Details: Klipsch’s budget single-armature earphone
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $129.99)
Specs: Driver: BA | Imp: 30 Ω | Sens: 108 dB | Freq: 12-19k Hz | Cable: 4.2’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 3.5mm | Preferred tips: Sony Hybrids
Wear Style: Over-the-ear
Accessories (4/5) – Silicone single-flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange (2 sizes) tips, cleaning tool, and 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 cabling, however, is atrocious. It kinks and tangles endlessly and would be the bane of my existence if these were my primary earphones
Isolation (3.5/5) – The long, steeply angled nozzles allow the C1 to be inserted quite deeply with smaller tips, 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 (4.7/10) –If the frequency response rating of the Custom 1 is to be believed, the single armature is tuned slightly towards the low end to combat the usual bass-light nature of single-armature setups. Bass is indeed present and fairly extended but lacks punch and texture. It’s very tight but too cold for my liking and lacks presence. The midrange is where the strengths of the Custom 1 lie – it’s clear, articulate, smooth, and very musical. Vocals are airy, have good tonal balance, and are well-positioned in the medium-sized stage. Getting up into the high end, though, the C1s again stray away from my expectations. The treble lacks detail and sparkle, as well as dimensionality – the high end is where these quite literally fall flat for me. They can also be unpleasantly bright and edgy, bringing out harshness/sibilance in some tracks. The low impedance of these also results in high amounts of hiss with some amps and sources when running them without an adapter.
Value (6.5/10) – The current price point of the Klipsch is about right for them to be mildly competitive. The MSRP is excessive for the lackluster sound these single armatures put out. The atrocious cabling helps seal their place in earphone mediocrity but the quirky treble is the real downfall for me. While by no means bad earphones, they just don’t stack up to my many of the dynamics in the price range and can be extremely fatiguing with much of my hard rock and metal. Lovers of vocal genres may want to give these a go but the rest of us would likely do better to pass.
Pros: Comfortable, well-isolating, lush and airy midrange
Cons: Downright awful cabling, excessive microphonics, presence of hiss, lackluster bass & treble