By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Speaker supplier Klipsch expanded its presence in the audio field at International CES by introducing its first branded headphones lineup, comprised of the single-SKU Image and the three-SKU Custom line.
At the top of the line is the Image, which Klipsch has dubbed "the world's smallest and lightest full-range in-ear headphone design."
A Consumer Electronics Association Innovations 2008 Design and Engineering honoree, Image headphones employ exclusive extended-frequency KG926 balanced micro-armatures, an aluminum body finished in anodized copper, and sleek, aerodynamic-shaped black "tails." These flexible "tails" reduce cable stress and serve as an acoustic dampener to minimize cable noise, Klipsch said.
The company also claimed to have gone to great lengths to ensure the durability of the Image, up to and including its 50-inch-long vinyl cables with appropriate strain relief at every cable-connection point to help prevent wire damage, according to a release.
The Image retails for $349.
Also new are the Custom-3 professional-quality headphones that employ KG723 tweeters, KG731 woofers and a patent-pending electro-acoustic crossover system to deliver a studio reference acoustic experience, according to Klipsch. Thay are priced at a suggested $299.
The step-down Custom-2 headphones employ KG534 dual-balanced armatures in each ear for an enhanced full-range acoustic experience, Klipsch said, and are priced at a suggested $199.
Rounding out the line, Custom-1 headphones boast KG332 balanced armatures for deeper bass, a robust midrange and clearer highs, the company said, and have a suggested retail of $129.
The Custom models have a black soft-feel paint finish and include a vinyl carrying case. The Custom-3 and Custom-2 cases will also fit an 80GB iPod.
All Klipsch headphones ship with a 0.25-inch adapter, an airline adapter, five sets of ear gels and a cleaning tool.
All four models are iPhone compatible and "work with virtually any device with a standard headphone jack," according to the company.
The headphones utilize patent-pending Contour ear gels, which are anatomically designed to accurately fit inside the human ear canal, Klipsch said. The tips are said "to reduce ear fatigue as well as provide an amazing seal for excellent noise isolation and bass response," according to a company release.
Each model comes with five different-sized ear gels: small, medium and large single-flange designs as well as small and large double-flange designs.
For exterior comfort, flexible ear wires bend over and around the ears so they can be formed to whatever fit is best for each user. The adaptable wires let users experience full or partial noise isolation by pulling the ear gels out of the ear canals and adjusting the wires to firmly position the earphone nozzles over the canals.
A PVC Wireguard jacket prevents the wires from becoming exposed and frayed.
According to Tom Gospel, Klipsch program management director, the line is a natural extension of the Klipsch brand, applying the company's 60-plus years of audio experience to a new category.
"Klipsch has always been passionate about delivering the most accurate, dynamic and powerful listening experiences. And our headphones continue that philosophy," Gospel said. "They offer better noise isolation, reduce ear fatigue and deliver the highest audio performance so users can listen longer and better."
Klipsch Custom headphones are available at www.klipsch.com and various retailers. Purchasers who complete their warranty registrations online will receive a free package of replacement Contour ear gels in the size of their choice.
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