I’ve been in love with the Shure SE215 earphones ever since the first time I tried them. I was fortunate enough to receive a pair of them last year, which I thoroughly enjoy.
However, last Christmas I noticed that that the Klipsch S4i earphones were being sold for a 60% discount, meaning I only needed to pay $39 instead of $99 before factoring shipping. I decided to take the plunge and see if it would satisfy me and also address some of the annoyances I had with the SE215, and yes, there are a few quirks.
Now that I’ve had the S4i for a while, I feel the time is right to do a brief comparison of the two earphones. I’m no audiophile, so I’m loathe to call this a review, so I’ll settle for a simple pros and cons of these two.
- Excellent sound and clarity. Perfect for the Celtic music I like to listen to.
- Good noise isolation.
- Long and sturdy cable
- Very troublesome to wear, which is the biggest weakness of this earphone, since it means I won’t use it unless I’m sure I won’t be interrupted for a few hours, like on a plane. If someone tries to speak to me, the trouble of taking it off to answer the question and putting it back on afterwards is frustrating.
- Bass is almost nonexistent. Not a big deal to me, since I don’t listen to dance or techno music, but it’ll definitely be an issue for some.
- Excellent sound and bass. While I feel the Shure SE215 has better clarity, the Klipsch S4i probably has better balance since the bass is noticeable.
- Easy to wear. Just like any standard ear plug, just pop it in. The silicone tips are good too, they don’t feel plasticky like some other brands.
- Whenever the cable is bumped or hits something, you hear the bump all the way in your earphones. It’s incredibly distracting. This means that it’s not very suitable to use when I’m walking, since the cable will be bouncing against my body. Clipping it to my shirt helps, but it’s less comfortable and troublesome if I’m wearing a T-Shirt. I can’t stress enough how disappointing this is. I tried several other Klipsch earphones, including the rugged version, but they all seem to have this issue.
I really do like both earphones, but if I had to give up one of these earphones, I’d probably give up the Klipsch, purely based on the irritating noise from the cable.
23 Aug 2014 Update: As has been mentioned on some sites, one way to solve the cable noise is to wear the earphones over your ear, basically the same way you wear the Shure SE215. You’ll need to wear the left earbud on the right and vice versa, but it works. I guess that’s one way to resolve the issue.