Klipsch provided the T5 free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
I have a long history with Klipsch. Well, long as far as my audiophile history goes. Which isn’t very long at all in the grand scheme of things. I’ve only been at this for a few years, and it began with the Klipsch R6. They were my experiment, to see if I could tell the difference between a crappy set of Skullcandy buds and something costing $99. I honestly didn’t know what the results would be, but I supposed a hundred dollars wasn’t too much to gamble with. I started listening to so much music at the time it seemed a reasonable territory in which to invest.
IEMs have come a long way since then. Today, True Wireless is all the rage. Everybody is coming out with their own take on the design. I have samples from three manufacturers already, and a fourth on the way.
For music listening, I rarely use Bluetooth. Wired transducers from a good DAP are always superior. When sound quality is a priority, as with music, I go all out on cables, and custom in-ear monitors, TOTL portable players, etc… However, I do listen to a ton of audiobooks and podcasts. And when I do, I use Bluetooth exclusively. I have neckbands, headphones, and now a slew of TW IEMs.
But don’t fret! My sound impressions are based on music listening. After all, I doubt many will spend $200 on audiophile grade True Wireless IEMs just for podcasts. You want to know how they really sound.
The package from Klipsch left me confused for a moment. Why did they include a Zippo lighter? What on earth does a lighter have in common with audio equipment? Then a friend pointed out the similarities with the IEM charging case. Ah, yes, I see. It looks like a Zippo. It opens like a Zippo. Then there’s the pride both companies share in being founded in, and still operating from, America. Ok. I get it. I do like Zippo lighters, and can always use another one. Thanks Klipsch!
Of the three TW products I have so far, I like the Klipsch charging case the best. First off, it’s metal, and feels nicer than the others. Also, the Zippo-inspired design really works for me. This case is easier to open, and easier to insert and remove the IEMs. It is, quite simply, quality, on every level.
The charging case uses Type-C USB and fills up super fast. As do the IEMs. Klipsch claims you get more than two hours of playback from a mere fifteen minutes of charging. At full charge, you get eight hours, and a combined twenty four hours with a fully charged case. This is not especially unique to Klipsch. All of the TW models I’m testing do really well in this area. Cases and IEMs all charge super quick. The industry seems to have this concept mastered.
As always, the patented Klipsch oval ear tips are present. I used to be a big fan of these. But after reviewing countless IEMs, I don’t find the ovals to be any better than normal round tips. In fact, the ovals don’t like to stay secure in your ear as well as many other tips I’ve tried. I find myself reseating them constantly. The big, heavy shell of the T5 is all the more prone to slipping. Though I will say, they’ve never gone so far as to fall out of the ear.
I had serious problems with the first batch of ear tips. All of them broke apart as I swapped them around, testing out different sizes and fits. Jill, my contact at Klipsch, explained how there was a fault in the first batch, and sent me some replacements. Of these, I’ve had no problems. So they must have sorted the process out. If you do get some of the first batch, just contact Klipsch and they will send out new tips.
The T5 is bulky and sticks WAY out. Most of these True Wireless things are bulky. They gotta pack a lot of circuitry in there. But the T5 is the heaviest I’ve come across. Also, they are shaped in such a way where I cannot get a nice deep insertion. Which means I have to settle for a shallow insertion and use the biggest tips. This causes them to stick out more, with all the weight outside the ear. It’s no wonder they are prone to slipping.
In terms of comfort, they aren’t terrible. Aslan knows I’ve reviewed worse IEMs. That said, they are the least comfortable of the TW, and I have experienced some soreness after a few hours of listening. Mild discomfort. Not so much that I wasn’t happy to go back to them after a little break.
They’ve presented zero connectivity issues. I’ve enjoyed solid connection to my Galaxy S8, the iBasso DX220, and the Cayin N6ii. And I’m more than pleased by the quality of phone calls. The 4 mics pick up my voice, and no one on the other end has complained about hearing me, unlike with some others (I’m looking at you HiFiMAN).