As if updating and expanding its in-ear headphone lineup wasn't enough, Klipsch has gone ahead and unveiled its revamped Image One on-ear set here at Irving Plaza in NYC. As we're told, the new Image One is acoustically similar to its predecessor, but now it has a more stylish and robust design that should hold up better over time. Notably, the headphones only have a single cable leading into the left earcup (rather than splitting into both cups like the original), and it's also of the flat variety to prevent tangling. The earcups can still fold flat, but now they can fold into the headband as well, making a smaller footprint for storage in a stuffed bag. In terms of comfort, the leather earpads are now a totally flat to provide an improved seal and better comfort. Beyond that, an Apple-certified inline remote / mic will help you control your music and calls on the go. An airliner converter, a 1/4-inch adapter and soft-shell carrying case are naturally included, and best of all, its price will remain set at 150 bones.
Rather than just tweaking the original, however, Klipsch has decided to finally enter the wireless headphone game by offering a $250 Bluetooth-equipped variant for those who hate cords. This version looks nearly identical, with the subtle tweak of having the playback and volume controls positioned as buttons on the outside of the right earcup. The Image One Bluetooth also sports a built-in rechargeable battery, yet the set only gains 10 grams of weight (180 grams total) on top of its wired sibling -- should the battery die, a detachable cable allows for passive functionality. What's more, audiophiles will pleased to know that aptX and A2DP are both baked-in for high-quality lossless audio streaming. If your ears are already tingling with excitement, the new Image One and Image One Bluetooth are set to hit shelves by the end of the month. We're already putting both sets of cans through their paces here at the event, so check back soon as we'll be updating this post with our initial impressions.
Update: You'll find images of the headphones below and our brief ears-on after the break.
As promised, we've just spend a good deal of time with the new Image One and its Bluetooth variant, and we've come away mostly impressed. We're still not fans of the glossy finish, but the headphones feel much less fragile than the original model. We definitely noticed details like the adjustable headrails being tighter, the yokes being thicker with sturdier joints where they connect to the headband and the inline remote of the wired variant being chunkier -- just to name a few. It's clear that a great deal of thought went into this redesign, and that the company is getting more comfortable with creating full-size headphones.
We're happy to report that both versions felt and sounded identical. Specifically, the headphones feel extremely lightweight on the head, with a minimal amount of clamping force. Notably, on top of having 90 degrees of rotation to the rear, the cups can now move 12 degrees in the opposite direction to allow for a better fit. The new earpads simply contoured with our ears much better that the half supra-aural, half circum-aural fit we experienced from the original model, making for a more comfortable experience -- not to mention a drastically improved seal. We'd say the fit is very similar to the Sony MDR-NC200D and wouldn't be shocked if we could wear the new Image One for hours without feeling any cartilage cramps. Better yet, the new earpads snap into place much like that of AiAiAi's TMA-1 cans, so they won't be prone to falling off. Lastly we'd be remiss not to point out that the level of noise-isolation seems to be improved as well. While the original's let in nearly as much external sound as open-eared sets, we didn't really notice the same problem here -- that said, there's no way to tell how it would fair on the likes of NYC's subway just yet.
All that said, let's talk further about the Bluetooth model and then discuss the audio quality of both. The outside of the right earcup consists four large buttons (forward, rewind, power / pairing and play / pause) and a syncing / power light. Klipsch also placed a volume rocker near the back of the earcup that's positioned directly where our thumb would naturally land for easy access, while our pointer and middle fingers met the aforementioned controls. The buttons are completely flush with earcup, so it would be totally identical to the wired version if wasn't for their markings. Using any of them only took a light push that greeted us with a responsive click. A micro-USB part near on the bottom of the earcup handles charging, which we're told takes a about an hour to get it completely re-juiced; this translates into an estimated 12 hours of battery life. Sadly, the battery isn't user replaceable, but it's rated for a plentiful 15,000 cycles. Lastly, the Image One Bluetooth does come with a detachable cable (unlike the wired version), but it's not of the tangle-free variety and doesn't feature an inline remote / mic. This means you won't be able to take calls if the battery dies -- frustrating.
That brings us to the part you've likely been itching for: audio quality. First off, we used our Galaxy Nexus to stream music with the Bluetooth variant and A/Bed that with the wired version. From what could tell standing in Irving Plaza's bustling balcony, both sounded identical just as Klipsch claimed. Unlike the M40 which pushes power into its drivers when it runs of off batteries, the IO Bluetooth's battery is purposed mainly for its wireless functionality (running it sans juice won't affect the audio quality one bit).
In a past IRL, we described Image One as having a slightly clinical sound with an added bit of low-end punch. With the new Image Ones, the experience is an even bassier affair. According to our Klipsch rep, the new models feature the same 40mm drivers, but the updated design has made for a "small" amount of added boom. Without any EQ applied, the bass department muddied up the rest of the mix in songs whether it was an acoustic jam by Jimmy Eat World or a hard-hitting number by Refused. Once we slightly bumped up the 4 and 14kHz treble frequencies in Google Music, however, the veil was essentially lifted, giving us the familiar Image One sound we've grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, we weren't able to test the microphone quality, but you can bet we'll be getting a pair in for review soon to bring you our in-depth thoughts. As it stands, there's no question that the new Image Ones have left us with a fairly positive impression overall.
Image™ ONE Headphone Series Gains Bluetooth Model and Product
INDIANAPOLIS (August 9th, 2012) - Klipsch, a leading global speaker manufacturer, today
announces the launch of the new Image™ ONE Bluetooth® and upgraded Image™ ONE.
Catering to on-ear enthusiasts, these headphones maintain the same high-quality sound
signature and comfort for which Klipsch headphones are known while introducing
enhancements in build, functionality, design and performance.
With the launch of these two Image ONE series models, Klipsch introduces upgraded, flat
cabling-attached only to the left ear cup-for added durability and tangle resistance, as well as a flat folding collapsible design for space-saving storage.
Image ONE Bluetooth
Combining high-performance Klipsch sound with the convenience of wireless listening, the
Image ONE Bluetooth serves as Klipsch's first wireless headphone model. Given its utilization of Hi-Fi Bluetooth (A2DP) audio quality and aptX Codec for lossless streaming, users experience high-performance, uninterrupted listening. The Image ONE Bluetooth's wireless capabilities are enabled via its built-in rechargeable battery; with wired connection still possible via the included direct connect audio cable. Large, easily-accessible controls are located on the right earcup for controlling playlists and phone calls. Extensive research resulted in the ideal ergonomic placement of buttons so users' hands naturally fall onto the controls. Lined with professional- grade foam and equipped with an adjustable leather headband, it provides premium comfort and superior noise isolation. Available in a black finish with brushed-aluminum accents, and compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled device, the Image ONE Bluetooth retails for $249.99 (U.S. MSRP) and will be available at authorized retailers and http://www.klipsch.com in August 2012.
Maintaining the same acoustics of the current model, the updated Image ONE provides listeners with flat earpads and an adjustable leather headband for optimal comfort and fit, still providing superior levels of noise isolation. Simplifying cable design, the headphone utilizes only one cable that feeds into the left earcup. Because the headphone's earcups fold flat into the headphone, a smaller carrying case is provided for more compact storage. The same three- button remote and mic is housed on the cable for full call and music control with Apple devices.
The new Image ONE retails for $149.99 (U.S. MSRP) and will be available at authorized
retailers and http://www.klipsch.com in August 2012.y