First, a tip: try putting the Right earphone in your LEFT ear, and vice versa. I get a much more comfortable fit, better seal and sound this way. I think it looks better, too. If you're not getting a good seal at first, twist them slightly.
My first earphone purchase was Bose, I had trouble keeping them in my ears, and the Bass was very boomy, I looked for something else. I've been a Sennheiser earphone fan and user for years, starting with their $80 model (I don't remember the name) and working my way up to their very good IE6 unit. I thought they were really great, loved the sound. I listen to some classical, some jazz, some acoustic, and a lot of pop.
Almost all of my music is in AIFF or ALE encoding, very few MP3's or AAC's. Can't have as much music on my iPhone, but the quality of sound is worth it to me.
Was very satisfied with the IE6's. But after several years of daily use, they were literally falling apart.
My budget is much tighter than it was when I bought the IE6's, so I searched the internet reviews on dozens of earphones. I decided to try the S4i Reference, bought them here at Sonic Electronix.
One of the best purchases of any kind I have ever made. The quality of sound is much better than my $249 IE6's (okay, I paid that several years ago, the current IE60's are less expensive).
They do have a somewhat boosted bass compared to Sennheisers and other brands I've listened to. But it's definitely NOT booming or muddled.
Bass (especially the kick drum) is tight and thumping, which I have come to really love. Mids are clear, maybe a bit warm, Highs are clear and crisp. I can hear more detail than with the IE6's, and more instruments. Separation is superior. Classical, jazz, pop, rock all sound superb through the S4i Reference.
Absolutely excellent sound all around. Incredible sound for the money.
The S4i Ref's comfort is outstanding. I bought a set of Comply foam tips to use with these, but to my surprise, I find the standard Klipsch tips more comfortable. As mentioned above, I wear them in the "wrong" ears, and I can wear them for 8+ hours in complete comfort. Noise isolation is good, but don't expect total silence (I have children, so that's a good thing, I don't need to be completely out of touch).
As many have noted, the cord stays in the shape it was folded into in the package. The wire from the microphone to the jack is stiffer than any earphones I've seen (some insist that the cord is not thicker, but it's definitely stiffer), maybe that's why it doesn't straighten out. I usually have the cord running under my shirt and keep my phone in my pants pocket, so the cord doesn't get in the way, and the bends don't show. Even wearing it that way, the microphone works very well, callers hear me perfectly.
As I said, this is one of the best purchases I have ever made, I am extremely happy with the S4i Reference, and highly recommend them. If you want really excellent sound and amazing comfort, get the Klipsch S4i Reference.
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