bad, I had my hopes up to get one of these. eBay charges Rs 5100 for the 700X including shipping, but that seems a tad expensive.
However, I found out this ~link removed~ has the NE-700x for Rs 4900 including shipping, which seems cheaper than eBay. Any opinions about this site?
Or would I be better off buying the MEE CC51 from their online store?
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