We like headphones that have a couple of different uses, so Klipsch has our attention with its ProMedia In-Ear earphones. They've got a microphone on the cable, making them useful for online gaming and VoIP calls, as well as listening to music. But do they do enough to potentially deprive us of a hard-earned £80 or thereabouts?
Paint it black
We like the design of these earphones. The 'buds themselves are really small, and covered in glossy black, with moody red accents. They look really classy. The translucent, white rubber tips come in several different sizes and a couple of different shapes.
The earphones' colour scheme extends to the remote, a small black cylinder with red stripes that indicate where the single button is. There's also a little optional clip that you can attach to the cabling, in case you want to secure the headphones to your clothing.
The headphones are incredibly light. They felt comfortable in our ears, and never started to slide out as we jauntily strolled along the streets of London Town.
We tested out the microphone's audio clarity using Skype's 'test call' service, which lets you make a Skype call, and then play back your voice as it was registered. When we played back the audio, it proved very clear. It was free from hissing and there wasn't much background noise.
Consequently, we think these headphones will make for an adequate VoIP headset, and work equally well with games. They're much, much smaller than most gaming headsets too. Note that the microphone works with Skype for iPhone, although it won't work for standard calls made on Apple's smart phone.
The headphones come with a little adaptor that splits the end of the cable into two separate 3.5mm prongs, so you can plug them into a laptop's dedicated headphone and microphone sockets. The cable is long too, so you won't have to hunch over to hear these bad boys if your phone or MP3 player is buried in your pocket.
We can identify the Klipsch sound straight away -- there's a focus on precision and clarity, and less on booming bass. It's the same tight, controlled sound we've heard on the company's high-end 'buds, but at a greatly reduced price.
Again, the low end is fairly controlled -- these headphones don't deliver the skull-shattering bass of the Monster iBeats by Dr Dre earbuds for instance. That said, the low end is precise. When we listened to Granite by Pendulum, a very bass-heavy tune, we noticed a definite kick to the bass drum, even if we didn't feel our teeth rattling free from our gums.
These buds excel when it comes to the mid- and high end. Listening to Weezer's melodic, temperate Island in the Sun, we were impressed by the clarity of the vocals and lead guitar. We could hear every little bit of fret noise and squeak from the crunchy guitars. The more high-pitched sounds, like the hi-hats on the drums, peeked out of the mix with a really excellent, ringing clarity.
The highs aren't as crystal-clear as those offered by a really top-end set of earbuds. The Klipsch Image X10i earphones, for instance, are so razor-sharp that we thought they were going to lacerate our inner ears -- in a good way.
If you love hard rock or thumpin' bass, there are better 'buds out there for you. Andrew WK's Party Hard didn't induce us to party quite as hard as we would have if we'd been listening through the Monster iBeats by Dr Dre earphones. They induce partying with astonishing ease.
The Klipsch ProMedia In-Ear headphones offer excellent, if clinical, sound quality for the price, plus some useful features for gamers and Skype addicts. Their pleasing colour scheme and comfortable, lightweight design rounds off the package charmingly.
If you want some party-hard headphones for roughly the same cost, check out the Monster iBeats by Dr Dre, or the excellent Sennheiser OCX 880s.
Edited by Charles Kloet