Klipsch Reference X12i - Review

July 24, 2017

The current Klipsch Reference X-series was launched sometime in late 2015. We had tried the top of the line Reference X20i previously (and it was pretty darn good) and now given the chance to try the X12i. If the X20i did not exist, chances are the X12i would've been Klipsch's creme de la creme since it is after all, the successor of the X11i. Nuff said. Let's check out the Reference X12i in this full review!

Type - Wired In-Ears
Price - USD 349 / SGD 509 (Usual: SGD 599)
Klipsch Reference X12i packaging

Pros (+): Great balance in bass and treble; High noise isolation; Good ear fit. 
Cons (-): Befuddling wallet case design; Unboxing process could be improved. 

In The Box
The box is marked by a striking transparent plastic, at the top, that showcases the buds in its full glory while the lower half is a traditional box that details its contents. Tearing the seal on the bottom allows you to slide the plastic casing out. 
Klipsch Reference X12i packaging

Pop open the plastic casing and there's the buds pedestal at the top and the accessories packed in a thin cardboard box. Admittedly, the cardboard is a little flimsy and some effort could have gone to explaining how to actually open it. 
Klipsch Reference X12i packaging

By contrast, the brown plastic holding the earphone cord is sturdy and simple to open / close. 
Klipsch Reference X12i packaging

So taking everything out, the packaging contents include - 
  • Klipsch Reference X12i earphones
  • 5 x Silicon Eartips ( Single Flange - S, M, L / Double Flange - M, L )
  • Carrying Pouch
  • Cord Clip
  • Quick Start Guide + Warranty, Safety Guides
Klipsch Reference X12i packaging contents

Design
The Klipsch Reference X12i weighs a decent 15g, understandably lighter than the Reference X20i (22g) that comes with screw type connectors. The X12i buds are aluminum-milled though the connection points (the 3.5mm straight jack and Y-connector) are made of lightweight plastic. The convenient tangle-free 1.2m cord looks great with its translucent nature that reveals the copper wires within. 
Klipsch Reference X12i

Carrying Case:
Included is a miniature wallet case where both sides are linked with a Klipsch-branded elastic band. The interior has two thin sleeves within though on first glance, it's a little tricky to figure how to slot the buds within for safekeeping. 
Klipsch Reference X12i

Features
In-Line Remote:
If you're familiar with Klipsch remotes that come with their earphones, this looks very much in line with its brethren like the R6 In-Ear Bluetooth. The volume controls marked with '+' and '-' flank the bronze-colored multi-function button that serves to play (single press) and skip tracks (double or triple press). 
Klipsch Reference X12i

Earbuds:
You get a flurry of 5 pairs of silicon buds within of which there are 3 single- and 2 double-flange options and chances are you just need to lock down on one set for day to day usage. The single-flange M-size that's fitted by default suited just nice.
Klipsch Reference X12i earbuds

Performance
Sound Quality:
A sample of Calvin Harris' How Deep Is Your Love is intense in its pounding beats yet Ina Wroldsen's vocals are able to come through clearly without overwhelming the senses. Trying out Clean Bandit's melodic Symphony served to reinforce the notion with its clear instrumentation being expressed gently through the buds yet never sounding overly bright. This is a stark contrast to many a earbud out there where the emphasis is purely on the bass and not much else. 
Klipsch Reference X12i

Fit and Noise Isolation:
Insertion into the ears is really comfortable, no doubt helped by the elliptical design of the tips. The proper method to wear 'em is to slot them in and tilt the buds downward. This results in a snug fit that provides a better than average noise isolation from ambient sounds. If there are issues with cable rustle (microphonics), you can use the provided plastic cord clip to prevent the cable from swishing around when you're walking.  
Klipsch Reference X12i

Overall
The Klipsch Reference X-series serves as a timely reminder that there is life in wired earphones. Some improvements could be made in the design of the wallet case and unboxing process but if you're talking about the buds proper, there's very little to fault. Sure most companies are veering toward a wireless future but if you were to link your music device to the X12i vis a vis a pair of default buds bundled with your phone, you may well rediscover the joy of listening to music.
Klipsch Reference X12i

Where To Buy
Klipsch is currently holding a Klipsch x Logan promotion until mid-August in Singapore. Do check out more details here!

Credit to Klipsch and TC Acoustic for a review unit. 
Klipsch Reference X12i

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