From their 2008 launch, the Klipsch Image X10 in-ears were our premium in-ear headphones of choice – other contenders came along in that time, and all found themselves dashed, to a lesser or greater extent, on the rocks of the Klipsches' unshakeable poise, fearsome attack and vanishingly small dimensions.
It seems reasonable, then, that if any company was to overthrow the Image X10s, it might just as well be Klipsch itself. And then in 2010 along came these X10is.
The ‘i' suffix indicates that these Klipsches feature an iPhone-friendly in-line remote control (play/pause, skip forwards, skip backwards, volume up/down) with in-built microphone.
That increased functionality aside, the Image X10is sound remarkably similar to the outgoing X10s.
Organised and expressive
An uncompressed file of Slaughter & The Dogs' Cranked Up Really High enjoys the requisite pop-eyed levels of attack, punches hard in the low frequencies and is organised and separated impressively.
The midrange is expressive and detailed, the treble end remains crisp yet unthreatening.
The Klipsches have considerable powers of resolution. They are able to offer meaningful tonal and textural variation to instruments even on a packed soundstage – and they can marshal a soundstage confidently too, as a matter of fact.
Tempos and rhythmic patterns cause these remarkably slim units no alarms, either.
Just that little bit louder
In fact, the one area where the X10is are meaningfully different from the X10s is where out-and-out volume is concerned. If we had a criticism – just a tiny one –of the old 'phones, it was in their ability to go punishingly loud.
But these X10is are not as tentative as the 'phones they replaced. Good news all round, then - and a second Award win for the X10i earphones.
One final thing: if you're interested in a pair, do shop around - there are bargains to be had.