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Hands on: Klipsch R6i II in-ear headphones review

All wired up

What is a hands on review?
Image credit: TechRadar

Early Verdict

The R6i IIs impressed us with their clear soundstage, lively trebles, and great price, but bassheads might want to look elsewhere.

For

  • Great price
  • Comfortable
  • Lively, energetic sound

Against

  • Trebles can be sibilant

With true wireless earbuds growing ever popular, you'd be forgiven for thinking the days of the wired headphone are numbered. 

However, there lots of compelling reasons to opt for a pair of wired earphones, whether you're an audiophile looking for the higher quality audio that comes with cables, or a casual listener who hates messing around with dodgy Bluetooth connections. 

Another benefit of wired in-ears, is that they tend to be cheaper than their wireless and true wireless counterparts – and the Klipsch R6i IIs are no exception. 

We had the opportunity to briefly test them out at the Bristol Hi-Fi show – read on for our initial thoughts.

Price and availability

Klipsch's R6i II in-ear headphones are available to buy for $79.99, although they are currently on sale at Amazon for just over $50 in the US.

In the UK, you can get them for £89, and they'll set you back AU$129 in Australia. Even without the Amazon discount, they're relatively inexpensive, and cheaper than our favorite earphones, the 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones, which cost $100 (£100 / about AU$168).

Generally, the best earbuds can range in price from anywhere between $50 to over $250 for high-end models like the Optoma NuForce HEM6s.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Design

One of the most striking things about the R6i IIs is the size of the buds; the housings are incredibly compact, which could be ideal if you prefer a discreet-looking earbud.

The earphones also make use of Klipsch's patented oval ear tips, which the company says are "anatomically designed to accurately fit inside the human ear canal". 

The oval tips felt extremely comfortable when we tried them on for size, and Klipsch claims they have the added benefit of creating a more secure seal in the ear canal for better "noise isolation and bass response".

Boasting an attractive design, the R6i IIs sport a white elastomer cable and silver aluminum accents that add a subtle sparkle to the buds' housings.

The housings themselves have an interesting design feature; the back of the housings are curved inwards, so your finger sits snugly as you pop them into your ear – we felt this was a nice touch that speaks to the amount of thought that Klipsch has put into the design of the R6i IIs. 

Underneath the right earbud you'll find the inline remote, which features volume controls and an aluminum play/pause button.

As the remote has been optimized for Apple devices, the volume controls won't work on Android smartphones and tablets – the play/pause button still works on non-iOS phones however. 

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Features and performance

Klipsch is well known for its vibrant and dynamic approach to audio, and the R6i IIs could be a great example of this, with lively trebles, smooth mids, and punchy bass frequencies. 

We tested them out with some energetic rock courtesy of Fleetwood Mac, and we were impressed by the high volumes these little buds can achieve – partly thanks to the use of dynamic moving coil drivers that displace a high volume of air as they vibrate. 

Electric guitars and thrashing percussion sounded particularly good coming through the R6i IIs, with a grainy, enthusiastic treatment.

We did notice some sibilance (sharp ‘sss’ sounds) in the highest frequencies however, which can make your ears feel fatigued after long listening sessions. 

Mid frequencies sounded well balanced, while the bass felt tight and forceful. Unlike many consumer headphones, the bass isn't overly emphasized, leading to a remarkably clear and accurate replication of your music.

Audiophiles will probably appreciate the accurate sonic balance, but it won't appeal to everyone; if you prefer a warmer sound or you are really into your bass, you will probably want to look elsewhere. 

The R6i IIs also come in black. Image credit: Klipsch

Early verdict

In the short time we spent with them, we were really impressed by the Klipsch R6i IIs – and even more impressed by their low price.

They possess that lively, energetic sound that Klipsch has become known for, with a clear, open soundstage that could replicate your music very faithfully. 

Although trebles were occasionally sibilant, we were impressed by their clarity and vibrancy. 

Overall, the sound felt very well-balanced, although bass-heads may want to look elsewhere, and if you have sensitive ears, you may find the trebles a little harsh. 

We also liked the sleek design, and found that the oval eartips felt comfortable – of course, we only spent a short amount of time with the R6i IIs, so we will be able to test them over longer periods when we come to do our full review. 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.