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Klipsch is a relatively new player in the headphone game, but its reputation as a high-end speaker manufacturer dates back to the 1940s. Building on the success of the company's knockout Image X10 earphones, the Klipsch Custom line delivers impressive sound quality in a larger, more durable design.
The Klipsch Custom 2 ($199) headphones have a streamlined, space-age look that features a round 0.7-inch sound chamber packed with dual balanced-armature drivers. Unlike conventional earbuds, the Klipsch Custom's cables shoot out from the top of the earpiece and wrap around the back of the ear along a coated 2-inch length of moldable memory wire. The Klipsch Custom 2's cables measure 4 feet long and are covered in a braided, tangle-resistant cloth.
One of the more unique design features across the entire line of Klipsch earphones are the slightly oval shape of their interchangeable ear tips. Klipsch claims the oblong shape is a better match to the ear canal's natural shape. We failed to notice any appreciable difference between the slightly oval fit of the Klipsch and the uniformly round ear tips included with most earphones, but earphone fit is always a highly subjective experience. The Klipsch Custom 2 come packaged with five pairs of different size silicone tips (three single-flange pairs and two dual-flanged). No foam tips are offered; however, the variety and design of included gel ear tips should satisfy even the smallest or largest ears.
The Klipsch Custom 2s don't have the light and ultraportable design of the Image earphones or a pair of Etymotic HF5s, but their design offers many practical advantages. We found the Klipsch Custom 2s' behind-the-ear memory wire made them easier to quickly slap on than the loose-wire design of our trusty Shure SE310. The moldable wire also allows you to dangle the Klipsch Custom 2 loosely over your ears for moments when you need to hear what's going on around you (i.e. bicycling, walking through sketchy neighborhoods, feigning attention to a conversation).