Klipsch Custom 2 Review

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Reviewed Jan 2010

Details: Klipsch’s mid-range dual-armature earphone; one of the cheapest such setups on the market
MSRP: $199.99 (manufacturer’s page) (discontinued)
Current Price: $80 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dual BA | Imp: 16 Ω | Sens: 112 dB | Freq: 10-19k Hz | Cable: 4.2’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 3.5mm | Preferred tips: Sony Hybrids
Wear Style: Over-the-ear

Accessories (4.5/5) – Silicone single-flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange (2 sizes) tips, cleaning tool, airplane adapter, and oversize hard carrying case
Build Quality (2.5/5) – The housings are rubber-covered plastic and quite well-made. The memory wire acts as a strain relief and the y-split and L-plug are both very impressive. The nylon cabling, however, is atrocious. It kinks and tangles endlessly, ruining an otherwise competent build
Isolation (3.5/5) – The long, steeply angled nozzles allow for deep insertion, resulting in impressive isolation
Microphonics (2.5/5) – Quite unpleasant despite these being worn over-the-ear and having a ‘memory wire’ configuration
Comfort (4/5) – Can’t fault the Customs here – they fit in the ear rather snugly and unobtrusively, not unlike the JVC AirCushions. Persons with smaller ears may find them harder to wear

Sound (6/10) – The dual-driver Custom 2 improves on the single armature Custom 1 by offering a wider dynamic range – the C1s’ lack of presence in the bass and quirky treble characteristics were my major gripes with them. With the C2s, low-end response is much improved with fuller-sounding, warmer, and more impactful bass that’s still just as tight as on the C1s. The midrange is similar to that found on the C1s – lush, airy, and clear. The treble is much tamer although it still carries some of the edginess and brightness of the Custom 1. Still, I managed to survive my 3-day evaluation of the C2 without listening fatigue (which I can’t say for the C1). The soundstage is slightly wider and deeper than with the C1s and detail is improved all-around, especially at the extremes of the frequency range. Like the C1, the C2 is an extremely sensitive earphone and added impedance cuts down on the hiss and makes the whole signature more coherent, so an attenuator is recommended.

Value (7/10) – As with the Custom 1, the MSRP of the Custom 2 is a bit of a stretch. Even at the current $75 price point, Klipsch’s own dynamic-driver S4 are a better buy for most genres. Though I wholeheartedly recommend the Custom 2 over the Custom 1, I can’t help but feel that Klipsch put on the brakes when engineering the sound of the C2 so that it would not compete with the higher-end C3 and the Image line.

Pros: Comfortable, well-isolating, detailed and smooth midrange
Cons: Downright awful cabling, excessive microphonics


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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