There's been an interesting debate on our forums recently regarding how much earphones and headphones should cost. By our standards, £30 is too little. By most peoples' standards, £500 is too much. How about £90-ish?
That's how much the dual-armature, sound-isolating Klipsch Custom-2 earphones can be found for on the Web, and we've been keen to test these bad boys since we first got wind of them. And even more so after hearing how great their higher-end siblings, thes, were.
The entire Shure's SE range. (Your ear canals may vary.)are physically almost identical, bar a couple of cosmetic differences to help visually differentiate the three models. Like the Custom-3s, we initially had a hard job fitting them, and we immediately swapped out the bundled silicone tips for the compatible silicone and foam tips from
We got a snug fit after doing this and heard the same terrific balanced sound quality heard in the more costly Custom-3s, but as you might expect, with less overall definition.
Certain rock and pop recordings highlight the fact that the Custom-2s can sound a little muddy. Certainly the comparably pricedsingle-driver earphones from Denon don't suffer this -- they have exceptionally deep bass and a bright, detailed high-end, making them far more suitable for rock, pop and metal for most people.
Conversely, the Custom-2s are better suited to vocal-driven music, acoustic performances and to some extent classical work, though the lack of clarity in the very high-end certainly won't please all classical music fans.
But this is all based on early listening, and our full review may highlight other characteristics, so be sure to check back in a week or so for our epic final opinions.
Before then, have a poke at our gallery of hands-on close-ups over the next few pages. If you're desperate already, you can buy a pair now for around £90-£100. -Nate Lanxon
Update: Read our full
The Custom-2s sport an odd pseudo-triangular design, making them a little less comfortable to us than some other models.
The 'contour ear gels' worked well with previous Klipsch earphones -- the-- but we felt the need to experiment with compatible tips from other manufacturers.
This thick 'memory wire' is what gives the Custom-2 its name. It can be bent and shaped to better fit each wearer's ear.
The memory wire ends about 8cm from the earphone enclosure. Out of the end comes the cloth-covered audio cable.
Here you can see how the memory wire can be very specifically shaped. It remains exactly in the position you bend it in, so you should only need experiment with custom shapes once.
The 3.5mm headphone plug at the end is gold-plated to ensure decent transmission of audio signals.
Only colours differ between the Custom-2s, left, and the Custom-3s, right.
An array of silicone tips are supplied, but no foam option is included. Two sizes of double-flanged tips are also in the box.
Finally, here's a comparison between the silicone tips supplied, left, and the ones we swapped them for from Shure, right.