Noise-cancelling headphones are suddenly all the rage. It certainly seems as if every big player in the audio game has at least one model that features active noise-canceling, usually accompanied by other luxury features — and with a corresponding luxury pricetag. Even manufacturers who’ve only recently begun making cans, like Logitech UE and Klipsch, prominently feature active noise-canceling in their model lineups.
It may even seem as if the technology has been added to some models simply because it’s become the feature du jour — an impression strengthened by the fact that not all noise canceling is the same. Not even remotely.
Let me count the ways that I have killed so many successive sets of earbuds, whether from Apple or otherwise. Rain, sweat (ears), sweat (general, dripping), wet ear canals from insufficient after-shower toweling. More rain.
You get the idea.
If only I’d had a pair of Klipsch’s new rugged S4i earbuds, which are rubberized against both the elements and also my deadly perspiration.
The earbuds are also fully iReady, with a mic for calls and a three button remote for play/pause/answer and volume control. The specs say that the sensitivity (a good measure of how loud they are) is 110dB and the frequency response goes from 10Hz to 19kHz – a respectable range for a ‘bud.
But the toughness is the thing, and these multicolored cans can put up with most exercise and outdoor activity.
I doubt they can resist my single most common way to break a pair of headphones though – the Tug. The Tug can be achieved in many ways, but has one common element: you forget about a dangling cord and catch it fatally on an immovable object, or your own body. I have ended the life of a pair of Porta Pros by standing from a crouch and catching the cable on a knee. And I butchered a pair of retro Panasonic over-the-ear headphones when the cable snagged on a post in the street.
While other manufacturers might tart up their headphones with loud colors, obnoxious logos and frills, the Klipsch Image One ($150) drops all extraneous nonsense in favor of making you happy through its three impressive strengths: perfomance, comfort and portability — a triple threat that makes these headphones a contender for best traveling companion.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 — “We feel like Airplay is going to be the next media,” Product Manager Gavin Reeg said during Klipsch’s 30 minute press event. Then it was VP of Product Development Mark Casavant’s turn (pictured above), and he made it very clear: their future is in Apple’s Airplay.