Any headphones brand worth its salt nowadays has realized the importance of the sporty, fitness enthusiast customer. Musical accompaniment for your exercise routine has become a popular way to drown out ambient noise outside and to treat your ears to more familiar tunes, as opposed to the playlist blaring through in your gym's sound system.
We have seen the trend of acoustic manufacturers targeting this particular niche throughout the past year. Sony released the XBA-S65 for fitness buffs when they brought their range of balanced armature earphones to Singapore. Similarly while Denon’s new launch of products was primarily targeted at audiophiles, they remembered to have something for the “exercise freaks” in the form of the AH-W150.
Klipsch has become an extremely popular earphone brand in Singapore on the back of the success of the S4 in-ears. Recently, at an event held at the Ion Sky in Singapore, they announced the global launch of a new addition to their product lineup in the form of the A5i, which is made for use when engaged in physical activity.
Sports earphones first and foremost, taking into account the usage they will suffer, have to be hardy and waterproof. Klipsch seemed to have taken all these aspects into consideration. The A5i cabling is constructed with Kevlar thrown into the mix so as to ensure that the wires do not tangle or get damaged when snagged. The earphones are also waterproof, allowing users to wash the sweat off them after they are done using them.
Klipsch has fitted the A5i with 6.5mm drivers, which is quite a way smaller than standard 8mm to 12mm sized regular earphones come equipped with. While this definitely helps make the A5i light with its total of weight of just 19g, we will have to see how it impacts performance.
As is standard with sports earphones, the Klipsch A5i offers an around-the-ear wearing style intended to ensure the earphones remain in place while you work out. To provide additional anchoring, the in-line control pod comes with a clip attachment. This means you can pin the cabling in place, stopping it from swinging around to a large degree when out running or jogging. But the most interesting feature of the A5i headphones is the movable and bendable arm for the ear-buds themselves. This allows for adjustment of how deep the ear-buds can be placed in the ear canal.
The separate arm mechanism of the Klipsch A5i is a good feature to be included for sports earphones. We were able to get great noise isolation by pushing the buds in, which seems perfect for indoor environments. A loose fit which allows for a moderate level of ambient noise to seep through, which would be extremely helpful if you are running or cycling outdoors. Allied with the light weight of the headphones and the around the ear wearing style, we have no problems with how the new earphones sit.
As mentioned earlier, the light weight is achieved partially due to the 6.5mm drivers used. While small in stature, we were surprised with the bass delivered by the Klipsch A5i. Deep and defined to a good degree, the low notes had good impact. The beat or groove, which represents the tempo, is perhaps the most important aspect of the music when exercising. The A5i is particularly suited in helping this party of composition shine through.
On the percussion heavy Tessellate by Alt-J, the new Klipsch product also displayed a decent transient response, showcasing the variety of sounds with a good level of detail. However, when compared with the Klipsch S4i II (which we luckily had on hand), the A5i seems to lack the warmth of tone which makes the former, regular variety earphones so formidable when handling pop tunes.
The Klipsch A5i is out on the markets now and is priced at S$229.