• Klipsch Mode M40
Our Verdict 
Klipsch's first noise-cancelling headphones are excellent performers
Excellent noise-cancelling
Tough build
Smart looks
Good battery life
Could be more comfortable
Faces tough competition
Reviewed on

Flick through the Headphones section of our Buyer’s Guide, and you’ll see that Klipsch is a regular in the in-ear arena. The Klipsch Mode M40 is the American company’s first pair of noise-cancelling headphones, intended to block out other people’s din.

With a leather case and a well-dressed man on the box, Klipsch seems to hint at high-flying luxury. There’s certainly enough in the way of accessories: there’s also a satin-soft slipcase, a 3.5mm-to-6.3mm adaptor, an airplane adaptor, and a choice of plain and three-button cables.

Klipsch Mode M40 review: Build

The design is smart, although the black/copper colour scheme may not be to everyone’s tastes. One side of the headphones sports a discreet switch for the active noise-cancelling function.

The other side opens up to take a single AAA battery, which lasts around 45 hours – although even when you run out of juice the M40s still function as passive headphones.

The body is mostly plastic, with leather ear-cups. Build quality is high: we provoked hardly any creaking in our test, despite a sadistic amount of stretching and twisting.

There’s a reassuring weight to the M40s, which certainly feel tough enough to handle a fair number of plane and train journeys. The trade-off is that they get slightly uncomfortable after a few hours on your head. Some may find 356g a bit much for a long-haul flight.

The fit is also a little tight, with the ear-cups pressing down more than we’d like. Rivals like the PSB M4U2s have a lighter body and gentler fit. However, Klipsch has addressed this issue in newer batches by reducing the clamping force of the headband.

More after the break

Klipsch Mode M40 review: Sound quality

Sonically, the M40s perform well, with a good grip on dynamics and enough rhythmic precision to get your foot tapping.

They’re fairly natural and well balanced, which makes for a relaxed listen. The PSBs do have an advantage when it comes to insight and musical engagement, but the difference isn’t huge.

Klipsch Mode M40 review: Noise cancelling

Onto the raison d’être of the M40s: noise cancellation. We tested this by a river and a busy street, and the Klipsches just laughed off the challenge. We took them onto the London Underground, and it was only after stepping into a crowded train that they had to work harder. Nevertheless, if you want to enjoy music on a commute, the M40s present an effective option.

Klipsch Mode M40 review: Verdict

All in all, the Klipsch Mode M40s are a success, just losing out on a fifth star because of the tough competition. There’s plenty to shout about here, even if you can’t hear it over all the noise-cancelling.

MORE: Best noise-cancelling headphones 2014


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