Klipsch Reference On-Ear
The Klipsch Reference goes for a classy look, with a simple aluminum frame that’s backed by plastic. The headband comes wrapped in leatherette, with the bulk of it soft and buoyant on the inner side. The headphones feel comfortable on the head, and it’s not too heavy despite how chunky it looks. The leatherette earcups are held in place by the same aluminum frame, and they too are equally comfortable – but a little less so if you’re wearing glasses, given the cup’s grill that’s flushed against the foam. All in all, it looks like a pair of headphones that seems physically well-designed.
Feature-wise, the Klipsch Reference is a little lacking compared to its peers. It comes with an in-line microphone flanked by volume control buttons, and it has cups that are foldable and tilt-able for compact storing, and for better fit respectively. Beyond that, it doesn’t come with many other features – the 3.5mm is flat, which is handy, but it’s non-detachable, held by a thin joint that connects into the left earcup. The Klipsch itself comes in a double layered soft pouch, which is a nice add-on for better portability. Otherwise, the headset is as plain as it comes, despite its modern aesthetics.
The Klipsch Reference On-Ear stays true to its sound signature – a warm tone with very good distinction between high, mid and low frequencies. It has an average depth, which doesn’t work well for excessively processed tracks, but it shines in live music, or classical pieces. Our test revealed as much too. ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles sounded the best on this pair, compared to any other pairs within the shootout. It delivered good depth, and the warm signature made the live track sound pleasant. It was able to clearly distinguish the 12-string acoustic guitar from the electric guitar even when played in tandem. ‘Sail On Soothsayer’ by Buckethead also fared very well with the Klipsch, with a killer reverb playback, and clarity for electric guitars while keeping the percussion well in the back.
Despite its great performance, these headphones are not the most versatile. The natural warm signature of the Klipsch makes ‘Melt My Heart to Stone’ sound even warmer, even if it could catch the nuance in her vocals. The Tiesto track had strong and hardhitting bass, but little depth, and it was also too warm for such songs, too.